Israel Folau: Echoes of our terrible history of prejudice – The Age

Let Folau express Christian beliefs

Israel Folau is correct in saying that certain actions are sins against God. For example, lying, stealing, drunkenness, fornication (i.e. any sex outside marriage between a man and a woman). This is revealed in the holy Bible, which all Christians believe is the inspired word of God. Jesus Christ says that not only acts are sinful but thoughts can be, too. For instance, anger, envy, lust. Folau should be able to say this; they have been fundamental Christian beliefs for 2000 years. The fact that it may upset others should not mean Folau or anyone else should be persecuted, no matter what their position. Jesus Christ was tortured and killed for his public comments. It seems the human race hasn’t changed much. Folau’s only mistake was to say that all sinners are going to hell if they don’t repent. Many sinners will go to hell, but Folau is not the judge. The ARU and media commentators have taken that job.
Barry Kearney, Ringwood North

Out of the bounds of sports governance

Something about the Israel Folau case disturbs me. How is it that a contract can be legal if it denies a citizen employee the right to public expression of opinion (“Folau offence deemed to be high level”, 8/5)? Employment contracts, sporting or otherwise, are not there to enforce anti-discrimination law – we have courts to do that. So what’s going on? In short, it looks like the governing body of rugby union, and maybe other sports today, has been allowed to overreach its role. A sports contract might properly bar a player from expressions or actions inimical to the code’s policies on the field, or at any event or venue conducted or controlled by the code, including its affiliates; that this condition extends to person-to-person contact with the code’s players or officials anywhere at all; and finally that any express of public dissent from the code’s policies – including on any media – also be off-limits. Where a player so contracted expresses contentious personal views in any other context, it is statute law that should be the sanction, not some contract devised by a sports establishment to force players to perform as cogs in its PR machine lest they, being human, sully its image. Take the muzzle off the players – and take a scalpel to the contracts.
Ken Blackman, Hampton


An uncaring model

The predominant models in dementia and aged care today remain centred on general behaviour management and biomedical standards, including physical and chemical restraints (“Elderly tied to chairs”, 8/5). This emphasises physical and drug interventions over person-centred therapies.

Despite this, I refused excessive drug treatment for my husband and began to understand that his internal fight, as his mind and body struggled, was mostly a natural offensive/defensive reaction. This opened many possibilities in the way I cared for him. His heart, mind and soul were battling, at times brawling, with a vicious disease. A focus on his emotional comfort, quality of life and person-centred treatment moved his care away from the models of “industry” care that further or inflict neglect, physical and emotional abuse, institutionalisation and overmedication.

It seems it’s been much easier to rebadge humans who are suffering as “consumers” – commercialise the care, emphasising profit at the expense of quality. One day we will look back on how the aged care industry has treated people such as Terry Reeves, Barney Cooney (“A statesman uses his last words to address aged care royal commission”, 23/2), and all the other people, who through no fault of their own are entrusted into “care”. The rights of people with devastating diseases and/or ageing comorbidities are being violated. Why did we let it happen?

Catherine Clarke-Jones, Gordon

Good health on offer

It is offensive to read cardiothoracic surgeon Nikki Stamp saying “lifestyle medicine though, isn’t really medicine” (“Robert chose the pill-free route; he ended up on my operating table”, Comment, 8/5). She laments the options a patient took: “He went for the attractive pill-free route when the less attractive but more efficacious medications may have stopped him meeting me for open heart surgery.”

Lifestyle medicine has many good studies supporting its efficacy and it has few side-effects, apart from chronic good health. Medications are less attractive to many, as in the US 10 per cent of all deaths are caused by medical interventions. In Australia we have no idea of the actual figure as no official records are kept. Lifestyle medicine has a great deal to offer, sometimes in conjunction with other forms of medicine, sometimes in its own right.

