The opposition leader should read Animal Farm

Dennis Glover has pinned Peter Dutton’s doublespeak to the door of the Manor House (“Dutton’s unequal reading of Orwell”, May 24). In a time of deceit and dissembling about the Voice it’s good to be reminded of the power of literature to speak up for equality, despite the egregious attempts of Dutton to misuse it. As a noted expert on Orwell, I wish Glover could visit all our public high schools. Deb McPherson, Gerringong

Illustration: Dionne Gain

Illustration: Dionne GainCredit:

Glover presents an excellent teachable moment as he destroys Dutton’s distortion of the great Orwellian novel Animal Farm. Dutton’s developing stance is further evidence of the desperation of the Coalition as it risks creating massive divisions in society in an attempt to gain a political advantage. Just as Donald Trump “dog whistled” extreme white supremacy groups during the Charlottesville riots, Dutton (consciously or sub-consciously) is creating a vehicle, a platform and opportunity for those harbouring racially bigoted views to come out of the shadows and use the No campaign to “legitimise” their violent and destructive ideology. What started from Dutton as a justifiable conservative “yapping and nipping” at the PM’s heels, has now become an extreme and deafening dog-whistle. Warren Marks, Hill Top

Dutton’s interpretation of Orwell’s sayings to mean the opposite of what Orwell intended has earned him Glover’s Animal Hero First Class award. Indigenous Australians dictators? What piffle. I don’t believe Dutton understands what the word equality means. John Nelson, Mudgee

The headline was a good prompt for me to revisit Animal Farm. And Glover’s interesting historical comments were an added blessing. Peter Dutton, read the book or sack your speechwriter. Grahame Ellis, Narraweena

Dutton told parliament that the Voice “will have an Orwellian effect where all Australians are equal, but some Australians are more equal than others”. He went on: “For instead of being ‘one’, we will be divided – in spirit, and in law.” The opposition leader knows very well that since 1788 we have been truly divided “in spirit and in law”. The least equal of all, our First Nations peoples, have long been the most marginalised and the most underprivileged in the country. One only has to consider Indigenous standards of housing, health, education, and life expectancy. The Voice proposes to create a practical mechanism by which Indigenous advice can finally produce better policies for closing that gap. Grahame Hackett, Bowral

When you attack the man and not his argument you have lost the debate (Letters, May 24). Letter writers’ attack on Dutton has nothing to contribute to the debate. The argument is that the Voice will divide the nation. How could it not? Andras Hidas, Arcadia

Could Dutton please explain the difference between Canberra lobbyists and the Canberra Voice? On one hand, we have a group of elitist, white, Australian ex-politicians representing the needs and desires of multinational businesses for personal gain, as opposed to a group of Indigenous Australians representing a disenfranchised community for the benefit of all. Neil Kendrick, Waverley

The next decisive step in the referendum campaign on the Voice is up to non-Indigenous Australia. Prominent Indigenous Australians have done the hard work and made a simple and generous request. It is time that non-Indigenous Australia to take over the campaign to tell our countrymen why this referendum is necessary and is good for all Australians. It is up to non-Indigenous Australia to win this vote – our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters have done all that they can. Now it is up to us. Dale Bailey, Five Dock

Memo to the new government: How much can a koala bear?

I have yet to learn how not to raise my expectations when a change of government occurs (“Logging plans for key koala habitat in proposed refuge”, May 24). The Great Koala National Park promised by the NSW Labor Party could go a long way to ensuring the survival of this species listed as vulnerable to extinction. However, I am bitterly disappointed that one fifth of the state forests that are to be incorporated in the reserve are to be logged. While I fully appreciate that preliminary assessment of the project is required, surely that does not mean there is a green light for accelerated logging in the interim. Roger Epps, Armidale

Mark Graham of the Bellingen Nature Company at the Ellis State Forest, south-west of Grafton, where critical, old-growth koala habitat is being logged.

