I refer to Ronald Sackville’s article where he articulates the unfamiliarity of Australians with our Constitution and the need for a convincing narrative that the Voice is not risky (“No camp exploits fear of the constitutional unknown”, September 23).
Reassurance, not division, is the key. We have been shown with the recent Washington representations for Julian Assange with Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce and independent MP Monique Ryan coming together to advocate for Julian. This bipartisan approach has the support of the majority of the Australian people. Think how inspiring it would have been for the Voice to have received the same treatment from the outset, the message of harmony and support it would have provided to our First Nations people.
While our Constitution cannot be brief, aspirational and inspirational like that of the United States, we should have been able to depend on our leaders to come together, as a matter of principle, to dispel our fears. A glimmer of hope came from the Redfern rally last weekend: a groundswell of positivity that we can all be united. As an ordinary citizen, I felt truly proud to be an Australian. Paul Goodwin, Lindfield
Having read Ronald Sackville’s article I do agree that a lack of understanding of the Constitution is a major hurdle that the Yes campaign must seek to address. I also wanted to point out that another reason that many people (including First Nations people) objected to the idea of the Voice itself was not because it gave more power to First Nations people, but indeed because it didn’t change anything at all in that sense, while costing a large amount of money.
Given that the referendum will go ahead, it is now perhaps incumbent upon those people who were not against the referendum for any racist reasons to vote Yes, as to do otherwise now would give credence to those voting No. Even if the referendum doesn’t achieve everything it purports to, at least it shows a willingness on behalf of the Australian people to try. Rosemary Embery, Dulwich Hill
I am in favour of recognising the First Nation in our Constitution. I am also in favour of a Voice to parliament. However, to place it in the Constitution is insanity. The only way to remove it would be another expensive referendum. Further, a Voice for one section of the population in the Constitution divides us and does not unite us. If Australians vote with their hearts, not their minds, we will face one of the following situations: if the Voice is a success, it must continue wasting taxpayers’ money; if it is a failure, it must still continue again wasting money. Think before you vote.
Barry O’Connell, Old Toongabbie
As a non-lawyer, I enjoyed Ronald Sackville’s opinion piece on our Constitution v the US Constitution. It takes little time or mental effort to read ours, and though dry, it is interesting, if not weighted towards procedure in electing, voting and representation. The actual scope of the law-making ability of government is broad. Maybe both sides need to just get on with it.
Michael Bremner, Waterloo
Kudos for COVID inquiry
I agree with Labor’s inquiry into COVID-19 not extending to state governments (“We demanded China tell the truth about COVID. Why won’t Albanese unmask it?”, September 23). Whatever it finds will all be forgotten by the time of another major outbreak. State governments will face the same issues and they will do what they think is best to try and manage the two opposing ends of the crisis: keep the economy going while trying to stop the spread. The truth is that there is no way of proving which is more important; they are trade-offs. Whatever government is in power will make its own call on the above equation. Citizens in the end will decide how they coped, at elections. This is the result of living in a federation. John Rome, Mt Lawley (WA)
Peter Hartcher has jumped on the bandwagon criticising the Albanese government’s inquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic. What Hartcher and others seem to want is a drawn-out, legalistic root and branch investigation covering all states and territories that most probably would not reveal any insights that would not be discovered by the three appointed eminent inquiry leaders.
Most already recognise there were errors of judgment, hasty responses and impulsive directives, yet no one doubts that at the federal and state/territories levels, the politicians and health bureaucrats had the best interests of the community at heart and, by comparison with other countries, we fared very well. It is a total myth to suggest that the PM is running a “protection racket” for the premiers of Victoria and Queensland when both have indicated that they are prepared to co-operate with the inquiry.
Anthony Albanese is correct to point out that the community is not interested in a detailed re-run of events over the pandemic period, and it could be expected that, within every government, there have already been learnings leading to policy/procedure changes and implementation to better prepare for the next time. Ross Butler, Rodd Point
Peter Dutton accuses the government of running “a protection racket” for premiers by limiting the scope of the COVID-19 inquiry. Like so many others, he misunderstands the meaning of that phrase. The blackmail racket perfected by the mafia was to extract money from small businesses in return for “protection” from an implied threat of violent misadventure. David Salter, Hunter’s Hill
The COVID-19 inquiry is beginning to look more and more like a Claytons-19 inquiry, but as one is to be held could it at least investigate the real and alarming phenomenon of our clothing shrinking during that period?
Alicia Dawson, Balmain
Price is Right, not always right
Reading the profile of Jacinta Nampijinpa Price was distressing (“The Price phenomenon”, September 23). Her fundamental premise appears to be that everybody has equal agency. She thus totally negates the argument that structural and historical factors play a fundamental role in shaping an individual’s behaviour, possibilities and achievements. As any half-decent social scientist will tell you, the notion of pure agency is absurd and ultimately extremely conservative; it encourages excessive individualism and a lack of empathy for people or groups that are struggling. Alan Morris, Eastlakes
I’ve long hoped we might avoid going the way of the US, down the path of finding our very own Trump, but here she is, with a photo many times larger than any other in today’s paper.