Ian Gawler, Yarra Junction

The wrong mindset

Helen Chandler-Wilde acknowledges the challenges of losing weight and the mental health issues associated with body shaming (“Is game finally up for ‘fat-fluencers’?”, Comment, 7/5). However, her final contention that the positive way to self-love is to eat better and exercise more falls into the same problem mindset that confuses “slim” with “healthy”. There are plenty of people of normal weight who have a poor diet and don’t exercise. Yes, last week’s reports are an important reminder that there are increased health risks associated with being overweight. But the developed world is flooded with fatty and calorie-rich processed, junk and discretionary food that is cheap, heavily advertised and in some ways addictive. It is a waste of time telling the overweight to eat better and exercise more when, as a society, we are sick to the core because we allow industrial-level promotion of poor eating choices to everyone, including children.
Linda Skinner, Mooroolbark

Let’s not go way of LBJ

In 1966, the Australian public was exposed to the full US presidential security show when LBJ came to Australia. Men in dark glasses and tight suits ran alongside his car from Essendon Airport to the CBD. Once out of his bullet-proof car, other men in dark glasses scanned the crowd and talked into their lapels.

How proud I was a couple of years later when then prime minister John Gorton was visiting Melbourne and, due to a car mix up, caught a tram from the Victorian Parliament to a function at the other end of town with little or no security. During stints as acting prime minister, Doug Anthony used to conduct the nation’s business from a caravan at a holiday destination with little security. A few months ago, I sat in a waiting room with my local member. No back-door entry, no fast-track, no security, just in the queue with everyone else.

The PM and Opposition Leader may have discreet minders but in general our politicians conduct their daily lives with little or no security. The egg throwers are destroying this part of our culture (“Woman charged after PM egged on campaign trail”, 8/5). If it continues, our politicians will be shielded from us, hustled in and out of cars, hurried away from public view. Is this a future we want?
Tony Devereux, Nunawading

Standards at rock-bottom

We have experienced three acts of so-called aggression during this election campaign, two eggings and one attack on a poster. The politicians are blaming anyone they can. How does this compare to what we have experienced during during this term of Parliament? Shouting at each other during question time, rorting travel allowances, violence in the parliamentary corridors, strip-club adventures, verbal aggression against female senators, personal issues that make Married at First Sight look tame. Could this be the reason people are acting in an aggressive manner towards politicians? After all, the politicians have set the standard.
Ian Hetherington, Moama

Economy about people

So Scott Morrison is worried about “unhindered interference” in the economy by militant (aren’t they all?) unions (“PM vows to curb power of unions”, 8/5). What our PM and his party have never understood is that the economy is made up of the work and spending of ordinary people like, yes, union members. People are the economy.

If unions are doing their job and securing better pay for their members, they’re helping the economy. What’s more, they’re most likely keeping money moving, not sitting in savings and super accounts or heading offshore to tax havens. The economy exists to benefit people, not vice versa. If we have a situation where GDP is growing but wages are stagnant, that is not a strong economy: that is a failing economy. And that’s what the Liberals have bequeathed us.
Nic Barnard, Fitzroy North

Selective memories

Based on the comments of Bob Hawke and Paul Keating (“Strong economy is a Labor creation”, Comment, 8/5), one wonders how their governments ever came to an end. It seems that Coalition governments have been mere interruptions to Labor’s long-term, history-defining vision for the Australian economy. They neglect to mention the major reason the Keating government lost power in 1996. In the early 1990s, Australian housing loan interest rates hit 17per cent, the unemployment rate was 11 per cent and inflation was 7.5per cent. These conditions caused major hardship for many people. Australia lost faith in Keating’s economic management and would have ended his government in 1993 if not for John Hewson and his Fightback! package.
Rod Wise, Surrey Hills

History reveals

It’s all very well to criticise voters, including me, who choose to vote early. But to argue that this shouldn’t occur because the voters haven’t considered this election’s political parties’ new policies is not necessarily appropriate. I consider the policies launched by the major parties at the last election and see to what extent these have been successfully implemented to the benefit of our community. Then, I vote early.
Mary Walker, Richmond

