As the racial underbelly of the future referendum rises, a huge thanks to Daniel James for underlining the two questions at the heart of our vote (“Road without a horizon”, May 27–June 2). Besides the key question on the ballot around altering the Australian constitution, the first shadow to confront is this: is Australia mature enough to have a meaningful and respectful national conversation? Currently we see the signature Australian response cloaked in fear, prejudice and hesitation, driven by the mainstream media and subconsciously by the ABC “as balance”. This leads to the second sanctuary of silence: “A healthy democracy relies on the active participation and informed decision-making of its citizens, and not everyone wants a healthy democracy.” The weight of division from the Coalition and its various agents is clouding our future horizon. My only solace for the day after the referendum comes from Australian youth, because too many Boomers-on-up appear unable to be either serious or mature enough, while also choosing an unhealthy democracy as their preferred side of history. The horizon ahead can be clarified by our better angels. Stay true to Uluru.
– Andrew Barnum, Meroo Meadow, NSW
Not my democracy
How extraordinary that Peter Dutton could insinuate through referencing Orwell’s Animal Farm that the Voice will somehow be the end of democracy as we know it (Paul Bongiorno, “Licensed to ill-inform”, May 27–June 2). This from the leader who binds his shadow ministers to his rejection of the “Yes” position and will not allow a conscience vote. I feel very sad for Dutton that he is so desperate for power he will literally do anything. We might do well to remember something true democracies, as a number of the tribal nations of the Americas were originally, are reported to have kept in mind when choosing their governing councils: “Never give power to those who lust after it.”
– Lorraine Brown, Cooloolabin, Qld
Thank you for publishing the gruesome truth about what is happening to refugees on Nauru (Editorial, “Base costs”, May 27–June 2). I am left quaking with fury about what the Labor government has allowed to continue there and is prepared to spend on detaining people into the future. There is no reason those remaining few could not be brought to Australia and treated with compassion here. The expenditure of mouth-watering amounts of taxpayer dollars is a disgrace. Please keep shining a light on this disgraceful aspect of our country. Heaven knows the other media outlets are not doing so.
– Margaret Edwards, Berwick, Vic
Mike Seccombe (“Pentagon to secure Australian Minerals in green deal”, May 27–June 2) states that experts say it’s a big deal for the climate and our economy that the Pentagon will provide funding. It is a claim that should be investigated. Our minerals industry is almost 90 per cent overseas-owned and minerals are non-renewable. For some – mineral sands, nickel and gold – the economic reserves are perhaps 30 years, and for diamonds it’s much less. Tax and royalties paid by the mining industry have been exaggerated. Unlike Norway or Qatar, Australia has failed to benefit from resources, averaging about 5.7 per cent return on the wealth made by mining companies. But in what must be the ultimate of absurdities, The Australia Institute calculated the fossil fuel industry received $11.1 billion in subsidies, while paying $6 billion in royalties. We have become a nation that has forgone common sense, believing we can maintain our lifestyle by flogging off the family silver.
– Don Owers, Dudley, NSW
Issues surrounding the influence of PwC as a contractor to the public service raise matters of considerable concern (Karen Middleton, “Police doubted in PwC scandal”, May 27–June 2). Currently the government has $255.2 million in contracts with PwC. The notion the Australian Federal Police could conduct a genuine investigation into the PwC scandal while PwC is its contracted internal auditor is laughable. It is not in the interests of the employer or the employee to find anything wrong. If this investigation goes ahead, it will most likely die in the headlines in the same manner as the outcome of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, which resulted in 76 recommendations and 24 referrals for further action in the final report by Commissioner Kenneth Hayne. Little happened. Government must be seen to take genuine action in this matter, not simply shuffle it off for pseudo investigation.
– Gerry Gillespie, Queanbeyan, NSW
Thank you, Sarah Krasnostein, for a sweeping and eloquent review of Succession (“Devouring the kids”, May 27–June 2). I needed your explanation and it held me captive to the red end bullet. I enjoyed it more than the actual show. How many episodes did it take to find the majestic arc? Because I tried at least four and I just couldn’t take the slow-paced dourness, albeit very well acted. From the moment Brian Cox pissed on the carpet I just could not see Succession as entertainment. I am no powder puff. I can watch Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus and even Irvine Welsh’s scene of a hand down a toilet, among other horrors, but not this.
– Sue Dellit, Austinmer, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on June 3, 2023.
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