Sympathies for a family forced to grieve publicly

Illustration: Cathy WilcoxCredit:

To submit a letter to The Age, email letters[email protected] Please include your home address and telephone number. No attachments, please include your letter in the body of the email.

Mourning the Queen
We all will experience grief at some stage in our lives, and generally we are then afforded the opportunity to grieve as we choose. We might take some time off work, we might become introspective and avoid some social situations until we have processed the death and it’s become part of the fabric of our life going forward.
Spare a thought for King Charles, his sister, his sons and family, no sooner had Queen Elizabeth II died and they were all expected to go public with statements, public walks and ceremonies (“King Charles feels ‘weight of history’,” “Harry pays tribute to ‘Granny’,” The Age 13/9).
We should remember that this was their mother and grandmother who died, they surely deserve some quiet thinking time away from the crowds and pageantry and general public trying to get a good selfie to upload to Twitter.
Pieter van Wessem, Balwyn

Not a day everyone wants to have off
Jenna Price (Comment, 13/9) finds the uproar over the snap public holiday on September 22 “hilarious”. Not so those whose long-awaited surgery and critical appointments with medical specialists have been cancelled. Not so the small business owners who will be burdened with hours of additional unpaid work (rescheduling appointments, changing rosters and adjusting orders or payroll). Remember others as you relish your day, feet up on the couch watching a televised memorial service being held in Canberra … four days after Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.
Jessica Toop, Hawthorn

Public holidays come with a cost
On arrival from Holland in Melbourne in 1965 I experienced to my astonishment a public holiday for a horse race and wondered how the state could afford that. Then there was one for Show Day and recently the Victorian government saw fit to introduce one for the AFL Grand Final. Now just like that, and they could see this coming for a long time, the federal government announced one for mourning the Queen’s passing.
My son runs a medium size gardening business and the mourning day will cost him thousands of dollars in wages and lost productivity. During COVID he received JobKeeper payments but this time he has to put his hand deeply into his pocket. Where is the equity in tarring all employers with the same brush next Thursday week?
Henk van Leeuwen, Elwood

Share kindness and understanding
The wall-to-wall media coverage of Queen Elizabeth II’s death has been suffocating. For the many people who have an ambivalent relationship with the former British Empire, this is a difficult and complex time. A sizeable number of our Aboriginal people have been seeking a day of mourning for almost a century with no result. Yet they see within days of her death, Queen Elizabeth II gets a national holiday to mark her demise. Let’s get through this time with kindness and understanding for all.
Royce Bennett, Baxter

No reason to shut parliament
Surely the point of “The Queen is dead, Long live the King” is to emphasise that affairs must go on. So why are our pollies taking an unearned break? There is much to do, the country managed very well before without the prime minister while he was jaunting about. Australia needs parliament to keep working.
Doris LeRoy, Altona

Vital promise put on hold
Anthony Albanese before his election promised a powerful transparent and independent national anti-corruption commission by the end of 2022, later saying, “In 2022, we will get this done. Because we’ve waited long enough.”
That undertaking is now under threat of being broken due to the reduced parliamentary sittings, something that is under the control of the government. Prime minister, please just honour your promise.
Brian Marshall, Ashburton

THE FORUM

Debate can come later
To your correspondents who want the republic discussion now (Letters, 13/9), please wait until the mourning of Queen Elizabeth II’s death is past and everything settles down. There will be plenty of time then to start this important debate. We need to have time to appreciate wonderful service that the Queen has given to the Commonwealth in her 70-year reign.
Doug Springall, Yarragon

When, then?
Re: the Melbourne Writers Festival’s cancelled panel discussion, “The End of the Monarchy?” (“Writers fest rift as monarchy panel axed”, 13/9), why would the topic be any more or less “respectful” if the Queen were still 96 and clearly ailing? Now we have an elderly king. Does that, likewise, make the topic out of bounds?
Michelle Goldsmith, Eaglehawk

Caring too much
Have we lost our minds? I’m certainly losing mine, after days of outpouring of grief to the Queen. We are ostensibly a republic. We don’t really care what goes on in Britain these days, just like they don’t pay much respect to Australia other than as a nice place to visit, immigrate to or beat in the cricket when they can. I lived in Britain for a long time, long enough to realise they look down their noses at us, yet we are going to change our money and swear in our politicians to the King.
I didn’t mind the Queen, she seemed a nice lady, high in her lofty tower, and Charles, a good bloke as well. But their own family are leaving, and here we are tugging on the coat tails still. When did we lose our irreverence and sense of ourselves?
Gary Davis, Mildura

