Why are we harking back to colonial days?

Credit:Illustration: Megan Herbert

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THE MONARCHY

Why are we harking back to colonial days?

We don’t need a republic. (Can you imagine the circus which would ensue, every time we needed to elect a president?) What we need is a slimmed-down monarchy, almost to the point of invisibility, to reflect its relevance to Australia.

Parliament should not close down for 15 days – once on the day of the Queen’s funeral would be more than enough. No one should swear allegiance to an individual from another country. Our currency should feature Australian symbols, not foreigners.

The powers of the governor-general should be curtailed, so that our elected representatives can never be dismissed except by the will of the people. And the ABC should be discouraged from offering repetitive, wall-to-wall coverage of the excessively long, drawn-out ceremony leading up to the burial of a monarch.
We are an independent country which happens to have historical links to the United Kingdom. Let our customs and procedures reflect that, and not slavishly hark back to colonial days.
Miranda Jones, Drummond

Celebrating Elizabeth’s life of dedication and service

Richard Flanagan (Comment, 17/9) is most ungracious to our gracious Queen Elizabeth II. Many others around the world have acclaimed her dignity, charm, elegance and long, dutiful service to her people. Flanagan, however, with the exception of conceding she was “dignified”, could not find any other favourable qualities.

Egalitarianism is one thing but, Richard Flanagan, her majesty was not “like you, like me”. When we die, hundreds of thousands of people are not going to line up, some for 22 hours in a queue five kilometres long, to view our coffins. She may have been “a little, old lady” but it is what that little old lady did during her long life of dedication and service that has made her great.
Peter Tierney, New Town, Tas

I’m curious. What did the Queen actually do?

Thank you, Richard Flanagan, for so eloquently expressing what I have been feeling this last week. The Queen was excellent at “queening” – opening things, visiting things and making people feel better by her presence – but what did she actually do?

To my knowledge, she did not set up charities or great institutions, advocate for people or causes, or seem to have any intellectual involvement with the life of her realms. Of course, there was a lot she could not do because of her constitutional duties but she seemed to be mainly interested in propping up the empty heart of an anachronistic institution based solely on inheritance.
Helen Caldwell, Ashburton

The media should focus on what really matters

It appears that the circus media has developed an obsessive- compulsive disorder. Pandering, posturing, bleating to an institution that should have lost significance during the Age of Enlightenment, it continues to saturate the airwaves with irrelevance.

So someone has died – a person whose arcane and antiquated institution is one wrought on privilege, opulence and wealth, on colonialism, slavery, on illusions of grandeur, on shallowness, on everything that reeks of class distinction and exploitation.

Are there not other more life-threatening and changing events in the world to hold centre stage and direct humanity’s consciousness to those things that really matter? I am sorry that another human has died, but what about the millions who are dying from the effects of war, famine, poverty, ethnic cleansing etc. Will they receive the same coverage and homage as the Queen?
Tad Zagorski, Whittlesea

Charles must speak out on important causes

If King Charles III believes all he has to do is maintain the status quo then he is in for a shock. The world is changing quickly and he will have to change with it to maintain any credibility. As Prince of Wales, he spoke out for causes he believed in. As king, he needs to do the same and not bow to conservative forces and the media.
Paul Chivers, Box Hill North

THE FORUM

Benefits of membership

If, as portrayed by a number of your recent commentaries, the British Empire was such a bad thing, why are 54 countries, representing about 30per cent of the world’s population, voluntarily members of the Commonwealth of Nations?
Roger Turner, Freeburgh

Forget the environment

It is amazing how concerns about climate change simply fade away when there is an opportunity for privileged and connected people to catch a plane to attend a funeral in London.
Joanna Wriedt, Eaglemont

Towards a republic

Your correspondent (Letters, 16/9) asks, “Would Tony Abbott, the monarchist, have done any more as prime minister than Anthony Albanese has to promote the monarchy”. I am tipping that Abbott would not have appointed a minister for the republic.
Robert Box, Chelsea

Wisdom amid carry-on

Re the decision by the AFL to scrap the mandated minute’s silence to honour the Queen during Indigenous round (Sport, 17/9). AFLW star Daisy Pearce has risen even further in my estimation after her astute comment about “which version of this nation’s history do you give voice to and bring to the fore”. That is a timely and thought-provoking remark in the midst of much meaningless carry-on.
Bill Cleveland, Kew

Modesty and courage

What a wonderful article – “Sink and swim” (Good Weekend, 17/9). A 50-something Dugald Jellie finds he has many reasons to be grateful for taking a job as a dish hand in a Melbourne cafe. Despite his misgivings that it would be the wrong fit (due to his height and age, not to mention ego), he seems to take a deep breath and force himself to give it a go.

