Eddie McGuire’s departure speech contained heavy use of the word “I”. Much of his talk, in concrete language, was an attempt to position us favourably towards himself. Such egocentrism is a barrier to overcoming the systemic nature of racism itself.
By contrast, Heritier Lumumba’s TV interview last week contained less “I” and more “we” – indicative of a less egocentric and more systemic perspective of racism. He recognised that we can’t just say we’re not racist. He spoke about how we need to be able to “de-program” ourselves from how we have been educated, socialised and institutionalised into unconscious, but systemic racism.
If the Collingwood Football Club was serious about racism, it would invite Lumumba on to the board.
David Hickey, Heidelberg
Systemic racism an absurd claim
Eddie McGuire’s metaphorical falling on his sword is unfortunate testimony to what happens when institutions overreach in their language when expressing a mea culpa. The expression “systematic racism” is remarkably loaded and, quite frankly, an absurd description of a sporting club that has given players from all backgrounds an opportunity to play at the highest level. Would an intrinsically racist club actually dare to commission a review and report the result?
It is vital that we don’t conflate genuine ugly racism with the occasional inappropriate putdown or even robust ribbing at a sporting match. The same people who perhaps booed Adam Goodes were the same people who applauded Cyril Rioli and Buddy Franklin. There is always a context that is most likely bigger than the social metrics of skin colour.
Peter Waterhouse, Craigieburn
Lacking in empathy
He still doesn’t get it. After his comment about Adam Goodes. After his comment about Caroline Wilson. After his tacit support of Sam Newman’s blackface. After his gaslighting of Heritier Lumumba, Eddie McGuire tearfully wanted us to honour his “achievements”. His resignation speech demonstrated the problem with the over-entitled: they are oblivious to grief they cause others, yet absorbed by their own disappointments.
Indra Liepins, Glenroy
Collingwood remembered for their generosity
I’m sorry that McGuire needed to resign. Some years ago, I contacted all AFL clubs requesting tickets for clients of the Victorian AIDS Council. Collingwood Football Club was the only one to reply and was particularly generous.
Ian Foote, Castlemaine
A good decent person
I have loved McGuire since the day he became president of the Collingwood Football Club. He has achieved remarkable success both at the club and in the general community. I believe he is a good, decent person although he has occasionally made some ill-thought-out comments. The club will go on but it will not be the same without Eddie. Go Pies.
Edna Fitzgerald Bell, Hampton
Vindication on Crown
Once again Nick McKenzie has been proved right following a long investigation into a major political issue. Nearly two years after reporting on money laundering at Crown Melbourne, the Bergin inquiry into Crown’s suitability to hold a casino licence in NSW has confirmed that such laundering did occur in Melbourne and Perth – to no-one’s surprise except for the Victorian government, apparently, and our gambling regulator (“Crown unfit to run Sydney casino”, The Age, 10/2). Surely Crown directors will admit to some embarrassment over their furious denials of McKenzie’s reports in 2019.
I can understand that the state government benefits greatly from tax revenues from the casino, and that it is a very big employer. Yet can such a casino really change? Is there a major casino in the world untainted by corruption? I for one would be delighted if that monstrosity on the Yarra were to close down, however damaging to the economy. Meanwhile, thank God for investigators such as McKenzie.
Rodney Wetherell, Murrumbeena
Forget state of origin
Crown’s culpability in enabling criminality through its casinos is not some sort of “state of origin” game – this is a national issue. No matter which state started the report, let’s make sure it ends the right way for everyone – by ensuring gambling is never allowed to “self-regulate” again anywhere in Australia.
