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Innocent Palestinians are also victims of Hamas barbarism

The totally unforgivable barbaric acts of terror by Hamas on Israel have rightfully been condemned and Hamas must be held accountable and bear full retribution (Letters, October 12). But what of the innocent Palestinians living in Gaza, now without power, fuel, food or health services and with nowhere to go, with no way out. They are also victims of the terrorist acts of Hamas and caught up in the retaliatory act of war declared by Israel. They, too, are children, families, grandmothers. Our politicians are sadly almost silent on their plight. I am filled with sadness for all who have suffered and are suffering in Israel and for their families and friends here. I strongly agree with the support that has been offered to them. But are we also extending support and offering safe passage to those innocents, the many thousands of Palestinians caught up in the horror of the military attacks on Gaza? For them, I too despair. Suzanne Stirling, Paddington

The decline.Credit: Matt Golding

Greg Barns argues a compelling case for Chris Minns’ government to adopt a different approach, allowing the proposed rally by pro-Palestine organisers while taking action on any hate speech or violence (“Minns’ bid to block protest could be costly for free speech”, October 12). It is disappointing the premier has not met with anyone from the Palestinian side. The war crimes committed by Hamas were sickening and cannot be justified but the oppression Gaza’s people have lived in for many years must also be acknowledged. The current denial of power and water to Gaza, causing suffering to many defenceless citizens also satisfies criteria for a war crime. Tragedy upon tragedy. Louise Dolan, Birchgrove

The premier finds himself in a terrible predicament concerning pro-Palestinian supporters and the evident support the federal and state governments are providing to Israel (“Minns’ ministers in the spotlight”, October 12). As a nation that prides itself in its multicultural makeup a central tenet to the success of our community is the right to free speech. But today this presents us all with a serious conundrum: does free speech extend to major protests involving large numbers of people, banners, fireworks and anti-Semitic slogans? There is probably no easy answer to this but underlying the tenet of multiculturalism is the requirement of respect for one another. This emerging problem needs to be effectively addressed in a uniquely Australian way, and quickly. Chris Rivers, Port Macquarie

Kerri Sackville is right: the decisions and violent measures taken by leaders in the Middle East have nothing to do with people living in Australia – Jews or otherwise (“Far from Israel, Australian Jews like me are on high alert”, October 12). The situation in our city begs the question: why would the NSW government wade into this conflict and would we be seeing demonstrations at the Opera House (along with safety warnings) if our provincial government had just stayed out of it? David Mansford, Concord

Illustration: John Shakespeare

Illustration: John ShakespeareCredit: John Shakespeare

Richard Marles is considering measures to increase security for the Jewish community in Australia. And history shows that the Jewish community is right to be concerned. But what is being done to protect those Australians of Middle Eastern appearance from those who think that all Palestinians are terrorists? All Australians expect the government to stand up for them, and not just go along with the fearmongering. David Rush, Lawson

How are the flights out of Gaza going (“Australians to evacuate Israel on Qantas flights as Dutton attacks Albanese over response”, October 12)? Brenton McGeachie, Queanbeyan West

The premier is being criticised for allowing one pro-Palestine protest and for banning another. His actions sound balanced. Diplomacy and balance are so important and so often missing in our leaders. Protestors have a right to assemble and dispute government decisions – that’s called free speech. It must be defended at all costs even when we disagree with the sentiment. Access to free speech is one of the reasons Jewish and Palestinian people choose to live in Australia. Well done, premier. Martyn Frappell, Bulli

Complexity lies behind a reluctant Yes vote

I am voting yes on Saturday but with reluctance (“Nothing to fear but fear itself”, October 12). I desperately want to see us shift the status quo and recognise First Nations people as the first inhabitants of this vast, wonderful country. However, I have reservations about the effectiveness of a Voice. The problems faced by this marginalised group, which are well documented, are simply too complex and generational for Indigenous people to solve on their own.