Mark Graham of the Bellingen Nature Company at the Ellis State Forest, south-west of Grafton, where critical, old-growth koala habitat is being logged.Credit: Wolter Peeters / Dean Sewell

How can we expect koala populations to survive, let alone rebuild, when politicians equivocate and waiver on taking decisive action to halt logging in native forests? Despite promises by the incoming state Labor government to address logging in key koala areas, we see the Environment Minister Penny Sharpe vacillating about ceasing the logging, preferring to consult with stakeholders. Meanwhile, the Forestry Corporation continues its destructive rampage through key koala habitats. How is this still happening? Surely the minister should demand the immediate cessation of logging and then do some consultation, in the hope that just a few koalas may escape the terrible fate that logging assures. Stuart Laurence, Cammeray

In my 40 years of living on the mid north coast of NSW (Dorrigo and Nana Glen) I witnessed old-growth forest and state forest logging on an unprecedented scale. It is a sad indictment of both sides of politics that this was allowed and even encouraged. A blind eye was turned to loss of habitat and spelled disaster for native species. The bushfires of 2019/2020 further exacerbated this loss. But for a few caring landholders who refuse logging on their properties many species would be facing extinction. But the Forestry Corporation isn’t the only bogeyman here, farmers have clear-felled hundreds of hectares and polluted creeks with chemical run-off. Platypus, water dragons and various species of fish lived in Bucca Creek, which ran past my property. Alas, no more – the water is so polluted that it’s devoid of wildlife. Poor fella, my country. Christine Tiley, Albany Creek (Qld)

I’ve the pleasure of living in a forest surrounded by thousands of hectares of logged state forest. In 45 years, I’ve seen just four koalas. In a healthy forest system I should have seen hundreds. My words are impartial: I have a 35-year-old plantation and a licence to log. I base my observations on a working opinion. Warren Tindall, Bellingen

Senior highs boost teens into adulthood

St Marys Senior High School accepts students moving from the private school system (“Private pupils flock to public school doing it differently”, May 24). Senior high schools foster a more mature approach to study. Calling teachers by their first names and wearing casual clothes makes students feel like they are being treated like adults not children. The results are outstanding. Maybe we need more of them. Another benefit is troubled Year 9 and 10 students are then the seniors of the junior high school and step up to the challenge with fewer behavioural issues. Judith Rostron, Killarney Heights

At last, an article about the value of public schools, their teachers and their learning environments.
I was delighted to read of the student’s praise of the mix of cultures at St Marys Senior High School. This is what will keep us as an independent, thriving, multicultural nation. Beth Hansen, Alstonviille

Double negative

Your correspondent’s affection for negative gearing of residential property ignores the fundamental issue of fairness: first home buyers pay higher interest than investors (Letters, May 24). A portion of the tax they pay subsidises investors bidding against them. Removal of this “Australian peculiarity” would also redirect investment towards more economically productive options. Michael Britt, MacMasters Beach

Profit and loss

Without any hint of embarrassment, Qantas announces a profit of $2.5 billion (“Qantas flags $2.5 billion record profit”, May 24). Over recent years, passengers and the community at large have witnessed Qantas’ abandonment of its historical standards of respect and support and the traditional values that made the airline unique and the first choice for most Australians. The existing domestic duopoly and the “mismatch” between supply and demand on international routes means Qantas does not need to rely on loyalty or pride in “the flying kangaroo” rewarding passengers with greatly inflated prices and diminished service.

To the distressed regret of a great many, Qantas has repositioned itself to be just another airline. Its sole focus appears to be maximising profits at any cost, along the way trashing any efforts to be representative of our special national characteristics that Australians hold dear. Ross Butler, Rodd Point

Now that Qantas looks like posting a $2.5 billion profit, should they not repay the government and taxpayers the money they were gifted during the pandemic? We recently flew Qantas to London return and while the staff were good, many things weren’t. My screen did not work on the second leg of the flight and the attendant was able to put a movie on, but I was not able to stop and start it. The food was disgusting and there were two toilets out of operation for the entire leg. So using the toilet took 30 minutes because of the line-up. I missed 30 minutes of the movie I was watching and nothing could be done. They are obviously cutting corners as the passengers expense. Pauline Fawkner, Camperdown

