Going to extremes will bring trouble

It is heartening to have a prime minister who seems to have heeded honest warnings. I welcome his changed decision to debate the understanding of an Indigenous Voice to parliament before the referendum and to base the parliamentary deliberations on the splendid research by Marcia Langton and Tom Calma (“Albanese flags change on how Voice evolves”, August 4). The optimist in me looks forward to a future that celebrates permanently the importance and uniqueness of our Indigenous cultural inheritance. Anne Garvan, Chatswood West

While political bipartisanship support for the referendum would be good, the critical vote is a decision for the citizens, not the politicians, so apart from the hopefully small number of diehard Coalition supporters, whether the Coalition politicians are supportive or not will not matter.
Any details needing legislation will be affected by politicians but if the Coalition plays spoiler after a decisive vote by the people, that will definitely put it on the wrong side of history. Bruce Valentine, Orange

Ayres on the G-string

The highlight of Ayres: the Musical (Letters, August 5) will undoubtedly be the rendition of Send in the Clowns, with its pertinent line: “Send in the clowns, don’t bother, they’re here.” Alan Marel, North Curl Curl

My suggestion for the Ayres musical is The Beatles’ Yesterday, with the line, ″⁣Yesterday, all my problems seemed so far away″⁣. Chris Gilchrist, Margate (Qld)

Ayres: the Musical would be impossible to cast as members would be required to sing in harmony.
John Bailey, Canterbury

Decision pending …

I am aghast at the plans for the Powerhouse Museum (Letters, August 5). However, I take comfort in knowing they may never come to fruition with an election nearing. Margaret Grove, Abbotsford

EPL rollercoaster

Today is the beginning of elation, excitement, despair and agony – the English Premier League. Mustafa Erem, Terrigal

Risks of republicanism

Australia must tread carefully in its desire to distance itself from the House of Windsor. If by departing the Commonwealth we found ourselves ineligible for the Commonwealth Games, how else could we feed our nationalistic sporting ego? Bill Young, Killcare Heights

Progressive times make life easier for loan arrangers

As a single female with an excellent career in the 1970s, I could not get a property loan without a male guarantor (Letters, August 5). This kept women from progressing to financial security, dependent on fathers or husbands. This lack of financial security is evident in the statistics of poverty of older women. Thankfully, times have changed. Any lending institution will attest women make excellent property investors and reliable borrowers. Christina Foo, North Wahroonga

In 1976, my future wife, a newly qualified doctor, went to the local Commonwealth Bank to ask for a $3000 loan to buy a second-hand car so she could drive to work. I was still a medical student. The loan officer refused her application because she was a woman, then turned to me and said, “But I can give you a loan, you’re a man.” Peter Craig, Dulwich Hill

The archaic attitude towards female borrowers by our major banks was real. As a young bank manager out in the wild west more than 40 years back, I went against a head office decision to decline a strong loan application from an unmarried female to buy a block of land. I proceeded to rearrange the loan so it qualified under my own authority and made it available to the customer. Reporting processes revealed this action and I copped a bollocking like no other.
Brian Jones, Leura

Your correspondent should not be too upset that bank sexism temporarily impeded her property ambitions. Our supposedly “foolproof contraceptive measures” ensured that we settled for a modest abode until the “consequences” left home decades later. Col Burns, Lugarno

Your correspondent was lucky to have a husband. In 1975 as a divorced woman, I was lucky to find a building society to give me a mortgage – banks didn’t give mortgages to single women, no matter what our income. Pamela Kerr, Moonta Bay (SA)

Bad attitude over climate

Yes, Labor can now point to its promise on climate change as “done” (“Thunder eases but storm persists”, August 5) but I find its attitude smug, bordering on obtuse to the Greens and independents, who rightly demand better, especially as regards replacing gas and fossil fuel projects with job-creating renewables. Adam Bandt’s 75 per cent target is science-based. It is essential to curbing global warming, which threatens civilised life and species survival. Albanese might claim the climate wars are over but, in a spirit of co-operation rather than complacent politicking, he should commit to climbing off the ALP’s inadequate “floor” and fulfil expectations to do more and act quickly. Ron Sinclair, Windradyne

Emission impossible

Your correspondent is right when listing the huge problems facing the Albanese government and the high costs involved in fixing them (Letters, August 5). But to suggest the situation would be worsened were the Greens’ demands for a 75 per cent reduction in emissions to be met misses the point. If we don’t increase the target and help persuade the rest of the world to follow suit, the resultant costs, financial, human and planetary, will make these problems look like a stroll in the park (except there won’t be any parks left, either). Eric Hunter, Cook (ACT)

