truth teller’s treatment a stain on the nation

Thank goodness for people like Samantha Crompvoets (“I exposed war crimes  and paid a price”, June 28). She is a woman of integrity who deserves recognition for shining a light on military misdeeds that should concern us all. That she has been subjected to such abuse and condemnation for analysing and recounting information, provided by soldiers who were brave enough to speak out, and a refusal by government agencies and departments to honour her work is appalling. We need more people like her and those brave soldiers. Merilyn McClung, Forestville

Credit: Andrew Dyson

The outrageous treatment of the compassionate and principled Crompvoets as a result of carrying out the intricately responsible role she was commissioned to do, should shame us all (“Shameful treatment of the messenger who exposed war crimes”, June 28). By outing the truth she has been vilified as the outer. Retribution from those in patriarchal power has come down upon her like the wolf on the fold – cohorts gleaming with outrage (and fear) at her audacity to show up a less than honourable flaw in the shiny and lauded facade of some SAS hegemonic hyper-masculinity. An inconvenient truth needing to be outed for the sake of our country’s and our human self-respect and sense of moral humanity. Judy Finch, Taree

We, and our governments, often proclaim a commitment to the highest standards of ethics, behaviour and accountability for our society and institutions, yet how we respond is often depressingly different. What is so distressing about Crompvoets’ story is that she was commissioned by the government to undertake research which gave the first indications that atrocities had been committed. Yet because she was criticising a “sacred cow”, the SAS, the government clearly “didn’t want to know”. She was vilified, her contract terminated and her professional livelihood ruined. Is our government now going to try to remedy some of the damage they have caused to this person’s life and livelihood? John Slidziunas, Woonona

Not only is the treatment of whistleblower Crompvoets shameful but it is a sad indictment on how we value the pursuit of truth in public life. Crompvoets’ loss of contracts because she revealed the truth of her investigations into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan is unacceptable: people should be lauded for telling the truth about crimes, not persecuted. It is disappointing that the defence minister at the time, Peter Dutton said that Crompvoets should not be awarded future contracts as the military should not be “distracted by things that have happened in the past”. Well, what if those things that have happened in the past are war crimes? Is Dutton applying this same lack of concern for the impact of past events in supporting the No campaign for the Voice, thereby ignoring the devastating effects of colonial history on Indigenous Australians? Leo Sorbello, West Ryde

Your editorial shows how Crompvoets paid a high price for exposing war crimes committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan. John Milton wrote: “Truth never comes into the world but like a bastard, to the ignominy of him who brought her forth”. In this case, it was the ignominy of her. We owe her greatly. Mark Porter, New Lambton

Bravo Samantha Crompvoets. Shame Peter Dutton. John Fisk, Rozelle

PM’s Crean praise throws light on government’s AUKUS position

Cathy Wilcox’s cartoon incisively highlights the disconnect between Anthony Albanese’s enthusiastic adoption of AUKUS and his praise for Simon Crean’s Iraq War denouncement, now proven correct (Editorial cartoon, July 28). It’s hard to rationalise Labor’s uncritical embrace of the previous government’s agreement. The AUKUS submarine component is widely considered unaffordable and impractical. And where is the examination of nuclear waste disposal, Australian sovereignty, the presence of US military on Australian soil and the transit of US troops and weapons? Also, after Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, should we not have a discussion about potentially being drawn into a catastrophic war? Alison Stewart, Riverview

Illustration: Cathy Wilcox

Illustration: Cathy WilcoxCredit:

It is a sad reflection on our society that being hard-working, sincere and genuine can be a disadvantage in politics (Letters, June 28). Perhaps Simon Crean might have made a greater impression on his party and a gullible electorate had he called himself “Simo,” worn a football jersey and a baseball cap to the supermarket. Ray Alexander, Moss Vale

It’s good to read letters about Simon Crean and to hear others express their horror at the senseless war, based on lies, into which we were dragged by John Howard and his accomplices. It is shameful to think we colluded with the UK and the USA to destroy a country like Iraq. I cringe whenever I hear John Howard referred to as an elder statesman. Simon Crean for his dignity and honesty and foresight is far more deserving of that honour. Thank you, Simon Crean. Jan Bohan, Eastwood

Your letter writers are effusive in their praise of Simon Crean for his opposition to Australia joining its traditional allies in the war in Iraq. They point out that he was “right” (and therefore John Howard was wrong) because it turned out that there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein was manufacturing and storing weapons of mass destruction to use against his enemies. Crean can only have been acting on a gut feeling. Meanwhile, the leaders of US the UK and Australia decided to act based on the weight of evidence provided by intelligence agencies at the time. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but is never option in these matters. Kim Keogh, East Fremantle (WA)

Among the many tributes to Simon Crean there was much made, and rightly so, to his opposition to the Iraq invasion and his courageous stand against George Bush (“A gentleman and a giant of Labor”, June 27). The shame here is that none of the “toe the party line” members in John Howard’s government at that time had the courage to follow Crean’s example and stand up to their leader. John Boutagy, Mosman

The difficulty of private school funding

For the life of me, I can’t understand why those who allocate public money to schools, don’t understand the words “on the basis of need” (“Principals’ big salaries go under the microscope”, June 28). How can any government continue to throw funding to private schools that so flagrantly fling taxpayers’ often hard-earned money to reward principals to the tune of more than $1million? Not to mention the construction of cultural centres, indoor sporting complexes and the like. This profligacy blatantly exposes the lie that these schools actually “need” public funding. Pity the poor high school students and teachers who are trying to learn and teach on campuses crammed with demountables, with both teachers and principals paid modest sums in comparison to their rich private school counterparts. I urge both levels of government to go back to the Gonski recommendations – and implement them. Elizabeth Elenius, Pyrmont


