Save articles for later
Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.
Jim PavlidisCredit: .
To submit a letter to The Age, email [email protected]. Please include your home address and telephone number. No attachments, please include your letter in the body of the email. See here for our rules and tips on getting your letter published.
A recent commentary by Alon Liel, a former director-general of Israel’s foreign ministry, on Palestine recognition shows his grasp of the historical, moral and political dimensions of the Palestinians’ situation and will surely give the Labor government pause. Regardless of the feasibility of the two-state solution at this point, recognition of a Palestinian state by Australia will help underline the majority of the world’s message to Israel: Palestinians are our brothers and sisters, and Israel will rise in the world’s esteem when it accepts them as theirs, too.
Ken Blackman, Inverloch
The obstacles to statehood
Your correspondent’s advocacy for government recognition of Palestinian statehood ignores the fact that this has been done by very few of the world’s democracies (10/9). And this is because democracies are far more likely to heed the accepted criteria for statehood, which include a government with the capacity to conduct international relations. This is patently not possible when you have separate, highly divided administrations in the West Bank and Gaza.
Geoff Feren, St Kilda East
A breach of international law
The Australian Jewish community should not be thought of as united in opposing the decision of the Australian government to refer to East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza as ″occupied Palestinian territories″ . The Australian Jewish Democratic Society, of which I am a member, has long taken the position that the occupation and settlements are in breach of international law, a position familiar on the Israeli left. And in 2011, the AJDS called for the recognition of the state of Palestine.
The Australian change affirms – and the Israel lobby does not like hearing this – that claims based on the Bible, occupation through war, or potential threats cannot justify the continuing oppression of Palestinians and their apartheid-like second-class status. Palestinians, as much as Israeli Jews, have rights in the Holy Land. While we may be unclear on what the path to conflict resolution is between the two claimants, one thing is sure. Israel cannot continue with its current policy of occupation, discrimination, expulsions and ″judaisation″ (Hebrew: yihud) at the expense of Palestinian rights. Australia needs to call a spade a spade.
Larry Stillman, Elwood
Australia aligns with most nations
Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s announcement that the Australian government will identify Palestinian territories as ″occupied″ and name Israeli settlements there as ″illegal″ is both long overdue and most welcome. In doing so, Wong is simply recognising reality and bringing Australia into alignment with the established position of the United Nations and most of the world’s states. Attempts to characterise this as a capitulation to the so-called ″hard left″ of the Labor Party are simply a diversionary tactic. Factional differences within the Labor Party are of little consequence in comparison with the daily life-and-death struggle of the Palestinian people for recognition and justice. If there remains any slim hope of a just and peaceful settlement between the competing claims of both Israelis and Palestinians, this must be based on an honest appraisal of the situation. Wong has taken a significant step towards that.
Tom Knowles, Parkville
A refreshing change of policy
Congratulations to the government on returning to a balanced policy on Israel and the occupied territories, consistent with UN resolutions and the views of virtually all countries, overturning Scott Morrison’s 2018 decision which was solely motivated by domestic political considerations about retaining the seat of Wentworth. How refreshing to have a government that puts our national interest first instead of partisan politics.
Merv Keehn, South Melbourne
Shift in attitudes
The article regarding the British government’s intention to accommodate asylum seekers on barges (9/8) reminded me of when my parents and my brother, as refugees from Hungary in 1956, were allocated a temporary home in army barracks in Vienna.
The communal kitchen and amenities were shared not only by us, but Austrian families who were financially destitute, though as a child I did not query their presence. What stands out was how welcomed and embraced we were by the local people. There was compassion for our situation, and concern for our wellbeing. We were showered with presents, and invited to their homes, sharing meals, and outings.
How times have changed. Now we regard refugees as flotsam, an inconvenience to be hidden or treated with disdain, with a disregard or acknowledgment of their humanity.
Eva Millane, Box Hill North
PA must adhere to rules
So now, predictably, after the government’s change of language regarding the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry is calling for Australia to recognise a Palestinian state.
