Is Trump the greatest threat to America’s democracy?

My American parents were staunch Republican supporters (“‘Catch and kill’ scheme: Donald Trump pleads not guilty to 34 criminal charges”,, April 5). Were they alive today, they would be mortified at how craven and unprincipled the Republican party has become in their support of Donald Trump. As it appears the party is unable or unwilling to control him, it is up to the legal system to finally put an end to Trump’s disruptive reign of terror. While he will probably escape jail the courts must at least render him powerless to pursue his political career. Should the legal system fail to convict him, he will become even more egotistically insufferable and his followers will feel justified in supporting his every insane act. He would become a rogue force which would spell the end of American democracy. Having started down the indictment path, the courts must not fail to find Trump guilty of at least one of his many crimes. Richard Keyes, Enfield

Illustration: John Shakespeare

Illustration: John ShakespeareCredit:

I strongly believe that if Trump were to announce that the sun would not come up the next day, on the following morning a majority of his Republican Party would be wandering around bumping into furniture and saying things like “Isn’t it dark?” Chris Keay, Caste Hill

Trump’s tweet – “While we are living through the darkest hours of American history … ” – says it all about the man. What about losses of life at Pearl Harbour during two world wars, the American Civil War, the Vietnam war, and more recent conflicts? Hurricanes? Mass shootings at schools? The Great Depression? All are nothing compared to him being indicted. Extraordinary that anyone might still take him seriously. Paul Parramore, Sawtell

Is it as an issue of “no one is above the law” or one involving politically motivated criminal charges? President Joe Biden should consider a Nixon-type general pardon for crimes Trump may have committed to prevent the nation from unnecessarily fracturing over this issue. After all, the majority of sensible voters rejected Trump in 2020 and will no doubt do so in 2024, if given the chance. Pasquale Vartuli, Wahroonga

Over the years I have felt superior to those countries whose governments have trumped up charges against political opponents and even managed to get them sent to prison. I always believed that would never happen in my country or in those countries that “shared my values”. Like many others I fear for the future of America. Michael Walsh, Croydon

It is a toss-up as to who is the greatest threat to US democracy – Trump and the egregious high profile Republicans who support him, or Trump’s one-time mate, Putin. Ron Sinclair, Windradyne

Last month I was booked during one of those afternoon Sydney downpours which make you feel you’ve suddenly been tossed into a dishwasher on full rinse, and which obscured the speed sign. When I challenged the fine, NSW Revenue rejected the claim, saying I would have seen the sign. Not true – they weren’t there. Rather than fight it, I coughed up the cash. Long story short, it was stormy and I paid to make the problem go away. Can I be president? Peter Fleming, Northmead

Trumped-up charges or trumped by the law? Only in America! Keith Harkin, Cannons Creek (VIC)

Dutton turns his back on everything

Peter Dutton, last time I looked, Uluru wasn’t in Canberra. But I guess it might be hard to tell, when you turn your back on everything (“Liberal Party rejects ‘Canberra Voice’ in favour of local and regional bodies”,, April 5). To pretend the nationwide, multi-layered local, regional and national Voice structure proposed in the Uluru statement of the heart and now proposed for our constitution would somehow only be a “Canberra voice” is almost as misleading as your blaming African gangs for terrorising Melbourne – or your latest spin that your No is really Yes. Sandy Thomas, Lilyfield

No amount of weasel words, workshopping or the calling for more details can hide the motive for the Opposition’s negativity towards a Voice to parliament.
Revenge for their drubbing in federal and state elections drives their need to see the PM lose the policy he is most passionate about. Sadly, the opposition are more than willing to bring ongoing shame on all of us and put progress back generations, to achieve their moment of satisfaction. Penny Hammond, Orange

The Liberals have voted to oppose enshrining the concept of an Indigenous Voice in Australia’s Constitution. At last we have people asking questions, not about the merits of having an Indigenous advisory Voice – which, surely, are patent – but about whether the concept should be embodied in the Constitution. We need an Indigenous Voice urgently and should get on with legislation. Ian Bowie, Bowral

