Credit:Illustration: Jim Pavlidis
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A broad church with many diverse views
As a Christian and Uniting Church minister (retired), I am frequently annoyed that the “Christian lobby” gives out the impression that all Christians have the same views and attitudes as they themselves. Many, perhaps even most, Christians are just not so rabidly conservative or bigoted in the extreme. Like many organisations, the Christian church is made up of people holding every conceivable point of view on every subject. Christians will vote for all political parties, as any cross-section of the community does.
So when you read that the Christian lobby has made pronouncements on all kinds of things, please note that many equally devout Christians will hold very different views, based on an equally valid and faithful reading of the Gospel.
Reverend Jacob de Ridder, Rosanna
The religious do not have superior rights to others
With the introduction of the Religious Discrimination Bill into the lower house (pictured), the federal government fails to recognise that it has no business regulating the lives of consenting adults on alleged but dubious claims of religious belief. Also, it is unconstitutional to take the position that those adhering to any religion should possess superior rights over those who do not so adhere, quite simply on the basis of equality before the law.
A rational conservatism has no need of a right to interfere in the private lives of others. All the more offensive is the fact that the bill is a feeble attempt to reverse the outcome of the government’s same-sex marriage referendum which so signally failed to achieve its aim and demonstrated just how out of step it was with public opinion.
Timothy Brown, Footscray
The double standard with this legislation
Do I understand this correctly? The federal government’s new Religious Discrimination Bill will allow a religious body to sack or refuse to employ a person whose personal religious views do not align with theirs. But any other employer (rightly) cannot sack or refuse to employ a person whose personal religious views do not align with theirs. How is this legislation “sensible and balanced”?
Brett Clarke, Croydon
Government should unite Australians, not divide us
God made people with varied sexual orientations, another sign of the great diversity present in creation. Instead of a bill giving bigoted people the right to discriminate in the name of religion, we need a federal independent commission against corruption with teeth. An ICAC to look at sports rorts, JobKeeper overpayments, paying too much for land near airports, and so on. This would be something welcomed be all taxpayers, including the LGBTQI community. Let us have legislation that brings Australians together, not divides us.
Eileen Ray, Ascot Vale
Happy to discriminate and take taxpayer dollars
It is not fair and reasonable for religious schools to be allowed to discriminate against students and teachers who do not meet their sexual orientation and religious belief requirements when these institutions are partly funded by the full diversity of taxpayers.
Andrew Bottomley, Mitcham
Biblical passages which teach love and kindness
Your correspondent (Letters, 25/11) asks which Bible teachings are relevant today, quoting from the Old Testament. I suggest she looks instead at the New Testament, the Christian scripture, which is full of sayings like “love your neighbour as yourself”. I hope these are still relevant.
Caroline Miley, Heidelberg
The predictability of Australian politics
It is election time and the Liberals wheel out the zombie of a religious discrimination bill. Never mind that religious freedom is inscribed in our constitution. The Liberals think of believers like children: Easy to manipulate and forgetful.
Peter Ross, Port Melbourne
Withdraw public money
We have state and national anti-discrimination laws that should provide sufficient protection for gay students and teachers. The attempt by the federal government to provide further dubious protection to religious schools to enable them to discriminate is worrying. Coalition governments supposedly also support market freedom. In that case, stop using public money to fund private religious education, allow them to “discriminate” and then see how many staff, students and parents will want to engage in this environment.
Denise Stevens, Healesville
End the homophobia
The notion that schools should not be able to expel gay students does not go far enough. If a school teaches that being gay is evil or not OK, then damage to young gay people is already done by subjecting them to this teaching. Schools that teach homophobia should not receive funding from the broader taxpaying community.
Doug Beecroft, Hawthorn
Northern Ireland revisited
I would have thought the name of the bill introduced by the Prime Minister should be the Anti-Religious Discrimination Bill. In any event, I find it ironic that I left the streets of Northern Ireland to escape discrimination and sectarian attitudes in employment and education only to find such policies enshrined in legislation in Australia. This bill should die.