The process for Palestinian statehood was very clearly laid out in the Oslo Accords, agreed by the Palestinians and Israelis and endorsed by the UN. Israel was to progressively turn land over to the Palestinian Authority, while the two sides were to negotiate, compromise and agree on a two-state peace.
However, the Palestinian Authority simply rejected generous offers of statehood. When Israel withdrew from Gaza, Hamas turned it into a terrorist hub. The PA uses its autonomy to incite its people to terrorism against Israel, while refusing to genuinely engage since 2008, despite many Israeli efforts to continue negotiations.
If the PA wants its state, countries like Australia should encourage it to comply with the obligations it has already agreed to.
Robbie Gore, Brighton East
Banks are for people
I feel extremely let down by the Commonwealth Bank, which has been my family’s bank for two generations. It made $10.2 billion and yet our local branch is closing. So much money and yet it forgets to give needed service to the people it is supposed to service. Those people are struggling now with high interest rates. My anger was topped off by learning the CEO earned $10.4 million. May the banks please remember the people using the banks should be one of the main reasons they exist.
Jane Cheong, Aspendale Gardens
Bad as each other
My wife and I are long-standing CBA customers with a mortgage. We are appalled by the CBA’s profit and its chief’s salary. We’d change banks in a heartbeat but there’s no point. Like our politicians, all of the major banks are as bad as each other. The global financial crisis killed any real competition. There’s a real policy issue there that no one is addressing.
James Tucker, Greensborough
Targets were imposed
Your correspondent (Letters, 10/8) wonders why Linda Burney is more focused on the Voice than the Closing the Gap targets. The targets aren’t working because they are imposed on Indigenous communities without their input, which is exactly why a Voice is needed. Only when Indigenous communities have a say in policies that affect them can the Closing the Gap targets be achieved.
Samantha Keir, East Brighton
Aristotle says Yes
The rhetorical components of an argument have three aspects, according to Aristotle. Ethos is about the credibility of the speaker, Logos the logical and reasoned elements of their argument. Pathos is about the appeal to the emotions and sympathy of the audience. Is the Voice referendum proposal credible, logical and fair? Yes.
Jim Spithill, Glen Waverley
Late to nuclear
David Littleproud and a host of other Coalition politicians (″Yes in my backyard: Nationals happy to go nuclear″, 10/8) have had an epiphany and now favour nuclear power. If the Coalition thinks that nuclear is the obvious way forward, why didn’t the government they formed do something about it in their 10 years in power?
Ross Hudson, Mount Martha
Not too hard to count
The LNP at present seem preoccupied in parliament with the number of pages that the Uluru Statement takes up, making several claims about its length and asking multiple questions of the prime minister. Can I humbly suggest that that they acquire a copy of the Uluru Statement, do a simple count of the pages and they will have their answer.
Graeme Gardner, Reservoir
A way forward
Peter Dutton’s naysaying of the Voice referendum for political gain angers me. Indigenous Australians are respectfully asking for a say in the making of laws that affect them. Evidence of white Australia’s mistreatment and neglect of them abounds. The Voice offers a way forward.
Graeme Rose, Wangaratta
I don’t have First Nations heritage and nor am I someone who was born in Australia. My parents migrated here from India in 1968 with other Anglo-Indians who were facing discrimination in India because they are mixed race and not Indian enough. Their decision to migrate has meant that I’ve benefited from the advantages a developed nation offers including education, health care, housing, a relatively safe and secure environment and government supports should I need them.
These are all advantages many First Nations people don’t have in Australia. Nor do they have a say in how governments address the vast inequities and injustices many Indigenous people face.
The Indigenous Voice to parliament is a big step we can all make to address these injustices and inequities, one that I look forward to voting in favour of.
Maria Doogan, Brunswick
Let’s return to pigeon mail
Are the travels of an express post letter sent from Canberra on July31 a prelude to the demise of our postal service?
Tracking showed the letter stayed in Canberra for three days, then a day in Melbourne, returned to Canberra for two days, then to Sydney and back to Melbourne.
