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Credit: Illustration: Matt Golding
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Royal coverage: Coronation the wrong time to debate republic
The first hour of the ABC’s coverage of the coronation of King Charles III showed how far the national broadcaster seems to have drifted from its charter by engaging in a debate about the Voice to parliament and a future republic for Australia at this time (“Republican movement’s tactics slated”, 9/5). The panellists consisted of three strong advocates for both and a token who presented support for both but with reservations given the occasion.
The panellists seem bereft of history on the role of the monarchy and attributed colonisation to them rather than the elected governments of the time. I am for a republic but not a Trump or Putin style, and still am not convinced that Australians are clear on what type of republic we want and need.
Ray Cleary, Camberwell
Moment of unity
After the ABC’s puritanical pre-coronation commentary, it was refreshing to see coverage of post-coronation celebrations. A nation that can pack into a Tube carriage cheek by jowl with barely a flicker of acknowledgment of each other suddenly becomes gregarious. They are holding street parties with barbecues and slow bicycle races, united against the misery of the weather and the privations of life after Brexit and COVID.
For a moment, however brief, you could imagine that the monarchy has a unifying role to play in their society that is missing in ours.
Mike Sanderson, Drouin
Broadcast warmed my soul
Heavens, according to some people the ABC’s coverage of the coronation was a lamentable affair. For these people there was always the option to just press that button on their remotes and switch to one of the commercial stations. No one has denied them the pleasure of watching something mind-numbing, full of empty platitudes, and soporific in the extreme.
As for me, I was enthralled by the discussion that took place on the ABC. The events taking place in Britain were appropriately shown on a small screen as an almost incidental necessity to emphasise the importance and relevance of what we should be talking about in this country. The depth of knowledge, conviction and passion of each guest speaker took me to places that warmed my soul and uplifted my hope for humanity.
Eva Millane, Box Hill North
The ABC just can’t win. If its coronation broadcast had only depicted those who thought the monarchy is a good idea, it would have been criticised for not showing a range of opinions. Yet it is now being criticised by some for not being in favour of the monarchy and the ceremony.
Jenny Callaghan, Hawthorn
Many people described the coronation of Charles III as “a good show”, and I thought so, too. It nevertheless reduces the historic televised event to a passing theatrical entertainment. I laughed at reactions from American viewers who said that they enjoyed the ceremony without knowing what the heck was going on.
They were not alone. The jewelled sword, the magic ring, the cloth of gold, the orb and sceptre, the glittering crowns, the mystical symbols and sumptuous costumes, the Stone of Scone, the holy oils, the angelic choir, the medieval grandeur of Westminster Abbey, the gilded coach, and the whole absurd pretence that Britain is a deeply religious Protestant kingdom helped disguise for a while the realities of modern Brexit Britain, its social class and wealth divisions, and the deepening dissatisfaction of ordinary people. It was a marvellously staged piece of theatre and I enjoyed it hugely.
Edward Vaughan, Upper Beaconsfield
What better time to discuss a possible Australian republic than at the time of the installation of a foreigner to be our head of state for the next however many decades?
Malcolm I Fraser, Oakleigh South
Not taxing enough
The newly tweaked Petroleum Resources Rent Tax is great in principle but yields a meagre $600 million a year (“Resources rent tax changes criticised as ‘far too little, far too late’,” 9/5). The powerful gas cartel is laughing all the way to the bank at this timid measure. Former ACCC chair Rod Sims said it should be at least three times higher. The PRRT isn’t even a tax; it’s a cap on the amount of income that offshore gas projects can offset. It smacks of 2010, when prime minister Julia Gillard essentially asked BHP and other mining companies how much tax they’d be happy to pay.
Kevin Burke, Sandringham
Angus Taylor doesn’t see the irony in his latest statement that the budget shouldn’t be about who gets a handout and who pays for it. After all, the Liberals are proven masters in that practice and mostly not in a good way, as evidenced by Robo-debt, sports rorts and $38 billion in JobKeeper payments to businesses proven to have not met the relevant threshold.
