Athletes have the right to stand up and say no

Credit:Illustration: Cathy Wilcox

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Athletes have the right to stand up and say no

It is time to applaud Peter Fitzsimons – “Solid as a rock Diamonds’ priceless value shines in mining dispute” (The Age, 24/10) – and admonish the pale, stale and male views of John Wylie – “Player power on sponsorship endangers sport” (Opinion, 24/10).

I am proud to live in a country where strong, young women can take a principled stand. A place where money is not everyone’s god. A place where principle is more important than a few pieces of gold. I would be be happy for the taxpayer to top up the Diamonds netball team. It would not touch the sides in the scheme of things.

Wylie’s commentary is reminiscent of the ducks that quacked when we removed cigarette sponsorship from sport. That the sky would fall in and life would never be the same again. This is elegantly pointed out by Fitzsimons regarding the Greg Matthews matter in 1992 – the cricketer was fined 25per cent of his match payments for the season because he appeared in an anti-smoking magazine advertisement, crushing a packet of cigarettes. Let us not leave the arbitration of principles to the rich and powerful. We know how that movie ends.
Steven Strange, Mentone

Calling out egregious practices of sponsors

John Wylie seems to be saying, “You’re an athlete. Be grateful for all the sponsorship money. Now shut up and play sport”.

For years, companies and industries with appalling products and practices have used sport to give themselves a veneer of respectability. At last, athletes are exercising their rights and responsibilities as community members and calling out the more egregious practices of their prospective sponsors. They are also exercising their rights as employees and arguing for a greater say in the running of their particular sport. More power to them.
Steve Halliwell, North Fitzroy

Sponsoring teams in order to ‘buy’ consumers

The sports sponsorship dilemma is too focused on the ethics and values of the athletes rather than questioning the motives and bona fides of the sponsors. In effect, corporate sponsorship is no different to political parties engaging in pork barrelling – one is done to “buy” votes, the other to “buy” consumers for the sponsors’ products or services.

The real issue is whether sponsors support a sport for the overall benefit and well-being of the community or to get tangible financial benefits in return. Asking sponsors to declare how much money they will donate, without the need for the team to wear and use merchandise with sponsors’ logos, would be revealing.
Cheri Lee, Brunswick East

Sport has allowed Indigenous superstars to flourish

Sport has been one of the great ways for Indigenous Australians to demonstrate their talents and subsequently obtain a public voice for their people. Lionel Rose to Barry Cable, Polly Farmer to Nicky Winmar, Chris Lewis, Buddy Franklin and Adam Goodes and many more in the AFL, and Evonne Goolagong, Ash Barty and Cathy Freeman, etc on the world stage no less.

And then there is the world of rugby league. Say no more. Professional sport has allowed these superstars to flourish and establish themselves and their people as more than equals.

So the late Lang Hancock, a man of a very different era to the present, made disgusting comments about Indigenous Australians in 1984 and now his daughter, Gina Rinehart, offers a very significant sponsorship deal to a female sport which has been hemorraging money for years. She has her “financial face” spat on because an Indigenous player was offended by what Hancock said nearly four decades ago. It sounds like someone was channelling Greens senator Lidia Thorpe.
Mike Seward, Port Fairy


End the bombardment

What a marvellous example the netball players have given Australian athletes by refusing to wear outfits endorsing Hancock Prospecting with its poor record on climate change, and its founder Lang’s dubious reputation on the treatment of Indigenous Australians.

Step up the rest of you and let us enjoy sport without being bombarded with advertising for betting companies, fast-food outlets, alcohol and other dangerous products. We did it with cigarettes and fewer people are now dying from lung cancer and smoking-related illnesses.
Meg Paul, Camberwell

Floods’ chemical danger

A concerning aspect of the floods is the amount of chemical run-off being washed into our water systems. Much of the discarded furniture cannot be salvaged as chemicals in the water have contaminated most of it, along with the houses themselves.

