Did someone say dysfunctional?
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Did someone say dysfunctional?

What a day in politics Tuesday was.

The Liberal party, with seemingly no trace of irony, trying to oust its sitting prime minister.

Dutton relegating himself to the backbench after creating his vast Homeland Security empire.

Turnbull watering down the NEG in an apparent attempt to avoid having nothing to criticise by it not actually doing anything — and infuriating everyone instead.

It’s times like this that I hear that old voice — now who was it that kept on repeating the phrase ‘‘Dysfunctional Government’’?

Someone who kept on telling everyone how factions were tearing the government apart? Someone who got less done in his entire term of office than Julia Gillard did in a year?

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Now who was that? I wonder where he is now?

Paul Wayper, Cook

LNP’s true mess

On reading Ian Morison’s letter published 21st August, I had to remind myself it actually wasn’t April 1.

You may be an unashamed Turnbull fan, but you have no concept of the spiralling debt the LNP and its leader have now got us into.

The ALP’s so-called debt after the GFC pales into insignificance in comparison. The LNP and its leader have done nothing for our country on education, climate change taxes and so on, as you say.

Methinks you live in an alternate reality. It will take years of good governance by a Labor government to get out of this mess Turnbull and the LNP have created.

Jan Gulliver, Lyneham

De-rail Joyce’s folly

Peter Dutton wants to do the best thing for the country, he says. So he has now gone to the backbench for the chance to show us all just how good an alternative leader he would make.

He has to start somewhere, with something, however. Since he’s a Queenslander and his own state will be a vital battleground in the next election, his first Great Statement of Differentiation should thunderingly denounce the mad railway of Barnaby Joyce.

Joyce’s idea of a railway from Melbourne to Brisbane is a track going over squashy black soil around Moree and then across floodplains in southern Queensland. The maintenance costs alone will bankrupt the whole thing.

The crazy route will ensure that the railway can never compete with trucks and will therefore have to close down, after costing the taxpayer hundreds of millions. Queensland and Australia will end up nothing from Joyce’s nonsense.

Peter Dutton now has the chance to demand that the railway go through New England and the Granite Belt to Toowoomba, and then down to Brisbane. Such a line could keep operating in and after heavy rain, for one thing.

For another, it would be cheaper than Joyce’s folly, because it would give Queensland two railways for the price of one. It would have the effect of duplicating and unclogging the Sydney-Brisbane line. Duplicating the line up the coast would be astronomically expensive because of all the new bridges required, beginning with one over the Clarence at Grafton. A duplicate line through New England, however, would be free. Costing nix, niente, nada, nothing.

So how about it, Peter? For Queensland’s sake, as well as for the nation’s?

G. Agnew, Coopers Plains, Qld

Media guesswork

How quick the media is to jump to conclusions and provide us with their somewhat biased opinions.

The media is quick to surmise that Peter Dutton will challenge for the leadership in the not-too-distant future.

However, Mr Dutton was quite adamant that he was going to support the Prime Minister and work hard to ensure Bill Shorten never becomes Prime Minister of Australia. The PM having survived the spill and also a no-confidence motion brought on by Bill Shorten, it is to be hoped that all LNP members, including Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce, will now rally behind his and Peter Dutton’s aim to ensure that the current government is re-elected next year.

The electorate is heartily sick of media opinion and long for the reporting of straightforward unbiased facts, leaving Australians to form their own opinions based on facts.

N. Bailey, Nicholls

Pull the other one

Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells has been quoted as saying she had expressed her views to Mr Turnbull on issues in January including her fear the Liberal Party was moving too far to the left.

As far as cornflake chokers go, this one is an absolute doozy. The Liberal Party abandoned any tenuous link it had to liberalism some time ago (1996, by my reckoning) but it’s heartwarming to see that its conservative wing hasn’t abandoned its characteristic ignorance.

Apparently undermining Medicare and the ABC; cutting penalty rates for low-paid, under-employed workers; greasing the palms of business with massive tax cuts; sabotaging renewable energies and moderate attempts to slow anthropogenic climate change; failing to reel in the excesses of the Howard government’s tax concessions to multinational gas companies, etc etc isn’t enough for the good senator and her navel-gazing conservative mates.

Poor fella, my country.

