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A message to the crowd and the football world

We all know Newman’s on a different planet. Scott and Sheahan must have been at a different ground.

Ricky Milnes, Thornbury

No doubt in my mind

As a St Kilda supporter in the Collingwood members’ area on that wonderful Saturday in 1993, when the Saints beat the Pies rather well, several things were noticeable.

Firstly as Nicky Winmar started to get on top of his opponent, he was consistently booed every time he came near the ball, by the Collingwood members; it didn’t happen to other St Kilda players beating their opponents.

As a Jew, I’ve become more than aware of racial nuances, and what was happening to Winmar was unquestionably racist, particularly some of the unsavoury comments from the crowd. It made you uncomfortable, and to speak out was to endanger oneself.

When he kicked a goal late in the game at the members’ end, and then turned and raised his jumper to point at his skin, in an attempt to silence the crowd, it just inflamed them.

If his case against Scott, Newman and Sheahan goes to law, I’d advise them to settle beforehand. There are too many St Kilda supporters to bear accurate witness against them.

Leonard Yaffe, Caulfield South

Why would you imply that?

It is hard to imagine why sober football commentators such as Mike Sheahan and Don Scott (putting aside Sam Newman’s attention-seeking desire to create controversy for the sake of it) would want to imply that Nicky Winmar was not doing what he did for the reasons he said he was doing it.

It is not easy for anybody who has been subjected to forms of bullying or abuse – racially based or otherwise – to publicly tell their story. Nobody wishes to be publicly constructed as a victim. This attack on Winmar’s credibility – combined with Collingwood’s determination to independently “assess” Heritier Lumumba’s revelations of racism at their club and the appalling failure of the AFL to confront the long-running racist attacks on Adam Goodes – seems to be another example of the dominant culture doubting the stories of members of oppressed minority groups who have reported experiences of racism.

But if we have learnt anything from the famous Macpherson report into the racist murder of a black teenager in London in 1993, it is surely that racism involves “any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person”.

Philip Mendes, Kew

Inappropriate and mischievous antics

How dare certain celebrities (and I use the term loosely) question Nicky Winmar’s integrity and thus diminish the significance of this historic moment in AFL history. I had the misfortune to be surrounded by fellow Collingwood supporters on this infamous day.

The jibes directed at Winmar were malicious and unrelenting. Winmar’s noble gesture was spontaneous and heartfelt.

His iconic gesture must be viewed in the wider context: it is clear that Winmar has emboldened subsequent Indigenous players to pick up the mantle (Adam Goodes, Eddie Betts …).

The antics of Messers Newman, Scott and Sheahan are inappropriate and mischievous.

Noel Butterfield, Montmorency


Don’t bank on boom jobs

Around 40 years ago, Australia had a short-lived mining boom. While the boom was booming, a shortage of geologists was identified. Universities ramped up their geology degrees, and students enrolled, looking to the well-paying jobs they expected on graduation. Unfortunately, by the time most of those students graduated, the boom was over and the jobs had evaporated.

There are currently many students enrolled in aviation degrees, for jobs that were there when they started but won’t be there for some years to come.

Encouraging students into degrees that fill a jobs need now is no guarantee jobs will be there in the future. Students should study what they are passionate about, not what some government thinks will be useful in three to four years.

Louise Kloot, Doncaster

Proof that rigour matters

In a world in which the pursuit of knowledge is so often scorned, Barry Jones continues to prove that intellectual rigour does matter, perhaps, now more than ever before (“Jones still hauling his cart of knowledge”, Insight, 27/6).

He’s one of a rare species, the renaissance man, a humanist, a man of learning and a passionate advocate for causes he believes in. Fortunately, his Dictionary of World Biography will ensure that the genius of Barry Jones will live on long after him.

Helen Scheller, Benalla

This needs our support

Many critical of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement express it through asserting the obvious, that all lives matter.

It doesn’t occur to these people that the BLM campaign is necessary because so many black people are assaulted and killed by white police officers, or, more accurately, policemen. Their rate of incarceration in white-devised justice systems is also disproportionate and part of the same problem both here and in the United States.

