My Jewish father found sanctuary in that town – The Age

Posted By on January 15, 2020

Dennis Martin, Brighton

The home owner says she was flying the flag on her house in Beulah because of her German heritage. She should know that it is illegal to do so in Germany and is punishable by up to three years in jail. While the police were waiting on legal advice and the local council, state and federal governments have condemned the flying of this flag, no immediate action was taken. It is clearly against the spirit if not the letter of anti-discrimination laws.

More than this, it is offensive to the families of the more than 27,000 Australians killed and 23,000 wounded in World War II. They fought to defeat the Nazis and their murderous regime. Some self-described patriots use the Nazi symbol but it's time we called it what it really is un-Australian.

Pauline Brown, Woodend

The flying of this flag has nothing to do with "German ancestry". If you want to display your German ancestry then perhaps fly the German flag. This flag represents an affiliation with a political party that not only cowardly murdered millions of Jewish people but also was in direct conflict with Allied troops in the Second World War.

It is also a direct insult to our serviceman and women who fought against the Nazi regime to give us the freedom we enjoy today. Make no mistake, Hitler wouldn't have spared non-Jewish citizens had he been victorious.

Julian Roberts, Burwood

The report of a Victorian couple flying a flag featuring a swastika and other Nazi-related symbols over their home, justified by the resident as honouring her German ancestry, has appropriately raised significant issues and concerns.

It is at the same time heartening to read that this action has outraged some of the couple's neighbours and has led to condemnation by both the government and opposition. This is a key example of the power of those who choose not to be bystanders in the face of unacceptable behaviour.

It is only the silence of witnesses to such a display that potentially leads to the unaware and ill-educated admiring that defeated, discredited philosophy.

Tony Weldon, Caulfield

The couple who were flying the Nazi flag are insulting the memory of those gallant Australians who fought Hitler's monstrous regime as well as many who died in the service of our country. It must be a chilling reminder to Jewish Holocaust survivors and other victims of the regime such as Roma and other "racially impure" or undesirable groups. I deeply honour the service of all who have worn our uniform including that of my great-uncle Ben Morgan who died as a German prisoner of war in February, 1945.

The Nazi flag with all the evil that it represents should never be flown in our nation.

Peter Curtis, Werribee South

Blaming Scott Morrison for his response to bushfires is pointless. At the last election the Australian people chose him and his government to run the country, a key factor being more tax breaks, even for the wealthy.

It was clear then the Morrison government's environmental policies were almost non-existent. It has consistently ignored expert scientific opinion on many issues.

Despite the dire circumstances of the fires, Morrison has not changed his policies. Why should he when he was given a mandate by Australians?

Preserving the future of our planet comes at a cost. Australians have not been prepared to pay the cost of acting on climate change. And, as we are experiencing, the human and environmental costs are rising. Australians must be willing to pay for the future.

They must elect a responsible, science-based government that will implement changes and ensure that the major generators of climate change and environmental destruction contribute, rather than just taxpayers. The free lunch of riding on the sheep's back is over. Are we prepared to pay the cost for a future?

Leigh Ackland, Deepdene

We don't need a royal commission into the bushfires. What we need is a high-level panel of experts in the fields of forest management, firefighting, meteorology, climate science and other disciplines.

The panel would bring together the existing practices and sciences. The panel would report directly to the Prime Minister and consider prior royal commission reports and the existing mountains of data and current knowledge.

David Fry, Moonee Ponds

What about the Grand Prix?It is extraordinary that the Andrews government, always loud and proud of its environmental activism, continues to throw money at the staging of the Grand Prix.

The race is a component of sport's largest carbon footprint, with teams flying about the world to various places where their machines do even more damage to the planet. It is a relic and Andrews should do the right thing and consign it to its inevitable fate.

Kevin Summers, Bentleigh

Your correspondent (Letters, 15/1) observes that the public should not have to wear the contractors' costs associated with contaminated soil in the West Gate Tunnel.

Yes, contractors do bid artificially low and then make further claims after they've got the job. But, in truth, the only people who believe there are such things as cheap, fixed-priced contracts are politicians, lawyers and those who've never actually run one.

Contracting for big civil works is a risky business; it is usually impossible to do enough soils investigation before you submit your price. It would be very easy to go broke. So, in many jobs the contractors decline in the contract to take total cost responsibility for all soils risks. Not afterwards, but actually in the contract.

Maybe they did decline to take all soils risk in this case. Who knows? It's probably "commercial in confidence", a ploy used by politicians so they can deny any fault in their own processes.

As a former energy industry project manager, I have no great sympathy with the construction contractors but sometimes you do have to see the whole picture.

Colin Simmons, Woodend

Scott Morrison is very good at choosing words. He says that the government's climate policy will "evolve". Evolution is an extremely slow process. He means "don't expect any appreciable development in the near future". His statement that we should concentrate on "resilience" and "adaptation" translates to "get over it and learn to live with it".

The words sound positive but are not encouraging at all.

Wal Close, Surrey Hills

If we exercise, we increase our health risks under these smoke-haze conditions. If we don't exercise, our health suffers anyway. Those with respiratory sensitivities are obviously at risk. Our fruit and vegetables will cost more; another health risk.

Health is just one sector that will suffer for some time. Action is needed now to plan for Australia's changing fire profile. We cannot have "business as usual" scenarios any longer.

Carmel McNaught, Balwyn North

The Great Smog of London, or Great Smog of 1952, was a severe air-pollution event that affected the British capital. A period of cold weather, combined with an anticyclone and windless conditions, collected airborne pollutants mostly arising from the use of coal to form a thick layer of smog over the city . I remember that as commuters emerged from the Underground, local people who were blind or sight-impaired were waiting to guide them home; a great gesture.

