On GovInnovate

Samantha Palmer, GM Governance, People and Culture at Australian Bureau of Statistics writes: Re. “Your census data is fine — it’s not like anyone would ever elect Donald Trump, right?” (November 17). Crikey’s coverage of the GovInnovate conference outlined a repetition of the ABS’s previous admissions (made at Senate Estimates and the Senate Inquiry almost a month ago) that we could have communicated with the public much better regarding our decision on the length of time names and address are retained. We appreciate opportunities to repeat our apologies, certainly not in a joking manner, and engage in order to allow others to learn from our poor judgements and to better understand people’s views.

But your article included a sentence that could have some thinking that a senior ABS officer suggested no one would be ‘mad enough to elect a crazy despot’. That statement was made by a member of the audience – it was not a comment made by the ABS.

On Trump

Les Heimann writes: Re. “The Normanisation of Donald Trump” (Friday). If a person has the chutzpah to say anything because he wants to win, even if he doesn’t believe what he says, he is dishonest. If a person says what he truly believes because he is honest and believes the rest of his constituency resonate to his beliefs, he is judged by what he believes. Either way Donald Trump will become the most powerful person in the free world. A dishonest man or a man with apocryphal beliefs with the power to destroy people, institutions, even nations.

If you were the Prime Minister of Australia, what, in the current situation, would be your approach to this man? Fulsome as Malcolm Turnbull has exhibited, cautious as Penny Wong exhibited or sort of straight forward as Bill Shorten put it. After all he will rule a nation we need on our side. If you believe you are a good person you don’t see yourself as a hypocrite. You clearly can’t respect someone who is either dishonest or one who holds the beliefs Trump professes. Any respect I ever had for any Australian leader who sacrifices his/her good self to embrace Donald Trump is now utterly gone. There is no excuse. Not this time.

Peter Fray

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