The opposition, in calling for an audit on government Indigenous spending (which would mainly be their own spending over the past decade), appears to misunderstand the role of the Voice (“If not a Voice, what’s our choice?”, October 6). It took more than 20 years after Kevin Rudd’s apology in parliament for Peter Dutton to express his regret for boycotting it, saying he failed to grasp “the symbolic significance” of the moment at the time. If the Voice referendum is defeated, should we expect another regretful apology in a few decades’ time when he fully comprehends its significance? Alan Marel, North Curl Curl
Waleed Aly has hit the nail on the head: the calls and obfuscations by Dutton are disingenuous, destructive and purely political. The opposition leader doesn’t seem to care about the real issues: he seems to only care about his job. Ian Ferrier, Long Jetty
If Dutton wants an audit of Indigenous spending, perhaps he could look in the mirror and request an audit of government spending on maintaining our offshore detention facilities. In Aly’s words; give us the detail. Vicky Marquis, Glebe
Your article reinforces the idea that if you don’t know, you need to go and read up on it to better understand the Voice and what it’s all about (“After 16 months, voters start putting opinions on paper”, October 6). Those of us voting yes need to speak with friends and family about it. Break the old “don’t speak about politics” rule and have some serious discussions about how they’re voting and why it matters. The Voice isn’t a cure-all for our society, but it is a step forward in the right direction. Jane Matthews-Bede, Blackburn
After the Voice referendum, we will have one of two scenarios. If Yes wins, First Australians will be recognised in the Constitution and there will be the opportunity for their lives to be measurably improved. If the vote is for No, that opportunity will be lost, and we will be left with the situation we have now, or perhaps a situation that will be worse. Regrettably, the Coalition is either silent or bereft of any alternative plan. Surely, madness is to persist doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. David Ailwood, Figtree
It is quickly forgotten that the exceptional problems faced by the much-derided previous government, i.e. fires floods and COVID, were not of their making, whereas the future of Australia under the current government in having devised an ill-considered populist referendum to change the Constitution, should it pass, with its inevitable divisive repercussions will be a legacy entirely of its own making and not possible to expunge. Stephanie Summers, North Turramurra
Probing is not bias
No advocates complaining of ABC bias is risible (“No offence: Dutton and Price take aim at ‘pro-Voice’ ABC”, October 6). As a daily listener to the ABC I have often found its coverage of the referendum to be scrupulously fair and often, for this Yes supporter, frustratingly so. But given the rock star reception the No supporting politicians receive at Sky News, it is no surprise they bristle at any attempt at probing for deeper, factual understanding. Anne Garvan, Chatswood West
Ray Martin must have the inside running on the Voice legislation. If he knows how it is going to work, perhaps he could tell us. If he doesn’t know how it will work, then he should desist in abusing people who also don’t know. Michael Castles, Grose Vale
Jacinta Nampijinpa Price has resonated with people because she includes everyone in her vision for Australia, and speaks plain common sense without the emotional blackmail. I think the ABC has not been even-handed in this debate with much of its reporting skewed to the Yes camp. I am proudly being a “dickhead”, a chicken little and a dinosaur, and I am voting No to dividing our country by racial heritage in our most important document. Pamela Shepherd, Balgowlah
I, too, voted early in the week and was a little surprised to see a significant number of supporters from both sides handing out pamphlets backing both sides to arriving voters (Letters, October 6). I can understand the value of “How to vote” cards in normal political elections, but would have thought in this case, voters would have made up their minds by the time they had arrived at the polling booth. Ross MacPherson, Seaforth
More must be done for older smoking addicts
Implementing a gradual age-related restriction on smoking, similar to what is in place in New Zealand and soon be introduced in the UK, represents a prudent approach to gradually curbing a highly detrimental habit (“UK smoking ban a valid blueprint for the future”, October 6). However, despite tobacco being already heavily taxed, the government should consider further increases to curb smoking by older addicts. Raising taxes on tobacco products has been proven to effectively reduce smoking rates within the community. As the number of smokers decreases, more individuals will be actively contributing to the workforce instead of occupying hospital beds, leading to reduced healthcare expenses, heightened national productivity and increased revenue. Smoking makes no sense, and vaping might not have emerged without the presence of cigarette addiction. John Kempler, Rose Bay
