Credit:Illustration: Andrew Dyson
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Opinions about Harry and Meghan are significantly divided and dramatic in tone and volume. However, most of us don’t really know them or others in their family – the royals. Harry is pilloried for making a documentary and publishing a book about his life, yet both his mother and father made televised interviews telling their side of overblown stories in the press. His mother helped author a book to explain her misery.
So as “my mother’s son”, Harry is following a pattern, almost a script, to fend off negative interpretations of his love for and marriage to Meghan. This pathway won’t work for most caustic critics, but in the end, it is his story to tell – and sell.
Glenda Johnston, Queenscliff
Unlikeable celebrity behaviour
In response to your correspondent (“Why target H&M?” 14/12), Harry and Meghan may not have hobnobbed with paedophiles and child traffickers, but if they want to make a good impression of themselves, they’re going about it the wrong way: acting like entitled brats, painting themselves as victims even when in the company of those who are far worse off, and whingeing they get no privacy while making a TV show about their lives that nets them millions.
In other words, typical celebrity behaviour that the public greatly dislikes, if not outright loathes. John Howes, Rowville
A pantomime performance
Our thanks to Kate Halfpenny (Opinion, 9/12), your analysis spares us the Netflix ordeal. One has to wonder if the ongoing pantomime is simply the palace allowing us to share in the theatre and spectacle of modern court jesters? Clearly, this actor (″Meghan acts her head off even when playing herself″) expected to be given the leading role in a monarchy performance that has been running across Europe for centuries and requires accumulated lifetimes of training to accomplish with dignity.
I dread to think that this “quiet life in California” might set an example for their children’s development and behaviour. In contrast, Ms Donaldson from Tasmania – the Crown Princess Mary and future queen of Denmark (consort) – adapts to speak Danish fluently and performs her duty admirably.
Ronald Elliott, Sandringham
Leave them to the glossies
Are Harry and Meghan really that newsworthy? Please leave their tawdry little goings-on to the glossy magazines.
Greg Bardin, Altona North
An act of antipathy
Many years ago, there was an Anti-Football League that would ceremonially destroy a football at the MCG on grand final eve. What gave them away as fake-anti-footballers was that they had sufficient interest to know when the grand final was. In the same way, many of those who assure us they have no interest in the Harry-formerly-known-as-Prince and his wife, Meghan, have a surprising depth of knowledge of their doings and sayings.
James McDougall, Fitzroy North
The intense focus on Harry and Meghan and their melodramatic Netflix documentary is disappointing. If we really want to follow the royals, perhaps we could do so positively, such as via the recent winners of the 2022 Earthshot Prize, a British royal initiative.
The “Revive our Oceans” winner was the Indigenous women of the Great Barrier Reef who combine cultural knowledge with modern conservation tools to defend our reef. Congratulations to these wonderful women! An inspiring prize that is worthy of more promotion than another hyped-up royal drama.
Amy Hiller, Kew
A Christmas limerick
Alas, alack and forsooth
Harry and Meghan speak “their truth”
Well, here’s the thing
He’ll never be king
And they are both looking a little uncouth!
Myra Fisher, Brighton East
The death of two young police officers in Queensland just going about their routine duties is a tragedy and wake-up call to all of us. The false news and propaganda being peddled by extremist groups on social media is very disturbing.
ASIO have previously highlighted that right-wing extremists are deploying tactics used by Islamic State to encourage people to take up arms.
Paul Chivers, Box Hill North
Vigilant to guns
It is not an absence of potential perpetrators that prevents more shootings in Australia, just an absence of guns. We must always remain vigilant. America presents a chilling insight into what could happen if we ever loosen our strict control laws.
Matt Dunn, Leongatha
Now is the time
When are we going to tighten up our gun laws again to make sure only farmers own only shotguns to protect stock. And don’t say “now is not the time”.
Kevin Fahey, Red Hill
The murders in Queensland are appalling. Coverage of the story in your paper was flawed, beginning with the banner proclaiming the dead officers “heroes”. Isn’t the idea of someone being murdered doing their job more horrific to contemplate than someone dying in the course of heroic action?
