Letters 13.10.18

Better the devil you know?
IT was great to read the Speaker’s Corner “Heads must roll” (Voice, October 6, 2018), written by year 12 student Joel van Boxtel.
It’s good to know that at least some young folk are aware of the political realm, and his suggestion of a multi-person head of state is worth considering.
Better, perhaps, to go for a group as Joel suggests.
However, we should bear in mind the old adage that a camel was a thoroughbred designed by a committee.
Going for a group could have considerable drawbacks especially if you are expecting this head of state to do anything.
Furthermore, election of an head of state by the general population can collapse into a shambles – consider the drawn-out 2016 debacle in the USA; not to mention its outcome.
Perhaps it’s better to stay with a government-appointed, temporary and titular head of state, whose function is purely ceremonial and has no real power to act on the advice of the government – the status quo.
I agree that the British monarchy has no real relevance this side of the equator, but we must be careful in choosing its replacement.
Rick Duley
Mabel Street, North Perth

Demo-lition
IN his letter “Testing times” in last week’s Voice, Gordon Westwood fails his own test.
If his views on democracy were taught it would be, as he declares, a “monumental confidence trick.”
A democratic nation is not an ‘absolute’, so there no intrinsic conflict with monarchy.
Democracy is a process by which the exercise of power is discussed, monitored and transferred, and which involves the demos, i.e., the people.
Whether a nation is a democracy is not determined by its head of state, which could be an executive president (USA), ceremonial president (Germany), sultan (Malaysia), ruling monarch (Britain) or nominal monarch (Norway), or another type.
In Europe the process can even occur in a bureaucracy: members of the european parliament are elected, but it simply rubber stamps the EU.
If democracy can subsist within all kinds of entities, I wonder what pristine form Mr Westwood’s absolute democracy would take?
The role of a monarch or president in Australia’s governance is a matter for debate, i.e., part of the democratic process.
So Mr Westwood’s letter unwittingly demonstrates his view that we are not a democracy to be a “false claim”; which must cease.
Yours democratically,
Trevor Preston
Walcott Street, North Perth

Self-preservation
IN his letter “Bad drivers aren’t shot” in last week’s Voice, Richard Playle complains that animals who attack, maim and kill humans do not receive equal treatment compared to humans who drive recklessly and kill fellow humans.
My view is that my life, limbs and eyesight are more important than the life of an animal, especially when it is a child who is the victim.
It is fundamental that we treat animals as food, but we don’t cannibalise other humans.
Dogs who savage humans are routinely put down.
We jail reckless and dangerous drivers or withdraw their licences.
Does Mr Playle propose we stick sharks and magpies in jails rather than kill them? Shall we ban people from occupying homes in areas where magpies are known to breed?
And how does one “intelligently” behave when walking from shops to home with swooping magpies attacking, while one’s arms are occupied with balancing bags of groceries?
Shall we call a taxi, take a longer circuitous route, shop at night in order to cater for the interfering winged marauders? I do not attack creatures who leave me alone, but I reserve the right of self-defence, even if it means killing the offending animal.
It’s common sense and self-preservation.
Vincent Sammut
Franklin Street, Leederville

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