Both England and New Zealand have acknowledged vaping is a safer alternative to smoking. It means any smoking ban contemplated in those countries will go hand in hand with the availability of highly regulated vaping products (meaning chemical additives and nicotine levels can be closely controlled). Australia, it seems, has decided, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, that vaping is as bad as smoking. The only explanation that comes to mind is that Australia’s target is not the products themselves, but Big Tobacco, and as those companies also market vaping products, vaping in Australia must suffer the same fate as tobacco. The result of this irrational strategy has been a stubbornly high smoking rate and strong growth in vaping, fuelled by a booming black market of unregulated products, often with significantly higher levels of dangerous chemicals and nicotine than regulated products. Peter Barrett, Woonona
The UK smoking ban is great in principle. However, one can foresee police left with an impossible job enforcing the legislation. Currently, police are losing the battle against illegal drugs and to add tobacco to that list is an impossible task. What’s next? Alcohol? If the UK blueprint is adopted for many years you will have some legal smokers and some illegal smokers. Madness. Ban smoking for all from a future date is the only solution. Denis Suttling, Newport Beach
According to the American Lung Association, smoking marijuana is more harmful to the lungs than smoking cigarettes. Why do many advocate banning cigarettes but legalising marijuana? We are frequently told legalisation of illicit drugs will transfer revenue from criminals to government. Why is the revenue from cigarettes different? Why are they against vaping? Give me a cigarette smoker over a marijuana user any day. More chance of being killed on the roads by someone who is high or having a psychotic episode. Paul Davies, Crows Nest
Come clean, 3M, and clean up your poisonous mess
It’s amazing to read of the corporate cover-up by 3M, but not unexpected (“Toxic culture exposed”, October 6). It’s in the DNA of big business. This is a fiasco even worse than the shameful asbestos episode from the James Hardie company.
3M’s reckless development and marketing of PFOS chemicals have the potential to affect the whole Australian population; something they have known about for decades but ignored in favour of profits. Your report indicates that our government is complicit in this cover-up as it defends its own legal liability. It’s time for our government to deal with the consequences of 3M’s reckless behaviour that may affect us all. 3M should come clean and admit full responsibility in Australia.
3M must be forced to pay all damages resulting from their corporate negligence, forever (like their chemicals). The prospect of our government taking effective action, however, appears slim. Glenn Johnson, Leura
Bible v law
LGBTQ advocate groups claim the proposed anti-conversion therapy laws still allow religious groups “to practice their doctrine” (“Minns’ u-turn on bill to ban gay conversion”, October 6). That is untrue, as no longer can Bible-believing Christians “exhort one another” (Hebrews 3:13) to refrain from activity which the Bible classifies as sexual sin. Under the new law, teaching or praying for any same-sex attracted person to refrain from initiating romance and consenting to same-sex sexual activity risks ending up in a legal tribunal or possibly court for “suppressing” someone’s sexual orientation. Even praying for the equivalent of “lead us not into temptation” of sexual sin or not to be ruled by “evil desires” is a form of “suppression”. By all means ban electro-therapy, but stop trying to penalise religious moral instruction. Polly Seidler, Darlinghurst
Your correspondent’s prognostications about the outcomes should Donald Trump prevail are disturbingly valid (Letters, October 6). Such is the chaos promoted and generated by this seriously deranged and flawed man, there will be a fourth outcome – civil war, literally and metaphorically. Hence, “there will be carnage” with devastating national and international repercussions. Maureen Moss, Beecroft
After reading your article, it appears carnage in the US seems almost guaranteed (“Making America hate again”, October 5). I wonder if there will be an increase in applications for immigration to Australia? While working at the American consulate general in Sydney many years ago, all US citizens enquiring about immigrating to Australia were sent a form letter pointing out the standard of living was much lower and the taxes higher here. Judith Rostron, Killarney Heights
A productivity commissioner, with no science, epidemiology, clinical, public health or medical background is unconvincing in calling for public funding of annual flu vaccines for unvaccinated Australians (“Spending $81 million could save 500 lives every year”, October 6).
Here are a few basics of flu “herd immunity”. First, until a universal flu vaccine is available that covers all strains, addresses antigenic drift in these rapidly mutating viruses and so is more effective than current versions, this is arguably elusive. Second, we have record numbers of immigrants entering Australia, tourists in and out of the country with rapid transport across the globe – are flu vaccines mandatory for these virus hosts?