Jon Stirzaker, Latham

New approach needed

Politics is the art of the possible, they say, but it needs co-operation to work.

The leadership vote of 48-35 in favour of Mr Turnbull means more policy lock-up in the lower house, and no energy policy soon.

A different approach is needed to get a different result. A new leader is not going to change anything.

The Reserve Bank of Australia is responsible for interest rates because politicians did not do that well in the past.

Perhaps we need the equivalent for emissions and energy settings for the same reasons.

It’s clear that our complex 21st century society needs to overhaul its 16th century political system, so that it can function more effectively.

There are many options — perhaps judicial garnisheeing of politicians’ incomes for poor past performance, the wider use of electronic plebiscites on selected matters, or forced joint-house or conscience votes. Better media policy would help too.

Trevor McPherson, Aranda

No chance of loyalty

So, the always pugilistic, ever tiresome and infinitely vainglorious Tony Abbott contends that loyalty has to be earned (‘‘Malcolm Turnbull survives Liberal Party leadership spill 48-35 over Peter Dutton", canberratimes.com.au, August 21). It seems that the man who pledged that there’ll be ‘‘no wrecking, no undermining and no sniping’’ doesn’t understand that being loyal demands character and integrity – two virtues that those who are weak or bereft of a moral compass never have.

John Richardson, Wallagoot, NSW

Career more important

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has now dumped the carbon emissions target element of the hotly-disputed National Energy Guarantee (NEG) under pressure from a conservative clique in the Coalition (‘‘Liberal ‘shockwaves’ put pressure on PM’’, August 21, p1 and p4).

This leaves the NEG with just its aim to reduce the price and improve the reliability of energy supply. It also leaves Turnbull wide open to criticism from the more moderate — and in my view more sensible — elements of the government that he is putting his own position as Prime Minster ahead of his ‘‘weak’’ action on climate change. In reality, the government’s action on climate change will be zero if Turnbull succeeds in getting his ‘‘plan’’ approved by today’s Coalition party meeting.

Many, if not all, of Turnbull’s opponents regard climate change as an ideological issue rather than a process that has been scientifically proven beyond all reasonable doubt to be occurring and threatening the environment and our welfare. Emissions reduction opponents, led by Tony Abbott, are burying their heads in the sand. All of this leads me, and no doubt many other voters, to wonder just what Malcolm Turnbull does stand for.

On present evidence, one would have to conclude that Turnbull regards his career as more important than his responsibility to all Australians.

Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin

Gone backwards

In 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit I stood behind Environment Minister Ros Kelly and witnessed her signing the UN Climate Change Convention on behalf of Australia. Twenty-six years later Australia has gone backward.
Global emissions and temperature keep rising.

Professor Will Steffen, from the ANU, and international colleagues have recently reported, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America, the planet is on the verge of various global tipping points.

Unless urgent and achievable global action is taken these will send us away from the sweet spot that the planet has experienced for the last 11,000 years of the Holocene Epoch.

This provided the basis for agriculture and modern civilisation.

Instead we will have a catastrophic ‘‘Hothouse Earth’’ situation.

Over many years I have been hopeful but sometimes despairing that humanity will have the wit to move to a sustainable future.

Malcolm Turnbull’s gutless performance on August 20 in bowing yet again to climate change sceptics such as Tony Abbott and abandoning emission targets in the NEG has convinced me if this can happen in a country like Australia humanity is indeed witless and the future of the planet dire indeed.

Rod Holesgrove, O’Connor

Fatal conceit

The error of Malcolm Turnbull’s energy policy is what F A Hayek called fatal conceit (‘‘Malcolm Turnbull removes climate change targets in fresh bid to save leadership’’, canberratimes.com, 20 August).

It is the conceit of politicians, bureaucrats and technocrats that they can run an economy.

They believe that the wisdom produced by a government committee is more rational and better informed than the wisdom of free market competition.

Fatal conceit produces winners and losers, edicts backed by force, stupid outcomes, destruction of markets, capital consumption, folly, frictions, wealth destruction and widespread unhappiness.

Victor Diskordia, McKellar

Lack of privacy

My father turned 90 this week, and bizarrely received a taxpayer-funded typed birthday greeting from his federal MP, who clearly had unrestricted access to his precise date of birth. And presumably his office staff too.

