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A tale of two states: The only possible solution

Before rushing into supporting either side in the everlasting saga of hostility between Israel and Palestine, our politicians would do well to read Bob Bowker (“Two-state solution over, yet Israel and Palestinians can co-exist”, October 9). It is measured and sensible. The creation of a Jewish state was an emotional one after the horrors of the Holocaust in World War II. Unfortunately but not unexpectedly it did not bring peace for the resettled Jewish people or the Palestinians who were displaced. It is a fact that, 75 years later, the two countries exist. Commonsense dictates the only solution, if survival of both populations is to result, must be one of compromise. An impartial jury should be able to broker a peaceable solution. The adults of both Israel and Palestine must be made to understand there is no future for either country if unremitting warfare continues. Violence breeds violence, not existence. Nola Tucker, Kiama

Scenes in Gaza Credit: Agencies

I urge governments not to pick sides in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Condemn the carnage, question the violence but don’t escalate the divisiveness on our own shores. Chris Minns, do not illuminate the Opera House with the colours of the Israeli flag. Michael Wheatley, Rock Forest

Certainly, we should condemn the conflict and strongly support our desire for a peaceful solution, but indicating unqualified support by lighting up the Opera House sails will do nothing more than open wounds which we have been successfully healing over a period of decades. Minns’ readiness to light up the Opera House on this occasion, his refusal to recognise the coronation, and his tardiness in dealing with out of control gambling makes one wonder just what makes him tick. Darcy Hardy, North Turramurra

While I condemn the recent violent actions of Hamas, I strongly disapprove of Chris Minns’ decision to light the Sydney Opera House in blue and white in support of Israel. Palestine is not Russia, and Israel’s position is most certainly not comparable with that of Ukraine. Philippa Stewart, Cheltenham

The New South Wales government has decided to light up the Sydney Opera House in the colours of the Israeli flag following the Hamas attack. I suggest they should leave foreign policy to the federal government. Ian Adair, Hunters Hill

Instead of blindly following the lead of the US in unequivocally condemning the Palestinians for the latest conflagration in the area, Penny Wong and Anthony Albanese might perhaps consider offering a more useful response. The continuing Israel-Palestine conflict simply cannot go on.
The international community, including Australia, must now decisively act by requiring Israel to abide by international law, withdraw from the illegal settlements in the West Bank, end the blockade of Gaza and assist in the establishment of a real, viable and independent state of Palestine.
Massive retaliation by Israel will certainly not end the Palestinians’ passion for their own country and freedom from domination by Israel. The history of the conflict provides enough proof of that obvious truth. It is time to accept that blind support for Israel in this conflict must end and that a genuine recognition of Palestinian grievances is the only way to finally end this.
Terence Golding, Bolwarra

The failure of Palestine and Israel after decades of not reaching a two-state solution leads to yet another war with its dividend of death, injury, social and economic chaos. Commitment to an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth guarantees continuance without resolution. Chasing the question of who started it first is pointless. Peace is the ultimate evidence of justice in civil society. The leadership of Israel and Palestine have some serious work to do.
Murray Patchett, Kentucky

As clear as night follows day it is simply indisputable that both sides involved in the Israel/ Palestinian conflict have committed atrocities against each other, and that the international community, instead of saying wholeheartedly that it support Israel’s right to defend itself, must commit to forcing the Israelis and the Palestinians to the bargaining table to negotiate once and for all a two-state solution. Eric Palm, Gympie

Voice opponents will have to explain negative tactics

No, George Brandis, the campaign is not dividing us (“If it’s No, PM must heal a divided nation”, October 9). The nation has been divided for more than 200 years, testimony to the incompetence of every government. Should No prevail, it will not be Albanese’s job to explain himself. It will be for the Coalition, its hangers-on, and yourself “to offer words of reassurance to Indigenous Australians that the defeat of the Voice is not a rejection of constitutional recognition, that it will not stop efforts to close the gap, that it is not the end of reconciliation”. An honest appraisal of the No campaign would admit its reliance on prophecies of doom and manipulation of fear. May I ask what you have done, and intend to do, to improve the state of indigenous health, education, employment and life expectancy?
Susan Connelly, Lakemba

