Not good enough, Premier, the rules apply to all of us
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Not good enough, Premier, the rules apply to all of us

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Illustration: Cathy Wilcox

Illustration: Cathy WilcoxCredit:

Oh, Gladys, you’ve done such a great job, along with your team, but I am shattered to learn that you chose not to wait the 90 minutes for your COVID-19 test result. At the strong urging of you and your team, we are all taking tests and self-isolating pending results “out of an abundance of caution”. I can only hope that your oversight doesn’t damage the co-operation we have seen thus far on that front – especially in terms of confirming what a lot of people suspect, which is that rules can be bent by some but not others. Not good enough, Premier. - Angela Namoi, Crows Nest

A few months back, my wife had a slightly sore throat so I drove her to a local testing centre to have a COVID-19 test. While there, even though I had no symptoms myself, they suggested I should have a test too, which I did. They then told me I had to self-isolate until I got the result, which I also did. It was 24 hours before I got the all-clear, a lot longer than the two hours the Premier had to wait. Like the swab, her disregard for the rules gets up my nose. - Michael Georgeson, Balmain

The Premier didn't need to hear about what she should have done because she is too busy telling us what to do. - Denis Goodwin, Dee Why

It's a good thing to see a politician who is prepared to both admit to and apologise for their “errors of judgment”. That said, it may well be time for someone to buy Gladys Berejiklian a new axe. There are a lot of fallen cherry trees piling up in the garden behind Parliament House. - Gary Dennison, Glebe

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Two more examples of when politicians seem to think there is one law for them and another for the general public. Ms Berejiklian did not think it necessary to isolate after her COVID-19 test and Mr Cormann seems to think it's OK for taxpayers to foot the bill for his travels in an attempt to secure a job in Europe. The fact that they are both in the majority government is no excuse. No wonder the majority of ordinary voters are cynical about our “leaders”. - Joanna van Kool, Crows Nest

Illustration: John Shakepeare

Illustration: John ShakepeareCredit:

The "dodgy Daryl" affair, the about-face on koala protection and now breaking her own COVID-19 guidelines. And that’s only Gladys Berejiklian’s recent form, not even mentioning the Powerhouse Museum and light rail fiascos, football stadiums and the Ruby Princess. How much longer should the people of NSW wait before the Premier realises her time is up? - John Byrne, Randwick

How arrogant! Does the Premier think that COVID-19 guidelines don't apply to her? That she is a special case? Perhaps she just thought that no one would find out, just like she thought that no one would find out about her affair with Maguire and its inappropriateness. - Michael Chapman, East Albury

It might not be all that bad. Judging by her history, Gladys Berejiklian most likely saw a few developers while she was meant to be isolating. - Todd Hillsley, Homebush

Net-zero ideas when it come to energy

The Minerals Council of Australia will be delighted by the latest state premiers’ collective thought bubble to tax electric and hybrid vehicles (EVs). This ill-thought-out policy will no doubt make many think twice before investing in any vehicle that will assist Australia in meeting its Paris commitment (“Taxes on electric cars could block the road to a net-zero future”, November 24). Likewise it will discourage what would otherwise be a personal contribution to the future health of the planet. The various governments seem intent on making Australia a laughing stock as well as a place to dump the worst polluting cars on the planet. European countries collect far more excise than Australia yet they actively encourage non-fossil-fueled cars. Please premiers think of your grandchildren, or at least your epitaphs. Historians are unlikely to be kind to those who placed immediate monetary gain before the future of our planet. - Stan Baker, Balmain

The world is swiftly transitioning away from coal, but our federal Energy Minister ("Taylor wants to know if coal is being 'forced out'", November 24) demands to know if the states are forcing coal out prematurely? He needs to look at real numbers (not ones he made up), and feel the fresh wind blowing from the US. He might also notice his PM mouthing platitudes about safeguarding the planet. The coming festive season could claim ineffective and out of touch ministers. While there are plenty to choose from, Mr Taylor is sounding shrill and looking sacrificial. - Deb McPherson, Gerringong

