Time for grown-ups to tell pubs: stand down


Illustration: Matt Golding

Illustration: Matt GoldingCredit:

Until we can unshackle ourselves from the lingering, pernicious grip of neoliberal economic models, it looks like it’s going to be populate until there’s standing room only. Peter Thompson, Grenfell

As David Attenborough said, “Anyone who believes in indefinite growth on a physically finite planet is either mad, or an economist”. For those who rail against the folly of current economic thought espousing infinite growth, I thoroughly recommend Kate Raworth’s excellent book Doughnut Economics. She analyses and dismembers Economics as it has been taught for the past century or more and offers an alternative, sustainable economic system, wherein we live in the area above the minimum requirements for human well-being and below the ecological ceiling required to maintain a stable and safe planet. I especially commend the book to economists. Hugh Barrett, Sanctuary Point

Harry needs to look forward and stop complaining

Most people in the world would be very happy to have what Prince Harry has (“Royal rumble: Harry claims William ‘attack’ in new book”, January 6). Perhaps he needs to go looking for a sense of gratitude. It would serve him far better than his continual complaining. If he wants reconciliation with his family, the first step is to reach out, rather than to complain that they aren’t reaching out to him. He and Meghan supposedly moved from Britain to “get a life”. To achieve that, they need to look forward, rather than backward. Meg Mangan, Tamworth

Hypothetical: a disgruntled family member is paid millions to air “dirty laundry” in the media. Would you welcome them back into the fold or suggest that they procreate elsewhere? Grow up, Harry – you are not alone in having had a significant trauma in your childhood, but few enjoy your wealth and ability to access help and further opportunities. Wade Mahlo, Orange

A boy has a fight with his brother. Unbelievable! Henry Brender, Double Bay

Harry decided to be the “bad boy” of the family a long time ago. Now he complains he is not treated with dignity. First, mate, you have to display dignity. It’s like respect. If you don’t respect others you won’t attract respect. Gary Bigelow, Teralba

Talk of fixing Medicare funding long overdue

It’s heartening to see the Medicare funding discussion happening (“Penny-wise treatment of GPs impoverishes health system”, January 6).

There is no doubt the system is broken. You only have to experience the emergency departments of our public hospitals, which I have done this past week, to see what’s happening. They are unbelievably overcrowded, and heroic doctors and nurses are doing an amazing job under extremely pressured conditions. As Dr Imaan Joshi has said, hospital doctors are seeing patients that could easily have been managed by their GP.

I hope the premiers are sincere in their desire to see Medicare and general practice properly funded and it’s not just empty rhetoric and an exercise in shifting costs from the state governments to the federal government.

Please prime minister, listen to what the premiers are saying and dedicate more money to our precious Medicare. Carol Zarkesh, Austinmer

As a recently retired GP, I observed the Medicare rebate failed to keep pace with inflation under both Labor and Coalition federal governments for the 35 years I worked. It’s all very well for the current Labor government to blame nine years of neglect under the Coalition (true) but it should be remembered that the health minister who initiated the Medicare rebate freeze was Tanya Plibersek in the last Labor government. Edward Grieve, Woolloomooloo

When I came to Australia from the UK some years ago and worked in a busy inner-city hospital emergency department, I saw quite a few patients who I could have treated once assessed by a doctor but I was told, “nurses don’t do suturing or put on plaster casts in Australia” (Letters, January 6). So many patients had to sit around for some time waiting for a doctor to attend to minor cuts. The doctors were often junior and had little experience in treating accident patients.

Maybe it’s time to use our well-trained and experienced nurses to help the logjam in the emergency department. Eira Battaglia, Seaforth

McGrath Breast Cancer Nurse Margie Collins and her patient Karen Kirkby at the SCG.

McGrath Breast Cancer Nurse Margie Collins and her patient Karen Kirkby at the SCG. Credit:James Brickwood

Crucial diagnosis

In 2022, I was one of the 20,428 women diagnosed with breast cancer (“Margie steps up to the crease”, January 6). However, I was one of the fortunate women to be diagnosed early so I managed to avoid a total mastectomy and chemotherapy, and I begin radiotherapy next week. I applaud Margie Collins and all the breast care nurses for the care and support they give. But I also urge every woman, regardless of her age, to get tested because without a mammogram, my breast cancer would not have been detected. Patricia Farrar, Concord

Raking over old coals

The miners and shareholders may well be hopeful of an end to China’s coal ban but what about the rest of Australia (“Miners hopeful of end to coal ban”, January 6)? Don’t we want China to significantly reduce its greenhouse emissions? Why keep feeding the fire, to the detriment of all of us? Leave it in the ground. ​Peggy Fisher, Manly

Rights and wrongs

On this sobering anniversary we should acknowledge the far-right is always with us (“Rise and rise of far-right populists”, January 6). It shapes the minds of significant numbers of people who are by nature inclined to be against the government, particularly when liberal democratic political regimes are in the ascendancy for extended periods. Support varies over time, it goes by different brand names and cosies up to different bedfellows, but it has common, instantly recognisable features. Does it ever have an acceptable face, or do we need to be always watchful for circumstances that nurture and enable the far-right, particularly on an international scale? We know real power emboldens it to take whole populations down very destructive paths. Margaret Johnston, Paddington

Why is it right-wing governments are so often tagged by media commentators as “far right”? Yet left-wing governments are almost always labelled progressive but never called far-left. If you say it often enough people will believe it. Riley Brown, Bondi Beach

Give me a home

Jenny Kee has included koalas in her inflatable sculptures design to honour her aunties who worked with her half a century ago (“Legion of Kee aunties looms large over festival frolics”, January 6). Let’s hope that in another 50 years koalas will exist in Australia, as they do now, and not just as part of a festival installation. Lyn Langtry, East Ryde

Flying high

Nowadays, flying from anywhere to anywhere, I would feel much more relaxed if I knew that everybody including myself had been tested (Letters, January 6). Winston Etingoff-Lourie, Bilambil

Drinking in history

The Elvis Express was sent off to Parkes Elvis Fest rockn’rolling with dozens of Elvis impersonators.

