Good bloke, but head of state? Yeah, nah
This weekend many millions will observe the unrivalled pomp and ceremony of the coronation of King Charles III (“How will an ancient ceremony for a TikTok generation actually work?” , May 5). All reports say Charles is a good bloke who loves Australia and cares for the environment, but should he be the king of Australia, should politicians swear allegiance to the Crown, and should we maintain the Union Jack on the flag? The answer is a resounding “No”. It is beyond ludicrous to remain a British colony after 250 years. Max Redmayne, Drummoyne
This quote from poet Alexander Pope may strike a chord, “A tree is a nobler object than a prince in his coronation-robes.” Edward Loong, Milsons Point
The only satisfaction I will get from the coronation is knowing British taxpayers are footing the bill for the outrageous display of privilege. Denis Goodwin, Dee Why
Coronation or not, for modern Australia, swearing allegiance to King Charles is misplaced and antiquated. The monarchy’s inherited power, wealth, influence and status are just not compatible with contemporary principles. Steve Ngeow, Chatswood
Royalty is best ignored. Alan Freeman, Annandale
That a die-hard Australian republican such as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will have the audacity to attend the coronation of King Charles III at Westminster Abbey in London and will swear allegiance to the British monarch has understandably made republicans and monarchists in Australia see red. Get a grip on reality, people: Albo is just laying the groundwork for ensuring that he will be the last Australian PM to constitutionally suck up to a British monarch. Eric Palm, Gympie (Qld)
What a lot of fuss about our symbolic head of state on the other side of the world. Replacing a powerless figurehead with a politician or a totalitarian as has happened in many republics doesn’t seem a very bright idea to me. Let’s rather continue to strive towards the goal of a common wealth for all Australians. John Flint, St Leonards
What a shame the coronation of Charles and Camilla was not scheduled for Star Wars Day, May 4. That would probably have created more interest here in Australia. As it is, our various media outlets are trying to claim we are engrossed by this event, but its archaic, anachronistic “traditions” have little relevance for many Australians. And this pantomime is costing the already-devastated British economy millions of pounds. Rob Phillips, North Epping
Armageddon of our making
With the arrival of potentially the most destructive technology since the advent of the atomic bomb, Waleed Aly rightly urges us to listen to Geoffrey Hinton, the “godfather” of artificial intelligence (“Falling hard for the machines”, May 5). Hinton warns how the world’s most advanced military powers are already in a race to integrate AI into war fighting. But the greatest danger is in AI fully automating a nuclear Armageddon. Launch decisions would be reduced to within a few minutes, according to the speed
of computation. Vincent Zankin, Rivett (ACT)
Waleed Aly’s description of the ways in which AI is impinging on our lives is scary. Although, given the present limitations of AI, I am not worried that AI robots will replace humanity any time soon, I am worried that humanity’s political and religious leaders will use AI to further delude the masses with disinformation. Geoff Black, Caves Beach
Humans, despite our allegedly superior intelligence, possess an almost infinite stupidity, generally motivated by greed. We’ve gone a long way to wrecking the world with our mania for super-profit yielding fossil fuels. We’ve sustained wars to feed the insatiable weapons industry, destroyed environments and their habitats, taken what belongs to others. Now big companies are throwing caution to the wind to chase the extraordinary profits that will fall to AI market leaders. We must deploy our own humanity to limit AI’s ability to subvert it. If, instead, we recklessly pursue its sinister potential, we will deserve the consequences. Alison Stewart, Riverview
Makes you think that the novel Frankenstein was quite prescient. Clearly, the human race is not as clever as it thinks. David Rush, Lawson
Doof, doof, doof, doof
Premier Chris Minns might say, “It’s not your personal backyard” (“Stadium decision a boost to Sydney’s nightlife recovery”, May 5), but when the noise is vibrating inside my head in bed at night, it is. I have tolerated it before, but the thought of more is horrifying. At least turn the volume down. Gwynthia Ferrier, Paddington
Sydney’s nightlife will suffer until public transport is fixed. Pamela Shepherd, Balgowlah
Give me terra firma
Qantas watchers (Letters, May 5) should celebrate cautiously the return of the “Hudson” name. The car sold in Australia by the American Hudson company, c. 1936, was called the “Terraplane”. Kevin Eadie, Drummoyne
If Richard Glover thinks working from home means working in isolation (“The office works. I don’t get the appeal of working from home”, smh.com.au, May 5), I must conclude he doesn’t have a cat. Peter Fyfe, Enmore
Turn the tables
The solution to cafe table-hoggers (Letters, May 5): turn off the Wi-Fi for five minutes every half an hour. Richard Kirby, Campbelltown
In Europe, people approach tables with empty seats and ask, “Is this seat free?” , then sit down. Any person focused on their work soon moves. Eric Sekula, Turramurra
Monarchy in the UK: the debate for a republic rages
Craig Foster and Nova Peris say, “Seven out of 10 of us believe the monarchy does not represent our values as a nation” (“Coronation a reminder of why we need change”, May 5). Of course they don’t. But this answer is irrelevant to the question of a republic. In September last year, a Resolve poll found only 46 per cent of Australians answered “Yes” when asked if they would support a change in the constitution and break ties to the British monarchy. I think the adage “there are lies, damn lies and statistics” is a truism when it comes to the republic. Riley Brown, Bondi Beach
The articulate and passionate voices of Craig Foster and Nova Peris should be heard and broadcast throughout the country: in homes, offices and in schools. This is the turning point for Australia, our moment to grow up and finally sever the ties with Britain. We are not interested in an old man who has waited his whole life to have a crown put on his head because that is his apparent birthright. Nor do we want to swear any sort of allegiance or, god forbid, “service” to the crown. Utter anachronistic nonsense that has no place in modern Australia – except as a curious historical artefact. Josie McSkimming, Coogee