Come to think of it, we all know this sort of thing has long happened to anyone reaching 100.

Let this be a warning to anyone not planning to opt out of the electronic health record. If this is how the system protects the privacy of a foremost element of your identity, in hospital you can expect a sympathy card from your local member for your bowel, breast or prostate operation.

Alex Mattea, Kingston

Dollar spread thin

Patrick Begley’s article ‘‘Charity spends nearly half of donations on staff and advertising’’ (canberratimes.com.au, August 21) is pertinent but only looks at the tip of the iceberg.

A quick Google search reveals there is one registered charity for every 444 people in Australia and some do not even pass on half of donations.

For example the White Ribbon Foundation which is against domestic violence or violence against women (there seems to be some confusion over this given ABS figures show a full third of DV perpetrators are female) gives little or nothing to victims, the bulk of its funding is spent on wages, advertising and administration.

John Coochey, Chisholm

Where is the outrage?

I glumly note the smug condemnation of Fraser Anning’s maiden speech by both Turnbull and Shorten.

Finally something they can feel good about — someone who is even more morally bankrupt than they are.

Where is their outrage when children held indefinitely on Nauru by our government’s policies, staunchly backed up by a craven opposition, are abandoned unregarded until they get so sick they are likely to die unless removed to Australia.Or so desperately unhappy that they attempt self harm and suicide. And even then Dutton’s former department fights any mercy all the way to the High Court.

How would we like our children and grandchildren to be treated the same way we have treated them?

I’m furious that successive governments of both colours have made me ashamed to be Australian.

Robyn Fetter, Downer

Righteousness

Madonna pays tribute to Aretha Franklin by saying the Queen of Soul inspired her and people get outraged. Please! Isn’t it time the world wide web got over itself?

N. Ellis, Belconnen

TO THE POINT

LET’S GET RID OF THE LOT

Spills to the right, spills to the left ... but on they ride. Is it time to think of another form of government? What we have now is two major parties and one sand box to play in, oops, fight in. Let’s get rid of the lot of them and start again.

Bill Gillespie, Wamboin, NSW

BACK TO STONE AGE

Storming out right field, in a horse and buggy, backwards; the reactionary rump, led by Peter Dutton, is determined to lead the Liberal Party into the Stone Age.

Jon Jovanovic, Leanah Valley, Tas

TERMINAL AFFLICTION

Watching the agony of a terminally afflicted government, writhing in pain and soiling its bed, reminds me that we need a plebiscite on assisted dying.

Don Burns, Mawson

LABOR RIDES ITS LUCK

Given all the talk about Albo and Bill Shorten a few weeks ago I’ll bet the Labor Party can’t believe its luck at the moment. Who would have thought it?

M. Moore, Bonython

WHO’D RUN A REPUBLIC?

And to think that we will trust our politicians to devise and implement a Republic of Australia.

Ronald Elliott, Sandringham

DUTTON NO ANSWER

If the Parliamentary Liberal Party believes the answer is Peter Dutton, then it’s asking the wrong question.

Ian De Landelles, Murray’s Beach, NSW

VENGEFUL ABBOTT

Tony Abbott appears to be purely out for revenge against Malcolm Turnbull.

Rod Matthews, Melbourne, Vic

NOW IT’S KING STORK

Are we over King Log? Long Live King Stork!

S. W. Davey, Canberra

CHILDCARE PARADOX

It sure is paradoxical that ex-minister Dutton has a stake in two childcare centres in Queensland considering what the Department of Home Affairs has been doing to children in offshore detention.

Ed Highley, Kambah

ALPHA CHENG’S EXAMPLE

Alpha Cheng is a living testament to the richness of the human spirit. (‘‘Banning Muslims is no solution’’, Comment, August 20, p.19).

Bob Gardiner, Isabella Plains

ANDERSON INVESTIGATED

Is Dr Tim Anderson being investigated by the University of Sydney simply because he challenges mainstream views on Syria and Israel?

Shane McCartin, North Fitzroy, Vic

A VIRUS OF BUMPS

Please be warned, a virus is spreading rapidly through Holt. It is not the mumps, it is speed bumps.

Ken Wood, Holt

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