Malcolm Turnbull's pandering to racists a recipe for creating a new Donald Trump

It seems Malcolm Turnbull and the Coalition have not taken any notice of the self-destruction of the US Republican Party ("War of words erupts over Turnbull's refugee ban", November 1). They are still dog whistling to the racists, pandering to the right-wing extreme to get support in the Senate. They are playing with fire to score cheap political points.

The Republicans must be wishing they never picked Sarah Palin to run with John McCain. They played with matches and now Trump is burning down the house.

Illustration: Alan Moir Illustration: Alan Moir 

Paul Lui Lilyfield

The Coalition's latest trip to the bottom of the barrel comes in the form of yet more abuse of those who, in many cases, have been found to be genuine refugees. And the Labor Party, while labelling this as "ridiculous" hasn't ruled out the possibility of supporting it, in a move that can only be motivated by appealing to the growing number of mean-spirited Hansonites among us.

It's time Bill Shorten found his spine, his moral compass and his copy of Social Conscience and the Labor Traditions, and used them as motivation to speak out against this vile proposal.

Rob Landsberry Bowral

Peter Dutton reassures us legal advice to the government has been clear the new refugee legislation does not breach UN conventions. Perhaps Minister Dutton should ask Senator Brandis to check with the Solicitor-General.

Clare Glendenning Hornsby

I can't see why the government needs to pass new laws banning Manus and Nauru refugees from ever entering Australia. Why would any of these poor people want to come here once they are in a country that welcomes them and allows them to plan for a future that does not include being vilified and treated like criminals?

Kathy Bradley Wollstonecraft

It is hard to get a handle on what European nations are putting into the refugee crisis that caused Neil Gibbs (Letters, October 31) to "hang his head in shame at our government's 'ugly' approach".

Early this year, The Guardian reported Germany and France had tightened controls and clamped bans on refugees and their behaviour, with England since then leaving the European Union and building a concrete wall in Calais to prevent refugees illegally entering via the Channel crossing.

Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Norway, Slovenia, the Netherlands and Hungary are also imposing controls.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said, "Europe can't take in huge masses in an uncontrolled manner", which is exactly the reasoning behind Australia's policy. The best number, he suggested, "is zero". We do much better than that. It is pragmatism and good old common sense which drives our politicians, not "an unhealthy fear", as Gibbs would have it.

Ron Elphick Buff Point

Apart from the immorality of our immigration system, it is so blatantly racist. Imagine if persecuted British Christians from a colonial enclave somewhere in Asia sought asylum here. What would the government's attitude be to them? My guess is that they would be placed in welcoming safe houses and nurtured like one of our own, especially if they followed us in cricket.

Graeme Lee Fitzroy (Vic)

I hope that I am still around to see the joint sitting of Parliament to deliver its National Apology to the Victims of Refugee Mistreatment and the subsequent Refugees' Sorry Day.

Steve Baker Engadine

I want to be there when this bunch of politicians go on trial for crimes against humanity.

Wendy Bishop Lane Cove

Of course, it is easy for Turnbull to use the asylum seeker issue to flaunt his "toughness". Asylum seekers and refugees are eminently vulnerable and have no redress.He is ignoring the protests of a growing number of people who believe that we are better than this, including Grandmothers Against Detention of Refugee Children, who hold weekly vigils all over Australia. One of our favourite banners is; "This government must be a failure if the grannies are rioting in the streets!"

Stephanie Rodger Islington

Regarding our treatment of asylum seekers, we keep saying in hope, perhaps in desperation, that "we are better than this". After five different prime ministers and their governments and as the treatment has only worsened, we have to face the reality that, as a nation, this is who we are.

John Truman St Leonards

Calls for immigration ban come from ironic quarters

A dark and depressing five days began last Friday with the poor blameless Brisbane bus driver set on fire. On Tuesday I woke to read of a Liberal Party member by the name of Popowski calling migrants criminals and bastards (" 'Criminals': Liberal members call for immigration ban", November 1).

The degree of offensiveness and intellectual bankruptcy of this overwhelms the faint amusement I feel of hearing a person of immigrant stock calling for an immigration ban in a country built on immigrants.

These events bookend Malcolm Turnbull's tough-guy refugee policy – so pointlessly nasty and vindictive towards a wretched group comprising in the great majority genuine refugees. To what pitiless depths a man of supposed enlightenment and moderation has descended.

In preparing this letter I note the man hailed as a hero for breaking down the bus doors to rescue 11 passengers from the burning bus was himself an ex-refugee from Sudan. It's so sad to see my country descend from the fair-spirited and big-hearted mood at my 1980s arrival to this mean-spirited hypocritical regime.

Phil Yeung Strathfield

After reading that Liberal Party member George Popowski wants the government to ban all immigration, I had to go back and check the date to make sure it wasn't April 1.

Richard Statham Kiama

Popowski and Camenzuli? Once were migrants? Must have left their irony genes behind.

Penny Hackett Willoughby

China has reason to question rules in its region

Peter Hartcher quotes, and seems to endorse, Peter Varghese's view: "We all have an interest in a rules-based system, though China doesn't see it. There wouldn't be a China story if not for the stability the US has provided" ("Tough talk needed in face of hysteria", November 1).

A rules-based system sounds great as an abstract ideal, but what is at issue in the South China Sea is not an abstract ideal but a specific set of rules with its own specific history.

