closing the gap

Has the time come for parliament to pass a treaty with First Nations people? According to Crikey readers — responding to Guy Rundle — that time is long overdue. Elsewhere, readers discussed the plan for tackling the Murray-Darling water crisis and the ongoing fallout of the Crown affair.

On the need for treaty

Richard Shortt writes: I recently wondered why I was sensing déjà vu while listening to a very articulate, smart and persuasive young Indigenous speaker discussing the future. Then it occurred to me, I had seen a similar situation at home in NZ in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Young, smart, well-educated and articulate Maori in a range of roles were calling us out on having a treaty but ignoring it for 150 years. Now, living across the ditch I see the same narrative playing out. Change will follow. It did for NZ. They knew the law, they knew how to debate and they were organised. Change did not damage us, it made us stronger. It did not solve every issue and much is left to be done, but it came.

Mark E Smith writes: Treaty followed by the next bit — be it voice or whatever — puts the cart and horse in the right order. However I can really understand black frustration leading to the voice proposal. Treaty has gone nowhere for decades now even after Wik and Mabo.

On Murray-Darling in crisis

Geoffrey Edwards writes: First we took water management out of the hands of the Murray-Darling states because they mismanaged it. Now the body set up to overcome maladministration is charged with maladministration and needs yet another overseer. Has anybody in power pondered whether there might be some more fundamental reform required to our public administration? Such as by nourishing the states’ capacity to manage natural resources in the public interest? Or by conceding that artificially constructed devices like trading credits can’t adequately mediate complex social and environmental systems by themselves?

Tom Mehigan writes: Australians have a proud record of uniting for the common good when a crisis occurs — floods, fires, natural and other disasters. However we cannot afford the luxury of waiting for that crisis this time. There has to be an overwhelming peaceful movement to demand action from our leaders who choose to be at the mercy of specious arguments trumped up by vested interests. We have seen it all before with smoking and other issues. The school children have shown us the way and we must follow.

On the Crown scandal

Peter Prazel writes: The Crown saga displays the extreme flaws in our political system that plague and suppress the good in our nation. Whilst middle Australians are taxed and controlled to the point of insanity the big end of town can do whatever they want through what can only be described as blatant corruption. Our politicians and public servants have developed a biased system of privilege to large corporations and governments. The public can have no faith in anything that governments do in relation to legislation nor its enforcement.

Send your comments, corrections, clarifications and cock-ups to [email protected]. We reserve the right to edit comments for length and clarity. Please include your full name if you would like to be considered for publication.

Peter Fray

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