Continuing support for Donald Trump, despite all that he has done, is not about the personality or morals of the man (“Trump claims ‘political persecution’ over indictment”, June 15). The tragedy is that the nation which was once regarded as the epitome of democracy can even consider re-electing such a person. Democracy is fragile and flawed, and in Australia enjoy living in one of the most democratic countries on earth. It is easy to forget that true democracy is rare on this planet, and the US is slipping into the lower ranks of democratic counties. No matter how imperfect our own democracy, we must never take it for granted. Laurie Wilson, Allambie Heights
With the US our most significant ally, Australia’s long-term security hinges on the US Republican Party’s willingness to accept defeat, which is hard to imagine (“Trump’s next trick could be to pardon himself”, June 15). The prospect of Trump running for president, from prison, and then pardoning himself on being elected is frightening. We should heed the warnings that the US democracy could collapse under a second Trump term which would have huge ramifications for us, and the world. Anne Matheson, Gordon
Trump’s popularity is easy to explain (Letters, June 15). It is disenchantment with politicians on both sides of politics, particularly those on the left. Trump’s base is working class. These are the people who are ignored by the elites of Washington DC, New York City and California. Ordinary Americans see a focus on minority issues that have little to do with their lives as they struggle to make ends meet. To say the American democracy is at risk if Trump is re-elected is simplistic hyperbole. If he wins next year’s presidential election it will be democracy in action. It is the peoples’ decision. Riley Brown, Bondi Beach
We shouldn’t be surprised at the rise of Trump as he conforms to the height of American values: he’s wealthy. This aspect of American society restricts their ability to have a workable medical system and services other countries regard as social necessities. Raising these issues in the USA is regarded as a socialist and creates the possibility the wealthy will need to pay tax they can currently avoid. Given the wealthy also own large media outlets, the possibility of any change short of civil war is zero. John Macintosh, Merewether
Much of the reason for the rise of Trump and other populist demagogues can be traced to the loss of objective truth in the modern world. How often do we hear or see reference to “my truth”? Truth is objectively factual; whatever is left is conjecture and opinion. Conceding personal “truths” severs the anchor to a verifiable, objective and factual world, leaving us open to the kind of Orwellian dystopia personified by America’s orange haired Big Brother. Wayne Duncombe, Lilyfield
The immutably deplorable state of the US has nothing to do with Trump, although he did exacerbate it. The gun laws established in the Second Amendment of the American constitution, the insurmountable drug problems, the economy that’s resulted in increasing number of homeless citizens are just some of the issues that will likely see the US never being able to recover from its downhill journey. The genie was released longtime ago. Chih Moo, Lane Cove
Your correspondent describes Trump’s followers as “disenfranchised” and experiencing “powerlessness”. This plays into Trump’s narrative that he alone is the saviour to those left behind by globalisation and ‘flawed’ trade agreements. If Trump’s supporters were simply these powerless people they might warrant sympathy. However, his supporters also include millionaires, lawyers, IT business owners, elected office holders etc. The fact that the majority of Republicans currently support Trump says it all. Maybe sympathy is mis-placed in this instance. Susan Young, Robertson
Trump has given people permission to be their own worst selves. And they love him for it. Nick Andrews, Bellevue Hill
Albanese has wedged himself with confusing Voice message
By conflating two distinct issues – recognition of First Nations people in the Constitution, and promoting a specific Constitutional mechanism to promote that objective – Anthony Albanese has wedged himself into a difficult position (“Voice a measure of PM’s acumen”, June 15). Most Australians support recognition, and Albanese seems to believe this goodwill can carry the day. However, there are many doubts about the Voice model, not the least of which is that a sizable number of Indigenous people don’t agree with it. If they can’t agree on such a fundamental issue, what are the chances they will come together as the Voice to speak with unanimity on other issues? If the referendum fails, and Albanese adopts Plan B, whatever form of Voice is legislated we will get the chance to “try before we buy”, which may turn out to be a better outcome in the end. Doug Walker, Baulkham Hills
The Voice to parliament isn’t about solving all the issues which plague our First Nations people, despite what proponents of No suggest. If we knew how to solve them without the benefit of First Nations input we would (hopefully) have done so. The Voice is about creating a new starting point – with the weight of the Constitution behind it – for problem-solving, both now and in the future.
