I suggest that Parliament can implement the Indigenous Voice now by simply setting up a permanent Joint Parliamentary Committee consisting of all 10 Indigenous federal members representing First Nations people to advise the government on Indigenous policy.
It should be headed by the Minister for Indigenous Australians.
The committee should have an appropriate secretariat and the National Indigenous Australians Agency should provide it with the same level of advice on whole-of-government priorities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples that it provides to the Prime Minister and the Minister for Indigenous Australians.
It could be replicated at state and territory level.
These committees could provide an effective demonstration of how the Indigenous Voice works and, I believe, would strongly encourage a positive response from the overall Australian community to the forthcoming referendum.
The Opposition's Julian Leeser, a reported pro-Voicer, says he wants to see "more detail" before accepting government's proposals announced at Garma. What more does he need?
There are literally masses of detail already, from the previous government's co-design project to various expert bodies and many others. And all on top of the many existing government advisory bodies whose processes have been working satisfactorily for decades. The only real difference with the Voice is that it would have the extra backing of constitutional recognition.
Leeser, otherwise regarded as a decent person, sounds like he's just continuing the obfuscation that has been a feature of the Coalition since the Uluru Statement in 2017.
If Leeser supports the Voice to the Parliament, why doesn't he offer his own suggestions about how it could work in practice? He could also invite his CLP colleague Senator Jacinta Price and the Greens Lidia Thorpe to join him; they too seem to have no shortage of negative ideas. Working together they might put out some good and positive ones instead.
Then our Parliament could start working the way most Australians would like it to.
"Words! Words!" complains M F Horton about our Parliament. (Letters, July 31).
I am deeply grateful that our nation is using words to make decisions instead of using corruption or violence.- Rosemary Walters, Palmerston
I am deeply grateful that our nation is using words to make decisions instead of using corruption or violence.
Our Prime Minister is asking Australians if we want to establish a Voice for First Nations people whose words will convey to Parliament a valuable perspective about this land.
Words can speed up our decisions about the desperately urgent crisis of climate change, and could improve wages and working conditions, and find ways to support our nurses, teachers and aged care workers as they struggle in very difficult circumstances.
Paradoxically, I wish that each parliamentary session would start with five minutes of silence during which some could silently pray while others could allow the silence to calm and centre them so that they could be their best selves in the ensuing debates.
The ACT Chief Minister's "gentle urbanism" ("30,000 extra dwelling sites over five-year ACT government plan for 'gentle urbanism'," canberratimes.com.au, July 30) sounds very much like Andrew Barr is dreaming up what the people will have, regardless of what they might want.
He promises a long-overdue increase in sites for new housing, but then says more than 70 per cent of the new housing will be in multi-unit developments. That will ensure continuing escalation in prices paid for detached housing.
His promised "walk-up two-and-three-storey" townhouses, row-houses and duplexes will be completely inaccessible to the aged, disabled, and even families with toddlers.
No matter how expensively presented, they will be doomed to become slums in very little time.
He promises a $30 million boost for public housing will fund an extra 140 public housing dwellings. If the government can provide homes on land for an average of $214,000 per unit, it will have no trouble selling them to first-home buyers even after adding 10 or 20 per cent profit, which it could use to provide ever-more public housing.
He promises ever-more "compact housing", ever further from town centres. Is this what the people want? Does he know? Does he care?
And, while getting rid of backyards, he promises increasing tree-canopy cover across Canberra. Where will these trees sprout and spread?
Four large, characterless, 10-storey residential towers, sitting cheek-by-jowl in good Soviet-era formation, are being proposed for Dickson, on a site which currently contains a four-storey building, surface car-parking and landscaping.
The location happens to be one of the key entry corners of our city's gateway "boulevard" vision that the current planning minister approved with much fanfare in 2018. A kilometre away in the middle of an adjacent suburb, four large four-storey residential complexes will soon be tightly packed onto a site that for many decades was well-treed, publicly owned land, used and valued for a variety of purposes.
Given this, the chief minister's promise to deliver "gentle urbanism" is hard to swallow ("30,000 extra dwelling sites over five-year ACT government plan for 'gentle urbanism'," canberratimes.com.au, July 30) unless he is aiming to soften up and calm down voters south of the lake before the 2024 election.
