WELL, the PM has changed just one word in the national anthem: "young and free" to "one and free". He said that was democracy in action even though the vast majority of Australians were never asked about it.
Can anyone explain how changing that one word from "young" to "one" honours Indigenous people in any way? I always thought young referred to us being young in spirit as much as anything. Was that so bad? You could easily argue that many people are not free in this country. Not much is actually free anymore in this country, even free speech. Why not change the wording to "one and cost-competitive"?
We could change the song bit by bit, one word at a time. I believe that the PM has shown that he could get away with that without consulting the people. Over time, bit by bit, we could totally devalue the national anthem to a bland meaningless apology to everyone on the planet. Cultural death by a thousand cuts. Good onya, ScoMo. Where the bloody hell are you?
Peter Devey, Merewether
Forget divide to multiply results
JOEL Fitzgibbon from the Hunter says it's time for Labor to go back to its grass and roots if it is to survive extinction, by calling on blue collar workers to rescue Labor ('Fitzgibbon's warning to fellow Hunter MPs', Newcastle Herald 19/1).
This is not the first time this slogan has been used, but unfortunately many blue-collar workers no longer work in the heavy industry that was traditionally Labor's stronghold because many no longer exist.
MORE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
- Labor can't hold onto Hunter without centre
- New dams won't solve Hexham's plumbing woes
- Clearer signs of danger could be crucial for beaches out of hours
- Empathy is lacking in Australia Day's great date debate
- Batteries are no panacea for the power grid
- Limitless free speech can have a high price
- Staying overseas was safest choice for us all
- If bush is beaten, think of those locked out
I won't get into the discussion as to why they don't exist , and although not a Labor supporter, I believe the Labor Party needs to exist. Without an opposition, any ruling party can dictate. Labor needs to escape the influence of unions and be seen as a stand-alone, more constructive party. The rule of thumb to disagree with everything put forward no longer holds ground. People these days decide for themselves. I would suggest Labor agrees with most policies that obviously make sense, and rather than disagreeing, be constructive and show interest by suggesting better ways to implement policy. I know it goes against tradition, but when both parties can work together more will be achieved at a much lower cost in a much shorter time. Given that people of different political preference work together every day, why not politicians?
Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek
No ban call in a climate query
THE only "breathless alarmism" in my opinion is that of Greg Hunt claiming there have been, on this page, "demands to ban" climate change denialist opinion (18/1). I don't recall any such "demands".
I have certainly posed the question of whether we have reached the stage where the mainstream media should no longer publicise such views. As I pointed out at the time, while we co-exist with all kinds of weird beliefs, most of them are deemed unworthy of publicity. I simply think denialist opinion should now be treated the same.
This is not prohibition. Climate change deniers would still be perfectly free to air their views in a host of other ways - for example, on conspiracy websites and the Facebook pages of a large number of Coalition MPs, and from atop a fruit box in King Edward Park.
Michael Hinchey, New Lambton
Not everyone knows all of it
JULIE Robinson (Letters, 18/1), last September an online poll, funded by Luminate and published by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, suggested that most "QANON supporters" have never even heard of, let alone believe, some of the most outrageous claims associated with QANON. Further, according to a Pew Research survey last year, of the 47 per cent of Americans who had heard of, or read about QANON, only 16 per cent connected it directly to Donald Trump, either by saying that Trump supports the group, or that the group views him as a hero, saviour or victim.
Doesn't the left also exploit discontent for "political advantage"? It wasn't Trump but CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, brother of New York's Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo, last June who said "please, show me where it says that protests are supposed to be polite and peaceful". Didn't US Vice-President Kamala Harris, on CBS's The Late Show also last June, tell BLM protesters to never let up, and only decried the violence and destruction after the event? In my opinion it's not much different to Trump, really.
Peter Dolan, Lambton
Throw some shade at city centre
POOR landscape design, lack of plant care, maintenance and increasing weed infestation is disheartening to witness in the Newcastle CBD. Pedestrians swelter due to limited trees and high asphalt and paving surface temperatures. Even some of the more recent tree choices, such as the skinny palms at The Station and the sadly neglected ornamental pear trees in Hunter Street, provide no tangible shade benefit and do little to address and reduce the impact of urban heat.