Taylor's complaint that state governments were failing to be transparent about their policies on energy policies serves only to highlight the lack of national leadership on the issue of climate change. State governments, clearly unimpressed with federal government's so-called gas-led recovery, are only responding to society demands and industry pleas for clear direction on the transition to renewables. - Ray Alexander, Moss Vale

The states have rightly called out his fig leaf of “technology neutral” carbon reduction as an excuse for inaction. If intervention by state governments increases the use of renewable energy and starts to re-regulate the market, then that is a good thing. -Pierre Mars, Vaucluse

It’s wonderful to see the essentially conservative institution, the superannuation industry, stridently arguing for responsible climate policy from the federal government (“‘Deadbeat countries’: AustralianSuper calls on PM to ditch carryover credits”, November 24). When such conservatives have to tell a conservative PM how to act responsibly, you know his party has lost the plot, with its kowtowing to the fossil fuel industry. - Barry Laing, Castle Cove

How embarrassing to hear that Scott Morrison addressed the G20 leaders and continued the 'meeting and beating' line on our Paris emissions reduction agreement ("World should focus on environment: PM", November 24). Repeating a statement a thousand times doesn't make it true and quiet Australians around the country are waking up to this. - Maree Nutt, Newport

So Angus Taylor wants to know if coal is being "forced out?" Short answer: yes. Long answer: hell, yes. - Kerrie Wehbe, Blacktown

Literature has the power to heal

I congratulate Maxine Beneba Clarke on her new book, When We Say Black Lives Matter, which carefully and lovingly introduces the concept of racial equality to very young readers, their parents and siblings ("Pencil proves as mighty as the sword", November 24). As an English teacher, I fully appreciate the power of books to create for children and young people a humanitarian context for discovering the cruelty of racism and the bravery of those, young and old, who confront it in their daily lives. As a very white, very middle-class white woman, I hope Clarke’s book finds a wide non-black audience in both schools and families. Clarke writes for me as much as for her own children. In a different way, I also have been affected by racism all my life. I want to live in a world in which black lives do genuinely matter and can fully contribute to a better, more satisfying future for us all. - Judith Wheeldon, Roseville Chase

Lessons of atrocities

Many words have been written, with I am sure many more to come re the atrocities committed by Australian special forces in Afghanistan ("Harmed forces and blind eyes", November 24). To prevent something like this happening again, we, as a country, need to stop glorifying war and remember that the members of our armed services sign up – they are not coerced – and are simply doing a job just like our frontline health workers, all of which are necessary to the fabric of our way of life. We also need to make sure that in the future, our foreign policy does not allow us to blindly follow our allies into wars which have no clear objectives or are of any benefit to us as a nation. More importantly, we need to value the freedom of the press and, instead of vilification, praise the investigative journalists and whistleblowers who brought these horrific crimes to light. - Sue Armstrong, Pyrmont

Rudd-iculous notion

Kevin Rudd is a great one to talk about climate change debacles (“‘We need a u-turn not a crab walk’”, November 24). He had the chance to do a deal with Malcolm Turnbull on carbon pricing way back in 2008 and squibbed it. - Andrew Macintosh, Cromer

Super not the answer

It is true that the people who do it toughest in retirement are those paying market rate rent. However, it is also true that low-income earners will only ever be able to purchase a home if they live well outside the major cities. So, for those on low incomes, super helps them to pay rent when they retire. Is this the best we can do? Surely there should be something in the debate of super v home ownership about the creation of affordable housing and the building of more public housing so that people with super are not forced to seek charitable assistance because most of their income goes to landlords. - Genevieve Milton, Newtown

If the Liberal-led federal government was really serious in helping first-home buyers, then they would look at the tax effect of negative gearing and the 50 per cent capital gains tax discount which enable property investors to out-bid first-home buyers every time. These are the real reasons first-home buyers are in decline and have been since the CGT discount was introduced by the Howard government so long ago. Statistics don’t lie. So hands off super and look at taxation reform. From past experience, we know that taxation reform is hard work and this government isn’t there for hard work. It's more interested in attacking super funds and the Labor Party. - Andrew Sciberras, Kogarah

