I congratulate the Sydney Peace Prize winner, The Statement from the Heart, ("Let's celebrate the wins we've seen recently, too", May 29, p31), its thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contributors, and its actual wordsmiths.
It is an astonishing piece of literature with no parallel in the modern world. Shorter than two The Canberra Times letters, every one of its 27 sentences is linguistically remarkable as a re-expression of our Indigenous People's predicament 250 years after colonisation.
The statement should be read, anthologised, pinned up on, and rained down from, "all points of the southern sky". It is an extraordinary cry from the heart for overdue constitutional recognition of First Nations peoples, without which Australia is, as Noel Pearson said at the National Museum on March 17, "incomplete [and] an absurdity".
The people whose land this has been for as long as 80,000 years must be restored to some appropriate, respectful role at the heart of our polity through a Makarrata and a constitutional settlement. Who doubts that such a treaty would have transformative cultural, psychological and social effects for all of us, particularly younger Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians?
How "devastating" it must have been for First Nations people (John Hewson's word: "Why Indigenous recognition is a national imperative", canberratimes.com.au, March 27) to hear Malcolm Turnbull dismiss the idea out of hand.
You would be doing Australians a service by printing the statement on your front page and crusading for negotiations to begin.
P O'Keeffe, Hughes
An insightful and thought provoking article by Jonathan Bullen on the eve of Reconciliation Day in the ACT ("The question at the heart of the modern reconciliation movement", canberratimes.com.au, May 29).
We should hang our collective heads in shame at the treatment of our Indigenous brothers and sisters in all those aspects of social, health, education and law enforcement policy that we non-Indigenous take for granted.
Here in the ACT there is no better example than the unacceptably disproportionate Indigenous population in the AMC. Recent commentary by former Chief Minister Jon Stanhope provides a similar indictment in this regard.
We go through the motions of acknowledging country at public events but do we really mean what we are saying or is it merely a perfunctory recitation of a script? As Bullen rightly observes, "the fundamental premise of reconciliation must be relationship and trust". Sadly this has and continues to be lacking, resulting in a depressing continuation of the status quo.
Angela Kueter-Luks, Bruce
I suspect the Morrison government's encouragement to travel in Australia was another poorly researched piece of unnecessary marketing.
We thought we would do our bit and fly to Broome for five days in July to help our struggling tourism industry. A few problems immediately became apparent. The only accommodation in the Broome area for five days straight for much of the rest of the year was in dormitories in backpacker hostels. A rental car in Broome was around $800 for five days with a total usage limit of 500 km. Campervans were simply not to be had.
Supply and demand for internal tourism has pushed prices well above the cost for similar overseas tours. For example, a one-week outback tour costs about the same as a three-week safari in southern Africa. A $400 hotel room in Broome would be around $120 in Miami.
I spoke to a WA local who told me that Broome tourism has been overwhelmed all year, resulting in limited accommodation options and a scarcity of rental cars and campervans.
The absence of overseas backpacker casual staff (hence the availability of backpacker accommodation) has also made it difficult for tourism operators to cope with the numbers of Australian visitors - and that was even before Tourism Australia's promotion of internal tourism!
Broome may be an exceptional case but given the causative factors I suspect the same situation applies at other tourism destinations in Australia as well.
C Williams, Forrest
Well said Phil Creaser (Letters, May 29). The suspect ACT Transport e-scooter "survey" was obviously skewed in its results. It seems a positive outcome from the paltry number of participants was desired and that's what they got. They certainly didn't ask me.
We live in a city apartment and watch nightly as users zip along footpaths, in parks and open spaces and along the city streets, just missing pedestrians and cars. And, believe me, a lot of them do weave through traffic (increasingly as the night progresses and the bars stay open).
Using the same dodgy approach as the ACT Transport survey, I would estimate that 90 per cent of users exceed the speed limit, don't wear helmets, and don't give a damn about other footpath users. To a slightly lesser percentage, shall we say 85 per cent, the scooters are just abandoned diagonally across footpaths, across business and residential doorways, in gutters, or just flung aside.
The laws about use may exist but our gallant constabulary apparently turn a blind eye as the scooters zip past paddy wagons, or the (extremely) rare police person on foot.
I actually walk on our city footpaths and have had several near misses by the scooters as they silently whiz from behind, past and in front of me, with centimetres to spare. I have no beef with users riding the scooters for business or pleasure - as long as they obey the rules about speeding, wearing helmets, proper disposal and doubling up.
How hard can it be to enforce the leaving of them in designated parking spots for future use or maintenance? And why do we have to wait for a fatality before our "for life" politicians do something to bring some sanity back to the city?
