You have to be very worried when an American sportsman who has made a fortune from promoting a gambling company tells us about the Australian Constitution. What Shaq O’Neal knows about it is probably about as much as what many, especially young, Australians know: nothing. To have him become the voice for the Voice suggests some desperation: perhaps it is a case of “let’s indoctrinate the young ones before they have any chance of thinking for themselves”. Mmm, that’s pretty much what gambling ads are designed to do.
Pam Cupper, Dimboola
Let’s have local voices to promote the Voice
Osman Faruqi – “Shaq or sham? Voice doesn’t need star photo ops” (Comment, 30/8) – is right. Shaq O’Neal, at the prime minister’s side, was not helpful. Surely there are many informed local artists and sportspeople who, if asked, would lend their support to the Voice.
Mary Cole, Richmond
For those who are too lazy to think for themselves
Osman Faruqi thinks too deeply in his attempt to understand the appearance of Shaquille O’Neal with the prime minister and Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney.
I’ll call it as I see it: O’Neal’s “celebrity endorsement” captures the attention, which hopefully translates to securing support, of a slice of the community which is simply too lazy to think about the issue. His engagement is an acknowledgement that we should never overestimate the voting public. Yes, I’m sadly, tragically and accurately cynical.
Geoffrey Conaghan, St Kilda
The real crime: depicting us as ocker idiots
As if the inundation of gambling ads at the moment with Shaquille O’Neal is not enough, the latest one depicts supposedly Aussie blokes mumbling “stuff” I have never heard, and making movements I have never seen, in my life. Please, can this stop. It is bad enough trying to encourage people to gamble but to convey Australians as mumbling, ocker idiots is a bigger crime.
Maureen Gunn, Strathmore
This is an insult to the entire Australian community
I am left speechless at the actions of the prime minister in inviting an American basketball player to help promote the Voice. What an enormous insult to Aboriginal people, to all other Australians, in fact.
Heather Stanmore, Junortoun
Toxic urban environment
Thank you, Matt O’Sullivan – “Push to ban old polluting trucks from capitals” Comment, 29/8). Riding my bike between Preston, Fitzroy and my former office in South Melbourne, it was impossible to find a productive route where I could avoid filling my lungs with toxic vehicle exhaust.
Bus routes are often paired with bike lanes, and when a poorly maintained bus takes off in front of me, I often pull over, wait for the black smog to clear a bit, then hold my breath as I ride on through. The fact that I inhale so much vehicle exhaust on my commute makes me want to work from home.
This is not how our urban environment has to be. It is the result of negligent policymakers who are decades behind when it comes to setting adequate fuel and vehicle standards, or even appropriate traffic emissions zoning. It is shameful.
Stella Radford, Fitzroy North
I am disgusted by Anthony Albanese’s refusal to scrap the “top end” tax cuts. It is not just a one-off. This move will implement a permanent, regressive tax regime that favours the most wealthy. This is not the Labor Party I voted for.
John Hannah, Castlemaine
The better system or …
Wendy Brennan writes about the benefits of training hospitals (Letters, 30/8). I am a former nurse who left the profession 20years ago and changed careers.
I am now retired. I did my training in a large public hospital in the 70s. The training was excellent, and we worked extremely hard and learnt both the theory and practical, hands-on experience to which you refer.
I am at a loss to understand why a return to hospital-based training, which provides student-workers of varying ability in the process, appears to not even be considered as a way of assisting with the shocking crisis we are facing.
Christine Harris, Mordialloc
… extinct like dinosaurs?
The repeated suggestion that the solution to recruitment and retainment of nurses and midwives is solved by a return to last century’s hospital-based training lacks insight and understanding. Nursing and midwifery practice has evolved since 1993, when all registered nursing students entered the profession via the tertiary education pathway. Just like the dinosaurs, hospital-based training is extinct.
Caryn Auld, registered nurse, Point Cook
Clinton, the better choice
Nick Bryant (Comment, 27/8) says that Joe Biden, “for all his flaws, for all his brain fades, for all the awkward moments when he has looked like a world-weary president at the end of his second term rather than midway through his first” is the Democrats’ best candidate for 2024. There is a better choice: Hillary Clinton. She has all the skills and experience to do the job. It would be risky to run again but I hope she does.
David Fry, Moonee Ponds
Let’s join the fare evaders
On Monday I travelled towards the city on a Hurstbridge line train, and I saw numerous people enter and leave the so-called paid area of stations without tapping on or off. In the evening, I travelled on a number 86 tram through Northcote and Preston. I only saw one young man use his myki. There were at least a dozen other people who did not.
Why aren’t there turnstiles on all stations and trams? These simple devices work in Hong Kong: in nearly 20years of living there, I only once saw an attempt at fare evasion. Here it would seem to be the norm. That being the case, why bother having myki at all? It is a pointless piece of plastic, only used by honest fools like me.
Julie Moffat, St Leonards
Many mykis for sale
Your correspondent says that unless a visitor had stayed close to a 7-Eleven store or a major train station to purchase a myki, she would not have been able to board public transport without risk of a fine” (Letters, 30/8). Myki can also be purchased from machines at metropolitan train stations and some accessible tram stops and bus interchanges.
Michael McKenna, Warragul
The cheaper way to travel
While concession and senior commuters from interstate who swipe credit or debit cards on Sydney transport pay full fares (Letters, 29/8), there is an option for discounted fares. By applying for an interstate seniors/concession card three to four weeks before travelling, an OPAL card will be sent to you. It provides all-day transport on trains, light rail, buses and ferries for $2.50. OPAL cards do not expire and their balances are displayed in large numbers, easy to read, on entry and exit, unlike myki cards.
