I belong to a religion. I freely express my beliefs in a public venue every Sunday (“Morrison’s unholy mess on religious freedom”, November 25). I have protested publicly for Indigenous rights, against war, for asylum seekers and against the degradation of our earth, all under my religion’s name. I have regularly written to my local MP and presented my religion’s beliefs on issues. I have taught my beliefs to adults and in schools. I have expressed my religion’s teachings to others in private and public. How much more freedom do I need that would cause a government to tear itself apart: what is Scott Morrison really afraid of? It certainly isn’t my religion or my “lack of” freedom. Howard Clark, Ryde
I’m outraged that the community has to suffer a debate about religious discrimination (“Lib MPs tell PM to protect gay kids”, November 25). Honestly, can’t this enlightened, multicultural, pluralist society deal with the clear will of the people in 2018 without shoring up the parties apparently “injured” by the result? Where is the threat to religious freedom, a much bandied about term at present? Gay and proud, I shouldn’t have to again go through establishing my legitimacy. Everyone will prosper by living and let live. Barry Weston, Ashfield
Religious organisations teach – and are expected to teach – in line with the beliefs of their faith.
Recruitment and selection processes make clear the tenets of faith and the expectation that employees uphold these, in belief and behaviour. Those who accept these – and all other – conditions of employment must uphold them, or risk losing their job. Is North Sydney MP Trent Zimmerman advocating for staff to be dishonest and deceitful, or for institutions to display hypocrisy, teaching one thing and practising another? Hannah Lane, Manilla
Parents send their children to religious schools so they will hear traditional family values taught clearly (“Schools to retain the right to discriminate”, November 25). But, as gay proponents now propose, if the social ethos of these schools is no different to the rest of the world, what then is the purpose of having them? The only alternative will be homeschooling. Clearly, if a gay student or teacher abides by the principles taught in a Christian school, they should have no fear of being expelled or sacked. However, if their intention is to promote views that are hostile to school values, they should expect to lose the confidence of school leadership. Alan Wakeley, Dural
Faith has very little to do with it – there is political logic in the proposed bill. It is designed to allay the fears of very influential sectors in the community, who are also part of the core constituency of the Coalition government. In the event of any possible challenges, it’s about shoring up government funding that supports private religious schools and aged care providers. For years, both have been using “discretion” in their policies for admissions and internal management, including hiring and firing staff. Now all their existing exemptions from anti-discrimination laws look a little shaky. Nervous that institutions might have to defend themselves in court, particularly if federal funding were in jeopardy, they are demanding more protection. The federal government created the most immediate problem for them by legalising same-sex marriage. To save any embarrassment or messy disputes, this bill is a sound move on the government’s part. Pity about anyone who might fall foul of some zealous, bigoted administrator in one of these religious institutions. Margaret Johnston, Paddington
‘Horses for heritage’ perpetuates park’s problem
It is good that the damage to Kosciuszko National Park will be stemmed considerably by reducing the numbers of feral horses, and I congratulate the government for getting, at least, to this agreement (“Feral horses to be cut by thousands in Kosciuszko”, November 25). However, it is somewhat alarming that John Barilaro thinks 3000 horses should remain to “preserve the heritage of the area”. The present numbers started from just a few. To stop the numbers building up again to enormously destructive numbers, we will have to cull forever. I feel this does not address either animal rights or environmental objectives. It may meet some tourist industry objectives, who like to see, or chase, the horses. Imagine nearly ridding Lord Howe or Macquarie Islands of rats and mice, but leaving a few for heritage. You would be soon back to where you started, having to kill thousands again. Peggy Fisher, Killara
In the fragile environment of the Kosciuszko, there just isn’t room for the culture associated with the feral horse. Regardless of proposed reductions, the cultural sentimentality will be instrumental in the decline of natural ancient landscape. Even if horse numbers can be kept to 3000 at great difficulty and cost, that’s still 12,000 hooves travelling more than 30 kilometres each day across paper-thin ecosystems. Add to this pressure the looming incursions of climate change and the Snowy Mountains are in for rocky times ahead. Steve Dillon, Thirroul
While it may be true 3000 feral horses is better than 14,000 horses, the best way to protect our native animals from becoming extinct is to have no horses in Kosciuszko National Park. In the National Parks and Wildlife Service report on the Wild Horses Management Plan there was constant reference to the requirement, imposed by the Wild Horses Heritage Act, to preserve horses in the Park. Unfortunately, the Act circumvents the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and constrains the NPWS. The legal objects of the Act are clear. The law requires that our public National Park Estate is managed for the conservation of nature, biodiversity, ecosystem processes, Aboriginal cultural heritage, significant landforms and fostering public appreciation of such. It does not require preserving feral animals. The WHH Act should be culled.
Peter Olive, Marrickville
A more immediate action to stop the uncontrolled increase in feral horses would be to geld (chemically or physically) all the stallions. Richard Kirby, Campbelltown
There’s no such thing as “balance”, Minister Barilaro, when it comes to feral horses in Kosciusko National Park. All horses must go if we’re to preserve the delicate mix of native plants and animals which Australia just can’t afford to lose. Alison Orme, Marrickville
Tolls system needs to be a fair route
When Adrian Dwyer wrote that we were asking the wrong question about a northbound toll on the Harbour Bridge, I thought he was suggesting that the Bridge toll be scrapped altogether given the debt was repaid some years ago (“Journey towards a fairer road toll system”, November 25). No, he wants tolls in both directions.
He says what is needed in Sydney’s world-class motorway network is a toll which reflects the “cost of the journey not the cost of the individual road” and proposes a fairer price model would be based on the distance travelled. However, he goes on to modify this principle by nominating three geographic zones in which different rates would be charged per kilometre.