Sixty-five years on, and in 2017 Scott Morrison brings a lump of coal into our Parliament and tells us not to be afraid; a foolish gesture.

Ros Collins, Elwood

Your correspondent's churlish criticism of the choice of wine made by Lyn McPherson of the Ark Clothing Company in her Spectrum interview over lunch is a clear example of the human trait of negativity bias (Letters, 14/1).

Ms McPherson is a fantastic flag-bearer for the Australian-made rag trade trying to compete with the overwhelming number of labels who use cheaper labour offshore.

As an Ark customer of both the clothing and the Indigenous painted boab nuts, I have utmost admiration for her. Yet your correspondent manages to make a negative out of so many positives in her interview.

Human nature. Makes me sad.

Diana Yallop, Surrey Hills

Every year there is a dispute about the choice of January 26 for Australia Day. This has a negative connotation for the Indigenous people of this country because it commemorates the settlement of Europeans in Australia.

I suggest that Australia Day become the fourth Monday in January. It no longer ties Australia Day to an event that is controversial for our Indigenous people.

Nevertheless, it retains the essentials of our current Australia Day, namely: a public holiday at the end of January before school holidays end; an Australia Day that will always fall on a Monday, making it always a long weekend; an Australia Day that is often a hot, summer, beach and barbecue day, which is quintessentially Australian.

We have the precedents of non-date-related holidays already with Easter, Labour Day and the Queen's Birthday. Let us have an Australia Day in which every Australian can participate and celebrate, no matter what our origins, background, heritage, religion or culture.

Laurence Harewood, Kew

Of course the Prime Minister wants a royal commission into the bushfires.

He was part of a government that desperately tried to avoid the banking royal commission, but he learnt that having a royal commission can generate a lot of information and chatter, and a few token heads can roll (no matter how widespread the egregious behaviour), but overall the government can get away with doing very little about the recommendations.

And that's exactly what the Prime Minister wants to do about the environment very little.

Linda Skinner, Mooroolbark

There is no surprise that WorkSafe bureaucrats avoid owning their part in transferring deceptively and incorrectly labelled hazardous materials to an unsuspecting legitimate facility.

For the EPA the legitimate facility is an easy target.

How on earth were Worksafe unaware of the hazardous nature of the materials being transferred?

The EPA should investigate WorkSafe, and WorkSafe should prosecute its own for their role in creating an unsafe work environment for the employees at the legitimate facility.

When a bureaucrat makes a mistake there is no need to be concerned about truth or justice you can predict the likely course of action by identifying the self-interest.

Chris Wallis, Albert Park

As your headline states, "Climate denial 'a waste of time"' (The Age, 15/1), but as the adage says, time is money.

Every day, week, month and year coal, oil and gas interests can pressure governments into delaying climate change action is another period of time when their profits flow unimpeded by carbon taxes or other measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Fossil fuel companies spend millions creating uncertainty about climate science not because they think the science is wrong but because they prioritise profit over planet.

Helen Moss, Croydon

I write with reference to the article "Two popes face off over celibacy" (The Age, 13/1). In the Bible in Matthew's Gospel chapter 8 and verses 14 and 15 we read: "Now when Jesus had come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother lying sick with a fever. So he touched her hand and the fever left her." Surely if the Roman Catholic Church's first Pope was married, why not all the clergy? Pope Francis has said that celibacy is a tradition not a doctrine, so let them marry.

Richard Cooke, Warrnambool

There is an enormous amount of money pouring into the relief effort for the bushfires, the latest figure I could find being $200 million. With such widespread devastation this can go a long way.

The last thing we need is a royal commission into the fires. What we do need is a commissioner to oversee the distribution of these funds to make sure it doesn't get swallowed up by bureaucracy in all its wasteful and self-serving ways.

And for god's sake, don't let local councils get involved; they will all go on research trips to Europe investigating fire-proof rubbish bins.

Don Relf, Pascoe Vale South

To my country friends, I guess I really do live in the big smoke now.

Carl Harman, Brighton

The world's worst air pollution. A one-off or "the new normal"?

Paul Murchison, Kingsbury

In late 2019 Australia was ranked as the worst-performing country on climate change policy on the Climate Change Performance Index. How appropriate it is, then, that Melbourne is now recording the worst air quality of any major city in the world.

Peter Martina, Warrnambool

Given Melbourne's hazardous air quality, and warnings not to do any strenuous exercise outdoors, why were Australian Open qualifying matches scheduled here on that day? Where was the duty of care to the players?

Garry Meller, Bentleigh

An announcement by the Prime Minister that he will focus on "practical measures" in relation to climate change is an admission that he will do practically nothing.

Jane Edwards, Peterhead, SA

Peter Harris (Comment, 15/1) warns that the Coalition seems more concerned about public perception than actual policies. That's what happens when you get an advertising man leading a government.

Phil Alexander, Eltham

Where is Peter Dutton (is he busy counting the numbers)?

Kevin Pierce, Richmond

Going forward, is there any chance that legislation can be passed to prevent politicians from saying "going forward"?

Ross Coulthard, Glen Iris

Just wondering how useful our submarines will be in combating climate change?

Andy Indrans, Taradale

Now the world knows of our vulnerability to fire, can we be sure that our nation's best defence is a fleet of billion-dollar submarines?

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My Jewish father found sanctuary in that town - The Age

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