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How bad does the royals’ behaviour have to be before we disconnect from it to become a republic? The Queen, a foreigner, is a fine person from all reports, but she is one in a motley crew. On top of this train wreck interview by Harry and Meghan (“Palace was worried about son’s skin colour: Meghan”, The Age, 9/3), we recently discovered about the historical letter from Prince Charles to John Kerr congratulating him on the sacking of the Whitlam government. Let’s have a nation where an Australian is the head of state.
Graeme Lee, Fitzroy
A dazzling performance of show and tell
Kate Halfpenny is spot on with her remarks about the Oprah Winfrey interview with Harry and Meghan (“Markle debacle is top-rating drama,” The Age, 9/3). It was a dazzling performance by Meghan of show and tell, while Prince Harry seemed content to be sidelined while his family was sold down the river for considerably more than 30 pieces of silver. Harry’s grandmother, the Queen, has lived a life exemplified by duty and service, two concepts strangely missing in the lives of the hedonistic Harry and Meghan, reluctant to accept responsibility for their own actions.
Helen Scheller, Benalla
Questionable portrayal of Meghan
I am surprised at the vicious tone of Kate Halfpenny in response to Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey. As a psychiatrist I am always interested in mental health issues and the way they are portrayed in the media. But as a human being I was shocked to see the disclosure of this woman’s suicidal thinking while pregnant framed as a money-making exercise. The author called into question this woman’s honesty, citing her profession as an actor and using the word “truth” in quotation marks. Furthermore, I find the focus on criticism of this woman’s make-up and dress, in the context of the discussion of these powerfully distressing issues which affect many women, shrilly misogynist.
Dr Carolyn Breadon, Melbourne
Reads like a movie script
American actress scores rare role in long-running British drama. After enjoying a high-profile first act, she discovers she’s signed up for a silent movie in which she is the third understudy. She quits in disappointment. Who’d have thought?
Kairen Harris, Brunswick
For a couple who supposedly wanted a private life away from the spotlight, Harry and Meghan certainly seem to be milking their fame for all it’s worth, not to mention painting themselves as the victims at every opportunity while still enjoying privileges that most people could only dream about. John Howes, Rowville
Windsors have a questionable history
That Meghan was subjected to racism by a member of the royal family comes as no surprise. After all, it has been well documented that King Edward VIII was a Nazi sympathiser and there is the notorious photo of the Queen, when a young princess, and her mother giving an enthusiastic Nazi salute in the grounds of Balmoral Castle in 1933 when Hitler was just rising to power sprouting his abhorrent racial theories.
Phil Alexander, Eltham
Families need privacy to resolve feuds
Every family has its ups and downs and its own family issues that are no one else’s business. It’s downright rude for others to interfere and make judgment calls on matters that are strictly private to another family. The royal family are no different, just because two of its members chose to share their personal, perceived family grievances and falling out with millions worldwide. Whether the other members of the family choose to deal with this matter publicly or privately is a matter for them. The house of Windsor needs to be given the space, respect, privacy and prayers that they need for their family’s resolve.
Geraldine Gonsalvez, Dandenong
Sharona Coutts makes a strong case for an independent inquiry into the allegations against Attorney-General Christian Porter (Comment, The Age, 9/3). Her view seems widely supported across the community. Without an inquiry the media will rightly prod and pry in a less controlled and formal way. Is this what Scott Morrison wants?
Kevan Porter, Alphington
Coroner makes the call
Whether the Prime Minister, Julie Bishop or any other current or former federal, state or territory politician “backs” an inquest into the death of Christian Porter’s accuser is inconsequential (“Bishop backs inquest on Porter accuser’s death,” The Age, 9/3). None of them has power to direct the South Australian coroner. I personally have every confidence that the state coronial process will proceed to a proper conclusion, without fear or favour.
Lawrie Bradly, Surrey Hills
More than two choices
With regard to the rape allegation against the Attorney-General, Scott Morrison offers a false choice. It’s either the police and the courts or nothing. Unfortunately, some statistics suggest that less than one rape in a 100 results in a criminal conviction. Most choices aren’t a simple binary, there are multiple ways of dealing with problems, and the PM’s “nothing to see here, move along” schtick has long passed its use-by date.
