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Credit: Cathy Wilcox
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I was disappointed but not surprised to read that the No campaign is training volunteers to use fear, doubt and misinformation to sway undecided voters (“Volunteers urged to use fear, doubt in No push”, 12/11). By contrast, I am part of a passionate group of volunteers who are committed to supporting the Voice by sharing factual information with our local community. The truth is that a Voice is a simple and modest change to our Constitution that has specifically been asked for by First Nations people. It will give Indigenous Australians an opportunity to have a say in the policies that affect their lives. Rather than being divisive, it will make Australia a fairer and more equal country. Those of us who support the Voice as a gesture of reconciliation also now bear the responsibility of correcting the misinformation coming from the No campaign. It is clear that quietly voting Yes on referendum day will not be enough.
Emma Smith, Brunswick West
Emotions usually outweigh facts
So, the No campaign is apparently using fear and doubt to try to defeat the proposed constitutional amendment for the Voice. Am I supposed to be surprised or outraged? It seems to me that the Yes campaign is also a fact-free zone, with their arguments centred on an edifice of hope resting unsteadily on a foundation of guilt. Most people base all big decisions (and many small ones) on emotions rather than on rational, fact-based arguments. For what rational reason would people choose to have children, volunteer to fight and perhaps die in wars, cry at the movies or celebrate their team winning a football match? Emotions usually outweigh “facts” – it’s disingenuous to pretend otherwise.
David Francis, Ivanhoe
Do your own research and dispel the fear
It is disappointing, but not surprising, to read of the tactics of the No campaign. Apparently they focus on sowing fear and doubt, as do many prominent Liberal and National politicians. This is an appeal to people’s self-interest of course. This will only work if people do not do their research into what the Voice actually means and how it will be set up. People have been abusive to us Yes campaigners on the street. Someone cut down my Yes sign on the front fence after two days of it being erected. Is this what our nation is about? Are we not the nation of the fair go? There is nothing to fear from an advisory body like the Voice. Time to accept the invitation of First Nations people to walk with them to a better future for them and for us.
Jan Marshall, Brighton
Don’t let politics of dishonesty become entrenched
The tawdry tactics deployed by Peter Dutton and the No campaign have elevated the outcome of this referendum to something much larger than Aboriginal recognition and the Voice. If the referendum fails then the tactics of the No campaign will become an entrenched feature of political discourse in Australia, as it has become in the US. Of course the tactics of distortion, deceit and misinformation are not new; to some extent all politicians have used them. But when they become the prime tools of one side then we have a real problem. A successful referendum will have positive impacts on Aboriginal people and it will have at worst a negligible impact on the rest of us. A defeat will be devastating for Aboriginal Australians and it will reinforce the politics of dishonesty and division, and that will have a lasting negative impact on all Australians.
Graeme Henchel, Yarra Glen
Maybe Yes side chose wrong theme song
The choice of John Farnham’s You’re the Voice as the campaign song for the Yes vote appears to have gained no traction with voters in the referendum. Perhaps it is because of the critical following line “Try and understand it”, which is the central criticism of the constitutional amendment to the constitution. The No campaign may as well have the same ditty.
William Cook, Ascot Vale
Yes campaign not pure
An organisation campaigning for the No vote on October 14 is using tactics that are objectionable (12/9). That’s regrettable. Also regrettable is the PM’s claim that opponents of the Voice are “trying to start a culture war”. Likewise Marcia Langton’s statement that defeat of the Yes case will embolden racists. Or Noel Pearson’s attack on Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price – that she was being used “to punch down on other blackfellas”. Putting it bluntly, neither Yes or No is on the high moral ground.
Alun Breward, Malvern East
Good to see Neville Bonner remembered with appreciation and respect by George Brandis (Comment, 11/9). Not so good to see his article bookended by sentences serving to express only contempt for proponents and supporters of the Voice. I certainly do not hear the tone of its proponents as in general one of “hectoring complaint”, even if that tone might belong to some of what is said by some people. And to speak of the Voice, and by strong implication those who support it, as merely “giv[ing] middle class liberals an easy way to dump their white guilt in the moral wheelie bin and pretend[ing] the challenges of Indigenous advantage are sorted” does nothing to advance thinking on the issue. I would agree that any supporter of the Voice who thinks that all those challenges would be “sorted” by it is naive. There may be some who think that, but I don’t know any. Most of the ones I know think that it is a step – only one step, though an important one – towards trying to enable a better engagement with some of those challenges.