Ad enough of gambling

So much for the slogan “gamble responsibly” as billions have been lost on the pokies (“Pokies ‘siphon’ billions out of low-income communities”, August 5). More than a catchphrase is needed to help reduce the insidious addiction of playing the pokies, which causes countless serious problems. Surely, just as advertising cigarettes is banned from television so should gambling. Con Vaitsas, Ashbury

Sargeant major

Glenn Sargeant’s work as a teacher was outstanding because he had a genuine concern for his students that they might reach their full potential despite the circumstances they might find themselves in (“Visionary kept teen mums at school”, August 5). Vale, Glenn Sargeant. Josephine Piper, Miranda

Glenn Sargeant.Credit:Jacky Ghossein

I was disappointed to read Glenn Sergeant’s Young Mothers’ Program was dismantled by the Department of Education after his retirement. It is however currently being emulated in other states and Britain. The Department of Education is out of touch with the community it serves. How could this program, giving opportunities to young women, “marginalise” the community? Pam Ayling, West Pennant Hills

Going for Gould

Shane Gould

Shane GouldCredit:Geoff Bull

Emma McKeon is an outstanding and versatile sprint swimmer but we need to be cautious about the “greatest of all time” tag. At her only Olympics in 1972, Shane Gould won three gold medals, all in world record time. She also won silver and bronze medals at the those Games. If there had been 50-metre events and a 4 x 200 metre relay in 1972, her medal tally would probably have been even more impressive. It’s easy to forget that in 1971-72 she simultaneously held the world record for every freestyle distance from 100 metres to 1500 metres, as well as the world record for the 200 metre individual medley. Comparing athletes from different eras is a questionable exercise but if we are talking greatest of all time, Gould’s name should surely rate a mention.
Col Nicholson, Hawks Nest

Johnny be good

Australia has produced some great boxers, with Les Darcy, Jimmy Carruthers and Lionel Rose coming to mind. But none better than Johnny Famechon (‴⁣⁣A special human’: Fenech pays emotional tribute to Famechon”, August 5). Vale to a great fighter and a wonderful human being. Jerry Stiel, Lilyfield

Sticking their necks out

These neckties (Letters, August 5) preventing blood from oxygenating the brain might be the reason for all the disrespectful behaviour and impaired judgment observed during parliamentary sessions; not to mention necks are noticeably getting more ample the longer these men stay in office. The sooner we free those necks, the brighter this country’s future will be. Cristina Corleto, Stanmore

Anthony Albanese

Anthony AlbaneseCredit:Tamati Smith/Getty Images

A male member of parliament cannot add rainbow stripes or whatever takes his fancy to his ubiquitous blue suit. His only means of revealing a mood or a protest is the colour of his tie. Jean Williamson, Wollstonecraft

Why would any sane politician want to start their day by putting a noose around their neck? Paul Sutcliffe, Fern Bay

It’s not that long ago that clubs required male guests to be wearing a tie and I usually turned up with one in my pocket to put on if requested. Don Leayr, Albury

Some weeks ago I wrote to the Herald congratulating our PM for fronting a press conference sans tie. Is there now a call for broader liberation from this yoke of bondage that has so many men by the throat? Meredith Williams, Northmead


The first big discussion this week was the Voice to parliament and the related possible constitutional change. It continued on and off through the week as writers considered every aspect about what should be done, how it should be done and how soon can it be done. Generally writers are for change but most agree more details are needed before anyone wants a referendum – for or against, no one wants to vote for a pig in a poke.
Archie Roach was mourned, with many writers remembering his work and their reactions to it and others asking people to vote for the Voice in his memory. Opinion was more mixed about new Senator Lidia Thorpe and her version of the parliamentary oath.
Leading on from last week’s Manly jerseys was discussion about gambling, as promoted on the jerseys. Writers were (unusually on the Letters pages) unanimous – gambling is not a good thing and betting ads should go the way of cigarette ads.
Writers also support teachers in their fight for better pay and conditions and are against the idea of ready-made, one-size-fits-all lessons supplied by the Department of Education.
The last big discussion was about pork-barrelling, politicians on their way out, if the government can be saved and whether regular people can qualify for lucrative overseas postings.
On the week’s lighter side, we found out what pickleball is, considered what should be done with statues of people who are now non-PC, we suggested songs for a musical based on the Stuart Ayres saga and congratulated Anthony Albanese on his sensible headwear. Never say that Herald letter writers have narrow interests.
Harriet Veitch, acting letters editor

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