The use of the phrase “execution” is another example. Executions are actions sanctioned by some authority. These young officers were murdered. We don’t have a word worse than that for what happened.
Scott Hurley, Brighton East
Police carry our burden
I recall a traffic incident many years ago in the Heathcote area. We were first on the scene and notified the Heathcote Police and the Bendigo Ambulance who arrived promptly. As we approached the car we saw cans of baby food littering the road and a female driver. Accepting the jemmy that the policeman offered me, I opened the front passenger’s door only to encounter a strapless bassinet. Soon after the police uttered, “double fatality” and obviously shaken, we completed the paperwork and headed home.
Upon arriving home, my wife asked me to feed our baby and at that point I lost it. I have mentally re-visited the scene often (my daughter is now 51). My enduring memory is how the police handled the situation: their incredible efficiency under duress, their succinct efficiency and no-nonsense response to a crisis.
Fortunately this was a one-off for me, for our police it is a daily occurrence. I imagined that policeman knocking on that door and telling the husband his wife and child were dead.
I recall Maudie in To Kill a Mockingbird telling Scout about her father with a consoling tone ″Some men are born into this world to do our dirty work for us″. Surely this sentiment applies equally to the men and women of our police force.
Noel Butterfield, Eltham
Pay by benefit
Shadow treasurer Angus Taylor is quoted as saying “the cuts are about letting Australians keep more of their own money” (“Top economists urge rethink on stage three tax cuts”, 14/12). Doubtless most high-income earners possess above average talents and work hard for their money. But would they earn as much in a country in which the workforce was less healthy and well-educated, crime was less controlled, transport systems less efficient? That is just to quote a few essential infrastructure elements that enable high-income earners to ply their trade. That all requires a massive amount of public money.
So actually avoiding a flattening of our progressive income tax system is upholding the principle of users paying according to their benefit. Which conservative politician would argue against that?
Bill King, Camberwell
The vile and oppressive Iranian government is now hanging protesters from cranes in front of chanting crowds and condemning young men at their hour of death (“Iran executes second prisoner after protests”, 14/12). Sham trials conducted after torture are completely illegitimate and the cruelty of the regime surely makes it one of the world’s worst pariah states. The Persian people by contrast have an incredibly rich history and do not deserve to be ruled by a regime that appears right out of the dark ages.
Peter Curtis, Werribee South
The decline in the ABC’s radio ratings (“ABC Melbourne takes fall in final radio ratings of year”, 14/12) is quite understandable. Dear Auntie has tried to attract younger listeners at the expense of her older loyal followers.
Take for example the finance segment on a Saturday morning. This show was immensely popular and the presenters would frequently say “we’ve got a full board of calls”. Sadly, the show has been axed. Similarly, the 7.45am news. People would set their radios for this popular broadcast – unfortunately it is no more.
Barrie Dempster, Balwyn
In recent months much has come to light on former prime minister Scott Morrison, but, his Trumpian speech at the Hudson Institute (CBD, 14/12) is, for me, of great concern; namely, Morrison’s theory of a neo-Marxist global justice agenda. We should not forget how global conspiracy theories such as the infamous anti-Semitic “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” inspired a generation of Nazis to murder Jews.
Henry Herzog, St Kilda East
Not enough thought
CBD describes the Hudson Institute in Washington as a “think tank”. On reading the institute senior fellow Miles Yu’s introduction of Scott Morrison, surely a more accurate description of the Institution would be “fink thank”.
Rick Whitelaw, Anglesea
Only Premier Daniel Andrews can explain how and why he let the Legislative Council’s preferential and counting system stand and so enable newly re-elected MP Adem Somyurek into Victoria’s upper house. He was not just a bystander for this outcome.
Mark Riley, Brunswick
“What do we value – high achievement rather than effort?” psychologist Kate Crosher asks (“Cash prizes offered to top students”, 14/12). Those high-achieving students given monetary carrots will pursue their future lucrative careers regardless of the monetary reward. While their results are commendable, this monetary model will exacerbate the inequalities already evident in our society. Whatever happened to the intrinsic satisfaction of doing well for its own sake?
