Vandalising Yes signs is anti-democratic
Many community members have been saddened by vandalism to vote Yes signs across the Mornington Peninsula.
This vandalism is not just random tagging by kids, it seems to be an organised campaign by people who, for some reason, are angered by the democratic process and the right of everyone to express their opinion. This has ranged from painting No across the signs to actually cutting the Yes from real estate type boards. This process would take some time and effort and property owners report feeling unsafe and violated by such a concerted effort to deface their property.
If people feel strongly about encouraging a No vote, then they should be prepared to display their own signs and campaign via respectful conversations.
Unfortunately, the leaders of the No campaign seem happy to incite fear, anger and resentment by spreading misinformation which can result in some people taking aggressive and destructive action against their fellow citizens.
So sad that such a simple, straightforward and positive proposal to amend our constitution has become politicised.
Deb Fischer, Arthurs Seat
I am used to a bit of hostility in election campaigns and some silliness around signs. However, this campaign has left me gob smacked. Every day I hear from someone who has had their Yes corflutes taken down or vandalised. What is happening?
The No supporters do not put up signs, they don’t wear t-shirts with the No slogan; I have rarely even seen a car sticker. And yet they vandalise the Yes posters. They cut the yes out, they paint them over, they take them down, there was even one set on fire. An irate No voter put no stickers all over my friend’s car after abusing her at the polling booth.
And they are grumpy and angry, sentiments being fuelled by some of the extremists in the No campaign.
I am concerned about what this means for our democracy.
Marg D’Arcy, Rye
No change needed
I couldn’t get to the voting centre fast enough after seeing an Indigenous senator behaving so badly on TV on 5 October.
It just shows what will happen if they get more voice. A yes vote will divide the country I love.
As for the young boys in gaol, they’re not there unless they break the law. I do not believe they deserve special treatment.
Benefits such as pension and allowances are available to all, black or white. I do not think we need to change.
Leonie Bowman, Safety Beach
On Saturday 14 October Australia will stand at the crossroads of the history of our country.
In the [Voice to Parliament] referendum we will be asked two simple questions: Will we recognise First Nation’s people in our Constitution? Do we support a voice to advice parliament and the executive government on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?
I believe that we must answer Yes based on the simple fact that:
It is time to recognise the 60,000 year custodians of this land. First Nations people are integral of our history. It’s a profound fact.
To date Indigenous advisory councils have been hand-picked by the government of the day. We need our Voice to come from the people in our communities. We know the solutions to our problems we just need to be empowered to implement them.
Unfortunately, opportunity for respectful debate has been thwarted by:
Don’t know Vote No limits informed discussion and disrespects our democracy.
A tsunami of fake news, misinformation and provocative disinformation has created fear and confusion. Particularly for the majority of Australians who have little contact with First Nations people.
It is time for Australia to unite and move forward. If we acknowledge our ancient Indigenous history along with our British history we can then strengthen the diverse multicultural society that is today’s Australia.
As a proud First Nations Jawoyn woman I employ my fellow Australians to vote Yes.
I long for October 14th to be a Cathy Freeman/Matildas’ moment where we feel proud of our country.
Irene Fisher, Dromana
Path to unity
Claims that an Indigenous Voice to Parliament would be unfair to Australia’s ethnic communities and thus will be divisive, are not evidence-based.
The fact is that this year the Voice gained formal support from 120 peak ethnic groups in an endorsement by the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia.
Attempts to confuse voters with terms are misleading: the proposed Voice is about indigeneity, not ethnicity.
Only Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can claim indigeneity and hence entitlement to recognition in the Constitution as First Peoples. This does not then disadvantage any ethnic group.
In fact, Diana Lin, director for community engagement at the Chinese Community Council of Australia, has described the Voice referendum as an opportunity for diverse Australian communities to unite.
Likewise, at a broader level, having different opinions is not divisive; it is healthy. We don’t all support the same political party in a democracy, and certainly not the same footy team.
Finally, the proposed Indigenous Voice offers us all one unique moment in time, gifting a precious opportunity: the potential for a nation reconciled with its past.
We will be on the path to a unified nation.
Maureen Donelly, Mornington
Yes is for all
I daily fluctuate between hope and despair of my fellow Australians. There is unbelievable ignorance in abundance, listening to the arguments as to why the Yes vote should fail.
Sadly, it reflects the lack of our education system, of how little we were taught about our incredible First Nations Peoples, the world’s oldest living people living continuously in their/our country.
The world will be watching the results on 14 October and will be left in no doubt that if this referendum fails, Australia will be seen as a racist, uneducated, ignorant peoples.
We are already living the No scenario. The status quo. We need to vote Yes for change.
