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Turn to Chalmers and capture young voters

But Albanese remains in the shadows and entangled in factional pettiness, like Shorten, a captive of the context and choices of the 1980 to 90s, and hoping people born between 1960 and 1980 will vote them in. Meanwhile, 2million voters born since 1990 hope for more relevant visions to aspire to, for more credible and honest leaders, and more guidance about the purpose of being Australian.
So, it is you, Jim Chalmers. Capture the young, and you and your team will have a good 10years to bring our society into the 21st century. If you do not, you and the ALP will be lost, even reviled, dimmed into the shadows of history.
Don Townsend, St Kilda

Remember, Mr Shorten, the voters rejected you

Do not even think of running for leadership, Bill Shorten. You were not trusted during the last election. Isn’t undermining two former ALP prime ministers enough?
Shirley Videion, Hampton

Follow Andrews’ lead and tackle progressive issues

Why does the left try to do in opposition what it should do in government? The republic referendum, gay marriage and now the change of date of Australia Day are all issues that Labor, when in power, could have dealt with, with support from the Greens. Throw in Kevin Rudd’s emissions trading scheme that would have been up and running now had the Greens not sabotaged it.

We see a political movement which is happy to complain that the conservative government will not deal properly with progressive social issues. Dan Andrews is probably not a good example but at least he takes on these progressive issues. He will not die wondering if he had not tried. The worst thing that could happen is that he ends up in opposition. And that is where federal Labor finds itself anyway.
Murray Horne, Cressy

It is time for Labor to stand up and be courageous

Over summer I was camping with three generations of family – the same place for 55 years. A strong message emerged: ″⁣For Australia, we want courageous leadership on gender equity, climate, wealth sharing and democracy″⁣. Labor, show us your guts.
Maria Bohan, Newtown

Opt for the ‘infinitely electable’ Plibersek

As a long-time Labor member, I am convinced it cannot win the next election under Anthony Albanese. He is an honest, decent bloke, but the political stage is littered with these. Bill Shorten is right – Albanese’s agenda is ″⁣tiny″⁣. But such criticism is a bit rich coming from a man whose gargantuan list of ″⁣reforms″⁣ addled the ″⁣average Joe″⁣ and gifted Scott Morrison the last election.

Our strength lies with Penny Wong and Tanya Plibersek. But with Wong as a senator, we are denied the politician with arguably the sharpest mind (and wit) in the entire political arena. That leaves the infinitely electable, Plibersek, who is smart, articulate, experienced and unflappable. She also has that rare political gift, a vision for the future. Change for its own sake is in our DNA, but a reshuffle will achieve nothing unless Plibersek can be convinced to run for the leadership.
Noel Butterfield, Montmorency

Why Labor has become the perpetual opposition

Until Labor develops a spine and stands up to the coal fanatics in the Coalition, I do not care who the leader of the perpetual opposition is. As someone who has always voted Labor, I want it to speak up for the quality of life my grandchildren deserve: clean air and water, an abundance of wildlife, meaningful employment. I urge Australians to demand that their elected representatives prove they are working to ensure the future of this country. This is not the same as turning up in Canberra a few times a year.
Jack Wajntraub, South Melbourne

THE FORUM

Speak up, minister

Peter Dutton, when can we expect an announcement from you that it is really unsafe for Victorians to venture into their own countryside because of the threats and behaviour, not of African gangs, but of home-grown, white supremacists (The Age, 28/1)? Australia is my home and your role is to keep me safe from neo-Nazis and like-minded thugs. I am not holding my breath that you will be up to this task.
Marie Rogers, Kew

Inherently dangerous

The new rule in the AFL enforcing additional time off after a head injury is a welcome step to protect players from chronic traumatic encephalopathy – ″⁣AFL brain disease cases ‘tip of iceberg’: US expert″⁣ (The Age, 28/1).

