Your comments on issue 1


The dream

Congratulations: you’re just what Australia needs now.
Can’t wait to next week’s edition. Thanks to all your subscribers – I have devoured their every word.
Also – you’ve got a very good Webpage format.

Frances Rolls – Nerang, Queensland

Dear Natasha,

Do not pretend that the lies will stop when Howard’s watch is up. No matter what colour the party in Government, the lies begin and end with the party. Such is the nature of party politics.

Cheers and best wishes,

Luca Belgiorno-Nettis

Policies and participation

Dear New Matilda (and John Menadue),

It is inspiring to see so many issues, that go to the heart of important social understandings, being raised in the inclusive and responsible way ‘New Matilda is attempting.

It hasn’t surprised me to see so many great Australians, like John Menadue, involved in this excellent initiative. Like many others, I too hope this trend is part of a potent new movement … an urgently needed ‘citizen revolt’ over the way the very foundations of all that is good in democracy are seemingly being sliced away a slab (not a piece) at a time on the sorry path to callousness, inequity and injustice.

John Menadue’s call to ‘stop complaining and do something about it’ closely connects to the equally vital notion that ‘rights alone are not enough’ … people must constantly exercise the personal and social responsibilities that always accompany them.

Significantly, John is one of many Australians who have consistently stood for all that is good in this country but particularly all that is good in the best of its ‘values’.

I personally believe that, above all else, it is a loss of understanding of the critical role of such ETHICAL personal, social, economic and political VALUES that lies at the heart of all the international woes being witnessed at present. These underlying ‘values’ drive everything in life.

And, if anything, the failure of 20th Century cultural thinking in Australia was a failure to identify what the most important of these are, and which of them all Australians should share and respect. (Giving all cultures due respect can sometimes inadvertently result in our overlooking the greater importance of mutually identifying desirable and uniting ‘universal values’ – e.g. those embraced by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights). By way of example, the meaning of a ‘fair go’ for all needs to be better spelt out to be consequential!

It is only too easy to forget that democracy, at its best, is a system founded on the daily encouragement and practice of such ‘sound and healthy values. And above all they must be alive and kicking within all four of its fundamental ‘pillars’ of strength or support. If not, a collapse can soon be around the corner.

I speak of (1) the ‘legislature’ – for honest discussion, just lawmaking and MEANINGFUL expression of an informed citizenries’ views; (2) the judiciary – for upholding justice but in the context of a nation’s most equitable and compassionate values; (3) a responsible, diverse and ethical mass media – currently a grossly monopolised disaster and definitely NOT fulfilling its assigned public ‘duty of care’ (in e.g. its use our airwaves); and (4) a socially, culturally and politically active and energized community – the often overlooked component and the most critical in fending off authoritarian tendencies within political systems.

Last but not least, we could add a sustainably minded, business enterprise pillar (economy stability) – for its importance in building and maintaining sufficient prosperity for all and the desired social ‘security’ that normally accompanies this. After all, meeting all basic ‘survivals’ needs first really matters to both individuals and a society at large.

Sadly, when put to the ETHICAL test, almost all of these pillars are nowadays under serious threat in Australia, the USA and elsewhere. Community action and its reactivation being a hopeful exception.

It is in this latter realm of building an active, ‘truly informed’ and wise community, that alternative media initiatives and influential public forums such as ‘New Matilda’ will become vital to success, especially in relation to:
* Helping voice the personal and public disquiet,
* Undoing the damage,
* Creating new alternatives in an inclusive & participatory fashion, and
* Applying the best of our many new insights (e.g. ‘green/natural capitalism’ & ‘voluntary simplicity’) and technological opportunities (e.g. the internet) to the creation and sustenance of a ‘civil’ society.

As a parting (possibly discordant) thought, I am not as convinced as many within this new ‘movement’, that the true nature of terrorism, its psychology and extremist roots and their wider implications … let alone how to deal with it effectively … is properly understood by many of the newly revived social activists that I normally so admire and support.

No matter what the form that a fundamentalist belief may take (extreme left or right politics, religious, etc), invariably … when expressed as terrorism its total lack of regard for human life pushes all of us into a darker world. And sadly, in this ideologically blind and cold hearted world, addressing wrongs and ‘doing good’ alone, will not necessarily reverse this self righteous zeal and its nasty and callous (if not psychotic) outlook.