To Jellie’s utter amazement, the job not only provides an income, but a chance to see himself and his circumstances (working at this “lowly” job) as a gift, a blessing in disguise. What an uplifting little piece, beautifully and honestly conveyed without a hint of saccharine.
Joyce Butcher, Williamstown

We must stand up to Putin

The Australian government should support Ukraine by banning all Russians from coming here, whether for business, migration or tourism (Sunday Age, 18/9). This would send a clear message to Vladimir Putin that Russia’s action is unacceptable and that all Russians are complicit.

It is a war that should not have started and now is dragging on, destroying millions of lives and infrastructure that will take decades to rebuild. Sending military supplies is enabling more destruction, whereas inconveniencing Russians will make them realise we are standing with Ukraine. Why should the Russian people continue to enjoy their lives when Ukrainians are living in terror and fear while they battle this war on their homeland?
Jacinta Cloney, Macedon

Don’t punish vulnerable

I hope that common sense prevails over the concern regarding paracetamol overdoses among teenagers (The Age, 16/9).

Introducing purchase limits to one or two packs per person will punish those who depend on it. Restricting sale without a prescription to over-18s will place an unnecessary burden on our already overworked health system and an additional financial impost on those who require it. Place the emphasis on mental-health assistance instead of adopting a nanny state solution.
Vicki Jordan, Lower Plenty

Pleas for the PM to …

Former Labor minister George Gear is right that the stage three tax cuts should be scrapped (Sunday Age, 18/9). They will cost taxpayers $184billion over the next 10years and cannot be justified in a grossly over-stretched budget.

Broken promises are, understandably, an anathema to the government. However, a government seeking income equity should be prepared to wear the opprobrium of the wealthy minority. Voters understand that circumstances change, and the prime minister can now claim the support of the Reserve Bank governor who has declared that the government needs to introduce higher taxes (The Age, 17/9). The public will respect a leader who has the courage to re-evaluate when seeking to bring about a fairer Australia.
Bryan Long, Balwyn

… show some gumption

The call to scrap the stage three tax cuts misses the major issue: our tax system is inequitable. It has a 47per cent (including Medicare levy) marginal tax rate but does not tax inheritances, superannuation pensions and capital gains on houses that people happen to live in.

It allows negative gearing on real estate and shares, provides franking credits on shares and even franking credits refunds for those in the zero-tax bracket, and allows income splitting through trusts. The tax system needs to be overhauled to provide equitability, not a system that taxes labour very heavily. Maybe Anthony Albanese could show some gumption and take on the task of reforming the tax system rather than appeasing the electorate.
Sandy McKinnon, Malvern East

Is this the better option?

There has been much discussion about state governments replacing stamp duty on property with an annual land tax and how this will save purchasers a large, up-front expense. But will it?

If most buyers have an “extra” $40,000 or so, it will be spent in competition against other buyers who also have that “extra money”. Also, real estate agents will get a bit more in commissions, developers will get a bit more and home owners will have to pay the annual land tax. This seems worse than before, but real estate agents and developers are keen on it.
Graeme Thornton, Yallambie

Turn the noise down

I am not surprised to read of the serious impact that high noise levels can have on cognition and health in general (The Age, 17/9).

My husband and I used to enjoy meeting friends for coffee or a meal, but are becoming less inclined to do so because of the shocking noise levels in hospitality venues with loud background music and poor sound insulation.

