Soft on crime
Sir: One of my favourite Spectator Australia columns is Peter Coleman’s. His insightful and calm articulation can stall many a critic. And I particularly enjoy his historical anecdotes. However, I think he erred in his column (23 November) by suggesting those mostly elderly people who attended the protest rally in Sydney would do well to read Justice Campbell’s considered judgment on the internet.
As someone not so elderly, I attended the protest rally. I have also studied Justice Campbell’s judgment and fear it is yet another piece of social work. In no way does this judgment seriously address the gravity of the crime and the need for deterrent. The continuing soft sentences being handed down by the judiciary will do nothing to prevent further killings of this kind. Unless these killers are removed from society and removed for a meaningful period, with clear messages sent out, the situation will never improve.
St Ives, NSW
Sir: I find John Birmingham’s piece (23 November) on recent problems between our government and Indonesia very strange. Here we are, a huge lump of rock with a population of 22 million scattered around it, and he would have us shaking our fists at one of the most heavily populated countries in the world (around 250 million), mostly Muslims. How does he visualise taking them on? A few boomerangs perhaps? Or would he prefer the US forces in Darwin to lob a couple of drones and slaughter a few thousand families? It does seem to me the present cabinet is doing OK in this case.
Get tough with Morrison
Sir: I note your Spectator Australia editorial (9 November) warning that the risk of the Abbott government’s plan to avoid the news cycle is that ‘they are seen to be concealing the truth and avoiding accountability’. I wonder what The Spectator Australia thinks, then, of the antics of Scott Morrison in the last few weeks. My view is that his behaviour has been reprehensible — apart from the shameful way the Army bigwig has been thrust forward. (It was pitiful to see him scrabbling around in his folder prior to telling Senator Hanson-Young that the answer to her question in the Estimates Committee on the number of Indonesian fishing boats purchased by the Government is… zero).
Morrison, with his self-indulgent bullying manner, has queered the pitch for all other ministers in the government in that, because of him, it is beginning to be thought widely that the government is, indeed, economical with the truth and is out to avoid accountability. I do hope you are going to put the boot into Mr Morrison (in the nicest possible way, of course) in the very near future.
Sir: Your editorial ‘A delicate diplomatic dance,’ (23 November) emphasises the differences between Indonesia and Australia: language, religion, culture, ethnicity and history — but you miss the great commonality: commerce. I am a regular traveller to Jakarta and am constantly reminded of the unifying force of the shared goal of economic progress. We should never underestimate the impact of the economic imperative which is common to all peoples.
Meanwhile, the furore over Australia’s eavesdropping on Indonesia has shown Tony Abbott in the best possible light. He has not taken the easy path of blaming it all on the previous government, nor has he embarrassed the Indonesian government by pointing out the obvious truth that they benefit from such eaves dropping themselves. He has maintained a dignified demeanour and waited it out. At last, we have an adult prime minster at the helm.
Frenchs Forest, NSW
Scandal at the Co-op
Sir: Martin Vander Weyer makes a good point. The Revd Paul Flowers may be a flawed individual, but he is not responsible for Co-op Bank’s woes (Any Other Business, 23 November). His appointment might be symptomatic of a complacency about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ banking that suited certain politicians, but surely now we need a full inquiry into the Lloyds takeover of HBOS and the Co-op takeover of Britannia.
I would also like to see the terms compared to the Santander acquisition of Bradford & Bingley. The true scandal is the collusion of politicians, regulators and senior bankers. In the meantime, I hope Paul Flowers gets the help he needs.
Sir: One point to be said in favour of the ‘Crystal Methodist’ Paul Flowers: he has made cocaine and crystal meth look naff to anyone under (and probably over) 50. Expect usage to plummet.
We don’t do God
Sir: It is mistaken to assume that the great majority of Tory voters are Anglicans (‘Beyond belief’, 23 November). Many lifelong supporters of the party, myself included, have never subscribed to the God hypothesis, let alone devoted any part of our lives to prayer. One of the attractions of Mrs Thatcher as party leader was her refreshingly secular approach to government. Many Conservatives long to see complete separation of church and state, while contriving to lead a reasonably moral existence.
Basil Purdue (Dr)
Iwerne Minster, Dorset
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