Christopher Cordner, Queenscliff
More than a ‘vibe’ needed
David Crowe is spot on when he says that it’s looking as if a majority of Australian voters “will not back the Voice on the ‘vibe’ alone” (12/9). Indeed, it’s becoming increasingly evident that some understanding about what the Voice would look like is crucial for many voters when it comes to making an informed decision about whether or not to vote for the inclusion of a permanent body in our Constitution. If Anthony Albanese wants to turn things around, he must explain in general terms how the Voice would be elected, how many people would be in it, how it would liaise with regional representative Aboriginal bodies, how it would provide advice to parliament and executive government, and how it would be highly unlikely to interfere in general government business as a result. I know it can be argued that any information about the Voice could be attacked. But maybe it’s better to be attacked than to create a great big vacuum which the No campaign has been only too willing to fill.
Ivan Glynn, Vermont
Listen to Winnie
Those who seem to be full of fear or even just uncertainty about the Voice to parliament would do well to read A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh. Remember, although Piglet was generally timid, he tried to be brave and conquer his fears. Says poor, worried Piglet: “Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?” “Supposing it didn’t,” said Pooh, after careful thought. So that’s it, a tree won’t fall down. The Voice won’t harm you. You have nothing to lose. But it could give respect to many, many others. Give the Voice the benefit of the doubt and don’t be swayed by fear, uncertainty and doubt.
Judy Hungerford, Kew
Postal vote madness
I will be away from home from September 29 to October 16. On applying for a postal vote I am advised voting papers would arrive after October 1. Early voting centres open in Victoria on October 2. I will not have a postal address while away, and could not rely on timely postal return in any case. I am not concerned about a fine for failure to vote; I have an opinion and wish my vote to count. It appears I cannot vote due to bureaucratic reasons. There must be others in similar situations, which given the time this Voice discussion has been dragging on is not acceptable. Perhaps we need to introduce electronic communications to our electoral processes.
Tim Wilson, Inverloch
Let the dogs in
I’ve been trying to make sense of this law that “prohibits live animals, including dogs, from being in any food-handling area of a food premises”, on the basis that the animals can carry a disease which can contaminate the food (“Dog fans howl over pups in pubs edict”, 12/9). I’ve been to Europe and the UK many times and there is certainly no such law over there, and I have rejoiced at seeing well-behaved dogs sitting under the table while their owners dined. On a more domestic note, my family and I (and I presume millions of others) have had dogs in our houses for all of our lives. Never once have we been subject to food contamination. I think sometimes governments are a little too precious about protecting our health in these nanny state times. Let’s leave it to the good sense of the owners of food premises and of the dog owners.
Graham Bridge, Morwell
People carry germs, too
It is disappointing to see that dogs may not be allowed to join their owners in the City of Yarra. I am looking forward to taking my newly adopted poodle to meet my daughter for lunch in a beer garden, thankfully not in the City of Yarra. Yes, animals can carry germs, but so do people. We trust that everybody keeps their germs to themselves, but I have seen waiters with their thumbs in food on plates and wiping food off the edge of a plate with a dirty tea towel.
Wilma Hills, Echuca
A true hero
The 19-year-old Afghan woman (“Afghan underground book club offers hope”, 11/9) who has taught herself excellent English, teaches other Afghan girls English, holds clandestine book club-type meetings, and is studying business administration, is the very definition of a mensch. The Taliban who oppose all this are the opposite.
Michael Helman, St Kilda East
House crisis will worsen
The $10 billion solution to the housing crisis is expected to build 30,000 new homes over a five-year period (12/9). This is a PR exercise. The immigration level this year alone is expected to be 400,000, all of whom will be competing for our scarcity of housing. When combined with our natural increase in population and the replacement of obsolete housing stock, the housing crisis will worsen. Government must address the demand side of the housing crisis and put a pause on population growth through immigration until housing and rentals are affordable.
