Personal integrity is far more heroic than ‘the cult of warrior worship’

Consultant Samantha Crompvoets wrote reports into the culture of the SAS which ultimately lead to the Brereton Inquiry which implicated 25 soldiers in the alleged unlawful killing of 39 Afghans, and then the spectacular downfall of Ben Roberts-Smith (“‘Strip their medals’”, June 9). The worth of her work has been absolutely justified, but most of her income – mainly work for the federal government – dried up after its release, when the then defence minister, Peter Dutton, criticised her. He “didn’t want the military to be distracted by things that happened in the past”. Wrong! That statement seems to be an equally egregious misjudgment as his “regretted” decision to walk out on Kevin Rudd’s apology to the stolen generation in 2008. Now he is opposing the Uluru Statement from the Heart. History will judge him harshly. Ian Morris, Strathfield

Illustration: Matt Golding

Illustration: Matt GoldingCredit:

Why on earth should distinguished soldiers “who [also] oversaw alleged wrongdoing in Afghanistan” now be stripped of their medals? There is a world of difference between an allegation of wrongdoing and any actual doing of wrong. Moreover, even if a soldier (or, for that matter, anybody in any walk of life) who has distinguished him or herself by some particularly worthy act is later found to have done some wrong on another occasion, while ever the good act that warranted official formal honouring remains a matter of fact, it necessarily still must warrant honouring. The call for the stripping of honours when someone makes allegations or believes there has been wrongdoing lacks logic. Ross Drynan, Lindfield

No one has been proven to do anything wrong. Ben Roberts Smith has not been charged for any alleged offence nor convicted. Trial by media must cease. Gary Bigelow, Teralba

I know that fighting in a war can compromise morals and lead to indiscriminate killing as Samantha Crompvoets has found in her investigations. As a child in Northern Ireland I clearly remember my father, who knew veterans of the North African campaign, telling me that the Australians didn’t play fair. He was told they gave cigarettes and chocolate to local boys to trade with German soldiers as well as a hand grenade and told the boy to pull the pin on the grenade while trading.
Soldiers are taught not to think of their enemies as human beings and this, combined with their mental strain of being under attack or the threat of it, makes it impossible for all soldiers to fight honourably. There is little honour in war. William Perry, Mount Keira

Anyone considering a career in the armed forces should learn my old school motto, Honor non Honores – seek honour above rewards. Put another way, personal integrity is far more heroic than “the cult of warrior worship”. Peter Farmer, Northbridge

Considering Rolf Harris’ works, even the one of Queen Elizabeth II, have been placed into storage as people seek to disassociate themselves with the paedophile painter, I doubt I could view Roberts-Smith’s portrait at the Australian War Memorial without being reminded of not a war hero but a thuggish murderer (“Artist breaks silence on portrait”, June 9). Julie Robinson, Cardiff

LIV golf just the beginning of trillionaires having playthings

Your correspondent suggests fast-forwarding the worldwide switch to EVs, to “leave the Saudis with a redundant resource” (Letters, June 9). It’s too late – the Saudis foresaw the end of oil years ago. They already have enough of our money to buy and bully their way into not only world sports but also a diverse range of US and European businesses. It’s not just about sportswashing, it’s about power, writes Andrew Webster (“What’s next? Power, not sportswashing, behind Saudi accumulation”, June 9). Prepare to witness the forthcoming avalanche of trillionaire-backed offers that most sports and businesses can’t and won’t refuse. Steve Cornelius, Brookvale

The most disgusting thing about the merger in the golfing world is the obscene amounts of money that is paid to people who play golf. How does anyone reconcile the fact that some of these players can earn, in one year, up to 40 times the amount of money the average Australian would earn in their entire lifetime. And just for turning up a few times a year at exotic locations around the world to work a few four-day weekends, chase a white ball around, collect a few trophies and go home to their mansions and fast cars. Spare a thought for the millions who work hard in real jobs every day that keep the world functioning to benefit the whole of mankind. Phil Peak, Dubbo

Illustration: Matt Golding

Illustration: Matt GoldingCredit: Matt Golding

How many of us will permanently stop watching golf on television and stay away from major golf events as a protest against lack of values in sport? As recently as 2022, 81 people were executed on charges such as “disrupting the social fabric and national cohesion” and “participating in and inciting sit-ins and protests”, according to Amnesty International. Bowling clubs should get ready for an influx of new members. Kevin Farrell, Beelbangera

Golf is the most boring sport to watch on TV, curling is more entertaining. Why it has gained such prominence is totally beyond me. My advice to people disgusted by the LIV/ PGA union is ignore it, and it will go away. Steve Rothschild, Thalgarrah

