Essendon decision reveals the caveats on tolerance

Credit:Cathy Wilcox

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Religious freedom
If it was untenable for Andrew Thorburn to remain the chief executive of the Essendon Football club due to his association with the City on a Hill church, as was posited by the club’s president, David Barham (“Dons chief quits after one day”, 5/10), what does that say for its commitment “to provide an inclusive, diverse and a safe club, where everyone is welcome and respected”? Barham’s statement should have come with the caveat that “exclusions apply”.
Claire Stratton, South Yarra

AFL misguided with moral compass stance
The AFL is tying itself in knots with its desire to be the moral compass for society. It seems only appropriate that AFL leaders who are Catholic resign, given the church’s stance on abortion and gay marriage. Any Muslim with the intention of become an AFL leader can no longer do so given Islam’s stance on women, marriage, abortion and homosexuality. The problem with trying to be wholly inclusive is you become intolerant of others and their views.

The only people acceptable are those who adhere to the moral guide of the AFL and given how the AFL is happy to take gambling money, while ignoring the impact on society that gambling has, its moral compass is not the gold standard.
Bruce McMillan, Grovedale

Premier’s intolerance on show
Asked whether it was no longer acceptable for people with religious ties to hold leadership roles, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews warned religious people applying for public roles to “have a think” about being “more kind-hearted” and “a bit more inclusive”.

And yet, Andrews and others who espouse such views are often guilty of the very attitudes they decry. When will these paragons of inclusivity and tolerance cease their stigmatising attitudes towards those of whose faith they disapprove?
Susan Caughey, Glen Iris

The real risk of discrimination
Scott Morrison’s religious discrimination bill, which thankfully failed before the federal election, would have given special legal privilege to religious people and organisations. It exempted publicly funded faith organisations that provide community services from anti-discrimination laws. This was so they could sack LGBT staff, refuse to hire them and decline services to them.

I have no doubt those denouncing the dumping of Andrew Thorburn because of his religious prejudices will be the very same people who demanded the Morrison bill be passed. Religious conservatives want it both ways. They insist the pious not be discriminated against, but also that the discrimination they enact against others not be prevented.
Brian Greig, Geographe, WA

Unity the priority
Common sense has arrived at the Essendon Football Club with the resignation of Andrew Thorburn. In his very brief tenure, he showed it was obvious this was a disastrous choice due to his admission to belonging to a religious group that holds views that are not aligned with the values of the football club. In light of the divisions and recent resignations, it is obvious that unity, tolerance and inclusiveness should be of the highest priority going forward.
Angela Woolard, Mordialloc

Values out of sync with football clubs
The odious, obnoxious and bigoted doctrines of Pentacostal churches such as City on a Hill on abortion and homosexuality have rightly claimed another victim in Andrew Thorburn. While our constitution enshrines their right to hold these views, it is completely unacceptable for members of their church to take on leadership roles in high-profile places like AFL football clubs where inclusion and diversity are supposed to be celebrated and observed. You can’t hold these kinds of discriminatory, homophobic and hateful views on a Sunday and conveniently put them aside for the rest of the week. What were Essendon thinking?
Nick Toovey, Beaumaris

THE FORUM

Tax priorities skewed
There is treasonous talk about abandoning the third tranche tax cuts introduced by the previous government, in particular the tax cuts for high-income earners (“Treasurer warns on stage three tax cuts”, 5/10). The shadow treasurer and finance minister are doing their level best to ensure the current government does not go to water over this promise.

Of course the opposition is there to protect the interest of the well-to-do. Angus Taylor and Jane Hume know how the well-to-do are doing it tough. The price of Krug is now over $400 a bottle, not to mention the rising costs of imported luxury vehicles as our dollar tumbles, and dare I mention the cost of ski holidays in Switzerland?
Jon Jovanovic, Lenah Valley, Tas

Do the right thing
I was disappointed in David Crowe’s view of the stage three tax cuts (“Nobody wants to be next Truss, but Albanese not keen to break promise”, 5/10). My reading of his view is that Labor cannot cancel the tax cuts because they are essentially a “promise” by the government and this would be seen as a negative in future elections. Unfortunately, it is the media that often whips people into a frenzy concerning the requirement to follow up on election promises. Hopefully, politicians are elected to govern “for the good of the country”.

