Politics, the job where you don’t need qualifications

The right decision comes with key questions

Don’t misunderstand. I am very pleased the asylum seekers have been released. It does raise at least three questions: whose decision was it, on what authority and does it have anything to do with the forthcoming election?
Peter Wallace, Traralgon

When a promise comes with a disclaimer

Did someone get to the ALP, causing it to back away from its pledge to mandate 24/7 nurses in aged care – “Labor’s nurses pledge comes with a disclaimer” (The Age, 6/4)? Many aged care homes do not yet meet this standard. Critically, we do not know how often this is by choice rather than necessity.
The “walk back” however is an open invitation to continue to defer the decision. What conditions will providers have to meet to allow them “flexibility” to not have 24/7 nurse cover? And for how long will difficulty getting nurses be an acceptable excuse?
Carol Williams, Forest Hill

Independents not immune from ad overkill

Your correspondent says Josh Frydenberg and the United Australia Party are “flooding” Kooyong with their election advertising. I live in that electorate and yes, Josh Frydenberg has much advertising, but to date I have not seen any by the United Australia Party except in newspapers and on television.

However, she has failed to notice the amount of election advertising by Monique Ryan, an independent candidate who is supported by Simon Holmes a Court.
Pieta Boyles, Canterbury

Craig Kelly, master comedian, take a bow

I love the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Gems such as Craig Kelly’s comment – “My treasurer, Clive Palmer, has a wealth of business experience and the ability to save Australia” – in the latest advertisement for the United Australia Party (The Age, 8/4). Craig Kelly, you definitely deserve best of show.
Fiona White, Alfredton

Our hearts break for these true ’battlers’

We will soon be hearing a lot about “the battlers” and “those doing it tough”. So spare a thought for all the anxious mums and dads out there who wake up each morning facing the prospect of not being re-elected.
Claude Miller, Castlemaine


Capping the spending

“Palmer to fling $40m more at UAP ads” (The Age, 8/4) highlights frightening flaws in our federal electoral laws. The outlandish bankrolling of one party puts pressure on other parties and candidates to appeal for funds more desperately.

This increases the temptation to solicit funds from donors who expect favourable treatment in return. Electoral Commission reports confirm that donations are heavily biased to businesses that receive these favours.

State and territory elections increasingly put stringent caps on how much candidates and parties can spend. New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom also have moderate caps on campaign spending.

Caps on spending relieve the pressures on politicians and party officials to beg for donations, reduce the risks of donors expecting favours in return and make for greater fairness as all candidates can be limited to spending comparable, moderate amounts.
Ken Coghill, Accountability Round Table

Think before you vote

Wake up, people, and think for yourselves at the polls. Look at the various scorecards that are available. They indicate candidates’ views on the topics in which we all are interested. They will help you to choose.

Please, folks, get over the idea of voting above the line. Elections are not a one-size-fits-all situation. Think about the choices you are faced with and number the boxes yourselves. It just might deliver a government that believes in integrity, equality, compassion and sensible climate action, and gets on with these and more.
Elaine O’Shannessy, Buxton

Just ignore the pollies

Will the timing of the election announcement truly make any difference? We have been in election mode for the best part of six months. What’s another couple of days or weeks? We all know it is going to happen. Get on with it so we can ignore the politicians and parties, and all their advertisements and promises, until election day.
David Jeffery, East Geelong

Fixed, federal terms

With the current debacle going on in the Liberal Party over preselections, it is time we had fixed, four-year, parliamentary terms. Will Labor introduce this if it wins the federal election?
Breta Cohen, Blackburn North

So much to celebrate

Wonderful news that Monash University has topped the world in pharmacy and pharmacology research, and that Australia has seven universities in the world’s top 100 in the 2022 QS World University rankings (The Age, 8/4). A shame that these achievements were relegated to page five. I am sure if it had been cricket, tennis, car racing or even soccer, it would have been front-page news. Can we please try to properly celebrate achievements other than sport?
Gillian Senior, Camperdown

Unforgivable decision

Your editorial decision to publish photos identifying a mother who was convicted of infanticide, committed while she was suffering postpartum psychosis (The Age, 8/4), was cruel and irresponsible.

Postpartum psychosis is a tragic and serious condition which strikes loving mothers, sometimes leading to terrible tragedies such as this. To sensationalise it and to broadcast the identity of the mother was gutter journalism.

This tragedy could have been used as an opportunity for an exploration of the issues surrounding a tragic and under-recognised condition. You chose instead to use it as click-bait and to identify the mother, further traumatising somebody who has suffered terribly. I cannot imagine what possessed you.
Dr Andrew Watkins, Olinda

Heartfelt compassion

It was with an open heart that I read “Mother spared jail over baby’s death”. I suffered postpartum depression when my third child was born 43 years ago. After having two boys, the little girl I longed for was born and yet I could not stop crying and I lost interest in my baby.

