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What Thinking Australians Are Thinking

The practice of our politicians and their political parties accepting donations from those currying influence so pervasive that our politicians are inured from comprehending that it is wrong?

The ethical failure of the modern democratic welfare state is its belief that it is permissible to take from some citizens and give to others. In practice this leads to the state being captured by sectional interests for their own economic benefit. To solve the problem we will have to fight false ideologies. We have to change cultural norms.
Attempts to regulate political donations will fail. Corrupt businesses and politicians will find ways around rules. We need to eliminate the authority of government to make laws that favour sectional interests.

Peter Fenwick, East Melbourne, Vic

I find it enormously hypocritical that the federal government will prosecute business executives on one hand, then turn a blind eye to members of parliament who essentially do the same thing. If the answer is that no legislation exists to stop practices, then let’s change the law. After all, a number of NSW parliamentarians faced the wrath of ICAC for taking donations from developers, but only because the then Labor government saw some political advantage in changing the rules. I guess that’s what it takes for governments to act against their own, despite their political persuasion. It’s not what one would call a level playing field.

Ian C. Murray, Cremorne Point, NSW

John Shailer (Letters, 5/9) asks whether Sam Dastyari’s latest misdemeanour would pass his sniff test. It reeks to high heaven. Like Dastyari’s pathetic attempt to convince us with weasel words used by all pollies when caught with their sticky fingers in the cookie jar.

It’s past the time this behaviour by members of parliament of showing contrition only when their activities are exposed — but keeping quiet in the hope they will get away with it — was tolerated. To pretend it is anything else but immoral brings the whole body politic into disrepute.

David J. Syme, Mollymook, NSW

Stench is definitely the right word. And (Bill Shorten, Tanya Plibersek and Anthony Albanese take note) it is not dissipating. The evidence indicates that Sam Dastyari has been purchased by China. The onus is on him to demonstrate otherwise. He is failing to do so. The more Labor tries to brush the matter aside, the more grubby it looks.

Anthony Caughey, Elwood, Vic

After his dismal leadership in the federal election campaign, Malcolm Turnbull has shown little improvement. He was handed a golden opportunity to attack the Labor Party over the Sam Dastyari Chinese funding fiasco, but it was actually Bill Shorten who finished the week looking better after the government’s early knock-off turned into a farce. So much for Turnbull’s promise of better leadership and explaining the way ahead.

Brian Whybrow, Wanniassa, ACT