LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sam Roggeveen seems to have read a different Senate report on Nationhood, National Identity and Democracy to the one the Senate committee published.
This is only partly because his opinion piece Something is broken in the way we are conducting Australian politics (The Mandarin, 22/03/21) contains assertions about the text of the report that are untrue.
For example, he says that in my introduction I claimed public cynicism and the decline in trust in democratic institutions “originated with America’s war on terrorism”. This is puzzling, because I wrote that it “preceded both the financial crisis and the sense of threat arising from the terrorist attacks on the US in 2001 and the subsequent Middle East wars”.
Worse than Mr Roggeveen’s misquoting of the text, however, is his wilful ignoring of much of what I wrote in order to prop up his claim that “it occurs to none of the senators on this committee to give the public more of a say in political decisions”.
That is a bizarre and gratuitous remark, which cannot be sustained when measured against these words, which are in the Chair’s Foreward to the report: “The committee’s report calls for a strengthening of the work of parliamentary committees, which play a key role in reaching out to the Australian people. Committee inquiries shine a light on the performance of government, draw on ideas and creativity from across our society, and bring the public into the work of the parliament”.
I don’t mind being criticised for things I actually said. That’s part of political life. It is grossly unfair, however, to be attacked for what I never said, or for the opposite of what I said.
Senator Kim Carr
Labor Senator for Victoria