Brandon Mack, Deepdene
Howard the architect
In 2006, John Howard announced all new recipients of the Supporting Parents benefit would be moved to what is now JobSeeker when their youngest child turned eight. Existing recipients of the benefit could keep it until their child turned 16 (grandfathering). In 2012, Julia Gillard removed the grandfathering so all recipients were on the same scheme. It was not Julia Gillard who made the initial flawed decision, but she did extend it. I’m pleased the benefit has been revived, but not pleased the wrong person is being blamed for the initial decision.
Louise Kloot, Doncaster
Doctors in the house
Why is my local member, Dr Monique Ryan, routinely accorded her honorific by media outlets such as the public broadcaster, whereas the treasurer is referred to as Mr Chalmers? Those of us with long memories will recall Dr Brendan Nelson, MBBS, commenting at a graduation event that it was good to be in the company of so many “proper doctors”, meaning people with PhDs rather than the basic bachelor degree of most physicians.
Juliet Flesch, Kew
Caring for needy
Jacqui Lambie rightly gives Labor a serve about its failure to do enough for the vulnerable, and this at a time when Labor has nothing to fear from any federal or state Coalition opposition. In this respect the federal Labor government is failing, and now looks like the Malcolm Fraser Liberals of old. Except they knew the importance of getting disadvantaged people (who wanted to) into university and TAFE without the fear of being in huge debt when they graduated.
Greg Malcher, Hepburn Springs
End the trade
With so many civilised countries banning the cruel live animal export trade, why is the Australian government still allowing it to take place? We are sick of seeing ghastly images in the media of Australian animals suffering (“Live export rules violated in Indonesia,” 9/5).
Charles Davis, Hawthorn
Join the trend
New Zealand has recently banned the live export of farm animals. Even Brazil has banned it. But here in so-called caring Australia our cattle are still being treated abominably. On April 23 this year, 31 cattle died during or after an interstate voyage from Darwin to Broome. Meanwhile northern cattle exporters are still calling for Labor government – read taxpayer – compensation for its halting of live export way back in 2011. How long do Australians have to wait for our federal government to stop the trade, because despite their claims, the much vaunted ESCAS regulations offer no protection whatsoever for Australian farm animals.
Jan Kendall, Mt Martha
The recent article advocating access to assisted dying for those with dementia (“Dementia sufferers deserve dignified death”, 8/5) is concerning. The philosophical architects of the systematic murder of 500,000 people with intellectual disabilities and mental illness in Nazi Germany, Hoche and Binding, argued for the extinction of life on the basis that, if the person was able to transcend their situation and see how incapacitated they are, they would want to die and, consequently, putting them to death was only carrying out their unexpressed wishes.
We need to be extremely cautious that we don’t head down the same path by commencing with people with severe dementia and then going on to other classes of “lives not worth living”.
John Annison, Yering
At 82 I have just been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment and already depend on my partner to deal with several important aspects of living.
The thought of progressing to full-blown dementia is appalling, the more so because it will remove the possibility of an assisted death. There must be an option granted, with the input of physicians, whereby a dementia sufferer can be helped to die when specified symptoms manifest.
Respect for life is and should be paramount, but so should one’s own right to have help in ending it.
Anne Riddell, Mount Martha
Give us dignity
With respect to the thoughtful letter (“All that remains”, The Age, 9/5), illness can change a person and a different relationship can emerge. That doesn’t mean one loves that person any less, but it can change how the relationship is experienced. It can also be a great grieving process.
I hope I do not end my days in a “catastrophic vegetative state” (The Age, 8/5), where I have lost my independence, quality of life, and my ability to reciprocate. I do not wish to see my loved ones watch me travelling alone down a dark tunnel unable to turn back.
My hope, as with all of us, is to die “a dignified death”.
Judith Morrison, Nunawading
Bravo to Amra Pajalic (Comment, 9/5) for her wonderful appreciation of St Albans as a place of identity, belonging and purpose. St Albans has been the most multicultural suburb of Melbourne (if not all of Australia) since the 1950s.
In 1950 the population of St Albans was 850 and at least 90 per cent of them were of Anglo heritage. Then the migrants started arriving and the population skyrocketed to 20,000 by 1970, and at least 90 per cent of them were of non-Anglo heritage.
