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Sporty slogans and ideology are no help to anybody


The treatment of Djokovic must rank near the top in Australia’s hall of shame. Diane Davie, Rose Bay

As one of the most famous sportsmen in the world, Djokovic has a responsibility to act as a positive role model. He should get vaccinated or go home. Vic Nolan, Wickham

What has shocked me in all the reports of Djokovic’s detention has been to learn that in the same hotel there are refugees and asylum seekers who have been locked away for more than a year – one reportedly only 14-years-old (“Double fault”, January 8-9). It is unacceptable that people who have legally applied for asylum in Australia could have been shut up in confined spaces for such a long period.

Forget wealthy tennis players, where is the outpouring of support for these people, effectively tortured by the Australian government over such a long period? With a federal election coming up, I trust that the inhumane treatment of refugees to Australia will become a major issue. Elizabeth Elenius, Pyrmont

Prime Minister Scott Morrison defended the federal government’s involvement in the fiasco of Djokovic’s arrival in Australia saying “people are put on planes and turned back all the time” adding “anybody who’s watched the Border Patrol (sic) shows will understand that” (“Voracova the second Australian Open player detained in visa blunder”, smh.com.au, January 8). The news that Czech tennis player Renata Voracova, who entered Australia last month and has already played in a warm-up tournament, had her visa was cancelled on Friday suggests more Border Farce than Border Force. As John McEnroe said, “You cannot be serious.” Maurice Critchley, Mangrove Mountain

Save the South Steyne, she’s part of our heritage

Christopher Zinn’s homage to MV Baragoola brought back many memories of journeys to Manly (“Pity we didn’t repay MV Baragoola for her service”, January 8-9). But what of the South Steyne, the greatest of all the Manly ferries, now banished to the dolphins at Berrys Bay? Is she faced with the same fate as the Baragoola? What is the point of having an Australian Maritime Museum which after 30 years has not attempted to save these fine vessels? If our galleries and museums can raise millions for a single painting for a significant item why not the maritime museum? Heritage NSW should compulsory acquire the heritage-listed vessels from their private owners, restore them to their rightful place on Sydney Harbour. Heritage NSW establish its own Sydney Ferry Museum at White Bay – it would soon become one of the city’s major attractions. Anthony Buckley, Point Clare

I was very touched by the article on the South Steyne (“‘Crying shame’: Sydney’s prized steamship languishes out of public reach”, January 7). My father’s family company, Pedder and Mylchreest, delivered the South Steyne to Sydney in 1938. She made the long journey from Scotland under her own steam with a crew of 17, loaded up with enough coal for the journey and with all the glassed areas on the lower decks boarded up. After a drama-laden passage through Suez, she finally arrived in Sydney on September 9, having sailed from Leith 64 days earlier. I wholeheartedly thank her owner Brian McDermott for the effort he has made on her behalf thus far. It is beyond belief that we are so careless about our history that we would not move heaven and earth to find this grand and unique old lady a permanent home. The fate of the Baragoola should serve as a huge wake-up call to all. Carole Molyneux-Richards, Bellevue Hill

In a harbour of hundreds of kilometres of foreshore and 13 islands, is it that hard to find a spot to creatively and permanently berth the South Steyne ferry? Cockatoo Island, or the nearby Spectacle Island, or perhaps up the Parramatta river to where the new Powerhouse museum is going to be located – ideal to have a naval engineering masterpiece of our history displayed in front of the self-proclaimed “Australian Smithsonian” museum designed to showcase “technology, innovation, design and engineering”. Peter Jamieson, Davistown

Keep the Reef alive

UNESCO is right to question the status of the Great Barrier Reef (“Great Barrier Reef election battle brews amid fears of more coral bleaching”, January 8-9). It is “in danger”. The reality is deeply saddening and should spur us all to action – 1.5 degrees of warming will see us lose 70-90 per cent of existing reefs and 2 degrees will cause the reef to almost entirely disappear. To keep global warming below 1.5 degrees and give the reef a fighting chance, we need to cut emissions by 75 per cent by 2030. Despite our politicians’ assertions, no amount of funding for “foundations” can save the reef unless we curb climate change. If we want to keep the dream of our children experiencing the sheer joy of snorkelling in the majestic Great Barrier Reef alive, we voters must hold our federal government accountable for drastic emissions reductions this decade. Amy Hiller, Kew (VIC)

