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Party games, poignancy (and splendor) a fitting farewell

In 1901 my father saw Queen Victoria’s funeral cortege pass through London. My brother and I watched Queen Elizabeth’s funeral on TV with equal reverence. The adventure gives us all a sense of belonging as well as closure. Marjie Williamson, Blaxland

Attention, precision, respect, poignant. Even the weather cooperated. Joan Brown, Orange

Republic only requires changing our head of state

We Australians have been deftly manipulated into becoming a republic (Letters, September 20). Monarchists have framed it as an all-or-nothing change. But apart from no longer being dependent on a foreign country, very little would change. Our history would not change (apart from having less reason to whitewash it) and we would maintain strong links with Britain, its monarchy and the Commonwealth. The respected social scientist Hugh Mackay summed it up perfectly more than 20 years ago. The most sensible course is minimal change. Leave everything as it is, except to transfer the Governor-General’s allegiance from a foreign crown to the Australian people. An election for head of state would only cause more problems. Tom Orren, Wamberal Heights

I challenged a group of friends last night to come up with a more benign title than President. Suggestions included: almighty, head honcho, capitano, emperor, dictator, tsar, overlord, shah, big boss, boss, foreman, chairman, chief, sheik and the list went on as the evening progressed. Unfortunately, we were clearly unsuccessful in our search, so it seems that President might just be the least offensive term. Shona Church, Kiama

It is remarkable that the idea of ​​a king can survive into the rationalist 21st century. It has had a central role in fairy tales for centuries, but is clearly no more than a fairy tale. How is it that one particular family can “reign” or somehow be special or superior in some way to all others? Because it has been doing it for a thousand years? And how did it come to have that role? Through conquest, assassinations, wars, executions and kidnappings? Does all that make it legit? As Shakespeare made Cassius say of Caesar, “What flesh eateth this our Caesar, that he hath grown so great?” Barry Lamb, Heidelberg West (Vic)

Most republics around the world are no great role models to aspire to, so let’s get rid of the useless position of the Governor General and keep the rest of our democratic process. Parliament should be the ultimate authority in Australia. Perhaps at the same time we could do without the federal upper house, as it is also past its use-by date. Denis Suttling, Newport Beach

How do we get a head of state? Who will it be? Will it be chosen? Will it be a political role or a head of state role? Once this lot has been sorted, we will welcome William to the throne. Genevieve Milton, Newtown

Lyn’s Law has a flawed premise

The emotional drive for a so-called “Lightning’s Law” is understandable, but the logic is flawed (‴​​​​No body, no parole’: NSW to adopt Lightning’s Law, 20 September). Criminal law is not a perfect process. Court cases do not always produce the correct verdict. The real effect of such a provision would be to waive any right to appeal the judgment. It would also set a threatening precedent to pass laws to force an accused person to give up the right to remain silent about a particular matter. We often read about murder convictions that have been overturned based on a mistrial or new evidence. If a convicted prisoner continues to maintain his innocence, they can hardly be expected to reveal the location of the body of someone they say they did not kill, in exchange for the chance of parole. David Salter, Hunter’s Hill

At first blush, of the new NSW laws regarding no parole for a convicted murderer unless he/she reveals the location of the body, Dominic Perrottet says: “We will make it impossible for offenders who willfully and deliberately refuse to reveal information about their victims is yet to be granted parole”, as “being unable to locate the body of a loved one is extremely distressing and traumatic for victims’ families and friends”. No arguments there. However, this law ignores at least one unpleasant aspect. If a convicted murderer is in fact not guilty of the crime – and we have had many cases of false convictions over the years in our far-from-perfect justice system – then this new idea precludes the convicted from ever being paroled, since he/she does not have a clue as to the whereabouts of the victim’s body. Think again, Dom. Ian Usman Lewis, Kentucky

The criminals’ refusal to reveal the location of their victims’ remains is unimaginably cruel and a cause of great concern for families. Victims have been denied the dignity of being properly laid to rest and families have been denied closure. Lyn’s Law offers hope for these families. Graham Lum, North Rocks

