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Credit: Illustration: Cathy Wilcox
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A Yes vote will bring hope for a better future
For many years there was a silence, perhaps due to lack of empathy and ignorance, and we accepted the convenience of terra nullius and the heartbreaking tragedy that followed for the original people of this land. We started to take notice in the 1960s when, under Robert Menzies’ government, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people gained the right to vote in federal elections.
Then came the 1967 referendum, the famous walk off at Wave Hill cattle station (the catalyst for the land rights movement), and the Mabo decision of 1992 where the High Court recognised the existence of native title in Australia and rejected the notion of terra nullius.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart expressed the hope that there would be a path forward, recognising Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the constitution, and also a Voice to advise parliament about their issues. Imagine if the Voice had existed in past decades. Our history might have taken a different turn, for the better. A Voice to parliament will bring hope for a better, fairer Australia. I will be voting Yes at the referendum.
Frances Coker, Aireys Inlet
We need to reject the lies, deceit and misinformation
At long last the debate on the Voice has left the political arena of Canberra. It is now left to all of us to consider whether we feel that First Nations people deserve to be recognised in the Constitution and to have a body to represent their views on issues that directly impact them. Despite the naysayers, this is not a big ask.
A No vote reinforces our colonial past and demonstrates a national immaturity, making us all a little poorer. We need to focus on facts, not the misinformation, untruths an emotional claptrap trotted out by the likes of Pauline Hanson and Peter Dutton et al, who are misappropriating the referendum for their own political purposes.
Most Australians have good “BS” antennae and we all need to be vigilant and awake up to the lies, deceit and misinformation that the conservatives will have you believe. Do not let the likes of Dutton, Hanson etc rob us of the opportunity to become a slightly more generous society. We need to move forward, not backwards.
David Conolly, Brighton
Why aren’t Indigenous senators working together?
Senator Pat Dodson may be known as the Father of Reconciliation, but hardly for his suggestion that a defeat of the referendum would mean we would have no integrity to criticise China over its human rights record, including its treatment of Uyghurs and Tibetans, (Sunday Age, 2/7)
If he hopes to persuade such undecided voters as myself, he must articulate what policies the Voice would pursue and why these would be more successful than what the substantial amounts of both taxpayers’ funds and political goodwill have failed to achieve over many years and under governments of both political persuasions.
He should also explain why he and other senators have not collaborated across the political aisle to promote such policies within our parliamentary democracy. After all, out of the current 76 senators, eight (10.5 per cent, including him), identify as Indigenous, compared with the 3.2 per cent who self-identified in the last census. What could the Voice do that could not be achieved by eight senators who were prepared to put policy before party? After all, isn’t that what he is asking the non-Indigenous 96.8 per cent of us to do on referendum day?
George McGregor, Malvern
The problem with inaccurate pamphlets on the vote
What is the point of an official Yes/No referendum pamphlet, which the Australian Electoral Commission is required to distribute to every household at least 14 days before the vote, if “there is no legal requirement for the pamphlet to be truthful or accurate” (The Age, 3/7)?
Joe Wilder, Caulfield North
Clarifying Yes campaign
Pat Dodson says that elevating the recognition of Indigenous Australians in the Constitution over the creation of the Voice – as some Yes campaigners have suggested – is the wrong approach (Sunday Age, 3/7).
However, in the same article, YES23 director Dean Parkin says the referendum is about both recognition and the Voice, “so that is absolutely at the centre of what we are campaigning on”. Now I am confused. As far as Australia’s international standing goes, we are the envoy of the world when it comes to gun control. Ask the US.
Patrick Walker, Coburg North
Risk of fossilisation
Overreactions to the referendum proposal are rife, some bordering on the ridiculous. What does it mean for the future role of the constitutional referendum if a modest, reasonably straightforward and innocuous proposal for an Indigenous Voice succumbs to mistrust of anything other than inertia? Logically, a negative result would make this the last referendum for a very long time, meaning a fossilised Constitution, which is not what was originally intended.
Jim Allen, Panorama, SA
We’re blind to the danger
It is sad to hear that road deaths are increasing, with 154 Victorians dying in the first half of the year. Alex Prestney, who lost his brother in a road accident, calls it “a preventable mess” (The Age, 3/7).
