Letters to
the editor

Other dates can be found

Erik Jensen’s article (“Change The Date”, November 26-December 2) is timely and well supportable. We should, however, seek a day with no attachment to war or victory (or, as in the case of Gallipoli, defeat) or oppression and, for a country operating on a peaceful, liberal and democratic basis, what more apposite and less controversial choice could there be than the date on which the nation became entire in itself by peaceful and parliamentary process? On October 9, 1942, the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act became law, thereby severing all remaining foreign political ties and controls, rendering this nation whole, within itself, on all matters on which we might choose, through and by our own parliamentary representatives, to act. This did leave outstanding the matter of legal appeals to the Privy Council, which was a court to which Australian and other Commonwealth judges were appointed, although our use of that body as a final court of appeal was at our option. Therefore, another possible and equally peaceful date might be March 3, 1986, the date at which it was determined that this final external tie be severed. Of course, for the flamboyant among us, neither of these events lends itself to exciting re-enactments and period costume dramas but, on a frightfully important, though possibly less serious historical note, neither would lose us a public holiday.

– Richard Hansford, Pymble, NSW

What will fill the void?

Australia Day should remain on January 26 because, if it is changed, January 26 will be resurrected in the collective imagination of the Australian people as a day to proclaim allegiance to patriotic and nationalistic sentiment. Regardless of compelling arguments made by Erik Jensen, without express alignment with the positions of Aboriginal elders, Australia Day must remain on January 26 or the vacuum will be filled with earnest racism.

– Ezra Saunders, Dulwich Hill, NSW

Republic should decide new date

I applaud the suggestion that the date of Australia Day be changed. There’s a very simple solution: set an early date for declaring ourselves a republic and make it the one on which we celebrate our nationhood. Perhaps we should keep January 26 as a Memorial Day holiday on which we all take time to reflect on the history that underpins our multicultural society.

– Susan Hobley, Lilyfield, NSW

Justice is inspiration for change

Congratulations on a brilliant idea to inspire all who find January 26 the wrong day to celebrate our nation. There are many reasons, even if an act of dispossession is our biggest liability in shaping our second national century together. Please, light this movement as positive and future-oriented. It is not about inclusion as a virtue-signaller for white includers. It is about giving us all the opportunity to live justly, to act with justice and to expect justice from each other as Australians. It is vital to nominate alternative dates and not hard to find a frontrunner. The date our constitution became law, July 9, stands for the foundation of our unity and the hope of fully realising that unity – what it might mean to be Australian. This could be the energising force we need in a “post-truth” political climate. This date is also a powerful reminder of the need to grow up and write our own constitution, rather than patching and splinting our old British-born monarchical one. Here’s to our very own Australia Day, Australians all.

– Lenore Coltheart, Malua Bay, NSW

Off with his head

In the halcyon days of this paper’s youth, the editorial seemed to be calling for the sacking or resignation of a government minister every other week. In more recent times, though, perhaps as the paper matured, such calls ceased. So it was a relief to read last week’s editorial (“Eject Dutton”, November 26-December 2) calling for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to be sacked. He is a disgrace whose rise exemplifies the Peter Principle; the management theory suggesting that promotion occurs within organisations until individuals reach their level of incompetence. Dutton exceeded that long ago.

– Dave Lisle, Mullumbimby, NSW

Call for Dutton sacking justified

Excellent assessment of Dutton. Yes, he should be sacked for “all of the above” – and, as my local member, he should also be sacked for telling me blatant lies about arts funding. Having spoken with him on more than one occasion I have formed the view that Dutton is obviously out of his depth, supremely arrogant, utterly self-interested and intellectually incapable of either analysis of the situation or addressing it.

– Christiaan Willems, Dayboro, Qld

Fake it ’til you make it

Barry Jones commented that society is “dumbing down” in his 2012 article “Stupidity is on the rise in our age of enlightenment”. The non-analytical acceptance by people of “fake news”, particularly in the US, supports Jones’s thesis (Mike Seccombe, “How fake news changed America”, November 26-December 2). Those same middle and southern states in the US that fell to Trump, partially on the basis of belief in conspiracies – Obama is not American – and false news are roughly the same states that prefer to eschew the science-based Darwinian theory of evolution in preference for a faith-based model, again supporting Jones’s thesis. Australia is not immune to “false news” as a political weapon. We don’t, however, need social media when we have The Daily Telegraph. False news, for the accepting non-analytical sections of society, is now the new political napalm.

– Bob Barnes, Wedderburn, NSW

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 December 3, 2016.

A free press is one you pay for. Now is the time to subscribe.