Add in fewer commercial awnings and a walk down Hunter Street or Honeysuckle becomes an uncomfortable and high UV exposure adventure. The unmanageable collection of weeds used to fill the gaps between the light rail sections also seem to have increased exponentially and no one appears to take responsibility for maintaining these nature strips to rescue the one or two surviving original plants.
Perhaps an innovative, cooperative and co-ordinated approach to the design, planting, care and maintenance of vegetation and weed management in the CBD is required. Private citizens, businesses, as well as council might work together to develop and manage our green urban landscape so the city continues to be a great place to live and visit, both now and into the future.
Mik Ilett, Newcastle
Don't let structure stay stationary
IT has been interesting to read the various nominations for both good and bad examples of architecture in Newcastle ('The good, the bad and the ugly', Herald 11/1). The fact that some buildings appear in both the good and the bad columns, only emphasises the role that individual taste plays in informing an opinion.
My own nomination for removal, is the old platform shelter in what is now known as The Station. This structure was of course essential when people actually caught trains from this site, but it now only serves to obscure the magnificently restored colonial architecture which will always benefit from uninterrupted sight lines to and from the waterfront
The structure would not go to waste in my thinking, as sections could be transferred to other parks in Newcastle and serve a very useful purpose.
While considering this proposal, the experts could also look at the impracticality of railway benches for a family picnic and replace them with more suitable tables and benches.
Geoff Bryan, Mayfield East
WE still have a way to go in addressing race relations. I was disappointed to hear Joe Biden speak of his Vice President, Kamala Harris, as a black woman. I know he was attempting to brag that America has progressed by electing, for the first time, a woman and also for the first time, a woman of colour to the role of VP, but the sooner we cease referring to a person's colour, we will become less racist. Journalists could contribute to this theory too. A small thing to do in the interest of a more peaceful world.
Stan Keifer, Arakoon
I CONGRATULATE John Davies (Short Takes, 16/1) for improperly trying to malign, by association the rally of 20,000 peaceful unionists, other protest groups, the ACTU, Jennie George and Greg Combet for the actions of a breakaway group numbering around 100 who attacked parliament house in 1996. This despite calls from the main stage for them to remain at the rally. Senior CFMEU officials actually went and retrieved many members. There is no doubt many unionists were involved but so were other protest groups (check for yourselves). Even if they were all members, that's only half a per cent of 20,000.
Colin Fordham, Lambton
IT was great to see first Jodie Harrison (Opinion, 19/1) and then Tim Crakanthorp (Letters, 20/1) support the right to a dignified end. It is expected that Alex Greenwich (an independent MP) will table a bill on voluntary assisted dying (VAD) sometime early this year. The problem is that even though an estimated more than 80 per cent of NSW voters would like VAD, the government is threatening to block any such bill. In an effort to have NSW join nearly all the other states of Australia in having a dignified dying act, the Dying with Dignity (DWD) organisation has started a petition asking members of parliament to work together to pass VAD laws in 2021. These petitions will be available for you to sign in shopping centres around Newcastle starting on January 30. Please lend your support to this very important cause by adding your name to the petition.
John Smith, Mount Hutton
DONALD Trump is gone. All the dams are full. The Darling River is flowing. Farmers are happy. The temperature in Hamilton at midday in the middle of summer is 21 degrees. The temperature in New York is -2 degrees. Nil COVID-19 cases in NSW today with a vaccine on the way. The cricket is finished. How will they fill a one-hour news spot? Rugby league players better be careful. Time for cute puppy stories. China is the only villain now.
John Hollingsworth, Hamilton
I'M sick of seeing Gladys Berejiklian with Brad Hazzard making out they are doing everything for COVID when they are in my opinion responsible for why it got out of control in Australia.
Bruce Cook, Adamstown
WHILE NBN's weatherman gives a great presentation, I find his habit of extending his arm and hand out over the map and the forecast temperatures for the week dreadfully annoying as it obliterates them from view.