LETTERS

Police block off the road at Talga Lane on the Newell Highway at Croppa Creek after the fatal shooting.

Police block off the road at Talga Lane on the Newell Highway at Croppa Creek after the fatal shooting. Photo: Cady Anderson, Moree Champion

Thank you for correcting reports that environment inspector Glen Turner was "harassing" a land owner when he was ambushed and shot dead near Moree ("Inspector not visiting farmer when killed: police", August 5).

Now I'll be waiting for Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner and Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce to apologise for their insensitive and misleading remarks, effectively blaming land-clearing laws for the incident; waiting for Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt to improve on his pusillanimous statement of regret of July 31; and waiting for the NSW government’s offer of generous compensation to the widow and family.

Apart from donating to the fund being established for the family, one way we can remember Glen Turner's work is to keep driving down unnecessary land clearing. Australia has already cleared far too much of its native vegetation since 1788, and cannot afford to put private property and profit ahead of the long-term national economic interest. 

<i>Illustration: John Shakespeare</i>

Illustration: John Shakespeare

Stephen Saunders O'Connor (ACT)

It's absolutely appalling that certain National Party MPs linked Ian Turnbull’s actions to state planning laws. Planning laws are there for a purpose. We live in a society. We are collective and our actions are not without impacts on others. If these MPs don't understand the role of government in that society, they have no business being in government. A father of three was ambushed and shot in the back while attempting to carry out his service to the people of NSW. Now it turns out that Glen Turner wasn't even on Turnbull's property – not that it should make any difference. It is morally delinquent for National Party members to minimise such actions by attacking planning laws. 

Alpheus Williams Red Rock

The reporting of this tragic event – first presented as a farmer pushed to the edge by the big-bad-government – is a fascinating insight into Australia. New details are now emerging and the claims by politicians and News Corp seem highly disconcerting. 

Imagine if Ian Turnbull had a non-Anglo name – perhaps a name that sounded Middle Eastern – and this alleged "ambush" of a government officer occurred in Western Sydney. 

The politicians and the parrots in the media would have turned green with rage by now.

Troy Martin Kanwal 

True state of affairs is being hushed up

The government's refusal of Fairfax Media's freedom-of-information request for Treasury modelling showing the budget impact on different household types is no surprise ("Government holding back on documents", August 5).

Tony Abbott's pre-election promise to run an "open and transparent" government has collided with the political strategy of concealing which family types would be better or worse off in real terms. Governments always seek to control the flow of information to the media and the public, but this government showed its intentions on budget night by abolishing the Office of Information Commissioner, set up in 2010 to hear appeals against refusals of FOI requests. 

Joe Hockey says published tables showing the budget impact on households do not show the "true state of affairs" ("Table's gone missing, but Hockey needs to put his cards somewhere", August 5). Release of the Treasury modelling would clear the matter up, but voters will draw their own conclusions from the failure to do so. The Abbott government claims to be open for business, but is obviously not open for public scrutiny.

James Moore Kingsgrove

How many readers have reminded Gary Bigelow (Letters, August 5) that no promises for cuts to "address the massive blowout in welfare" were made by the then opposition leader in his job application to become prime minister? That is the "real issue".

It is to be hoped there will be more "reality" in the 40 job applications he requires of the unemployed than were contained in his job application.

Richard Ure Epping

In what Australia is Gary Bigelow living? Clearly, it's not only lower-income earners who receive government handouts. Negative gearing, superannuation tax concessions and other handouts disproportionately favour the better off. The budget did nothing to address these matters and left more vulnerable Australians with the burden of restoring the bottom line. 

Jeffrey Gabriel Gladesville

Donations distrust means lord mayor must resign

We have in Newcastle now a crisis of community confidence, trust and integrity with our political leaders and the political decision-making process ("Chief whip heads ICAC witness list", August 5). This is the main show in town. Both Newcastle's lord mayor and NSW member of Parliament have come to the adverse attention of the Independent Commission Against Corruption and been linked to undeclared prohibited donations from developers and the grog industry. Prominent local business leaders have also become embroiled in questionable practices that have excluded ordinary community members from critical decisions shaping the look and prosperity of our city.

NSW's former premier, Barry O'Farrell, took the only honourable route when caught out after he denied receiving a political gift and resigned his leadership position. So too have other accused prominent state and federal members of Parliament. The people of Newcastle expect and demand no lesser standard of personal integrity from our lord mayor.

He has effectively admitted in a High Court writ to have not complied with a number of obligations of the NSW Electoral Act regardless if he now asserts, 3½ years later, after the ICAC knocked, that parts of the act are constitutionally invalid. Any Newcastle councillor, whatever their political leanings, who cannot recall making a prohibited $9975 political donation to the Liberal or any other state candidate that well and truly breached the donations dollar cap, has not got the capacity to lead the sixth-largest city in Australia.

Tony Brown Newcastle

Imperialism, division worsen world's wars

I fear Peter Hartcher has omitted two major factors in his analysis of the widening conflicts in today's world ("How to rein in the dogs of war", August 5). 

One is the ongoing consequence of Western/European imperialism in the Middle East through engagement in wars to maintain the status quo against the forces of change. The Sunni-Shiite clash has been exacerbated by foreign imperialism and intrusion in Iraq. Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict requires a major shift in the approaches of the Western powers whose own self-interest and support for Israel have distorted the conflict to the point it is at today. 

