I have been waiting a lifetime to join fray

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WOMEN’S MARCH 4 JUSTICE

I have been waiting a lifetime to join fray

I, like every other woman I speak confidentially to, am a “survivor” of sexual abuse between the ages of 13 and 16 years. I will be joining the Women’s March 4 Justice today. This outcry by women who have been preyed upon has been a long time coming. We know what it is to have been trashed. This affects one’s whole life. Shame and lack of self-esteem breed low confidence levels, and it takes a lifetime to fight against this.

I know – I am now 84 years old, and I still suffer depression and lack of confidence. But I am also hoping that this women’s movement will inspire all the males, such as apprentices, who are experiencing or have experienced bullying, harassment or sexual abuse, to join the protests now and in the future. We are all entitled to basic respect. Nobody should be trashed.
Janice M. Dwyer, Rosebud

Unable to march but not silenced
I won’t be attending the Women’s March 4 Justice. I am writing on behalf of all those who can’t march.

In the early 1970s I damaged my knee escaping a stalker. Like other women I never reported this to police: mobile phones didn’t exist and I didn’t have the luxury of a home phone at the time, and was in too much pain to travel to a police station. At the time stalking wasn’t even an offence. My subsequent knee replacement has left me partially disabled. I support every woman whose claim for justice gets lost in a “he said, she said” conundrum.

At the moment every male who sexually assaults a woman in a private place knows the chance he can get away with it is high. Isn’t it time to change the laws to make life fairer for women?
Eileen Ray, Ascot Vale

Payne shuns marchers and issue
Marise Payne, the Minister for Women, has snubbed the historic March 4 Justice on Parliament house today (“Send petition to my office: Payne turns down march”, The Sunday Age, 14/3). She’s going to be a “good little LNP woman” and stay indoors safely tucked up behind her desk and keeping in line with her male counterparts. She will, however, generously receive the petition “in due course”.
John Cain, McCrae

We must demand leadership
Peter Hartcher’s story (“A rally too big for PM to ignore”, The Saturday Age, 13/3) illustrates not only Scott Morrison’s inability to comprehend the outcry and anger that is felt on issues concerning sexual abuse and harassment of women, not just in Parliament, but in many workplaces. He is dismissive of something he cannot grasp. The Liberal Women’s network is a mockery and illustrates their incapacity to show any real empathy to women who are the victims of male predatory behaviour. It is as if they themselves are mere tokens within the Liberal Party, without a meaningful voice. The time for change has come. Not only is leadership imperative, we must demand it.
Judith Morrison, Mount Waverley

Parliament girt by peace
Today will go down in Australia’s history as the day women of all ages, from diverse cultures and lived experience, will unite across our nation in peaceful protest. They will form a silent circle of truth around the home of our democracy that shouts and screams “ENOUGH!“
Marie Douglas, Camberwell

Australia’s own #MeToo moment
My thanks to The Age, its correspondents and contributors for illuminating Australia’s own #MeToo moment. Australia was among the first nations to grant women the right to vote. Despite that, it has been and continues to be a mighty struggle for women to reach equality in a meaningful way, even over their own bodies. In the face of the obvious need for drastic change and immediate action, the Prime Minister continues to behave like John Cleese’s Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail as he loses his limbs one by one: “It’s just flesh wound.”
Michael Feeney, Malvern

THE FORUM

Grid block harsh
Blocking grid access to household solar (“Solar owners face grid blocks”, The Sunday Age, 14/3) immediately improves the economic payback for household batteries by allowing batteries to save the full import tariff rather than the difference between import and export tariff. This gift of an additional 30 per cent faster payback will tip more households towards self sufficiency.

