I’d like to see a Venn diagram of those outraged about Israel Folau’s treatment and those who support banning Muslim immigration, burqas and halal certification. These people are motivated by a desire for Christian supremacy rather than concern about freedom of speech or religion. They want unbridled freedom for Christian fundamentalists and no one else, especially LGBTI people.
Fabio Scalia, St Kilda
There must be boundaries
There is no loss of freedom of speech, Israel Folau. You can think and say whatever you like in private, you can worship as you like, but you cannot publicise personal views, whether religious or otherwise, that denigrate or suggest that other people should or might be punished for being different from you.
Is this the true face of your beliefs? If so I ask this question: If I were a Christian, would I be allowed to say all Muslims should burn in hell? I am not a Christian but I would not say this anyway, because that would be abusive, inflammatory and disrespectful to Muslims, myself and our Australian way of life, which includes the right to speak, but not the right to threaten or abuse. If a school teacher got up and said the things you said, for whatever reason, what would happen to them? I suspect they would be sacked, as you were.
There have to be boundaries in society and one of the ones I hold most dear is the one that protects us from any kind of abuse.
Carol Oliver, Musk
We’re better off without it
Australians do not have the same legal right to free speech afforded to those in the Unites States, and this is a good thing.
Over there, the Supreme Court has ruled that it was legal for a religious group to protest at a military funeral with slogans such as “Thank God for dead soldiers”, “Soldiers die, God laughs” and “God hates fag enablers”. This caused a lot of emotional distress to the family of the deceased soldier.
Is this really what we want to be legal in Australia?
Quoting University of Queensland professor Katharine Gelber, whose field of research is freedom of speech: “Free speech is not absolute, and like any human right, free speech carries with it responsibilities. We have a responsibility to speak in ways that don’t harm other people.”
Walter Lee, Ashfield, NSW
No one is stopping you
Strewth, a bloke breaks a condition of his contract and suddenly we are being inundated with “freedom of religion and speech” outbursts.
You have religious freedom. No one is stopping your happy-clapping or sackcloth-and-ashes subservience to the all powerful. Just don’t, in our society that separates state and religion, try to foist your narrow-minded attitudes on the rest of us.
Wendy Hinson, Wantirna
A culture laid bare
Adjacent articles in Saturday’s Age (29/6) highlight a practice that says volumes about the cultures of our two main political parties: nepotistically favouring young men whose only claim to fame is parading a bold sense of entitlement beyond their level of competence with key political positions.
Over here in the Republic of Moreland, I recall Enver Erdogan’s tenure as ward councillor as lacklustre at best. Yet Labor Party powerbrokers think it a wise move to preselect him over the likes of a highly intelligent, capable woman such as Mary Delahunty?
And as for Marcus Bastiaan, text messages that revealed a breathtakingly appalling attitude to fellow Liberal Party members who don’t happen to share his ethnicity, sexuality or religion are likely to lead only to a rap over the knuckles with a feather duster.
No wonder the voting public is disillusioned and disengaged.
Indra Liepins, Glenroy
Our prison disgrace
Anyone who thinks imprisonment can reform prisoners has either never been inside a jail or took insufficient notice of what they saw when they were there.
The disproportionate increase in the prison population is a disgrace (The Age, 28/6), not to mention a waste of money, brought about primarily by politicians outdoing each other to be “tough on crime”.
Talk now about fixing a broken system (The Age, 29/6) is pure cant. The real answers lie in measures to address the social and economic conditions that turn people to crime and innovative, non-prison alternatives for dealing with offenders.
Lawrie Bradly, Surrey Hills
The petrol rip off
I see petrol has suddenly gone from $1.23 to $1.65 overnight. This increase of more than 30 per cent would send our economists into a panic if it was anything but petrol so why do we put up with it? Perhaps if we restricted price rises to 1 per cent a day they could still get their latest price gouge but it wouldn’t hit everyone so badly.
I filled up and $1.24 and now will go back to $20 every few days until the price drops and then fill up again. It’s a rip off.
Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill
Council on right track
Port Phillip Council is right to review its costly child-minding services (“Childcare in the balance”, The Age, 29/6).
The council over the decades has strayed away from its core functions and is duplicating state or private functions such as kindergartens and public housing. It’s also providing too many libraries (five in total) and propping up the lifestyle of people in the arts.
My rates are approaching $6000 a year and I am a bachelor and don’t use any of the extra “yuppie” services the council wastes my rates on.
That said I minded my nephew for years in the late 1980s and I have offered to do the same for his daughter next year, if it’s needed, after she turns two and can walk and talk.
In my picturesque suburb I often see parents, grandparents or nannies at the local shops minding children as nature intended.
Adrian Jackson, Middle Park
Sport isn’t logical
I read a suggestion that the AFL should change the rules to allow a goal despite the ball having been touched or contacting the goal post.
This idea does have some merit in terms of everyday logic. For example, if I toss a sock towards the dirty clothes basket, it matters not if it clips the door handle or the bench or if the cat touches it on the way through, as long as I score a basket.
However, a sport is fundamentally a set of rules that are not intended to follow everyday logic. That’s what makes it a sport and distinguishes it from an everyday activity. If sports followed everyday logic, soccer players could pick up the ball with their hands, rugby players could throw the ball forward, netball players could run with the ball and cricketers could throw rather than bowl the ball.
The sport is the rules, and if you change the rules, you change the sport. Furthermore, if you continually change the rules of one sport because that’s what happens in another sport, you eventually end up with just one sport.
Don’t change the touching the ball rule, unreliable technology or incompetent umpiring notwithstanding.
Rob Toogood, Ballarat
A change would spare us
I’m sick and tired of all the hysteria that goes on about disputed goals in the AFL. Even video reviews are inconclusive and that’s in the best of times. Was it touched? Did it hit the post?