I have lived and worked among remote Indigenous communities in the north-west of NSW for more than 30 years, and I am concerned that if the referendum is successful, Australia, and particularly those in power will wash their hands of the issues and abandon Indigenous people to find their own solutions. I do not believe that Indigenous people alone can overcome such disadvantage. It will take all of us, working together, with incredible determination and resources, to effect change. I hope the Yes vote gets up but, whatever the outcome, I hope that the conversations we have had over the past few months will lead to a renewed national determination to work with Indigenous people to help them achieve the advancement they so deserve. Lucinda Stump, Burren Junction

From the heart.

From the heart.Credit: Matt Golding

Nikki Savva, Yes voters don’t have a mortgage on compassion or love for our Indigenous brothers and sisters, and to imply that those voting No have been manipulated by an apparently evil Peter Dutton is something that offends me greatly. You fail to mention that a large percentage of those who voted Labor in the 2022 election are supporting the No case. Maybe some blame for a likely No victory should be sheeted home to Anthony Albanese and his failure to correctly sell the Yes case to all Australians. Evan Parsons, Thornleigh

I have wondered why the word “racist” has been used in this referendum towards the No camp. If we all believe in constitutional recognition for Indigenous people, and we all want to see better outcomes for disadvantaged Indigenous communities, what is racist about that? It is simply the Voice that is dividing us. It comes back to that flawed referendum question asking us to lump what are two questions into one.

By voting No, to reject the concept of the Voice, you are also perceived as saying you reject the opening part of the proposed law, which is the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of Australia. It’s diabolical. It is the one and only reason I can think of why No voters are being called racists. The No camp isn’t trying to insert a race-based Voice into the Constitution and divide the country on race. There should have been two questions: one on Recognition and one on the Voice – a moot point now. Ann Thompson, Coffs Harbour

A fairer Australia

Your correspondent describes the referendum as a flawed model that divides us by race (Letters, October 11). In fact, we are already divided by race: think life expectancy, educational opportunities, incarceration. Far from dividing the country, a successful referendum is a first step towards a fairer, more inclusive Australia. Frances Rodley, Kensington

I hope with all my heart the polls have this wrong and the “silent majority”, so often claimed by the Liberal Party, have decided to play their cards close to their chest when approached by pollsters. I find it hard to believe the majority of non-Indigenous Australians will compare the thoughtful conservative voices of Ken Wyatt and Julian Leeser with the cynical Trump-lite tactics of the No voices, and vote anything other than Yes. Phil Bradshaw, Naremburn

The word is out.

The word is out.Credit: Matt Golding

If the Yes vote fails on Saturday, the prime minister will be blamed for his incorrect assessment of the Australian people. His belief that most Australians are decent people of good will, able to comprehend a simple moral, ethical proposition and vote Yes, will be sadly wrong. Let’s hope this suggestion is also wrong! Peter Parnwell, Warrah

Whether you vote Yes or No it will make no difference to me, or my friends and to most people reading this newspaper. Actually, I’m quite cosy in my little cocoon. But it might just make a significant difference to a group of fellow Australians who, for some inexplicable reason, have been left behind by the majority of us. Worth a try? Steve Fortey, Avoca Beach

Journalist’s release a rare ray of sunshine

In a week of shocking news abroad a little ray of sunshine replenishes the senses of this reader (“Journalist elated to be freed from Chinese jail”, October 12). By a combination of conducive circumstances together with consistent, subtle diplomacy quietly exercised by the Albanese government, Cheng Lei is free to luxuriate on home soil with her family and soak in the sun.
What a difference to all our lives an election makes. Cleveland Rose, Dee Why

Great to read that Cheng Lei has been released from captivity. Have not heard about Julian Assange’s whereabouts for some time. Has the Australian government negotiated a date for his release yet? Allan Johnson, Maroubra

Leave now

If the Qantas board really want to restore its bruised reputation, Goyder must retire ASAP rather than hang around with a long unknown lead time (“Goyder to step down in overhaul”, October 12).. This applies to some of the directors as well. Still being present as a chairman, Goyder is not allowing the new management to get on with a job of restoring its reputation. This delaying tactic will hurt Qantas more. Mukul Desai, Hunters Hill

