Time for action, not waving pamphlets

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High minded

Illustration: Matt Golding

Illustration: Matt GoldingCredit:

I can distinctly remember sitting in a lounge room in the early Seventies commenting that all world leaders should be sent into space, made to look back at the planet and all being told that this is all we’ve got (“A new view to prevent calamity”, November 5). Mind you, that was after smoking a type of cigarette that you couldn’t buy at the newsagents. Welcome to the 1970s, Jeff Bezos. Phill Clark, Eureka

Oasis of sense

Perhaps the Queen has unwittingly provided a title for the next James Bond movie: None of Us Will Live Forever (“Queen urges world leaders to act for future generations”, November 3). Helen Moran, Woollahra

The Queen said it all: “We are doing this not for ourselves but for our children and our children’s children.” Not for the millions of other species, just for ourselves, humans, the only ones with any chance of adapting. Mary Marlow, Blackheath

Wrong priority

One hopes that outcomes from COP26 will successfully alleviate global warming despite some nations putting themselves ahead of the planet. Robert Ballinger, Pymble

Stop trading insults, please!

While we might agree the AUKUS submarine deal is a better fit for Australia than that agreed to with France, it has become a sideshow to the behaviour of the Prime Minister (“Macron or micron: PM weighs cost”, November 5). Trading insults with world leaders is not a good look, even if justified. Scott Morrison has demonstrated on many occasions, here and abroad, that he lacks any kind of diplomatic nous, and seeks to dodge, weave and divert rather than confront whenever pressed for truth and explanation. This is not the kind of leadership this country deserves or needs. Max Redmayne, Drummoyne

The PM behaved like a carnival spruiker while overseas, all wind but no substance. It would be good if he began thinking before talking. Perhaps he should follow the advice of Xenocrates who said, “I have often repented speaking, but never of holding my tongue.” Chris Moe, Bensville

Your correspondents believe it was all a sign of Morrison’s incompetence (Letters, November 5). In fact, this was a calculated hit job by Emmanuel Macron, implemented with precision. He wants revenge for the contract cancellation, and he knew precisely what the impact would be of his words. He won’t rest until he has absolutely burnt Morrison and destroyed his political career. Alan Wakeley, Dural

In most other walks of Australian life, mates tell their peer behaving badly, “Mate, you are an embarrassment – grow up.” Unfortunately, it is unlikely at this stage the Liberal Party will tell their leader and PM of the country that he is an embarrassment. It can only be hoped that he takes the honorable way out of the situation he placed our country in. Geoffrey Anderson, Richmond

Your correspondent’s confidence the “American eagle” can be relied upon to come to Australia’s aid in time of war is not supported by history (Letters, November 5). The US only entered WWI and WWII after attacks on its own interests. Ian Ferrier, Paddington

Australia’s initial involvement in both wars was to assist Britain. Defending France was a by-product of where the war was fought. Maurice Critchley, Kenthurst

Stamp out tax for first-timers to give them ownership hope

Replacing stamp duty on all housing purchases would only aid the greedy investors in their pursuit of ever more wealth while leaving a forever tax bill for the decreasing number who have scraped together a deposit to buy their one and only live-in home (“Premier needs to take bold action on stamp duty”, November 5). However, removing stamp duty for genuine first home buyers at the low end of the market could inspire hope in those presently denied home ownership. Kathleen Hollins, Northmead

The argy-bargy over stamp duty is getting old. Could it be that the up-front nature of the payment is the real problem? Could the solution be as simple as staged payments? A loan type arrangement?

Governments are notoriously tardy about tax reform, in spite of the advice of experts, but the only thing “reformed” would be the timing – a temporary reduction in the NSW budget and a huge benefit to citizens. Too simple? Sue Hoad, Merewether

As with most advocates of stamp duty changes, Danielle Wood studiously avoids stating the amount of land tax payable (“Tax reform gave hope. Don’t squib it”, November 5). While extolling the virtues she ignores the cost. And how do these changes apply to rural or industrial properties? Then, of course, there is the regular increase in land values. Much more information is needed by the general population before change is made. Phillip Edwards, Mortdale

Spite: The Jones legacy

I wonder will Alan Jones ever look in the mirror and see, reflected, one who with his insulting of Julia Gillard and his pernicious pursuit of the Wagners, to give just two examples, has damaged so many decent people (“Once inescapable, shock jock finds he’s not indispensable”, November 5). Worse, Jones’ wanton peddling of misinformation, such as about the pandemic, has daily misled and emboldened the bigoted and ignorant. He might have enriched himself in doing so but his confected outrage and vituperative vehemence made society the poorer. Ron Sinclair, Windradyne

History repeats

Future Australians will be willing to defend the nation against threats if they have pride in it and its history (“‘Inciting culture wars’: Labor states push back on Tudge’s positive history curriculum bid”, November 5). A nation that recognises past mistakes is more likely to engender pride than appealing to base nationalism. If we don’t acknowledge the mistakes of the past, then we will repeat them. Is that what we want for our children? David Rush, Lawson

Alan Tudge is correct to say Anzac Day should not be taught as a “contested” idea. It is a day for reflection on historic events. It is a day to remember and honour those who served in wars and the many who died. Jenny Greenwood, Hunters Hill

So, NFF backs minimum?

