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We need a national day for unity, not division

Regardless of its origins, the date of Australia Day has now become a national divisive issue that needs to be reviewed.Australia deserves a day to celebrate its nation-building successes. It is inevitable that Australia will need to find a new day for everyone to celebrate. And it needs a voice. It cannot maintain its ultimate national character in any other way. Perhaps eventually it will be necessary and appropriate for the date to be the first day of a future republic. Les Reidman, Cooranbong

Berthold writes that Australia is the only country whose National Day marks the beginning of its colonization. it says it all. Vic Alhadev, Kirribilli

Cold city overshadowed by new development

It horrifies me to hear the words ‘international design competition’ on public land in Sydney.Station redesign prompts radical alternatives”, 24 January). That’s because the phrase, combined with Sydney’s so-called planning regime (a.k.a. ad-hoc interference from interested parties), gave us a barangaroo-like grotesque.

There is currently a proposal for a ‘expansive land deck covered in green space’ near Central Station. The cost will be covered by building a high-rise tower in the historic and beautiful Prince Alfred Park. A traditional campground for generations and more recently a beloved and used Sydney landmark. For families, walkers, exercise junkies, commuters, swimmers and cyclists. A spokesperson for the proponents has acknowledged that the company’s plans are “controversial.” I tell you, sir, you have no idea how much bloody controversy there is. Geraldine O’Brien red fern

Replacing the green space does not work. Preserve Prince Alfred Park’s precious green space by placing 15 towers on the railroad land deck. The architects are already talking about leaving only “a boulevard lined with fig trees and historic buildings”. As evidenced by Barangaroo Park, trees take 10 to 40 years to mature and historic buildings are important and irreplaceable to our history. Helen Simpson, Carl Carl

Individual proposal for redevelopment area around Sydney Central Station.credit:NSW Government, Bates Smart

Incredible. The NSW Government has spent millions of dollars to make Central more comfortable with the Central walk. A green area is planned between the railway square and the station. But we also want to bury the platforms below decks, turning most of the station into a dungeon with no visible clock tower. A dungeon where legacy steam specials cannot be run. A place where commuters and travelers cannot see the sun or stars while waiting for a train to depart. Cynics say the only reason to put it underground is to make money for a transportation asset holding entity. Are these suggestions for the benefit of travelers?

To add insult to injury, the plan also suggests demolishing adjacent Prince Alfred Park. We already have enough high rises. Leave the central alone. Grant Robinson springwood

Governments wishing to consume the few remaining parklands in Sydney should send the entire land to Siberia. I am happy to contribute. Sydney and New South Wales desperately need people with a vision, not wind-blown towers and koala-free countryside. Rather than seek advice from the big names in town, try Clover Moore and her team. Ashley Berry, Tourjois

The prime minister speaks clearly in the audio

The decline in Congressional support for Indigenous voices is heartbreaking but not surprising (“Voice’s approval ratings drop as debate heats up”, 24 January). Sadly, it will continue to decline as long as its proponents keep the details vague and rely solely on goodwill and a sense of fair play to make their case.

Anthony Albanese has been passionate about advocating for the constitutional recognition of Aboriginal Australians, which was brutally overlooked when Aboriginal Australian “birth certificates” were drafted in the late 19th century. But while his verbal form provides a voice, there is no overarching symbolic statement declaring that Indigenous Australians form the linchpin of our national polity. The focus – a working idea, but vague as to how it works – does not come with a skyrocketing vision.

For more information, the Prime Minister’s soothing mantra is that there is plenty of it ‘out there’.Australians just look for it and all will be revealed. Except for a very small minority of Australians, not enough to appreciate the proposals presented, or to understand the nuanced position that the Boise’s own machinery would be built upon when debated and enacted in parliament. I don’t think you are familiar with the constitution. Principles first, details later seems like a big challenge, even if the principles themselves are sound.

Voice critics have been quick to capitalize on the inevitable warning doubt and uncertainty when Australians are asked to consider proposals to change or amend their constitution. and suggest advocacy failures. John Thompson Darlinghurst

There’s no doubt that Peter Dutton is playing a political game when it comes to his voice, and polls suggest it’s having an impact.

The prime minister has become increasingly entangled by having voters constantly refer to the details of the 272-page report.