The race to delete

A struggle is taking place in Sydney’s suburbs, which is going largely unnoticed as houses built in the post-World War II building boom are bulldozed and replaced by large square boxes (“Development next to ruined mansion set for approval”, September 20) . This raises questions about the nature of our heritage and what constitutes a heritage house. Sydney’s 1950s houses may not have the sex appeal of their Federation or California bungalow cousins, but they are disappearing at an alarming rate. With their disappearance, a part of our recent past is lost that can never be replaced. Rod Leonarder, Roseville

Mergers a bad move

The new Museums of History NSW will incorporate Hyde Park Barracks, Elizabeth House and the State Archives collection.Credit:SMH

The NSW government’s ideological obsession with mergers, divestments and privatizations continues, undeterred by public opposition and evidence of little public benefit (“Expert rejects plan to merge NSW museums”, 20 September). And you can be sure that there is always a gross economic imperative that is completely removed from the responsibility of preserving cultural integrity and heritage. In this case, the bill “actually allows for any house museum to become a cafe, conference or wedding venue and for the sale of properties under almost any circumstances”. The unpopular council mergers, which have now turned into potentially expensive splits, should be a salutary lesson for the philistines. And if they do not stop, they must be removed. Alison Stewart, Riverview

Tax brakes

I believe there are some simple measures to tackle the federal debt, which are touched on in various articles, the most recent being Jessica Irvine’s article (“Is Lowe Right? Taxes May Have to Go Up”, September 20). First, attack the tax benefits that are being given out. Negative gearing should be “grandfathered” and future negative gearing should only be allowed on a maximum of two investment properties. Second, franking credits should only be allowed down to zero tax. Thirdly, the Medicare levy should rise by half a per cent and all income earners should pay the levy except those dependent on Commonwealth pensions. Finally, abandon the next round of income tax cuts until a certain threshold is reached to pay down the federal debt. Ken Pares, Forster

Teals not true blues

Malcolm Turnbull’s vision of the Liberals deliberately picking strong “Green Green” type candidates is simply starry-eyed (“Liberal report on Morrison defeat delayed until after Victorian state election”, smh.com.au, 20 September). Conscript blue-green replicas would only work until they had to publicly address and support the policies of the current floundering and backward parliamentary opposition as part of their campaigns. The next two years will at long last raise the bar for transparency and integrity in politics, leaving any chameleon-like liberal candidate, male or female, nowhere to hide. Sue Dyer, Downer (ACT)

Holding the line

Prince William greets people queuing to see the Queen lie in state

Prince William greets people queuing to see the Queen lie in stateCredit:Getty Images

It is well known that the British are the best cows in the world (“We have grieved and now we must consider the next step”, September 20). This week has been a revelation and it restores my faith in humanity to see thousands turn out in patient, organized fashion for long hours to see Queen Elizabeth II lie in state. Friendships have been made during this journey, both rich and poor, and celebrities have humbly waited their turn through days and nights of rain and sometimes cold. What an emotionally uplifting story this is, among the many stories of this long goodbye. Republicans take note: people need someone to respect and unite. Jill Power, Manly Vale

Hands off

How do I politely tell all the people who keep ″​​reaching″​​ out to me that in times of COVID I prefer not to be touched and I certainly don’t want them touching my base? Derry Thomas, North Epping

Tern of the government

Bush turkey

Bush turkeyCredit:Taronga Conservation Society

Fauna on banknotes (Letters, 20 September) could lead to the depiction of galahs and bush turkeys, an option centered on Canberra. Ivan Head, Burradoo

Finding Tory

Think of poor Anthony Albanese. Sprinkled with the magic dust, he might just discover his inner Tory. Braham Dabscheck, Bronte

Excessive story

I agree with your correspondent (Letters, 19 September) that the upper classes in Britain have wardrobes full of cosplay gear. The royal trainers are examples of their worst excesses. Our television was turned off on Monday. Don Leayr, Albury

How many readers hit their dictionary/Google to find out the meaning of “cosplay”? Thank you – that is now my word of the week, and it was strongly expressed at the funeral. Rose Panidis, Graceville (Qld)

Is it safe to turn the TV back on? John McGee, Evatt (ACT)

The digital view
Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday smh.com.au
Liberal report on Morrison defeat delayed until after Victorian state poll
From surf mat: The secrecy and lack of transparency in all their actions contributed to the loss, yet they are holding on to a valuable report until it is politically safe to drop it. They have learned nothing.

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