Sprayed referendum campaign signs on Port Road, Adelaide

Sprayed referendum campaign signs on Port Road, AdelaideCredit: AFR

“Next Saturday night, Anthony Albanese will make the most important speech of his life. It is the speech that will define his prime ministership”, writes George Brandis. More to the point, that night will define our nation.
Edward Loong, Milsons Point

For sheer gall, George Brandis’ brazen belittling of efforts to implement Yes takes the cake. The divisiveness in this nation-embittering debate has come mainly from his conservative side of politics. It had years to improve the life-chances of our Indigenous peoples but failed to do what implementing the Voice promises to achieve. Irrespective of what Albanese says on October 15, it is Dutton who is the divisive dux of dudding the Yes vote; he will reap the odium he deserves by going down in history as a political wrecking ball.
Ron Sinclair, Windradyne

George Brandis’s analysis of a possible No victory in the referendum is typically one-sided. He claims that it will be the result of the poor quality of the Yes campaign. But he ignores the tactics of the No campaign: the lies and misinformation; the deliberate fostering of fear and doubt. And his statement that Australians are not a racist people is meaningless, but my experience handing out Yes materials has shown me that there is a deep well of racism in this country. Martin Mansfield, Baulkham Hills

Thank you, George for your insight into how many are feeling. So many of us would be voting Yes if the referendum was about a powerful recognition inserted into our constitution. It is indeed with a heavy heart that we are rejecting the flawed model that is being put to us. This flawed model is seen as dividing us by race and this idea is anathema to many Australians. I believe it is vital for the future of our country that all Australians are equal in our most important document, the constitution. Pamela Shepherd, Balgowlah

Sean Kelly tells us that Australian voters are resistant to change (“What next if Yes is defeated?”, October 9). I wonder if that is true and what would happen if we had leaders with vision and enthusiasm for bringing people with them. It would be refreshing to find out. Greg Baker, Fitzroy Falls

Compassion in son’s distress

John Genca’s experience with his son, Matthew, at Westmead Children’s Hospital (“ICU head asked family for advice”, October 9) must have been terrifying and stressful. It’s hard enough being a parent of a distressed child in hospital, but it’s impossible to imagine what it’s like for a parent of a child with special needs.

It’s not unreasonable to expect that specialist paediatric staff would have substantial training that includes how to manage neurodiverse children. That said, that Genca was asked how to treat his son seems to me to be a positive thing, not a negative. We should applaud rather than criticise health professionals when they ask for our help. Every neurodiverse child – in fact, every child – is different. It’s unreasonable to expect anyone to know the approach that will suit every child, particularly a child who can’t express their wishes. A parent being asked by medical staff how to best treat their child seems to indicate sensitivity and insight, not failure. Prue Nelson, Cremorne Point

John Genca says there is something wrong with the health system when the medical staff ask a parent how to treat a patient.

John Genca says there is something wrong with the health system when the medical staff ask a parent how to treat a patient.Credit: Edwina Pickles

Colour coded

The airport security check on an Indigenous woman reminds me of my experience when I am flying (Letters, October 9). Although I am not Indigenous, I am often picked out to have extra checks on my carry-on bag in full view of the public. On one occasion, I politely pointed out to the officer my observation that the people picked out for the extra checks invariably were from ethnic minorities. During the conversation, a rather officious superior officer asked the officer whether I was causing trouble and implied that I could be stopped from boarding. I suspect that passengers of ethnic minorities are picked out because they are less likely to complain and more easily intimidated. The Border Force needs to make sure that security checks are not discriminatory. Thiam Ang, Beecroft