When questioned about the legislative recommendations in the report, he refused to endorse them. He should reset the argument. Mike Kennelly manly

The healthcare system still suffers

Labor’s promise to increase funding for women’s health centers is a good thing, but increasing funding for all health centers and raising wages for these essential workers could have a far greater impact. prize (“Leaders Strengthen Election Promises on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence”, 24 January). We need to make more fundamental changes to our healthcare system than tweaks to get votes. Robin Thomas, Wahroonga

toll road roundabout

Governments use taxpayer money to build expensive highways and lease roads to private companies. Private companies make huge profits by charging taxpayers for road use (“500,000 Sydney his drivers access toll relief scheme”, 24 Jan). The government then uses more taxpayer money to reimburse the same taxpayer for road tolls. I’m no economist, but from a taxpayer’s perspective, there seems to be something wrong with this system. Judy Christian, Castle Hill

The reason we have an ‘expensive toll system’ on our roads is that the system set up by the current Union government in New South Wales provides high profits to Transurban, the overseas company that now owns them. The original idea was that users would pay for these benefits, but now it’s reached astronomical levels for such users, and with elections looming, the benefits are going to the state. It is now paid for by the whole. Brenton McGeechee, Kembian West

big money and blind

The editorial said the economic benefit of completely closing the Sydney Harbor Bridge for seven hours is responsible use of public property. Irresponsible behavior (“Bridge closure brings more benefits than inconveniences”, 24 January).

Last November, CSIRO released a state of climate report showing that increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere could raise global temperatures by up to 4.5 degrees. We are playing the chicken game with ourselves.

Climate activist faces 15 months in prison. The film company has received her $45 million grant from the NSW and federal governments. Something seems to be wrong with our priorities. Simon Chance Richmond Hill

short flight, long wait

If, as your correspondent claims, the flight between Melbourne and Sydney alone took just over an hour (letter, January 24). Add in security checks, baggage waiting, inevitable delays if not cancellations, and travel between the airport and his CBD, and it can take up to 4 hours. Kate Lumley, Hurlstone Park

cashless cost

The current problem with the transition to cashless commerce is still not acknowledging the actual amount people pay when making digital transactions (letter, January 24).

If the retailer adds 1% to the total when the card is used for payment, then for large amounts this fee can be a significant additional expense. A $15 purchase costs him an extra 15 cents, but with the same card he buys something for $1500, the cost of the same service jumps him to $15.

I don’t think there will be an increase in processing costs to retailers and banks depending on the purchase price.
It is dishonest for companies to imply that the large surcharges are the result of banking operations. William Galton Hurstville Grove

put the bot in place

If your educator thinks ChatGPT wrote the assignment, why not ask (“If AI has all the answers, universities need new problems.”, 24 January). No reason to lie – in fact, you can’t lie. Andrew Taubman, Queen’s Park

ageism lives on

The only reason your correspondent feels confused about how he can look his best in his 80s and 90s is because it’s clear he’s not there yet (letterJanuary 24). Yumina Beach, Judith Bennett

Your correspondent’s letter is a blatant expression of ageism. If he was an employer, he risks being prosecuted under age discrimination laws. I would prefer our rulers to be chosen on the basis of appropriate merit rather than being chosen by arbitrary labels such as “aging”, generation X, generation Y, etc. Bob Hinchcliffe, Wahroonga

Doesn’t taste like pickles

The structure of a modern Australian burger.credit:Jennifer Hsu

Interesting read about what an Australian burger is (seeHomage to the Aussie Burger”, 24 January). The ubiquitous pickle, however, is not mentioned in the article, but he appears twice in the “Australian Burger” photo. Should you be forever bombarded with American pickles in burger ratings? Leave them alone and avoid aggressive reserves. Greg Crawford, Reppington

You can experiment with as many fillings as you like on my Aussie Burger, but leave out the tasteless, salty, chewy, plastic beef patties. Kevin Eadie, Drumoine

digital view

Online comments from one of the stories that garnered the most reader feedback yesterday smh.com.au
“Sheer Horror”: Rosemary’s Fear of $65,000 Robot Debt
from Laundroid“Whatever your political leanings, whatever your voting intentions, it’s hard to believe that key ministers didn’t understand what they were doing here.”⁣

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