If the distribution monopolies don’t act to rectify this, the result will accelerate the disconnect rate, force grid prices up as the customer base declines and create a faster spiral to grid and generator collapse. Maybe the “do nothing” policy from the federal Coalition is not naive but politically ruthless: intentionally throwing the inevitable energy transition on the harsh mercies of market forces.
James Kershaw, Elwood

Energy imbalance
We have previously heard that the reason we have been paying so much for electricity in Victoria is because the companies operating the system have “gold-plated” the distribution network. Now we read that the system can’t take the amount of power that is being produced by the uptake of solar panels. How can this be? It sounds like we have been ripped off before and are being ripped off again. There needs to be an inquiry into how this can be. People are doing all they can to minimise their bills and generate clean power themselves and they are being denied these opportunities. It is scandalous and we deserve answers.
Douglas Potter, Surrey Hills

Doing nothing much
The federal government has had more than enough time to plan the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. Our fortunate position can change from one moment to another, as can be seen in Queensland. As usual Mr Morrison’s government specialises in doing nothing much whenever it can. Let’s hope we don’t all pay the price for their hubris and this lazy approach.
Ruja Varon, Malvern

Cormann’s past
The election of Australia’s former finance minister Mathias Cormann as secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Development and Co-operation (OECD) is a strange outcome. Never mind his belated conversion to climate change, Cormann was along with Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey responsible for foisting upon the Australian public the great myth of the “deficit and debt disaster” that poisoned minds into thinking we really did have a huge and unsustainable budget imbalance. That trio’s focus on austerity and ending the “age of entitlement” meant Australia underwent a quite deflationary economic policy resulting in a lacklustre growth rate for several years. The OECD is reputedly a fairly enlightened group wary of extremism in any form. Nor can we attribute the OECD vote to the fact that 2021 marks 50 years since Australia became a member. Apart from Cormann’s multilingual talents, one might put the vote down to plain ignorance about Cormann’s past. I mean we already have Abbott advising the British on post-Brexit trade policy. What next? Hockey for managing director of the IMF?
Alex Millmow, Fitzroy

Cigar emissions
Is there any truth in the rumour that shares in Havana cigars have gone through the roof now that Mathias Cormann is the next secretary-general of the OECD? It will be interesting to watch how Cormann handles opposition from the Australian government on the proposed EU border carbon adjustment. One thing is certain – emissions from the garden of OECD headquarters are set to rise.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn

Time running out
Sounds like Mathias Cormann’s appointment as the new OECD secretary-general has allowed him to speak more honestly about the need for net zero carbon emissions rather than having to toe the Coalition party line. Not that long ago, constrained by the Coalition’s deals with fossil fuel interests, he described such targets as “irresponsible and reckless”. You have to wonder how many other ministers and backbenchers in the Coalition have to mouth the talk of climate denial while believing the opposite. Climate-denying cabinet solidarity under Morrison makes cowards of those who lack the political courage to express their own views. So much for the Liberal Party being a “broad church”. We don’t have time for this government to summon the courage to begin the process of decarbonising industry, transport, agriculture and energy.
Nick Toovey, Beaumaris

Policy opposition
Mathias Cormann’s appointment as next secretary-general of the OECD is a surprise. It suggests a majority of those countries’ governments are happy to pardon Cormann’s long opposition to better climate policies, including his key role in 2014 (along with Abbott and Palmer) in securing the crossbench votes needed to repeal the successful carbon tax, introduced two years earlier by the Gillard government.
Peter Harkness, Mont Albert North

Haunting music
What a brilliant idea from Australian composer Luke Styles to see parallels “between the islands of Australia and Manus” and set them to music titled No Friend but the Mountains: A Symphonic Song Cycle which will premiere in Sydney next weekend (A “cry that can’t be silenced”, The Saturday Age, 13/3).

Music can be so moving and I’m sure many more people will be haunted by the double cry for urgent Indigenous reconciliation and asylum seeker justice and assistance.
Barbara Fraser, Burwood

Deputy PM has no plan
To listen to Michael McCormack on Insiders (ABC TV, 14/3) was “a thing of infinite jest”. Each unremarkable question from David Speers was answered with a stupidity the size of the Grand Canyon.

A suggestion that we may fail to meet our emissions target, “Who knows what wonderful technology lies in wait?”

“We’re not the arbiters of law”. Solicitor-General/Attorney-General/Parliament Michael?

Didn’t know, couldn’t answer how much Qantas staff would receive from the government but, “We’re talking to Qantas about this.”

