Write on: Letters to the editor

Racism

The recent sentencing of a man for inciting a riot on Palm Island to seven years imprisonment is in stark contrast to the acquitting of the arresting officer in the original case — in which the arrested man died — and the awarding of medals for bravery to other police involved.

This action appears to be so heavily biased on the basis of race that it can only lead to a total lack of confidence in the Queensland justice system by anyone with a concern for justice.

There is not even a glimmer of concern from the Queensland government for the apparent one-sidedness of the outcome. The offender is black — jail. The police are white — medals for bravery. Which century is it?

State-supported racism is alive and well in Queensland but statesmanship is a word from a foreign language.

"Whatever the justification, society cannot accept that this (riot) was an appropriate response", the judge said. Some of us prefer to disagree.

Col Friel
Alawa, NT

70th anniversary of Reichspogromnacht

November 9 marks the 70th anniversary of Reichspogromnacht, not Kristallnacht.

On the 70th anniversary we call on the international community to cease using the Nazi's terminology for such a grave event.

Kristallnacht, broken glass, is used to make little of what befell the Jews of Germany and Austria on these days. We must recognize that there was a lot more broken than glass.

On November 9 and 10, 1938, Jewish homes and shops were ransacked and synagogues destroyed. Jews were forced to pay for the damages inflicted upon them. Many were tortured in the streets and as many as 30,000 were sent to concentration camps, never to return.

Let us commemorate November 9 and 10 and honor those who suffered by ceasing to use the Nazi term for the event. Let's begin to call it what it really was — Reichspogromnacht — a notoriously grave pogrom against the Jewish people of Germany and Austria.

Pastor Annemarie Werner
Berlin, &
Baruch Tenembaum New York

Australian political system in crisis

The Australian people are becoming increasingly aware that their political system is in crisis. The recent incompetent NSW mini-budget, based mostly on reducing spending while the federal government is doing the opposite, is the latest symptom.

This comes on top of other massive problems in federal-state relations. The major party elites and most politicians are very reluctant to address system and constitutional problems while the general public is both powerless and not well equipped to deal with them.

The systemic crisis has been brought on by the financial crisis and it is bound to deepen because it cannot cope with it. The crisis is a prerequisite for action.

What are the underlying problems? The federal structure is an obvious one but there is much more: the electoral system that thwarts democratic representation and produces a two-party tyranny; aspects of the Westminster system that cause functional amateurism in government and the fusion between the government and the legislature; and the archaic, ossified constitution.

The time for an effective reform is long overdue. There is an urgency about this and a lengthy commission of inquiry stacked with establishment notables won't help. Political will needs to be galvanised by a ginger group in power now.

Klaas Woldring
Pearl Beach, NSW

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