Isn’t it widely known that golf is a good walk spoiled? Mustafa Erem, Terrigal

New education department head uniquely qualified

The appointment of Murat Dizdar as Secretary of the NSW Department of Education is a wonderful development (“How an ex-garbo became the new schools boss”, June 9). He is a product of public education and has taught in the system. Murat is well qualified and understands the challenges ahead. John Cotterill, Kingsford

Congratulations to the education minister on her appointment of Murat Dizdar to head the NSW public education system. As she rightly says it is important to have someone with high intelligence, teaching experience and understanding to give genuine credibility to the role. Would that this were the case in other educational systems. Anne Garvan, Chatswood West

Bravo. Top marks to Prue Car. Finally, a teacher, Murat Dizdar, has been appointed to the key position of secretary of the NSW Education Department. For far too long this has been handed to (no doubt well-meaning) bureaucrats, but this job requires more than organisational skills. I am confident that Dizdar’s experience from the classroom will be of great benefit to the entire NSW school system. The minister is to be congratulated for her wisdom. Ken Preece, Breakfast Point

Someone who graduates from a selective high school then takes up a part-time job as a garbo before commencing their university degree hardly qualifies as an ex-garbo. Peter Miniutti, Ashbury

No evidence for banning of transgender athletes

Good on Tennis Australia (“Tennis Australia bid to avoid transgender bans”, June 9). Finally, some perspective being shed on the right of elite transgender female athletes to compete in individual sports. There is no evidence that they should be banned. Kiwi Laurel Hubbard failed to finish in her weightlifting division at the 2020 Summer Olympics. US BMX freestyler Chelsea Wolfe was an alternate athlete for the women’s competition at the same Olympics after placing fifth at the World Championships in 2021. Alana Smith competed in the women’s street skateboarding event at the same Olympics having competed at four World Championships, winning bronze in 2015. Female trans swimmers were banned based on the result of one race. In a close finish, Lia Thomas won the 500-yards women’s freestyle event at the 2022 US National Collegiate Athletic Association’s women’s championships, coming eighth in the 100-yards freestyle final at the same championships. Compare this with Katie Ledecky’s successes in the 2022 FINA World Championships. She won the women’s 800m by more than 10 seconds and the 1500m by more than 14 seconds. Should she be banned because her genetic make-up gives her an unfair advantage over other female swimmers?
Meg Pickup, Ballina

Noise policy

I see the Western Sydney airport is halfway to completion (“Qantas, Jetstar first with domestic flights from new hub”, June 9). When I bought my house in Marrickville in 1986 a new airport was planned for Badgerys Creek. Instead, the government built a third runway at Kingsford Smith which put a plane over my chimney every 10 minutes and destroyed the amenity of large swaths of Sydney. It is unconscionable that the Western Sydney airport is to operate without a curfew. Aircraft noise has been linked to depression and other health problems. For once, a policy change should be made before the airport becomes operational and millions of residents are exposed to unrelenting noise. Lorraine Phillips, Wollongong

Western Sydney Airport is due to open in 2026.

Western Sydney Airport is due to open in 2026.Credit: Brook Mitchell

Change needed

Many of us believe that addressing climate change is just a matter of electing governments willing to switch energy sources (“Car boom puts climate targets on road to ruin”, June 9). The effects of global warming are gathering apace, the Canadian fires being the most current example. We have just 27 years to reach net-zero.

Switching fuel sources won’t cut it. Changing to electric cars still has Australia importing one million new cars every year. Producing those cars emits volumes of carbon. The additional concrete and steel in the built environment does too. Changing our transport systems will require us to stop taking mental short-cuts that lead us to rationalise away our car consumption. Matthew Bartinel, Killara

Remove horses

The case for retaining non-domesticated horses in the Alps is on rocky ground (“National parks juggles death threats and stalking as well as feral horses”, June 9). Seen by some as cultural heritage with a provenance to the mid-1800s they are in reality degrading a landscape of great cultural significance for First Nation that stretches back millennia. The value of the Alps as a watershed of filtered flows for farming and fishery is a casualty. In times of drought and fire the wild horses suffer too. The 19,000 horses need to be removed from this environment not fit for purpose. If things are left to be it could mean the collapse of Snowy’s environment, taking the feral horse with it. Steve Dillon, Thirroul