Election promises should not be made lightly and broken on a whim, but the important thing is that politicians must do what is right at the time. The electorate is more concerned that politicians do their jobs conscientiously and improve the country during their time in power. The endorsed tax cuts were arguably good at the time but implementing them now appears to be a big mistake. The media should be analysing situations with regard to how politicians need to do the “right thing”, not trying to put them into embarrassing positions.
Shaun Quinn, Yarrawonga

Pay for COVID fallout
I hope the Treasurer Jim Chalmers is fully awake to the irresponsibility of the stage three tax cuts. To continue with this Morrison government vote-buying farce denies the new government its duty to base its actions on the problems it faces and not those of the discredited previous government.
There is a case for a tax increase to pay for the fallout from COVID and the decline in social services. Money alone won’t solve Australia’s problems but keeping the population onside with common sense, care and compassion will help.
Adrian Tabor, Point Lonsdale

Wisdom in change
Sticking doggedly to an election promise that has been rendered ludicrous by altered events is foolish. However, the government has so far ignored those that counsel it to change policy on the now outmoded higher income tax cuts. Hopefully Liz Truss’ humiliation will send a stronger message.
Brian Marshall, Ashburton

Housing strategy missing
It’s not a “backflip” says the Property Council acting chief executive to support low cost homes (“Door opens to low-cost housing scheme reform”, The Age, 5/10). So let’s call it an “about face”? But what is really behind the Property Council’s rapprochement with the Victorian government to resume discussions on developers contributing to low-cost affordable housing? Is it the attraction of government’s previous offer of “reduced red tape to speed up planning approvals and boost profits”?
As a former councillor, I envisage local government losing even more control over local planning policies: already a cause of frustration and anger for residents. But this discussion ignores the reality that we have a real issue in housing affordability in this state. Where’s the strategy between developers, philanthropists and the state government – and the local communities – to genuinely address this problem?

It rebounds on the community if low-income workers (often women working in the retail, hospitality, aged care industries) cannot find affordable rental accommodation within or near the expensive suburbs where they are needed. But putting that aside, where is the compassion for the people who are being left behind in a country that is, according to OECD, considered the world’s least affordable for housing?
Sally Davis, Malvern East

Escalating the threat
The state opposition’s idea of using PSOs in hospitals is dangerous and not well-thought-out. My son on many occasions when extremely manic would confront staff and security guards at Box Hill hospital. My son was verbally abusive but never violent. The staff managed to deal with this volatile situation without force. Employing armed PSOs with no mental health training would be a disaster waiting to happen. Mental health patients often present with challenging behaviours and need medical support not a threat of guns being used.
Name withheld on request

Schools not so poor
It seems Catholic schools want even more public money than they currently receive (“Catholics push for election deal”, 4/10). The schools mentioned include Our Lady Help Christians in East Brunswick, which currently received over $12,000 per student from public funds, St Mary’s $15,000 and St Elizabeth’s $14,000 and all are funded well over the federal Schooling Resource Standard. All these schools and almost all other Catholic primaries are funded above their local state schools according to the MySchool website.
Dr David Zyngier, Associate Professor (Adj), School of Education, Southern Cross University

Church should prioritise
Perhaps the solution is that the Catholic Education Commission should stop channelling money into its wealthy schools and instead channel more of the funds that it receives from governments into those catholic schools that are struggling. An investigation by The Age found the Catholic Church was worth more than $30 billion, and $9 billion in Victoria alone. Clearly its investments and tax-free status should allow it to fund all its so-called poor, struggling schools.
David Eames-Mayer, Balwyn

Extinction pledge a start
Mike Foley is right to question the adequacy of Tanya Plibersek’s latest plan to address species loss (“Labor’s wildlife pledge raises funding questions”, 5/10). While $224 million in the next budget is a start, as Professor Brendan Wintle points out, it is only about 10 per cent of the estimated $2 billion needed per annum. Combating ongoing land clearing, introduced weeds, feral animals and the effects of climate change in a large country like Australia requires an equally large commitment.
However, opposition environment spokesman Jonathon Duniam’s likening of Plibersek’s pledge of no more extinctions over the next decade to Bob Hawke’s 1987 claim that no Australian child will be living in poverty is a cheap shot. Duniam should take a look at Hawke’s outstanding record on the environment.