Simon Clegg, Donvale
Some need oral vaccine
I cannot obtain a vaccination exemption certificate for my 50-year-old mentally ill son. His only source of pleasure is gardening but he cannot enter a gardening store because he is not vaccinated due to his condition. He also cannot have his hair, which is now very long, cut. Is any progress being made for an oral vaccine for people who are mentally ill or who, for other reasons, cannot tolerate needle vaccinations?
Kyra Strangwick, Sandringham
Playing cheap politics
Re the government’s changed approach to mandatory vaccines (Letters, 23/11). Excuse my cynicism, but in 2015 when the federal “no jab, no play” legislation introduced financial penalties for non-vaccinated families, Scott Morrison was not facing an election. He also was not trying to keep everyone in his very “broad church” of a government happy.
So it is unsurprising that the government is “not in favour of government mandated vaccinations” and instead fosters anger at the state, territory and business leaders who are wearing the scars of the pandemic.
Rather than work with them to develop a consistent approach across the country, the federal government chooses to incite community tension and division, and pretend that it has no responsibility. It is cheap politics.
Catherine Healion, Seaford
World’s divided societies
The issue of the unvaccinated and the vaccinated has created a world (a Western world at that) of Us and Them, and societies will never function if this issue is not addressed or resolved. Civil unrest will increase and more fringe groups will join in just to destabilise our societies even more.
Jenny Jacob, Cape Paterson
When life was calmer
With the world-wide protests against vaccinations and any form of rationality related to public health responses to COVID-19, and protesters sharing almost identical phrasing in their opposition, does anyone else wish we were back to 1990 before we had the burgeoning of the internet and the craziness it has spawned?
In the 1990s, email was just emerging which was useful and allowed communication in a managed way. And phone contact through landlines was affordable and able to connect us world-wide. And life was peaceful and not full of scary, violent and often ignorant people who are easily influenced on social media. The future does not look rosy from where I am standing.
Heather D’Cruz, Geelong West
Time to ease off, Premier
New South Wales will remove restrictions imposed currently on unvaccinated people on December 15 or when it reaches 95 per cent double vaccination. This is a much better attitude than the harsh determination of Daniel Andrews to treat unvaccinated people as lepers well into 2022. It is time he was challenged about his acceptance of creating a two-level society and told to present medical evidence which supports his policy. Given that double vaccination rates are now well over 90per cent in Victoria, what need is there of such a policy?
Alan Barron, Grovedale
Vaccine double standard
Well, I am, confused. I can visit my elderly sister in an aged care facility without having to show evidence of my vaccination status but I cannot get into Bunnings to buy potting mix without showing I am double vaccinated. Does this make any sense?
Phil Robertson, Delacombe
An inappropriate name
The proposal to change the name of the City of Moreland (The Age, 25/11) is long overdue. It is not true that the origin of the name Moreland was unknown in 1994 when names were being considered for the new amalgamation of suburbs including Brunswick, Coburg and Pascoe Vale.
At a public meeting in the Brunswick Mechanics Institute, former Socialist Left councillors from Brunswick promoted the name Moreland while acknowledging its links to the slave owner Farquhar McCrae. My proposal at that meeting – that an Indigenous name be used – was dismissed. This is despite surrounding municipalities having Indigenous names linked to waterways such as Darebin, Yarra, Moonee and Maribyrnong.
Bruce McGregor, Brunswick
What other names will go?
So they want to move away from Moreland. Think of the consequences. Lord Melbourne was a strong supporter of slavery, calling Britain’s abolition of it a “great folly” and saying that if he had had his own way (as opposed to what many Whigs wanted), he would “have done nothing at all”.
So goodbye Melbourne, and the Queen who reigned over slave-permitting countries. That means goodbye, Victoria. I think Australia is safe but perhaps Moreland councillors could find an English nobleman, say “Sir George Australia”, who owned slaves.
Tony Blackmore, Brunswick
Come back, Tony Smith
Has the new federal Speaker Andrew Wallace morphed into Bronwyn Bishop already by giving the Coalition government free rein in Question Time? Parliament has reached a low level since the departure of Tony Smith, where ministers are not required to answer the questions asked. The Prime Minister is an example par excellence.
