Letters to
the editor

Mayo an inspiring leader

Thomas Mayo’s beautiful words of hope in “After the vote” (October 21-27) were very moving. I find it hard to understand how he can be so generous and rise above this disappointment to ask the Australian community to open our hearts and minds and not dwell on divisiveness. It is a sign of truly inspiring leadership. I will continue to support Mayo in whatever way I can. Aboriginal people must be properly recognised and heard.

– Penny Moyes, Hughes, ACT

Albanese’s miscalculation

Your editorial (“The shrunken backyard”, October 21-27) and Martin McKenzie-Murray’s “Falling silent” (October 21-27) bring home the sad reality of the long-term, far-reaching impact of the failure of the Voice referendum. Whether through hubris or a tragic misreading of the political landscape, with one misguided act Anthony Albanese has managed to inflict more harm, confusion and disillusionment on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and cause more general division, than John Howard’s leadership was able to achieve in more than a decade. As one political commentator put it, it’s much easier to mount a negative campaign than a positive one; when you combine that with the clear historical fact that a referendum has zero chance of success without bipartisanship, you have to wonder why, when failure was completely unavoidable, the leader of the Labor Party thought it more important to keep a campaign promise than watch the hopes, aspirations and self-esteem of Indigenous Australians go up in smoke. As I’m sure John Howard would point out, you don’t always have to keep election promises to succeed in politics. Next up, stage three tax cuts – I think the honeymoon is well and truly over!

– Bruce Hulbert, Lilyfield, NSW

Truth-telling the key to treaty

Daniel James’s heartfelt assessment of the steps from “No” to treaty (“Trick or treaty politics”, October 21-27) identifies essential preconditions for treaty – the need for political will and for the continued generosity of First Nations peoples. We must also take lessons from the referendum. As Lidia Thorpe observed, the “Yes” campaign “left the grassroots [people, Blak or white] behind”. Any future campaign must take the people on a journey to understand the need for treaty. This journey must be truth-telling, so people can appreciate the depth of First Nations’ culture and the impacts of colonisation. But before that journey begins we must legislate for truth in political messaging. We must ensure that, when we get to truth-telling, what we hear is truth. We cannot risk, ever again, seeing an important cause brought down by misinformation and untruths from political leaders for their own political gain.

– Chris Young, Surrey Hills, Vic

‘No’ mistake

When my husband bought this week’s The Saturday Paper at our local newsagent, the assistant, commenting on the front cover, said, “Must be a printing error.” Husband replied, “No, it was an error by the Australian population.”

– Gail Shaw, Whyanbeel Valley, Qld

The emergency here

Zali Steggall rightly calls for emergency-level action to combat the escalating threat of climate change (“Tough love”, October 21-27). Most leaders are failing to recognise that scientific predictions published by bodies such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are inherently cautious. The world is already experiencing more severe climate impacts than even many climate scientists expected. As Steggall explains, little about the Albanese government’s response is appropriate for the emergency we face. Fuel efficiency standards were promised more than six months ago. Similarly, environmental law reform was promised more than a year ago, and we are still waiting for both. Meanwhile, the same government approves gas and coal projects and allows ongoing native forest logging. Governments are supposed to represent and protect the people. They must step up on climate before it is too late.

– Lesley Walker, Northcote, Vic

A tale of two reviews

It was quite a juxtaposition to read Christos Tsiolkas’s review of Martin Scorsese’s latest film, Killers of the Flower Moon (“Mooning history”, October 21-27), and the following day to read a review of the same film in The New York Times – two reviews that could not have been more different. Tsiolkas describes the film as “so confused in conception and so undisciplined in execution it has no emotional force” while The New York Times sees it as “a rightly apocalyptic image for this cruel and baroque American story … a true-crime epic that Scorsese – with grace, sorrow and sublime filmmaking clarity – has turned into a requiem for the country”. Tsiolkas does, at times, seem to be a hypercritical critic, so I guess there is only one way to find out which review is correct.

– Dale Bailey, Five Dock, 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 28, 2023.

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