Same old model
The chair of the Australian Republic Movement, Peter FitzSimons, has demonstrated why Australians remain uncertain about a “true” Aussie head of state (Mike Seccombe, “Republic disturbance”, November 17–23). He has used the tired trope of engaging a monarchist with extreme views and supports the same model defeated in a referendum in 1999. The royals retain popular support in large measure because of their diffidence and their distance, things they are wise enough to take counsel about and very probably know instinctively. The first priority for Australians should most certainly be constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians. I can hope the Queen lives long enough to see it.
– Pam Connor, Mollymook Beach, NSW
The PM and church policy
At the time of Scott Morrison’s ascension to the prime ministership, the minister at his church claimed it was a miracle resulting from fasting and prayer, and would ensure that Australia’s government follows “godly principles” (Paul Bongiorno, “Death of a salesman”, November 17–23). Which raises the question: how would “godly principles” differ from the values of any decent Australian? And do those “godly principles” account for the PM’s continuing obsession with moving our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem – an action with no discernible benefit to Australia and significant downsides – since his church preaches that the Second Coming cannot occur until Jerusalem is Israel’s capital?
– Graham Thorburn, Woollahra, NSW
Anglicans’ rainbow fail
The anniversary of the “Yes” vote for the marriage equality survey finds Australia stronger in standing up for minorities and the church on its last legs. The million-dollar investment by the Anglican diocese of Sydney, the Ruddock report and the open letter from the heads of Sydney Anglican schools have all backfired in spectacular ways leaving the church far behind, laid out and awaiting burial. The rainbow was formerly one of the most popular Christian symbols but in church circles now inspires anxiety instead of hope. The “Yes” vote was an answer to prayer from so many people of faith and signifies a kinder, more compassionate Australia. It is a source of sorrow and embarrassment that the church remains an equality-free zone. Like tragic lifesavers we warn newcomers of the danger of entering our own waters and have become sand in the cossie of our own institution. The global “callout” among conservatives against LGBTQIA inclusion is a sign that even those eternally wedded to an ancient black-and-white world can see the rainbow writing
on the wall.
– Archdeacon Peter Macleod-Miller, Albury, NSW
Following the career path
All taxpayers should be very concerned and vigilant about the possibility of facing nasty surprises created by Scott Morrison when treasurer and now as prime minister. Replication is now occurring of his previous and well-proven damage-prone crash-through and indefensible “let’s just move on” approaches to management, decision-making and public accountability at high levels in two major government bodies in short succession (Karen Middleton, “Morrison ‘hijacked’ NZ tourism review”, November 17–23). Of course, some may be encouraged and given hope for a turnaround in their own futures from the experiences of a person who was forced to leave two high-paying positions early, yet soon rebounded onto a pathway to the highest level of influential positions in public life.
– Sue Dyer, Downer, ACT
Saving the planet
Please Saturday Paper, more of the visionary Barry Jones (“Saving Planet Earth”, November 10–16). Jones’s intellect gave him a ministry in an ALP government. His nous meant he could not rise to the prime ministership. The great Australian flaw, a distrust of true intellectuals (Whitlam’s tragedy), left him on the second tier. True visionaries are shunned by conservatives in Australia, people riled by suspicions of higher thoughts. A glance at the letters page of a Murdoch tabloid is a point made. Yes, Barry Jones, we must rescue our planet. It belongs to us all but direction comes down to those challenged and literate enough to spell out the truths. Eden revived is the only intelligent goal. It is on hold for the time being by an advertising PM holding a contentious power bill claiming the ordinary in a baseball cap advertising a meat pie. “Trump lite”, indeed.
– Warren Tindall, Bellingen, NSW
Constitutional change now
As a first-generation migrant, I am increasingly frustrated with the entropy surrounding what should be an exciting phase for 21st-century Australia – reconciling as a nation with the marginalisation and disregard of the exceptional uniqueness of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the necessarily required maturing of our nation’s constitutional institutions and arrangements (Editorial, “Granting injustice”, November 17–23). Why is it all so hard when it could be relatively straightforward? Adopt the Uluru Statement from the Heart and use that as the basis to progress a public process to underwrite a republic with an Australian head of state elected by the people. We know politicians throughout our history have deliberately hijacked related processes. It is obvious that their party political vested interests have perpetuated this course in the interim. We desperately need new ideas and approaches in this time of global crisis. Get on with it, Australia, our time is running out.
– Ellie Bock, Mena Creek, Qld
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on November 24, 2018.
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