A strong First Nations woman voices her opinion; a correspondent schools this powerful woman on the tone and delivery of these opinions (Letters, August 10). Senator Lidia Thorpe’s raising of her fist in parliament was a personal expression of power, strength and determination to continue to fight for the rights and recognition of First Nations people on this continent, and within every aspect of Australian life and its political systems. The suggestion of how the senator could do things better is rather ironic, considering the majority of Australians have never respected First Nations people when they have used – and continue to
use – “persuasive, logical, well-measured arguments”. Australians need to take some constructive advice and find time and respect in their own value system to be quiet, stay still, listen and learn. Change is coming. Annabel Doherty, Rockhaven
Why should Thorpe behave nicely? Who thinks it is OK for 10-year-olds to be locked up; ever more of our Indigenous citizens to die in custody; housing that it is sub-standard to be considered OK for our Indigenous people to live in? These matters are within the power of our government to attend to. Now. I say: Onya, Lidia. Whatever you do, don’t stop demanding action from your fellow parliamentarians and from us, your fellow crusaders. There must be lots of us, aren’t there? Penelope Layton-Caisley, Marrickville
Apparently, most of us agree with the Voice but have little or no idea of what it is and what it means. This is a serious failure of the federal government and needs to be addressed urgently else it will fail in parliament.
My understanding is that the main principle of the Voice is simple and at the same time vitally important. It is not, as a former PM expounded, a third voice of parliament. It provides Indigenous people the ability and the right to engage and participate in discussions about their wellbeing, welfare and future. To date, these decisions are made by politicians and public servants somewhere in Canberra.
Pauline Hanson and others of her ilk will complain that this gives Indigenous folk an unfair advantage and a free pass. What nonsense. Consider the advantage that major companies and lobbyists have with (mis)directing and (mis)guiding their financial association with the government. Erik Kulakauskas, Port Macquarie
It appears that we need an Indigenous Voice to parliament now. Parliament has the power now to legislate for this. Why spend millions on a risky process that might or might not make a few changes to the Constitution down the track? Ian Bowie, Bowral
Technology has a dark downside
It is obvious to almost everyone that the technological revolution has brought amazing benefits but has a dark downside (“What price higher productivity”, August10). In fact most new technologies can be misused by individuals, or indeed nations, to cause stress and suffering quite apart from the environmental destruction inherent in manufacture. For this reason the quest for a simpler healthier life is gathering momentum as exemplified by significant migration out of overcrowded cities and occupations such as domestic bread making, commuting by bicycle and even cutting a lawn with a push mower. Geoff Harding, Chatswood
The spectacular increase in productivity raises a key question. Why are one in six Australians living in poverty and struggling to cope with everyday expenses? It is evident that the increase in productivity should ensure that all Australians should have the capacity to lead a decent life. Alan Morris, Eastlakes
Ross Gittins’ prosperity essay is spot on. His reference to the taken for granted nature of an already materially adequate existence, shines the light on an aspect of human nature that may prevent us from saving the environment from ourselves. What we now regard as stability isn’t sustainable. John Macintosh, Merewether
The ACTU is on the right track with its plan to be presented at the forthcoming jobs’ summit (“ACTU demands radical reforms”, August 10). While it is unlikely that its radical proposals have any real chance of implementation, the plan highlights a range of seemingly intractable issues that deserve serious consideration.
For too long governments have relied on “trickle-down” economics or market forces to create better outcomes for the community but all that these theories have delivered is greater inequality, a constant theme which the ACTU seeks to address.
It is clear now that the case for some restructure of government instrumentalities could better tackle housing affordability, insecure work and better wages for those in, for instance, the health education and essential services sectors, and broader government intervention could also bring about positive results.
The ACTU is to be commended for its “cage rattling”. Ross Butler, Rodd Point
Cost benefit analysis
Where are the intricate details of trade commissioners’ success in promoting our trade (“Perrottet won’t back UK envoy”, August 10). How much income is derived by their activities? We need to understand the reason for such high rewards for these plum posts to ensure we get value for money. Wendy Crew, Lane Cove North
Get your facts straight
As a septuagenarian daily user of Rushcutters Bay Park, I am shocked at the misinformation being used by detractors of the proposed skate park (Letters, August 10).
Firstly, it is already used by many children with no issue with safety. Secondly, the skate park will not be a blight: it is sensitively designed and an enhancement to a dark unused noisy and concreted part of the park.
Thirdly, why are the detractors not upset over the exercise area with its ugly equipment, the upmarket coffee, breakfast and lunch shop and children’s play area? All taking up green space in the park. Fourthly, most of the park is two playing fields, used during the week by noisy private schoolchildren.
The opposition to the skateboard area by some residents and others is hypocritical and unreasonable. Robert Hosking, Paddington
Does your correspondent not think skateboarding is a legitimate sport, even though it’s an Olympic event? On whose land does he think swimming, playing tennis, football and sailing takes place? It’s public land and it generally takes up a lot more space than skateboarding. Or is his complaint more of a class related problem? Is he worried about those scruffy layabout western suburbs (anywhere west of of Kings Cross) kids having a bit of fun and exercise in the refined air of the inner east? Bob Colman, Blackheath
On the edge of the Glebe foreshore parks, nearby the nightmare of Rozelle Bay intersection and in the shadow of the light rail, is a skateboard facility which at most non-school times is packed with kids having fun. Every time I drive past and see them my ageing heart lifts and I think, “How terrific is that!” John Constable, Balmain
Battery argument falls flat
Sorry, Dennis O’Hara, but you’ve done what so many politicians have done and put the cart before the horse (Letters, August 10). Why are we so anxious to adopt the electric vehicle when we still need to burn coal or gas to charge them? Surely their purchase should be restricted to people who can provide evidence that they have sufficient solar or wind power to service them? Reducing atmospheric pollution in an area such as the ACT (or Nambucca Heads) at the expense of increasing the output of NSW’s power stations is never going to improve the atmosphere across the board. Les Walsh, Nambucca Heads
Anthem a distant last
The 2022 Commonwealth Games are over and Australia won a stack of gold medals. It also meant we had to listen to our dirge-like national anthem many, many times. As an anthem, it is neither emotional nor uplifting and it certainly isn’t triumphant. It is old and tired and should be retired.
We could replace it with a reconstructed version of the Bruce Woodley and Dobe Newton penned classic I Am Australian, based around the chorus, which is the very heart and soul of this wonderful song. It encompasses everything about the Australia I love and is emotional, uplifting and triumphant. What could be better. Nicholas Beauman, Neutral Bay
Three generations of our family are equally as sad at the death of Olivia Newton-John (Letters, August 10). Myself, an avid fan in the 70s; our children, who watched and knew every word of Grease; and our grandchildren, who demanded the video be played at every visit. We are all remembering the joy she brought to our homes for nearly 50 years. Joy Paterson, Mount Annan
My daughter Olivia was a shoo-in for the lead role in her Pennsylvanian elementary school’s production of Grease. Vale Olivia Newton-John. Sally Spurr, Lane Cove
Vale Issey Miyake. Now heaven will indeed smell heavenly (“Issey Miyake, Japan’s prince of pleats, dies of cancer aged 84”, smh.com.au, August 10). Suzanne Saunders, Koonorigan
The digital view
Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
Time for the Coalition to start thinking about the long term
From Just Splendid: ″The teals are the future of the Liberal Party. The Liberals now have a choice: move back to the centre and adopt policies that appeal to the people who voted teal, stay put or move further right. If they reject the centre, then the teals will eventually become a centre-right party that will consign the Liberals to history.″
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