True to her profession, Dee Madigan predicts that the new Yes campaign advertisement will swing votes in favour of a Yes vote (“Yes ad’s focus on the Why a winner”, September 19). Madigan points out that voters make decisions based on their emotions, and this is a believable assertion.
However, in the case of the referendum, there are wider responses at work than an emotional representation of the facts of Indigenous disadvantage. As has been commented, there are existing deep-seated negative attitudes towards Indigenous people which are racially based, meaning that some voters would always object to any suggested positive assistance.
In addition, the No campaign has stoked fear about the real motives of the Voice and how the Voice would be structured and implemented, not to mention Coalition voters who dislike Anthony Albanese on principle.
Madigan is hopeful that those viewing the new advertisement will reverse their thinking as emotional empathy takes over. Many who appear to have already made up their minds are operating on other emotional responses and will have no feeling for the plea of “will I be heard?” Ross Butler, Rodd Point
As a psychologist not so long ago, I researched strategies that might facilitate attitudinal openness and change, particularly in the areas of multiculturalism and racism. One which stood out was the “normalising” of an alternative view. People tend to believe that their own views are “normal”, however uncommonly held in the wider community. Presumably the echo chamber of social media reinforces this tendency. If you want to support the Yes campaign but don’t have time or capacity to leaflet, doorknock or discuss, help normalise what was recently the majority view. How? Wear the T-shirt, attach the badge. Put up a yard sign. Every interaction with a viewpoint makes it less scary.
David Payne, Hurlstone Park
I hope Dee Madigan is right and we do not wake up to a national headache and international shame on October 15. No society, including ours, is free of racism. We are not as sickeningly overt as some other countries, but racist sentiment is unfortunately present in those sections of the No campaign disregarding what has been done to Indigenous people since European colonisation to perpetuate their gross disadvantage. Moreover, internal conflict between high-profile First Nations people continues to deter prospects for referendum success. Ron Sinclair, Windradyne
It is easy to use and abuse the term “racism” when it suits us (Letters, September 19). But the human instincts that are most often at their ugliest in these situations are primitive, fearful tribalism and a selfish us-or-them mentality. These traits, not racism, are what’s fuelling rudeness and aggression in the Voice debate. In truth there is only one race, the human race, and we stand or fall together on how we treat each other. Meredith Williams, Northmead
A very ancient Australian culture regards Uluru as a special place (Letters, September 19). We should respect this as we do sacred places in other cultures. Or do we want to permit climbing on St Andrew’s and St Mary’s Cathedrals? Jane Gye, Cowan
Endless population growth could cause our own extinction
There has to be an endpoint for population growth here and across the world (“My parents’ contribution to Australia is greater than the house they took off the market”, September 19). Overpopulation means so much agricultural land is taken for housing, forests are cut down, pollution increases, air quality deteriorates, mass extinction of plant and animal species occurs and our water systems are put under pressure.
Now is the time to work towards a self-sustaining economy, but that would mean companies would have to stop chasing ever-higher profits. We may not want to think about it, but the human species could also become extinct if our environment can no longer support us. Sandra Pertot, Diamond Beach
Shameless exploitation of immigration by politicians for political point scoring makes life harder for new migrants. These people pay a huge sum of money to get to Australia (it was increased in the last year’s budget but no one cares about that). There is a myth that migrants go straight onto welfare when they arrive but here is some news for those sceptics – migrants do not receive a cent from the government, just Medicare. So from day one of their arrival they work their butts off looking for jobs, they contribute to all economic activities positively, most of the aged care centres wouldn’t be able to operate unless there were migrants who rolled up for those jobs – every day. Instead of going after new migrants who have no voice, we should consider their contribution and help them to settle, rather than make them political football for a short-term gain. Mukul Desai, Hunters Hill
According to your writer, Japan and Australia don’t have enough people. Furthermore, the past 100 years of population growth benefited Australia, therefore it always will. Additionally, we can look forward to lower house prices when we get rid of the zoning regulations to house this endless population growth. With millions of climate refugees from the South Pacific in our near future, big Australia advocates may yet get to live out their dream. Paul Davies, Crows Nest
Save our sanctuary
North Head Sanctuary at Manly is indeed a sanctuary (“Bold new plan to transform North Head”, September 19). Let’s hope it stays that way under the new development plans. There is no need for any new buildings to accommodate any proposed new cafes and restaurants at North Head. There are plenty of unused and very impressive ex-military buildings that could be transformed for food and beverage options. Let hope no corporate or international chain monopolises the opportunities. Keep it low-key and accessible to all, just as it is now. Helen Simpson, Curl Curl
Virtue its own reward
It is good to see recommendations made in Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins’ Respect@Work report being implemented but to this jaded old observer, it is mind-boggling to note the Human Rights Commission suggesting that “pay boosts and gift vouchers” be offered to “reward employees’ respectful behaviour” (“Hip-pocket hit for sexual harassment”, September 19). Really? Rewards for those behaving as they should? What’s that going to do for the gender pay gap? And for the anger and resentment of the many women victimised and harassed who get no “rewards” at all – they simply have to endure. Geraldine O’Brien, Redfern
“Behind all those [budget] dollars are people, whose needs are real”. Thanks, Ross Gittins, for reminding us that politicians should be using their budgets for real people with real problems – quite unlike the previous Coalition governments that didn’t care about the people whose lives they ruined, just so the government could rake in some revenue (“This is no horror budget, but Labor still had three dirty jobs to do”, smh.com.au, September 19). David Gordon, Cranebrook
Time for action
Good on the Environmental Council of Central Queensland for attempting to hold our foot-dragging, coal-loving Albanese government to account (“Plibersek accused of failing to protect environment as case against her coal decisions begins,” September 19). The residents and custodians of this suffering planet have heard enough of the minister talking the talk. It is time the court required her to walk the walk. Mark Paskal, Austinmer
Win over Wales? Currently, they’d be lucky to beat the Llanfairpwllgwyngyll U12Cs (“Win over Wales the only remedy for Wallabies”, September 19). Col Burns, Lugarno
Seldom has a press conference come back to bite a rugby (or any other football) coach on the bum like Eddie Jones’ last year.
