Better late than never, Albo’s time is now


That kind of statement, Bill Shorten, might tell you, is why voters rejected you and your political union mates. – David Thomson, Port Macquarie

As a disaffected Labor voter I don’t quite know what to make of Anthony Albanese as a prospective leader. Stolid and unsophisticated but a seasoned and effective parliamentary performer who “bleeds for his party” and lacks inspiration or charisma.

Sounds a lot like John Howard. – Col Nicholson, Hawks Nest

“Conflict fatigue” indeed, Albanese. I voted for a political party, not a faction within the party. I suggest you look at “solutions” to unite the Labor Party before looking at what unites the community. – Elizabeth Starr, Chiswick

In these days of fickle, facile, presidential image politics, the Labor Party might do some “renewal” work on Albanese.

The PM may speak like an evangelistic, simplistic, single-message crusader, but this will suck more voters in than Albanese’s man of the workers’ style. – Robyn Dalziell, Kellyville

Albanese is now where he should have been six years ago. – Bill Holani, Budgewoi

Looks like it’s Scomo and Albo going the biffo in the parlo. How quintessentially Aussie.- Peter Cooper-Southam, Frenchs Forest

Party politics aside, calling our elected representatives names such as Scomo or Albo is not a matey or blockie thing, it’s just simply infantile. – Stewart Smith, Tea Gardens

C’mon Tanya, put your hand up for the leadership. Someone with your intelligence, insight, debating skills and electoral appeal would be a shoe-in next time. – Robert Hickey, Green Point

Miners need help to adapt

Waleed Aly argues that as long as jobs are on the line, mining communities won’t vote for the environment because of fear it will result in their demise (“Fear undermines climate ethics”, May 24). Hardly surprising.

He opines that Labor should have spent years discussing with miners specific details about what jobs will exist for those people whose livelihood depends upon the coal industry, in the same places as they currently live. Fair point.

To all those advocating the closure of the coal industry, help us: with what specific opportunities and jobs will be on offer in these communities. – James Laukka, Epping

Aly omits any specific reference to the greatest challenge of all – retraining the thousands of workers affected by a phase-out of coal. Surely with all the budget funding purportedly available, a fund could be set aside for this purpose so that coal industry workers gain skills in alternative employment, including the burgeoning renewables industry. – Jonathan Tanner, Darlinghurst

Aly makes the point that, for mining communities, fear of losing jobs trumps the ethics of global warming. People vote according to the effect of a political party’s policies on their economic circumstances. While Labor remains ambivalent about coal mining, these voters aren’t going to vote Labor.

Many voters in such communities choose to deny global warming or believe coal-burning does little to contribute to global warming. What does it take to convince them that global warming affects them?

Maybe an increase in the incidence of cyclonic rain and being flooded out of their homes and mines each year. Maybe they will be convinced when the last coral dies on the Great Barrier Reef and the last tourist operator closes. But how long will all this take? – Geoff Black, Caves Beach

Dates with upper crust

Private school alumnus Lydia Davis states that her rationale for founding Toffee is “people from similar backgrounds are more likely to stick together” (“Dating app for private school graduates comes to Sydney”, May 24). It just proves what I’ve long suspected: the upper crust is nothing but a bunch of crumbs sticking together.- Ryszard Linkiewicz, Caringbah South

Lucky Sydney is getting early access to the private school grad dating app, Toffee. Unluckily, I – and Nicole Kidman – don’t qualify and will have to endure more FOMO. – Lorraine Hickey, Green Point

More proof that what the public is paying for are exclusive old boys and girls networks. Why do we continue to give public money to private schools whose purpose is, like this app’s, to exclude the public? – David McMaster, Mosman

Toffee: a dating app for class conscious people not smart enough to get into selective schools. What a wonderful world we live in – Debra Miniutti, Ashbury

Bird is the word

We refer to owls as being wise, and collectively as a parliament, which is somewhat ironic given that as a national edifice, it’s occupied by noisy, chattering pollies. From my perch, the best inhabitant, now flown the coop, was a Hawke (Letters, May 22). – Jim Burnett, Figtree

Polling predictions no match for healthy scepticism

Ipsos director Jessica Elgood has suggested Australia needs “a national standards body”, after the failure of polling institutions to correctly predict the result of the last federal election (“Calls for transparency and national standards after polls miss result”, May 24). Regardless of what is done, most Australians – I imagine – will regard polls with justifiable scepticism. – Allan Johnson, Randwick

There has been lots of analysis since the election of why the polling companies got it so wrong.

One point that has been mentioned little is how preferences are allocated to come up with the headline “two-party preferred” figure. As has often been said, this is based on how voters cast their preferences at the last election. But this time, many more of the One Nation preferences would have gone to the Coalition, and the UAP wasn’t even around last time.

How much impact would that have made to the headline figure? And what does it mean for the reliability of other figures which similarly rely on sampling? – David Rush, Lawson

Hazard reduction under fire

For those that object to the burning off our bushland for fire hazard reduction, perhaps they could assist by adopting President Trump’s suggestion of using the Finnish method of racking the forest floors (Letters, May 24). – Rod Tuck, Katoomba

As per normal at this time of the year, there are calls to stop the hazard reduction burn off and the associated smoke. No doubt there are health issues for some resulting from the smoke created by these burn offs.

However, come the spring – when the first of the season bushfires erupt – the call will come from others: ‘why weren’t there hazard reduction burn offs in the autumn?’ – and rightly so.

It is difficult to have it both ways but one would think that the inconvenience of the smoke from burn-offs is a small price to pay if in the summer months these burn-offs reduce the possibility of major fires resulting in the possible loss of life, property, flora and fauna. – Wayne Stinson, Merimbula

Kids’ finances are not all right

Another finger-wagging article from Jessica Irvine warning us of the pitfalls of negative gearing (“The moment we sold out our kids”, May 23).