Polling space invaders

This week I went to cast my vote in the electorate of Kooyong. However, I was so beset by numerous volunteers crossing into my path to thrust a card into my hand and by those who were crowded around the entrance to the booth that I walked right past. The “blue crowd” jollied on by the presence of the local member were having a really buoyant time and especially eager to outdo the Prime Minister on the “space invader” front. Please give the voters a break from your unwanted ardour and let them vote in a peaceful and considered way. I can only imagine how women must have felt surrounded by protesters outside abortion clinics before legislation was passed preventing such intimidatory behaviour, or those casting their votes in intimidating circumstances in more surveillance-prone countries than ours.
Jennifer Quigley, Balwyn

Poor old Melbourne

In relation to the Southern Cross Station escalator fiasco, a Public Transport Victoria spokeswoman states lamely, “Civic Nexus have an obligation to keep passengers moving throughout the station, through the contract they have with the state” (“Tunnel vision for station just a pipe dream”, 8/5). Most large, wealthy cities have huge undergrounds, fast trams and trains, and the escalators are usually fixed in a few hours. The poor Melbourne commuters must be patient. According to the Civic Nexus spokesperson, “We don’t have a time frame on the repair as yet, but we hope to have an update soon.” That’s the sort of excuse you hear from a spokesperson in a banana republic. More importantly, why did they install escalators that take so long to be fixed? Was it a case of the cheapest quote again?
Jeff McCormack, Czech Republic

Why the standstill?

Let me get this straight. The platform nine and 10 escalator broke down about April 12. Since then, many of us have worked 20 days, some have set up the process for a federal election, we’ve attended to sick children and elderly parents. But the escalator still has “several more weeks” before it is repaired “while a part is ordered from overseas”. God help us. Clearly, we can’t help ourselves.
Pam Cupper, Dimboola

Share the joy around

If the world took all the money expended covering the birth of one of the planet’s most-privileged infants and diverted it to the Third World, we could be celebrating the lives of thousands of boys and girls, and prevented the death of countless mothers in childbirth.
Angus McLeod, Cremorne



While I would not condone egging, the unbroken egg episode did confirm my view that Mr Morrison is soft in the head. Lauriston Muirhead, Table Top, NSW

For those considering trying an egging in the next week or so … I recommend scrambled.
Raymond Kenyon, Camberwell

Hawke and Keating with silver spoons, ScoMo with an egg (pages 1 and 5, 8/5). It’s the egg-and-spoon race. Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale

There is far too much waste of good-quality eggs in this country.
David Fry, Moonee Ponds

Election 2019

Scott Morrison says he is opposed to red tape and green tape (“PM vows to curb power of unions”, 8/5). Translation: “I don’t care about poor people or the environment.”
Peter Davis, Magill, SA

And when all else fails, he blames the unions and the environment. Sad, typical and so very predictable.
Colin Smith, Mount Waverley

If only the government made the same effort protecting our endangered species as it does protecting Melissa Price.
Annie Wilson, Inverloch

Scott Morrison again shows his anti-climate change attitude by wanting to cut “green tape”. Carbon is not the only environmental destroyer.
Bob Greaves, Mount Eliza

Ian Anderson (Letters, 7/5), what am I missing when a “self-funded” retiree demands his kickback from the taxpayer? Peter McGill, Lancefield

Is Michael Leunig (8/5) suggesting a relationship between the royal nappies and election speeches? Surely not.
Richard Opat, Elsternwick

Which party will promise me a Bulldog premiership this year?
Malcolm McDonald, Burwood


Why has there been an increase (sorry, uptick) in the use of “uptick” to mean an increase? (“Air strikes shatter Idlib truce”, 8/5)
Steven Sapountsis, Melbourne

Will Meghan now be called a mom?
David Lawrence, Kilsyth

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