Thanks, Chris Minns, for a commonsense decision (“Main Sydney planning agency axed”, June 28). Having attended a Greater Sydney Commission ‘Citizens Panel’ in 2018, where the presenters had us run around with butchers’ paper and post-it notes while they threw “scorecards”, “sustainability”, “indicators”, “framework” and other meaningless buzzwords at us hapless participants, yet refused to discuss or record the poor planning decisions in our own neighbourhoods, I walked away from the two-day workshop thinking it was a total waste of time. I’ve been concerned about Sydney’s future ever since. Peter Mahoney, Oatley

University challenge

Jenna Price has put her finger on one of the many serious problems in the Australian university system (“Universities waste a fortune on consultants. When will they learn?” June 28). The comment that “teaching university students is not like working in a factory” really struck a chord. The quest for efficiency by packing more students into larger lecture theatres or, better still, putting lectures online, is based on a flawed understanding of the learning process. The real irony is that Australian academics have been at the forefront of research on teaching and learning in higher education for several decades. We know what works and what doesn’t, but under “corporate style management” universities continue to do what does not work. Put simply, Australian universities are perhaps the only organisations that conduct research on how they can do better, and then ignore it. George Rosier, Carlingford

Return serve

With the intended input of Saudi money, Nick Kyrgios states that the biggest stars in tennis are set to “get paid what we deserve” (“Kyrgios licks his lips at rare Saudi stake”, June 28). For hitting a tennis ball, Kyrgios has apparently earned over $US12 million in prizemoney. He needs to get a reality check. John Cotterill, Kingsford

If Kyrgios and the rest of the elite sporting world were to be paid what they deserve, it would be substantially less than what they get now. John Macintosh, Merewether

Blinding lights

A couple of days ago, driving along a road on the Central Coast, I was hit by a white, blinding ball of glare which caused me to stop the car, or I would have crashed. Now, I read this is a potentially deadly issue at this time of year (“Drivers face a glaring problem in winter”, June 28).
Luckily, there were no other vehicles nearby at the time. The car’s sun visor did not cut the blinding rays as the sun sits too low at this time of year for it to be effective. It’s a scary situation to be in, so please drive slowly when faced with it. Dorothy Gliksman, Cedar Brush Creek

Ruff deal

There goes the “dog ate my homework” excuse for Donald Trump (“Trump heard discussing secret files”, June 28). Rod Tuck, Katoomba

Gone bananas

Paul Keating was right. We have become a banana republic (“Why we’ve all got skin in this game”, June 28). Lester Grace, Stockton

Illustration: Simon Letch

Illustration: Simon LetchCredit:

Bad sport

The latest suggestion regarding adding to a school’s program with compulsory school sport in the senior years lacks the insight of teachers (Letters, June 28). Superficially, well-meaning people are fully supportive of the idea, suggesting it will help with the fight against obesity and assist with wellbeing and mental health. All true. Will resources be added to the school’s budget to police mandatory sport for 16- to 18-year-olds? Will we see year 11/12 students in detention rooms due to non-compliance? A great idea, but it would add to the work burden of teachers and school executive.
Scott Warnes, Suffolk Park

Don’t overthink it

Are we overthinking the Voice (Letters, June 28)? We are voting to have a mechanism for Indigenous Australians to advise parliament on matters that affect them. We seemed to bogged down by imagining all the ways this could create problems. As a whole, we support nationwide programs such as NBN and NDIS despite their difficulties and even if we don’t use them. We support them because these are good for our nation and can improve people’s lives. The Voice does not include the big dollars that these programs do, and the underlying thinking has already been done with hundreds of communities and laid out in the Uluru Statement of the Heart. Parliament will be responsible for the mechanics of it. Indigenous Australians will be responsible for representing their communities. I’m happy with that. Anne Skates, Bomaderry

Crowd goes wild

Your correspondent’s method of subduing rowdy pub audiences with her witty remarks sadly demonstrates the continued inequality of the sexes (Letters, June 28). Any bloke who tried that technique would expect further “discussion” in the car park. Col Burns, Lugarno

This week, I went to a sell-out concert at the Great Synagogue. The musicians received thunderous applause, played an encore, then took their final bow. But before they had even left the stage many of the audience had turned their backs and were rushing for the exit. The lack of courtesy or respect shown by many was astounding. Jane Fowler, Marrickville

Life in colour

Looking at the photos in the Herald of the interior of the slain crime boss’ house, it struck me that this truly was a “colourful underworld figure” (“Flashy crime boss had weakness for Italian luxury”, June 28). Paul Hewson Clontarf (QLD)

Coincidence? The suspected burnt-out escape vehicle from the killing of Alen Moradian was dumped a few streets away from the showrooms of Ferrari and Versace in Waterloo (“Gun found in torched Porsche could be to key to solving Bondi Junction gangland killing”, June 28). Philip Smith, Waterloo

Sweet Symphony

With Taylor Swift tickets around $1K, I’m glad my superstars come relatively cheap: change from $300 for Sir Simon Rattle and London Symphony Orchestra (Letters, June 28). Jeffrey Mellefont, Coogee

My first international concert was in 1971 at Randwick Racecourse to see Deep Purple, Free and Manfred Mann. Three bands for three bucks. Those were the days, my friends. John Swanton, Coogee

Good odds

Reckon I’m onto a sure thing, so where can I place a bet that the government will find some not entirely implausible excuse not to ban gambling ads (“Australia may ban gambling ads within three years after inquiry report”,, June 28)? Peter Fyfe, Enmore

The digital view

Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on
Broke and hungry, Pacific Islanders are abandoning Aussie farms in droves
From Just saying: “We don’t need some dodgy version of indentured labour here. It was the farmers who cried loudly for this. They must be made to look after those they recruited.”

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Justin Scaccy

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