If there is a positive element from the theatre of the royal family and Prince Harry's wish to escape an uncompromising media with its insatiable chase for saleable content, it reminds us of the irrelevance of the British royal family and its various appendages.
We have been swamped with stories of the good works and words of Harry and Meghan, and other royals, but the fact is Prince Harry will escape his royal responsibilities and obligations with the safety of featherbedding of income and wealth garnered from the property and toil of his subjects over time.
It is a good time for Australia to consider the relevance the British monarch, the royal family and representatives in Australia (such as the Governor-General) in the context of the modern, multicultural Australia. Even now, when confronted by drought and fire, our antiquated constitution requires our leaders to request the Governor-General's approval for the assistance of the services in disaster control and recovery.
Whilst the present Queen has been carefully stage-managed to present a pleasant and honourable countenance, as a mature society we have reached the stage where we should assume responsibility for our own affairs.
James Grenfell, Spence
We do our best
I read with sadness Lindsay Gates' letter (January 14) in regard to losing their house in the tragic bushfires. I can't begin to imagine the impact on every person affected.
We at Vinnies are focused to provide immediate assistance to people impacted by bushfires. Across the 27 shops in our region we have so far handed out over $16,000 worth of clothing to people who have lost their homes, or have had to evacuate, and will in the months ahead be providing hundreds of thousands of dollars in emergency relief.
Beyond providing immediate assistance, our shops are our biggest fundraising activity, providing 47 per cent of the funds needed to support people.
Our goods, while generally cheaper than other retail stores, are also priced to maximise the return on generously donated quality goods, to assist the more than 40,000 people who turn to us for help each year. Low income earners can receive further discounts and vouchers with 30 per cent off all stock for concession card holders each Thursday.
People who have been impacted by fires are encouraged to call 13 18 12 or visit one of our shops for assistance from our helpful members, volunteers and employees.
Barnie van Wyk, CEO, St Vincent de Paul Society, Canberra/Goulburn
Hard to swallow
I am appalled at the letter from Martha Kinsman (January 16) opposing control burns. This manner of reducing fuel loads in bushland has been used for centuries - before we white people arrived - and has been demonstrated to assist with containing fires.
One of the major contributors to the severity of this season's bushfires has been the widespread opposition to this useful tool for containment.
It is this attitude which caused fire trails to be blocked and become overgrown resulting in the fires being able to cross lines and spread further and faster. Parks have been isolated and allowed to accumulate fuel to the point that a fire is uncontrollable no matter what level of firefighting assets are thrown at it.
The other common argument against control burns is that animals may get disturbed; they can easily avoid a control burn but have been incinerated by the conflagrations aggravated by the no-burn policy.
I live at the top of a steep valley side which has been control burned, for which I am very pleased; a conflagration there would obliterate my house and my non-human neighbours, among whom are a family of wallabies.
Michael Lane, St Ives, NSW
A cute trick
What do you do if you're the prime minister and you've had enough of the media's scrutiny, their tricky questions, and your own pathetic performance?
You appoint a royal commission. Never mind that the cost will run into millions and the fact that it will be doing what you and your government were elected to do.
With any luck it will last for two years. During that time you can deflect questions of a probing nature by suggesting that they are a matter for consideration by the commission and you don't want to pre-empt its findings.
The latest poll indicates Australians are sick of the PM's evasions when he is questioned.
Arvi Biela, Gordon
A money pit
Those suggesting we need a royal commission to investigate the recent bushfires must think that governments have more money than sense.
The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission that investigated the nature of circumstances surrounding the Black Saturday bushfires was exhaustive and expensive.
Its recommendations were largely ignored by the Victorian government.
Unless governments will give some assurance that they will commit to implementing a royal commission's recommendations we have better things to spend our money on.
Roger Dace, Reid
A PR triumph
With the PM's intervention we now have a massive and finely tuned PR campaign showing the fireground contributions of the defence forces.
I would also like to bring to attention and thank the forgotten people here, the local firies and especially the highly skilled fire managers and workers from forestry and parks whose local knowledge and skills and dedication have helped turn the tide of fire.
The PM has been talking about the human cost. But what about nature?
There will be a massive job to help nature recover.
Surely what we most urgently need now, as well as the inevitable endless inquiries, is a non-partisan national authority, similar to the post-World War Two reconstruction task forces, that can utilise the nation's best minds and capabilities to lead us into a future that is coming all too fast.