Your sincerely,

Bruce Dickson

Gitmo and other broken promises

What appalls me is that there has been little or no advocacy by the federal Labor Party of the legal rights of Hicks and Habib. I have always thought that Labor was more supportive of human rights than the Conservatives. Here again the two major elements in politics seem to have coalesced.

What a pathetic situation.

Derek Fielding

The quieter revolutionaries

I assume Anne Henderson is the wife of Gerard Henderson whose article I read in the Age and generally vehemently disagree with. I am surprised to see her name supporting a refugee cause. This magazine may help sort out all of our bias. It would be wonderful if Gerard joined the ‘Not Happy John’ Group!!!

Lynette Payne

Tom, Barbara etc



Identit(Y) politics?

Marni Cordell puts an interesting proposition in her piece about Gen Y: that her generation has a lot to say and no-where to say it in the established media.
OK Marni. What is it you want to say? Tell us here, in Matilda, and if it’s interesting enough I’ll bet the mainstream media picks it (and you) up. Why not start with your understanding of what it’s like to live in multicultural Australia. I’m interested to see if your view differs from my (old) view.

Mark Day


Greg Barns is absolutely correct in drawing attention to our shameful monolingualism. The internet becomes a fantastic world if you can read in three languages or more. A daily diet of Le Monde, El Mundo, Lberation and German papers makes you recognise our dangerous parochialism. Good to New Matilda!

christopher muir

Dealing with our diasporates

Being an expatriate myself of six years standing I would like to say how refreshing it is to see the overview of the expatriate debate by Anne Macgregor aired in your new publication. Perhaps a follow up article investigating the role of the Australian Electoral Commission in the disenfranchisement of expatriates may be of interest to all those Australian citizens who are thinking of becoming expatriates as well as those of us already offshore? It might be enlightening for readers to know why it is that the AEC is incapable of broadcasting its rules as well as its punitive responsibilities to those ignorant expatriates who happen to audatiously choose to live overseas for longer than 3 years. Perhaps they could also inform us of what is the magical significance of 3 years (or 2 years as it was until recently)?

Looking forward to your next issue,

Jo Anne Rey

Consume, be silent..

what a very inspiring piece of writing – I felt as if I were there; rich and thin, shopping in luxury at Bondi and trying not to think of the poor…. Well done Kate Horrocks. I wish there were more writers as good as you out there.

dyan blacklock

Lady in waiting?

How disappointing that a writer who investigated Germaine Greer and John Hewson so forensically should submit this slight piece on Jenny Macklin. Christine Wallace makes much of Macklin as a ‘leading Left faction member’, but gives no pointer to her Left views. Does anyone know what they are? In fact, has she ever made any public comment which acquaints us with her supposed leftism? Which Left faction is she in, and why? Wallace is obviously a fan of her ability to read rail transport announcements and attend dinners, but can she tell us what Jenny Macklin is all about?

To the outside observer, Macklin’s political practice seems to have always been as a loyal number two to rightwingers Crean and Latham, and a faithful promoter of the party line whatever it may be. So is the ‘Left’ descriptor used here just an adjective of sentiment, one applied to a nice person who cares for people (her previous career was in health and aged care) without any identifiable ‘Left’ views?

Wallace says that the Left Labor women have a ‘diffidence about power’ – implying this is due to a nice person’s lack of hubris, rather than the embarrassment of having to promote bad policies from upfront. Carmen Lawrence is suggested as one of these Left Labour women, although she accepted the role of National President despite her personal views about refugees being out of synch with party policy. For Wallace to suggest Macklin should do ‘a Trojan horse operation on the Right’ “ a phrase pregnant with various meanings – underlines how confused this use of Left/Right categories is.

When will commentators start working up a better analytical approach than the pointless parlour game of ALP ‘Left’ taxonomy, which is not much more than political gossip supplied to fill a craving for entertainment. (It does suggest however that there isn’t much leftism to be found in this ALP froth and bubble!) How about a followup article with some information about Macklin in it, and a look at the dynamics of what’s going on, so we might start an intelligent discussion about what sort of creature the ALP is nowadays, and what we can expect from it, and its possible next leader.

kevin bain

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.