They would have very good reasons to continue to fear Stage 2B light rail planning outcomes if the policies and rezoning that still drive Stage 1 rail route urban densification were adopted with impacts like those seen and experienced to date along Flemington Rd, Northbourne Avenue and in surrounding suburbs.
No proactive attention is being paid to simultaneously improving the physical and social amenity for a growing population along what is now a mass transit corridor and within its adjacent suburbs.
Will these deficiencies be substantively addressed when applying "gentle urbanism" in the future?
At the same time deaths and hospital admissions due to COVID are the highest they've been in Australia since the pandemic began, public health mandates are being questioned.
Thankfully we receive consistent advice from our well educated experts, in the case of COVID, epidemiologists.
They advise a three-pronged public health response. Wear face masks to reduce the risk of spreading respiratory illness. This principally protects others and allows those recovering to get back to work and participate in the community without infecting others.
Get vaccinated to alleviate illness. This protects ourselves.
Test, isolate and if relevant, take antivirals. This protects us all.
While public health measures can never be fully enforced, laws, regulations and mandates work due to the common sense of the public.
However, our decision makers who represent us need to lead the way. As with mandatory seatbelt wearing, mandates work because they are effective and become the norm.
May Australia become the clever public health country.
You recently reported that two men in their had died "with COVID-19" in the ACT.
That raises some questions. Namely what did those two men actually die of? Why are we not told what actually caused their deaths? And why are their deaths reported in this way at all?
Is it unusual for men in their 80s to die in the ACT?
I keep reading house prices have fallen by up to 20 per cent.
Where can I find one of those $800,000 houses that sold for $1 million a year ago? They seem thin on the ground.
I'm also confused by the fact that house prices are supposed to be falling dramatically at the same time building costs have reportedly increased by 30 per cent.
Anyone who doubts the power - or the very existence - of climate change needs to read the report "Wildfires intensify across US west" (August 1, p10). Unseasonably "very high temperatures", the "explosive growth" of the McKinney fire; "hot, dry, hurricane-force winds", and pyrogenic (fire-induced) thunderstorms with almost continuous lightning.
Scenarios such as this will become more common, intense, and terrifying. The world must take urgent action before large areas of this planet are made unliveable or are destroyed.
If federal Labor won't agree to end new fossil fuel projects, it should at least ensure that no public money can be provided to them.
The Greens' and teals' aim for faster action on climate change is likely to damage living standards. The virtue of this is that fewer people will be wanting to settle here.
Is there any chance we can get Australia in to see a cardiologist? That ECG trace doesn't look too good. ("Heartbeat of Australia", canberratimes.com.au, August 1).
Where's the soft and gentle Peter Dutton? It was always a publicity stunt, a ploy. And McCormack and Barilaro still don't understand proper public administration. Long may those two minor parties, the Liberals (sic) and the Nationals (sic) remain in the wilderness.
"But China also steals commercial secrets to give to Chinese companies. Most countries will do no such thing", says Bradley Perrett in his latest "China bad, America good column". It's probably true that most countries don't steal commercial secrets to give to private companies. But didn't Australia steal East Timor's secrets to give to an Australian company?
K Wood of Holt (Letters, August 1) asks "Where is a policeman when you need one?" after his wife had a fall in Gungahlin and a fireman came to her rescue. I am at a loss to understand why a policeman was needed to attend a fall and a bleeding knee?
When the referendum is held regarding the Voice to Parliament could we save time and money and include the question about giving the Queen the flick?
I urge everyone in Canberra to drink Yass water. Then you will have something to complain about. Sometimes if you're lucky you can have coffee coloured water with the most amazing aroma.
Justifiably, I think, Ian Warden waxes lyrical about poetry and suggests Canberra has its own poet laureate (The Sunday Canberra Times, July 31). If this isn't possible, what about poems adorning the interiors of trams and buses in Canberra? Poems on the London Underground have been very popular with travellers for thirty-six years now.
PM Anthony Albanese conceptualised it so succinctly when he said the recognition of the First Nation people in the constitution and giving them a voice in parliament would overcome " the tyranny of powerlessness " that they have historically felt. All right thinking Australians would agree with that.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.