It is understandable that people are looking for a feeling of security in their decision-making, especially these days, but no one can lock in the future consequences of any action. Please trust in the system enough to give this idea a chance. Susan Jones, Hamilton
When we recognise a sporting achievement with a plaque on a club wall, we don’t see this as divisive. When we recognise a politician’s contribution with an entry in a list on the walls of Parliament House, we don’t call this divisive. When we recognise deaths in war, or arrivals of our immigrants, we don’t call this divisive. We call it recognition.
Why then is it “divisive” to recognise the unequalled significance of our First Nations People in our Constitution? Why is it divisive to practically recognise their significance by enshrining a process through which they are heard? Judith Fleming, Sawtell
Our past is reflected in the present and unless significant institutional changes are made it will determine our future. At Myall Creek in 1838 at least 28 Aboriginal people were slaughtered. Since the handing down of the report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody there have been nearly 500 Aboriginal people die in custody. The more things change, the more they remain the same. Graham Fazio, Cootamundra
Higher doesn’t necessarily mean better
It didn’t take long for the NSW Labor government to start tipping money into the coffers of developers (“Minns to turbocharge density with bonuses for developers”, June 15). Allowing developers to build dwellings 30 per cent larger and higher than normally permitted, for ceding a mere 15 per cent of the space for lower than market rentals, looks like a gift of at least 15 per cent to developers’ profits.
Not to mention that the higher, bigger buildings will reduce public amenity to light and green spaces. Well done for the developers’ lobbyists and for our government in abrogating their responsibility in providing affordable housing for all. Elfriede Sangkuhl, Summer Hill
Minns’ solution to the housing crisis is staggeringly simplistic. There are myriad factors to be considered in our current debacle, particularly in relation to Sydney. Affordable housing needs to be examined by both state and federal agencies with a proportion of government budgets devoted to a fair and honest solution. There are plenty of rent/equity approaches, both here and in other countries, that can solve this crisis, but it does need a commitment of cold hard cash.
Giving developers the pre-eminent place in planning is putting rapacious cats among pigeons, something that is rapidly leading to a polluted, congested and unliveable Sydney. David Catchlove, Newport
Transurban the winner
While the Rozelle spaghetti junction may be seen as an engineering achievement (“Lights, camera, action: Spaghetti junction beneath Sydney months from opening”, June 15), questions need to be asked about the costs to taxpayers and our health. Why has $4 billion of public money – that’s $3000 per Sydney household – been spent on an interchange designed to funnel traffic into Transurban’s private toll road system? How much has Transurban donated to the major political parties? How much extra traffic, congestion and pollution will this interchange dump into surrounding neighbourhoods? Given Transurban’s ambitions for toll revenue growth, will the cancerous spread of traffic-generating, climate-destroying toll roads across Sydney ever end? How will we pay for the ever-increasing cost of toll subsidies/rebates? How will we pay for the schools, hospitals and other infrastructure needed to support the low-density, city fringe development encouraged by toll road expansion? How will we pay to treat the increased cases of dementia, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, road trauma, etc. associated with continued car-dependence and urban sprawl? Christopher Standen, Erskineville
The stated aim of relieving congestion on local roads didn’t remove a main cause of delays, the traffic lights on Victoria Rd & City West Link. The $17 billions couldn’t cover that but on the other hand makes it so easy to get into the tollways. Alberto Bizcarra, Rozelle
Police DV no surprise
I suspect the report saying that police are just as likely to be committing domestic violence as the general population will come as no surprise to their long-suffering partners (“Police who face DV charges investigated by colleagues”, June 15).
No wonder campaigners against domestic violence say women are scared to report their attackers, when the offending officers’ mates could well be the ones knocking on the door in any subsequent “investigation”.