In fact, if Hawke was still prime minister and had experienced the 3billion animals being killed or displaced in the 2019-2020 fires, an immediate end to the logging of native forests and a declaration of the Great Forest National Park would have been a likely outcome.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn

Duty to protect
No matter the cost it is imperative that we do all in our power to save our endangered species from extinction – it is our duty for future generations.

As with many of our quality-of-life programs such as our hospital, school and welfare systems, it is hard to put a dollar value on conservation of the environment. However, it is these assets that distinguish Australia as a modern, progressive society with a standard of living that is the envy of many countries around the world.

Tanya Plibersek’s resolve to implement the action plan is promising. Let’s not let economic cost deter us from doing the right thing and looking after our planet.
Graeme Lechte, Brunswick West

Power clash
I agree with your correspondent (Letters, 5/10) that a power imbalance exists between “young (in this case Indigenous) players and senior power brokers” at Hawthorn Football Club. However, it doesn’t follow that allegations made against the latter group should automatically be treated as proven fact.
David Francis, Ivanhoe

Generals principal
Although Section 44 of our Constitution forbids people with dual citizenship from standing for election to the national parliament, our head of state has no such restriction. Past governors-general have been UK citizens and may, or may not, have held Australian citizenship while in office. Viscount De L’Isle (1961-65), Viscount Dunrossil (1960-1961), Sir William Slim (1953-60), and Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, (1945-47) are all examples, and there are nine others. Given we cannot have a dual citizen as a member of parliament, isn’t it about time we either became a republic or, at the very least, enacted laws to prohibit the governor-general from holding dual citizenship?
John Annison, Yering

Blaming the victim
A man riding an e-scooter has died on our roads (“E-scooter rider in fatal crash was ‘doing well over 20km/h’”, 4/10), and the first question asked is, was he guilty? Might he have been speeding? Helmetless? On his phone?

There are much more important questions. Why are our roads unsafe for people on e-scooters? Why are road regulations so behind for new forms of mobility? Did he choose to use a scooter because his suburb has poor access to public transport, cycling is unsafe, or travelling by car is so expensive. Was he speeding because bad planning has led to vast distances between homes, shops, and workplaces?
Shaming a dead man for a poor judgment is unlikely to save lives. Changing the conditions that led to his death is the way to honour his memory and make our roads safer.
George Hibbard, Brunswick

And another thing

Stage 3 tax cuts
David Crowe asks: “What happens to Albanese if he breaks his promise on the tax cuts?” (The Age, 5/10). Methinks he will have gone some way in proving that he likes fighting Tories rather than emulating them. Happy days.
Michelle Goldsmith, Eaglehawk

Liz Truss backflipped on her tax cuts, so can Anthony Albanese.
Reg Murray, Glen Iris

Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

Between the previous government he keeps putting down and the global downturn he keeps talking up, Jim Chalmers appears to be tailoring for himself a suit of finest Teflon.
John Skaro, Malvern

Will those who are lower paid or on welfare be pleased to pay the 25¢ petrol tax to cover the cost of income tax cuts to the wealthy?
Campbell Laughlin, Berwick

The trickle-down effect is undeniable, but what trickles down is mostly the final chemical product from the extra champagne.
Jerry Koliha, South Melbourne

Essendon
Memo, Andrew Thorburn: you can’t run with the fox and hunt with the hounds.
John Paine, Kew East

Wanted. One CEO. Atheist preferred. Contact the Essendon Football Club.
Les Anderson, Woodend

Sure, have religious beliefs and practise them. However, as CEO you are expected to champion the rights, inclusion and diversity of the Essendon Football Club. Thorburn’s beliefs are not aligned.
Robyn Stonehouse, Camberwell

A hardly used CEO should be worth at least picks 15 and 18 in the draft.
David Cayzer, Clifton Hill

Furthermore
Your headline “It’s time for some good, clean fun” (The Age, 5/10) brought to mind my school teacher, who asked, “Do you know what good, clean fun is?” And someone replied, “No. What good is it?”
Les Aisen, Elsternwick

As your military correspondent confirms, once you start supporting someone else’s war, it is never enough.
Tony Haydon, Springvale

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