The Republican issue has again raised its hoary old head as the Labor Party wants to reignite debate in the lead-up to the 2019 elections (‘Labor promises plebiscite on Australia becoming a republic if it wins government’, The Guardian, 11/11).
Seen in the wider context of election issues, the fact that Labor wants to include this issue in their election campaign is surely an indicator that they are devoid of more convincing policy ideas.
Surely there are more important issues such as the environment and power supply, education, discrimination, trade, defence, taxation and refugee policy where the Opposition can differentiate itself from the Morrison government, or are the ALP policies in those areas little different from those of the government?
If we have to have another expensive referendum on the republic issue, next time around let’s have some viable models of an Australian republic presented to voters which don’t include the set-up-to-fail Howard model. During such a constitutional referendum, perhaps we can also fix the terms of PMs so that they are for the life of the Parliament. This would mean that in future caucus on both sides would need to get their prime ministerial choice right going into an election as they would need to live with it for four years.
Geoff Black, Caves Beach
LEADERS MUST WIELD POWER
OUR political system has reached a new level of dysfunction. Do they have our best interests at heart?
I have three main points of focus for any politician, at any level, any portfolio and any faction: electricity prices, electricity prices and electricity prices.
The high price of electricity in this country is embarrassing. And political parties using it as a hot potato has to stop. This problem has gone beyond the environment, beyond blame for the past, either stand up and get it fixed or get out.
We are an isolated continent who cannot be supplied with electricity from other parts of the world. We have to do it for ourselves. And with Australia holding a very minute part of the world population, our potential effect on the environment is also minute.
Renewables are not developed to an acceptable level of reliability, and if they become prolific enough the resources required for their manufacture would become its own environmental disaster. From the most vulnerable people in our society to manufacturing businesses, we are hurting. And our cries for help only feed rhetoric, blaming and more embarrassment. We are not being heard, we are being ignored.
It appeared that the call for another vote on becoming a republic was just more smoke. Perhaps it could clear some of the confusion within our government.
Mark Stamp, Mayfield East
POPULATIONS ARE FLYING
I WOULD like to say a massive thanks to Lake Macquarie council. As an avid blow fly breeder and enthusiast I am so stoked with the new system of fortnightly bin pick ups.
This summer is shaping up to be a cracker of a year. Even though it is early spring, the swarms that are prolific around all the bins in the neighbourhoods around the Lake are absolutely stunning.
With a hot Christmas forecast, we are sure to see a massive groundswell in the population. With the rate rises of the last few years and the promise not to cut services when they were introduced, maybe they could build a massive blowfly statue at Speers Point, something to rival the mozzie at Hexham, with the cash they are saving?
If I were in the local electorate I would be wishing Santa puts a cork hat under the tree.
Mat Ruhl, Swansea
IT’S ABOUT DRAWING A LINE
PETER Dolan (Short Takes, 30/10) believes private schools deserve public funding because their parents pay taxes and save taxpayer funds. This is akin to car owners suggesting their vehicles save public money on public transport and that a subsidy on their purchase is only fair.
Similarly, those choosing to use private toll roads should receive a subsidy because they are not driving on the public and free road system that their taxes have funded. Mr Dolan is in a position of strength as it’s highly unlikely that any future government would attempt to claw back the middle/upper class welfare that has become an entrenched entitlement to a growing number of parents. If they did, there would not be the mass migration to the public system that he envisions. Non-government schools provide only one thing public schools can’t: exclusion of children they don’t want from enrolment. In 1972, before public funding of private schools, parents were happy to pay for a school with the right to exclude the children of the great unwashed. They’d be happy to do it again regardless of cost.
John Arnold, Anna Bay
DON’T DECIDE TOO EARLY
WITH regard to the furore over a politician allegedly groping a journalist (‘Hunter MPs slam former Labor leader’, Newcastle Herald, 10/11) I make some observations.
While the right of the journalist not to file a complaint should be respected, it seems it was fairly common knowledge around the press and state Parliament for some time. No one could deny the right of the journalist to privacy, but would not the alleged perpetrator be entitled to the presumption of innocence? It seems to me that he has already been judged by the press and others.
We seem to be in a time where people can be named and judged and are not entitled to defend themselves. I keep reading about accusations being levelled at politicians from both sides and others but the accuser want to remain anonymous. I am no lawyer, but I don't think this is justice.
I was always taught that you were entitled to the presumption of innocence and access to the law to decide. In this case, I believe people and the press have already passed a guilty verdict.
Sandy Buchanan, Largs
FORTIFIED BY THE SUPPORT
ON behalf of all the volunteers at Fort Scratchley I would sincerely like to thank everyone who made this year’s Remembrance Day an outstanding success.
We were hoping to get 2127 knitted poppies and in the end received over 5000 from people all over Australia, truly outstanding. Those who came in off the street to assist in assembling the display, thank you.
We estimate that there were in excess of 2000 people at Sunday’s ceremony which is far and away the largest single gathering I have ever witnessed at the Fort.
To everyone, our heartfelt thanks. It is this type of response that makes being a volunteer worth while.
Frank Carter, Fort Scratchley Historical Society president
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