Health before economy

Our economy focused NSW government is quickly finding out that we can’t have a healthy economy without a healthy population. Will it ever learn that we also can’t have a healthy economy without a healthy planet (“Surge in NSW coal mines would drive up emissions”, January 8-9)? Hugh Barrett, Sanctuary Point

Show some respect

My father was a member of the Sydney Cricket Ground since a boy playing grade cricket for his region. Accompanying him there as a child in the 1960s, the atmosphere at international matches was tranquil and restrained to the point of boredom (“England pair stare down abusive spectator at tea”, January 8-9). We always expected a bit of nonsense on The Hill but it seems these days the crowd has become the attraction, and the cricketers mere extras in the extravaganza. I don’t know what he would make of the crowd’s Mexican waves, trumpet playing, costumes and boozy antics, but I am pretty sure he would draw a line at the sledging. It is a very poor reflection on this country that these exceptional sportsmen are treated with such little respect. Lyndall Nelson, South Turramurra

Obituary Notice. In affectionate remembrance of the spirit of Yabba which died at the SCG on January 7, 2022 when ground authorities expelled two spectators for heckling English Test players. Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintances. RIP. NB: The Yabba statue should be removed from the ground and melted down in honour of his spirit. Bruce Bentley, Pyrmont

Fossil museum

I was excited to learn of the fossil find at Gulgong because some years ago we visited the Age of Fishes Museum at Canowindra (“Great first impression: farmer rocks scientist with ‘exceptional’ finds”, January 9). The Age of Fishes Museum is one of only two fish fossil museums in the world and is a national heritage site due to its international scientific significance. It is also a great place to visit. I hope Gulgong sets up a similar museum with their find. Just another reason to visit the amazing Central West. Moya Gibb Smith, Paddington

Poitier effect

It was at the Ritz theatre in Port Macquarie in 1967, when my wife and I were still just friends, that we went to see To Sir, with Love, our first movie together (“Hollywood trailblazer Sidney Poitier dead at 94” , smh.com.au, January 8). Today the movie and Lulu’s hit single remain a defining moment of the soundtrack of our lives. Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook

Spilt milk

You’re spot on Richard Glover about the free milk program for school kids (“Sour lessons in responsibility”, Spectrum, January 8-9). I arrived from England in the summer of 1965 when school milk deposited in the sun for hours before consumption. My aversion to the lumpy smelly milk we were made to drink still turns me off, 55 years later. Glass of milk? Forget it! Annemarie Turner, Dapto

Those of us fortunate enough to grow up in a Norco factory town had flavoured milk delivered to our school. Chocolate and custard were particular favourites. However, on lime days the garbage-tin lids were upended, the milk poured in and we’d watch the local dogs lap it up with glee. Cath Hunting, MacMasters Beach

Did I go to the only primary school in the state whose principal made sure that the free milk was left in the coolest possible place? I don’t remember nasty milk. I only remember arguing about the brand names we read on the bottles. Which was fresher—Dairy Farmers or Fresh Food? Ruth Colman, Collaroy

Once more the school free milk program cops a caning; hot, sour, curdled. It was not so everywhere. Kudos to Narrandera Public School in the 60s, where dew-bedecked crates of fridge-cold, mainly chocolate and strawberry flavoured milk were delivered to the lunch tables under the peppercorn trees just before the recess bell. First in got the flavoured milk, latecomers the plain, a cute lesson in psychological management. Lance Rainey, Rushforth

The digital view

Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
Teachers braced for remote learning amid flood of Omicron cases
From CC: ″⁣I am a parent. I am glad the teachers union is urging the government to work with them and come up plans. Last year the government made too many decisions without consulting the teachers and school principals first.″⁣

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