Vintage Reds members are prolific and thoughtful contributors to the Canberra Times letters page, as well as other media organisations further afield.
Keeping a record of every one of these letters would be an onerous job; here is a recent selection, dealing with the Ghan, Robodebt, cluster bombs, and the Voice to Parliament.
This first letter was in response to an article by Malcolm Knox, ‘When you change the government you change the country’. Today, it’s the other way round”, published in the Canberra Times on 15 April 2023.
Canberra Times: 16 April 2023: Labor can end inequality and bring back the ‘fair go’
Knox’s article is profound. The increasing stress of uncertainty, loss of control, degradation of values, rampant acquisition, and the loss of maning and purpose are now th norm. Capitalism has foregone our sense of belonging, the need to care for one another. We have forgotten what it means to be human.
Judy nicholas, Kambah, ACT
SMH Traveller Letters: 7 July 2023: Shower with praise
After reading the article about the Ghan (Traveller, June 25) and the recent letter (Traveller Letters, June 17) suggesting that before one travels abroad first enjoy the wonder of the Indian Pacific from Sydney to Perth, that is what I did. I was then inspired to economy ride the Trans Siberian Rail Beijing to Moscow where I experienced great food, beautiful vistas and unforgettable cultural memories. However, one shower per carriage of 16 passengers proved challenging. I placed my name on the list outside the shower with my preferred time of day only to find interlopers frequently took my choice. The Ghan’s room, comfortable bed and own shower were definitely superior.
Judy Nicholas, Kambah, ACT
Next is a letter from our colleague Albert, with some text restored (it must have fallen on the editorial room floor) to give the full content and flavour of the inimitable White style:
Canberra Times: 12 July 2023: Cynical and ironic
[Surely the cynical] irony of the Royal Commission’s conclusions is that while top bureaucrats and politicians were sucking-up to PwC partners, [hence, vicariously, to billionaire, tax-evading, global behemoths,] the same cabal were mercilessly sacrificing Australia’s penuriously less fortunate to technology’s algorithms [(Robodebt ‘failures’ of APS, CT, 8 July, p.1/6)].
Albert White, Queanbeyan, ACT
Canberra Times, 18 July 2023: Do the right thing
I’m glad Albo has reaffirmed Australia’s commitment to the international convention against cluster bombs at the NATO summit. If the US cannot be persuaded to abide by the international rules-based order, Australia should seriously consider severing its ties with NATO.
Peter Ellett, Scullin, ACT
Canberra Times, 19 July 2023: Compassion is genius
Albert Einstein was concerned with the great social issues of the day.
The unwritten laws of the Jim Crow era were enforced by the lynching of any African American who refused to obey them. In 1946 Einstein joined the American Crusade Against Lynching, resulting in criticism from anti-Semites and an investigation by the FBI.
[“Be a voice and not an echo”], Einstein’s plea to his fellow Americans to join him in fighting lynching, is eerily relevant in today’s Australia.
Australians have a choice. We can be a Voice for reconciliation, tolerance and unity. Or we can echo the hateful rubbish put out by ultra-conservative commentators on pay TV and their acolytes on social media.
Noel Baxendell, Holt, ACT
Canberra Times, 20 July 2023: Who are we?
If we don’t support the Voice to Parliament, what kind of country will we be?
If we don’t pass this referendum, there will be despair in the hearts of many people.
People like the respected Elder Pat Anderson, who is exhausted from begging for things to be done differently:
“…every time there is a change in government; a change in minister… a new head of department…We have to sit down and go painfully over everything all again … we are going back to ground zero every single time.”
The Voice is a small thing but whatever its form, it will not divide us, it will enrich us.
The dreadful figures on aboriginal people’s lifespan, health, family trauma, are all indicative of one thing: we are not doing things right in this country.
The Voice is a gift from Aboriginal people to the rest of us, a chance to be a better country.
How will you feel if the No vote wins? We will look like the very worst of us, a backward leaning, frightened people, easily persuaded by cynical and organised and deliberate attempts to confuse us.
We are better than that.
Please, for all of us, vote Yes to the Voice.
A. A. Gunn, O’Connor, ACT