Credit:Illustration: Vintage Andrew Dyson
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Opt for dignity and respect rather than angry dissent
Reporting of Australia Day events seems to be very city-centred and focused on conflict. A beautiful, respectful and calm event was held at dawn overlooking the sea in Torquay, saltwater country of the Wadawurrung, the traditional owners of the south west of Victoria. It was presented by the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, in partnership with the Surf Coast Council, as an alternative to more divisive events.
Traditional welcome to country and smoking ceremonies were accompanied by didgeridoo performances and dancers, and the speakers were both traditional owners and local politicians. Hearing about the place we all love from a true historical perspective, and the ways we are working towards a better future, was heartening. Let us hear more about these quiet, respectful moments rather than focusing on the noise of conflict.
Yvonne Hunter, Armstrong Creek
Choose a day which all Australians can celebrate
There is a growing consensus that January 26 is no longer acceptable as the date of Australia Day. I suspect that there will be difficulty in finding an alternative date. The obvious one, the date of federation, falls on New Year’s Day. However, there is no need to specify a date at all. A majority of our public holidays are defined by days of the week, for example, Good Friday and Cup Day.
I suggest that Australia Day be held on the second Monday in February. This would provide for a welcome, long weekend in a month with generally good weather and no other public holiday. It would avoid the present clash with the school holidays and, unlike January 26, could be celebrated by all Australians.
Robert Jenkin, Blackburn
Reflecting why, for many, it was an invasion
While I am sure it was not the intention of the organisers of the airshow over inner Melbourne on Thursday, they could hardly have chosen a more apt demonstration of the reason many people consider Australia Day to be “Invasion Day”. The symbolism of this aggressive, loud, polluting invasion of our peaceful time was certainly not lost on our group who were gathered together to enjoy a morning coffee in the Fitzroy Gardens.
Christine Pinniger, Fairfield
Let’s aim for a tone of peaceful reconciliation
We are finally at a time in our history when many people wish to acknowledge and address the distress of First Nations people on the invasion of their country. Invasion Day, however, is an aggressive and non-conciliatory term which does little to engender a tone of peaceful reconciliation. May I suggest, in deference to Captain Cook’s vessel, Endeavour Day as an alternative term for our national day?
Gina Brotchie, Soldier Hill
A convenient way to get rid of unwanted convicts
Let’s be honest, most of us just want a long weekend in January. Maybe we should make it the last Monday of that month (Letters, 25/1). And as for “Invasion Day” on January 26, it was more “convict-dumping day” where a convenient country (Australia) provided a much-needed spot to relieve the overcrowded convict hulks on the Thames River in London.
Don Owen, Hawthorn
Get enraged, parents
Re schools pressuring parents for voluntary contributions (The Age, 25/1). If state schools relied on government funding alone, many would have no sun shades in playgrounds, pencils, library books, paint, paper or IT equipment. At our children’s school, once the cost of casual relief teachers, electricity, rubbish collection, plumbing, phone bills and running a school building is covered, there is barely any money left over from government funding for education and classroom supplies.
State government school funding has been inadequate for decades. This has been covered up by parents paying voluntary contributions and doing hours of fundraising work. It is time parents got really angry and demanded proper funding. Or maybe the state government does it on purpose so families move to the private system, where the federal government picks up the tab?
Glenn Peters, Prahran
Stop the gravy train
The problem would be partly taken care of if the quarter of Victoria’s state education budget was not given to non-government schools. At a federal level, private schools were given increased money over the past nine years by the Coalition at the rate of five times government schools. So these schools get our money from both levels as well as charging hefty fees.
I assume neither Labor nor the Coalition want to withdraw this billion-dollar largesse which the independent and Catholic schools have been getting over the past 60 years in case they lose votes. It is time our politicians found the backbone to say “enough”. If parents want to send their children to private schools let them find the money, and let’s bring the government schools up to their standard.
Lorraine Bates, Balwyn
Table’s lifelong benefits
There has been talk of schools changing their policy on the teaching of the Periodic Table. Thank goodness I grew up when we studied it in depth – it meant I could answer, without cheating, the 10 questions in DA’s quick crossword (Puzzles, 27/1), identifying elements from his clues, “the table”.
Margaret Smith, Point Lonsdale
China’s customer skills
Re “Taxi fiasco risks city’s reputation” (Editorial, 27/1). In 2008, we attended the Beijing Olympics, specifically rowing which was held well outside the city. Access was difficult and at the end of the day there was a very long queue for taxis.
When we reached the head of the queue a volunteer apologised, saying they had not expected such demand but it would be better tomorrow. True to their word, the following day there was only a queue of 20 people waiting for taxis. There was a line of 60 taxis awaiting clients. Presumably government intervention for the public good.
John Richmond, Ballarat
Be proud of our bodies
I know it is unlikely, but I sincerely hope that those who get their kicks from trolling Jelena Dokic with vile messages listened to the brilliant speech by our new Australian of the Year, Taryn Brumfitt (The Age 26/1).
Narelle Murray, Glen Waverley
Serbs’ shameful conduct
It is obvious to every normal person that Russia is committing war crimes, and fighting an unjust war against the Ukrainian people. The Australian Open, rightly, banned all Russian (and other) war propaganda, symbols and conducts during the tournament.
