Australians should be capable of enshrining an Indigenous Voice to parliament and negotiating treaty at the same time (“Dissent against Voice as thousands march in Invasion Day protest”, January 27). One does not preclude the other.
Even though the Voice is a “box-ticking exercise” it is a pretty big box whose symbolism should not be underestimated. To constitutionally enshrine an Indigenous Voice is a good, if long overdue, step in recognition of Indigenous peoples. Once the general population realises the importance of the Voice, a treaty is a natural next step.
After the introduction of Native Title the sky did not fall, as predicted by many. The naysayers need to accept that the time has come when all Australians have to stand together, recognise our colonial past and our post-colonial present and move forward. Elfriede Sangkuhl, Summer Hill
I applaud Senator Lidia Thorpe for choosing to enter parliament and for using her role as a senator to stand up for the rights of the First Nation’s people (“The Voice faces a huge challenge”, January 27). With verve and courage, she entered the very body that was “written into the coloniser’s constitution” to be the central decision maker of the coloniser nation. It makes sense to be a powerful driving central force, not outside, but where decisions are being made, to break down the unthinking, arrogant colonising prejudices that have resulted in so much tragedy to First Nations people.
The Voice to parliament, proposed by the formulation of the extraordinary First Nation-driven Uluru Statement, aims to do exactly what Senator Lidia Thorpe herself chose to do. Why stand in the way Senator? Louisa Scagliotti, Barton (ACT)
I am an old white male born into a middle class built on the broken back of Indigenous nations. To me, the Voice is important. I will vote “yes”. I have done a straw poll among my contemporaries in this admittedly extremely conservative part of the world. Not one of them will vote in favour.
If this is representative, the referendum has zero chance of success. This saddens me but what would you expect of a country whose first act of parliament was “to make Australia safer for the white man”. Sexist and racist both, which goes a long way to defining what we might, in our most vainglorious moments call, “modern” Australia. Chris McKimm, Karangi
I don’t see how a referendum will necessarily result in any improvement to Indigenous lives. The problem has been with us for 235 years, the Indigenous people already have intelligent voices flowing into the ears of our MPs. Listen to them and do something substantive now. You have my vote for diverting as much money as needed from tax relief for the rich and spending on nuclear submarines. Mike Bush, Port Macquarie
This vote is a chance for Australians to right some of the wrongs which are emerging as we navigate a harsh history lesson.
If the referendum is hijacked by mean-spirited players like Peter Dutton, then Australia’s human rights record will end up being a hollow “mission statement”. This isn’t a trivial issue. Our global reputation is at stake.
Shame on those who’d turn this into a fake ideological battle. Let’s hope moderate thinkers see through the usual “dog-whistle” of the weird and disentangle ethics and spin. Chris Rau, Kings Langley
Celebrating Invasion Day adds insult to injury
Imagine this: A powerful foreign country invades Australia tomorrow because they want more land, resources and power (Letters, January 27). We fight the invaders, but their weaponry is more sophisticated and lethal than our own, and so they succeed. We continue to fight as the invaders spread around the continent, but resistance is met with lethal force. Then to add insult to injury, each year we are expected to celebrate the date of the invasion. No. Time to change the date.
Sally Robinson, Sydney
Let’s call January 26 Australian harmony day – reflecting the pride all Australians should feel at the harmonious existence of all the people from our first inhabitants to all those who have made Australia their adopted country. Rita Zammit, Concord
Why have an Australia Day at all? Graham Fazio, Cootamundra
The commotion and chaos that we saw Australia Day bring this year, is testament to the significance of January 26. A day not to be forgotten, ignored and swept under the rug, but rather one that evokes all emotions we all have toward this country of ours. A day of remembrance, reflection celebration and optimism. Gabrielle Botros, Forest Lodge
On January 26, I watched on TV the celebrations presented by various groups according to their inclinations. The reality is that Australia has become a multicultural and multiracial community, pleasing to many and painful to some. The “was” has gone and the “is” is now. We should remember the past with respect and place hope for the future. Australia has to move on for all. Antony Osman, Wahroonga
I spent time on Australia Day in the beautiful Bouddi area of the Central Coast, and reflected on the words, “This country has stolen my heart, so I, too, belong to this land” (Letters, January 26). By coincidence, Bouddi is Aboriginal for “heart”. Seeing and hearing the heartfelt Indigenous stories and culture here and across this country, I sensed a strong desire by many Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to take “heart” and embrace the significant challenges we face, to work together and find a new way to enable a better future for all of us. Louise Brandling, Killcare
Asking for a friend
The retired ambassador searching for a way to answer questions overseas about what we celebrate on Australia Day must have had a similar problem explaining why Australia’s head of state is also His Majesty Charles III, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of His other Realms and Territories King, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith (Letters, January 27). Hoping the current crop don’t face these challenges much longer. Peter Timmins, Potts Point