However, it does not matter how many weeks players take off if they are exposed to the risk of concussion every time they take to the field. They cannot protect themselves from head injuries if they can be hit from any direction at any time. Small rule tweaks may satisfy some critics but they are window dressing the problem: AFL is an inherently dangerous sport and the rules need to change significantly if the league is serious about preventing CTE.
Gabriel Dabscheck, Elsternwick

Clarifying the values

Re the appointment of Tony Abbott to the Institute of Public Affairs as a distinguished fellow. Mr Abbott, what are these treasured Australian values (non-woke) of yesteryear? Could you spell them out and tell us how they differ from the values held by most countries around the world.
Marilyn Hoban, Mornington

Loss of our industries

While browsing through the Buy Australian Made insert (The Age, 26/1), I was struck by the paucity of products of a substantial nature. When the government withdrew support for the local car industry, which industries did it think would replace it? Most countries with a viable automotive industry, including the US, are supported by their government. Imported automotive products are by far the biggest drain on our foreign exchange and they are eye-watering numbers. Consequently the number of jobs they support in their respective countries are also enormous.
Matt Rennick, North Caulfield

Important human rights

I support the establishment of a Holocaust museum (The Age, 27/1) so future generations do not forget such atrocities. However, I wonder if we should go further. The purpose of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is to ″⁣enhance the public’s understanding of human rights, to promote respect for others and to encourage reflection and dialogue″⁣.

My family went through this museum and it did just that, covering native issues, refugees, Holocaust and human situations of which I was unaware. We need to help our children think through these issues and, with a country without a charter of human rights, one we all need to dwell on.
Jane Cheong, Aspendale Gardens

Stand up to far right

It was encouraging to read about Josh Frydenberg’s show of bipartisanship in congratulating Daniel Andrews for requiring high school students to study the Holocaust. However I am bemused by his silence when it comes to denouncing some of the outlandish claims being made by George Christensen and Craig Kelly, which in my opinion are grist to the mill for the far-right brigade, some of whom are anti-Semitic. At the risk of being accused of being alarmist, this form of enabling by the Treasurer, and more importantly by the Prime Minister, mirrors the enabling of Donald Trump by some Republicans and we all know how that ended up.
Royden James, Murchison

Why the virus spread

Boris Johnson claims he did everything possible to prevent the loss of life in Britain (World, 28/1). That is self-serving and patently untrue as he vacillated over lockdown measures and mask-wearing and even provided money for people to go out and support restaurants. He was the wrong person to have in power in an emergency.
Alan Inchley, Frankston

Importance of safety

Following the tragic increase in drownings, it is timely to introduce compulsory swimming and land and water safety classes for primary school students. This will also raise awareness in their families. Classes could cover the importance of our own responsibility, obeying warning signs, risks involved taking ″⁣stupid selfies″⁣, safe management of campfires, and the need for informed preparation when travelling in the harsh Australian environment. They could also acknowledge the often life-threatening risks taken by those who rescue people in trouble or who have to retrieve their bodies.
April Baragwanath, Geelong

Wedded to my home office

As an older woman with no dependent children, working from home has been life changing for the better. With a partner who works full-time, it falls to me to do most of the cooking, cleaning, shopping and washing. Not to mention organising the social calendar. Working from home gives me so much more flexibility and time to complete these tasks.

Commuting time disappears, savings on transport, coffee, lunch and incidentals are significant, and office clothing and footwear are no longer needed. Office politics reduces to pretty much zero – working from home enables strictly transactional conversations with no time-wasting chit chats or compulsion to gather together to consume empty calories in the too small office kitchen. I will argue against returning to the office with every ounce of my being.
Prue Blackmore, Carlton North

Our steady ‘advancement’

Our Prime Minister says that on Australia Day, we should celebrate how far we have come as a nation. The youngest convict on the First Fleet, John Hudson, was sentenced to transportation at The Old Bailey at the age of nine. More than 230 years later, the age of criminal responsibility in Australia is now 10 years and older (The Age, 22/1). Progress indeed.
Trisha Edgoose, Eltham

Don’t pass this on but…

I found it interesting that in the article by Alison Page – “Vital we explore our true history” – (Opinion, 26/1) – we learned that her friend phoned her last week to inform her that she or he was receiving an Australian Day Honour. One of the conditions on being notified of your award is that you do not tell anyone before the official notifications on the day.
Margery Renwick, Brighton

Truly great leaders

Former prime ministers John Curtin and Ben Chifley, who triumphed in our darkest hour, neither sought nor accepted gongs, just a revered place in our history.
John Kellett, Bundoora

Improving our anthem

At the end of the wonderful, ABC-televised, Australia Day concert, we were all asked to stand – as is right – for the national anthem. However, very few could join in singing the first verse because it was that new one in one of the Aboriginal languages.

