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Recognising the hurt and pain of our First Peoples

It is smug, dismissive, minimising and selfish. Denial of hurt only perpetuates the hurt. Empathy and recognition go a long way. Privilege is thinking that something is not a problem because it does not affect you personally.
Nick Richardson, Blackburn North

It is time to stop tearing down our nation

I am of convict ancestry and I believe the Prime Minister’s comment about Australia Day reflects my truth. If we are to speak of ″⁣truth″⁣, we need to respect all views; for the Greens and Labor to criticise and expect him to only acknowledge the truth as it applies to our nation’s First People offends me.

This does not mean that I do not recognise the pain and suffering of Aboriginal people back then and today. We have all had ancestors who suffered greatly as past times were very harsh. Can we please respect one another, show compassion, and get on with building a nation and a community instead of tearing it down all the time.
Cheryll Thelan, Sandringham

Too many of us have a broken sense of history

I struggle to believe we are a federated nation when our politicians behave like colonial oligarchs. The collective squeal from elected officials condemning the ″⁣ungraciousness″⁣ of Cricket Australia’s decision to change the name of the Australia Day match makes me embarrassed to be Australian.

Our Prime Minister has more respect for Mother England than the First Nations of the land which his ancestors stole and on which he now resides. Yet this is the same man who wants us to sing ″⁣We are one and free″⁣? Regrettably, such cognitive dissonance comes as no surprise. Judging from our political atmosphere, it seems the majority of Australians have a broken sense of history. Until the establishment can acknowledge its own historical wrongdoing, we will never be able to achieve decolonisation.
Leonardo Balsamo, Blackburn South

Seeking a mature and sensible debate

Telling Cricket Australia to keep out of politics is like telling a politician to stay out of history. Maybe if ″⁣Team ScoMo″⁣ championed a serious and respectful debate about January 26, they would not need to jump on the peripheral ones.
Claire Thomas, North Albury

Proud to celebrate our nation on January 26

Sorry, I refuse to be ashamed to be an Australian, celebrating Australia Day. I have travelled to nearly 50 countries, and by any measure, Australia is the best country in which to live and raise a family. My father-in-law fought to defend this country in World War II and my father was an ″⁣essential worker″⁣ at that time. I have raised my children in good circumstances whilst employing many dozens of people, up until my retirement at the age of 74, in the company I created in this land of opportunity.

It pains me to see these attacks on Australia Day, the day which gives us the chance to say thanks for what we have. Why are we being robbed of the pride to be Aussies? I will be raising the Aussie flag on my gatepost this year. as in years past.
Roger Gary, Warrandyte

Examples of what it means to be ‘un-Australian’

Scott Morrison does not seem to understand that Australia Day is actually the greatest example of his favourite insult and what he and his cronies hate the most: ″⁣un-Australianism″⁣. But then again, that is assuming you count the theft of a continent, the family separation, the forced migration and enslavement of petty criminals, and the near extermination of a ancient civilisation as going against the national character.
James O’Keefe, East Melbourne

THE FORUM

An unwarranted award

On Tuesday, Margaret Court is to be made a Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AC). I would have thought that after the backlash from so many people over the award given to Bettina Arndt, the selectors would have learnt their lesson. Margaret Court holds abhorrent views that are extremely divisive and intolerant to so many people within the community.
Joan Lynn, Williamstown

Right to diverse views

Daniel Andrews is intolerant of the views held by Margaret Court. She is Australia’s greatest female tennis player and deserves recognition for that alone. She does not deserve to be pilloried because she holds beliefs contrary to those of other people.

Her views are not my views but she has the right to hold them. The attacks on her are out of all proportion. Perhaps we should ask Rod Laver his views on many topics. And if we do not agree with them, should we remove his name from his arena? Surely tolerance, love and respect for others is what a civil society is all about.
Ellen McGregor, Frankston

Case of double standards

Well said, Susan Hillman Stolz – ″⁣No cause to celebrate″⁣ (Letters 22/1). I have been presenting similar ideas to Invasion Day-deniers for a couple of years. When I ask them ″⁣Would you celebrate the anniversary day of any invasion of modern-day Australia?″⁣ only one has answered. The response: ″⁣Of course I bloody wouldn’t.″⁣ Food for thought I would think.
Neil Bateman, Boneo

May 9, the ideal date

It is way past time to change the date for Australia Day to May 9. This is the date on which the Australian Parliament first sat in the Exhibition Building in Melbourne in 1901. The date that Parliament first sat in Canberra in the old Parliament House in 1927. The date when Parliament first sat in the new Parliament House in 1988, following an election that included Aboriginal voters.