I will be very proud to be voting Yes, it is the very least I can do to start a process of a more equal, fairer society, for all Australians.
Denise Hassett, Mount Martha
Voice an opportunity
It has been very interesting following the debate on the Voice referendum in your letters pages as it replicates very closely the national debate.
The ‘No campaign has essentially created a straw man in asking the public to vote no to a supposed legislative body with executive powers, which the Voice to Parliament is explicitly not.
This obfuscation has been reinforced with a suggestion that “if you don’t know vote no” when surely the appropriate response to not knowing should be to find out?
In February 2008 then prime minister Kevin Rudd issued an apology to Australia’s Indigenous people for, particularly the Stolen Generations. This was a unifying and edifying moment in our country’s history.
The Voice to Parliament referendum offers a similar opportunity by recognising the First Nations people in our constitution and providing an opportunity to make representations to our elected representatives in the national parliament.
Unfortunately, this unifying opportunity has been seized on by some as a vehicle to create division in our community for supposedly political gain. This is both shameful and egregious.
Geoff Hilton, Mount Martha
Be informed to vote
Amid the muddy pool of Voice referendum misinformation, the proactivity of the If You Don’t Know, Just Ask campaigners on the Mornington Peninsula is admirable (“Progressives offer Yes, No details” The News 3/10/23).
Australia’s last referendum was 24 years ago and our constitution has remained unchanged since 1977. That’s 46 years ago. Opportunities for improvement, however small, do not come around very often. It’s important that Australians understand that the Voice would recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and has the potential to close the plethora of health and socioeconomic gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
This is an important moment in time. Make it count. Make an informed vote on 14 October.
Amy Hiller, Kew
Ignoring drugs, alcohol
Again, the MP for Frankston Paul Edbrooke has been seen as missing in action on the issue of the closing of the Frankston Healthcare Medical Centre because the Victorian government did not support the centre which assisted drug addicts (“Emergency pressure” The News 3/10/23).
It seems that Mr Edbrooke is too busy supporting safe injecting rooms which keeps heroin users addicted to heroin.
He is yet to say if he supports a safe injecting room being established in Frankston.
The Frankston Council is also a culprit of family violence being committed in Frankston with its pro “off premises licences” rubber stamping approvals.
Taking alcohol into the family home is a main cause of family violence.
I have opposed some applications for “Off Premises Licences” and use family violence as the reason for my objection, but the council ignores my objection and grants the liquor licences.
It seems that victims of drugs and alcohol are just people to be ignored in Frankston.
Russell Morse, Karingal
MP’s ‘easy call’
Our local member [Flinders MP] Zoe McKenzie has expended some money (presumably taxpayers’ money) on a neat little sign at the Uralla Road-Nepean Highway, Mount Martha intersection demanding the intersection be fixed.
Despite roads being primarily a state issue, one cannot help wondering why, when they had a decade in office, the LNP government did not extend complete funding for the project if it is such an important project. So easy to make big calls from opposition.
Ross Hudson, Mount Martha
Peninsula Aero Club’s planning application, if approved, would allow widening of the asphalt surface on the north-south runway at Tyabb Airport from 10m to 16m (“Airport wants to widen its runway” The News 4/10/23). This has the potential to severely impact the amenity and safety of the more than 25,000 Tyabb, Somerville and Hastings residents from increased aircraft traffic by day and night.
The construction drawings from 2002 show the original bitumen surface runway (10m wide) and the two shoulders (three metres wide each) and clearly distinguish between the “shoulders” and the “runway”.
The PAC planning application seeks to reconstruct the shoulders to a far higher specification (150mm of Class 3 or 2 crushed rock, cement/lime stabilisation, compaction, 50mm asphalt surface) than the original shoulders (unspecified depth Class 4 crushed rock or gravel, no stabilisation, no compaction, no bitumen surface).
The net result will be that the shoulders – built for drainage and not for take-off and landing of aircraft – will be asphalted and rendered highly suitable for aircraft use.
A 16m wide asphalted runway would encourage pilots of wider landing-carriage aircraft to use the runway, and encourage more pilots generally (commercial operations, adverse weather operations) to use the runway day and night resulting in more noise and safety risks for local residents.
Tyabb Airport operates without air traffic controllers (except occasionally) and there is no cap on operations of aircraft under 4500 pounds at night, no matter how noisy they are.
I, and no doubt thousands of local residents, are not opposed to the ultimate widening of the sealed section of the runway. However, we oppose any widening before the necessary amenity and safety protections (annual cap on movements, cap on noisy take offs, and a curfew) are in place and legally enforceable.
Brewis Atkinson, Tyabb
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