Tennis stunners bring the country into disrepute

Australia is a land of contrasts, perhaps no more epitomized than by the controversy surrounding our National Day. However, the transition from a long weekend to a day of national reflection has enabled important conversations and honest recognition of the good and bad of our past and present. As the saying goes, we need to know where we came from and who we are now if we want to make the most of where we are going together. Philip Cooney, Wentworth Falls

As for the punishment and purification of events that occurred on January 26, 1788 (“Smoke and Mirrors,” January 22-23), can anyone remind me what happened on that day? I know the First Fleet had arrived in Port Jackson the day before and Botany Bay on the 20th, but don’t we get angry about something both less and more than the 26th? Isn’t Australia now mature enough to set its national holiday on a day (not a date) that is important and non-controversial, such as the last Monday of the summer holiday month? Ian Bowie, Bowral

What happened on January 26, 1788 was essentially inevitable, given the capacity of Western nations to travel and trade worldwide by sea, their naval and military might, and their competition among themselves at the time. Fifty or 100 years later, that opportunity was even greater, with many countries potentially in “the game”. Some powers had been trading for a century or two and only needed a commercial or strategic incentive to settle. Indigenous Australians were treated very badly despite some sincere efforts by Governor Phillip and some of his officers to forge harmonious relations. Lack of communication and ignorance of each other was a big problem and putting that right is where we need to go now. The wider population needs to know and understand more about not only visual aspects of Indigenous ceremonies, art and general cultural practices, but also what it means, where it comes from, what is spiritual and what is really just practical bushcraft. Firefighting and burning the land could be a good starting point, given the recent impact of fires on our tree changers and farming communities. Mike SewardPort Fairy (Vic)

‘Good guy’ not enough to lead

As Malcolm Knox says (“Be warned: We don’t wear beer goggles,” January 22-23), a good guy to have a beer with is a pretty low threshold to jump over to become a leader of a country. are. His suggestion of ‘competence’ as a minimum requirement could also be supplemented with ‘integrity’ and ‘vision’. Can you imagine – a competent leader, with integrity and vision? Adam Liberman, Randwick

There are many O’s in Malcolm Knox’s excellent review of the beer that floods the photos of our current leaders. Scomo and Albo and Bojo. The only good O was the matzo and it can be quite flat unless you knead it into an O shape and add it to the chicken soup. A mummy state is more desirable than a nanny state (unless you are an au pair). A daddy state buys future-proof submarines and another big announcement with many thousands at the end. We are not fooled by barramundi, barbecues and beer. Give us a clean environment, a living wage, fair health care and prosperity, a streamlined process and safe haven for refugees, and a Makarrata. Then we can talk. Beverley Fine, Pagewood

Malcolm Knox’s review of politicians drinking beer puts Albo and Scomo in the same vat, but there’s an equally big difference: Albo has a beer named after him, Albo Corn Ale, a domestic favorite for six years. Perhaps ‘Corny’ would have been better than ‘bitter’ in the Letch cartoon. Tone Wheeler, Surry Hills

Success outside of school

How do you value teaching and learning? Your article (“Low Fee Schools Beat Expensive Counterparts,” Jan. 22-23) suggests that you can draw a line between the fees charged on schools’ success rates when examining the performance of private schools and the HSC. . The question that may need to be asked is where schools – both private and public – excel at better preparing students for the transition from formalized education to the adult world beyond. A longitudinal study that includes measures of academic success, critical thinking, decision-making and social skills, taking into account student progress in life 10 and 20 years after HSC, may well provide some illuminating answers about ‘success’. at school’. Rod Leonarder, Roseville

Parents make personal choices about which private school to send their children. The success of low paying schools versus high paying schools will ultimately not matter to those parents who are financially able to decide what gives their children the best chance of succeeding in life after HSC. The analysis should be sent to the government and those who decide how much public funding these schools really should receive. Michael Blissenden, Dural

The liberal economy is failing

Even after so many economic failures, studies continue to show that the Liberal Party is at the forefront of economic governance (“Morrison Caught in Omicron Wave,” Jan. 22-23). Refugees are held in hotels for nine years at the expense of the government, instead of earning, spending and paying taxes in the community. Federal government is happy to pay $79 per PCR COVID test, but refuses to pay $15 for a RAT. JobKeeper’s $20 billion donation to large corporations. Not to mention the ongoing rorts and accepted pig barrels. This is not good economic management, this is a waste of taxpayers’ money. Mark Nugent, Lugarno

Defect to the west

The citizens of Western Australia are fortunate to have Prime Minister Mark McGowan who has put their well-being above all else, while in NSW, for Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet, the economy is more important (“Sandgropers are in no rush to get close to COVID”, January 22-23). It’s a shame we don’t have a prime minister of the caliber of McGowan, who cares about people, instead of Perrottet ‘let it be’. There must be thousands of NSW people looking to migrate to WA, I know I am. Robert Pallister, Punchbowl

Anxiety ripple effects

Frank Bongiorno reminds us how human behavior changes over time and how the pandemic is already affecting social intercourse (“Uncertainty Stays With Us,” January 22-23). Perhaps a little bit of family history can illustrate how the Spanish flu pandemic still affected my dear grandmother some 40 years after her brother died. Despite being an otherwise healthy woman, forever after being terrified of “germs”. A generation later, I struggled with the constant hand washing that was required when we were there. Grandma was a really sweet old lady, but with more than a hint of OCD and agoraphobia. Fear is a common response to uncertainty. Let’s not forget to be kind to each other along the way. And anyone who needs professional help should have easy access to it. Otherwise, the ripple effects can be long lasting. Margaret Johnston, Paddington

Women’s cricket wins

Your correspondents (Letters, January 22-23) contribute to the discussion about the gender neutrality of cricket terms and approve “He/she is a good bat” and the increased recognition of women’s cricket. Hopefully, though, their percussion won’t be modeled after the men’s recent feats, some of which were rock bottom. Harry Polley, Dural

Rodents to nowhere

Yes (letters, January 22-23), when the election comes I’m sure the RATs will definitely be out of their nest and abundant in some areas of NSW after breeding for a few months. Suzanne Wicks, Potts Point

Blizzard of Ozo

How come our political masters can’t pronounce more than a few sentences without using either ‘Australia’ or ‘Australian’, as in ‘older Australians’? We know who we are and where we live, so why not just “older people”? This practice has also become endemic in the media. Today I read a newspaper article where “Australian(s)” was used nine times unnecessarily. Brooke Broughton, Leura

Lifelike Lessons

Interesting to know how much time will be allocated for teaching and learning in schools with the huge task of checking, administering and applying RAT tests twice a week for all students and teachers, and checking for symptoms. The prime minister’s idealistic approach reminds me that realism opens the eyes blinded by idealism. As someone once said, “An idealist is one who, when he notices that a rose smells better than the cabbage, concludes that it makes a better soup.” Tony Moo, North Sydney

The digital display
Online commentary from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday smh.com.au
Schools to hand out millions of RATs under a twice-weekly testing regime
By Repair: And what happens on the other three school days? Prime Minister just closes his eyes and hopes that Omicron will behave the other days like on December 15th? This is what will happen. Someone gets it one day they are not tested, the whole class including the teacher gets it and probably passes it on to most of the other teachers and the schools will have to close or parents will decide to keep their kids at home anyway and it complete confidence in the process. Same as what’s happening in retail now due to virtual lockdowns. If you don’t test every day, a hybrid distance learning model is a better plan, where everyone is personally tested the day before and the day they attend until the outbreak is under control. Learning face to face is important, but so is avoiding school days and further fear, uncertainty and doubt that bad policies have already created.″⁣

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