May 9 allows schools to contribute to the celebrations and the weather is generally amenable to outdoor celebrations throughout Australia. When this change is made we can address, together, the more substantive issues of treaty, constitutional recognition and a Voice to Parliament.
Bruce Hartnett, former Victorian chair, Australia Day Committee

It’s just another day

I might be in the minority here but, does anyone actually celebrate Australia Day? Does anyone stand under the flag, thinking about how awesome Australia is and praising it for being such a great country?

I never have. Australia Day for me (and I suspect the ″⁣quiet Australians″⁣) has always been a paid day off work. A get-together with friends to drink, eat and have a bit of fun. Which is any weekend really. I am not trying to downplay the significance it might have for our First Nations people but is it any more significant for them than any other day they are treated like dirt? Australia Day does not mean anything, unless you decide to make it something.
David Jeffery, East Geelong

Selective free speech

Recently Scott Morrison said ″⁣there’s such a thing as freedom of speech in this country and that will continue″⁣ in relation to members of his government voicing divisive conspiracy theories and pursuing a far-right agenda.

Yet his government has criticised banks that are concerned about risk exposure to fossil fuels and accused them of ″⁣virtue signalling″⁣. The Prime Minister is also unhappy with Cricket Australia for attempting some kind of reconciliation over Australia Day.

The Prime Minister is ″⁣free″⁣ to voice his objections in relation to these two important issues. He is also ″⁣free″⁣ to call out the unhinged views of his parliamentary colleagues, but he fails to do so. One must conclude he is sympathetic to those views.
Fiona Colin, Malvern East

Colonies to a nation

The First Fleet reached Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788. There is good reason to commemorate this arrival date, but why call it Australia Day? Why not commemorate what actually happened and call it First Fleet Day? Australia, as a nation, did not exist then. For the following 112 years it did not exist either, until on January 1, 1901, the various colonies came together to form the Commonwealth of Australia.
Les Cooper, Anglesea

Safe and unsafe crowds?

Dan Andrews has urged people not to attend Invasion Day protests as it is unsafe in these COVID-19 times (The Age 22/1). He has no qualms about crowds attending the Australian Open though. It is hard to understand how one event is safe and another not, unless there is a political agenda at play.
Rohan Wightman, McKenzie Hill

Our easy peasy entry

I flew back into Essendon Airport on Thursday morning on Sharp Airlines, from King Island, clutching my permit to enter Victoria. I fully expected to be greeted by gowned and masked health officials, demanding to see my permit and interrogating me as to where I had been. However, nothing, no one greeted the passengers. We picked up our luggage and went on our way.
Jenny Lawrence, Hawthorn East

Too many breakages

Facebook first used the motto, ″⁣Move fast and break things″⁣. So when the company’s Australian managing director Will Easton (The Age, 21/1) cries foul in opposition to making it pay for its news content, I suggest that he ″⁣Go back and fix things″⁣.
Luke Mills, Richmond

Wrong reason, Minister

After spending billions of dollars on keeping refugees in detention, we must be grateful that Peter Dutton has finally found a reason to release them into the community. How much better it would be if the reason were compassion.
Jennifer Monger, Benalla

Vulnerable refugees

I fear that refugees who were recently released on bridging visas will end up in unpopular jobs and be treated like cheap slave labour by employers emboldened by Peter Dutton’s attitude towards them. Who cares if they are exploited when they are ″⁣illegals″⁣? These are people with medical issues, who were medivacced for treatment. Some of them say they did not receive this. It behoves the government to make sure they do not become victims of predatory practices, but receive the help they need.
Olivia Manor, Coburg