National Farmers Federation chief executive Tony Mahar says “an overwhelming number of farmers” pay fair wages, a view that is inconsistent with the Fair Work Commission’s finding that employers have engaged in widespread exploitation of workers (“Farm casuals pick winner with pay rise”, November 5). If Mahar’s view is correct, then he should be pleased with the introduction of a minimum wage as it will eliminate unfair competition by the minority of farmers who are exploiting workers. Alan Robertson, Campbell (ACT)

Test is best

A marked increase in the number of girls aged 12 to 17 presenting to hospitals with mental health problems was recently reported, and now schools are requiring students and parents to be vaccinated to attend end of year formals (“Jab rule may stop HSC students attending formals, farewells”, November 5). This may be a mental tipping point for some adolescents. Why not require all to have a PCR test within three days of the event? It was necessary for my recent dental appointment, vaccinated or not. Diane Davie, Rose Bay

The Woolies mammoth

A decade back, the lofty locale of Leura “suffered” the coming of Woolworths (Letters, November 4). Memo to Mosmanites: we are still living and breathing and I’m certain you will get the deluxe finger buns, not the inferior ones foisted upon the Mountains. Brian Jones, Leura

Demand better, get better

I disagree that Gladys Berejiklian “failed so spectacularly” because the “system was broken” (Letters, November 5). We are in dire need of politicians who, in office, grow and develop in their community leadership, political acumen and moral ownership of their powerful responsibility. We are currently overwhelmed by the self-seeking, the self-promoting and the self-absorbed. Blaming the system and excusing any individual for their own personal moral failings is simply a cop-out. If we don’t expect and demand more accountability from our politicians, and meekly excuse their inability to live up to a fair and reasonable moral standard, then we will continue to see the festering political wasteland that we are currently experiencing. Barry Ffrench, Cronulla

No one is a messiah

If Australians were looking for a president, then your correspondent’s list of Labor candidates would be of some use (Letters, November 5). However, we vote for individual representatives who may or may not be members of the eventual government formed after each election. Only those that live in Grayndler can vote for Anthony Albanese. To see any prime minister as a “messiah” of present and/or future fortunes is ignoring the tried and true principles of the Westminster system, which has served us adequately so far. This system takes care of the errant regardless of their station, and policies proposed can be modified by all members of parliament. The desire to have a charismatic “leader” should be a non-issue. John Kingsmill, Fairlight

Flowers’ powers

Robin Powell writes “we are instantly besotted with the beauty of a well-made garden” (“Garden sows the seeds of love”, November 5). Locally, the waratah park at Robertson is filled with bushes completely covered with amazing bright red waratahs. The streets of Nowra have crepe myrtle trees laden with buds ready to open into a haze of white. Passers-by stop as they take in the heady scent of star jasmine at our place. Strelitzias demand our attention through their structure and colourful flowers. Take a walk in the bush and you will be besotted by a special display arranged by nature. Bea Hodgson, Gerringong

Our kind of driver

Bus drivers can be so helpful and kind (Letters, November 5). Years ago, when we lived in North Epping, a bus pulled up outside our house in the evening (not on the bus route) and the driver jumped out to deliver our son’s bus pass. We hadn’t even realised he had lost it. Wendy Cousins, Balgownie

The commendable action of the Leichhardt-based bus drivers does not surprise me. Sydney bus drivers are great. I have always found them to be cheerful, even as they battle Sydney’s unforgiving traffic. Thank you for helping make Sydney a better place. Ian Falconer, Turramurra

Postscript

“With Australia’s representative behaving like a bull in a Glasgow china shop I fall back on the immortal words of Effie: ‘How embarrassment!’” It wasn’t just Paul Keir of Strathfield who wrote to say he was feeling embarrassed about the Prime Minister’s performance overseas this week. The tiff with the French President, the leaking of personal text messages in response to being called a liar by Emmanuel Macron, the inability to commit to the Global Methane Pledge, the PM presenting his climate conference speech to a near empty room and a gauche introduction to a nonplussed Prince Charles – all appeared cringe-worthy to correspondents.

In an effort to reduce his embarrassment, Greg Thompson of Bega will pretend to be a New Zealander when finally able to travel abroad, while others aspire for greater things. “Oh, for a true statesman who would represent our country on the international stage in a manner devoid of bluster, parochialism and empty rhetoric,” Alison Jones of Sutherland wrote longingly.

As columnist Niki Savva wrote this week, in an “extraordinary diplomatic feat, Scott Morrison has somehow managed to have China, France and the United States offside simultaneously”. “It’s an outstanding trifecta”, she wrote, and a feat very much “deserving of an Honorary Doctorate in Making a Bad Situation Worse”, according to Peter Rainey of Wollstonecraft.

As always, there have been many clever and thoughtful letters written not only about the Prime Minister but a variety of subjects this week. As the year’s end approaches quickly, don’t forget to send in your nomination for letter writer of the year, which we will announce in December. Pat Stringa, Letters editor

  • To submit a letter to The Sydney Morning Herald, email letters@smh.com.au. Click here for tips on how to submit letters.
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