I was struggling to understand what was happening and asked the local maternal nurse for help. She told me to go home and enjoy my baby, and that she had mothers coming to her with real problems. This response left me feeling abandoned and frightened. It was only over time that I began to heal and survive.

My heart goes out to Melissa Arbuckle. Her action has not only destroyed her baby’s life but ruined her own, and that of her family, because the trauma of living with this tragedy is a life-long sentence. Thank heavens for the compassion and understanding of the judge. I hope Melissa is also supported and loved by her family and community.
Name withheld, Forest Hill

The new ‘golden age’

Enough of the letters from those bemoaning the loss of comedy’s golden era of entertainment, which was free of the ravages of those horrifying “f” and “c” words. If you listen and think, you may discover that modern comedians have progressed the art to the point where their routines avoid any form of bullying or discrimination towards anyone of disadvantage.

Modern comedians will not last long if they head down that path, something that cannot be said of some of the “greats” of the past; they may have possessed an impeccable vocabulary but their underlying message often targeted the disadvantaged. Today if you are in a position of power, you are open game. The people are on to you, and you might get called a rude name or two at the comedy festival. Bring it on, by jove.
Clyde Sampson, Flemington

Our dirty roadsides

I also add my disappointment with VicRoads to Wendy Daniels’ letter (7/4). It seems graffiti covering everything, piles of garbage, invasive weeds, broken signs and fences is the standard of our roadsides.

Emails to VicRoads are ignored. Letters to the Roads Minister go unanswered. A meeting last year with my local member, Melissa Horne, achieved exactly zero action. Why build new infrastructure when what we have isn’t looked after? Melbourne is a mess.
Scott Young, Yarraville

Where the blame lies

VicRoads? How about the irresponsible members of society who dumped the rubbish along roadsides in the first place? Until we begin to value the collective over the selfish individual, VicRoads is not the answer.
Raeleene Gregory, Ballarat East

The dangers of vaping

Re ‴⁣⁣Harmful’ vape products face ban” (The Age, 7/4). From the moment that e-cigarettes were hailed as an aid to quit smoking, a gigantic hoax was perpetrated on society, in spite of overseas evidence of the dangers. There is more nicotine, and numerous chemicals harmful to the lungs, in one disposable vaping device than in a packet of cigarettes.

Furthermore, vaping has proved to be a gateway for the young to later smoke, drink alcohol and use drugs.

Tobacconists and other vendors have laughed at the federal import restrictions introduced last October as state and local governments have ignored the problem. Now kids can access devices disguised as pens and USB sticks, handy for pencil cases and difficult for teachers to detect. Fruity and mint-scented clouds are the only evidence, and so, so seductive for young kids.
John Morrissey, Hawthorn

Where’s the proof?

How can the organisers of the grand prix say that 38per cent of tickets have been sold to women (The Age, 8/4)? Do you have to nominate your gender when you buy a ticket to any event? More spin presented as fact
Patricia Norden, Middle Park

The killjoys emerge

The arrival of the F1 grand prix always coincides with the annual hatch of pleasure dodgers, killjoys and fun police. Thankfully they only have a lifespan of about three days.
Greg Hardy, Upper Ferntree Gully

Trust him? But of course

Our beleaguered, mendacious Prime Minister must pray that the selfless loyalty expressed by his Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, is more durable than that shown by Scott Morrison to his old mate, Malcolm Turnbull.
Norman Huon, Port Melbourne


Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding


I welcome the release of the asylum seekers but the timing is cynical bastardry.
Steve Melzer, Hughesdale

Have the people smugglers retired?
Reg Murray, Glen Iris

Will voters have more zeal for a teal or will the Greens still appeal? The question is keeping Bandt up at night.
Peter Thomas, Pascoe Vale

I’d like a television that automatically mutes when a certain percentage of yellow appears on the screen.
Tim Shirley, Benalla

Bill boards. Bill boards. Poor Bill can’t afford a house.
Robbert Veerman, Buxton


Australia increases trade with India. India increases trade with Russia. Australia sanctions Russia. There must be a winner somewhere.
Gary Bryfman, Brighton

The only “de-nazification” required in Ukraine is “de-Russification”.
Vera Lubczenko, Geelong West

Russian diplomats represent a criminal regime. They should be expelled, or allowed to remain here and defect.
Peter Drum, Coburg


Six hours on hold for Qantas’ “customer service”? Perhaps less money on flash ads and more on call centre staff.
Ian Maddison, Parkdale

Why are so many people flying again when it’s the worst thing individuals can do for climate change?
Ann McKenzie, Kew East

Make entry to the grand prix available only to electric-powered vehicles. It would protect the environment and cut back on noise.
Mick O’Mara, Winchelsea

Now I know why junior footy clubs don’t publish crowd numbers for games. ″⁣National security″⁣ may be at risk.
Andrew Moloney, Frankston

Every new mother should be supported. We wish you well, Melissa Arbuckle (8/4).
Margaret Skeen, Point Lonsdale

One good thing about our current fuel prices. Pumping in my standard $50 takes much less time.
John Bastiras, Elsternwick

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