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A ‘litany of lies’ or a document of ‘grace and generosity’? Voice debate sparks war of words

No, Nyunggai Warren Mundine, you are wrong: the Uluru Statement is a document of grace and generosity (“Plea for peace as Mundine invokes war”, September 27). Your National Press Club comments were disgraceful. The statement is not a declaration of war, nor is it a litany of lies. Rhonda Seymour, Castle Hill

I view Mundine’s address to the press club as nothing more than hate speech. What a divisive figure he is. Healthy debate is constructive, but not when your agenda is aggressively espousing unnecessary division. The leaders of the No campaign will be forever consigned to remaining in the negative. A positive supportive Yes vote is a modest step forward. David Goldstein, Balgowlah

Losing your voice.

Losing your voice.Credit: Matt Golding

How could we leave it to Muddler Mundine, Divisive Dutton and Unpopular Price to determine what’s best for our First Nations People?

To call the Uluru Statement from the Heart “a declaration of war against modern Australia” is symptomatic of just how out of touch Mundine is with the Indigenous community. Dutton was a “no show” when, in 2008, the then-PM, Kevin Rudd AC, rose in parliament to start the healing process with the apology to Australia’s Indigenous people. Price relies on her white-dominated voting base for support.

Let’s get back on track to listening to what our First Nations people want. It’s the only way, and our one chance in my lifetime to complete the task started by Rudd. If we don’t, we’ll all be sorry. Paul Goodwin, Lindfield

I am at a loss to understand how Mundine can claim that the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which was written and designed by Indigenous people, could possibly be “misappropriation of culture” unless viewed through the typical right-wing lens of black being white and up being down. Graeme Finn, Summer Hill

What a pity Malcolm Fraser isn’t leader of the opposition instead of that moral vacuum Peter Dutton (“My grandfather Malcolm Fraser would have found ‘If you don’t know, vote No’ abhorrent”, September 27). Justin Fleming, North Sydney

I hope Liberal MPs who are too gutless to reject Dutton’s negativity find their consciences after reading the article by Fraser’s granddaughter. It’s time to forget about toeing the party line. If you know it’s right to vote yes, make your feelings known. The Duttons of this world come and go, but guilt lasts forever. Rob Mills, Riverview

The 2023 referendum is on the horizon 56 years after the 1967 referendum. Again we have the opportunity to recognise historical injustices, act with maturity and not fall victim to fear, lies and hysteria. We live in a radically different world from that of 20th century Australia. Fraser’s political leadership would have been invaluable right now. However, if polls are accurate, Australia is headed backwards on Indigenous rights. If Fraser were today’s opposition leader, Australia would be walking as one towards reconciliation and restoring human rights. “Yes” – lest we wait another 56 years to bestow constitutional recognition on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Gerardine Grace, Leura

The heated Voice referendum debate and extreme references bring to mind the plea to “say what you mean but don’t say it mean”. Steve Ngeow, Chatswood

Pezzullo texts reveal low standard of public servants

The most disturbing thing about Michael Pezzullo’s texts is the lack of content (“Home Affairs chief campaigned for job”, September 27). Here are two supposedly intelligent and influential men, discussing matters of great import, in text messages that swing from breathless schoolyard gossip to shameless self-promotion to cringeworthy faux humility. I know this is “how things work”, but shouldn’t we expect the faceless men making decisions that affect us all to be, well, better? Colin Stokes, Camperdown

One of the letter writers, like many people, demonstrated a complete failure to understand the term, “public servant” (Letters, September 27). Such people are so-called because they are in a master/servant relationship – that is, they work for someone: in this case the public sector. They are not servants in the Downton Abbey sense but serve their employer, the government. This, of course, involves providing services to the public among others. One never hears of private sector employees referred to as “private servants”, even though the legal relationship is similar. Robert Coughlin, Cherrybrook

Michael Pezzullo.

