Abbott’s failed dog-whistling

John Richardson writes: Re. “‘Burqa’ debacle shows Abbott lacks Howard’s political smarts” (Friday). As Bernard Keane rightly contends, few would agree with the federal government’s persistent assertion that terrorists and their supporters “… hate us for who we are, not what we do”.

And while most Australians would acknowledge that Tony Abbott doesn’t come within a bull’s roar of John Howard in the art of effective dog-whistling, surely the overwhelming majority would agree that he has the dubious distinction of being the ugliest person to ever occupy the office of Prime Minister, judged by every meaning of the word.

So much for high-minded

Caroline Armstrong writes: Re. “Misogyny far more important than marriage” (Friday). I have thought for years that Julia Gillard’s views on marriage were as described by Helen Hooper — that she “doesn’t believe in marriage as it is accepted in our culture, be it under secular or religious law”. However I disagree that Gillard’s stance has been high-minded as it is a position she was not clear in explaining while PM. Look back on the times she explained her views on marriage and she never said “look I’m not in favour of any sort of marriage, so I’ll leave it to a conscience vote if the issue is raised by others in Parliament”. She didn’t say (as she did in October 2013) “I went to university and started forming my political views of the world, we weren’t talking about gay marriage. Indeed, as women, as feminists, we were critiquing marriage.”

As PM she was quoted as saying ‘”I think that there are some important things from our past that need to continue to be part of our present and part of our future,” she said. “If I was in a different walk of life, if I’d continued in the law and was partner of a law firm now, I would express the same view, that I think for our culture, for our heritage, the Marriage Act and marriage being between a man and a woman has a special status.”  Teflon-coated politico-speak it may have been, high-minded it wasn’t.

How to save the ABC (and save lives)

Chokyi Nyingpo writes: Re. “ABC board talks potential program cuts, with Holmes not invited” (Wednesday). Given that the new “War on Terror” in Iraq (only) costs about $500 million/year, i.e. are rapidly approaching $1 million/person/year sent over there, if the Abbott gov’t reduced our (non-combatant) force by just 100 persons, that saving alone would take care of all the proposed budget cuts to both the ABC and SBS. Two birds? Problem solved.

Peter Fray

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