Truth revealed

Mick Willing’s determination to “show the Johnsons for what they are” has at last been realised (“Explosive texts show police hostility to victim’s family”, June 9). We see an outstanding and admirable caring family, dedicated to pursuing justice for their beloved while being treated disgracefully by the police force, which has also been shown for what it is. Jennifer Katauskas, Wahroonga

Monorail mentality

The unlamented monorail may be gone but a monorail mentality persists at Transport for NSW whose plans for a linear bike ramp at Milsons Point defy all sense and reason (“Vilified monorail continues vanishing act”, June 9). There is a better ramp scheme at hand which delivers rideable step free access to the harbour bridge without destroying the heritage features of the locality (including appreciation of our nationally significant Sydney Harbour Bridge) and a rare green park. As at Oxford St, the new government should be listening to those affected and not repeat past mistakes. A new government should be setting the agenda, not baked on bureaucrats and their sycophantic consultants. Ian Curdie, Lavender Bay

Evil representation

No argument that governments should come down hard on Nazi representations (“Banished Nazis thrive in dark holes, June 9). They are abhorrent reminders of the Holocaust, and also signal the rank tendrils of fresh antisemitism, anti-Islam sentiment and general antisocial stirrings. Most Australians find it confounding that these trappings should linger on here, nearly a century after first contrived on the other side of the world. But puerile or not, we can’t dismiss the symbolism or the message. They are the latest echo of that extreme right-wing segment in most (if not all) modern societies that persist no matter the political climate or economic stresses of the day. They continue to lurk or march as the mood takes them. They are like a grumbling appendix. Our civil authorities must never take their eye off them because they have the potential to rally the disaffected in unforeseen situations (eg a pandemic). And their drip feed of hatred can lead to unspeakable acts of violence. Margaret Johnston, Paddington

Endless possibilities

The last group in society to figure out what’s going on is always its government . Governments may eventually regulate the use of AI in education and elsewhere, but there’s no chance they will have much impact on the illegitimate use of AI (“We’ve already let the AI stranger into our homes”, June 9). There’s a world of endless opportunity awaiting the crooks, like creating cyber entities to hoover up money. The possibilities are endless. But not to worry; there’s every chance the microbial world will get us first. Happy times! Brian Haisman, Winmalee

Punch drunk

Alan Atwood calls for boxing to be banned (“Boxers should not be free to keep pounding the head”, June 9). Outside the ring such brutality would bring a charge of assault. Why, in the twenty-first century, is it still legal? Judith Campbell, Drummoyne

King for a day

Try explaining to a child why this is a long weekend. It might go something like this: “Well, on Monday we celebrate the new King’s birthday. Except that his real birthday is in November. But we used to celebrate the late Queen’s birthday on that day. Except that her real birthday was in April. But they made the official birthday in June when the weather would be warm for the celebration. Except that it’s cold here. Oh, just forget it and go and play.” Joan Brown, Orange

Illustration: John Shakespeare

Illustration: John ShakespeareCredit:

Having republican leanings I won’t be celebrating King Charles’ birthday, but I will be celebrating the Monday public holiday. This day should be renamed Australians Day when we all think of, greet and mix with our neighbours. This would not interfere with January’s Australia Day which has a different purpose. Graham Russell, Clovelly

No work on Monday. Stuff the republic and God save the King! David Grant, Ballina


“I think I can summarise the pleas of your readers. Axe the stage three tax cuts, and negative gearing. Hike the taxes on billionaires and massive corporates. Stop punishing the victims of capitalist greed. The attitude of the Reserve bank and policy-makers is Dickensian.” Thanks, Marie Healy of Hurlstone Park: you’re spot on.

Readers were momentarily distracted from economic issues by Kathleen Folbigg’s release after having spent 20 years in prison. Letters writers, although grateful that we live in a country which does not have the death penalty, believed the case revealed major flaws in the legal system.

The marriage of convenience between PGA Tour and LIV golf also provided a detour from the pressing concerns about the cost of living. Correspondents were scathing of the merger, with one writer opining that the “once lauded game of golf has become indicative of the sad and empty game many of us have made of life on this planet”.


Depressing? Yes, but not far removed from the views expressed by many after the RBA announced another rate rise and warned the economy’s “narrow path” to success was likely to be bumpy. Letters flooded in after Philip Lowe’s comments. It was the topic of the week, and featured in our regular online wrap of comments and letters – Yours.Sincerely – which you can read on the website every Friday morning. This week, Yours.Sincerely also appears in print, in place of the editorial which you’ll find inside our special edition of News Review. You can continue to join the conversation at in the comments sections of each article, and in letters to the editor in print and online. Pat Stringa, letters editor

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Justin Scaccy

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