This is a human rights, not a radical, issue
Credit:Illustration: Cathy Wilcox
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SHRINE OF REMEMBRANCE
This is a human rights, not a radical, issue
The RSL’s Victorian president, Robert Webster, makes the point that it is a conservative organisation and says he is pleased the decision to light the front of the Shrine of Remembrance in LGBTQ+ colours has been scrapped (The Age, 1/8).
Two points need to be raised. LGBTQI+ rights are not a conservative or radical issue but a human rights issue. It is a pity conservatives think they have to oppose such issues. Also, the Shrine belongs to all Victorians. It may surprise Webster, but LGBTQI+ people serve, and have served, in the armed forces, as have trade unionists, pacifists and people with radical political and social views.
Graeme Gardner, Reservoir
The backlash to addressing the wrongs of the past
Equality does not mean being the same. Achieving equality does not negate the need to recall the struggles to achieve that equality. Being blind to difference does not mean difference does not matter.
It is good that football clubs and veterans’ associations, in their well-intentioned but sometimes bumbling ways, are trying to address past wrongs. The backlash to these attempts, though, shows we have still far to go.
Richard Moore, Melbourne
Do not vandalise the Shrine’s classical exterior
In the uproar over the cancelled rainbow lighting of the Shrine, there is something we would do well to remember. The Shrine is a public monument to the masses of people killed in wars. It was never intended to be part of a multipurpose, multimedia civic display.
Various groups have legitimate claims to be represented and remembered, including Indigenous Australians, refugees, ethnic minorities and sexual and gender minorities. To this end it is reasonable to have special exhibitions and services, not only to evoke pride in a particular group but also a sense of shared, communal tragedy and grief.
However, the classical exterior of the Shrine has its own simple, terrible, inclusiveness that should not be vandalised with the modern electronic paintbox. The Shrine should remain a monument to the fallen, not a symbol for the factions.
Trevor Hay, Montmorency
Support diversity and honour service of gay people
I am grateful that I have never had to go to war, as three of my uncles did. They survived but, like so many veterans, suffered the effects for the rest of their lives.
The cause of World War II was the rise of fascism, which seeks to inflict violence on minority groups such as Jewish people, gay people and people of colour. How is it, then, that the RSL is not proud to support diversity and honour the service of gay people, together with the service of any other minority group? By opposing the rainbow lights, the RSL betrays all Australians, not just LGBTQ veterans.
Don Stokes, Heidelberg
The risk, and cost, faced by our LGBTQI veterans
While sexuality should be irrelevant to serving in the armed forces, until 30 years ago LGBTQI people who wanted to do this had to conceal their sexuality and risk court martial.
Lighting the Shrine of Remembrance with the rainbow colours is not ideological exploitation but recognition of the service of LGBTQI people in spite of the potential personal cost they faced.
James Proctor, Maiden Gully
Don’t decorate Shrine with political entanglements
I concur with Bill James (Letters, 1/8) that the Shrine (already) commemorates all members of Australia’s armed services.
Its current Defending With Pride exhibition demonstrates adequately that it accepts, respects and supports the service of its LGBTQ members. Let the Shrine’s structure stand as the edifice for all service personnel and remain relatively unadorned with political and societal entanglements.
Brendan O’Farrell, Brunswick
Our diverse society
It is ironic, and rather sad, that the lighting of the Shrine in rainbow colours has been abandoned because of threatened violence by some members of the public. Many people have sanctioned this ban and claimed the Shrine should not be used for “political purposes”.
The Shrine is a political statement in itself – surely war is the most political act that we practise. A Shrine alight with the colours of the LGBTQI+ community would signify that the sacrifices made by the people commemorated therein were for our whole diverse and wondrous society, not just the pale and stale people who make these decisions.
Cheryl Day, Beaumaris
Sadly, for some members of our armed forces, their sexual inclinations and activities were not “irrelevant” (Letters, 1/8). The harrowing stories and testimony heard at the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide made this shockingly clear.
Gregory Hill, Brunswick
Crumpling to the bullies
I have no great view on whether or not a rainbow light display on the Shrine of Remembrance is appropriate, but really, if anybody is able to stand up to threats and stare down bullies, you would hope it would be our armed forces. China must be laughing.