Kids need protection

Hard core porn is not sexy or safe (“Protecting kids from porn is simple It’s time to act”, May 24). Because I am writing a play on gender inequality featuring abuses such as domestic violence and sexual assault, a friend alerted me to hard core porn as a contributing factor. He warned me to forget any preconceived notions of the erotica of the seventies. He teaches in an all-boys private school and hears the boys’ commentary as they watch on their phones. In two clicks I was on a HCP site with no filtering. My granddaughter could access it, and she is just 10. This must be a major contributor to new perpetrators joining the violence against women brigade. It is a violent, degrading, misogynistic portrayal of sex. This stuff is watched mostly by boys, some as young as nine. For some it is presumably their first exposure to sex and sets up a very worrisome picture of “normal” sex. It is uncensored and access to the site is unmonitored. We have an e-Safety Commissioner charged with overseeing tech-facilitated abuse, but who is watching the transmission of hard core porn on the internet? Controlling this scourge needs to be an urgent priority. Gillian Levett, Greenwich

Coronation clangers

I objected to the ABC’s coronation coverage for another reason (Letters, May 24). I had no issue with muting the audio while carrying vision of the BBC pre-ceremony feed to broadcast a local panel discussion dominated by republican and reconciliation voices, including the powerful and passionate polemic from Stan Grant. The vision at that point was merely of dignitaries arriving, and while the BBC narration may have been interesting, it was valid to give a platform to dissenting views in Australia in its stead.

Illustration: Matt Golding

Illustration: Matt GoldingCredit:

My fury began only at the point where the vision showed that the pre-ceremony concert had begun, more so because by that time the panel discussion had ended with the ABC merely giving precedence to Kathy Lette quips. In muting the entire concert and talking over it, while showing the silenced musicians in the vision, I missed the great John Eliot Gardiner conducting The Coronation Orchestra, the performance of a new work commissioned especially for the occasion from British composer Judith Weir, exquisite organ playing, and other musical treats including the music of William Walton. I condemn ABC TV, not for its amplification of progressive voices, but for this philistinism in violation of its Charter. Mark Isaacs, Bonnet Bay

Dread force

I am old enough to remember when there were police on the beat, when there were police boxes in strategic positions in the suburbs, when the local policeman came to school and gave us talks that made us feel the policeman was our friend (Letters, May 24). Recent happenings suggest that is not the case today and, I, whose grandfather was a well-respected member of the police, would dread any interaction, however trivial, with any member of the force today. Patricia Slidziunas, Woonona

Dignity denied

How ironic that Rolf Harris’ family wanted a dignified funeral (“Convicted paedophile Rolf Harris dead at 93”,, May 24). Nothing dignified about the way he lived his life. I feel for his victims whose dignity he took away. Angela Miller, Bondi Junction

The death of Rolf Harris raises some deep questions about cancel culture. Like it or not, he remains an inseparable part of my childhood, from his enchanting sketches and Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport through to tear the tear-jerking Two Little Boys, a perfect fit for coming of age. How can you deny or block that out? Perhaps the truth is our emotions work on more complex levels than our minds – a fight not worth having. Peter Farmer, Northbridge

Semantic quibble

I sense that the word diaspora, once confined to the dictionary and literary works, has entered the media and political language replacing what previously was referred to as a community (“Indian PM gets rock star welcome”, May 24). Neil Reckord, Gordon (ACT)

I feel quite “diaspora-ed” out over the last few days and I await with interest the next word du jour. Kath Maher, Lidcombe

The digital view

Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on
Bali is cracking down on undesirable foreigners. Is it an overreaction?
From kaboobie: ″⁣Not an overreaction. Time to show a bit more respect in public. People can still have fun and not carry on like lawless idiots just because they’re in Bali.″⁣

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Justin Scaccy

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