These days the population is stable around 55,000 people and is even more ethnically diverse than ever, with about 150 languages being spoken. Census figures show that three-quarters (75 per cent) of households speak a non-English language at home, and a similar proportion (78 per cent) have both parents born overseas.
The First Nations pioneers of the district were the Marin Balluk of the Kulin nation who were resident for 40,000 years, and at present over 200 St Albans residents are of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.
Let’s celebrate a unique neighbourhood and its wonderful people.
Joseph Ribarow, Ascot Vale
“Why I came back to the melting pot” is inspirational reading. Thankyou Amra Pajalic – you have described the essence of neighbourhood character which is too often under-valued.
Those kids you teach are so lucky you have returned with pride and passion.
Susan Mahar, Fitzroy North
Time to spare
As Nick Bryant suggests, generative AI seems likely to replace huge numbers of white collar jobs in the not too distant future (“Social interaction gives life its piquant flavour”, 9/5). Unlike earlier revolutions in the labour market, it is harder to see how all these jobs will be replaced by new ones we haven’t yet thought of.
Perhaps this time, predictions of a 10 hour working week really will eventuate.
If that occurs, people will have to think of something else to do with their time other than “go to work”.
Rod Wise, Surrey Hills
You would think that “drag queen story-time” at local libraries was something children were being marched into while their parents were asleep at the wheel. That’s the impression given by the groups threatening these events, with their talk of fighting for the rights of families.
In reality, children only attend because their parents have decided to take them along. Forcibly shutting down these events is removing the freedom of parents to choose. Looks like the wowsers are back in force.
Daniel Berk, Oakleigh East
Boos add nothing
Collingwood supporters are not a homogeneous group. Who knows what those who were booing Franklin on Sunday were thinking (Letters, 9/5) and there’s little to be gained in hypothesising. Suffice to say that Franklin along with anybody who has achieved a similar level of success in their chosen endeavours deserves respect and accolades even if he has punished Collingwood in the past. Booing has been part of the game for years but adds nothing.
David Conolly, Brighton
Relentless booing, ignorance, racism, biffo, brutality, nasty spiteful physical abuse, battering, bruising, damaging mental health issues. What a sad, horrible roll call of negative descriptions your correspondents offer in regard to the treatment meted out to Buddy Franklin (“Clubs and their captains need to make a mark”, Letters, 9/5). And I guess alcohol was in the mix as well.
Can I suggest the appalling behaviour has been nurtured by the ridiculous tribalism surrounding the whole AFL scene? Juvenal once wisely observed: the people are kept in check by bread and circuses.
Peter Price, Southbank
Credit: Illustration: Matt Golding
And another thing
Has it occurred to the Liberal Party that they can now gift their surplus “Back in Black” mugs to their friends in the Labor Party?
Alan West, Research
In forecasting a budget surplus this year let’s hope Jim Chalmers has better judgment than former Labor treasurer Wayne Swan, who predicted four consecutive budget surpluses and failed to deliver a single one.
Greg Hardy, Upper Ferntree Gully
Well done, but if Charles really wants to modernise he should get himself another barber. Plenty here in Oz could tidy him up.
Kate Read, Canterbury
My grandkids would love to borrow some of Charles’ and Camilla’s dress ups.
Paul Miller, Albury
I wonder how many of those complaining of ancient regalia and funny hats at the coronation once happily donned a gown and mortarboard for a graduation ceremony in front of university principals also dressed in strange, antiquated gear?
John Capel, Black Rock
Booing at the footy
Collingwood’s players know how to play the game. It’s a shame their supporters don’t follow suit.
Paul Chivers, Box Hill North
To all those Collingwood supporters who delight in booing champions of the game … Booooooooo!
Peter Heffernan, Balaclava
Would they boo Lance Franklin to his face. I think not. Cowards.
Colin Smith, Mt Waverley
The opposition players who were spat upon by loathsome “fans” as they ran onto Victoria Park back in the day, might have settled for a bit of booing instead.
John Rawson, Mernda
A state funeral, with no body, and in Sydney. The final Barry Humphries practical joke.
Donald Hirst, Prahran East
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