Sign, for our future

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which bans signatories from testing, developing, producing, stockpiling or threatening to use nuclear weapons (The Age, 22/1), is an extraordinary achievement. The dedicated Australians who contributed so much to achieve this, and won a Nobel Peace Prize along the way, must be congratulated and thanked. Any nuclear use, accidental or deliberate, will bring an abrupt end to any prospects for a future, for humanity and also much of our extraordinary and beautiful natural world. We must press our laggard government to ratify the declaration.
John Poppins, Mount Waverley

Relax, Donald has gone

Thank heavens I can now open my daily newspaper without fear and trepidation of discovering what new horrors Donald Trump has inflicted on the United States and the world overnight.
Jean Andrews, Cheltenham

Let’s try talking instead

In light of the changing of the guard in the US, wouldn’t it be nice if world leaders pulled back from tweeting messages to each other? A phone call is always nice, or an email or even a fax.
Kym Cross, Campbells Creek

A return to compassion

After four years of Donald Trump and the alt-right rhetoric, it is heart-warming to hear Joe Biden and Kamala Harris speak with compassion and authenticity. Maybe the new administration will make America great again.
Danny Hampel, South Yarra

The forgotten people?

No mention of Indigenous Americans at the inauguration, unless I missed it. Dispossession is part of the history of most nations. We in Australia are not alone in this unhappy fact. We may be a little ahead in addressing the problem. It is a part of “coming together”.
John Mathew, Melbourne

Keep the recipes coming

I enjoyed another tasty, nutritious and economical meal this week – linguine with spicy tuna, olives and capers. Thank you, Neil Perry and The Age, both of whom continue to provide homemade opportunities, even beyond our darkest times.
Barbara Mothersdale, Hawthorn

Tennis? What a yawn

I used to love watching the tennis – remember Rod Laver, Yvonne Goolagong, John Newcombe, Pat Cash, Pat Rafter, all good people. But I will not watch one minute this year. The current players are too self-centred, too privileged, too wealthy and simply too boring.
Chris Wilson, Poowong

Tennis? How to get in

I am an expat and I usually visit my family in Melbourne each year, to honour my father at the Anzac Day march. If I promise to play tennis, can I come to the march this year?
Kevin Prince, Trieste, Italy

AND ANOTHER THING


Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

The US

Is it just me or is the world spinning differently on its axis?
Helen Hanrahan, Lower Plenty

Like Elvis, Trump has left the building.
Caroline Leslie, Hawthorn

Sad. With the conclusion of Trump’s term, 10,000 political cartoonists have been thrown out of work.
Les Aisen, Elsternwick

No, it wasn’t an earthquake, just our collective sigh of relief.
Brian Marshall, Ashburton

What a great day for the US with the inauguration of Biden and Harris. We celebrate it too.
Jayne Anderson, Moonee Ponds

Trump is gone but the inequality and dysfunction that produced him remain.
Kim Bessant, Footscray

Australia Day

So Morrison supports free speech except for Cricket Australia.
Marg D’Arcy, Rye

If it ″⁣wasn’t a particularly flash day for convicts″⁣, why do we celebrate it?
Emilio Bedin, Narre Warren

Morrison should stay out of politics and get back to marketing (which he has never really left).
Michael Morrison-Story, Frankston South

To improve his understanding of Aboriginal feelings, our PM needs to read more Australian history.
Christine Weatherhead, Glen Waverley

ScoMo doesn’t seem too upset the First Australians didn’t ″⁣stop the boats″⁣ in 1788. Double standards?
Wal Grahame, Mordialloc

Furthermore

Old King Coal is new again.
Francis Bainbridge, Fitzroy North

Dutton’s taken a long time to work out it’s cheaper to keep refugees in the community. I’m glad he’s not Treasurer.
Ruth Ryan, Smythesdale

The cricket highlight: Ricky Ponting’s insightful commentary.
Arthur Pritchard, Ascot Vale

India’s hard-earned victory in the fourth Test is cause for celebration. To its credit, Australia has been generous in defeat.
Rob Mathew, Yarraville

Note from the Editor

The Age’s editor, Gay Alcorn, writes an exclusive newsletter for subscribers on the week’s most important stories and issues. Sign up here to receive it every Friday.

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