Shobana Richmond’s column (“Show me, don’t tell me: How the Yes campaign can win over undecided voters like me”, smh.com.au, September 21) may be representative of many potential Yes voters who have not taken an active interest in Indigenous affairs, or have no contact with Indigenous people or communities. She calls for “concrete, evidence-based examples” of how the Voice can make a positive impact, rather than just a vibe sort of thing.
There are underlying human behaviour principles in the referendum’s proposal, one of which is that if people have agency in their situation they will take responsibility for it. Dick Clarke, Elanora Heights
Shobana Richmond wants to be won over to vote Yes and “to feel positive and excited about the changes the Voice will bring to Australia”. Before finalising any legislation, governments regularly consult and receive input from those non-government organisations that will be directly affected by that legislation. The Voice will not be “a layer of (government) bureaucracy”. It will consist of community representatives elected by First Nations peoples from all over Australia. They will not be government appointees. The Voice will make representations to parliament on draft legislation that will affect the lives of First Nations peoples and it will work with government to ensure effective implementation of that legislation at the coalface. This process has every chance “to improve the lives of a group of people that Australians know deserve better”. David Hind, Neutral Bay
It is reported today that the Federal Court has dismissed Senator Babet’s application for orders that, in the coming referendum, ticks and crosses either both be counted (as approval and non-approval, respectively) or both not be counted (“Clive Palmer loses bid to force AEC to count ‘X’ as ‘No’ in Voice vote”, September 21). Voters are supposed to write either Yes or No on their ballot papers. When I vote I intend to write “Y NO X” as my answer to the referendum question. I suspect the ballot paper will, in actuality, be treated as informal because of its multiple votes and that I shall not be considered to have voted. If so, I shall have been unlawfully disenfranchised as will be all those voters who intentionally vote with just a cross. What a seriously dumb lot those who rule our lives are. Ross Drynan, Lindfield
Must do better
How can a person speak such rubbish (“No leader calls stolen generations a ‘mistruth’”, September 21)? It is claimed that “mixed-race children” were taken from their family for their own protection. The lived experience of thousands of Indigenous people tells a different story of separation and mistreatment. We are living in a post-truth world, where alternative facts and fake news compete with peer-reviewed research. Are we not better than this?
Chris Moe, Bensville
Dutton is right. The outcome of the Voice referendum will lead to a more divisive society. If the No case wins, then just imagine how much more oxygen will have been provided the racist undertow, to emerge ostensibly stronger than ever, simultaneously claiming victory but bringing shame upon, and setting back, our multicultural achievements and aspirations.
Fred Jansohn, Rose Bay
Protect the stupid
If “much of the American public perceive that the charges” against Donald Trump are “politically motivated” then it’s time to start describing Trump supporters correctly – as the facts prove most are either wilfully ignorant, impenetrably stupid or detached from observable reality (Letters, September 21). Although everyone is entitled to their own opinions, they don’t get to have their own facts on a man who is a proven liar, sexual predator, bully and danger to democracy.
Prior to the internet, the delusional rants of those suffering from what psychologists now call the Dunning-Kruger effect could not have much impact on society, but now that the people can be easily manipulated, society needs to be more assertive with what is rapidly becoming a cult of credulous conservatives creating chaos. If the media are to report the facts and preserve democracy, it’s time for them to protect the stupid from the stupid.
Chris Roylance, Paddington
No doubt at all that Trump is an autocrat. But is he crazy and, if so, is he crazy like a fox or just crazy? Recently, 47 psychiatrists hazarded their ethical reputations, analysed Trump’s patterns of behaviour and found that he displayed elements of psychopathy, sociopathy and malignant narcissism. We should all be afraid if this morally bereft, empathy-free, bullying would-be tyrant once again has the nuclear code. And it’s not at all sobering to know that the military personnel who will effect a nuclear strike have undergone rigorous testing to measure their mental capacity to undertake this task. And Trump, the giver of the order, hasn’t even been subjected to as much as a simple Rorschach ink-blot test. Possibly ‘what kind of crazy’ doesn’t really matter when Trump is unquestionably as dangerous as a devil under any definition. Trevor Somerville, Illawong
It is interesting that your correspondent affords Donald Trump such a principled view when a fact-checking service recorded some 30,000 lies and misleading statements by Trump over four years. This reporting or commentating is framed as ridicule and attack. With such tawdry and unethical subject matter, I’d prefer to recognise it as a public service, and those who were inspired by it to support Trump likely had other gripes.
Brian Jones, Leura
Rupert is just angry with Trump because he wants to go down in history as the man who single-handedly destroyed US democracy (“Rupert Murdoch ‘often wishes Donald Trump was dead’”, September 21). Jeff Keen, Thornleigh
Business as usual
It was refreshing to read Ross Gittins on big business behaving badly, rather than the cacophony of excuses heard when big business receives government handouts, bailouts or assistance blocking competition as in the recent Qantas debacle (Letters, September 21). Ross suggests the neoliberalism era is over. The meaning and proper usage of neoliberalism is rarely debated, although if government transfers responsibility to private power with no accountability, commitment or consequences other than self enrichment at others expense, isn’t this still neoliberalism? Greg Roach, Como
“The neoliberal era is over” – is it really though? Empowering the ACCC to prosecute mismanagement is a welcome but insufficient reform. However, the underlying neoliberal agenda that has been a bipartisan effort of both major parties for decades is persevering. Many voters are getting sick of an agenda that increases inequality and environmental destruction, but for our current governments, it’s still neoliberal business as usual. Peter Moore, Newport
It was wonderful reading Kate Forsyth’s account of wanting for many years to visit the Greek island of Hydra because it was where the author Charmian Clift lived for some time with her husband and children (“It was my dream to run away to a Greek island and write a book – this year, I did it”, September 20).