If and when white people such as myself are assaulted and killed by black police officers and jailed by black-constructed justice systems in similar numbers I will sign up to any All Lives Matter or White Lives Matter movement. Not likely any time soon.

The all lives matter mantra is essentially an attack by many, including racists, on a BLM movement that finally has a chance of bringing about lasting change for the better. Let’s all support it and those that can’t should reflect on their prejudices.

Tony Delaney, Warrnambool

A real win-win

Thank goodness that Jesus (Mathew 26:11) told us that the poor will be with us always. We obviously need them right now because, as reported by Matt Wade (“Pandemic shift: Poorer prop up the economy as rich cut back”, The Age, 27/6), they’re the ones keeping the economy going.

Spending tracker AlphaBeta’s Andrew Charlton states the less well off have shielded Australia from the worst economic hit: “Low-income earners have been carrying the Australian economy on their back since March, they continue to outspend high-income earners.”

Just goes to show, if you give people enough money to actually live on they’ll spend it, which is good for the overall economy. Now that’s a real win-win scenario.

I know that that money has to come from somewhere, so maybe equitable wealth distribution policies would do the trick.

Allan Havelock, Surrey Hills

It’s hardly surprising

It’s been revealed as somewhat of a surprise by those who purport to be in the know that low-income earners have been carrying the Australian economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There’s no surprise, low-income earners have always been carrying the Australian economy, how else do the wealthy make their money if the masses of underrated low-income consumers are not spending?

Paul Miller, Box Hill South

We need this presence

The coronavirus has had many weeks to spread in the community and almost certainly outside of the hotspots. We need the military to stamp this down now.

People are accustomed to seeing police around. A visible military presence sends a far more serious message, being so outside our ordinary experience.

I greatly fear we will not be able to bring the situation under control unless the most severe methods are enacted. The alternative is another lockdown, and a disaster for the economy of Victoria.

Ruja Varon, Malvern

It’s not the time for this

A reminder to the state Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien that his website assures Victorians that he “will work each and every day to present a positive way forward for Victoria”, etc.

One cannot remember a day when Michael O’Brien has not been a carping critic of the Andrews government over the government’s efforts to ensure the safety of the public during this pandemic.

I would have thought that this was a time that everyone should be united in the struggle against the devastating health issue and offer all involved as much support as possible. Sure, there may have been mistakes made, but is this the time to score political points?

Michael, please take a leaf out of the federal Opposition Leader’s book.

Bruce MacKenzie, South Kingsville

Double standards

It was comical to see footage of all the main players and officials of Australian soccer sitting quietly and safely apart, awaiting the result of the World Cup decision and then jumping up, kissing and hugging in pairs and groups. The women could be seen in immediate physical contact while some men were touching elbows but then also joining in the unrestrained body contact.

Full-contact tackling in rugby league and AFL also makes a joke of the health safety standards being advised to the general public.

The double standards being applied to sporting teams by our country’s leaders and much of the media is laughable.

Barry Kearney, Ringwood North

We need quicker results

Our government is to be lauded for the widespread testing program that is now under way. We cannot defeat the virus if we don’t know where it lurks.

There has been great emphasis on increasing specimen collection. Many people, both asymptomatic and symptomatic are presenting for testing. Has there been a commensurate increase in the ability to process the specimens and inform all participants of their results in a timely fashion?

Speed is the key to success. I note that Professor Christopher Fraser from Oxford University (The Sunday Age, 28/6) says that contact tracing must happen within 48 hours of a person developing symptoms for it to be truly effective. Anecdotally many tested here are waiting from three to five days for their results. Can this be improved? If league footballers can be given results within 24 hours why is the rest of the community waiting for up to five days and what may be the consequences?

Michael Sargeant, Chirnside Park

I’ll take empathy

Miriam Cosic writes of her preference for sympathy above empathy (“More than a feeling”, Good Weekend, 27/6). She marks down empathy due to some experiences that confuse those qualities in her parents’ different reactions to distress.