Fair chance

While it is hugely disappointing that the Federal Court has rejected the attempt to enforce the Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek, to account for climate change impacts in the approval of fossil fuel projects, there may still be light at the end of the tunnel, however dim (“Tanya Plibersek doesn’t have to consider climate change when approving coal mines”, October 12). Now, without legal obligation, the minister has the opportunity to intelligently do what the electorate voted for which was, and remains, the necessity to implement more stringent policies to reduce carbon emissions from coal and gas. Roger Epps, Armidale

Many of us are not just disappointed by the latest permissions given to highly polluting industry in the recent court case – we’re also gutted that we could risk jail if we protest too much. I presume the planet and people will be the last priority of this government as with the previous one. Who will represent us? The Greens seem fickle and the independents are half-hearted. Anne Phillips, Wallara

Morrison’s irony

Like a lot of superseded politicians Scott Morrison, craves the limelight (“Morrison calls for ‘One China’ policy overhaul”, October 12) . The delicious irony is that he never articulated this policy while in power, despite actively antagonising China with his less than delicate, poorly calibrated language, whenever he spoke about China. Bernard Stever, Richmond

TikTok warning

We include health warnings on cigarette packets, so why aren’t there warnings that social media can be misleading, deceptive and harmful. Social media is polarising discourse and threatens democracy. The TikTok “doc” is the tip of the iceberg (“Conviction for pretend TikTok doc”, October 12). Anne Matheson, Gordon

Coles apology

Yesterday I shopped at a Coles which had thoughtfully designed stations with conveyors and a space for the customer operator to stand. After a run in with the machine while weighing fruit, the machine did not spit out a receipt. I apologised to the attendant and explained that I had not yet been trained in cash register roll replacement. Jennifer Coleman, Indooroopilly (Qld)

Check-out theft.

Check-out theft.Credit: Matt Golding

Name confirmation

Your correspondent rightly points out that there’s still a Coles on level 4 in Caddick’s building, whether or not you might run out of milk (Letters, October 11). I usually have a giggle when people introduce themselves by saying: if you haven’t met me before, my name is (say) John. Well, yes, his name is still John, even if you have met him previously. Mia David, Wollongong

Your comment, Keith Sutton, reminds me of the radio newsreader years ago who used to tell us “If you are late for work, the time is 8 o’clock”. So what time is it if you are not late for work? Penny Ransby Smith, Lane Cove

A non-sequitur is a statement or argument in which the conclusion does not logically follow from the premises or previous statements. However, the statement “If you run out of milk at 10 o’clock at night there’s a Coles on level four” provides useful in-context information: that there is a nearby shop where you can replenish your milk supply, even late at night. The statement is logically connected and relevant, and is therefore not a non-sequitur. Steve Cornelius, Brookvale

Name epiphany

After several decades of using my husband’s name for only one purpose-my Australian passport, I have reverted to my maiden name to renew my passport. I feel as if I have found “me” again (Letters, October 12). Philippa Reiss, Port Macquarie

But do you realise that the woman’s surname is actually her father’s name? Betsy Brennan, Wahroonga

The convention of women changing their name on marriage is just a reflection of the law prior to the Married Women’s Property Act in the late 19th century. Married women could not have their own assets unless tied up in a trust. It became not only fashionable, but also the norm, for women to adopt their husband’s surname, a practice which seems to have waned in recent years. Professional women who commenced employment prior to marriage usually maintain their original name. I think retaining your maiden name just avoids any complications. Julia Bovard, North Sydney

Local cakes

It isn’t just rock cakes that are missed, where are the eccles cakes or chester cakes (Letters, October 12)? And it isn’t just here in Australia. While travelling in England my wife and I made a point of sampling locally-named delights, eccles cakes in Eccles, bath buns in Bath, bakewell tarts in Bakewell, but we struck out in Chester. They had no idea what a chester cake was. Barry Riley, Woy Woy

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