Letters of the week September 8, 2023

Changing the rules

Dear Echo News,

Regarding S Oliver of Ellenbrook’s letter Ticks and crosses (Echo News, September 1), please don’t add to the misinformation circulating around the upcoming Voice to Parliament referendum.

Your accusation the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is “blatantly undemocratic by using its powers to favour the yes vote is untrue.

The electoral laws regarding referendums have been in place since 1984.

The referendum about becoming a republic in 1999 used the same referendum rules with informal vote then less than 1 per cent.

Between 2013-2022 the Liberal National government had an opportunity to change Australia’s referendum rules – they didn’t.

In June this year, Parliament passed legislation allowing the Voice to Parliament referendum to go ahead.

Again, Peter Dutton and the LNP could have raised concerns about the format then but didn’t.

The AEC does not make the legislated rules for elections and referendums, Parliaments do.

K Ovens



Voicing concerns

Dear Echo News,

As a regular shopper in  Echo News’ catchment and a long term nearby resident, I am concerned as to the consequences, left unexplained, as we voters approach a date in October to say Yes or No to a government proposal to create a permanent body in the Constitution in addition to: the Parliament, the Commonwealth executive, (the public service) and the judicature (our courts) which by comparison indicates an independent power well above an advisory category which is hinted, but never justified, in the wording of the “question” we voters are expected to answer with either a yes or no.

When shopping at Centrepoint, my wife and I will have a coffee or excellent snack at the popular coffee shop along with many other persons in our age group whom I would assess as retirees, whose income would be off the pension or savings, and they are residents in a home they paid off in their working years.   

Having read Echo News (July 7) I decided to bring it home and write to your readers about two advertisements therein.

The first was authorised by the WA state government telling us there was absolutely nothing to worry about in its new Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act, which by the end of the month was announced to be withdrawn after the truth came out and voters got a second chance to protest.

Put simply, the state Parliament can cancel a bad law.

However, there is another advertisement authorised by Hasluck MHR Tania Lawrence which encourages we voters to make a once in a lifetime decision to vote yes for the Voice because it is “fair – practical – unifying” – whatever that means.

There was however an article, published in a national newspaper on the 8/6/2020, that announced the #PayTheRent campaign which proposes a levy on the income of all non-indigenous persons, “for living on stolen land” and for which she must be aware of as some activists still promote it.

Put simply, the commonwealth government cannot do a ‘Cook’ and change any yes consequences – if included in the Constitution.

I consider that instead of such platitudes that the local MP might publish, it should be a promise to her voters that this, the fourth body in the Constitution, will not or cannot make a ‘representation’ to its associated ‘bodies’ to implement this form of land tax, and that her government will not grab it with glee as a means of funding this new body.

W Tuckey



Revitalised Midland railway workshops

Dear Echo News,

It is probably a good time now to reflect on the closure of the Midland workshops and whether it was a good decision.

The closure caused considerable ire and angst at the time.

The action certainly raised questions as to where our future tradesmen would be produced.

Thankfully the anger has subsided as time went by.

If the reader is a truly level-headed person, they will have noticed that on this site we now have a first-class hospital, a large general practice clinic, medical specialist services, the police communications branch, the Curtin University medical school, and a diverse range of commercial undertakings over a wide area – and not forgetting to mention the numerous houses that have been built.

Are you happy with the changes?

If you are, then spare a silent thought of gratitude to the Liberal government of the time who had the hard decision to make to close a money sink.

T Polich

Herne Hill

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