The classic explanation of empathy that Atticus gives to young daughter Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird is that you need to “walk around in another’s shoes” for a while to understand discrimination and disempowerment.

Empathy enables people to recognise, understand and respond appropriately to the emotional and physical pain of others. Sympathy helps people to feel and express concern, but may not lead them to do more than write a card, send a letter to a paper or say “I’m terribly sorry.”

In these days of Black Lives Matter, MeToo and the exposure of institutional child abuse, we need to call on our inbuilt capacity for empathy to be involved in solutions instead of simply wringing our hands.

Glenda Johnston, Queenscliff

Don’t fret over numbers

Please, please can we be grateful for the successful identification of people with COVID-19? We will only return to the optimistic situation of mid-June if we can find everyone who has caught the virus and use appropriate quarantine measures to stop the spread of the disease.

If we react with disappointment or disgust to higher tallies, we risk subliminally suggesting the tally is more important than getting the infection rate under control.

Jane Fitzpatrick, Thornbury

Victoria’s own goal

Victoria has scored an own goal in respect of the Women’s World Cup; the most significant sporting event held in Australia since the 2000 Olympics (“AFL cost Melbourne a shot at Women’s World Cup final”, The Age, 27/6). In the drama of the knockout stage only a quarter-final is being hosted in the state and what if the Matildas were playing that round in Melbourne; at the relatively small-capacity AAMI Park?

Melbourne’s self-styled “reputation” as the sporting capital of Australia and grandiosely the globe has taken a major credibility dive through the myopia of the state government and the intransigence of the AFL. The hosting of the final in Sydney will further cement in the minds of overseas visitors and fans that the northern city is Australia’s portal to the world.

The state government has scored an own goal culturally, economically and politically and the AFL the latter, confirming its indifference to the progression of women’s sport.

Robert Pettit, Glen Iris

They just don’t get it

Adam Bandt and the Climate Council chief, Amanda McKenzie, just don’t get it (“Labor’s climate policy: olive branch or white feather?” The Age, 27/7).

Instead of attacking Anthony Albanese in his attempt to help shape climate policy by talking to government, they should encourage dialogue.

By digging their heels in and failing to see this as an opportunity to get a foot in the door to help shape climate policy, the Coalition will just ignore you and go back to policy inaction. Please don’t repeat Christine Milne’s mistake, which has largely contributed to the situation we’re now in.

Barry Kranz, Mount Clear


The ABC’s budget

The Morrison government found a lazy $150 million to donate to the NASA moon/Mars effort; surely the same could be achieved to assist the ABC, better to spend it on a terrestrial pursuit rather than an extra-terrestrial vacuum.

Greg Bardin, Altona North

Scott Morrison says that the ABC budget freeze is not a cut. I wonder what he would have called it if his salary had been frozen for three years?

Margaret Hanrahan, Thornbury

People in regional areas who don’t necessarily have good internet reception and rely on the radio are going to miss out with ABC cuts to essential 7.45 news.

Chris Hooper, Castlemaine


Oh no, even the ALP is now spruiking the nonsense of carbon sequestration. It’s just a coal industry delaying tactic.

John Walsh, Watsonia

Health insurance

If private health funds are concerned by an exodus of young members, perhaps they should consider a more affordable and beneficial product (“Young fleeing from private health”, 28/6).

Annie Wilson, Inverloch

The footy

The turbulence around COVID-19 seems to have flipped the AFL ladder.

Joan Segrave, Healesville


How about getting the NBN speed that we pay for as a start because I have yet to experience it.Thomas Van Der Zee, Doncaster East

Thank you, Barry Jones and thank you, Tony Wright (“Jones still hauling his cart of knowledge”, Insight, 27/6)

Greg Lee, Red Hill


Marg Croke (Letters 26/6), if you don’t want to use the stamps showing comedians, just hang onto them. With the ongoing cuts to Australia Post services, and the recent discussion around stamps being phased out, you may be laughing all the way to the bank.

Claire Merry, Wantirna

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