Letters to the editor


West props up dictators

The US only gave up supporting the oppressive Hosni Mubarak regime in Egypt when it became absolutely apparent he and his ruling elite couldn’t continue to hold power.

Mubarak’s brutal regime was able to maintain control through mass terror, coercion and the help of massive military and political aid from the US and its western allies as well as Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Despite professing support for democracy, freedom and human rights, the US, Britain and France continue a policy of propping up corrupt, repressive, dictatorial regimes in the Middle East and elsewhere.

This is because the US and other major powers have an explicit policy of putting their strategic, economic, political and military interests before the lives, liberty and welfare of people.

And while the USA and its western allies are engaged in a war with Islamic extremist groups, the cruel actions of the very regimes they back are the reason some desperate people are driven into the arms of the religious extremists. It is often this injustice and oppression that breeds fundamentalist extremism.

The leaders of the western powers must be told by their citizens to halt this deceit and hypocrisy and make significant changes, so that their countries follow a just and compassionate foreign policy, that reflects a genuine regard for the wellbeing of people and respects their human and civil rights and other freedoms.

People in the Middle East and elsewhere deserve decent, fulfilling lives free of the misery and brutality of oppressive, corrupt, dictatorial regimes and interfering western governments intent on keeping them in power because it suits their national interests.

Steven Katsineris,
Hurstbridge, Vic

Marriage a patriarchal institution

The article concerning the homophobic nature of some members of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association in GLW #866 and the assertion that marriage of the heterosexual persuasion was a cornerstone of capitalism, even though technically accurate, fails to grasp the much broader perspective of heterosexual marriage.

The actual origins of marriage come directly from the Abrahamic traditions of the patriarchal monotheists and it was all about the ownership of women.

The whole marriage argument is really a misnomer in that the demands by other members of society who do not meet the marriage criteria per se are really falling into the trap of wanting to support an institution that is inherently corrupt.

My partner and I, as committed socialists albeit of the Marxist persuasion, have been together for over three decades and will never succumb to the delusion of the monotheists and this unusual need that individuals have about a life long commitment that they consider marriage affords them.

Marriage, by definition, is a capitalist patriarchal institution that any right-minded individuals should avoid like the rabid dog that it is. As socialists surely we can rise above this need for conformity.

Via email

Where are Greens on electoral reform

Why are the Greens in Australia not campaigning for the introduction of proportional representation in all Australian parliaments?

It is in their policy platform and it would very obviously be in their interest and in the national interest.

The recent federal and Victorian state elections demonstrated clearly that proportional representation would have ensured election of several Green candidates in both legislatures in proportion to the percentage of votes cast for them.

It is only a fair, democratic form of representation and it is practised in a very large number of countries of the world. In both instances the Greens failed to get any seats in the lower houses.

In the forthcoming NSW election the Greens may win one or two lower house seats but if they get 15% of the vote they should have 15% of 93 members, that is 14 members, the balance of power.

Klaas Woldring,
Pearl Beach, NSW

Hospital car parks too expensive

Why should workers rushing their family members to hospital in an emergency be charged $10 to $20 to park their car?

Public hospitals are free but private companies run hospital car parks at a profit. Even the families of children with disabilities, who must regularly visit the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) in Melbourne, have to spend $8 concession parking per visit — more if the child stays overnight.

There is no concession parking for the families of sick kids who don't qualify for Carers Allowance or Carers Payment, even if their parents are unemployed. These families can expect to pay about twice as much on parking, depending on the length of their visit.

Public transport is not an option in emergencies or for outer suburban working parents who are juggling the care of other children. One working mother I know could not keep up feeding her premature baby expressed milk or even daily visits to bond with her child because of RCH parking fees.

Public hospitals need public transport and publicly owned car parks. Nationalise public hospital car parks and grant free parking for all emergency visits.

Helen Said,


Australia's education system absolutely stinks! Aside from the usual problems like public education being starved of funds, having bottom-of-the-barrell / 2nd rate teachers in place being merely pen-pushers, then there's the problem with the content of the curriculum.
Australia's race relations situation is poor, unnecessarily! This need not be the case if some decent "anthropology" classes were actually incorporated into it! Heck most of the peoples & races living today are pretty much direct descedants of those you read about in the history books. So they're still around with us even today.
Relations would be "vastly improved" if kids were actually taught who these people are & that (shock horror) they actually have had prior contact with one another (via their ancestors) down through the centuries. I mean, millions of Anglo-Saxons & Celts dont even know about their own identities & that they too once had polytheistic mythologies, gods like Oden & Thor, etc.
Then other folk wouldn't appear as "weird"

Unfortunately, something disasterous happened back in Industrial Revolution England! Kids recieved no education, in fact, had their childhoods robbed of them as they were carted off to the factories to begin work at age 5 / 6! That set in train / motion an disasterous cycle of poor parenting 'til today. Parents then teach their kids whatever crumbs they knew. We still, alas, have an Industrial Revolution-style education even today.

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