Henri Licht, Upwey
Selling out soccer
Soccer fans were outraged at the lack of government funding last week. Now they’re outraged that the APL has creatively found at least $10 million in revenue to grow the game by selling its grand finals to Sydney (“Grand final sell-off an own goal for soccer”, 14/12). Are the APL and its chief executive Danny Townsend sell outs? Sure, but at least they’re selling out something, unlike an A-League match.
Peter Baxevanidis, Kew
How dare the A-League administrators enter into an agreement to play grand finals in Sydney for the next three years. Not all Victorian clubs were consulted in this decision. The competition will be compromised. It’s not fair on Victorian fans if their team finishes on top and they are expected to travel interstate.
Yet these Victorians would be outraged if the reverse was the case and an interstate team that finished on top of the AFL ladder had the audacity to want to host the AFL grand final.
David Charles, Newtown
Your correspondent (Letters, 14/12) questions the difference between the age of criminal responsibility and the age for consent and voting. The reason why the age for criminal responsibility is set low is that it is based on the principle that one cannot be criminally responsible unless one has the capacity to know that what one has done is wrong according to the standards of society. In Victoria there is serious consideration being given to raising the age of criminal responsibility, but not as high as 18.
There is a further principle known by the Latin term Doli Incapax (literally incapable of evil), whereby it is presumed that a child under the age of 14 does not possess the necessary knowledge required to have criminal intent. This presumption can be disproved by evidence that a child knew his or her actions were morally wrong in practice.
Any fixed age limit for criminal responsibility will be somewhat arbitrary, however, Children’s Courts recognise the need to deal with young offenders differently, and there are a range of mitigating principles applied.
Daniel Cole, Essendon
Referral not needed
Your correspondent (Letters, 13/12) shouldn’t need to get a new referral letter from his GP every 12 months to give to his ophthalmologist. Referrals can be made to a medical specialist for ongoing review of a chronic problem as long as they clearly state they are intended for an indefinite period.
Charlotte Chidell, Eltham North
The real festive spirit
The importance of keeping our state of wellbeing in check as the silly season gets into full swing was very appropriately highlighted by Sarah Rusbatch (Opinion, 14/12). External pressures to consume alcohol is especially poignant at Christmas time, yet the negative consequences of excessive consumption are often felt intensely by family and friends.
Focusing on the basics of our wellbeing, including exercise, and healthy habits, along with time to simply recharge is under-rated. The real Christmas spirit is best generated in the company of family and friends as they are, as we are, in unaltered form.
Stephanie Ashworth, Pascoe Vale South
And another thing
The problem with these early spring rains in Melbourne, as identified by your correspondent (Letters, 14/12), is that they have been going on for months.
Craig Tucker, Newport
The government is apparently threatening to destroy our lucrative coal and gas markets. We are in danger of repeating the catastrophe that led to the ruination of the tobacco industry!
Peter McCarthy, Mentone
Angus Taylor is correct saying the stage three tax cuts are about Australians keeping more of their own money … but only the wealthy ones of course.
Marie Nash, Balwyn
Drove past my usual Shell garage for another brand instead last night. Felt empowered.
David Cayzer, Clifton Hill
Ross Gittins is spot on concerning public trust (Comment, 14/12). Words politicians use cannot be trusted.
Peter Roche, Carlton
Susan Bradshaw, Brighton
Your correspondent wonders at the mystery of Putin, not being “excommunicated from the Russian Orthodox Church”. It’s because the Russian Orthodox Church largely supports Putin and his invasion of Ukraine. The “mystery” is how an organisation could support such evil, and claim to be Christian.
Susan Caughey, Glen Iris
Lionel was absolutely Messi-merising in Argentina’s stunning defeat of Croatia.
Nick Toovey, Beaumaris
Nick Kyrgios needs to learn to earn respect, you have to show respect (“Kyrgios feels ‘no respect’ after retired Barty wins Newcombe award”, 14/12). Ash Barty is a champion, at this stage he is not.
Ian Anderson, Ascot Vale
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