Nic Barnard, Fitzroy North
Treat athletes with respect
Kate Campbell’s interview with swimmer Kyle Chalmers at the Commonwealth Games was one of the best I have ever seen. She lowered her microphone and asked his permission to ask questions, then allowed him to be in control which had not happened before.
The media are very keen to make us aware of the mental health issues in our community but do not seem to be keen to take responsibility for creating some of these.
Julie Witts, Burwood East
Focus on achievements
The reporting by some media outlets around swimmers Kyle Chalmers and Emma McKeon is disgraceful and embarrassing. Are journalists and their editors so immature and desperate that they can’t just report on these athletes’ impressive sporting efforts?
We get it, the two once went out. It seems everyone else has moved on, save for the media. And then they highlight the mental health struggles that Chalmers endures, failing to see they contributed to these.
Jane Levin, Mount Martha
Desperate for a headline
Kyle Chalmers’ response nailed it. The incessant questioning of athletes in an attempt to elicit an emotional response is embarrassing and disrespectful.
Rosslyn Jennings, North Melbourne
We are the greatest
It is no wonder we are winning so many gold medals at the Games. Judging by the commentariat, Australia is the only nation competing. Australians playing among themselves. It should be called World Series.
David Price, Camberwell
The battle to survive
Sean Kelly (Comment, 1/8) underscores the difficulties facing those who receive income support payments. Even before the recent inflationary pressures, for many recipients it is often a case of: “Can we afford to pay the gas bill or buy fresh food this month?“
And, to our shame, there are those in the welfare system who must decide between seeking safety from domestic violence and being able to afford to live.
Yesterday marked the beginning of the Workforce Australia program for those on JobSeeker – a fortnightly instead of a monthly meeting with job service providers. The cost of the extra travel is another expense.
Anders Ross, Heidelberg
The ‘profit up’ economics
So trickle-down economics is when gas companies sell Australian-sourced gas overseas in huge quantities, making exorbitant profits, thus leaving Australian users with just a trickle.
Erica Grebler, Caulfield North
Double standard on rates
When the Reserve Bank lifts interest rates, and banks set new world records for speed in passing on higher rates to borrowers, the media rightly report this action. I wonder why there is not more media scrutiny of banks which fail to offer more attractive interest rates for investors.
I am no economist, but wouldn’t almost everyone benefit from better investment conditions? Or would that protected species known as bank shareholders get their noses out of joint?
Alan McLean, East Melbourne
A very unusual fence
So the microbiome-gut-brain-axis has “received increasing attention from people on all sides of the health fence” (Life, 1/8). Fences have but two sides.
Warwick Ruse, Brunswick West
A beautiful human being
Through song writing and a commitment to healing and reconciliation, Archie Roach gifted us with his music and truly listening from the heart. He gave a voice to our First Nations People, not to make the rest of us feel guilty, but so we could understand with compassion the intergenerational trauma of removing children from their families.
I cannot begin to imagine the suffering if I had been taken from my mother and separated from my siblings simply because I am white. I would never have had the talent, strength or resilience that Archie Roach possessed – despite a long struggle with alcoholism and depression – to not only survive, but gift us with an enduring legacy through words and music, and his foundation to help incarcerated Indigenous people.
From his outstanding accomplishments and our deep appreciation for an imperfect, but beautiful human being, I hope he felt whole, and at peace, when he passed. Rest in peace Archie Roach. And thank you.
Linda Grace, Mitcham
An inspiration to us all
Archie Roach was a truly inspirational figure who experienced pain, suffering and oppression. His music and his fight for justice will continue to inspire many generations to come.
Mary Fraser, Currumbin, Qld
Time to act on graffiti
Claire Rodier says reflective road signs on many roads have been graffitied, making it “dangerous and confusing” (Letters 1/8). I travel the Monash Freeway frequently enough to observe weekly additions of graffiti at sites that seem unreachable. The government appears to have no interest in stopping this unsightly mess, let alone keeping roads safe. Do we just tolerate this?
Bruce Love, East Melbourne
Accept a genuine apology
Re “Rock rebuffs Smith’s apology over slap” (Sunday Age, 31/7). Chris Rock, it is never acceptable to reduce someone’s health issues to a joke, especially when the subject of your gibe is expected to sit quietly in the audience while being laughed at by her peers. For that you deserve any and all the opprobrium you receive.