Respecting a legacy
Your correspondent raises the “saturation coverage” of archaic law and ritual, protocol and convention (Letters, 13/9.) Yet it is a revelation of living history.
To renounce this coverage reminds me of Melbourne in the 1960s with its magnificent legacy of gold rush architecture. A veritable treasure trove of craftsmanship, refinement and planning, central to a radial system of spacious linear towns along rail corridors separated by the green wedges which became Rupert Hamer’s Garden State. Little remains, we were beguiled by the modern, the skyscraper, freeway, speed and associated “appliances”.
As Prince Charles (1987) observed: “You have to give this much to the Luftwaffe: when it knocked down our buildings it didn’t replace them with anything more offensive than rubble. We did that”.
Now that dubious US influence threatens our constitutional monarchy. Oh that a sensible person could actually reign over us.
Ronald Elliott, Sandringham

Powers misplaced
While the late Queen is praised to the heavens (“Unwavering grace and dignity”: Harry’s moving tribute to ‘granny’” 13/9) by commentators, let us not forget that many believe the same Queen was ultimately responsible for the sacking of the democratically elected prime minister Gough Whitlam in 1975. One would hope such actions won’t happen in future.
Bill Mathew, Parkville

Nuance missing
Karen Attiah critiqued what she terms the “hagiography” of Queen Elizabeth II, and “the vestiges of the racist, colonial empire she so dutifully represented”, (‘We must speak the ugly truths about the empire’, 12/9.) Truth-telling in history is an elusive exercise and especially so in historic colonial encounters such as that between the British and Indians. Attiah’s bleak characterisation allows no scope for nuance such as that expressed by the great writer Paul Scott, who, in his novel Jewel in the Crown, concluded that the English and Indians across the vast sub-continent “were locked in the imperial embrace of such long standing it was no longer possible to know whether they hated or loved one another”.
Jon McMillan, Mount Eliza

No need for approval
The word that stood out most in all the pomp and ceremony following the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the ascendancy to the throne of Charles III, is “obedience”. Our Governor-General pledged it on our behalf. Australia should be free to make its own laws, make its own decisions and not to ask for royal approval. We are no longer a colony but a nation more than capable of making our own way in the world. Just as the word obey has been removed for women in most marriage ceremonies, it needs to be removed from the ceremonies involving our subjugation to a single figure. We had no say in who that person would be.
Greg Tuck, Warragul

Head of state solution
The sad notion that we can only seem to grasp the notion of an elected president and not simply an appointed one, as we do the governor general today, continues to confuse the ongoing debate about our republic. It’s the only reason the referendum failed in 1999.
If we elect one we will end up with a politician or celebrity. If we appoint one we will end up with an eminent person agreed on by a two third majority of parliament. If we do nothing we remain with a citizen of another country and his dysfunctional celebrity family.
Julian Guy, Mt Eliza

Money wasted
I was surprised to learn that two ABC Melbourne radio presenters (Virginia Trioli and Raf Epstein) were also joining the throng of Australian media in the UK to cover the formal mourning activities of Queen Elizabeth II and the accession of King Charles III. Given that the ABC already has a UK correspondent (Nick Dole) and Michael Rowland of ABC’s News Breakfast had travelled there earlier, this seems to be a waste of taxpayers dollars.
Kevin Bailey, Croydon

Vale
Vale Uncle Jack. A First Australian, an Elder, a gentle teacher, seeker after justice (“Tributes pour in after Indigenous actor Jack Charles dies aged 79”, 13/9). Thank you for the stories you shared, the tears and laughter, the dreams, truths and hopes you brought us all. Rest in peace.
Anne Mijch, Balwyn North

Transport priorities
I hope yesterday’s editorial (“Time to fast-track western suburbs rail”, 13/9) was read by the Andrews government. Public transport should be about improving people’s lives, not about politicians leaving grand legacies. And the lives of those in the western suburbs could be significantly improved if a tiny portion of the money spent on transport projects in the inner and eastern suburbs went their way.
I am reminded of this every time I catch the 57 tram to West Maribyrnong, which has no low-floor trams. To anyone in a wheelchair, otherwise limited in their physical agility, or with a pram, this tram route is inaccessible
Why shower billions of dollars on transport projects in one part of the state when a much smaller expenditure could vastly improve the lives of thousands in the west?
Jan Lacey, North Melbourne