In the last week, 58 Victorians died of COVID-19 and 2560 Victorians (probably a massive understatement) were recorded as having got it. It seems likely that 10per cent of them will go on to develop long COVID and may be unable to work.
I sit on the tram in my N95 mask, surrounded by carefree, maskless, snuffling travellers, and wonder how long it will be before I inevitably catch the disease – and how many of these healthy people will find themselves disabled, possibly permanently, by long COVID. It is a preventable mess.
It seems that we are blind to danger, whether it is on the roads or in the form of a virus. It would not be difficult or expensive to require masks in crowded public places, or when near someone who is masked. Is this politically impossible, and if so, why?
Caroline Williamson, Brunswick
But will the roos be safe?
Re “Hop it: Roos bounced from Games site” (The Age, 3/7). What a senseless and cruel decision by Development Victoria, expecting the kangaroos to be herded to the Greater Bendigo National Park. They will have to cross busy main roads, thus risking their safety and that of motorists and others.
A humane and sensible decision would be to allow wildlife rescuer Ian Slattery (referred to in your article) and volunteer vets to use tranquilliser darts and relocate them safely and speedily. And all the Andrews government could say was that “the kangaroo management plan had not caused any delays to construction”.
Pik Chin, Balwyn North
Caring for all animals
I am sure those correspondents like me who object, on cruelty grounds, to using 1080 poison on feral pets care equally for the suffering of our wildlife (Letters, 3/7). At least a feral cat’s kill is lightning quick because that is its only food source, unlike our wandering domestic pet cats who “play” with their catches for hours rather than eat them. Governments should be guided by wildlife organisations that have had success with predator fencing as well as making the hard decision to impose federal laws to ensure that all pet cats are desexed and confined indoors.
Charles Davis, Hawthorn
Where real blames lies
Re “Blame treasurer Keating” (Letters, 3/7). Paul Keating introduced a fair system of franking credits which prevented funds from being taxed at the full amount twice, once at company level and again at personal level on after-tax dividends.
The complaints against the current system – “Hey ageing Boomers, pay your own way” (Comment, 30/6) – are because they issue “credits” to people who have paid no tax, an oxymoron if ever there were one. This was a manipulation introduced by John Howard in what many regarded as a sap to win votes. It confused the separation between individual and company entities and, in the process, wrecked Keating’s effective initiative.
Emma Borghesi, Rye
As someone who spent the past decade studying, and concurrently working, at a university, I am not surprised that there are fewer students enrolling in the humanities (The Age, 3/7). Australia’s approach to education has followed trends for years. First there was the mining boom that saw many people study earth sciences, only to find there were no jobs upon graduation. Then there was the corporate world of finance and e-business, with graduates cruelled by the GFC. Now we see the tired valuation of the intangible – empathy, critical thought and inquiry – recur in a low debate of job-readiness. Full marks to Abeni Termytelen, an arts student at Sydney University who is majoring in literature, for doing what she wants to do.
Anders Ross, Heidelberg
The knee-jerk reaction
Re “Rich Boomers should pay more for aged care” (The Age, 3/7). Paying according to your means has been an area of discussion and debate for many years in the delivery of residential aged care. Each time it has been recommended it has been summarily dismissed, almost immediately, by governments Labor and Coalition.
The Tune Report (2017),commissioned by government, recommended that “the cost of their residential care should be removed by including the full value of a person’s former home in the asset test, provided a family member is not still living in that home”. The government rejected this recommendation immediately. The knee jerk response – not on my watch! – has killed off considered debate in this area.
Dr Ralph Hampson, Department of Social Work, University of Melbourne
Subsidising the well-off
Baby Boomers and their Millennial offspring should have a serious discussion: will the latter forgo much of their inheritance to enable their parents a decent life in aged care? The current means test system is not fair, as revealed in Rachel Clun’s excellent summation, “If you can afford to pay for aged care, you should” (Business, 3/7). Please let us all have an honest discussion about this. As with Medicare, the wealthy are being subsidised by the federal government as Australians desperately cling to archaic, egalitarian principles that are no longer sustainable.