Will Smith over-reacted when he slapped you, in defence of his wife, but for you to now play the victim and refuse to accept his apology is beyond the pale.
Helen Moss, Croydon
Don’t mix the two issues
I support four-year, fixed terms for the House of Representatives (Letters, 1/8) provided terms for the Senate are eight years.
However, it would be a serious mistake to have a referendum on that question at the same time as the one on the Indigenous Voice to parliament. The misleading claims of politicians who want to extend their terms in office will assail any referendum on fixed terms. There is also a very real danger that such a debate will contaminate the debate on the already contentious Indigenous Voice.
Chris Curtis, Hurstbridge
Umpires must earn respect
As a former junior coach of the year, I was told one of the barriers to recruiting umpires in junior grades was a general lack of respect for them.
Currently we are witnessing the undermining of respect for umpires at all levels of AFL. To earn it, you cannot be seen to come to a game with a planned bias towards any player. Yet it is obvious that umpires are instructed to do just that.
This will have a lasting effect on the game. Kids attending the MCG and seeing umpires being booed off the ground will take that attitude onto the ground when next they play. Not to mention the parents watching their kids’ footy. It is an attack on the game’s integrity. The AFL must recognise the damage that is being done to the code and umpires must be instructed to umpire the game on its merits.
Tim Robinson, Bellbrae
Destruction of our planet
Anson Cameron’s thought-provoking and heartfelt account of his journey along the once pristine beaches of Western Australia (Spectrum, 30/7) is an indictment of human arrogance and idiocy.
Not only are our beaches spoilt and suffocating under mountains of plastic and other “disposables”, but the non-human creatures who live in and on them are being sacrificed to human profligacy.
In a similar way, our land is being sacrificed to human greed. In my suburb, houses can be habitable one day and the site completely cleared the next.
Huge machines tear these structures down, with none of the materials saved for re-use. Where does this “rubbish” go? Presumably to landfill. A new structure will be built, covering the block with concrete, so even rainwater will not be salvaged. It certainly makes a mockery of councils advocating “recycling”.
I endorse Anson Cameron’s recommendation that “we name environmental catastrophes after the politicians who presided over them”.
Marie Rogers, Kew
An unnecessary addition
While applauding the women who have formed a motorcycling club (The Age, 1/8), I find it disappointing that they claim to be “challenging gendered stereotypes surrounding moto culture” and then they add “ette” to their name (The Leatherettes). Language matters.
Edna Russell, Ocean Grove
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding
A referendum for voices from the heart. Because it’s finally the right thing to do.
Denis Evans, Coburg
How does the PM expect us to make an informed decision on the referendum if he won’t reveal the details? Presumably we’re expected to trust him.
Dave Torr, Werribee
Has it turned out to be easy with Albanese?
Hans Paas, Castlemaine
Hanson speaking for the “silent majority” (1/8)? More like the apathetic millions who can’t be bothered to think for themselves.
David Raymond, Doncaster East
I’d like to respond to the claim that Hanson speaks for the ″silent majority” but am at a loss for words.
Jo Bond, South Melbourne
Pauline Hanson is the ugly voice of the silent minority.
Judy Hosfal, Malvern East
The “majority” of what exactly?
Stephen Roach, Mia Mia
Thank you, Archie. Your spirit and music will live on. Rest in peace.
Lindsay Roberts, Doncaster East
Archie Roach should be playing, compulsorily, on a repeat loop when we vote at the referendum.
Julie Chandler, Blairgowrie
Will Archie Roach’s family be offered a state funeral?
Jane Taylor, Newport
It’s amazing how well we’re doing against nations with GDPs the size of our swimming clubs’ budgets.
Steve Haylock, Mount Waverley
Corrs Chambers Westgarth’s decision to end its unholy alliance with the Catholic Church (1/8) is welcome. Maybe there is a God.
Lawrie Bradly, Surrey Hills
We’d be better off if our political and business leaders had some of Ross Gittins’ economic sense and social conscience (1/8).
Ken Nailon, Carnegie
It’s so refreshing to hear from an economist who knows what’s happening in the real world.
Les Anderson, Woodend
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