Liberal Party needs both new policy and leadership

It is refreshing to see a Liberal MP admit that there need to be substantial changes in its policies, rather than just wait for a move in the zeitgeist, as some have suggested (“Party must embrace chance to renew”, April 5). Simon Birmingham is on the money when he notes that the party must acknowledge that social and demographic voter re-alignments compel the party to update its approach in areas such as climate change and inclusion, as well as in the candidate selection process. Maybe the other move Birmingham should make is to the Shire, where he could enter the House of Representatives upon Scott Morrison’s inevitable retirement, thereby making himself eligible for the party leadership. Clay O’Brien, Mosman

Birmingham’s sentiments are laudable but have the feel of a cry from the wilderness in the face of the obduracy represented by the bulk of his colleagues in the Liberal Party. The solution does not lie in fine-tuning the messaging or revamping the branding. It may be that the whole Liberal party edifice has to be razed and reconstructed much as Menzies did in 1944. Alan Phillips, Mosman


<p>Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

Birmingham claims “the principals of liberalism are enduring, as are those of conservatism” but I cannot find any link between the Liberal Party and my understanding of liberalism or conservatism. He goes on to acknowledge Liberal intolerance, lack of inclusion and a failure to stand up for families. He does claim “an incredible track record of job creation” while ignoring wage freezes and the damaging growth of part-time, low-paid jobs lacking in security. He also acknowledged that “a large proportion of young people now believe home ownership is beyond reach. As a swinging voter, I hope that the Liberal Party does not survive, but is replaced by a new inclusive party that has integrity, vision, and acts for the benefit of all Australians, not just the well-off. Keith Woodward, Newport

If Birmingham wants to see change in the Liberal party, then he’ll need to get out of the Senate, into the lower house, and challenge Peter Dutton for the leadership. The small-l liberal Senator is on a completely different wavelength to his leader, who shows no sign of listening to either the voters who keep rejecting him, nor members of his own party. Josie McSkimming, Coogee

Perhaps it’s time for your correspondents to cease offering their sage advice on how the Liberals can reform themselves; there’s always the risk that they may eventually listen (Letters, April 5). Frank McGrath, Bulli

Who gets to judge what qualifies as rap music?

Banning rap music from being played at the Sydney Royal Easter Show on the basis it attracts young people to organised crime sounds as absurd as some of the reasoning given for book burning (“Easter show boss defends rap music ban on carnival rides”, April 5). And exactly how the police and show officials become accurate and impartial arbiters of genre is sillier still. For example, under the criteria released to the press, Blondie’s 1980 hit Rapture would be struck off any playlist – not that it’s a song likely to be played these days. Tony Doyle, Fairy Meadow

It’s easy to scoff at the ignorance and prejudice of past generations who claimed that jazz was “scientifically proven” to foster immorality and provoke violence. Yet here we are, a century later, and hip-hop is being removed from the Easter show playlist for the same reasons. Plus ça change Angharad Davis, Roseville

Commendations to the Royal Easter Show for the ban on music which uses offensive and violent language. It is about time that some action was taken to rein in so-called “celebrities”, including musical “icons”, comedians, politicians and other “high profile influencers” whose knowledge of English adjectives is limited to one word beginning with “f”. Rob Phillips, North Epping

To calm the savage breast, the Easter show should encourage the playing of classical music – I suggest Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony as especially apt – but definitely not Gustav Holst’s Mars, Bringer of War, or Schubert’s The Erl King. Jane Stevenson, Fairlight

Just as rock’n’roll scared society and the religious blaming it for juvenile delinquency when it erupted in the 1950s we now have rap music being banned from the Easter show to deter criminal youth gangs. Banning a genre of music has always led to an increase in its acceptance. Con Vaitsas, Ashbury

Rap music has been banned at the Easter show, to deter violence and criminal activity. Those youth gang fans of Hamilton The Musical will no doubt be disappointed. Ross Duncan, Potts Point

I totally support the ban on rap music, though the locality should be nationwide, but not because it lures youth into crime. Rather to save all of us from having to listen to it. Dick Clarke, Elanora Heights

Healthy arts

As a cultural historian, author, filmmaker and performer I applaud our revitalised federal government in ensuring our arts remain healthy (“Gallery wins funding reprieve to halt crisis”, April 5) . When our arts institutions are healthy we artists are also healthy. Warren Fahey, Elizabeth Bay