Congratulations to Tom Calma, and all the other Australia Day awardees, on his 2023 award of Senior Australian of the Year. As an inspirational advocate for social justice and human rights, as well as a lifetime of outstanding service to First Nations peoples, the award is richly deserved. If there is one reason to vote “yes” for the Voice in the upcoming referendum it is Tom Calma. Grahame Riethmuller, Redbank
Multiculturalism writ large
Bouquets for the organisers and performers, on the stage and on the harbour, of the Australia Day concert held on the shores of our spectacular Sydney Harbour. All involved have much to be proud of. The inclusive tone of the evening embraced what multiculturalism means in Australia. The standard of entertainment from the performers was second to none as they provided us with an enjoyable and highly entertaining event. The choice of venue is definitely the best place in Sydney for people to enjoy this fabulous concert. Regina Smith, Chatswood
Oh, the irony! One of the TV channels on Australia Day showed a man cooking on a cheap Chinese knock-off of an American barbecue, from the back of a Japanese ute boasting that “You can’t get more Aussie than this”. Terence Golding, Bolwarra
PwC hit with a wet lettuce leaf
David Crowe asks the $2billion question: “If you cannot trust them, why rely on them?” (“Tax scandal betrays cosy company”, January 27). The revelation that a senior partner at PwC shared confidential information with private clients with the result that they may have avoided unknown millions in tax is shocking. Equally shocking is that the sanction on PwC is to have more training of partners and staff, and the sanction on the now former partner, deregistered as a tax practitioner for two years. Hit me with a wet lettuce leaf! Successive governments have reduced the size of the public service across portfolios with the result “we” pay PwC at least $300 million in consultant fees annually. The proposition that these firms have “Chinese walls” to prevent the sharing of confidential information in-house is delusive. The public service must be bolstered with sufficient staff and expertise to remove the necessity of engaging so many consultants. They are one voice to government we don’t need. Graham Cochrane, Balmain
It is quite absurd that the breach in confidentiality at PwC over the past five years and the potential large, unquantifiable losses in tax revenue has not opened up a criminal case against those who allegedly misbehaved. David Crowe quite rightly references the apparent ABC journalist’s excursion, and the witch hunt that followed. Yet, the person involved has been barred from practising tax law consultancy for just two years. Why the kid gloves? Bruce Hall, Avalon
Blind eyes see nothing
The underlying problems with what is happening in Alice Springs need to be addressed (“Federal MP warns NT of intervention”, January 27). Housing: too many housed together and on hot nights, when alcohol is consumed and drunkenness happens, the youth escape to the cool of the evening and get into mischief, some of it serious. Unemployment: older youth do not see a future for themselves as there are no jobs. Drunkenness: an escape for a short time. Governments must come up with solutions. Housing – get in there and start building. Unemployment – build houses, roads, get a factory going, get something done about it. Certainly, reduce availability of alcohol but for goodness’ sake tackle the underlying problems now. What is the matter, why are you turning blind eyes to the real problems? Sheila Meixner, Yass
End womb servitude
Will the woke Pope now release his female flock from a lifetime of womb servitude and mention the c-word: contraception (“Rights advocates welcome Pope’s call for end to gay discrimination”, January 27)? Michele Thomas, Mollymook Beach
Ukraine’s dream scenario
Just imagine if Ukraine became a protectorate of the United Nations (“Ukraine set to get tanks from the West”, January 27). The borders could remain the same; even the language and its flag remain. The country would be a safer place, not to mention the planet itself. Dennis Merrington, Terrey Hills
Hypocrisy over Middle-East
It beggars belief that while condemning the invasion of Ukraine the world condones the same murderous aggression and destruction of livelihoods in Palestine (“Israeli troops kill 7 Palestinian gunmen, 2 civilians in Jenin clash, Palestinians say”, smh.com.au, January 27). How is the invasion of Palestine any different from that of Ukraine? Julius Timmerman, Lawson
The latest formal estimate of nearly 19,000 feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park in November 2022 is shocking (“‘Red flag’: Feral horse numbers boom in Snowys as cull fails”, smh.com.au, January 27). If Labor wins the next election and Monaro retains a National Party member, it will be tough to have funds to be diverted from recreational facilities in the Monaro to help cover the cost of removing the feral horses and repairing the damage they cause. It’s time for irresponsible parliamentarians to go. Annette Smith, Farrer
Readers screaming like Banshees
, boring? Slow it might be – a gradual descent into a nightmare. “Not entertaining” – if it’s entertaining you want, go and see a rom-com. Dark and disturbing, yes indeed. But Colin Farrell’s tragic bewildered Padraic and Brendan Gleeson’s curmudgeonly, stubborn Colm, along with the other cast members and makers of this brilliant film, deserve all the “hyped to the moon” accolades that they get (Letters, January 27). I have seldom seen a movie that has stayed with me for so long and I think this is a good sign. It doesn’t need to have an obvious metaphor (although a few have said it’s a parallel with Ireland’s troubles), and its “pointlessness” is part of the point.A winner. Sally Pope, Five Dock
Dull, unfunny, slow, turgidly pointless? Not so. This film cunningly turns the focus on communities, or parts thereof, who stubbornly resist change, refuse to take risks, spurn engagement with a reality wider than their own, and feed on the narratives of free-wheeling gossip and fear. And it’s not just in the land of the shamrock. Lots of food for thought here for the inhabitants of the land girt by sea.
