Australian Letters

12 March 2016

9:00 AM

12 March 2016

9:00 AM

Money for nothing

Sir: The European Union, in its wisdom, announced last week that it would be granting a further $274.1 million to the Palestinian Authority and, as if this largesse wasn’t enough, that a second grant would be announced later this year. This is, of course, just the most recent floods of money that have cascaded upon the PA for decades from the EU, the UN and many other lavishly generous and extraordinarily non-Judgemental agencies.

Astonishingly none of these agencies/benefactors seem to have any serious concerns about the fact that the PA Presidential elections were due way back in January 2009 and the parliamentary elections in 2010. The PA have perhaps been too busy spending all the vast sums of monies which flow into their coffers to have time to hold elections – or could it be that they don’t trust the Palestinian people to vote them back into office?

Why on earth do western agencies and nations continue to support an unelected dictatorial regime which shows not the slightest interest in holding democratic elections? Can you imagine the fuss that would be made in the media if Israel abandoned democratic process?.
Dr Bill Anderson,
Surrey Hills, Vic.

Original sin

Sir: From my perspective Rod Liddle has confused correlation with causality. I have no reason to doubt that the evil maniacs of whom he speaks were Muslims.

However, they were also human beings born into a fallen world, the significance of which has been long forgotten.

The theologian Tatha Wiley wrote: “The Genesis story is symbolic narrative, not history… the story of sin is not focused so much on what happened but on what is always happening in human existence.”

The Jesuit theologians, Piet Schoonenberg and Bernard Lonergan, have emphasised that we live in a world permeated by the rejection of God and the value of compassion.

Saint Paul summed up the effect of living in such a world: “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.”

Reinhold Niebuhr has noted that the so-called doctrine of original sin is the only empirically verifiable doctrine of the Christian faith.
Mark Porter
New Lambton, NSW

The Peter Principle

Sir: Most fair minded Australians did not applaud Malcolm Turnbull and his plotters for the method(s) they used to gain Government. However we hope that by his subsequent actions (and inactions) he will not prove the accuracy of the above principle which broadly states that in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to the level of his incompetence.
Sid Roveda
Townsville Qld


Sir: Terry Barnes neglected to mention the elephant in the room (‘Abbott’s sliding doors’, 5/3), as did Abbott himself in his “I’m right and everyone else is wrong” manifesto in the Weekend Australian; namely, that the only original and visionary policy he carried into the 2013 election was his doomed and profligate PPL plan.

Curiously, he doesn’t seem to be grandstanding on the FTAs in an unseemly fashion, but I suspect that’s because he knows that any FTA with more than three words in it is an oxymoron – now excuse me as I rush off to the bookshop before closing time, as I hear that Niki Savva has penned a corker.
Russell Graham,
Belmont, Vic

Democracy or bureaucracy

Sir: Professor Garton Ash makes a scholarly appeal for us all to be content with government from Brussels for the foreseeable future (‘A conservative case for staying in’, 5 March). The alternative would involve possible risk. Very true. But the professor skates nimbly round two words: governmental system. After numerous combats and enormous suffering, the British live within and are ruled by an elective democracy. In a reference to his Churchillian quote, it may be an imperfect system but it is better than all the others. Read the works of Jean Monnet and one will understand why the governmental system of the EU was never designed to be a democracy, is not a democracy and never will be. It is a non-elective bureaucracy.

One can choose to be governed by one system or the other but not both, or part of both. One has to dominate the other and we know which has the primacy. You cannot have both because they are mutually incompatible.
Frederick Forsyth

Disputed parentage

Sir: In his Notes on 5 March, Charles Moore tells the story of a visit by Sir Winston Churchill to the Icelandic Parliament, Althingi. Mr Moore says:

Churchill famously irritated its members by the first half of his sentence and gratified them with the second half: ‘I come from the mother of parliaments [pause] to the grandmother of parliaments.’

A good line, but one that was delivered not by Churchill but by Lord Newton, who was sent to help the Althingi celebrate its 1,000-year anniversary in 1930.

Incidentally, our first laws were spoken rather than written, so the presiding officer had to recite them when parliament met. This is the origin of the phrase ‘Mr Speaker’.
Björn Bjarnason
Kvoslaekur, Iceland

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