Phone dilemma

While the data for banning mobile phones in schools is hard to argue with, and students with a phone in their pocket are more likely to disengage with learning, the banning of mobile phones just kicks the can down the road (“Parents have made smartphones a school problem”, April 5). The notion that we nurture our students in an environment without them is inconsistent with the idea that education is about best preparing students for the real world, and life after school. An adult who can utilise the resources available to them via a mobile phone has a huge advantage over an adult who can’t. Where will students learn these skills if we don’t teach them? The focus needs to be on using the technology for good, not hiding them from the reality of their existence. Rydr Tracy, Paddington

I agree with Antoinette Lattouf that the problem with mobile phone use in schools is parents. As a retired public high school teacher, phones were and are an endless distraction in the classroom and need to be strongly regulated or banned completely, but it is the parents who insist that their child have their phone at all times in case of emergency. Real emergencies very rarely happen, and the child can be contacted quickly and efficiently through the school. Students mostly use the phones for entertainment; banning them at school would result in students talking and playing with each other. Now wouldn’t that be a novel outcome? Shane Nunan, Finley

Fantastic Forum

Only last week my husband and I went for a walk down to the Forum after going to the cinema nearby. It looked so sad and sorry (“Italian Forum sold to mystery developer”, April 5). How great it would be if someone had the foresight to redevelop it into a bustling public space again like the Italian piazza it was meant to be. Good luck to the new developers. I hope this is their plan. Angie Miller, Bondi Junction

Now and then: The Italian Forum.Credit:SMH

Climate fear

The report on the national security risks of climate change has been suppressed because it may be alarming to most Australians (“Release climate report: experts”, April 5). But this is precisely what we all need – a good dose of fear. Our destructive lifestyles must change, and the government must be encouraged to be more aggressive in greenhouse policies to mitigate climate change. All the predictions of climate scientists have been accurate and there is no reason to think that predictions for the medium to long-term future will not be similarly accurate. We should all be informed and respond accordingly. Geoff Harding, Chatswood

Facebook spies

Now that Australia, a USA mouthpiece, has placed bans on TikTok I would expect reciprocal action is taken to also ban Facebook – which has been proven to spy on users worldwide (“Chinese owned apps under scrutiny after TikTok ban”, April 5). Ken Mcleod, Williamstown

Medicare waste

If you see waste in something like Medicare, there is rarely one reason (Letters, April 5). Poor processes; lack of money; not enough staff; poor training; rorting. They are probably all there. The AMA is getting a bit precious about their doctors when likely a few are rorting the system. At this stage, nobody knows whether the rorting is insignificant or major. Is it too much to ask that we just undertake the study with an open mind? Neville Turbit, Russell Lea

It’s very simple to recover all those missing Medicare funds. The government should set up a computer system to calculate the average use of medicare per year, which will then send out debt recovery notices to all those that exceeded the average. I understand we already have the expertise to set up the system. Robo-Medirort? Robert Hosking, Paddington

Eye in the sky

Once again the Parkes radio telescope takes pride of place in NASA’s latest efforts to land astronauts on the moon (“In deep space, Australia is listening”, April 5). We were there in 1969 when Neil Armstrong took the first small step that made him the first human to set foot in another world. Perhaps there is another movie of the quality of The Dish to be made. Genevieve Milton, Dulwich Hill

All the money that is being spent on Artemis II going to the moon in 2024 or 2025 to “collect lunar soil and scour it for water by 2026”. Surely, there could be far better used here on earth. Don’t we have enough ecological problems to solve here? Chris Sinclair, West Pennant Hills

Religious right

Hold the presses, I’d like to hear more about Rupert’s rumoured aversion to “outspoken evangelical views” (“Rupert Murdoch calls off engagement with Ann Lesley Smith: report”, April 5). If this is true, these views must really be beyond the pale. Brian Jones, Leura

Rupert Murdoch was to marry Ann-Lesley Smith this coming northern summer.

Rupert Murdoch was to marry Ann-Lesley Smith this coming northern summer.

Beat the cheats

I laughed at the apparent irony that we are using computer software to detect AI-generated content (“University cheats on notice after launch of ChatGPT detection software”, April 5). Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will guard the guards themselves? Michael Cunningham, Pearl Beach

The digital view

Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on
Defence leaders urge release of ‘scary’ climate report
From lainie03: ″⁣It is an insult to the people if the information is not released. Perhaps it would spur the country to action to do what we can to lessen the effects and prepare for whatever unfolds. Ignorance is not bliss.″⁣

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Justin Scaccy

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