I imagine newspapers struggle with the issue of the degree to which they report or create the news. Is there really a Price phenomenon yet, or just a politician called Jacinta Nampijinpa Price who is getting some press because her outrageous views and her Indigenous ethnicity make her a great asset for No supporters? Every comment from No campaign supporters praising Price – she draws big crowds; people love her; she’s electrifying – has been said about Trump by his supporters. Price is as useful to the No campaign as Trump was to Republicans, and I don’t doubt that many in the Liberal party see in her their path out of obscurity, but they should be careful what they wish for. She may turn out to be as uncontrollable as Trump, and her appeal to the fearful, angry or resentful might be as polarising and destructive to our democracy as Trump’s has been in the United States. Prue Nelson, Cremorne Point
Jacinta Price’s success is not dissimilar to that of other politicians who have achieved fame and success in a short period of time. In 2013 there was elation in the Liberal Party when Tony Abbott led it to a landslide election win, but Abbott was a one-trick pony and was usurped by Malcolm Turnbull. We have yet to see if Price is another shooting star, but her denial of the suffering of the stolen generation and her false claims that Peter Dutton had attended Garma festivals may be signs that her light could soon disappear. Peter Nash, Fairlight
Jacinta Nampijinpa Price is a conservative rock star for one reason only. Price can say all those things that white conservative politicians want to but wouldn’t dare. She enables them. The No case is winning without doubt, but that does not mean that fair-minded Australians believe her nonsense. She is not a First Nations crusader of any sort – she is far right, and her views borderline conspiracy mania. Don’t be surprised if on the back of this the Yes vote makes a comeback. James Manché, Dulwich Hill
Less for more
Your correspondents (Letters, September 23) are right that Australia can’t cope with a greatly increased population. However, this is only the case if we insist on maintaining our current consumerist, wasteful, high carbon footprint lifestyle. If we were to change our lifestyle to one that is less harmful to the environment and less exploitative of natural resources, Australia could manage a much bigger population. And, I suspect, we would create a more equal society and one in which we are all a lot happier, without the high levels of depression and anxiety that afflict our communities.
Martin Mansfield, Baulkham Hills
Hard to swallow
I woke up to the news that the onion-eating Tony Abbott is to join the board at News Corp (“Tony Abbott nominated to Fox Corporation board of directors”, September 23). I had to look at the calendar just to be sure that it wasn’t April 1. Graham McWhirter, Shell Cove
Lachlan Murdoch has welcomed the nomination of Tony Abbott to the board of Fox Corporation. At last the “mad monk” has found his spiritual home. Ian Adair, Hunters Hill
If the move to have Tony Abbott appointed to the Fox Corporation board of directors is successful, it will be the modern-day equivalent of Caligula’s appointment of his horse as a consul. John Payne, Kelso
Judge the judges
It is good to see a judge being held accountable for his actions (“Judges face legal threats after ruling”, September 23). Any fair reading of the original case showed this judge’s actions to be unfair. It is time that the statutory and common law protections of legal professionals were removed. They should be held to the same high standards they expect of other professionals. Anything else is blatant hypocrisy. Bart Fielden, Lindfield
While Angus Holland and Jackson Graham provide valuable insights into the latest developments in the negotiation of price between buyer and seller, there is one other point (“‘Dynamic pricing’ has caused a stir in Britain. What is it – and do we have it here?”, September 23). With the development of artificial intelligence and large-scale data collection, those with the resources to do so harvest and process personal data. Data profiles can be assembled and used to adjust the price on the ticket based on previous consumer purchasing behaviour. It makes me wonder if that bargain price I see on my screen is presented just to me and calculated based on my data profile. Brave new world indeed! Peter Hull, Hat Head
Major companies are putting less emphasis on profits when setting executive bonuses and more emphasis on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues (“Using the carrot and the stick to drive better corporate behaviour”, September 23). This sounds good but may not solve the problem of large bonuses. This would be of little concern if I was CEO of Qantas. Presumably I would continue to be rewarded if profits were high but if profits fell because of lower air fares and better consumer satisfaction, my profit bonus would decline only to be compensated by an extra ESG bonus. Where is the stick? The puzzle is, why pay a bonus at all? Surely balancing all of this should be the CEO’s job anyway. Miles Harvey, Newtown
Coast with the most
I really enjoy the musings of two South Coast regulars Bea Hodgson (Gerringong) and Nola Tucker (Kiama). I am jealous that their strike rate is much higher than mine. Bea’s letter extolling the enjoyment of reading another regular Rosemary O’Brien was sheer genius. Tony Heathwood, Kiama Downs
’Tis the seasoning
Reporters have lately been referring to our “unseasonable” weather. There will be no salt, pepper or paprika involved, apparently. Frankly, I have no thyme for this. David Baird, Burradoo
In a spin
Richard Glover very generously shared his experiences with teapots and teabags (“Surviving a bad batch”, September 23). However, about those spins: should they be clockwise or anticlockwise? Col Shephard, Yamba
Kate Forsyth (“It was my dream to run away to a Greek island and write a book – this year, I did it,” September 20) and Anna Funder (“A woman’s work: why the story of George Orwell’s forgotten first wife still matters”, July 1) reveal that George Johnston and George Orwell, in appropriating their wives’ words, were working on that age-old principle: what’s yours is mine, what’s mine is my own. Betsy Brennan, Wahroonga
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