Without wishing to endorse Bob Carr's over-the-top remarks about an "anti-Chinese hysteria", we should at least recognise the one-sided thrust of Varghese's remarks, particularly if we bear in mind that the People's Republic of China was excluded from the United Nations system until 1971, largely because of US pressure.

China has reasons to question the rules now in place without necessarily rejecting the idea of a rules-based system.

Barry Hindess School of Politics and International Relations, ANU, Canberra (ACT)

Resisting WestConnex displays self-interest

I recently moved back to the inner west after four years living in Western Sydney, and the pervasive anti-WestConnex sentiment has been a huge disappointment.

One fifth of the Australian population live in Western Sydney, and they do not have one major motorway to connect them to the city. This is unacceptable.

Look around the inner west - where you have plenty of public transport and proximity to the city, and you'll see cars everywhere. Put simply, there are many occasions when you need to drive. Inner westies aren't willing to give up their cars, but they're happy to tell western Sydney to move via public transport.

I understand that WestConnex will come at some cost to the inner west. Like any thinking human, I am for public transport and community building. But resisting WestConnex is self-interest at the expense of the greater good. That's a common attitude in Sydney and it's a very sad one.

Lena Hattom Marrickville

A cultural contrast

On Monday a cultural contrast was on display. Masses of Indian children walked to temple in resplendent dress to celebrate the centuries old festival of Diwali. Others roamed the streets, many with barely more than a cheap mask, to "trick or treat" in a cheap chocolate grab with scarcely a thought for the history or significance behind borrowed traditions.

Maksym Szewczuk Rosehill

FBI email probe recalls AFP raid in Australian election

The Clinton e-mail investigation by the FBI during the US election campaign reminds me of the AFP raid on Senator Conroy's office during the Australian election campaign.

Corrado Tavella Rosslyn Park (SA)

Politicians can't be trusted with ICAC

Anthony Whealy established three clear, strong and rational reasons why Mike Baird should reject the joint committee's recommendation for a panel of commissioners to authorise the holding of Independent Commission Against Corruption investigations or public hearings ("A backward step in the fight against corruption", November 1). But really there is only one: can politicians, who have much to fear from the corruption watchdog, be trusted not to fall to the temptation of stacking the panel with people who are not supporters of the ICAC principle? Methinks not and a battle-worn Baird would be well advised to avoid just another smelly decision. In the public eye ICAC is iconic.

Bert Candy Lemon Tree Passage

Energy smokescreen

It is indeed difficult if not impossible for the average Aussie to accurately differentiate between the real cost of energy from different providers (Why the biggest discount doesn't give you the cheapest energy, November 1). Obviously, what is needed is a comparison rate of the real cost of a kw/hour from each provider's plans. That is, the supply charge plus the kw/h rates on an average day minus any discounts.

The banks were utilising a similar smokescreen tactic via all the variables that go into the real cost of a mortgage until the regulator imposed comparison rates, saving savvy consumers considerable money. Obviously, the same needs to happen with energy rates.

Ben Stone Pottsville

Chemo treatments must suit individual cancer patients

When my second bout of cancer was being treated, my oncologist reduced the doses of chemo as he believed that was better for my general health and wellbeing ("Officials told of chemo concerns months earlier: inquiry", November 1). It meant I was emotionally and physically better off.

It seems to me there is no inviolable "dose" for all cancer patients. I firmly believe that my treatment regime, as prescribed by the experts, was better than some "one-size-fits-all" formula that it seems some would like to believe to be the only option. Oh, and my treatment was carried out a bit over 14 years ago.

My oncologist correctly diagnosed that higher and longer treatment with the chemotherapy wasn't an advantage.

Unfortunately, life and death are complex realities and not something that simple formulas will necessarily solve. Tweaks to treatment regimes by experts who have studied the complex situations are, in my book, the best option.

Terry Beath Melbourne (Vic)

What reputation?

Surely the only reputation the King's School now has is a bad one ("King's School failed to report sexual assault claims: police", November 1).

Peter Miniutti Ashbury

Baird privatisation drive bridge too far

Enough already. The point of public transport is that it is not private ("Fear for bus routes as privatisation looms", November 1). Is Mike Baird going to tender for the sale of the Harbour Bridge next?

Lorraine Phillips Glebe

So the Baird government has found another service to privatise and union to weaken. Is there anything left?

Alan Morris Eastlakes

Senator talks rubbish

Are the Liberal Democrats a party for libertarians or trash talkers ("Senators Derryn Hinch and David Leyonhjelm in Twitter slanging match", smh.com.au, November 1)?

Thos Puckett Ashgrove

Notes on Rome

Megan Brock (Letters, October 31) will be pleased to know there is a piano at Rome Tiburtina railway station.

Ann Lambert Stanmore

Blowtorch on sceptics

Surely both ice caps in retreat simultaneously challenges climate change scepticism ("Polar heatwaves have ice in retreat at both ends of the planet", November 1)?

Gordana Martinovich Dulwich Hill

Nine needs new spin

Of course Test cricket is boring Shane Warne – mainly because of the banal, know-it-all and repetitive Channel Nine commentators ("Test cricket 'becoming boring for fans', argues Shane Warne", smh.com,au, November 1).

James Mahoney McKellar (ACT)

Chinese paymasters

Regarding Andrew Robb's consulting appointment with Darwin Port, where would his loyalties lie (Letters, November 1)? With his Chinese company or with his country?

Tony Sevil Uralla

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