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Credit: Illustration: Matt Golding
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Australia is weird, we have a national public holiday to celebrate a military disaster, multiple holidays to celebrate one single specific religion, state holidays to celebrate regattas, shows, men’s football finals and horse races. And yet the mere suggestion of a holiday to celebrate perhaps the only event and (women’s) team for generations that has actually united Australia, is met with scorn, parsimony and economic jumbo jumbo (“Businesses not sold on public holiday”, 15/8).
Malcolm I. Fraser, Oakleigh South
Worthy of celebration
So David Littleproud and Peter Dutton would prefer the status quo and to only recognise men’s sporting achievements. From Bob Hawke’s informal America’s Cup public holiday to the yearly AFL grand final holiday in Victoria, we continue to laud men’s sport. Women’s sport is equally important in building competitive spirit, mental health and general health. Now that we know (from the ratings) people will watch and love it, it’s time to equalise this by instituting a public holiday.
Robyn Stonehouse, Camberwell
I could not believe it was possible for me to find common cause with Dutton or Littleproud. I’ve been proven wrong. The disruption and cost of an unscheduled public holiday should be directed towards the improvement of women’s facilities in our many underfunded sports grounds in needier neighbourhoods.
John Poppins, Mount Waverley
If there’s strong support for a public holiday if the Matildas win the World Cup, perhaps replace the Melbourne Cup public holiday with Matildas Day. After all, that’s only a day off work for a major gambling event.
Nigel Beresford, Drouin
Not there yet
The Matildas aren’t counting chickens before they hatch. The prime minister, employers and business operators should take a lesson.
Lawrie Bradly, Surrey Hills
Land of the long weekend
Let’s enshrine the Matildas’ World Cup win, when it happens, by having a public holiday every year, forever after, to celebrate the event. We do that for the monarch’s birthday and the Melbourne Cup (even before we know the winner). We have a day off before the AFL grand final, even when Hawthorn aren’t playing. Imagine the stimulus for all our other national and state sporting teams. With luck, we might end up with public holidays 300 days a year.
David Allen, Bayswater North
Dutton suggests Albanese should, instead of decreeing a public holiday, give funding to sports venues. Didn’t Bridget McKenzie already do that with the sports rorts affair?
John Cain, McCrae
The next generation
Sports fans would not have missed the way Melbourne’s sports media have embraced the Matildas. Overnight, AFL/NRL pundits have gone from the Matildas to “our Tillies” – raising the obvious question: who is “us”?
Scenes of supporters at the MCG on Saturday night have us daring to dream – have the Matildas finally taught us that being in sport doesn’t always mean being macho? Are we finally designing a sports landscape not designed for white men, by white men? In behaving themselves, in being proud, in being mothers, in being diverse, these Matildas represent us all. In disrupting sports coverage so often reserved for men – they represent a generation tired of sports coverage reduced to chest-beating.
Go Tillies! Your momentum is intoxicating! But to the sports media: take the learning. It’s time you invest in representation and equity in sport.
Eric Brotchie, Briar Hill
Could someone please explain? The Labor Party is overwhelmingly in favour of the Voice. The Coalition is mostly opposed to it. Yet the state most strongly supporting the Yes vote (“Voters cool on PM as Voice takes a hit”, 15/8) is the only one with a Coalition government.
Ivan Glynn, Vermont
Stay out of it
What right does the management of Wesfarmers, Woolworths, the AFL, Qantas and others have to suggest how the public should vote in the referendum? Qantas should concentrate on providing cost-effective airfares, on-time arrivals and departures and baggage arriving with passengers.
Des Grogan, Sorrento
A definite difference
Many of the arguments used to support a No vote against the proposed establishment of a First Nations voice to Parliament are based on trickery and subterfuge. It all began with the use of the definite article. That is, by constantly referring to “The Voice” it was implied that the Voice was a “thing”. So, one could then ask, and they did ask, “How big is it?” “What are its powers?” “Can it argue with the Reserve Bank on interest rates?” and so on. Easy to muddy the waters.
A reading of the one-page Uluru Statement from the Heart shows that what is being sought is “A First Nations Voice …” The Statement goes on to say that, “In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard”. I’d say that we should listen.