David Francis, Ivanhoe
And jobs for women?
On International Women’s Day, the Morrison government announced a boost to apprenticeships (“$1.2b push for 70,000 apprentices,” The Age, 9/3), which means more jobs for male-dominated industries. (In 2018, males filled 75 per cent of apprenticeships and traineeships, though the minister says under a recent version of the program the proportion was 64 per cent.) Once again, women, and their fields of employment are ignored. It doesn’t matter that they carried the brunt of COVID-19 job losses. It seems that this government always has money for their beloved tradies but never for those who work in aged care, child-minding, retail, the arts or the university sector. It’s further evidence of this government’s broad indifference to the plight of women.
Jenny Herbert, Metung
All men should be warned about the four factors that make them vulnerable to commit a rape. They should avoid drinking alcohol, being alone, being out after midnight and being attracted to women. This will help them to avoid preying on women.
Helen Silvester, Mentone
There’s something off about Leunig’s cartoon (Letters, 8/3) appearing on International Women’s Day. The violent symbolism is over the top. The media has stepped into a vacuum left by an incurious PM who does not appear to understand the cultural and societal shift occurring right now and, consequently, is unable to lead. Thank goodness for those strong voices in the media seeking truth, transparency and accountability on behalf of us all.
Jodie Brown, Northcote
Mountains to climb
In 1956 I began a secondary studentship at Melbourne University – officially the start of my teaching career. In 1997 I resigned with 13 years’ worth of superannuation. Needless to say I am female and was required to resign to get married, resigned to have three children and chose to work part-time while raising my children. On International Women’s Day 2021 I am pleased that this aspect of a woman’s career has been improved, but it seems to me there are still many mountains to climb.
Dale Margaret Vagg, Warrnambool
Will the review of Parliament House’s workplace culture include question time in Parliament? This unedifying display of bullying, harassment and abuse would not be permitted in any other workplace in Australia, and is a terrible example to all who witness it, including the school students who regularly attend Parliament House to view the democracy sausages being made.
Jan Garrard, Beaumaris
Invisible road deaths
In her call for more more pedestrian crossings, your correspondent (Letters, 8/3) offers a solution to road safety. Unfortunately more people die from vehicle emissions and loss of incidental exercise than road trauma. This has been recognised by many transport experts and has led to the concept of a walking and cycling city, with a great decrease in motorised road traffic, electrification of cars and trucks, electric trams and the ability to work from home.
John Merory, Ivanhoe East
Fossil fuel costs
The Economist magazine has recently published statistics on deaths due to particles from fossil fuels. Not surprisingly, India and China have the highest tolls. However, eastern seaboard cities in Australia also have disturbingly high figures, with Melbourne scoring 1000 excess deaths per year, Sydney 2000 and Brisbane 500. Way higher than COVID-19 death tolls.
Carmel McNaught, Balwyn North
The words of Associate Professor Kamalini Lokuge are worth noting and very pertinent to Australia’s response to viral epidemics such as COVID and indeed to future epidemics. (“Meet Australia’s pandemic whisperer,” The Age, 9/3). Lokuge points out that high-tech wards and advanced medical treatments would not save Australia from the ravages of an unknown virus. Rather, there are three strategies that are key to preventing viral spread: preventing the virus from entering the community, contact tracing of cases, and ensuring that people understand and trust the government’s health messages. While we now have vaccines to fight COVID, Australia’s success in containing COVID, relative to the devastation it has caused in other countries, is a consequence of our public health measures driven by informed health experts.
Leigh Ackland, Deepdene
Thank you for your excellent coverage of Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq including a comprehensive account of the recent brutal history that has been endured by Muslims, Christians and others (“Forgive the ‘barbarous’,” The Age, 9/3.) The Pope’s visit gave an incredible boost to the faith of the suffering minority. How true were his words to them (and to us): “What is needed is the ability to forgive, but also the courage not to give up.” We can all benefit from this courageous example of Pope Francis in his mission of peace, visiting this area which has witnessed so much bloodshed and unrest.
