Next Monday is the 75th anniversary of one of the most important days in Australian history, Kokoda Victory Day.
It is when Australian soldiers, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal fought side by side to prevent the invasion of Australia by the Japanese.
Our Australian troops did not have the assistance of combat troops from any other country. After six months of fighting along Kokoda against superior numbers, they finally achieved victory at Gona and Buna.
Yet the 75th anniversary of this epic achievement is likely to go completely unmarked and unnoticed.
Jim Poulter, Templestowe, Vic
Cancel Australia Day
When I was a kid Australia Day was hardly mentioned, we didn't wave Chinese-made flags around and become ranting jingoistic Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi lunatics.
For heaven's sake, Australia is a bit of dirt with rocks going back 4.4 billion years, humans have been here just 80,000 years and Europeans a mere speck of 230 years.
Australia Day has become a day of racism, of brutal abuse of minorities, of the ignoring of Aboriginal pain and dispossession that continues to this day. What the hell is worth celebrating about that? Especially in a nation that is governed by a British queen, pushed around by the US and China, has no independent national policy beyond bombing others to bits because the US says so and jails the victims of those wars in gulags in other nations for no reason.
Perhaps when we have a treaty with the owners of the land, get rid of the Queen, stop obeying the US and grow up we could have something worth bleating about.
I, for one, say don't bother to change the Australia Day date, just cancel it.
Marilyn Shepherd, Angaston
Opt for January 1
As a descendant of persons arriving in New Holland officially on January 26, 1788, I feel uneasy that this day is celebrated. Most First Fleet passengers would have rather remained in Britain among family and friends.
For them this day signified a traumatic separation. I acknowledge the very negative significance of this day for Indigenous inhabitants also.
Perhaps we should celebrate Australia Day on January 1, the date the colonies joined to form the nation. A holiday over January 1-2 celebrating the New Year and Federation is as easy to swallow as a beer and a snag – as it extends the Christmas holiday break.
Richard J. Hogg, Curtin
Let's mark transition
January 26 should be renamed Australian Citizenship Day. Until 1949 Australia was populated by British subjects (native born or by naturalisation) and citizenship was not formally recognised. The Australia Citizenship Act of 1948 established citizenship, to take effect from January 26, 1949 – Australia Day.
As there is no doubt that all Indigenous Australians were "native born" British subjects they, along the rest of us (including me as a three-year-old), underwent the same transition, on the same day.
I think this wonderfully inclusive change in how we saw ourselves is far more worthy of celebration that the introduction of an odious penal regime into a land free of such barbarities (and I write as one who numbers a convict as a direct ancestor).
Ian Foster, Nicholls
Seeking a voice
Kenneth Griffiths (Letters, January 15) recommends a "proper treaty" with official political representation for Indigenous Australia. A fine idea – if that was what Indigenous Australians want. At Uluru, however, after months of widespread consultation, they asked for a "voice" to parliament (not in it), backed by a constitutionally supported advisory body. But that was too hard for the government, arrogantly knocking it down without even the barest consideration. And since then?
Nothing from the Prime Minister, except to berate a young, articulate Indigenous woman on Q&A for even daring to raise the topic. Furthermore, all he did on that occasion, and very rudely, was to put up the same red-herring arguments that the "voice" would morph into a third level of parliament and that there were already Indigenous MPs.
Kenneth is at least being constructive, which is more than be said for Turnbull and his government.
Eric Hunter, Cook
The deal with pensions
I believe Michael McCarthy is a little confused if he believes millionaires are receiving the pension (Letters, January 13).
The pension is means tested and anyone with assets less than $816,000 is entitled to a part pension, or a full pension if assets are considerably less.
Harry Stutchbury was referring to pensioners with homes worth millions of dollars. The family home is not a part of the assets test so it is quite reasonable that someone living in a million-dollar home could receive the pension.
Nobody of pensionable age should have to leave the family home, no matter it's worth.
Robyn Lewis, Raglan, NSW
Evading slower drivers
William Gray of Bungendore (Letters, January 13) is upset that slow drivers are making him late for work.