It arrived in our letter box on August 8. Pigeons should replace those running Australia Post. They fly at 120 km/h an hour and usually in the right direction.
Clive Davies, Brighton
GST rise not answer
Increasing the GST to 15 per cent to pay for aged care (Comment, 9/8) would only magnify the regressive effects of this tax, forcing those who can least afford it to pay an even greater proportion of their income on essentials like food and rent.
Better to fund aged care, health and education, and the energy transition by fairly taxing the multinational resource companies that pay little or no tax while receiving billions in government (ie taxpayer) subsidies.
Not land for everyone
If Tony Abbott is correct and Australia belongs to all of us, (as he recently commented at a forum) how is it that large parts of Australia, containing great natural resources, are in the hands of multimillionaires while large numbers of the population live in poverty and struggle day to day to survive?
Unfortunately, Australia does not belong to all of us. Even many of those who have managed to gain a foothold, by buying their property, are still in danger of losing that chance of owning even part of this country.
Abbott comes from a background where struggle has not existed. His unfortunate view of Welcome to Country ceremonies belies the fact that many of us enjoy the feeling of belonging even if we don’t own the country, as increasingly, our Indigenous people do not.
Sport perspective please
Such nonsense to want to declare a public holiday for the soccer. The Diamonds just won a world championship which has barely been mentioned. Of course Australians should be proud of the Matildas but keep some perspective.
Doris LeRoy, Altona
Weighing up views
Antoinette Lattouf offers some good advice on how to de-escalate the culture wars (Comment, August 10).
However, telling someone who holds views different from your own that ″you’ve definitely given me things to think about″ has to be sincere. To be meaningful, it must include the possibility that what you have just heard might be correct. It should also include the possibility that some of your arguments might not be as strong as you assume.
Listening to contrary views is one thing. Using them as a way to really re-evaluate your own is another.
Rod Wise, Surrey Hills
The last couple of sunny winter days are what we really look forward to in Melbourne. But I was disappointed to walk around the CBD and realise our high-rise buildings have created countless new street shadows.
I don’t know what happened to town planning, but it seems consideration of the winter sun has been lost.
Robert Irvine, Sunbury
Kiss this idea goodbye
What sort of grovelling cringe gives even a passing thought to subjecting the crowd to KISS at the AFL Grand Final? To reward a bunch of old rockers is madness. I can name Australian bands and singers who would do us proud.
Tim Nolan, Brighton
AND ANOTHER THING
Oh to be a bank executive, billions in profit and the bonuses are heartbreaking. Could they put some of it towards public housing?
Bruce Dudon, Woodend
CBA CEO Matt Comyn says that in the trade-off between profits and delivering for customers you can do both. I doubt if the customers in Hampton Park who recently lost their branch and three ATMs would agree.
Glenn Murphy, Hampton Park
What’s the definition of tone deaf? Try Matt Comyn getting a 50 per cent pay boost while the rest of the nation struggles with cost of living pressures.
Andrew Laird, Malvern
Millions in bonuses and shares for the boss and slightly less for other CBA staff is a kick in the guts for their struggling customers.
Marie Nash, Balwyn
The Commonwealth budget, and the public, would have been better off if the CBA wasn’t stupidly sold to private enterprise.
Malcolm McDonald, Burwood
A reporter on ABC television news presents a story while wearing ripped jeans. Yet another sign of the decline in ABC standards.
Greg Hardy, Upper Ferntree Gully
On an overpass once was written AUSTRALIA SUCKS, with NZ NIL scrawled beneath .
Michael Spillane, Torquay
In times past graffiti on a wall in Clifton Hill: Get stoned, chew aggregate.
Geoff Gowers, Merricks North
Please vote Yes. It’s the vibe.
Ralph Frank, Malvern East
As a worker in Boroondara I often see large SUVs speeding in 40km/h school zones with children passengers. Disregard for others has become the norm of the faux chateau, faux elite.
Jae Sconce, Moonee Ponds
The mellifluous Magpies are sounding more like the groans of the walking wounded.
Greg Curtin, Blackburn South
Most Viewed in Politics
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article