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Sydney Dance Company (Image: AAP/Dan Himbrechts)

The one theme that stood out among our readers’ conversations over the weekend was political inaction. What message does the Australian government’s treatment of Julian Assange send to the rest of us, journalists or otherwise? Why is pre-polling only patchily available — and what can be done about it? And which issues are conspicuously missing from the election discussion? Crikey readers share their thoughts. 

On what is missing from the election discussion

Natasha Marich writes: The arts have never recovered from George Brandis’ legacy of massive funding cuts that saw a number of companies dissolved resulting in extended unemployment for artists and art workers. What are the major parties’ arts policies? Or are the arts no longer valued as they once were under Keating and his predecessors? 

Judith O’Byrne writes: I haven’t heard anyone addressing the continuing slide in education standards across the sector. 

Stephen Mayne writes: Not a word on gambling so far — even though Australians lost $24 billion a year gambling which is worst in the world. Issue is running hot in the UK where British Labor is promising a major crackdown, including banning credit cards. 

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On Julian Assange

Neal Ames writes: Regardless of what you think of him and his actions, the simple fact that our government has not fought for one of our citizens should send fear up the spines of all of us.

Sarah Davidson writes: Julian Assange has, as you say, sacrificed everything — his health, his reputation and his prosperity — to publish information about the criminal and corrupt behaviour of the world’s powerful organisations. That is skin in the game and makes him far more believable than the entities whose nasty secrets he has exposed. May the opposition to his extradition continue to grow in hope that the very nearly psychotic US government, with the eyes of the world on them, will not prevail in its plans to punish him and shut him down. The extradition of Julian Assange to the US is a watershed moment for the world and free speech; it should be fought with everything we have. 

Rosemary Jacob writes: We only have to look at the secrecy surrounding the Australian government’s prosecution of Witness K and Bernard Collaery to realise the level of corruption in Australian governments of all flavours. Many lives have been lost through our unjustified entry into wars on the coattails of the US — despite the extent of that country’s illegal intervention in the governance of other lands. Julian Assange has opened our eyes to the damage done by power-hungry leaders and the massive loss of innocent lives. Any government condoning the extradition request from the US should be condemned. 

On pre-poll voting

Jackie French writes: Yesterday I tried to pre-vote in the marginal/bellwether electorate of Eden Monaro. I was informed there are no pre-voting centres in Braidwood, Bungendore or other nearby towns. The nearest is a 240km round trip from where I live and, as I am currently disabled, impossible for me to get to or access. It is too late to get a postal vote before I have surgery in another state. When I rang the commission they told me that while there’d be two short visits to the hospital, they could not guarantee I could vote for my own electorate there. Is this a commission decision or a political one? Is it connected to a fear of those who are pre-voting may vote for?

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