Cormann unsuitable

It's not the use of a publicly funded RAAF jet that should offend Australians about Mathias Cormann's push for OECD secretary-general; rather, it's his lack of economic foresight ("Cormann's jet-set tilt at plum post", November 23). At a time when the global economy requires unique and expansive leadership, are we seriously advocating for a man whose economic DNA is to cut, cut and cut deeper? Cormann puffed on a cigar in celebration after a budget that cut the safety net from the most vulnerable in our society and ripped funding from schools. Outcomes in education have slipped under Cormann's cuts, not to mention his ambivalence on climate change. The OECD will be charged with repairing the global economy in a post-COVID-19 world, and the last person you would give that job to is a man who only knows one way and has never shown a single innovative initiative to revitalise, restore and re-model an economy. - Srdan Knezevic, South Hurstville

When the selectors for the post of OECD secretary-general see Cormann arriving in a RAAF jet, they will assume, quite rightly, that we can’t wait to be rid of him. - Jenny Forster, Manly

The Herald's editorial argues that "Cormann as OECD head would give us a louder global voice" (November 24). With inept action on climate change and with our international aid in arrears, the last thing the world needs is advice from this country. - Ian Ferrier, Paddington

The early mail

I sent my overseas Christmas cards a couple of weeks ago after Australia Post advised that I should allow six weeks for delivery during the pandemic. Some of the cards have already arrived. Thank you, Australia Post, for your efficiency. Unfortunately, some of my friends in Europe now believe that Australia celebrates Christmas in November. - Brian Jeffrey, Gunnedah

Sad day for Darlo

The sale of the Green Park Hotel to St Vincent’s Hospital is a disaster for Darlinghurst (‘‘127-year-old inner city pub sold to Sydney hospital’’, November 24) . This classic, Victorian watering hole brings life to the area. It’s that rarest of things – a genuinely cross-cultural venue that creates a meeting point for everyone: gay, straight, old, young, global travellers and knackered professionals. But as just another annex to a massive, sprawling institution this historic venue will have the life sucked out of it. - Phil Radford, Darlinghurst

It's Boris' fault

As a child in Scotland, “bonk” was not a naughty word, only appearing in the comic context of “a bonk (blow) on the conk (head)” (Letters, November 24). Then along in the ‘80s came a young and virile tennis player – Boris “Boom Boom” Becker – and the alliterative possibilities of “bonk” became irresistible to the tabloids. - John Christie, Oatley

Pardon my ignorance, but I thought bonked was what Batman and Robin did to the villains after they'd been biffed, oofed and thwacked. - George Manojlovic, Mangerton

The words "bonk" and "shag" derive from last century's English TV comedies. The Australian equivalent is "root". None is as pervasive in the vernacular as the Anglo-Saxon four-letter word, which has survived because of its versatility and unprintability in a family newspaper. - Gayle Davies, North Sydney

Calling a stuff-up a cluster-bonk doesn’t quite capture the idea, nor does hitting your thumb with a hammer and yelling “bonk”. - Richard Keyes, Enfield

Holey moley

Considering its meaning, Michael Deeth (Letters, November 24), I suspect not too many creatures would be happy to qualify for the description of "manytremes"! - Alynn Pratt, Grenfell

When the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, whose assassination triggered World War I, visited Sydney a few years earlier, he spent the day shooting koala and platypus south west of Sydney. These were stuffed and taken home to Austria as trophies. Nice to know we have moved on. - Ivan Head, Burradoo

The Digital View

Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au: Withdrawing super for first home a good investment, says Bernie Fraser

From Glenn Newton: ‘‘I still have Bernie Fraser on an economic pedestal, but I disagree with him on this. Instead of wrecking individual’s superannuation and retirement future, how about specific policies to make housing more affordable and increase the pay of low-paid workers?’’

  • 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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