John Blay, Eden, NSW
Don't be fooled
After watching David Speers' interview with Scott Morrison on Sunday I got the overwhelming, and exhausted, feeling that once again I was the victim of an attempted massive hoax by "Scotty from Marketing".
I am sick to death of the spin from this so-called leader of the Liberal Party. He told us that he would consider climate change in his new and reinvigorated policies but wouldn't let anything affect jobs, growth or towns.
Unfortunately this is an impossibility. A truly fundamental change has to occur in our socioeconomic structures otherwise we can look forward to year after year of bushfires of a catastrophic nature.
Morrison and his followers will do and say anything to stay in power.
E R Moffat, Weston
Op shop expensive
We donate to charities which are run well so pricing and charging matters to us.
Op shops should join the effort. Goods for those who have lost everything should be given without cost.
If this happens to be in a charity shop, as was described by Lindsay Gales of Malua Bay (Letters, January 14), then charities and local committees should adjust their methods for the times. And quickly.
Sue Edmondson, Kambah
It has taken a show of individuality and mental independence by one British royal to show up the hitherto studiously concealed, but monstrous, establishment elitism of even his most immediate kin, let alone the reigning monarch.
He has demonstrated how absurdly grandly they take themselves in this world, seriously believing they have an actual meaningful role.
They apparently believe their own cattle droppings. This is distinctly worse than the droppings themselves.
Alex Mattea, Sydney, NSW
We're bug free
Whilst my heretofore solely spring and pollen triggered asthma has been troubling me for weeks now, as Canberrans we should rejoice in the relative lack of mosquitoes and flies troubling us this summer.
Thank you to Scott Morrison, Tony Abbott, John Howard and all the bought-and-paid-for fossil fuel industry shills who've helped make this happen.
James Allan, Narrabundah
The bushfires are putting our tourist industry in a difficult position.
If the challenge is not tackled scientifically, and if the Morrison government becomes a pawn of the mining industry, we will soon see a severe decline in the number of overseas visitors.
Tourism employs many more people than mining.
Sankar Kumar Chatterjee, Evatt
TO THE POINT
Regarding the "unintentional " shooting down of the Ukrainian airliner in Iran; we should never underestimate incompetence as the underlying cause.
Philip Clark, Isaacs
So, is there still a whiteboard in the Sports Minister's office or have they gone back to doing things on the back of an envelope ("Minister gave grants to marginal seats", January 16, p9)?
Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW
RIGHT AND WRONG
Eric Hunter (Letters, January 16) explains misunderstood terminology with a misunderstood example. A grand slam is winning all 13 tricks in a single hand (not game) of bridge. I await the day I win all possible tricks (often between 350 and 360) in a game of bridge.
Richard Nehmy, Macgregor
JUST IGNORE THEM
Could we please ignore the politically driven armchair experts on climate change?
Geoff Davidson, Braddon
COVER-UP IS THE STORY
Stan Marks (Letters, January 14) is willing to give Scott Morrison the benefit of the doubt on his Hawaiian holiday, fine. The cover-up, the lying and misdirection given to media about his true location is the true scandal. Morrison and his Liberal Party failed to prepare for the crisis, put their own desires ahead of the country and then lied to us.
Erin Cook, Waramanga
THE POPPYCOCK PM
Some people seem to regard criticism of Prime Minister Morrison's performance as too harsh. To quote that famous Irish philosopher, Mr Murphy: "Poppycock, sir, poppycock". A political leader's job is to lead, hence the title "political leader". In my view, Morrison has followed the people, not led them. He is our first blind Prime Minister. Please do not defend him.
Rod Olsen, Watson
Abbott has his lamentable Prince Phillip knighthood moment. George Bush had his "mission accomplished". Scotty from Marketing's Hawaiian holiday and "look at the great job we're doing" advertisement are easily their equal.
Keith Hill, Isaacs
A LOW BLOW
Mr Trump accuses Ms Pelosi of supporting terrorism in a series of tweets. I think Mr Trump is the lowest person on Earth.
Mokhles K Sidden, Strathfield, NSW
OVER TO YOU SID
As Sid James said in one of his many excellent movies "Yes, there is definitely a lot of arson about".
James Gralton, Garran
A BAD FILTER
We are a clever country that gets dumbed down in Parliament.
Peter Cocker, Jindabyne
MAKE A MOVE
If Harry can break away from the royal family surely Australia can.
Jeff Bradley, Isaacs
How come koalas are able to receive immediate treatment, obviously a great thing, but a large number of children have to wait over a year to get support from the NDIS?
Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill, Vic
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