Barry Lizmore, Ocean Grove
Young at the opera
Along with Bridget Davies (11/9), I watched Melbourne Opera’s production of Maria Stuarda. The review concludes: “Maria Stuarda is a curious programming choice, having been seen recently by regulars, and it could hardly be argued this opera is bringing in a new audience”. Donizetti’s Tudor trilogy, including Maria Stuarda, was last performed in 2015-7, perhaps not too recent.
There were only one or two empty seats in the stalls, and unusually for opera, my friend and I were the only people with white hair. Judging by the age of the majority of those attending the performance on Saturday, 20 to 40 years, it was probably new to them. While I feel concern for the future of opera and classical music, I was encouraged and delighted to see the Athenaeum full of young people laughing, whooping and obviously appreciating the opera. Melbourne Opera must be doing something right in getting young people to enjoy opera. Is it the price, venue, good marketing or just an exciting program with amazing Australian singers?
Janice Davies, North Warrandyte
Road to nowhere
We need to be grateful to The Age’s chief reporter Chip Le Grand for the new information he has provided about the grand prix (“Sydney’s plot to snatch grand prix”, 12/8, and “State leaves grand prix driver’s seat empty”, 11/9), particularly regarding the huge increase in the race hosting fee to nearly $150 million, arising from Sydney’s bid for the event. This has no doubt put smiles on the faces of the US owners of Formula 1, but Victoria’s homeless and needy would see it very differently. With inevitable cost increases, billions of dollars will now be sacrificed on staging this imported car race event over the 14-year contract period.
Peter Goad (Save Albert Park),
Music changes lives
I write as a musician/music teacher in support of the excellent article by Richard Evans (“We have an education problem – here’s a solution”, Comment, 11/9). Such a wonderful program is being run by the Australian Chamber Orchestra at a primary school in NSW, providing daily instrumental lessons for children, many of whom come from families with severe socio-economic disadvantage. Evaluation of this program over five years has shown that engaging children in music activities leads to an improvement in all other areas of their learning. I’m not sure how many times this has to be stated before the Education Department and government education ministers take this to heart and establish music programs in all schools. This will change the lives of children and teenagers, enhancing their learning in all areas. It seems like a no-brainer to me, as I’m sure it does for all musicians and music teachers. We know from first-hand experience.
Joy Hayman, Surrey Hills
Bills not so bad
My energy bills this winter (June-August) were not so bad, so why all the whining in the media and in the parliaments? My AGL gas bill for this winter period was only $616.26, while my Origin electricity bill was only $926.32. Winter is when the most energy is used in my house, but I am not whingeing. So stop complaining everyone, put a jumper on and carry on with life.
Adrian Jackson, Middle Park
Support for the Voice to parliament is falling.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen
AND ANOTHER THING
How fair is that (“Volunteers urged to use fear, doubt in No push”, 12/09)? Another reason to not answer your telephone.
Randall Bradshaw, Fitzroy
It’s no surprise that volunteers for the No campaign are told to “use fear and doubt” to trump arguments used by the Yes camp (12/9). They have to do this because that’s all they have.
Jill Rosenberg, Caulfield South
The republic, climate change and now the Voice – the conservatives are masters at muddying the waters.
Greg Curtin, Blackburn South
How cleverly ironic for Paul Sakkal to report that the No campaign will “use fear and doubt rather than facts to trump arguments used by the Yes camp”. And so very sad that it seems we are emulating the former USA president in the demise of decency.
Sally Davis, Malvern East
Another landlord feels they need to invest their money elsewhere (Letters, 11/9). Surely a win-win. Every investor who bails from the property market opens up the chance of a family buying a home.
Peter McGill, Lancefield
The impact of feral cats on native wildlife – especially species that are endangered with extinction – is catastrophic.
Steve Barrett, Glenbrook
Your correspondent Caroline Heard (Letters, 12/9) has come, apparently late in life, to the realisation that tea bags are to proper tea what instant coffee is to the real stuff. Could this be the start of a new Melbourne revolution?
Roger Foot, Essendon
Re Letters, 12/9. They told me at the ’G they can’t take cash because of COVID. No worries, I said, I’ll keep my cash in my COVID wallet and go without your overpriced beer.
James Lane, Hampton East
Patricia Karvelas is a natural for Q+A. Her intelligence and thoughtfulness make it a delight to watch.
Lyn Mitchell, Black Rock
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