Buses sold out

The best job I ever had was working as a bus conductress during my uni holidays (“End of the road for family business on Sydney buses”, October 9). I worked out of Pagewood depot, now a Westfield site. It was challenging as I’d try to change the destination sign at the back of an old green double-decker, looking like a fully clothed but drenched pole dancer half hanging outside the bus. Aside from that WH&S blooper, our pay and conditions were protected by the unions. Employees felt valued. Buses went where and when they were needed. Public transport was considered a necessity, not a bother. Large-scale privatisation of essential services doesn’t work and yet the fire sales to multinationals continue. The Oliveris of this world will be missed. Beverley Fine, Pagewood

Straw material

In the 1950s, I attended Homebush Public School (Letters, October 9). Con had a milk bar on the corner opposite the school. I would buy straws with flavoured centres to help make the warm milk we drank bearable. Con would also come over to the fence at recess and lunchtime and sell us essential sweets and ices. Gail Ross, Newington

People pay price

In saying that there has been a downturn in productivity (“It’s time for more sensible thinking about productivity”, October 9), Ross Gittins is right to say that productivity is determined by business. And business will aim to improve productivity only if it improves their profits. But business has found a much easier way to improve profits – casualise the workforce, cut staff numbers, pay them less. There is no need for business to make investments in improving machinery and technology when there is a much easier way to improve profits. Geoff Wannan, Dawes Point

A major driver of productivity increases, particularly in the US and EU, is research and development. Unfortunately, this costs money which Australian companies have always been notoriously unwilling to spend. While employed by CSIRO, I worked closely with a manufacturing company which was showing great promise with a particular product, but the company was extremely reluctant to adequately contribute to funding the research into more efficient production, or potentially pay a small royalty fee to CSIRO because “we pay our taxes”. This was certainly not an isolated example. A major driver of innovative applied research in the US is funding from venture capital sources. In Australia, the superannuation companies with their billions to invest should look more closely at this possible role. Geoff Harding, Chatswood

Broader vision

Using photographs as proof of anything, or even as a snapshot in time, is a long-lost practice (“World’s first AI art award ignites photography debate”, October 9) But Twin sisters in Love is indeed a magnificent image and a work of art. The vision is wider. Janice Creenaune, Austinmer

Fauxtography? Les Shearman, Darlington

Twin Sisters in Love (2023) by Annika Nordenskiöld.

Twin Sisters in Love (2023) by Annika Nordenskiöld.Credit: Ballarat International Foto

Qantas/Qatar quandary

It’s no surprise that Qantas has influence in the corridors of power in Canberra (CBD, October 9). This is the company that has outsourced and offshored its heavy engineering and maintenance workers and cancelled positions for hundreds of apprentices, sacked parts of its faithful workforce and deserted Australians stranded overseas during the worst global health event in a century. Qatar Airlines stepped up to assist those left overseas and maintained services, which included freight and medicines, during this time, even expanding its number of flights. While recognising that it is government supported and that it was surely Qatari border control authorities and not the airline involved in the hideous body-search incident involving Australian female travellers, isn’t this meant to be the land of the fair go? Increasing Qatar’s flights into mainland Australian cities would increase competition, help reduce airfares and provide more jobs with increased tourist numbers. Qantas stopped being our “national airline” a long time ago. Dale Bailey, Five Dock

Head start

The Royal Australian Mint’s portrait of King Charles III on the new coins is barely recognisable (“Long live the King’s younger image on our coins,” October 6). Why did they not follow the British and use the portrait by Martin Jennings? This more realistic image (without the reduction of the royal ears) has been used on their coins and stamps since last year. Ferg Brand, Lane Cove

Speed of white

Why aren’t white utes entered for the Bathurst 1000? They fly past everything else on the road and are expert at the nose-to-tail driving required. David Peach, Armidale

Classic rock

I mourn the extinction of the humble rock cake – the last one I found was in the bakery at Dunedoo (Letters, October 9). I receive blank looks when I ask for one around Sydney. Helen Kershaw, Killara

Play on

Given the Wallabies’ early exit from the World Cup, there’s only one thing a rugby fan can say: “Go Australasia!” Martyn Yeomans, Sapphire Beach

Mandarin collared

In regards to self-service check-outs, my concern is being falsely accused of theft, when one selects the less expensive variety of mandarin in error.
Denis Goodwin, Dee Why

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