It seems completely appropriate that our anthem begin that way. So, please provide us all with the words of that verse, together with a translation or paraphrase. May the day come soon when we will begin our anthem with that verse in the Aboriginal language.
Patrick Flanagan, Red Cliffs

Changing our anthem

While watching the Australia Day concert, I was reminded how appropriate We are Australian would be for a new national song. It starts by mentioning the original inhabitants, then the invasion and the struggles to get to where we are today. Nothing jingoistic as in the current, out of date one.
Suzanne Palmer-Holton, Seaford

Celebration in unity

I suspect that most people who oppose moving Australia Day are more motivated by the appeal of a festive holiday at the end of January, rather than anything to do with the arrival of the First Fleet. Why not just move it a week later out of respect, and then we will not have to go through this debate every year?

It does not have to be a date with a historical significance, but if you really must have one, it is the halfway date between the First Fleet’s landing and the national apology to Indigenous Australians. It would generate a new significance and provide a springboard for celebration in unity into the future. February 5 for Australia Day.
Duncan Foster, Maidstone

Life-changing invasion

″⁣Governor Phillip arrived. Big deal. It wasn’t much of an invasion″⁣, writes Amanda Vanstone (Opinion, 25/1). I wonder how we would handle another nation arriving on our shores today, attempting to eradicate the population and completely changing our way of life.
Diane Maddison, Parkdale

Taking a strong stand

Thank you, Kerry O’Brien, for refusing your Australia Day award. This is not only a show of support for the LGBTQ+ community, but who we are as Australians, in the fight for equality. With this high award comes responsibilities that set examples for all Australians. We need to stop these exclusions that contribute to a divided country.
Sharon Hendon, Glen Iris

Ensuring transparency

Ross Gittins’ article – ″⁣PM’s trust, respect for public servants vital for economy″⁣ (Opinion, 25/1) – should have been on the front page. Its message is not just vital for the economy, it is vital for governmental transparency and the public’s right to know.
Kate Finlay, Parkville

An unhealthy relationship

Barnaby Joyce was on the radio this week, harping on about how the Nationals’ marriage with the Liberals is only one way, and that is the Liberals’ way. The National Party has always been the Liberals’ lap dog. You only have to listen to its leader, Michael McCormack, who does not have a clue and shows it every time he gets in front of the media.
Dermot Mcintosh, Bacchus Marsh

AND ANOTHER THING


Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

Australia Day

Eight worthy persons were awarded the Australian Intelligence Medal. Craig Kelly was conspicuous by his absence.
John Byrne, Campbells Creek

Is the Council for the Order of Australia out of touch or trying to court controversy?
Heather Barker, Albert Park

A name for the government to use for each day of the year: Evasion Day.
Michael Feeney, Malvern

If Australia ever recognises its First Peoples in the constitution, that day could replace Australia Day.
Marcia Roche, Mill Park

Great idea, Michael Thornton (28/1). I’d love to read more about honours recipients who otherwise go under the radar.
Jacqui Volpe, Highton

How about this for a headline (25/1): “More than half of Australia not opposed to date change: poll”?
Caroline Hubschmann, Vermont South

Given how divisive our day of unity has become, a day in the 22nd century would be the wisest choice.
Peter Acton, Hawthorn

Labor

Albo has lost me.
Judith McNaughtan, Mont Albert

Why doesn’t Albanese cut out the middle man and give Fitzgibbon the shadow climate portfolio?
Geoff Feren, St Kilda East

Albanese can’t win the election. Tanya Plibersek, please make a move.
Graeme Lee, Fitzroy

Albo, fire up and stand up, or stand down and hand over.
Anthony Clifford, Wendouree

Mark Butler has gone, so will many Labor votes.
Michael Brinkman, Ventnor

Furthermore

Is Boris Johnson’s hair more organised than his policies to stop British deaths from the virus?
Malcolm Pollitt, Lockwood

Re developer donations (27/1). A wise man said, ″⁣we have the best politicians money can buy″⁣.
Ron Hayton, Beaumaris

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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