Yet again last week, the government refused to recognise the heroic Teddy Sheean.
The advice from the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal was that Sheean should be awarded a Victoria Cross. But the federal government has announced it would not be adopting the tribunal's recommendations due to a lack of "compelling new evidence" to support Sheean's case.
On December 1 it will be 78 years since the 19-year-old Sheean gave his life to save the lives of his shipmates from the sinking HMAS Armidale. As she sank, the twice-wounded Sheean strapped himself to an anti-aircraft gun, firing back at Japanese aircraft that were shooting at his shipmates who had jumped overboard.
The painting of the action in the Australian War Memorial is starkly moving. The dying Sheean is depicted slumped in the gun straps, bleeding profusely, but still firing at the aircraft. His shipmates said Teddy was still firing the 20 mm Oerlikon as he sank from view.
Sheean was denied a posthumous Victoria Cross because his actions "did not reach the particularly high standard required for recommendation of a VC".
Balderdash. He was denied because the British Empire gave such medals to officers in the belief men were only brave because of their leadership. There were rare exceptions but, as the Senior Service, the navy was the most parsimonious.
Current governments are extremely reluctant to overturn old decisions.
Those who denied, and continue to deny, him the honour to which he was so clearly entitled aren't fit to clean his boots.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (St John ch. 15 v. 13).
Rod Olsen, Watson
PM gave offence
It is offensive of the Prime Minister to insinuate that we are hiding under the doona during this pandemic.
Without the luxury of living in a PM's bubble, most Australians are doing all they can to keep families safe and healthy. If we haven't lost our jobs, many of us are working from home - for longer hours much of time.
We've done everything asked of us and, at times, it has been rough. It is certainly not a case of simply hiding under a doona.
It is alright for Scott Morrison to move around with all the protection afforded a PM, giving out edicts and smart-mouth generalisations from his podium, but he isn't doing it anywhere near as tough as most Australians.
Morrison should remember that, when all this kicked off, he was the one telling us to stay at home to protect ourselves and the rest of the country.
He shouldn't now make us out to be a pack of cowards for continuing to do just that. There's no vaccine and there's no cure.
The ACT doesn't yet have widespread community testing for asymptomatic individuals.
I'm not going to drop my guard and put my family's life or mine in jeopardy just so the government can hurry our economy back into top gear.
S Gerrard, Dunlop
On May 8 Andrew Barr announced that indoor gatherings, including at people's homes, could have a maximum of 10 people. He then added his own moral judgement by announcing "it is not a licence for people from multiple households to have a party".
Firstly, a gathering of 10 people in a home would most likely constitute people from multiple households anyway. So what does Mr Barr mean by not having a party?
The definition of a party is "a social gathering of invited guests, typically involving eating, drinking, and entertainment".
Will Mr Barr be sending out the "fun police" to peer into people's homes to ensure they are all quietly sitting around having a cup of tea with bickies and zero entertainment? No telling jokes, singing, music, dancing, barbecue, and a ban on drinking alcohol.
It is no-one's business what a gathering of 10 friends or family members choose to do in a private home as long as appropriate social distancing measures, and hand hygiene, is being adhered to.
Tony Falla, Ngunnawal
In calling for the ACT election to be postponed because of COVID-19, Penleigh Boyd (Letters, May 11) asks how candidates can present their views, or seek feedback, with no mass meetings.
Ms Boyd correctly argues that town hall-type meetings are a better way of communicating than corflutes and letterbox drops.
If you attend a public political meeting, you are keen to hear what the speaker has to say.
Despite some being held outside election cycles, usually by opposition leaders, town hall meetings are missing from modern Australian campaigning after elections are called. The closest events to them are "policy" launches and tightly controlled television debates with "evenly matched" studio audiences.
Sadly, our modern pollies are not as comfortable with repartee as were E.G. Whitlam and Robert Menzies for whom public rallies were entrenched campaign tools.James Mahoney, McKellar
Sadly, our modern pollies are not as comfortable with repartee as were E.G. Whitlam and Robert Menzies for whom public rallies were entrenched campaign tools.
At one, even if he did set it up, Menzies had an exchange with a woman who told him she would not vote for him even if he was the Archangel Gabriel. "Madam, Menzies replied," if I were the Archangel Gabriel, you wouldn't be in my electorate."
James Mahoney, McKellar
A time to mourn
People all over the world are dying of this virus without the comfort of their nearest and dearest at the end, and without a proper space after that for their lives to be celebrated, grief to be shared and their loss to be truly mourned.
This is why I was particularly moved to find, in our local park, a newly-dug mound under an old gum tree.
I can read, pinned low down on its trunk, a very modest home-made notice beautifully inscribed with the name "Silver" and, underneath, the words, "a friend".
As we are reminded in Ecclesiastes 3, there is "a time to mourn".