Michael Pezzullo.Credit: Illustration: Matthew Absalom-Wong

Pezzullo was just striking a blow on behalf of public servants. For many years politicians have made the lives of public servants more difficult by forcing them to keep their political masters happy in order to hold onto their jobs. Pezzullo was just employing a bit of “tit for tat”. John Croker, Woonona

I disagree that there are public service secretaries who are white-anting government. In fact, the majority are mostly cheerleaders for it. If anyone had watched Senate estimates hearings during the terms of previous Coalition governments, it was pretty clear that in some situations the portfolio secretaries were running an effective protection racket for their respective ministers. Robo-debt is a critical example of senior public servants pandering and administering party political policy, rather than giving frank and fearless advice. Mark Berg, Caringbah South

Your correspondent refers to public servants having to toe the line and be honest. Surely this should start with our dysfunctional politicians on all sides of the dividing line? Ashley Berry, Toolijooa

In reference to your correspondent’s letter on public service, as a retired public servant from Pezzullo’s former bailiwick known as the Australian Customs Service, I can assure him we were inundated every year with courses and sessions on ethics, conflict of interest and being independent and fair. Too bad Pezzullo does not appear to have attended any of those sessions. Susan Duffy, Thornleigh

Far from being bemused by the Sir Humphrey Appleby analogy or seeing Pezzullo as “not following his own advice”, another interpretation of his power-meddling is much less benign. His invocation to respect the Westminster tradition of apolitical public servants in public rhetoric while doing so much to undermine it in private and undercover is redolent of George Orwell’s 1984 “double-speak”. Judy Cashmore, Glebe

Hats off to public school teachers

The analysis of public high school success highlights an important fact about the students within our school system (“Secrets of schools’ HSC success”, September 27). The broad range of students which includes disadvantaged, low socio-economic, refugee and the range of challenged students highlights the fantastic job done by teachers within the classroom and the principals and leadership teams who run the schools. High-level analysis of student needs and providing strategies to enhance student success is a major reason for the fantastic results we see in our public school system. Public schools are often judged on their Band 6 HSC results, but we need to look more deeply at their successes in the areas of development of the whole student, many who will have later successes in life that are based on the individual teacher or the solid base of education that prepared them for their future in our community. Congratulations to the public school principals who lead these great schools and develop great students. Robert Mulas, Corlette

Fuel on the fire

PM Anthony Albanese has promised to “treat the coming fire season with all the seriousness and urgency it deserves” (“Prepare for the worst on fires”, September 27 ). But unless the problem is tackled at its roots, the ferocity of these fires will not be abated. This means drastically reducing the production of heat-trapping pollutants like coal and gas. In 2023, approvals of new coalmines and coalmine extensions have actually increased since last year. These projects are set to produce millions of tonnes of carbon pollution annually. The transition away from coal and gas is achievable, the sooner, the better. Our government came to power with a mandate to take strong action on climate. This includes a time-line to halt fossil fuel approvals. Anne O’Hara, Wanniassa (ACT)

Toxic behaviour

What type of person poisons our native brush turkeys (“Brush turkeys ‘poisoned’ on lower north shore”, September 27)? Probably the same type of person who poisons native trees to secure better water views. It’s shameful and it points directly to the worst aspects in greedy, selfish and nasty human behaviour. Stuart Laurence, Cammeray

A brush turkey making a mound in Mosman.

A brush turkey making a mound in Mosman.Credit: John Martin

We’re all for respecting wildlife. It’s a shame it’s not a two-way street. We’ve spent a fortune trying to establish a backyard garden but have been forced to spread wire over surfaces to stop the birds from digging holes. We’ve laid bricks on top at the edges, then trip over the bricks. Pins from the hardware shop provide amusement to the perpetrators who rip them out. Native trees we’ve planted have to be surrounded by more bricks; otherwise they’re torn out. We were hoping to encourage bird life. We’ve just spread some mulch over the gardens but overnight it’s been sprayed everywhere. Humans deserve to try to improve the environment and be respected, as do the turkeys. But over the last few years, turkeys have become the dominant species. We’re living in a war zone. It should be the responsibility of councils to contain the damage. Then people won’t be driven to criminal acts like poisoning. Gardening is supposed to be good for health and soul, but it’s become an aggravation, causing stress and misery. Wendy Crew, Lane Cove North

Unwanted compliments

I disagree with the premise of your article (“Can you give a woman a compliment on her appearance?”, September 27). I am in my 60s. When I was in my 20s I met a friend who was raised very strictly on the premise that you did not make personal comments. This was viewed as the height of bad manners. I contemplated this and was more careful in my comments trying to balance the two points of view and ensuring that only those I knew would be well received were issued. Care in our dealings with others should always be front of mind as is trying to see all perspectives. Louise Fox, Erskineville

