When you stuff up like this, it's time to stand down

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Your editorial ("Premier's future looks bleaker the more we know'', October 17-18) provides well-needed clarity to the situation in which the Premier finds herself. Imprisoned by her own words, as quoted, she can demonstrate that either she lives by the high level of integrity she espoused in the past or she can attempt to hold on to her position by continuing to legalistically claim she “did nothing wrong”. What is dumbfounding is that the Premier appears to have no insight into how her own inept action and behaviour is perceived in the community and that when you significantly “stuff up” it can be expected you will either tender your resignation or at least stand down until ongoing investigations are concluded. - Ross Butler, Rodd Point

I respect our Premier's work ethic and capability, and admire her ability to maintain a private personal life. However, the past week's events haven't increased her relatability. A leader elected to a position of public trust who closes an eye to questionable statements made by a long-term lover (or anyone else) who also happens to be in an elected position of public trust is not more relatable, regardless of gender. - Chris Bilsland, Lane Cove

What has been most worrying to me with regard to the sad Berejiklian affair has been the entrenched reckless behaviour within our Parliament that allows politicians to earn money outside their electoral responsibilities. In this environment, politicians are vulnerable to outside pressure that can undermine truth in practice so that a “do not need to know” dismissal can become tacit approval. Imagine what might be uncovered by a strong federal ICAC. - Anne Garvan, Chatswood West

Context is everything. If Daryl Maguire was a paramedic telling the Premier of a road accident, her comment that “I do not need to know that” would be entirely appropriate. However, Mr Maguire was speaking of business interests that were outside his portfolio, made for personal gain and not declared as they should have been. In that context, the Premier’s words suggest she was condoning his activities. Sadly, it seems inevitable that she will have to go. -Lin Sinton, Killarney Heights

The schmoozing of the Premier by favour-seekers enabled by Daryl Maguire is so patently obvious, it is impossible for Berejiklian to claim naivety. In fact, such naivety alone is enough to say she should not be in charge of this state's fortunes any longer. Stand down, Premier.

Helen Lewin, Tumbi Umbi

Julia Baird (“Sympathy for a premier suddenly stripped bare”, October 17-18) makes clear the criteria by which the Premier should be assessed. The ministerial code of conduct requires a minister in an intimate relationship to list the financial interests of their partner on their asset register. She did not do so and must resign. Alternative arguments based on the experience of her gender in relationships or her debatable stature as “the best premier” are not really relevant. - David Sargeant, Jannali

The Premier has apparently received many expressions of sympathy and flowers in the public exposure of her relationship with Maguire. Would any woman really want sympathy and flowers (or worse, pity) for showing the world how they parked their evident intelligence at the door? - Louise Whelan, Chatswood

Just because Berejiklian has managed to capture the hearts and minds of her conservative colleagues does not require her to be a hybrid of St Joan, Mary MacKillop or Mother Teresa. We do not require male leaders to be saintly men, more's the pity. So here we go again down the vexed path of gender inequality. It will be interesting to see what the consequences of this liaison are for Mr Maguire. - Lyn Maciver, Epping

Sympathy perhaps, but please, not hagiography

“The best premier NSW has had in living memory” doesn’t cut it with me (Letters, October 17-18). Gladys Berejiklian has been far from perfect. In her transport portfolio she timed the completion of the CBD light rail to coincide with the 2019 state election, a project period far too short considering the complexities of the construction. The dispute with the contractor cost the state – we taxpayers – half a billion dollars. Then there’s the demolition of a stadium, to be replaced with one of similar capacity, and the on-again, off-again relocation of the Powerhouse Museum. That she has managed the bushfires and pandemic so well has been possible because of excellent advice and administration from the responsible public sector agencies; something she might reflect on while depriving them of a well-deserved pay rise. - Rodney Crute, Hunters Hill

An upper house inquiry has said “NSW’s koala would be wiped out by 2030 without urgent action to increase protections” (“Libs back down on koala bill”, October 17-18). But the newest version with a tacked-on amendment exempts “private rural landowners from having to recognise the new, expanded definition of koala habitat”. Upon further inspection, “protections only kick in if a local government has developed a koala plan of management. But removing koala habitat isn’t barred, rather the developer is required to get an expert ecological assessment”. We all know what happens when a developer gets to choose who will make the assessment. Sounds like another lost opportunity to advance the welfare of our wildlife – in this case, koalas. - Larry Woldenberg, Forest Lodge

At a time when the public are questioning political influence and backdoor deals, the watering down of laws to protect koala habitat is not a good look. It appears that Mr Barilaro’s histrionics have won the day after all, and that local councils will once again be forced to give way to vested interests. - Philip Cooney, Wentworth Falls

The Premier has sacrificed the koala by giving in and supporting a bill to weaken planned reforms designed to protect koalas on privately owned farmland. At a time when the state needs real leadership and vision to save the koala, Berejiklian has showed she has neither. - Maria Bradley, Coogee

It looks like the first casualties of the Premier's fall from grace are the poor old koalas. - Paul Duncan, Leura

“Premier, there are concerns that your government's watered-down bill provides too much licence for private landowners to destroy koala habitat and hasten their extinction.” Gladys: “I don’t need to know about that bit.” - Doug Walker, Baulkham Hills

Ardern wins, NZ wins

Congratulations, New Zealand; it is inspiring to learn, in these dark days, that integrity, empathy and hard work have been rewarded (“Jacinda Ardern wins second term in NZ election landslide”, smh.com.au, October 17). A leader who puts the welfare of her country before personal gain, who provides a safe environment for her people and who values all, not just the rich and privileged, has set the standard for political leadership. - Nola Tucker, Kiama

Remarkable how well a left-leaning, progressive party can perform in a nation that has a minimal Murdoch media presence. - Malcolm Freak, Armidale

