WHAT a great creative city Launceston is.
Not only do we have well-known art festivals and companies but also great community-led groups like Makeshift Dance Collective.
Director Caitline Comerford and performers Amelia Stokes and Gabe Comerford last week gave us a great example with their accessible and innovative performance Absence of Light, on the challenging subject of depression.
Part dance, part theatre and all talent, the production used glass bottles as simple props symbolising the egg-shells sufferers walk on, then used the containers as the nagging and unnerving voices in your head, and finally used them as fragile sources of light and hope.
The tormented physical portrayals seemed effortless but were demanding. Comerford and Stokes flopped to the floor, struggled repeatedly to get pants, shirt, jacket, and tie on, teetered precariously over the glass bottles.
No action was wasted or unnecessary.
Local talent like the Makeshift Dance Collective who can conceive, research, choreograph and stage such a sustained and professional production, all on a tight budget, should be supported and congratulated. Be proud, Launceston.
Breath of Fresh Air (BOFA) film festival director Owen Tilbury
BACK in October 2018, I wrote an article in The Examiner about a myth of two-headed people running the island of Tasmania a very long time ago.
It then concerned the work on Mount Wellington, Tamar River and the tourist train from Launceston to Scottsdale delays.
Reading the front page today (The Examiner, August 8) freshened my memory on all these projects. Indecision seems to be the problem, why not allow all Tasmanians to have a vote on all three and get rid of this two-headed myth once and for all.
Barry Milner, Ravenswood.
LEONARD Colquhoun of Invermay (The Examiner, August 12) makes some observations on the size of our parliament but misses one point altogether.
Hare-Clark needs to be axed, it has long outlived its usefulness in our parliamentary system and needs a strong government to get in and axe it. As to his solutions for parliament numbers they are the only ones who will do anything again with them and then to their advantage anyway if they do.
The opposition Labor party might change them but who knows all they seem to want to do at present is run everything and everyone down and be negative in all they do.
David Parker, West Launceston.
Hypocrisy in Sport
DURING the recent swimming world championships Mack Horton refused to share the podium with Chinese swimmer Sun Yang, who despite the governing body of swimming clearing him to compete was branded a cheat and Horton's reaction was applauded for his stance.
Contrast this with the reaction to Steve Smith who is feted by a former Prime Minister and the current ambassador to the UK and hailed as a sporting hero.
Parents can no longer tell their children that cheats never prosper.
A Carter, Mowbray.
Robodebt stealing lives
ROBODEBT must end. It is stealing money and destroying lives.
The premise of Robodebt was simple enough: compare Centrelink data with other data, to discover whether people who've received income support have ever been overpaid, and then seek to recover the money.
Few would argue that people should not repay money to which they were not entitled. The problem with Robodebt is it is completely automated and the data-matching is flawed and compares apples with oranges. From July 2016 to December 2018, 927,000 initial assessment letters were issued, resulting in 445,000 debts being raised.
More than 77,000 were reduced, waived, or written off, including 15,700 debts reduced to zero.
Anyone who has dealt with Centrelink knows how unrealistic it is for Robodebt Minister Stuart Robert to say people should simply get in touch to discuss their repayment. In the 2018 financial year alone 46 million calls to Centrelink went unanswered and 5.3 million calls were abandoned due to absurd waiting times.
Many Australians who received Robodebt letters simply didn't challenge them, assuming the government would have the correct information, or not wanting to go through the hassle of dealing with Centrelink.
As a result, many Australians have paid money to the government that the government was not entitled to.
That is stealing. There has been no attempt by the government to ensure that it is properly owed the money which it has received. Robodebt demands have caused untold distress throughout the community.
It took Tasmanian woman Donna Selby six months and numerous contacts with Centrelink to sort out the $29,000 Robodebt she was issued with, and that was a clear case of mistaken identity - she was the wrong person and it still took six months.
A $7000 Robodebt was issued to a disability pensioner months after his death.
Robodebts have been issued to victims of the Townsville floods, despite the minister saying it hadn't happened.
It is appalling inhuman behaviour from an agency that is supposed to assist vulnerable people, not hound them. There are better ways to recover money that is owed to the Commonwealth, and the key to that is putting people back in Centrelink, and ensuring more care is taken when issuing demands for repayment. People who require income support, or have previously required it, deserve to be treated with respect and that is simply not happening.
Labor MP for Lyons Brian Mitchell.