Rail of choice
To refer to V/Line trains as “outdated and unreliable” is misinformed. Without exception V/Line travellers much prefer their trains compared to the alternative Met trains. Observe the actions of passengers at Pakenham who have that choice.
Michael McKenna, Warragul

Fans pay the price
Qantas’ unfettered price gouging of airline tickets for fans going from Melbourne to Sydney, or Brisbane to Melbourne, should call into question the role of Richard Goyder. As the chairman of both the AFL Commission and Qantas he is doing a disservice to football fans, and further damaging the reputation of the once-proud and loved Australian airline.
George Djoneff, Mitcham

Milk designed for humans
I welcome the introduction of lab milk (“Lab-grown milk to hit shelves by 2024 – minus the cow and the carbon”, 13/9) because, unlike dairy, it will be cruelty-free. Every year in Australia, around 300,000 “bobby calves” are slaughtered in their first week of life, just so their milk can be sold. If there was a choice, wouldn’t it make more sense to recreate the milk that is specifically designed for humans?
Jennifer Moxham, Monbulk

Timeless treat
Your correspondent, (Letters, 13/9), was right about Shakespeare’s works exposing dark aspects of the human condition: the damage caused by abuse of political power, war, revenge, corruption, to name but a few, is timeless. If Shakespeare were to write his plays today he wouldn’t have to change a single word.
Mary Cole, Richmond

Experts after the fact
Re Jessica Irvine’s column on the Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe’s prediction that interest rates would not rise until 2024 (13/9), I am reminded of the definition of an economist, namely someone who knows today why the predictions they made yesterday proved to be incorrect.
Stephen Kapnoullas, Balwyn North

Premature praise
Li Zhanshu, the third-ranking member of the communist party of China, while visiting Moscow last week reportedly said: “We see how Ukraine has put Russia in an impossible situation,” (“China offers ‘support’ over war”, 13/9.) It is time for Li to have his eyesight tested. Li needs to understand it’s Russia who invaded Ukraine and it is Russia who have found themselves in this situation. Now that Ukrainian forces have retaken key territory Kremlin propagandists are beginning to talk about a catastrophe in Ukraine. Soldiers and dead bodies estimated by US intelligence at “15,000 killed and three times that number wounded”. And the situation will deteriorate. Sanctions have not destroyed Russia but are having a major effect.
More than 30 countries have imposed sanctions and over 1000 foreign companies have halted operations with Russia. Li’s praise for Putin’s leadership is somewhat premature and very much exaggerated.
G.Jaworsky, Wollert

And another thing

The monarchy
The marvellous thing about Australia’s constitutional monarchy is not the power that the monarch now exercises, but the absolute power that the institution denies to politicians. Long live the King.
Dennis Walker, North Melbourne

I am not a monarchist and the Queen never met me. However, I think we had something in common. I don’t think either of us would ever stand on the side of the road and wait for hours, in any weather, for the other to drive by.
George Houlder, Cambrian Hill

Camilla’s new title is Queen Consort, but Queen Elizabeth’s mother was never ever referred to as the Queen Consort, which she was, just the Queen. Perhaps we can extend that courtesy to the new Queen?
Jan Laidlaw, Newtown

If we showed the same devotion to fighting climate change as we do to marathon mournings we just might be in a much better position.
Paul Murchison, Kingsbury

Good grief for employees on penalty rates on September 22. More grief for employers.
Joan Segrave, Healesville

Governance
Who votes our state parliamentarians in? The people of Victoria. Who should MPs swear an allegiance to? The people of Victoria.
David Blom, Nunawading

“Stability” and “continuity” are current favourites when listing the virtues of our royal system. They are also favoured by Xi Jinping, the Kim family, Manasseh Sogavare and Vladimir Putin as reasons for staying in power longer.
Nancy Atkin, Brunswick

Currency
With the sad death of Indigenous legend Jack Charles, let’s put his portrait on the new $5 note. It will still be a Charles, but one that is much more relevant to our nation.
Rob Gerrand, St Kilda

I think it’s time we put our own people on our currency. When we become a republic we won’t have the cost of the change. It’s time to become thrifty.
Rita Reid, Port Melbourne

Gay Alcorn sends an exclusive newsletter to subscribers each week. Sign up to receive her Note from the Editor.

Most Viewed in National

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article