We need to cut back, or completely eliminate, the overuse of all the poisonous compounds being sprayed over farmland and return to a more ecologically sustainable method of agriculture.
Robert Scheffer, Bayswater

Britain’s PM by default
Is it possible the only reason Liz Truss got into Number 10 Downing Street is that she

won a competition to be “prime minister for a day”, and people left her there a bit longer because there weren’t any other viable candidates?
Halo Jones, Brunswick West

Deluded but ’victorious’

Boris Johnson, like Monty Python’s brave Sir Robin, has bravely run away. Which, of course, is the former prime minister’s modus operandi when faced with the consequence of his many malfeasances. To slink away clutching some imagined bauble, declaring victory in his time.
Ken Richards, Elwood

Beating mum’s record?

King Charles might be wondering whether he will have to swear in more prime ministers than his mother’s 15 during her 70-year reign as Queen.
Jim Hammerton, Alphington

Crimes against children

Thank you, John Silvester (Naked City, 22/10), for reminding Victorians of the abuse and on-going suffering of children by Anne Hamilton-Byrne’s despicable cult, ironically called The Family. She was supported in her life of lies, crimes and delusions at the highest level of Victoria’s institutions: medical professionals including psychiatrists, MPs, Christian leaders, academics, the Education Department, Victoria Police etc.

These children and young people who Hamilton-Byrne and members of The Family heinously abused have never received justice nor appropriate redress. As Silvester says, the only punishment she and her husband, Bill, received was $5000 each for falsifying statutory declarations after they were caught and extradited from the US.
Kerry Bergin, Abbotsford

A mouthful for Stockdale

Former premier Jeff Kennett’s outrage at Dan Andrews’ plan to revive the SEC (The Age, 24/10) reminded me of an incident on late-night, talkback radio years ago.

Kennett’s government had privatised the SEC and his treasurer, Alan Stockdale, was a guest on the program, justifying the decision. An elderly gentleman rang in and questioned the rationale of privatising government assets.

Stockdale replied, in a condescending manner, “what we are doing is making it possible for as many people as possible to own shares in the electricity industry”. The presenter failed to have his finger on the delay/delete button because the listener replied: “We all used to own it, you f—ing idiot.“
John Stewart, Ararat

Bring on the new SEC

I am all in favour of a new SEC. In August my private power company increased my daily supply charge by 22per cent. Only about six times the then known rate of inflation. I call that gouging.
Warren Thomas, Ivanhoe

Pointlessness of change

It was distressing to read Clare Savage’s comment: “Yet we know that 44 per cent of Australians are insufficiently literate to get by in everyday life. So, in that context, are complex energy markets fair?” (Comment, 20/10). I plan to tell my friends that we are in this 44 per cent, even though we appear to manage ourselves, families, work and social lives very well. In fact, we are quite literate.

When we gather, an often discussed subject is our energy provider and how it is too much trouble to change companies. The problem being that within a few months of changing, we are usually informed that the charges will increase and we have not gained any financial advantage.

We simply feel defeated, not illiterate. But if this 44 per cent statistic is accurate, why are the energy companies taking advantage of it?
Margot Sharman, Carlton

The sooner, the better

Thank goodness “single-use plastics are on the way out” (The Age, 24/10), and I am not at all surprised that “Sydney Harbour is choking in plastic”.

A great deal of plastic rubbish washes down the Yarra River on its way to the sea. At the moment, it is temporarily suspended in trees on the riverbank due to flooding. I find this very distressing and wish people would be more responsible in dealing with plastics. Banning of single-use plastics cannot come soon enough.
Ro Bailey, Hawthorn

Still a long way to go

Lightweight plastic bags have not been eradicated from supermarkets. They are still available for fruit and vegetables – and compulsory for deli items. Add to these the faux cellophane and foil used for snack items, bags for frozen goods, and liners for cereal boxes to name just a few. “Single-use plastics are on the way out”? Possibly, but if so, very slowly.
David Johnston, Healesville

Defining a ’promise’

It was interesting to see a list of promised improvements to the state’s medical facilities on the television news. We are still waiting for the promised increase to parking capacity at Frankston Station. When does an election promise become a real promise?
John Heggie, Hastings

Artistry of the urban

I suggest that the emerging scenic thoroughfare between Westgate Bridge and Western Ring Road be called Jeffrey Smart Freeway.
Rob Youl, South Melbourne

More tales of airline …

I read with interest that Virgin Australia is “back in the black” (The Age, 23/10). Perhaps it is because of passengers like me. We were late checking in online on Saturday and had to pay an additional $44 per person because the only seats left were in “economy x”. We couldn’t sit with each other and received no extra value for this impost.