Last, most of the crucial public health messaging about cough and sneeze etiquette, handwashing and physical distancing, masks when unwell, has been forgotten by the public – amping this up again might be a better way to spend public funds. Robyn Dalziell, Kellyville
King Charles won’t or can’t participate in an important social question for the Australian people but he could turn up for a horse race (“King Charles’ visit set to be the summit of The Everest’s success”, October 6)? Neil Reckord, Gordon (ACT)
Apparently FIFA is “the global football family” according to the Asian confederation that has thrown its support behind Saudi Arabia hosting the men’s football World Cup in 2034 (“Australia’s World Cup bid suffers Saudi blow”, October 6). That “family” might like to look at how Saudi Arabia deals with freedom of expression, human rights, forced evictions, migrants’ rights and women’s and girls’ rights. It’s called the death penalty. Ironic when it comes to talking about football. George Zivkovic, Northmead
The price of housing in Australian cities, particularly Sydney, is appalling (Letters, October 6). I feel for anyone who is trying to purchase their first home here, and am grateful my husband and I were able to make our purchase in the 1980s.
However, the price of housing in Sydney has led to many ridiculous assessments of the privilege of older generations. Yes, my generation had some good stuff going in our favour, and more affordable housing was one, but the demonisation of our generation is unnecessary and frequently based on gross generalisations to the realities of many. Many saved hard, paid huge interest rates and lived carefully to get on the ladder. The proposition that money was free-flowing in the ’80s and that buying a home was easy for young people is a nonsense. Easier, yes. Easy, no.
Certainly, resent us for our good fortune, but remember that many have benefited by growing up in financially stable families, and that whatever good fortune you’ve had has likely been at the expense of someone else. Prue Nelson, Cremorne Point
Errant business executives, whose criminal greed so often negatively impacts the lowly workers, usually receive a punishment the equivalent of a slap on the wrist. Perhaps if they were to be sentenced to a few hundred hours cleaning up bodily fluids and making sure the manager’s toilet is sparkling clean it might act as more of a deterrent (Letters, October 6). Alicia Dawson, Balmain
Of coins and kings: Two things Australia should phase out
The youthful makeover of His Majesty, King Charles III on the new coins could well be the last gasp of the monarchy for Australians (“Long live the King’s younger image on our coins,” October 6). As the use of hard currency declines, so should our allegiance to a foreign monarch. It is a hopeful sign, that as we no longer depend on cash for our financial transactions, so will we demonstrate our maturity as a nation with an Australian head of state. The last facade of colonialism is crumbling. Derrick Mason, Boorowa
Chuck me a dollar? John Swanton, Coogee
But really, you just can’t beat a plain, hot cinnamon donut (“Yeast is yeast, but west is best for hole-y grail”, October 6). Lisa Clarke, Watsons Bay
A quick visit to the chemist used to provide cold tablets containing pseudoephedrine and codeine, drugs with proven efficacy (“Popular cold and flu drug ‘a fraud”’ , October 6). Now, you either take an overpriced placebo, suffer the indignity of a pharmacist looking at you like you’re a meth lab cooker to get half a remedy, or wait a week and pay the Medicare gap to get a prescription that is probably no longer needed. Col Burns, Lugarno
The torrential outpouring of gloom and doom regarding the Wallabies continued early this week, although some writers did not believe we should be too pessimistic about the two-time rugby union world champions. They may, after all, “just be naturally bottoming through the peak-trough cycle that all sports teams endure”. “Future Wallabies will rise from the ashes, it’s just a matter of when they wake up from the coma of underperformance,” wrote Joseph Ting of Carina.
In another sport with an oddly shaped ball, Panthers captain Nathan Cleary was a hero among letter writers for taking Penrith across the line in the rugby league grand final, and for voicing his support for the Yes vote in the referendum. Paul McShane of Burradoo suggested that “we just need to show the same, stirring second-half comeback as the Panthers pulled off in the NRL grand final to bring the Yes vote home in the next two weeks, despite the pessimistic reported polling. I didn’t think Penrith could do it against the odds and the scoreline, but they did, and showed it is possible.”
Brian Haisman of Winmalee was not going to let the troubles faced by the game played in heaven distract the Almighty from other, more important, problems. The week ended with his impassioned plea to the highest echelons of power that have been called upon on these pages (that we can remember). “God? You there? Sorry to trouble you, but those Australian Christian Lobby people are again entering dangerous territory. Their boasting is irritating but their current promotion of ‘gay conversion therapy’ crosses the line into bearing false witness,” he wrote. We’re waiting to see just how far our readership reaches and whether a sign, or a letter, from the heavens is forthcoming. Pat Stringa, letters editor
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