Ian Lang, Flemington
Better jobs can be found
In 2014, then Victorian treasurer, Michael O’Brien, crowed that the government decision granting Crown Casino a licence through to 2050: “… delivers substantial financial benefits to Victorians but it also helps improve investment certainty and protects jobs.” We wrote to our then state member to decry this distressing decision with its caveats allowing compensation if Crown’s revenues should drop due to government actions (understood to allow for anti-gambling legislation). Neither major party represented our views and our objections were brushed aside in the name of government income and jobs. Our great and wise leaders sold our soul to the greedy, when it would be much better to look for jobs in productive areas other than in gambling.
Michael Langford, Ivanhoe
In his analysis, David Crowe writes: “MPs such as Barnaby Joyce and Matt Canavan will always oppose action on climate change because they doubt the science” (“A confected debate puts pressure on McCormack”, The Age, 10/2). So when are these MPs going to explain to the whole scientific world (and the rest of us) how it is that greenhouse gases don’t absorb and re-emit infrared radiation from the Earth’s surface, thus warming it? It beggars belief that these people somehow think that they know better than all the scientists who spend their lives studying such things. Why don’t they go talk to some of them? In fact why doesn’t Morrison invite the scientists to Parliament House to talk to all the politicians? What sort of world do we live in where politicians think they can make up their own laws of physics?
Keith Burrows, Fairfield
What price scepticism?
Climate change sceptic Matt Canavan claims that he would not vote for a target of net zero emissions by 2050 “because it would cost too much to achieve” (“Law bypass to quell MP revolt on carbon target”, The Age, 10/2). Have Canavan and fellow travellers such as Barnaby Joyce and Bridget McKenzie considered what inaction on climate change would cost?
They would doubtless argue that Australia contributes a mere 1.3 per cent of global emissions – ignoring the fact that Australia is one of the world’s worst performing nations on emissions per capita. They overlook the health and financial costs of increasingly oppressive and dangerous heat; of rising sea levels, increased coastal erosion and damage or destruction of coastal property. They also ignore the horrific damage to the environment and to property by an increasing number and intensity of bushfires such as the 2019-20 Black Summer catastrophe.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin, ACT
Our Deputy PM and his Nationals are advised that if we live long enough, we all wish we had given more thought to what could have happened to us, in 30 years time.
Malcolm McDonald, Burwood
Jobs for the future
The energy task facing politicians leading up to another federal election has been described as convincing voters that they have a practical plan that will deliver without costing jobs or raising prices. They should find comfort, therefore, in the figures quoted by Cristina Talacko (“Net-zero target adds up for Australia”, 9/2) showing that investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency will create more than double the number of jobs than will the same investment in fossil fuel projects. The workforce will rightly want to know what kind of jobs will be on offer, and that is why today’s power plant operators and coal miners expect to be involved in plans about the future. But a future there surely is.
John Gare, Kew East
Separate the days
Once air transmission of COVID-19 is acknowledged to be a real risk putting a day one guest in the same facility as a day 14 guest is dumb. The risk a day 14 guest will be infected on check-out day by an incoming guest is real. We need 14 absolutely independent facilities (bubbles) to run a proper quarantine program – and the staff for a facility need to live 24/7 in the facility for the entire 14 days (then have 14 days off) and be paid accordingly.
Chris Wallis, Albert Park
How we can help
Rudy Gestede’s ambition to adopt a child from the West African country of Benin (“Striker’s goal: to give hope to Benin’s kids”, The Age, 10/2) is noble. But I’m relieved he decided to provide in-country support to vulnerable children instead of proceeding with an intercountry adoption, which would legally disconnect the child from their family, community, country and culture. Nevertheless, I implore Gestede to reconsider how he goes about achieving his revised goal – “to assist a large number of kids” – in Benin. The majority of children in “orphanages” in developing countries have at least one parent, and those with no parents generally have at least one extended adult family member, living in dire poverty unable to care for their child. Rather than building an orphanage, Gestede could establish a program that identifies and supports family members to resume caring for their children.