Australian rugby has always tied its success to focusing on developing the game in private schools. Bad decision. I think there was only one public school-educated player in the game against Tonga.
Many players have been poached from public schools on “scholarships”, apparently because elite private schools can’t produce players from their own enrolled students, even with huge amounts of money available and a surplus of sheep available for tackling practice. Kevin Farrell, Beelbangera
Sorry affair: the coach took the blame for the Wallabies’ loss to Fiji (“Fiji’s win over Wallabies inspires nation beyond rugby”, September 19). Certainly, the players and the conditions and/or the referee can take blame, but the truth is Fiji are a better team and that is why they won. Fiji also beat England for the first time ever. Quit the blame game and extend congratulations. Richard Stewart, Pearl Beach
No virgin territory
Thanks to your correspondent for the comment on the need for the wit and insight by an Australian playwright to expose “buffoonery that’s peddled as faith” (Letters, September 19). I am the playwright who has written the novel (a play-to-be) Venice’s Virgin Mother, about a young woman in 17th century Venice who comes up with the perfect alibi – a virgin birth – when she discovers, to her horror, that she’s pregnant. She gets away with it in a world that’s riddled with the buffoonery of religion and other superstitions. Nothing new about virgin births. History is littered with them. Play now in the works. Berwyn Lewis, Bondi
Greg Baker’s criticism that universities have become part of an education “industry” ring true to me (Letters, September 19). I have spent most of my working life on the academic staff of a very highly rated Australian university, and since retirement I have continued my active involvement as an honorary associate because I like the work environment and love the people. I have seen it grow from a good to a great university – and lose its soul along the way. It has evolved from an institution which educated a handful of very smart people and encouraged oddballs and innovative thinkers to flourish, to a multi-university that produces well-trained technocrats and world-leading research, but at the expense of not giving students a rounded education, and staff the opportunities to dream. Ian Falconer, Turramurra
Gaining letters after my name (BA LLB degrees) from Sydney Uni wasn’t easy (Letters, September 19). But, phew, qualifying for my name in Letters is becoming even harder. Edward Loong, Milsons Point
After I read out loud Allen Greer’s letter, my blue Burmese, Pippa, almost choked on her Dine beef and liver (Letters, September 19). She then proceeded to hop on my lap, look at me with her beautiful big eyes and reassure me that her feelings for me are indeed true love. Phil Peak, Dubbo
Your correspondent’s comment that saying anything negative about cats means they don’t matter is laughable. All councils insist that dogs are kept under control and inside private property, with no one saying they don’t matter. Why are cat people so sensitive? Let’s put wildlife first and pets second, whether dogs or cats. Rosslyn Jeffery, Castle Hill
The distraction is working. We’re talking about cats, not coal mines and cars and the carbon crisis. We’ve been willingly suckered – once again – by a government talking the talk but not even crawling on climate change. My inside cat doesn’t care but wants another belly rub: an apt metaphor for the planet-killing industries and their elected apologists. Peter Fyfe, Enmore
Where can I find a climate change denier to shout at? Respectfully, of course (“Records broken, fire ban declared as Sydney takes a dip”, September 19). Paul Stevens, North Epping
My wife told me she would prefer a new golf bag over an engagement ring (Letters, September 19). Peter Jeffery, Garran (ACT)
At 75, is Charles Carson, the butler at Downton Abbey, too old to apply (“Prince William seeks palace CEO”, September 19)? Kim Crawford, Springwood
Australia’s number one Christian still largely appears to lack Christianity’s number one asset: humility (“Morrison’s book aims to tap $1.8b US market”, September 19). Having “stepped down” as PM, after “leading Australia during one of the toughest periods since World War II, covering drought, wildfires (from Hawaii), a global pandemic and a recession” he has penned a missive exploring such questions as “Who am I?” and “How should I live?” Does this tome delve into his role in the robo-debt misery, for example, or contain even a skerrick of a mea culpa about his mendacious behaviour? Was the poor fellow simply misunderstood? At the very least, will he tell us what went on in the Parliament House prayer room? Alison Stewart, Riverview
Former prime minister Scott Morrison sermonised to his fellow pentecostalists that “I stepped down as prime minister”. Morrison’s stepping down is the equivalent of saying that Custer stepped down at Little Bighorn, the Light Brigade stepped down at the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War, and the Swans stepped down in their 81 point loss to Geelong in last year’s AFL grand final. John Payne, Kelso
Don’t expect depth, sincerity or compassion. Mustafa Erem, Terrigal
I wonder how many hidden covers Scott Morrison’s book will have? Adrian Connelly, Springwood
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