Megan Brock, Summer Hill
I agree with your correspondent. was depressingly full of characters who were bad or sad. Others I’ve spoken to concur. I warned others against seeing it. Sally Spurr, Lane Cove
Winter is (maybe) coming
Thank you, Ben Cubby, for introducing me to “petrichor” (“Lego stuck in tarmac and birds’ property disputes”, January 27). I’m into my eighth decade on this earth and have never known the name of the beautiful scent that rises after the first drops of rain on a summer pavement. And thanks, , for a most enjoyable series. Hoping for a Sydney Winter series too. Margaret Clark, Riverview
Father figures in drama
Who could’ve predicted the extraordinary double we have just witnessed at this year’s Australian Open? Against all odds, the Djokovic name is even more detested this year than last (“Ban Djokovic’s dad from men’s finals: Ukrainian ambassador”, smh.com.au, January 27). Phil Bradshaw, Naremburn
Though there are a few nationality-based tennis comps like the famous Davis Cup, tennis remains a contest for professional athletes to derive fame and fortune as individuals. Surely, there is no place for any flag to be visible, potentially reducing the game to a jingoistic opportunity for Serbians or Russians or even Australians. It is not the Olympics; the players do not represent their country. Remove all flags. Lorraine Hickey, Green Point
Djokovic’s father should be put on the first flight out of Tullamarine. Chris Smith, Kingston (ACT)
In the long run
Maybe Innes FitzGerald could run to Australia. She’d do it in no time (“Star teenage British athlete won’t fly to Australia over climate concerns”, January 27). Leo Oostveen, Chippendale
Believe it or not
While it’s great news that influencers are being scrutinised, it should be a crime for anyone to actually believe them in the first place (“Influencers face ACCC crackdown”, January 27). Jeff Apter, Keiraville
Postscript: Australia’s two histories
“We should celebrate each year the amazing community of people we call the Australian nation,” wrote Graeme Stewart of Palm Beach. “But January 26 is wrong on many levels.” He was one of hundreds of correspondents, many of whom were first-time writers or had not contacted us for a long time, who joined the discussion about Australia Day and the proposed Voice to parliament this week.
The conciliatory tone of Stewart’s letter reflected those of many: “Modern Australians have been gifted two remarkable histories which we should honour but not one at the expense of the other. An essential first step is to find a day other than January 26 to celebrate, with one voice, the good fortune of our dual inheritance.”
A letter from Yorta Yorta woman Lorraine McGee-Sippel, asking us to “imagine being taken from your Aboriginal mother as a baby. Adopted. Traumatised. Lied to, and many years later learning the shocking truth of Australia’s history … the invasion of a sovereign nation and of my people,” strongly articulated why the date needed to change.
An opinion piece by Noel Pearson, described as “the voice of reason”, inspired many, including Stuart Laurence of Cammeray, to write it would be “shameful” if the nation did not “resoundingly vote yes”. “We cannot allow cynical political posturing to derail such a fundamentally important step that our country must take,” he wrote.
Alan Egan of Paddington (Qld) had a word of warning to all those “nitpicking, backsliding, mewling and hand wringing” about the proposed Voice: “It is worth remembering that at this stage of the debate, perfect is the enemy of good.” Pat Stringa, Letters editor
( Information from politico.com was used in this report. Also if you have any problem of this article or if you need to remove this articles, please email here and we will delete this immediately. [email protected] )