There is a view that after the initial cost of building a motorway has been covered, the toll should be removed with ongoing costs funded from taxes and registration fees. If tolls are to be retained forever, any different rates would have to be justified before users can decide if such a scheme would be fairer. The devil will be in the detail. Judith Campbell, Drummoyne
Instead of dealing with the growing issue of crowded backstreets and the closure of main roads around tollways to force people into paying outrageous tolls, Adrian Dwyer believes we need to be more efficient at collecting tolls for all of Sydney not just those who choose to use the tollways. The Epping highway was an efficient five-lane highway servicing access to the city. The Lane Cove Tunnel should have been an enhancement of access with four additional lanes, instead, the Epping highway was reduced to one lane in either direction to force people to use the tunnel and pay a toll. This has been repeated across Sydney to encourage use of tollways. It’s not efficient, not fair and certainly not the government working for the people. It is certainly enhancing a program for government’s partners in this money-making venture. Shane Hogan, Riverview
Dwyer shows how successful toll roads have been in delivering a quality highway network faster than taxpayer funding. We now need to introduce fair tolls to promptly fund a longer, better, safer, quicker, less destructive tunnel from Katoomba to Hartley that will provide real-time savings for the freight and tourist traffic between the Central West and Sydney. Those not in a hurry can still use the windy, rainy, snowy, icy, foggy Great Western Highway surface road. Russell Brown, Medlow Bath
Amendments to the voluntary assisted dying bill before NSW Parliament are just a cynical attempt to delay the inevitable by those who wish to impose suffering rather than offer choice to people who are dying (“Broad support for assisted dying as vote on bill is due”, November 25). Politicians who seek to obstruct the will of their electorate by introducing spurious amendments that have been debated again and again in every Australian state that has passed this legislation, must be called out for their lack of compassion. David Pieper, Darlinghurst
Now the health advice says it’s not OK for an unvaccinated teenager to visit their sick grandparents, do their Christmas shopping in store, or have a tutor visit their house to improve their learning level, but it is OK to party at end of year functions (“‘They deserve to be able to party:’ Unvaccinated teens granted exemption”, November 25). It is an absurd exemption that not only defies the existing health advice but commonsense. How do governments expect people to comply with the health orders when they bend to political pressure so easily? People over 16 have been able to receive vaccines for months. If they are not yet vaccinated it is by choice, not lack of opportunity. Gary Bigelow, Teralba
Likely outcomes of this decision: an increase in COVID-19 cases, an increase in hospitalisations, an increase in nurses needed to care for them, further strain on the health system leading to a commensurate decrease in elective surgery cases. Ah, the privileges of youth. Let’s not consider the older population. Angela Williamson, Exeter
We all think that “olden days” were golden days and, since we all like to believe that national and state had greater respect for one another back then, politics looks nobler through the “retrospectoscope” (“Morrison faces an uphill battle”, November 25). True or false, Niki Savva has clearly reminded us that such courtesies do not pertain nowadays. But there’s an aspect of the “Did the PM tell the Opposition Leader that he was going to Hawaii?” contention which has, apparently, escaped comment. What sort of disdain is implicit in Scott Morrison’s seeming belief that it was reasonable and sufficient to “text” Anthony Albanese, from his plane just as it was about to take off for America? Why was that not done far earlier and more respectfully? Or are the critics right: the PM really wanted to sneak off, undetected? John Carmody, Roseville
We continue to read and hear Anthony Albanese being criticised as leader of the ALP. Has anyone stopped to think that an ALP government led by Albanese could not be any worse than our present debacle in Canberra (Letters, November 25)?
Robyn Lewis, Raglan
Recently, several correspondents have suggested that Tanya Plibersek take over the leadership of the Labor Party from Albanese. I don’t recall Plibersek expressing a desire to seek the job, but just six months or less from the election, that is all that the Opposition and the country need: division, recriminations, infighting and another change of leader. Morrison and the Coalition would be laughing all the way to the bank. Jane Jilek, Castlecrag
Perhaps it is in the timing and post 2021 Parliament rising that Albanese is “keeping his powder dry”. Lord Nelson achieved success against the French and Spanish by splitting the attacking fleet in the Battle of the Trafalgar.
Nelson Mandela once stated: “Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do”. Albanese is dedicated, will have a plan and realises best not to go too early. Stephen Wilson, Kangaroo Valley
How soon we forget
All those readers getting a laugh from the idea of Craig Kelly as prime minister should remember that Donald Trump became the president of the USA (Letters, November 25). Heather Lindsay, Woonona
Telling it how it is
Thank God for Jacqui Lambie for telling One Nation, and the anti-vaxxers, how it is (Letters, November 25). It should have been our Prime Minister making this speech. Instead, he is attempting to win their favour by defending their demonstrations and ensuring they vote for him. He is a non-leader. If only he had Lambie’s strength of character, her passion, good sense and honesty then Australians would have a leader we could be proud of. Robyn Purvis-Smith, Killarney Vale
Pauline Hanson is now a bone fide cartoon character – why am I not surprised. I think, though, making her a superhero is pushing the envelope a smidgen too far (“Pauline Hanson as superhero? These cartoons could be the future”, November 25). Elizabeth Kroon, Randwick
Mugs to marketing
I begrudgingly acknowledge the Halloween horse has well and truly bolted in this country, but now we seem to have imported something called Black Friday and the sale that goes with it. What is the point? No cultural significance whatsoever in Australia. Another triumph of marketing. Wendy Young, Glebe
The digital view
Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
Renewable energy to drive down household power bills over next three years
From Peter Stanton: “But the Coalition told us renewables would cost more. Surely they would not lie to us.”
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