Anne Byrne, Hawthorn East
Invested in investing
Correspondent Malcolm Cameron (Letters, 9/3) is incorrect that a lack of return doesn’t teach about investing. Malcolm should explain to his grandson that markets move in cycles from boom to bust and, along the way, central banks manipulate the rate of interest to affect the macroeconomy. The most important lesson a 13-year-old can learn is that investing is a long-term pursuit and that asset allocation and patience will yield great results over a sufficient period of time. At 13, time is the biggest asset his grandson possesses.
Angus McLeod, Cremorne
Instead of your correspondent’s grandson putting his money under the bed, he could invest in renewable energy shares. In contrast to fossil fuel shares, renewables are going well.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn
The establishment of the Centres for Contemplative Studies at the Universities of Melbourne and Monash is a good news story (“Redbubble founder bankrolls mindfulness courses,” The Age, 9/3.) Having been involved in their establishment, to find myself described as a “controversial alternative therapies guru” is demeaning of myself and the project.
Mindfulness and meditation have come so far since the early pioneering days I was involved with. Regarding my cancer and MS work, very few even in the conservative mainstream medical field describe this as “alternative” these days – it is correctly regarded as complementary. That is another field I helped pioneer – moving self-help techniques from the fringe to the mainstream.
It seems when there is no controversy the centres will have fulfilled an important part of their job. All this reminds me of the philosopher Schopenhauer’s observations of the three stages of a new idea becoming accepted. First it is ridiculed, then it is attacked, then it is taken to be self-evident. For many, the value of mindfulness and meditation are taken to be self evident – their time has come.
Ian Gawler, Yarra Junction
If former Nationals leader John Anderson manages to return as a senator (“Nats veteran Anderson plots return as senator,” The Age, 9/3) he will add much needed substance to the shambles that is the current National Party.
However, tired rhetoric about a mountain of debt being intergenerational theft is an unpromising start. Anderson must be aware that the current recovery exceeds all best-case forecasts despite private investment having gone to sleep; that historic low interest rates will remain maybe for up to 10 years; that government can borrow at 1 per cent for 20 to 30 years; that government expenditure is actually adding to demand and that the Reserve Bank can turn off the tap if pressure gets too high. A too glib riposte might be that the government he was a member of contributed to “intergenerational homicide” that is the current aged care disaster and that timely investment in the aged care public sector would have saved lives and added to quality of care. It’s not too late to start.
Dick Davies, North Warrandyte
National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line: 1800 737 732. Crisis support can be found at Lifeline: (13 11 14 and lifeline.org.au), the Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467 and suicidecallbackservice.org.au) and beyondblue (1300 22 4636 and beyondblue.org.au).
AND ANOTHER THING…
The Harry-Meghan interview was provocative, offering some insight into The Firm: but did he realise the hazy smoke in the background was his bridges burning?
Mary Cole, Richmond
What a harrible demarkle of an interview.
Tony O’Brien, South Melbourne
After the interview, it is hard to see how Harry and Meghan can still retain, in good conscience, their royal titles.
Martin Newington, Aspendale
Black wives matter.
Benedict Clark, Ryanston
Headline in the Daily Mirror: “Worst royal crisis in 85 years”. What about Prince Andrew?
Susan Munday, Bentleigh East
As a very wise friend once said to me: “Least said soonest mended.”
Margaret Loadman, Mt Eliza
In view of the current revelations in Canberra, the women of Australia are waiting to hear from the Minister for Women. Why are you silent, Marise Payne?
Jenny Callaghan, Hawthorn
Listening to Julie Bishop this week, it is good to see that she has lost none of her appeal. A party with her and Penny Wong as leaders would be a formidable force in Canberra.
Nick Toovey, Beaumaris
Charity begins at home – but should not end there.
John C Hughes, Mentone
Your correspondent (Letters, 9/3) doesn’t need to shoot their duck to eat it (with apologies to Mrs Beeton). Duck meat is available in supermarkets and butchers.
Robyn Westwood, Heidelberg Heights
“Some GPs have raised concerns that the low rates of payment for the vaccinations and lower-than-expected initial dose allocations will make their participation in the rollout uneconomical” (“Vaccine supply concerns doctors”, The Age, 8/3). Good to see you have your priorities right.
Andy Wain, Rosebud
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