Lindsay Cooper, Brighton East
Just speak to the victims
If senior departmental officials cannot tell what went wrong with robo-debt after two to three years, replace them. Then ask the thousands of Aussies who were victims of this scheme for their insights. No royal commission into robo-debt is needed.
Geoff Oliver, East Malvern
Older, overlooked workers
How ironic that when there is a shortage of skilled staff, employers are getting rid of experienced staff through “structural change” (Letters, 30/8). I have many friends who, after 40years of faithful service and with no complaints against them, were made redundant.
As they are in their later years, it is hard for them to find work and when they do it is often on a contract or casual basis. Employers cut costs by not having to pay long service leave and sickness benefits. This means staff have no stability in employment and have issues obtaining loans for housing.
Maria Liew, Woodend
Ready, willing and trained
My son-in-law is an unemployed maths teacher. He is 43, an Australian citizen and has nine years of classroom experience. However, his qualifications and teaching experience from Colombia are not recognised here. He is currently studying maths (work that he already knows) at a university and taking hard physical jobs with low pay.
He is not the only one in this position. Australia encourages immigration and diversity, yet at a time when there is a teaching crisis (particularly in maths) people with qualifications from countries where English is not their first language are not allowed to teach unless they spend further years at university retraining. Isn’t it time to look at this rich resource we already have in our country?
Liz Anderson, Oakleigh
Learn from Abbott’s fall
If George Brandis’ analysis of the Liberal Party (Letters, 29/8) is its prevailing position, then it will be relegated to the opposition for some time. Once again, Brandis is focused on winning at all costs rather than considering what is best for our country. The very reason that saw Tony Abbott consigned to history.
Barry Buskens, Beaumaris
Genuinely ’fair dinkum’
George Brandis insultingly suggests that we have fallen in love with Anthony Albanese’s “folksy ways”. My reading is that Australians appreciate the change from Scott Morrison’s attempt at being a “fair dinkum bloke” to Albanese’s genuineness.
Ken Fisher, Warragul
Thank you, Anson Cameron – “Loving fibs that keep the world spinning” (Spectrum, 27/8). You brought back mum’s smiles as I wove stories about an imaginary life she had lived as she drifted into her own Alzheimer’s world.
Jan Macpherson, Barwon Heads
A nonsensical order
With our dams currently at over 92 per cent capacity, why hasn’t the Victorian government cancelled this year’s water order from the desalination plant? Apart from saving consumers some money, it would also reduce the load on our electrical system over the next few months. At this stage, we definitely don’t need the water.
John Clayton, Narre Warren South
A conditional return
Joe Biden, why not return the $US7billion (currently in the federal Reserve Bank) which is owed to Afghanistan on the understanding that an international committee will allocate it to the aid so badly needed?
George Stockman, Berwick
She was truly our Diana
Re “Diana’s last moments: Doctor recalls ’tragic night‴ (Comment, 30/8). When she died, I made a little “Diana altar” at home and grieved her privately, whilst still being held by the continued, communal outpouring of love and loss for this special woman.
I still believed she was special to me, of course – she was “mine” – but there was something powerful about being a part of the world that she had reached for, far beyond the realm of my own life. I didn’t have to hide my feelings – the world mourned with me. We had all lost Diana.
Rachael Pierce, Beaumaris
Avoid another tragedy
Resources Minister Madeleine King makes light of the potential dangers of carbon capture and storage when she quips, “It’s the bubbles in your soda water or out of your SodaStream” (Comment, 29/8).
Mother Nature has already run a long-term, large quantity, carbon dioxide storage experiment for us at Lake Nyos in Cameroon. It ended tragically in 1986 when the gas suddenly escaped. It killed all living creatures within a distance of about 25 kilometres, including nearly 2000 people. We sequester carbon dioxide underground at our peril.
Robert Niall, North Fitzroy
A better governance
Your correspondent complains that the prime minister is wasting productive time by pursuing the machinations of his predecessor during his time in office. This misses the point that a “better future” in governance can only be assured if safeguards are set in place so that what Scott Morrison and the governor-general did, without informing the public, could not happen again.
Peter Drum, Coburg
AND ANOTHER THING
Why spend billions sending a rocket to the moon? Let’s spend the money trying to save the planet we live on.
Katriona Fahey, Alphington
Most people think Melbourne Day (30/8) refers to a “Demonic” celebration that occurs in late September once every 60 years and is held at a football stadium.
Mark Cherny, Caulfield North
Thank you, Jessica Irvine, for your analysis of the gender pay gap and your entreaty to “start debating ways to close it’ (30/8).
Mary Keating, Flemington
Maybe the public needs protecting from the medical regulator.
Graham Cadd, Dromana
Can we assume ethics has been removed from the medical syllabuses?
Graeme Walters, Mount Waverley
The English language needs a new word to describe regulatory bodies that never regulate.
Ian Powell, Glen Waverley
It was fascinating to read Britney Spears’ claim she had been ″literally killed″ by her family (30/8).
Patsy Sanaghan, North Geelong
Guy could make himself even more appealing, especially to the young, by becoming Matty G.
Rosemary Clerehan, Armadale
Which services/costs will the government reduce to pay for tax cuts for the top earners? Suffer the children, suffer our society.
Tom Stafford, Wheelers Hill
George Brandis supports the Coalition’s rejection of the 43 per cent emissions reduction target (29/8) and neatly explains why it is in opposition.
Peter Baddeley, Portland
Brandis’ view of politics as a “blood sport” marks him as a predatory spectator rather than a thinker or problem solver.
Linelle Gibson, Williamstown
Mr Albanese, please stop trying to be all things to all men. It will only end in tears.
Olivia Cuming, Hawthorn
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