Most of the workers are young, and if research shows how detrimental these noise levels are to their health, both mental and physical, obviously this need to be addressed. Then we shall also be able to enjoy the social aspects the hospitality industry offers.
Christine Harris, Mordialloc

Hail AFL Emperor Max

The comments regarding Melbourne captain Max Gawn’s declaration of a “Demon Dynasty” and comparison to the Ming Dynasty (Letters, 13/9) were quite presumptuous. The Ming Dynasty suffered many setbacks and defeats during the time of its first three emperors. Max has many years yet to establish the dynasty he craves.
Peter Macdonald, North Melbourne

A coach and philosopher

After a devastating loss by a point, the Pies’ coach, Craig “Fly” McCrae, showed why his team has risen so high after 2021. Refuse to live in the past, accept mistakes and just keep going, and use lessons learnt as motivation for next time. His philosophy can guide a life, not just a game.
Glenda Johnston, Queenscliff

‘Laziness’ an unfair label

While I understand Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon is trying to be helpful in reminding people to check their automated financial payments for better products, I object to the use of the word “laziness” (Sunday Age, 18/9).

There are many of reasons why people may not wish to regularly spend hours making comparisons and going through the rigmarole of changing providers for their multiple services. Many people are time poor, and plenty of people struggle with the technological skills and find the process stressful. Usually there is no option of speaking to someone without an hours-long wait. Chat-bots are further time wasters as they frequently miss the point.

While we have been forced to do business online for the benefit of companies, many people have been left behind and customer service has declined. We feel bad enough knowing we could probably be saving money. Please do not label us as lazy.
Louisa Ennis, Thornbury

Please end the agony

“Unimaginable suffering” (Letters, 17/9) should open our minds to a torture we ignore. If I picked up a 10-kilogram puppy, shoved a barbed hook down its throat and held it up to scream in agony, the RSPCA, the police and horrified bystanders would rush to the rescue. But a 10-kilogram fish, without the lungs to voice its agony, is left to writhe to the amusement of the fisher. A quick and merciful death should be mandatory.
John Quinn, Avoca

Stars of tennis and writing

Thank you, Greg Baum – “After a career at the very top, the Swiss star finally comes back down to earth” (Sport, 17/9). Your article on Roger Federer’s retirement was brilliant. I shall iron the creases from the pages and file it to read often. It is sports writing at its very best.
Jacqueline Cleverley, Ballarat Central

Here’s a big issue

Recently I stopped to buy a copy of The Big Issue in the main shopping strip in Sorrento. The friendly vendor told me that he lived in an outer suburb where there was little chance of selling his magazines. Consequently he had travelled for 90minutes on a bus to affluent Sorrento, believing that it would be busy. Indeed it was, yet he had sold few magazines.

I stepped away and for five minutes watched him smiling, saying hello and holding out a copy of The Big Issue to people who walked past. In that time, 82 people walked by and all ignored him. Did they not understand that selling The Big Issue provides work and an income for the disadvantaged and the homeless?

Were they too busy shopping, going to a cafe, buying coffees? Could they not afford the $9 price? Or did they simply not care?
Alison Davies, Surrey Hills

AND ANOTHER THING

Football

Every boyhood dream comes true: Collingwood lose by a point in the finals.
Brian Morley, Donvale

The Pies may have lost, but they won my heart. Well worth the drive up the Hume.
Jenny Bone, Surrey Hills

Come September, there’s no wobble like the Colliwobbles.
Harry Kowalski, Ivanhoe

The point is Collingwood thought they could but they couldn’t. And all by a point.
Bruce Dudon, Woodend

What’s better than beating the Pies? Beating them by one point.
Zena Marzi, Kew

Monarchy

Re “Perhaps behind the crown lies nothing at all” (17/9). Richard Flanagan, you’ve been reading my mind.
Joy Ramsey, Wangaratta

I expect an outbreak of baldness amongAustralian journalists with this constant tugging of the forelock. Please. Just stop.
Mike Pantzopoulos, Ashburton

If only our politicians had the same work ethic as the late Queen.
Doris LeRoy, Altona

It’s been broken ever since Gough was dismissed. Fix it.
Ross Hosking, Blackwood, SA

Furthermore

President Putrid.
Jacki Burgess, Port Melbourne

When the governor of the Reserve Bank forecast low interest rates through to 2024, perhaps he was talking about “Lowe interest rates” and we misheard him.
Monty Arnhold, Port Melbourne

A former Telstra executive to lead a review of MyGov – will it be a case of the deaf listening to the deaf?
Ralph Tabor, Pakenham

Re ″⁣A Grain of Truth″⁣ (Spectrum, 17/9), I want Leunig to be on the $5 note.
Patrick Walker, Coburg North

Business wants a free market without price control, except when it comes to wages.
Malcolm McDonald, Burwood

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