He suggests that they are not complying with the police advice "stick to the speed limit".
For Mr Gray's information the "speed limit" is the maximum allowable speed for the section of road in question. Some drivers may drive a few kilometres per hour under the maximum speed limit because of the current road conditions (slippery, bad visibility etc.) or because they are driving within their own capabilities.
If Mr Gray finds himself held up by drivers not going as fast as he wants to travel I suggest he leaves for work a little earlier.
Mike Reddy, Curtin
Speaking out important
D. Hurst (Letters, January 12) says it is unacceptable for individuals to make harmful accusations "without fear of retribution if they cannot be proved in court".
Wow! What a great idea. That should silence all the kids complaining about sexual abuse from clergy and others.
So they don't have photographs. Go home you wicked child!
And then the grizzlin' females trying to make trouble for their hard-workin' bosses. The women offer sex out of appreciation. That's fair. He gave her a job.
This thinking could make the male great again.
A lot of guilty people go free for lack of proof but it seems likely crime and assault would be far more prevalent if victims were scared of suffering retribution for complaining as well as suffering the humiliation and hurt of the offensive conduct.
Warwick Davis, Isaacs
One tough farmer
Re: "My head wouldn't stay up", (January 16, p9) about the 73-year-old farmer who, after breaking his neck, rode home one-handed while holding his head straight by the hair. They sure don't make them like that any more – and I'm not talking about the motorbike.
P. Turner, Yass, NSW
Statue's darkest hour
We continue to be reminded by story or by film that during World War II England was saved undoubtedly by Sir Winston Churchill, one of the greatest orators who has ever lived.
Several decades ago there was a beautiful, life-size bronze statue of Sir Winston Churchill on Northbourne Avenue.
Where has it gone?
Who had the temerity to remove it?
Please may we have the said statue replaced, once again, in a prominent position in Canberra.
Heather J. Robinson, Hawker
Hold to lease
Marion Davidson has it right (Letters, January 13).
If the Curtin shops leaseholder isn't abiding by the lease conditions (including the lease purpose) then the government can probably terminate the lease and resume the land.
The previous leaseholder (Jennings Industries) of my property at Bruce had three leases terminated in 1984 because they didn't commence and/or compete the house construction within the specified time.
However, because the government made a minor technical issue regarding the warning notices, Jennings sought and gained some later redress.
Leaseholders need to be aware of this possibility and comply with the lease conditions.
Greg Dunstone, Bruce
Rally against visit
President Trump's visit to Britain has been cancelled owing to widespread public opposition to the invitation extended by a pliant Tory Prime Minister. The President's explanation for the cancellation is (typically) untruthful.
Sooner or later the question of a Trump visit to Australia will arise. It would be disrespectful to all women and Australians of colour, and contrary to the wishes of many others, for such a visit to occur.
We need now to develop sufficient public and media opposition to a Trump visit to head off any such move by the Turnbull government.
Chris Smith, Kingston
Profits of parking
Congratulations to Westfield Woden for running a successful car park rather than a shopping facility.
Early in the day the Neptune Street parking station is now nearly full with the vehicles of Woden office workers enjoying discounted day-long parking.
Shoppers struggle to find a spot. With all the talk about the decline of Woden, one might think that the proprietors of Westfield Woden would adopt parking policies supportive of retailers rather than office workers who doubtless spend a lot less, if anything, in the shopping centre.
A major department store which relies on the Neptune Street car park to allow direct access for much of its clientele ought surely to be concerned.
Jeffrey Benson, Curtin
Not so post haste
It has been a long tradition of mine that I send Christmas cards not only to elderly relatives but to our friends aswell.
Last year I posted the cards seven to 10 days before Christmas, accepting some overseas cards may arrive late but might very well sneak in on time. Last week I received a text from a friend in Ireland and a friend in Sydney to say they had just received our Christmas cards some 16 and 17 days after Christmas.
It is disappointing that some of our relatives and friends may think we had forgotten them at Christmas time.
Given increasing competition from other courier and mail companies how can Australia Post continue to deliver such poor service?