The children who will allegedly suffer as a result of the policy being retained are the same children who benefit from a more measured approach to changing our investor/owner occupier mix to manage house-price growth.

This is currently being done via APRA policies. Sliding house prices and rising rents, which would have eventuated if Labor won, would have become a whole family problem – the kids cannot escape being impacted by their parents’ financial position.

Throwing the baby out with the bath water is not the way to take care of our kids. – Anna Davis, Roseville

Abortion laws no laughing matter

Illustration: Cathy WilcoxCredit:

The Cathy Wilcox cartoon is quite stark in its message: “there are a lot of men still living in the cave age” (Opinion, May 24).

In this age of “enlightenment”, regardless of who we are or what are we, a woman’s body belongs to her and no one else. – Frank Tweedie, Morpeth

We can only hope that Wilcox’s powerful Alabama cartoon goes viral in the USA, and that that could help to turn the tide before a perverse version of the Handmaids’ Tale takes over. – Anne Ring, Coogee

Franking free-for-all

The franking credits free-for-all will be lucky to survive this term of Government in their existing form (“Franking credits and anti-Adani push cost Labor the election: fund manager”, May 24). They are an area of welfare the government has no control over.

Economic necessity makes a good salesman. As well as that the government cannot cut taxes, spend more and reduce the debt all at the same time while the economy is in decline. – Lindsay Foyle, Stanmore

Trump tactics no measure of peace

To cast America as “the world’s chief guardian of peace,” as your editorial does, is not doing it any favours (“Dangerous rise in US, Iran tensions” , May 24). To be a true friend, we should call America out for what it really is and take Democratic Senator Chris Murphy’s line regarding the Republicans twisting of intel to suit their purposes. With John Bolton as national security adviser to President Donald Trump, the US could not possibly be a “guardian of peace”. – Steve Johnson, Elizabeth Beach

One man’s trash…

Oh, please. If a rising stock market and consumerism is all that makes your correspondent smile, his happiness metrics are very limited (Letters, May 24). I am looking forward to the results of ABC Classic FM’s top 100 composers and a walk in the remnant bushland at Wolli Creek, saved from motorways and development thanks to the efforts of committed local “greenies” over many years and home to one of Sydney’s last colonies of endangered flying foxes. – Kate Lumley, Hurlstone Park

I have cut out and filed your correspondent’s letter, and will happily re-submit it to the editor of the letters’ pages in 12 months time, after the economic miracles wrought by this Government have become clearly evident. – Kristina Vingis, Church Point

Simple arithmetic in Woo’s theory

It was heartening to read Eddie Woo’s contribution (“Mathematics is integral to modern life”, May 24). Rather than simply stressing the significance of his profession, he reminds us that the purpose of education is not a product, but a person who has sharpened and expanded their capacity for thought and can think “logically, creatively, critically and insightfully about the world”. This is particularly relevant when politicians and the media bombard us with propaganda and motherhood statements.

Time-poor and dumbed-down societies are easily manipulated, and we could well take heed of Eddie’s message. – Harry Polley, Dural

Crowded Rome

Can anyone please explain, when we have an Australian embassy for Italy in Rome, why we also have, or need, an embassy for the Holy See, also in Rome (Letters, May 22)? – Kathryn Newburg, Burraneer

Standing start at ABC

Cost cutting at the ABC already? Newsreaders have lost their chairs. Keeps them on their toes I guess (“ABC staff brace for ‘painful’ job and programming cuts”, May 21). – Rose Peel, Lilyfield

Weighty matters

There was a very basic error of physics in your article (“Scientists recalibrate the weight of one kilogram”, May 24). A kilogram is a mass and weight is the force of gravity acting on a mass.

Mass is measured in kilograms and weight in newtons, although this is not the common usage. The weight of one kilogram is 9.8 newtons at sea level on Earth. How many physics teachers rolled their eyes? – Geoffrey Alexander, Mortdale

Prayer for the planet

Well may we pray for rain, as suggested by Nationals leader Michael McCormack, because nothing will save the planet. We should be praying for more funding for science. – Jane Lawrence, Bathurst

Postscript

In hindsight, the volume of letters going back a good year about Labor’s tax proposals boded ill for its election chances. Robert Barrett, of Roseville Chase, wrote to us on March 11: “Like some frustrated Doctor Who, I am a Time Lord of sorts, now offering Bill Shorten my help. It is the early hours of a Sunday this coming May, and Bill has not slept a wink. Labor has failed to win the unlosable election, though the Coalition has not won it either. Only minor parties and Independents are cheering. If only he hadn’t pursued the perverse idea of stealing retiree income, he would be the government now.”

Political balance on these pages is always under scrutiny, no more than at election time. Sifting letters is no exact science but it’s fair to say our inbox trembled with disapproval and disbelief as soon as results became clear. We did hold back some letters, assuming that in some cases the writer’s raw emotions would ease. Such action is open to criticism, but these are curated pages.

Nonetheless there were readers who saw an excess of sour grapes. “I suggest those who can only express negative thoughts are self-centred and are the real selfish ones,” wrote John McKenzie, of Caringbah. “The majority are getting on with it and, while appreciating there is work to be done, also appreciate how lucky we are to live in this great country.”

We have no doubt that readers will maintain an impressive level of scrutiny on the re-elected government. In the words of Jim Lavis, of Raglan: “The progressive side of politics has no choice but to regroup in a dignified manner. Let them govern, acknowledge their mandate. – Mark Sawyer, Letters co-editor

To submit a letter to The Sydney Morning Herald, email letters@smh.com.au. Click here for tips on how to submit letters.​

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