Jude Carter, Chelsea
Stamp out illegal logging
When a state government regulator and state legislators fail to accept clear, well documented proof of illegal logging in Victorian state forests, run by their own state-run timber corporation, Victoria is in trouble. Lawless loggers and a failure to regulate equals environmental disaster.
Clare Short, Colac
Welcome, new generation
Thanks for publishing the cartoons of emerging artists in The Age over the past few weeks. While I very much appreciate the marvellous cartoons from your regulars, it is good that you are giving newcomers a go. And at the current time, there is plenty of raw material available.
Kevin Luxford, Mount Waverley
It’s time for a spring clean
Hmm, let us certainly celebrate a refreshed and resilient CBD. But, fresh from a city break last weekend, can I suggest the powers that be start with a darn good clean. Overflowing bins, garbage in doorways and graffiti galore. It takes the shine off our marvellous Melbourne.
Wendy Hinson, Wantirna
The refugees’ punishment
Last week I met with an ex-student who was studying English with a voluntary organisation, but is unable to get any recognised qualification as she has no study rights. She also has no work rights.
After 10 gruelling years in Australia, much of which time she spent on Nauru, there is no possibility of obtaining work without the requisite visa.
She has a certificate for catering which she gained on Nauru, and her husband was a qualified barber in their home country. Both would love to be employed and would make a valuable contribution to the Australian economy, but they are among many in their position who are waiting for some action by the federal government – ie, to grant them work rights. Their “crime” is that they arrived in Australia on a boat.
Jenny King, Clyde North
It’s time to go, George
Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot (The Age, 24/11). State premiers rushing down the same path to totalitarianism? Once again George Christensen is speaking utter nonsense, no doubt influenced by conspiracy theorists and the far-right distrust of legislation which infringes their perceived civil liberties.
Thankfully he has now expressed regret for making these comparisons. However, the retiring Member for Dawson cannot retire soon enough and spare us his use of Parliament to espouse his uninformed and divisive drivel.
Harry Kowalski, Ivanhoe
More useless landfill
Fridge magnets are not recyclable. To anyone thinking of using them in their marketing strategies – I am looking at you, politicians – please think again. We do not need them. I have plenty of calendars and know emergency numbers backwards. These useless marketing items will simply end up in landfill. Every magnet that makes its way into my letterbox will be promptly returned to sender until the message sticks.
Madelene Rich, Seaford
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding
I’m sure Jesus didn’t say “suffer the little children to come unto me … so long as they’re straight”.
Peter Hendrickson, East Melbourne
So it’s bashing gays again. The argy-bargy around religious freedom guarantees its target. What a backwater we are.
Martin Hengeveld, Research
Morrison’s push to introduce this bill is just a distraction for the government doing nothing.
Lou Ferrari, Richmond
I believe in Santa Claus, so will I be given the right to discriminate against already poorly treated, minority groups?
Graeme Perry, Skye
It didn’t take long for the new Speaker to establish his modus operandi. He has selective hearing for contentious issues.
Alan West, Research
Jacqui, could Mr Albanese undertake some attack training with you, please?
Judy Hosfal, East Malvern
Joh for PM was a bit of a giggle. Craig for PM (24/11) is a belly laugh.
John Rawson, Mernda
Sincere congratulations to The Age for printing the funniest cartoon of the year. Craig Kelly for prime minister? Priceless.
Alan Whitcombe, Stony Creek
You’re right, Ray Martin (25/11). We don’t need another Donald Trump. We already have one (allegedly) running the country.
Helen Moss, Croydon
ScoMo, if you can’t handle the heat then get out and let someone who shows care and compassion for all Australians lead the country.
Margaret Sullivan, Caulfield North
Caught Peter FitzSimons bowled Dennis Lillee (Sport, 25/11).
Jim McLeod, Sale
Maybe anti-vaxxers should be required to display their status so I can avoid them like the plague.
Mary Edgerton, Port Melbourne
I’m double vaxxed. I’m definitely holier than thou.
Bill Pell, Emerald
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