With a nod and a blink

Peter Hartcher’s timely article on the fragility of democracy (“Democracy is fragile; guard it”, October 17-18) presents Australia with an opportunity to ensure that our own system is up to scratch. We do not have the state-run abuses of gerrymander and disenfranchisement of the US, but it is a pity that the Australian Electoral Commission did not press harder on the use of Liberal Party advertising banners that mimicked the AEC’s own colours at the last election. It might have been a timely warning shot. We might also think about governments, again largely the Liberals, appointing mates to quasi-judicial bodies such as the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. This abuse is no different to that in the US of appointing “Republican” or “Democrat” judges. No doubt there are other things we can do better. No doubt abuses by Labor will also be highlighted. But at the moment it is our conservatives who seem to be undermining our system more obviously. - Tony Sullivan, Adamstown Heights

He'll be right

I always have a laugh at Tom Switzer's view of the world (“Trump defeat will transform US in way we haven't seen in decades”, October 17-18). Describing Joe Biden’s platform as “radical” is as amusing as it is ridiculous. Both sides of American politics are on the right side of the plane; Trump’s failure has just tipped him off the tip of the wing. I have yet to read anything from Switzer that criticises anybody for going too far to the right. Perhaps his motto is “too far to the right is barely far enough”. - Dick Clarke, Elanora Heights

Joe Biden, radical? Wall Street loves him. Corporations love him. The actual progressive left is in despair that almost all of its agenda has been publicly repudiated by “radical” Biden. Last word to The Princess Bride’s Inigo Montoya, paraphrased and addressed in this case to your correspondent, Fox News opinion hosts and Donald Trump himself: “You keep using those words. I do not think you know what they mean.” - Thomas Gough, Casula

Road less travelled

Further to the International Energy Agency's recommendations (“Path to zero emissions begins at home”, Ocrober 17-18), surely some really simple behaviour changes for the inner city could also include: not driving locally; riding an [e]bike for local trips; and, walking instead of driving when appropriate. If governments were really interested in enabling this, we could change behaviour very easily. - Pip Vice, Waverton

Our (lonely) island home

It is easy to feel pleased, or even smug, when Australia has 12 new cases in 24 hours while Britain has more than 17,000 and the US more than 60,000. The elephant in the room is the fate of this continent. As long as the rest of the world is in such a mess we cannot leave to be with family overseas and tourists cannot come here to spend. Can we cope with this, emotionally and economically, for another six months? Another year? For longer. The consequences would be dire. An effective and widely available vaccine would be the only thing that allowed us to engage with the world again. Pandemic preparation plans focused on treatment, quarantines, deaths and the impact on essential services. For all the roadmaps and plans that governments trot out, none has addressed the very likely problem that we become our own Manus Island for years to come. - Eric Scott, Bondi Junction

Burning ambushed

I look out my window and see smoke on the horizon. North Head burns. Every time we burn our landscape we release pollutants into the air, increasing respiratory problems for many. We also kill so many of the unseen small creatures: spiders, ants, bees, frogs and lizards. Added to that, often these “controlled” burns become uncontrolled. I am aware of three such incidents in the past month. There must be a better way. - Clare Sydenham, North Sydney

For the second weekend in a row, a planned hazard reduction burn has breached containment lines. In both cases, weather conditions were as forecast – and relatively benign. This suggests an inadequate understanding of fuel conditions and fire behaviour as well as poor perimeter security. Spring and summer burns require meticulous planning and execution. The consequences of getting it wrong can be serious. These mishaps are most unfortunate because they erode public confidence in the practice of hazard reduction burning and the capacity of responsible authorities to carry it out safely and effectively. - Col Nicholson, Hawks Nest

Hardship hard to miss

It is plain to most voters that with the COVID-19 income protection and eviction moratoria scaled back, the rise in homelessness statistics and the inability of many to service their mortgages, severe hardship will result (“Homelessness to rise as help scaled back”, October 17-18). Tax cuts will only benefit those who have jobs. Charities – to which the government has off-loaded many expensive responsibilities in an effort to outsource and reduce spending – should have been top of the list for massive support. Surely it will become plain to most voters that this is not a society we want to live in. - Steve Johnson, Elizabeth Beach

Reserve judgment

First iCare, then NBN Co and now news that the Reserve Bank of Australia is bloated with overpaid executives (“RBA defies interest-rate fall for $2.6b profit”, October 17-18). We know that politicians never put their hands in their own pockets; that they claim back just about everything they spend. Now it appears these government organisations are showing they are all well and truly in it together, snouts firmly in the trough. - John Kingsmill, Fairlight

Futile attraction

''Hokis'' pocus would seem to describe the Berejiklian/Maguire relationship more accurately. - David Sharpe, Randwick

There is something to be said for Malcolm Turnbull's political bonking ban. - John Roseth, Mosman

I am keeping my own book on who goes first – Gladys or Donald. My current thinking is that Gladys will be gone a week before Donald. Yours, at odds on. - Denis Cartledge, Tenterfield

WaterG8(way)? - Les Shearman, Darlington

Dogged by cats

What a shame Melbourne Storm aren't called the Cheetahs. Then both the NRL and AFL grand finals would be all-feline affairs! - George Zivkovic, Northmead

Drop your daks

When Bruce Clydsdale (Letters, October 17-18) said he had already lost his braces because of the RBA's interest rate policy, I first thought he was referring to the dental kind. Oh well, never mind – let's just stick to the image of having to "drop our trousers". - Alicia Dawson, Balmain

No upside

Why does everything we do have to end in up? I have heard closed up, opened up, tucked up among many other phrases that have nothing to do with going to a higher level, nor the opposite of down. -- Jenny Greenwood, Hunters Hill

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