The Elvis Express was sent off to Parkes Elvis Fest rockn’rolling with dozens of Elvis impersonators. Credit:Oscar Colman

“Simple, sombre and sober” funeral with 130 cardinals, 400 bishops, 4000 priests and a pope (“Former pope burial makes history”, January 6). I will put “simple, sombre and sober” into my funeral instructions now that I know what it means in practice. Maureen Partridge, Baulkham Hills

One for the money

God speed, to the tragic fans on the Elvis Excess XPT, in their annual pilgrimage to Parkes this week, commemorating the 30th anniversary of his eponymous festival (“Elvis express heads west for birthday bash”, January 6). It’s a Blue Hawaii theme. In his honour, I will wear a blue beach shirt, as a vicarious tribute. The King is not dead, while his people are still alive. God save the King! Mike Fogarty, Weston (ACT)

Different strokes, folks

There were shades of Neville Cardus in Greg Baum’s description of the batting displays of Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith on the second day of the cricket Test at the SCG (“A triumph of style and substance as vproduces masterpiece,” January 6). It was as elegant as Khawaja’s strokeplay and a manifestation of the artistry that lifts Test cricket above other forms of the game and all other sports. Ray Alexander, Moss Vale

Four hundred years ago, God went about England in the guise of a man, to see how well people were following his word (Letters, January 6). Overall, things were satisfactory, but one issue the English had difficulty in comprehending was the concept of eternity. So he gave them cricket. Roger Pamphlett, Balmain East

Although I played the game in high school, I could never explain cricket to my Slovenian father. His repeated question was “what kind of game is it when you are in and then you are out?” When my husband took a group of Americans to watch a game in London, he was asked “Do they lose points if they move?” Test Cricket is the proper form of cricket – but only for aficionados. Anne Elliott, Balmain

A friend told me once that his Luxembourg born wife complained that nothing happens in cricket, and he responded “but it’s the way nothing happens”. Clare Raffan, Campsie

Comedian Robin Williams once described cricket as “baseball on Valium”. David Farrell, Erskineville

It is unsurprising that those who don’t understand cricket, find it boring. Meanwhile, cricket lovers are content to enjoy their game without the need to similarly decry fast-paced sports. Harry Polley, Dural

Nancy knows best

Bring back Nancy Pelosi (“‘I like to make history’: McCarthy’s quest to be Speaker ends in third day of humiliating loss”, smh.com.au, January 6). Graham Russell, Clovelly

Digital downside

Your correspondent’s letter reminds me that the quote “computers will provide us with more leisure time” was often coupled with the claim that they would “create paperless offices” (Letters, January 6). That’s worked out well too, hasn’t it? Colin Gould, Merimbula

Safety barrier

“When it’s safe to do so” is another of those go-to phrases I wish could be purged from the pandemic days’ public lexicon (Letters, January 5). It unnecessarily doubles the word count. Alan Phillips, Mosman

“Inundated” is my word needing speedy retirement, particularly when it is qualified by floodwater. Michael Harrington, Bonnet Bay

I’m tired of cliche accretion such as the following uttered by a test cricketer this week: “My focus is around my career and what it looks like going forward.” Stop it! David Grant, Ballina

“From the get go”: I cringe at every time I hear it. Michael Miller, Ettalong Beach

The Coca-Cola-nisation of our language continues apace. In addition to “train stations”, “sidewalks” and so on I’ve heard in media reports of late that Ukraine is being supplied with “missals”. They should be aware that “missiles” would be far more use than prayers. Time to get off “dee-fence”? David Baird, Burradoo

“Perfect!” chirped the perky customer service operator, when I gave her my date of birth. Oh, that it were! Lorna MacKellar, Bensville

Postscript

As Sydney’s new year began with its traditional fireworks, writers were working out the letters they would send later in the morning. And they mostly agreed that it was time to move on from the “noisy, smoky, polluting display”. “Yes, the fireworks are beautiful, but there is only so much one can do with fireworks, so how about a laser light show next year?” wrote Dorothy Gliksman of Cedar Brush Creek. “It would be very different, exciting, innovative and clean and with no residual smoke left hanging over the city.”

It was the persistence of the poker machine lobbyists in their fight against the cashless gaming card, and the failure of the NSW opposition leader to support the premier in his attempts to regulate the industry, that irritated letter writers the most. As one correspondent wrote, “It looks like the poker machine might determine which party will govern our state after the next election”. The letters flooded in during the week, which allowed us to run a special edition on Friday to accommodate the large number of contributions.

Amanda Berry of Hamilton East was one of many who wrote to wish everyone a happy New Year, and to thank the “brilliant writers who clarify, educate and amuse on a daily basis”. She also added that she was eagerly awaiting the revelation of the 2022 Herald letter of the year. There will be no LOTY for 2022 – all contributions were equally valued and very much appreciated – but we will select one for 2023 and look forward to receiving nominations from you as the year unfolds. Pat Stringa, letters editor

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