Letters to
the editor

Time to act on constitution

Karen Middleton’s interview with Mick Dodson (“Fixing the constitution”, October 7-13) demands the long-overdue updating of our constitution to align it with Australia’s international treaty obligations and overwhelming public opinion. The race clauses must go and should no more appear in it than phlogiston or ectoplasm, or do we wait until “white” Australians believe they too are a threatened minority? Meanwhile, now that they no longer prevail politically, dogmatic believers are discovering the merits of a bill of rights. In its absence a comprehensive anti-discrimination clause covering race, ethnicity, religion, beliefs, gender, age, sexuality, disability, association, and rectifying the absence of a clause upholding equality before the law should meet Dodson’s and their concerns. Finally, redrafting section 51 (xxvi) to give the Commonwealth overriding power to legislate for indigenous Australians and their concerns following prior consultation with their representatives would enact what most Australians thought they already voted for in 1967.

– Tim Brown, Footscray, Vic

One message of hope

It was shocking to read Penelope X’s story of continued abuse by the Catholic Church in Victoria (“Nothing real can be threatened”, October 7-13). I am in awe of her determination to deliver such a dignified and forceful public reckoning of the failure of the Towards Healing protocol. I wish she lived in Parramatta – then her meeting with the clergy would have been with Bishop Vincent Long. At a recent speech on the future of the priesthood he argued for a different model for the church hierarchy: “When privilege, power and dominance are more evident than love, humility and servant-hood in the church, then the very Gospel of the servant Jesus is at risk”.

– Sue Wittenoom, Redfern, NSW

Catholic Church must change on abuse

The sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church has been shown to be both global and systemic. Such abuse has been made possible by a patriarchal culture that believed itself to have all the answers. The failure of the bishop to even acknowledge the abuse suffered by Penelope X would suggest this culture is alive and well. If instances of abuse cannot even be acknowledged, then there is no hope of understanding and confronting this dysfunctional culture. When will they ever get it?

– Mark Porter, New Lambton, NSW

Meaningful pursuits long part of OT

When Linda Moon reports the pastimes people with depression prefer (“Best interests”, October 7-13) she is convincing and persuasive to this long-time occupational therapist. But I’m afraid we part company over a “tantalising proposition” in The Lancet that prescribing “mood-enhancing pursuits” is something new: a simplistic assertion that pays no heed to the legitimate, longstanding contributions of mental-health occupational therapists. People with depressed mood have chosen to participate in (rather than be prescribed) meaningful pursuits with occupational therapists for more than 70 years now. In historical research published in 2014, Lynne Adamson has concluded that occupational therapists in Australia continue to have “a quiet yet consistent role within the changing environment of mental-health practice”. The journalism in “Best interests” lacks that critical edge
I have come to expect in The Saturday Paper and would better suit a lifestyle magazine.

– Sally Denshire, Albury, NSW

The growing gun toll in the US

The piece by Hamish McDonald (World, “Commander in chaff”, October 7-13) on the new United States record for a mass shooting touched just the tip of the iceberg. The truly staggering thing is that the Las Vegas massacre was the 273rd mass shooting in the US so far this year. Since their previous record (49 dead in Orlando on June 12, 2016), the Americans have had at least one mass shooting on most days: a mass shooting being four or more people (not including the shooter) shot dead in a single event. The New York Times recently had a despairing headline: “477 Days, 521 Mass Shootings. Zero Action From Congress.” As Shakespeare wrote, “Something’s rotten in the state of Denmark.” Amen.

– Russell Kenery, Red Hill, Vic

Judgement overruled

Regarding David Jeffrey’s letter (“No nonsense”, October 7-13), the quotes and then the satirical humour, which often reflects what I am thinking, are not articles. Page 2 gives you a humorous start (The Week), takes you on to kickstarting your brain (The Quiz), and then you get back into the articles. Personally, even if I don’t always agree with the “second sentence”, I enjoy the wit of the “sentencing judge”.

– Susan Woo, Mount Gravatt East, Qld

Power to the market

Guy Rundle (“Sermon on the Mont”, October 7-13): Thank you for blowing away the clouds obscuring the summit of Mont Pelerin.

– Michael Fulton, Kelvin Grove, Qld

ScoMo for short

Thanks for the perceptive thumbnail of our bumptious treasurer in last week’s Saturday Paper. I refer, of course, to Mungo MacCallum’s pithy precis in 17 down of The Cryptic (October 7-13). Who needs 4000 words to state the bleeding obvious?

– Patrick Guest, Bobin, 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 October 14, 2017.

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