Les Cooper, Anglesea
Massacres have left intergenerational effects on First Peoples families: Yet descendants merely ask for a Voice. Dispossessed of the land that sustained them: descendants merely invite a Voice for their wishes. Children stolen from their parents’ arms: merely request the right to be heard.
The Voice doesn’t call for prosecution of descendants of wrong-doers, the restoration of stolen land, or even reparations for today’s effects of past misdeeds. Rather, the invitation is one of the most gentle, respectful and generous calls for accountability for policy and legislation that has impacts on First Peoples.
Surely the Voice cannot be too much to ask.
Ken Coghill, Surrey Hills
Reflecting on actions
The picture on The Age front page (“Fighting, not sinking: Pacific’s climate plea”, 15/8) illustrates the dire consequences for many Pacific Islands due to the rapidly changing climate. Yet again it is the people with the lightest footprint who are suffering the most.
It is imperative that we seriously consider a moratorium on fossil fuel extraction. Per capita, we are one of the world’s largest emitters of pollution.
Judith Morrison, Nunawading
Nuclear not the answer
Reports from the Australian Bush Summit in WA indicate that Gina Rinehart and other resource industry heads are pushing for nuclear power generation in Australia. Their speeches, like those of Peter Dutton, push meaningful climate action out to some indefinite future. APPEA chief executive Samantha McCulloch said, “We are absolutely going to need to double down on renewables”, but goes on to say, “We will need more gas for the transition, we need technologies and fuels like low-carbon hydrogen, like carbon capture … And nuclear should be considered.”
Neither gas, low-carbon hydrogen nor carbon capture are consistent with a reduction in emissions. As for nuclear, last December the CSIRO and the AEMO produced their Gencost report: “Using the standard formula for levelised costs plus the additional calculations specific to storage and transmission, wind and solar come in at a maximum of $83 per megawatt hour in 2030. This is a useful point in time for comparison because this is the earliest date at which nuclear SMRs could be built in Australia. In contrast, SMRs come in at $130-311 per megawatt hour. This range allows for nuclear SMR capital costs to halve from where we think they are at present.”
Fiona Colin, Malvern East
A flawed vision
While formulating a strategy to tackle feral deer, federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek says, “Our government is committed to protecting our precious species and leaving nature better off for our kids and grandkids” (“Cull-zone plan to halt spread of feral deer”, 15/8). Her narrative and rhetoric are flawless.
Pity her government’s coal-mine approvals and recent deep-sea dumping legislation do not align with this vision. The devastating Maui fires and the plight of our Pacific Island neighbours are the latest round of warnings.
Amy Hiller, Kew
Back and forth
Re: “Bail system overhaul timeline halved” (The Age, 15/8). Changing bail laws partly in response to the death in custody in 2020 of an ill and vulnerable woman may be the easy response to a far greater set of underlying complexities. We know that the police force and the criminal justice system more broadly are significantly underfunded and that burnout in the police force is extensive. As with the teaching profession, it is difficult to attract new recruits to policing positions owing to the pressures confronting members of the force.
Failures involved in bail laws may be more reflective of funding stresses than the appropriateness of the laws themselves but we are not engaging in both sides of the argument. Rather, we are seeing the bail laws change each time a specific event takes place and this is no way to direct public policy and safety.
Liz Burton, Camberwell
Jake Niall’s report listing Richmond Football Club’s coaching selection criteria demonstrates how the coaching caper now requires someone with the skills of a counsellor/psychologist/philosopher as well as one who can exhort players to “play on the edge” with respect to their opponents’ wellbeing. I only remember one thing my ex-VFL centre half forward coach said in the ’70s. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
Andrew Smith, Leongatha
A timid wolf
Sean Kelly in his article discussing the upcoming national conference of the Labor Party (“Labor foes are in furious agreement, and that’s infuriating”, 14/8) describes Anthony Albanese as from the “(hard) Left”. If so, he remains a timid wolf in very thick sheep’s clothing. A major supporter of AUKUS and nuclear weapons on Australian soil and beneath our waters; lack of action on unfair tax practices and inappropriate personal tax cuts; soft on big business rorting every opportunity to improve their profit margins – are not policies of the Left.