Rebecca Scouller, Barton
Cash flows slowly
There is another factor against the go-ahead for new, private-sector, coal-fired power stations in addition to those mentioned in Peter Martin's excellent article ("Why coal's feeling the heat", January 11, p18). That is the financial impact on these power-generating companies of the major negative cash flows over the initial several years when building a new coal power station for a billion or two dollars and then waiting perhaps a while longer for it to start generating a consistent positive annual return on the funds employed.
The private sector was very content to let state governments carry this negative cash flow (probably justified and offset by political rather than financial benefits) by building such infrastructure and then later buying the fully functional, cash-flow-positive plants from these governments (always) desperate for a pile of cash.
When it comes to the major investment for a new coal-fired generating station, the alternatives of gas and renewables (solar and wind) require much less capital investment, can greatly reduce that long initial period of negative cash flows and are thus much more preferable investments for the private sector.
Similarly, only governments are likely to fund hydroelectric plants due to the cost and time for construction, and airports are another major item of infrastructure, subject to even higher capital costs, with probably lengthier negative cash flow consequences, which would scare off the private sector.
Chris Barnes, Kambah
Refrain from blame
Recent articles on the seaplane crash on the Hawkesbury point out that some second-hand parts were used in the rebuilding of the aircraft.
Rebuilding a structure or a machine with second-hand parts is, in engineering, not new.
Take, for example, the failure of the high girders of the Tay Bridge that collapsed into Tay Firth while a train was crossing it, with a great loss of life.
The bridge was renewed with recovered girders but doubledup.
Another example was the capsized ferry boat Rodney during the visit of the American Great White Fleet in Sydney Harbour. An estimated 200 passengers were drowned.
The Rodney was salvaged and continued to serve as a Sydney ferry boat under a new name.
She was modified to prevent overloading.
So we must not blame second-hand parts for the tragedy but await the coroner's report when all aspects of the crash are known.
Allan Asquith, Fellow Inst. Of Engineers, Fellow Royal institution Naval Architects, Hackett
To the point
OVERPAYMENTS NOT ON
With social security overpayments topping $16 billion it's time to review this welfare racket. To repay the money recipients may have to get a job; yes, horror of horrors, a job.
Putting breeding before employment should be discouraged. How can parents support children if they are not working? If employed, two children is plenty, not six children in areas where there is little employment, which will see that next generation on the dole as adults.
Adrian Jackson, Middle Park, Vic
An employee pushed the wrong button. It could happen to anyone, eh Mr President?
John Passant, Kambah
DOESN'T ADD UP
The Raiders Club is appealing against the $120,000 fine over problem gambler Professor Brown. That's a bit strange. After all, it could pay the fine and still be $106,000 in front from the Professor's losses.
Dallas Stow, O'Connor
NOT SO SOCIAL
Dreadful events like the recent suicide due apparently to "cyber bullying" remind us of the poisonous influence of the "social media".
Alan N. Cowan, Yarralumla
Minister Dutton's comments "if people haven't integrated, if they are not abiding by our laws, if they don't adhere to our culture, then they are not welcome here" draws criticism from John Richardson (Letters, January 10). What's your solution, John?
Greg Cornwell, Yarralumla
OUT OF CHARACTER
Parliament House wants to source water from Lake Burley Griffin. One must really consider if we want to maintain such a Green Government. Plebiscite anyone?
Pat Kelly, Monash
HOSPITAL STAFF TERRIFIC
I spent two weeks in the Canberra Hospital. I would like to say a big thank you to all the wonderful people involved in my treatment. The ambulance, nurses, doctors and staff were all terrific.
Mrs W. Monica Tiffen, Lyons
POT CALLS KETTLE ...
So, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has called his successor as mayor of the City of London, Sadiq Khan, "a puffed-up pompous popinjay". Just the pot calling the kettle black yet again.
John Richardson, Wallagoot
TESTS FIRST SLOW TV
The Scandinavians are claiming they originated the latest television craze, slow TV.
Of course, the cricket-playing nations know this is rubbish.
Watching Test cricket with the sound off is the original and ultimate slow TV.
Keith Croker, Kambah
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