By coincidence, I was there just over a week ago for the sole purpose of visiting the house Clift lived in and the tavern she and her husband, along with a host of other artists such as Leonard Cohen, would gather to drink, eat, love and socialise. All ferries leaving the island were cancelled the day I arrived, “forcing” me to stay the night at a pensione just metres from that tavern. It’s a pity that the house has not been recognised as a place of literary significance by any Australian government over the decades. Con Vaitsas, Patra (Greece)
Recently, the Department of Education organised the Festival of Choral Music, giving thousands of students the opportunity to play in venues such as the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Town Hall. It was an incredible experience that has also helped us discover new meaning in our lives. We are so grateful to the amazing organisers, conductors, accompanists, fellow student musicians, and especially our teachers, for giving us this special opportunity and for helping us to see school in a new light. They have shown us how beautiful it is to learn and perform together in a community, and we will always be thankful. Charlotte He, School Captain, Woollahra Public School
Thank you to Hannah Vanderheide for that quite titillating exposé of her sex life (“Couples should be splitting bill for pill”, September 21). I’m glad she’s found the benefits of a joint account. If that has still not quite done the trick for her in this modern transactional era, perhaps she might consider getting in a contractor or dispatching her husband down to the local? I’d be grateful if she could elaborate on just what is, and what happens in, an “occasional covert parenting break” in her parked car? That might help many of us! Peter Thornton, Killara
Rugby for all
I congratulate Kevin Farrell on his letter condemning the failure of rugby union to look after the players of the game who do not go to private schools (Letters, September 20). We are seeing this policy play out in our dismal World Cup performance. If you don’t cater for the ordinary kids, you have no future. That’s what’s happened. Ross Elliott, Balmain
On the bus the other day, the Opal reader accepted my tap on without a blink, but when I reached my stop, I tried to tap off and the screen said “closed” (“Bank bosses defend branch closures as customers go digital”, September 21). The driver said the satellite must be “off”. I pointed out that I’d be charged for the whole of the rest of his drive. It got me thinking that as governments, banks and every other institution cuts physical services and pushes us online, we are at the mercy of the whims of the satellites. Stephen Jacobs, Castlecrag
Keep it public
Isn’t it about time we scrapped private control of our vital infrastructure and services (Letters, September 21)? A new rail freight line sounds good, but privately funded? Our government has given free rein to companies to fleece the public with their favourable contracts. Just one example; Transurban made billions of dollars last year from our toll roads – money which could have been well spent in our financially stressed public sector. Stop the rot and bring back government authorities. Wendy Crew, Lane Cove North
There is no denying marriage can offer many challenges to overcome and celebrities probably have heightened hurdles.(“‘Grey divorce’ splits star couple’”, September 21). But longevity of life is another factor seemingly overlooked. With increased lifespans and options in retirement, many look for opportunities elsewhere and grey divorce is just become another option in retirement and beyond. On the many positives it may provide peace in a relationship. Janice Creenaune, Austinmer
Help not harm
For my adult life evidence and experts have said that criminalisation of drug use is harmful to users, society and the budget. For all that time the only thing stopping a parade of premiers from implementing recommended reforms is their own addiction to the support of the right rump of their respective parties. (“Will Minns’ budget pass drug test?”, September 21) As long as we allow drug use to be cast as a moral issue, reform is dead in the water. Colin Stokes, Camperdown
Lead by example
Seeing Barnaby Joyce share the US media stage with David Shoebridge and a cohort of independent politicians is a rare moment ( “Unlikely alliance pleads for Julian Assange’s release in US”, smh.com.au, Sept 21). Hearing Joyce sounding surprisingly statesmanlike as its spokesperson is something else. Assange has served his time for what many might consider a questionable crime: that is, one of being an independent journalist exposing the grubby, horrible inconvenient truths of war crimes.
As the cross-party delegation of politicians try to convince the US authorities to cease the prosecution of Assange, perhaps they might care to ponder how hypocritical such a move looks when the Australian government is still pursuing two other whistleblowers: Richard Boyle and David McBride. Mr Albanese has already been clear that he thinks the Assange case should be dropped. Perhaps he could be as clear with his own officials that the other cases reflect no credit on a government that purports to support whistleblowers. Catherine Rossiter, Fadden (ACT)
BOM declares an El Nino (“El Nino is here, the Bureau of Meteorology finally confirms”, September 20). In other words, the Dorothea Mackellar climate index has moved to its positive phase and we are once again in the drought part of the stanza. Marc Hendrickx, Berowra Heights
Does this mean that the electric blanket can be removed from the bed and safely returned to the linen press? Graeme Milton, Dulwich Hill
(“Alan Joyce’s pay set at $21.4 million as board withholds bonuses”, September 21). Diddums. Phil Rodwell, Redfern
I would doubt if Joyce would even notice someone had clipped his pay packet by half a million if it hadn’t been reported in the media. Bill Young, Killcare Heights
It would be interesting to know just how much income tax Joyce will end up paying on whatever his multimillion-dollar pay-off ends up being. His deductions should prove entertaining, though you wouldn’t expect he would be claiming any for travel expenses. Craig Forbes, Lewisham
Happily ever after
To the letter writer agreeing with me “after all these years” (Letters, September 21), don’t want to rush things, but may I announce our engagement? Rosemary O’Brien, Ashfield
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