Now in my 80th year I would still find some unknown old fellow complimenting me on my “nice frock” a bit sleazy. Elizabeth Kroon, Randwick

I can’t speak for the ladies, but I love an age-based compliment. It’s 15 years since I was called “young fella” and even then I raised my arms as though I’d taken a hat trick. But be careful, the other day a nosy cafe proprietor accurately guessed my age as 50. A deep two-day malaise ensued.
Paul Davies, Crows Nest

Rugby remedies

Letter comments on the demise of rugby at the World Cup and even Peter FitzSimons in his article on the “grassroots revival required” have continued to take a city centric approach (“Survival of the game at stake, but Eddie’s fate is already sealed”, September 27). The answer lies in rural and regional clubs – they always have been the source of Australia’s great players. This is where survival of the game “played in heaven” is to be found. As a former successful coach of regional schools and representive teams, my advice is to keep the game plan simple, be first to any breakdown, play an expansive game at all times and indoctrinate each player in their defensive positional play, especially No. 8. Bruce Clydsdale, Bathurst

The contrast between the two codes of rugby played last weekend could not be more stark. The NRL finals produced exciting running and ball movement showcasing the skills of the players, while the rugby test was 80 minutes of wrestle, set pieces and penalties with little opportunity for anything resembling the long-lost running rugby. NRL administrators have wisely adjusted rules to emphasise entertaining athletic skills while rugby is more intent on strangling the game with the emphasis on bewildering technicalities, resulting in games determined by penalty goals at the whim of the referee. Max Redmayne, Drummoyne

I feel forced to come out about my secret satisfaction with the Wallabies’ early exit. For years, we’ve skimmed the lower depths – endless Bledisloe defeats offer ample proof – to finally hit rock bottom. No more excuses about rebuilding. It could have gone either way, getting the basics right, etc. before staggering into another season hoping for the best and expecting the worst. The delusion is over. But the question remains, is Rugby Australia smart and brave enough to look beyond coaches and captains to gaze at itself in the mirror? Peter Farmer, Northbridge

Wallabies captain Eddie Jones and players after losing to Wales

Wallabies captain Eddie Jones and players after losing to WalesCredit: Getty

I first became concerned about the state of the Wallabies when the number of players with hyphenated surnames became smaller and smaller in recent years. David Corry, Como West

Given the more than unsatisfactory experience that Rugby Australia has had with all its recent human coaches, is it time for Rugby Australia to start building an AI coach in readiness for the 2027 Rugby World Cup? Better get in before Japan does. Adam Liberman, Randwick

Let there be light

Your correspondent rues being woken up by bright daylight at 5am (Letters, September 26). Has he never heard of curtains? One of the reasons I like living in Queensland is because we don’t, and hopefully never will have, daylight saving. It’s lovely being woken up by happy birds welcoming the day at 5am and enjoying the sunshine before getting down to business. Christine Tiley, Albany Creek (Qld)

Cuckoo clock

It may not have been an owl that the letter writer wished to strangle at 3am (Letters, September 27). It was perhaps a channel billed cuckoo, which likes to come south in the spring and spend the summer here laying eggs in other birds’ nests. It has a particularly loud screeching call, often in the night, and its visiting season is just beginning now. Levane Abdoolcader, Padstow Heights

Not all aboard

First there was snakes on a plane. Now pets on a train. Will the horror never end (Letters, September 27)? I doubt if I could get my cat into her carrier, let alone manage the 15-minute walk to my nearest bus stop, wait half an hour in the rain or searing heat for the bus and then find a seat for myself, let alone her. She is 16, so would she qualify for a youth or seniors pass? Cat-astrophe I say. Beverley Fine, Pagewood

I’ve consulted my 12-year-old labradoodle, Schooners Snowden, on his thoughts about dogs on public transport. “Too many, opinionated, unsavoury types on the buses, I’ll stick to travelling in the back of the ute thanks.” And don’t get him started on Telegraph readers with window seats! Peter Snowden, Orange

To paraphrase Edmund Blackadder, given the choice of sharing public transport with Gavin, the pretentious middle manager who spends his entire commute barking orders to his minions over his latest-generation iPhone; Jaylah, the grungy university student who’d obviously rather allocate her limited funds to body ink than personal hygiene products; or a little flea-bitten Scottish terrier that suffers from occasional IBS, give me wee Jock Poo Pong McPlop every time. Col Burns, Lugarno

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