Letters to
the editor

Indigenous head of state the answer

While I wholeheartedly agree with the Australian Republican Movement that Indigenous recognition in the constitution should take precedence over a plebiscite on the republic (Sophie Morris, “Turnbull gives up on his beloved republic”, November 14-20), I see the two as being intrinsically linked. The most poignant recognition we could offer the traditional owners of this land is to enshrine in the constitution of our new republic that the head of state must be an elder from the Indigenous community. Rather than another “unelected ribbon cutter” or yet another elected official from the establishment, an Indigenous elder respected by the community and with a deep connection to country as our head of state would send a clear message to the world about our maturity as a nation. It would also provide an anchor for our national identity. We still have so much to learn from our Indigenous community about the custodianship of this land and to have that wisdom front and centre in our national conversations and on the international stage would be invaluable.

– Matt Kendall, Annandale, NSW

Bill Shorten gets his slogan

Malcolm Turnbull has fallen for the furphy propagated to good effect by, among others, David Flint, head of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, that the people of Australia don’t care to have an Australian head of state. It is a point of view adopted by every prime minister since John Howard, including now, Mr Turnbull, because it absolves them of the responsibility for making it happen. Giving up on the republican cause now that he is prime minister, Turnbull has handed it to a grateful Bill Shorten and the Labor Party, desperate to find a fundamental point of differentiation in the lead-up to the next election. Turnbull’s judgement of the Australian people, and that of his predecessors, will be tested when Shorten is sure to run a campaign with a paraphrased slogan of Bill Clinton’s oft-quoted aphorism: It’s the republic, stupid.

– Brian Sanaghan, West Preston, Vic

Epic history of film formula

Clem Bastow surprisingly focused most of her analysis on more relatively recent sources to identify and discuss the formula being used in certain modern movies (“Generation X men”, November 14-20). If she paid more attention to Joseph Campbell’s work on mythologies and the ancient sources of these, she would have realised that the most pervasive example in the Western world of this formula is in the Bible. Many religions, if not all, seem to have this formulaic narrative. I don’t believe these types of movies reflect cultural decline. Their proliferation reflects other phenomena. This formula has persisted across millennia. I think an interesting question to ask would be: Why is this formula so intrinsically of interest to humans?

– John Morison, Kenmore, Qld

Doctors need support of law

Yes, Dr Campbell (Letters, November 14-20), those whom I like to describe as the “terminally alive” demand that their doctors have the protection of law when they carry out the express wishes of their patient to die a peaceful death.

– Dr Joan Croll, Drummoyne, NSW

PS: I’m alive and well at 87, but wanting a peaceful death with Nembutal when the time comes.

Battle lines

When Macbeth was reported as having “unseamed him [Cawdor] from the nave to the chops”, King Duncan responded: “O valiant cousin, worthy gentleman.”

When Michael Hand “stabbed one Vietcong soldier in the stomach, then tore the knife up through his sternum … Hand was awarded medals of valour.” (Martin McKenzie-Murray, “Sleight of Hand”, November 14-20). Not much has changed.

– Paul Sowter, Westleigh, NSW

PM needs a unified party

It appears senators Eric Abetz and Cory Bernardi are determined to do everything they can to ensure the Liberal Party loses the next election. Their comments relating to the circumstances around the recent change of prime minister are unhelpful to say the least (The Week, November 14-20). I cannot make up my mind if they are based in arrogance or stupidity. Were it not for the seriousness of the situation, a clown analogy would seem appropriate. Just when Australia is beginning to have the semblance of some sensible government these two react (so predictably) to the current story doing the rounds, creating an air of dissent that is totally unjustified. Malcolm Turnbull won the election to the leadership position because Tony Abbott was doing a terrible job. The electorate have shown very clearly in numerous polls they approve of this change. Abetz, Bernardi, Abbott and company need to get on the bus or get off and stay off. They say they have the country’s best interests at heart, but their actions say the opposite and come across as decidedly self-interested.

– Frank Pollard, Wurtulla, Qld

Cory Bernardi’s search for meaning

I am incredulous that South Australian senator Cory Bernardi is apparently incapable of using “incredulous” correctly in a sentence (The Week, November 14-20). It seems incredible, really.

– Anne Ackroyd, Melba, ACT

Letters are welcome: [email protected]
Please include your full name and address and a daytime telephone number. Letters may be edited for length and content, and may be published in print and online. Letters should not exceed 150 words.

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on November 21, 2015.

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