Softly, softly may have been a clever strategy to turn voters away from the previous government but if left or right labels mean anything, now is the time for Albanese to reveal some fangs behind those milk teeth.
Peter Thomson, Brunswick
Hard to understand
My question is “Is David Adler really Jewish?” (“Key No figure hit over ‘disgusting’ comments about Grant, Thorpe”, 15/8 ). My parents survived Hitler and I was brought up knowing the dire consequences of racism. I find it hard to believe that someone with Jewish heritage could share posts that are so insulting to others because of their race.
Sara Ginsbourg, East Bentleigh
As an active member of the Jewish community for over 20 years, I wish to point out our community like all other minority religious or ethnic communities is not monolithic on most issues including the Voice referendum. I know Dr David Adler and have seen him with prominent Aboriginal Australians Warren Mundine and Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, they appeared to be quite friendly. In my view it is highly unlikely these respected Aboriginal spokespersons would associate themselves with Dr Adler if they thought him to be a racist.
I am sure that the leader of Australia’s Muslim Uyghurs community can attest that Adler and AJA have been lobbying their cause and supporting their community. The photo of Stan Grant mentioned went viral on social media and many people made comments on how Stan looked. Lidia Thorpe made some comments about Israel and Palestine in parliament that have angered many in the Jewish community.
Michael Burd, Toorak
Your correspondent is entitled to regret that the ABC and SBS have stopped playing I Am Australian. But I found it downright irritating. Constant repetition is the stuff of commercial advertising, political propaganda or religious indoctrination. Public broadcasting should inform and entertain.
Nigel Sinnott, Sunshine West
Robust debates please
Your correspondent opines that Q+A’s audience decline can also be attributed to the program’s alienation of conservative viewers (Letters, 15/8). But to that group I would also add those who just want to see regular, robust debates on issues where people are entitled to hold divergent views.
Geoff Feren, St Kilda East
Not so great days
Truly, “yay” to all the sports stuff. However, I’d like to make the observation that, with the deaths of Ron S. Peno and Mary-Louise McLaws in the past few days, the weekend just gone has been, from the viewpoint of music and medical science respectively, completely sucky.
Barry Miller, Kyneton
Stamping out letters
While I am delighted to read of Australia Post’s drive for speedy deliveries, I wonder why, when they, without any fanfare, raise international postage rates to the UK by 40 cents, they don’t print a stamp to cover that.
Peter Valder, Toorak
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit: Illustration: Matt Golding
As the US legal system grinds forward on the alleged crimes of Donald Trump, another aspect of his presidency ought to be scrutinised: the changes he made dismantling climate change policies, and encouraging fossil fuels.
Bill Pimm, Mentone
Will Opposition Leader Peter Dutton build nuclear power stations in the seat of Dickson to demonstrate their necessity?
David J. Metcalfe
I love watching so many enthusiastic girls at the Matildas games. It was very different at the 2022 men’s World Cup in Qatar where there were few women and even fewer girls.
Gretel Lamont, Aireys Inlet
Can we now expect more free-to-air telecasts of women’s A-League matches?
Lionel Parrott, Croydon
Great to sing along with yesterday’s cartoon. Thanks Cathy Wilcox.
Betty Rudin, Wandin North
While it’s great that the whole country is supporting our women’s football team, I believe the new name of Princess Freeway (Letters, 15/8) is a step too far.
Greg Fitzgerald, Ararat
When will we become a nation that celebrates Science Week and other intelligent pursuits, instead of sport sport sport?
Ruben Buttigieg, Mount Martha
Before rushing to judgment on the fact that minister Lily D’Ambrosio apparently has undead supporters, we should probably find out whether these individuals are currently in Heaven or in Hell.
Patrick Ball, Fern Tree, Tas
“Putin is not Russia” claims dissident Ilya Yashin (Comment, 15/8). Unfortunately he is – until Russians find the courage to vote or throw him out.
John Mayger, Hepburn Springs
Scrawled above a urinal in the late ’60s, my favourite graffiti was “$25 fine for eating urinal cakes”.
Neale Woods, Wattle Glen
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