Penny Mackieson, Richmond
Special in every way
Contrary to your correspondent’s suggestion, (Letters, 10/2), students in special schools are neither segregated nor excluded. They are part of a rich, welcoming and inclusive community. A community dedicated to doing whatever it takes to understand and meet the students needs, however complex. Special schools are not an inferior option, quite the opposite.
Rosslyn Jennings, North Melbourne
Reaching their potential
Yes, inclusive means everyone. However it can be defined as education for everyone but not necessarily all in the same classroom or location. I am no teacher, but rather a weekly volunteer, together with my husband, at a school for children with disabilities. I see children at this “special school” who would never achieve their potential in a class with others who do not require as much specific individual attention to their physical, mental, health, social and education needs. It could be feasibly possible, but require significant building and facility modifications/additions as well as additional teaching and allied health staff in every single school in the state.
Jenny Callaghan, Hawthorn
Forum a smokescreen
For once, it’s possible to agree with Gerard Henderson when he asserts that “the Sydney Institute is not a think tank” (Letters, 10/2). Indeed, there’s no evidence of it actually thinking at all. Parading a selective list of invited speakers certainly provides no indication of its members’ own ideological leanings, nor would it automatically endow the members with the ability to benefit from any “forum for debate and discussion” that may have occurred as a result. The public is not so easily fooled by such a smokescreen: it’s more likely to make its assessment of any perceived alignment based on the Institute’s members’ publicly expressed views and actions.
Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale
The cost of home learning
The state government and Education Department are kidding themselves if they think the prolonged COVID-19 shutdown and exclusion of students from school throughout 2020 hasn’t put Victorian students behind their interstate peers. By our calculation, our two primary school aged children missed 65 per cent of in-class teaching.
The government can argue pupils and students had resourcing and support to learn from home, but in our case it wasn’t “remote and flexible learning” unless we, working parents, sat with our children to actually facilitate, understand and deliver the course work.
My family has moved interstate, and the difference between what our youngest daughter (grade one) learned in 2020, compared to her peers is stark. She missed the basic foundations of maths, literacy and social development. With the support of her new school, she will repeat prep this year, and is already thriving in a new environment with additional teaching support.
Our children will be fine. But what of the many thousands of kids, across all of Victoria, who may not get the same support? Victorian students are now 12 months behind the rest of the country.
James Kelly, Sunshine Coast, Qld (formerly Yarraville)
AND ANOTHER THING
The Victoria government’s silence in response to the findings of the NSW inquiry into Crown Sydney Gaming is deafening. It is time the Victorian government conducted a full inquiry into Crown Casino Melbourne.
Glenise Michaelson, Montmorency
Racism in sport
You have to feel sorry for Eddie. He still doesn’t get what he has done wrong.
Susan Munday, Bentleigh East
We now await the self-commissioned reports into racism of other sporting, corporate and political organisations.
Arthur Pritchard, Ascot Vale
Twenty-three years as president of anything is way too long. Many tired, policy-stale politicians ignore their use by date.
John Bye, Elwood
It’s been a long time since tennis could be described as an elegant sport (Letters, 10/2). It’s now more like warfare on the court, with killer serves and accompanying grunts. When players are unhappy, they feel free to destroy racquets and abuse the umpire, knowing that if fined, they can easily afford to pay.
Helen Scheller, Benalla
Let the act of smashing your racquet be rewarded by requiring the player to complete the set with such racket.
Paul Sutcliffe, Fern Bay
Impeachment trial is “political theatre”, say Trump lawyers (The Age, 10/2) – not unlike the past four years.
Greg Bardin, Altona North
Christine Hurwood on oxymoronic foods (Letters, 10/2) has really started something. I once enquired about the exorbitant price of a pack of epsom salts in a vegan shop only to be told that they were “organic”.
Roger Foot, Essendon
A political leader making the casual workers’ case (“Labor vow to favour firms that provide secure jobs”, The Age, 10/2) – they are counted as employed but their existence is like living on banana skins. Banana republic maybe?
Doris LeRoy, Altona
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