Revelations relating to the way in which the universities have axed degree courses in modern languages (“Languages out, cybersecurity in: The degrees universities have axed”, May 5) reflect a sad malaise in our national strategic thinking. In a world fraught with increased turbulence, there is an acute need to bolster our abilities as a nation, to be part of increased, nuanced international dialogue on the world stage. One way forward is for the federal government to directly intervene in the tertiary education sector to support, through grants and scholarships, incentives for our best and brightest to undertake tertiary courses inclusive of full language study. Rod Leonarder, Roseville
The National Australia Bank reported a record half-yearly profit of $4.1 billion, which was a 17per cent increase (“Rates close to peak, says NAB chief”, May 5), yet its share price dropped as the results were below “market” expectations. Whoever the “market” is should be aware that many people are doing it tough at the moment and that a profit of $4.1billion, which may well be applauded, is also sufficient. The idea of something being sufficient appears to have escaped us; replaced by the need for more. Neil Buchanan, Waitara
Your article on young Amir’s kidney transplant (“Kidney transplants at 10-year low, so Amir counts blessings”, May 5) touched my heart and my soul. I was so very fortunate to receive a transplant 11 years ago. The benefits of receiving a transplant aren’t just life-saving, they are life changing. Due to this compassionate gift from my donor’s family I was able to become a fully productive member of society again. I have been able to work, assist with and enjoy my grandchildren, and contribute to my community and just participate in everyday, wonderful life. The death of a loved one is a time of unfathomable sadness. Knowing that they will provide life to another may ameliorate some of that loss. Please consider donating. Cora Ingram, Dulwich Hill
Your correspondent’s list of “inflation’s complex causes” (Letters, May 5) omits retailer power, arguably its primary driver. A decade of gutless Coalition inaction on the competition front has kneecapped productivity gains and bolstered pricing power. As usual, Cathy Wilcox nails the truth impeccably in her cartoon. Michael Britt, MacMasters Beach
Now that clever scientists have worked out how to trigger oxytocin (“A Sydney chemist hunted this molecule for a decade. Now it’s worth $273 million”, smh.com.au, May 5), which “underpins feelings of trust, recognition and romance”, please put it in the water supply worldwide. This world could do with it. Marie Del Monte, Ashfield
Regarding recyclable packing for pills and tablets (Letters, May 5), there is already a recyclable option – small glass bottles, which are still used for supermarket vitamin tablets. Foil and plastic sheets of tablets are not recyclable, although the cardboard box is. A glass or recyclable plastic bottle of, say, 60 tablets takes up far less volume than two packets of 30 tablets each, so less shipping costs, storage space in warehouses and pharmacies, etc. Helen Howes, Collaroy
Your correspondent and other readers may be pleased to learn that blister packs can indeed be recycled. At least one company sells “zero waste boxes”, in which any brand of empty medicine blister packs can be recycled. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see them in all pharmacies, medical centres, hospitals, group homes and aged care facilities? Hannah Lane, Manilla
I can’t say I have given much attention in recent times to the MLC building at North Sydney (Letters, May 5) but I do remember that when we visited our grandparents at Greenwich Point in the early 1960s, we would head to the back verandah to check the white or red lights on the MLC building’s weather beacon – state-of-the-art communication for the masses before the days of multiple weather apps on the mobile phone. I don’t recall what level of accuracy the beacon managed to achieve. Doug Walker, Baulkham Hills
Secrets of successor
According to British newspapers, the coronation oath (“Bloody oath, this is not democracy”, May 5) is: “I swear that I will pay true allegiance to your Majesty, and to your heirs and successors according to law. So help me God.” If you want to change Australia from a monarchy to a republic by altering the Constitution in a lawful way with a referendum, you have no trouble swearing this oath, as the republic will be a successor according to law. If you want to make the change by throwing bombs and shooting people, you have a problem. John Bryson, Pymble
The PM’s decision to swear allegiance to the King during the coronation is as ridiculous as when Tony Abbott awarded a knighthood to Prince Philip. Con Vaitsas, Ashbury
It’s OK to pledge your allegiance, prime minister. Just cross your fingers behind your back and it doesn’t count. Barry Riley, Woy Woy
So, that’s decided: during the ceremony, I will be giving a shout-out to Professor Emerita Helen Irving for her well-written article on swearing and allegiances. Otherwise, playing AC/DC with amplification may be the ticket (Letters, May 5). Helen Lewin, Tumbi Umbi
Immigration was the big topic at the start of this week on the letters pages, following the news that Australia was planning to take another 400,000 people this year (although half of them would be students and therefore many would not be permanent).
Writers, on the whole, are not against immigration, almost all of them are immigrants or the descendants of immigrants after all. What they are against is so much immigration at the moment, the argument being that the country has a housing and infrastructure shortage, and wages that aren’t high enough, so why would we want to bring more people here?
Later in the week, writers moved on to the change of leadership at Qantas, deciding that it was probably about time and wishing good luck to the new woman in bringing the airline back to the greatness of its history.
There was also lively discussion about HECS and the idea of Scott Morrison taking a job overseas. Then there were many pleas on behalf of the dwindling koala population. Everyone wants them saved, but no one wants to give
up building houses, so what can be done?
Talk about the coronation (and many correspondents would like to point out that the correct word in Australia is “crowned” not “coronated”) is growing as the time draws near. So far, interest in the day is about evenly for and against, Charles is a good enough chap, but we need a republic and the quiche does not have much appeal. There is also strong grassroots support for the idea suggested by one writer, of having Rampaging Roy Slaven and HG Nelson “call” the coronation, a sure ratings winner, the writers think.
Harriet Veitch, Acting letters editor
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