Sally Davis, Malvern East
Pay us back our money
What concerns me most about the reporting and commentary in regard to PwC’s behaviour is the apparent lack of the obvious. PwC used insider information to help itself and its clients avoid tax. Where is our money and when are we getting it back? Those parties that have benefited should be held liable to repay us. The significant amounts involved could be used where they should have gone in the first place – to disability and aged care services.
Richard Muffatti, Healesville
Turn down that music
It is not only on television that unnecessary, loud and usually awful music is played while people are talking (Letters, 30/6 and 3/7). Many programs on the ABC’s Radio National network, including current affairs, also have this annoyance, but the staff seem to be impervious to complaints about the practice. It also occurs on BBC programs broadcast on the ABC 1026 Newsradio network.
Unfortunately I miss out on what are probably interesting programs as I switch them off, as it is often too hard to hear the spoken word, drowned out by the imbalance of loud music.
Lorraine Bates, Balwyn
Beauty of night sky
Thank you, Amy Hiller (Good Weekend, 1/7), and earlier correspondents to The Age for reminding us of the attractions of the night sky away from light pollution. If not obscured by other kinds of pollution, there is still a wealth of astronomical delight out there for the observer away from built-up areas.
For another way of appreciating the stars, I recommend writings of Indigenous writers like Karlie Noon and Krystal De Napoli, joint authors of Sky Country in the First Knowledges series. They introduce the reader to the ancient names of constellations used by their ancestors to follow transcontinental trade routes and navigate to the next water source.
John Gare, Kew East
Heed umpires’ rulings
The English cricket fans and it appears, players, want to blame the winning Australian team for the decision by the umpires who are upholding the rules of cricket. The English are basing their abuse on the “it’s just not cricket” basis.
This, apparently, justifies the jostling and verbal abuse of the Australian players after the match. Isn’t Lord’s the home of cricket? That home has been disrespected and wrecked by these English fans and players. Umpires can be mistaken. However, when they clearly follow the rules they are omnipotent in their decision.
Ross Kroger, Barwon Heads
A poor win, Australia
Shane Warne’s favourite Ashes series was 2005, which we lost. My favourite Ashes innings was the Stokes/Headingley 2019 glory, when we also lost. And I would much prefer that we lost the 2023 series 5-0 than our team dismissing English cricketer Jonny Bairstow like that.
William Hennessy, Clifton Hill
The underarm debate
Well, the members were understandably ticked off by the unsporting appeal that dismissed Jonny Bairstow. They’ll be bowling underarm next.
Lesley Black, Frankston
For want of sandpaper
If only we had a bit of sandpaper to smooth things over with the Poms.
John Fife, Box Hill South
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit: Illustration: Matt Golding
The stumping of Jonny Bairstow was quite legal; so was underarm bowling some years ago.
Lindsay Zoch, Mildura
Australians complaining about poor behaviour by English fans at the cricket? Pot, meet kettle.
David Francis, Ivanhoe
The architects of Bodyline cry foul of a legal stumping. The shoe is on the other foot, methinks.
Tom Stafford, Wheelers Hill
Same old Pommies, always whinging.
Stephen Love, Portarlington
I don’t want to win like that.
David Olive, Kensington
The 2023 Ashes is shaping up to be the bodyLyon series.
Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale
Carey, that just ain’t cricket. Lousy. C’arn the Poms.
Brian Robinson, Ringwood East
Stumping = underhand bowling.
Ray Jones, Box Hill North
The spirit of the game of cricket is to get batsmen out as signalled by the umpires.
Dennis Richards, Cockatoo
Just when the Australian team was regaining its reputation as hard but fair, Carey trashes it.
Rob Willis, Eagle Point
Belligerent send-offs, doctored wickets, baying supporters. It’s just not cricket, chaps.
Brian Rock, Beechworth
Yes brings us together. No drives us further apart. Vote Yes.
Anthony Palmer, Southbank
Reminder to Melbourne Demons. Goals win games. Someone ought to kick their behinds.
Ian Payne, Epping
We’re voting Yes, Peter Dutton. We won’t be deterred by your negativity, your fearmongering and your divisive rants.
Wilma Buccella, Hawthorn
Can we have more of DP as a cryptic crossword setter? And less of you know who.
Michael Palmer, Hastings
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