Ian Forno, Civic
Bradley Perrett has written three articles for ACM's general-readership audience on what a war with China would involve. He does this because "Australians need to know what could happen" [in such a war] (canberratimes.com.au, May 22).
Surely, at the very least, we deserve to know why we would be involved in such a war? What is the historical context behind China's claim to Taiwan, why is the CCP acting in a more aggressive manner, and what can we do to prevent such a conflict?
This context is severely lacking. The articles so far have given just one paragraph outlining the geographical background of the (as-yet hypothetical) conflict, with no mention of historical developments whatsoever. Perrett recognises that "talk of war tends to promote war," but then gives legitimacy to the sabre-rattling we have seen from Defence Minister Dutton and Home Affairs secretary Mike Pezzullo.
Penny Wong summed up the general sentiment, at the launch of Peter Hartcher's book Red Zone: "Too much of the discussion on China is frenzied, afraid and lacking context". Talk of war for the sake of war does nothing to contribute to Australia's understanding of China, but leads us to getting "carried away with excitement and hostility".
Mark Wilson, Bruce
Up in lights
The Telstra Tower (June 3) and the National Carillion (June 4 to 7) are lighting-up red for World Haemochromatosis Week.
Haemochromatosis is the most common genetic disorder in Australia and causes your body to absorb too much iron from food. It is easy to test, simple to treat but tragic to ignore because the excess iron overloads body tissues, damages organs and can cause premature death.
When detected early haemochromatosis can be managed easily through blood donations and is no barrier to a normal life or life expectancy. Find out if this is you at www.ha.org.au
Dr Dianne Prince, Haemochromatosis Australia, Meridan Plains, Qld
What price health?
Naomi Osaka has been fined $US15,000 for refusing to go to a press conference with journalists at Roland Garros. She said this is because of mental health issues. She now faces the possibility of being defaulted from the tournament.
There are two concerns. The first is a person's mental health must be protected. Given she finds press conferences a concern perhaps a few questions could be submitted and responses sent out on the tournament's social media.
The second concern is she could be banned from playing in this and future tournaments. Surely having one of the best players in the world playing and being seen by the world is more important than seeing a seemingly shy person being forced to do a press conference.
As Benjamin Franklin suggested "Well done is better than well said". Let her play and the others talk.
Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill, Vic
TO THE POINT
My heart goes out to Melbourne. I just found out the Victorian capital has similar weather to Wuhan.
Mokhles k Sidden, Strathfield, NSW
MASTER OF DECEPTION
Scott Morrison can now add "spinmeister" to his other titles including PM, ScoMo, and "Scotty from marketing". No doubt there's room for more.
D Bogusz, Greenway
SAMMY THE SAVIOUR
Why do the Canberra Raiders need to look for a replacement for George Williams? The Raiders already have an excellent replacement. His name is Sammy.
David Hull, Flynn
Rajend Naidu (Letters, May 27), Benjamin Netanyahu did not precipitate the war. Hamas did by firing hundreds of rockets into Israel. Hamas wanted to be seen as the "defender of Jerusalem". Netanyahu's determination to damage Hamas' ability to keep firing rockets was broadly supported across Israeli politics.
Alan Shroot, Forrest
WASTE NOT, WANT NOT
The news the National Film and Sound Archive is throwing out non-Australian material is not good. The archive exists to collect material for Australia not just of or about Australia. Non-Australian material should be vigorously collected not discarded. Surely storage problems can be solved in a city such as Canberra.
Celeste Hill, Woden
I can't stop watching the 7.30 Report with Leigh Sales and I cannot turn it off. This is quite painful as the bias gets under my skin (and is getting worse). Is there an anti-bias jab?
Brian Hale, Richardson
PEAS IN A POD
Australian politicians are all tarred with the same brush. If Gough Whitlam was alive today he would certainly do a "donkey" vote at the next federal election. Does anyone still remember free university education?
G Gillespie, Scullin
SHIP OF FOOLS?
Winkin, blinkin (US Secretary of State) and nod. Who are the other two in America's federal government again?
Greg Cornwell, Yarralumla
A league player is laying on the ground, possibly concussed. The referee points to the sideline as the offending player walks towards it to the boos of some of the crowd. Meanwhile a boxer is unconscious on the mat with his opponent standing over him, his arm raised by the referee to the cheers of the crowd. Sport?
Bruce Glossop, Holt
PERSON OF SUBSTANCE
Hollie Hughes, a lesser-known light (and possible real person) in the Liberal party, is standing up to the bullies who run her party and our nation. Will she soon be gone, like the others before her?
S W Davey, Torrens
Listening to Greg Hunt avoiding questions on breakfast radio sent a worrying message about the government's arrogance and total disregard of its responsibility to the Australian community.
John Sandilands, Garran
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