“Investigation” is probably too strong a word in a police force that for years had a reputation of not bothering with “domestics”. How can anyone have faith in a system where these crimes are regarded by the police hierarchy as so unimportant that they continue to allow such a flawed approach to their investigation? Nick Franklin, Katoomba
Put staff first
We all desire to have a safe and respectful workplace (“Hope for improved culture in ruins”, June 15). While the onus should be on individual behaviour and attitudes, the leadership in any organisation has the responsibility to set and monitor expectations. Modern management theory is all about implementing change. There can be no more important change than a culture that promotes the welfare of staff above profit, power, prestige or politics. Philip Cooney, Wentworth Falls
Work and wealth
Your letters correspondent should remember that her and her husband’s hard work has indeed kept them from being a drag on the economy (Letters, June 15). But more importantly, it has given them some choices for their future that many people on pensions will never have. Isn’t that why we work? People should be careful what they wish for, especially when the quality of aged care is discussed. Elizabeth Darton, Lane Cove West
Can we please take it as read that we all “work hard”? Some of us are fortunate, and that hard work brings financial security. For others, in jobs that are not adequately valued by our society, hard work does not translate to wealth. Financial insecurity in retirement is not necessarily a result of a wasteful, lazy life. Anne Kirman, Kellyville
RBA taking sides?
With the RBA continually raising interest rates to rein in inflation, blaming wages instead of the ludicrously huge profits big business is making (Letters, June 15), can we just call it what it is: class warfare? Todd Hillsley, Homebush
AI v stupidity
I can appreciate the concern about AI at all levels of society, but when you survey life at the political, industrial and commercial level around the world I am more concerned about RS (real stupidity). If we cannot deal with the latter how do we deal with the former (“Europeans take big step towards regulating AI, including for facial recognition”, smh.com.au, June 15)? Alan Johnson, Seaforth
Tail of two ABC shows
We are fortunate to have the public broadcaster to give us a reminder of Australian life. The best was on display in the perfect episode of Bluey called Cricket. Lots of life lessons. However, frustration was sitting heavily on the shoulder watching Utopia. Laugh, cry or rage as the National Infrastructure Authority satirises what we already know: politicians and bureaucracy have ruined the country. Wendy Atkins, Cooks Hill
Oppose Russia’s war, not its art and artists
It saddens me that Elizabeth Gilbert feels she must stop the publication of her latest book because of the opinions of a few (“Bestselling author withdraws new novel set in Russia after backlash”, June 14 ). I have read of the family she writes of and I think it would be a vey interesting book. What might we see next – Tolstoy banned? Gabrielle Merten, Bondi Beach
It is shocking that novelist Elizabeth Gilbert felt compelled to withdraw her novel set in 1930s Russia because of pro-Ukrainian social media attacks. The idea that Russia, Russians and Russian culture should become taboo topics because of Vladimir Putin’s invasion is a denial of the cultural pluralism that those opposed to Putin should be defending. A few months ago there was a superb concert of Russian music in Sydney : no one called for a boycott, and rightly so. It is Russian culture itself which is the bedrock of those Russians opposed to Putin and his war in Ukraine. When Australia was America’s sole Western ally in the brutal, criminal war in Vietnam from 1965 to 1972, no one in Europe called for a boycott of Arthur Boyd, Gwen Harwood or Peggy Glanville-Hicks. It was their humane vision that sustained the thousands of Australians opposed to the conscription of 21-year-olds and the militarisation of Australian society. No just cause benefits from sloppy thinking. Michael Boylan, Glebe
Talent doesn’t discriminate. The mere good fortune that someone was born in country A or B is the only thing that ties them to that place. The only legitimate way to depoliticise an event and to remove any potential glory for the aggressors is to make Russian and Belorussian competitors perform under a neutral (white) flag. This worked for the Australian Open and there was no public ill feeling. Daniel Mitterdorfer, Footscray (Vic)
The digital view
Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
The name of the world’s largest sand island is changing. So it should
From Honey Huntingtower: ″Melbourne already is widely known by its Indigenous name – Naarm. When I was travelling home yesterday, the display board at the airport listed flights to Melbourne/Naarm – kept switching between the two names. I thought it was great.″
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