The big message? No plan, no plan, no plan.
Carmel Boyle, Alfredton

Bargain travel
Scott Morrison, in typical Liberal fashion, has attempted to monetise a complex problem by tipping money into cheap plane tickets to particular Australian destinations (“Victoria ‘lashes’ unfair flights”, The Age, 12/3). Mr Morrison doesn’t understand the economic principle of supply and demand can have a negative impact in this case; even with mild risk of infection of COVID-19, can people be trusted to do the right thing and not travel if they have a “bargain”? Also, who pays the cost of accommodation to the stranded visitors if COVID-19 breaks out and travellers can’t fly home?

Further, Michael McCormack is best served not advising states on decisions regarding the health of their citizens. “Knee-jerk” reactions keep people safe, and state premiers can make their own decisions without your input.
Julian Roberts, Burwood

Waiting with less patience
To paraphrase a former prime minister of this country, fair shake of the sauce bottle.

I am a medically compromised 71-year-old male desperately awaiting my promised COVID-19 vaccine. My family adhered to every direction issued by the government in the past year to combat this insidious virus but our patience is wearing thin. Many thousands of front-line medical staff are in the queue in front of me and their health is more important than mine. I’m prepared to wait in line like millions of others but not forever.

More important is the health of many sick and fragile residents of aged care facilities and yet the Prime Minister Scott Morrison has already not only received his first injection but also his second booster shot.

Politicians’ privilege does not inspire confidence seeing them receiving the vaccine while millions wait in line.
Denis Evans, Coburg

Lack of substance
Once again Scott Morrison is guilty of over-promising and under-delivering. This time it’s a promise of 4 million vaccinations by the end of this month. The expected number is now a paltry 100,000. We know he already has a poor record including aged care, bushfire relief, unemployment benefits, climate change, Murray-Darling irrigation management, superannuation and attitude to women.
No doubt there’s several other lost opportunities that can be added to this growing list.

He’s never going to change and it’s about time Australians started looking elsewhere for more meaningful leadership. Not someone that talks the talk but is unable to walk the walk.
Kevin Ward, Preston

Cow of a phrase
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has gone from bad to worse in regard to her “lying cow” comment, by stating that “I did not mean it in the sense that it may have been understood” (“Defence Minister apologises after legal settlement with Brittany Higgins”, The Age, 13/3). How many ways can such a derogatory phrase be interpreted.

The phrase “lying cow” is a dreadful put-down based on the out-of-date stereotype of a cow being a dumb animal. Many people know they are not. Additionally, many animals are capable of showing empathy and compassion. It appears Minister Reynolds is not.

Whoever invented that particular excuse should be totally ashamed. Surely they can’t believe that the public will swallow such claptrap. Minister Reynolds obviously doesn’t “get it”. What she said is unforgivable and she should resign. It is as simple as that.
Reinhard Beissbarth, Beechworth

AND ANOTHER THING …

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WA election
A political commentator has suggested that, as the West Australian Liberals won just two seats in Saturday’s election, their transport fleet could be reduced to a Vespa.
Tom Ward, Sorrento

Maybe Morrison could offer cheap flights to WA for Liberal voters to help boost the numbers.
Greg Lee, Red Hill

Scott Morrison must surely take a large slice of the “credit” for Labor’s WA win.
Roger Hehir, Albert Park

The one positive for the Liberal Party from the WA election is that the party at least has gender equity, one man and one woman elected.
Graeme Foley, Werribee

Vaccine
Just train Amazon delivery drivers to give the vaccine. Entire population immunised by Saturday. By Wednesday if you have Prime.
Barry Michaels, Port Melbourne

What is the point of announcing a travel bubble to Singapore when our vaccine rollout is delayed to later this year.
Peng Ee, Castle Cove, NSW

Now the failure to procure and implement the jab is realised, we await the federal spin shifting responsibility to the states.
Arthur Pritchard, Ascot Vale

Politics
Where politicians go to hospital depends on their party. Premier Daniel Andrews goes public while federal Health Minister Greg Hunt goes private. Says it all.
Barbara Lynch, South Yarra

Scotty from Marketing would have us believe the restrictions on destinations for the travel discounts does not have a political bias. If that were so, why are there any restrictions?
Jenny Callaghan, Hawthorn

Furthermore
Failure to support the Women’s March 4 Justice has left the Morrison government on the wrong side of history – as it is with the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Greg Curtin, Blackburn South

We are women. Hear us roar!
Jenny Bone, Surrey Hills


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