I do hope, before we make grand plans for an unthinking return to inequitable economic growth, we will take that time, as did the friend of "Silver", to mourn our losses.
Such a pause might bring us the wisdom and judgement we will need in the months and years to come.
Jill Sutton, Watson
A shocking attack
At 8.30 am last Tuesday morning I was walking on the shared path around lake Tuggeranong with two friends.
We stopped to admire three beautiful very young cygnets with their mum and dad. They were feeding on the grass only about three metres from the path.
We were shocked when an off lead cattle dog came running up at speed and rushed the swans and their babies. We were able to drive the dog off. It ran back to its owner who was at least 150 metres away. She had another dog on a lead.
This is the last straw for me. My wife and our dog have been attacked twice by an off lead dog. Although most dog owners do the right thing too many don't.
Why is it that those who don't think they are above the law?
Why is it that the ACT government only huffs and puffs about policing this type of behaviour when people and pets are violently attacked, and it make the news? Why does it only impose pitifully weak penalties?
It is time the government polices this type of behaviour and penalises those responsible appropriately.
Anthony Wynack, Wanniassa
Donald Trump's recent words and actions show he is desperately afraid he will lose the election to Joe Biden in November.
He has completely bungled the pandemic. Tens of thousands of Americans have died. He attacks his predecessor because Obama spoke the truth.
It is getting through to the Republican Senators that they have backed a loser and Trump will drag them down with him.
Rev Robert Willson, Deakin
Jones was awful
Farewell Alan Jones and thanks for the memories. Haven't there been some memorable ones to reflect on.
Encouraging violence and vilifying people of middle eastern descent in the lead up to the Cronulla riots. The attacks on Julia Gillard, telling listeners she should be put in a chaff bag and dumped in the sea, and that her father died of shame.
Accusing the Wagner family of killing 12 people during the Lockyer floods, costing the Macquarie network $3.4 million in damages. Verballing Louise Heron for not letting him advertise the Everest horse race on the Sydney Opera House.
Ridiculing anyone who accepted the science of climate change. Outbursts advising our PM to stick a sock down Jacinda Ardern's throat, and give her a few back-handers for good measure.
Although Alan's 2GB radio days are over he will still be on social media and has TV commitments with Sky. The parrot's not dead, he's just resting.
R F Bollen, Torrens
TO THE POINT
A SAD DAY
I was sad to hear about the closure of the Manuka Photographic Centre. It was opened in the late 1920s or early 1930s by Les Dwyer (the "Mayor of Manuka"). My wife and I bought it in 1967. We were there for 34 years until we sold it to Jack Libbis. Our best wishes for the future to Jack.
Ted Richards, Batemans Bay, NSW
BRING JULIE BACK
I was impressed by Julie Bishop's recent call for calm and considered diplomacy, and the related advice she has given re the COVID-19 pandemic. Australia would benefit immeasurably at the international level if she returned to politics, and her former role. She was outstanding.
John Milne, Chapman
SAVE THE BRUMBIES
Our caravan club was planning a trip to see the majestic alpine brumbies. A friend believes there has just been a decision to cull or kill them. Please tell me this is not so.
Paul Andrews, Nowra, NSW
THE CHINA PUZZLE
If China is so bad why don't we stop trading with it until it gets the message it can't hold us to ransom? If we don't it will cost us a lot more in the future.
D J Fraser, Currumbin, Qld
DRAIN THE LAKE
Never mind a bit of infill of west basin. Go the whole hog. Drain the lake! Think of all the development opportunities.
Heidi Davis, Flynn
When did normality slip from common usage to be replaced by normalcy? It just doesn't sound right.
Pauline May, Lyneham
A WORLD GONE MAD
Trump has fought against coronavirus lockdowns on the basis of civil rights and liberties. Now, if you discuss your rights and liberties, you are considered an extreme "right-winger". What next? Action on climate change profiteering by the right? The world has gone truly mad.
Greg Adamson, Griffith
Most Americans now trust Dr Anthony Fauci over Trump in relation to information on the coronavirus pandemic. That's not surprising. Dr Fauci is a respected and highly regarded expert on infectious disease. Trump is often clueless about the coronavirus pandemic.
Rajend Naidu, Glenfield, NSW
GET ON WITH IT
Why delay the ACT election? Barr's ideas are rubbish. His government is incompetent. Delaying due to the coronavirus will mess up the economy and disrupt the timing of the 2024 election.
Anton Rusanov, Kaleen
Re: "McKenzie blames APS for rorts scandal" (May 16, p21). I feel the former sports minister will soon "pivot" to blaming the public service for failing to locate her moral compass for her.
Chris Ryan, Carrs Park, NSW
UP FOR AIR
Tony May (Letters May 15) wants the NRL to "scrap the meaningless scrum". The scrum gives players a breather. Given the speed of league this is reasonable. Given the slow pace of forward play in union that code does not need to give players a breather.
Roger Terry, Kingston
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