This was on top of the already inflationary fare price due to payment from Virgin’s “travel bank” (credits as a result of fares cancelled during the pandemic). The fare is one price until they realise you are paying from travel bank and then it changes. I wish someone could look into this. Of course, it is all probably right there in the “fine print”.
Carol McLeod, Croydon

… marketing scams

I was making a booking with Qantas and reached the payment section when I remembered the company had sent me a $50 discount voucher. I couldn’t work out how to apply it without restarting the booking. When I put the voucher number on the first page of the booking process, the fares for the flights went up.

By the time I got to the final payment page, I was paying $60 to $70 more than the price I was previously quoted, and I could not see how or where the $50 discount was applied. The discount is rubbish. This is a marketing scam by Qantas to pretend it is doing us a favour, but it is not.
Peter Hall, North Warrandyte

The winners always win

I can’t wait for the royal commission into Medicare rorts. Overpaid, scamming lawyers investigating overpaid, scamming doctors, under the direction of overpaid, scamming politicians. Meanwhile the working class watches on in despair.
Kevin Fox, Richmond

A progressive system

As well as reminding us of Robert Menzies’ liberalism, George Brandis could have helped Treasurer Jim Chalmers solve Australia’s budget problems (Comment, 24/10).

At the end of Menzies’ term as prime minister in 1966, Australia had a far more progressive income tax system than today with multiple tax brackets and a top rate of 66.7 cents payable on each dollar above $32,000 per annum (about $300,000 in 2022).

In addition, under Menzies, Australia had taxes on inheritance. Clearly, Menzies’ brand of liberalism did not prioritise the current low tax mantra of allowing everyone to keep as much of their income as possible and spend it as they think best.
Rod Wise, Surrey Hills

Thank Evatt, not Menzies

George Brandis continues the propagate the conservative myth that Robert Menzies, the founder of the Liberal Party, was a libertarian. He was not.

He was the only prime minister in our history to attempt to ban a political party (the Communist Party) – a move virtually single-handedly defeated by federal Labor leader and former High Court judge, Doc (Herbert Vere) Evatt – while at the same time denying ideological opponents government employment and even passports. (For example, internationally renowned Australian journalist, Wilfred Burchett.) If you consider Australia a free and democratic society, thank Evatt, not Menzies.
Dennis Dodd, Wangaratta

Fearing the worst …

I hope the hiring of coach Ross Lyon ends better than other St Kilda “celebrity” coaching appointments such as Tim Watson and Malcolm Blight, but I suspect not.
Alan Tiller, Caulfield North


Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding


I’m sure the British hope that each roof truss in their parliament house lasts longer than a Liz Truss.
Bill Keneley, Grasmere

The obvious choice for new PM is Larry the mouser cat at 10 Downing Street (22/10).
Suzanne Palmer-Holton, Seaford

How disappointing that Johnson won’t stand. Hopefully he’ll get a major role in the running of Britain.
Diana Goetz, Mornington

The Conservatives should think outside the square and recruit from “right field”, Sir Tony Abbott.
Andrew Dods, Apollo

Johnson won’t run because “it’s simply not the right thing to do”. That’s Boris-speak for saying he doesn’t have the numbers.
John Cummings, Anglesea


Jeff (24/10), you are so last century. You’ve done so much damage to Victoria, slip away quietly.
Carolyn Milner, Elwood

So Xi Jinping has ″⁣surrounded himself with loyalists″⁣. What else is new?
Bernd Rieve, Brighton

Lidia Thorpe is causing the Greens to have red faces.
Graham Cadd, Dromana

Is Thorpe’s favourite song Dean Martin’s recording of Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime?
Nick Brennan, Rowville

Dutton has called for Thorpe’s resignation from parliament. For the first time in my life, I agree with him.
Tom Pagonis, Hawthorn

Sir John Monash founded the SEC. Magnificent as a soldier, magnificent as a peace-time leader of industry. We owe him so much.
Caroline Heard, Glen Huntly


It looks like the Diamonds have lost a little of their sparkle.
Martin Newington, Aspendale

Re the floods: Where’s Jeroen Weimar when we need him?
Lorna Downey, Point Lonsdale

Surely lingering inflation is preferable to an RBA-induced recession.
Peter Walker, Black Rock

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