As long as it was the result of the ball being kicked by an offensive player it should be a goal any time it goes through the posts and over the line. It’s time the AFL joined other sports to dramatically reduce disputed goals … a goal is a goal when it goes through the posts or into the net, a la hockey, soccer, basketball, etc. Also if the ball bounces back into play, the ball should still be alive and play-on.
These are two rule changes that will lift the excitement and flow of the game and reduce the ongoing complaints from players, coaches and supporters on currently contentious goal decisions.
This will also reduce the numbers of disputed game results where supporters feel robbed. And then thankfully readers can go without the following suffering of reading pages and pages about it in the sports section.
Denis Liubinas, Blairgowrie
I support Israel Folau’s attempt to overturn his sacking. Not on grounds of religious freedom, but on the grounds that I am wary of corporations being allowed to use employment contracts to hobble free speech.
Nonetheless, the hypocrisy of Folau and his supporters should be obvious. The religious right claims he is a victim of discrimination because his employment contract is being used to restrict his religious freedom, but they simultaneously demand to be allowed to impose conditions of employment that deny homosexuals, and others who do not practise their teachings, the right to work in their institutions.
Gary MacLeod, Blackburn
The time has come
Is there anything more depressing than the G20. The obnoxious Donald Trump – who is the literal incarnation of the Oxford Dictionary meaning: annoying or objectionable due to being a show off and attracting undue attention to oneself. Archaic: Exposed or liable to harm, evil or anything objectionable – and our Prime Minister falling in behind in regard to potential support against Iran. A fight Mr Trump picked all by himself.
When Australia was in peril and John Curtin defied England and looked to America it was the right decision. The right decision now is to oppose Donald Trump. Not America – just Mr Trump.
The best friendships are those where you can look each other in the eye and speak the truth knowing it is not what your friend wants hear; it is what your friend needs to hear. That time is now.
Tony Newport, Hillwood
The lower end will spend
If a government provides extra money to people at the lower end of the income bracket in the form of tax cuts and/or increased pension they will spend it on things that they need such as food, paying their bills, buying a new appliance or even “treating” themselves to eat at a restaurant once a month. Every $1000 that they receive will be spent therefore stimulating the economy.
If, on the other hand, people at the higher end of the tax bracket receive $2000 or $3000 (which seems to be about the proposed ratio difference) they don’t “need” to spend it as they can already afford what they want so instead they will invest it, (dare I say maybe towards a negatively geared property) and increase their own personal wealth.
Clive Millsum, Cranbourne
Happy to have them home
Having two adult children still living at home who have “failed to launch”, I read Wendy Squires Talking Point (The Age, 29/6) with interest.
Contrary to the article’s conclusion that we have all spoiled our children and sheltered themfrom growing up, my experience (and that of many contemporaries) is that the gig economy, moving through different levels of tertiary study or low apprenticeship wages prohibit young adults from leaving home and securing a tenancy, let alone aspiring to buy a home.
I’m happy that my “kids” are getting sufficient time and support through their 20s (and beyond if necessary) to find their path into adult life. They are going to be fully functioning adults for a long, long time, so I don’t begrudge them the relatively short time they will be living at home as adults.
Besides which, they are fantastic pet minders and house sitters, which gives me the freedom to travel when I want, contrary to the article’s concern that the parents of the “failure to launch” generation aren’t having much fun.
Linda Skinner, Mooroolbark
Nic Barnard (And Another Thing, 26/6) asks if there are any other election placards still on show.
Prominent in Ballarat’s CBD is tattered signage proclaiming the Liberal Party brand and the party’s three local candidates for the 2002 state poll. That is five elections back.
The city is, of course, renowned for preserving its heritage.
Frank Hurley, Alfredton
I loved “Moving Mountains”, Tony Wright’s eulogy to his late aunt, Fifi O’Shannessy (The Age, 29/6). Her dogged fight after World War II to get council approval to build a house to enable her to look out on to the long, jagged mountain range Gariwerd was inspirational.
The fact that she has been buried there is fitting and most moving.
Linda Fisher, Malvern East
AND ANOTHER THING
When two politicians have completely different accounts of their conversation (26/6), one is lying. Are we to be surprised?
Peter Johns, Sorrento
Scott Morrison, just another deputy sheriff.
Phil Alexander, Eltham
Scott Morrison should not have invited Donald Trump to Melbourne without asking Melburnians first!
Phil Lipshut, Elsternwick
“Trump lavishes praise on PM,” (The Age, 28/6). I think Scott Morrison was just damned with high praise.
Caroline Stinear, Berwick
Things have changed
The egalitarian principle of progressive taxation is being sacrificed on the altar of aspirational avarice.
Greg Curtin, Blackburn South
Leave them out of it
David McRae (Letters, 30/6), expresses his annoyance of the media’s bewildering need to wedge those two Australian male players into every Ash Barty story. I wouldn’t even put names to those two in a letter to the papers.
Peter McGill, Lancefield
We Magpie supporters don’t have to worry about losing this year’s grand final by five points.
John Walsh, Watsonia
It’s probably time to put the Collingwood coach under the microscope (again).
Brian Morley, Donvale
For god’s sake, let’s hope our apparent need for religious freedom, doesn’t result in inter-religion feuding.
John Groom, Bentleigh
Kerry Wardlaw, I just loved your analysis in “Choice of two evils” (Letters, 29/6) and could not stop laughing out loud at the absurdity of it. A beautiful combination of Catch 22 and Dr Strangelove.
Andy Indrans, Taradale
*Sign up to editor Alex Lavelle’s exclusive weekly newsletter at: www.theage.com.au/editornote.