The other is the effect of globalisation and communications, whereby many citizens of the world, denied opportunities for self-fulfilment, are either becoming radicalised or are persecuted. The world is being divided ever further between those who have and those who have not. The refugee crisis is also part of the equation. 

We need enlightened government as never before but, unfortunately, the swing is towards right-wing extremist control, secrecy and inequity.

Vanessa Tennent Oatley

Thomas Friedman's "prism" of the Middle East as a model of division between the world of order and the world of disorder has appeal. The divide of order/disorder fits too with the consequences of climate change which Admiral Samuel Locklear, of the US Pacific Command, has assessed as the most likely event to cripple the security environment. 

Neither Friedman nor Fukuyama appear to consider climate change in their thinking. So far this year, 65,000 asylum seekers have entered Italy in their flight from the disorder of their respective countries, desertification of the African continent perhaps contributing, giving an idea of the scale of the problem as future climate change increasingly threatens the world's great deltas and disorder escalates.

Is the answer reinvigorated international institutions and imposing order on countries as Fukuyama suggests or funding alternative energies?

Ian Muldoon Coffs Harbour

Drinking on ferries far from intoxicating

Is there anywhere where alcohol won't try to extend its grubby tentacles ("A boozy Manly ferry? Whatever floats your boat", August 5)? It is illegal to drink on a bus or train so why should the ferry be exempt? 

John Partridge Manly

How long will it be before Harbour City Ferries applies for a licence to operate poker machines on the Manly ferries?

Stewart MacDonald Ashfield

Alcohol on Manly ferries? Isn't the view from the ferry intoxicating enough?  

Pasquale Vartuli Wahroonga

Hamas caused conflict

I dispute Michael Fox's claim that the fundamental cause of the Israel-Hamas war is the blockade of Gaza (Letters, August 5). No, the root cause of the conflict is that Hamas wants to eradicate Israel and kill as many Jews and Israelis as it can, and it says so very explicitly in its charter. Remember, too, that the blockade was instituted only after Israel withdrew completely from the Gaza Strip and was subsequently subjected to rocket fire and terrorist attacks from Hamas.

Alan Freedman St Kilda East (Vic)

Don't venerate Vegas

My most enduring memory of the one and only time I visited Las Vegas is of being approached on the Strip by young children proffering cards that promised delivery to my hotel room, within the hour, of a young woman who was desperate to get to know me better. This is the same place of which James Packer says: "You can't be in the gaming industry and not have a special reverence for Las Vegas – that's where it all began" ("Crown rolls the dice on Las Vegas", August 6).

Reverence? Obviously James Packer and I worship at different altars.

Cliff Jahnsen Bowral 

Winning best feeling

Oh, to hell with all this 'tis better to compete than to win claptrap (Letters, August 5). In late May of this year, I competed in the world's largest and most prestigious adult figure skating competition in Germany. I, like all other athletes in any discipline I can think of, compete to win, and to hell with all the cosy nonsense about the joy of competing for its own satisfaction.

At the ice rink five freezing mornings a week; pounding the running tracks in the evenings to gain additional stamina; being driven crazy with pain while the physio has his gleeful way with metallic thumbs in places, even for me, no thumb has gone before; being yelled at by a coach trying to get a fine point across to explain why I have fallen heavily on my knees or hip, not to mention the badly bruised buttock or two. Then, after all that, there's the sessions with a sports psychologist to convince you that you're not crazy and razz you up to do it all over again the next day.

Let me tell all you dreamers: stuff the fun – you do all that to win. Oh, and by the way – I did.

Richard Lynch Elizabeth Bay

Religious difference

Philip Cohen (Letters, August 5) fails to distinguish between religious indoctrination and religious education. Religious indoctrination produces superstition and fanaticism that knows no respect for the rights of others and thereby encouraging warfare against the other. Religious education can lead to an appreciation of the finiteness of the human condition and a respect for the sacred that dwells within.

Moreover, human beings always have the capacity to mistakenly assume that whatever they are doing has an absolute status and thereby justifies violence. That delusion can arise with or without the help of indoctrination, religious or otherwise.

Mark Porter New Lambton

Move to axe paper is not the ticket

Slow down, Gladys Berejiklian (‘‘Opal is a success but paperless system can wait’’, August 5). Until the Opal card is available at train stations and bus interchanges for purchase and recharge, it would be total idiocy to get rid of paper tickets. There are many people who still don’t have credit cards or don’t want to submit their credit card details online. How will they be able to travel? At the very least, it’s time to retrofit ticket machines so it is possible to refill the cards at the place from which a traveller wishes to take transport. 

Anthony van den Broek Erskineville

Selling Opal Cards at newsagents will be fully justified when it is possible to buy Lotto at train station ticket windows.

Bruce Stafford Tascott

A nice place to visit

Will any of the delegates to the G20 later this year also seek political asylum (Letters, August 8)?

Jim Pearce Rushcutters Bay

We know what we like

Ken Knight (Letters, August 5) comes ironically close to understanding art when he contrasts the Big Banana and the Belmore Park milk crate. The latter is art precisely because it reflects and inverts our attitudes to the former. Now, if we erected a giant Elvis painted on black velvet, everyone would be happy. 

Stephen Wilson Five Dock 

The Big Milk Crate will only be half a Sydney artwork. To complete the effect, it should include a Big Inner-West Cafe Hipster sitting on it. 

Matt Petersen Randwick