As an Australian of Serbian origin, I am deeply offended by the conduct of a small group of extremists and Srdjan Djokovic, Novak’s father. In no way do they represent views of the Serbian people in Australia and elsewhere. They should be compelled to comply with the rules of the tournament.
Milenko Jovanovic, Carnegie
Seeking Indigenous ‘no’
What a brilliant piece of writing from Noel Pearson – ‴No’ vote will kill reconciliation” (Comment, 26/7). His Yes case for the referendum is clear, strong and precise. We are left in no doubt about his view. It would be interesting to read what a First Nations person opposed to the Voice has to say.
Elizabeth Sprigg, Glen Iris
As a supporter of the Greens, I write in despair at Lidia Thorpe’s decision to vote No in the referendum on the Voice. This is confusing also for a supporter when the Greens say they will support the Yes campaign but their spokesperson on First Nations issues is urging a No vote. I now regret voting for her.
She seems to be nothing more than a wrecker, bomb thrower and showboat. How does this advance reconciliation when she agrees with the Nationals who want this referendum to go down? Thorpe’s stand spreads disunity and confusion.
Mick Heaney, Reservoir
Danger of Voice defeat
The Greens are at it again. Demanding the perfect (in their eyes) against what is possible. Passing the Voice referendum is a beginning, not an end. Treaty will follow. They must accept that defeat of the referendum will put the whole process back decades.
Geoff Champion, Mount Dandenong
Two birds, one stone
I suggest that we Australians appoint an Indigenous head of state. This would address two fundamental issues in our journey towards being a mature nation, namely the recognition of our First Nations peoples and the end of the monarchy.
Julian Rzesniowiecki, South Melbourne
At your service, granny
Public Transport Victoria might be on to something with its “STOP, it could be your granny getting off” (Letters, 27/1). A few years ago I had the misfortune to get a flat tyre on a quiet road some distance from any major town. Not keen on waiting an hour or more for the RACV, I retrieved the jack and spare tyre from the boot. But so much for being an independent 75-year-old. There was no way I could move those wheel nuts.
I was just about to call for help when a ute pulled up. The driver was a young man with shaved head, arms covered in tats. “I saw you there and thought “that could be my granny”, so what can I do to help?” Five minutes later, the tyre was changed and we were both on our way.
Since then I have never been critical of young people with tats, piercings or whatever. And I think many have a soft spot for their grannies and old ladies who look like their granny.
Marie Hall, Riddells Creek
Ripping off their staff
Is this a matter for government to regulate? On Australia Day we went to a venue that had an 18 per cent surcharge for our meals. There was nothing about this on the door or at the cash register where we ordered. When I told the staff member that at least she was earning 18 per cent extra that day, she was totally unaware of it.
Later we went to another venue where the menu listed a surcharge of 10 per cent, but again a staff member had no idea where the extra money went. Hospitality associations need to get their act together, on both counts.
Ange Kenos, Niddrie
Phew, what’s that smell?
Losing my olfactory senses with COVID-19 was distressing and disconcerting. My cat, through her litter box, has assured me that I have completely recovered.
Brenda McKinty, Oakleigh East
The day we don’t need
I would love to see the end of the holiday that “celebrates” the Melbourne Cup. Celebrates what? Poor animals being forced to carry kilos as fast as they can, the parasitic betting industry and the apparent influence and desperate attention seeking behaviour of B-grade celebrities. Just to name a few of the “positive” aspects of the day. It’s time for a bit of public holiday overhaul perhaps.
Wendy Hinson, Wantirna
Enhance our experience
Can some genius please invent technology that allows the viewer to hear tennis racquets on balls but not players screeching or garrulous commentators pontificating. You know whom I mean.
Hugh Saunders, Brighton East
AND ANOTHER THING
The Greens, once again, are going to allow perfection to get in the way of the common good.
Brent Baigent, Richmond
I hope Dutton doesn’t forget the role Harold Holt played in helping the passage of the 1967 referendum.
Alistair Davies, Thornbury
Albo, legislate the Voice. Get it done. This round and round in circles is getting us, and will get us, nowhere.
Raeleene Gregory, Ballarat East
So the pro-Voice mob that highjacked Australia Day are now protesting the anti-Voice protesters. Equality?
Rob Rogers, Warrandyte
January 1 has no hope of ever becoming Australia Day. It is already a public holiday.
Glenn Murphy, Hampton Park
May I suggest we erase all public holidays from the calendar, then vote on which date, and by which name, future holidays are held. Democracy.
Christine Barnes, Glen Iris
Change the date but keep it in late January and call it Reconciliation Day or Reflection Day.
Peter Walker, Black Rock
There’s something wrong with Djokovic’s father and others holding Russian flags with a photo of Putin. Ban them from the AO, please.
Jim Downey, Point Lonsdale
It’s high time Tennis Australia encouraged the immediate return of Djokovic’s father to where he’s free to fly the Russian flag.
Annie Wilson, Inverloch
Seven per cent of those surveyed are “completely unaware” of Harry, Meghan and the book, Spare (26/1). What a blissful existence.
Max Nankervis, Middle Park
Re the new ads. UAP: the Unhinged Australia Party
Dean Michael, Mount Macedon
If businesses refuse to take my cash and insist on card payments, then they must remove their card surcharge.
Leo Doyle, Bundoora
The sounds of summer: Big Bash cricket. Rickybabble.
Andrew Walker, Wangaratta
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