John Howard’s comments have broad appeal
I don’t have any religious beliefs, but I agree with John Howard that those who do should be free to pursue their beliefs in the event of same-sex marriage becoming law (“Howard ramps up attack on Turnbull”, 15/9).
We now have bunches of left-wing agitators disrupting any gatherings for the No case. It is easy to see that these same agitators will continue their campaign against the churches and religious freedoms after SSM becomes law, and it will be necessary to make it a criminal offence if the authorities hope to curb it. R. Watson, Sunnybank Hills, Qld
John Howard is right to criticise Malcolm Turnbull for not moving to detail freedom of speech and religion protections before the survey closes.
Turnbull’s inaction may prove more damaging than he imagines. Those who see the need for these protections will be more inclined to vote No and, in the event of a majority Yes vote, will not thank Turnbull later if their concerns are shown to have been well founded. And if there is a No vote, they will still see Turnbull as lukewarm on freedom of speech and
freedom of religion issues. Others may even read Turnbull’s inaction as a calculated tactic to enhance the No vote, despite his support for the Yes case, the reasoning being that if most of us say No, it will be a long time before the issue regains momentum. Philip Temple, Larrakeyah, NT
Irrespective of their views, the public is entitled to know the full implications of SSM. The proposed amendments to legislation should therefore be available before the vote, giving commentators adequate time for detailed analysis.
John Howard is right for pointing out there may be unintended consequences. A headlong rush into this big social change may suit some, but there is a need to respect and properly consider opposing views. Michael Schilling, Millswood, SA
Many Australians would have nodded their heads at John Howard’s carefully calibrated but pointed words on the need for the Turnbull government to address concerns about the legal protections needed to accompany same-sex marriage.
His no-nonsense wisdom resonates with the many who look beyond simplistic slogans. As there is mention of plans to fast-track Peter Costello into a seat, many would urge Howard to consider returning to politics.
The Turnbull government is disinclined to draft specific safeguards to freedom of speech, belief and association. This is dereliction of duty. The contempt it shows for valid questions and concerns will be returned at the ballot box. Ruth Bonetti, The Gap, Qld
I may or may not agree with prominent Australians such as Margaret Court and Israel Folau, but what I witnessed should send shivers down the backbone of every freedom-loving Australian. No campaigners have been vilified. Bigot, homophobe and other name-calling have become the modus operandi for Yes supporters. Chris Sargeant, Endeavour Hills, Vic
Neither religious nor political conservatives appear able to countenance change, nor question long-held beliefs. Those groups were the first to insist that Islam undergo a refor-
mation to align it with our society. The SSM issue uncovers a plethora of behaviours and attitudes that indicate that sexuality other than heterosexuality is to be ignored, same-sex attraction, gender fluidity do not exist and should not be spoken of.
Apparently, for these groups, the concept of marriage is to be taught by schools or the church. I assume it is a parental responsibility, not one left to the blinkered understanding of the church or education system. Roger Bridgland, West Hobart, Tas
I am homosexual and I wish to dismantle society. I want the federation to work more efficiently; I want less whining about rights and more about responsibilities; I want fewer victims complaining; I want an acceptance of how lucky we are.
But please tell me how marrying my partner rips at the fabric of society. And how does it interfere with religious freedoms? What sort of bigotry is driving this anti-gay marriage campaign? If only there was more passion for Jesus’s message. Love thy neighbour perhaps? Ian Hunter, Lewisham, NSW
John Kis-Rigo (Letters, 15/9) sees in the SSM debate echoes from how communist regimes claimed to support freedom. Today’s atheists will say their views bear no connection to Stalin’s League of the Militant Godless, but the left ignores lessons of history. Persecution of religious freedom brings a numbing conformity that imperils diversity, tolerance, creativity and inclusion. Robert Tulip, Fraser, ACT
It beggars belief that one religion’s trepidation toward gay marriage is pilloried as bigoted, yet another religion’s right to enforce full head coverings on women is hardly questioned. When will karma run over this dogma? John Herbert, Sandy Bay, Tas
One positive of John Howard’s awakening to fight a rearguard action to stop SSM is that many who will return the survey won’t know who he is. And many of those who are old enough to remember him would do anything to neutralise his call for a No vote. D. J. Fraser, Currumbin, Qld
Same-sex marriage is being brought to us by the same people who have delivered our energy policy. What could possibly go wrong? Gavan Desmond, Holt, ACT
On Radio National on Friday morning, three commentators were analysing the events of the week. In discussing the consequences of the media reforms, they were of one voice in arguing that it would lead to a reduction in diversity. In fact, all three were of one voice on all issues discussed: energy, same-sex marriage, the postal vote and changes in the media landscape. The irony appears not to have registered on those who choose the panels on Radio National. Jennie George, Mollymook, NSW
Lionel Murphy would have made a perfect mentor for Eddie Obeid. Gilly Truman, Bowral, NSW
Chris Roylance (Letters, 14/9) claims that in the past two years we have had the worst hurricanes ever. In 1900 a hurricane hit Galveston, a town of about 40,000 people. More than 12,000 died. Until Harvey two weeks ago, the US had not had a hurricane make landfall since Katrina in 2005 the longest period between hurricanes since European settlement. Bob Buczma, Randwick, NSW
On Monday, Chris Mitchell told us Australia represents 1.3 per cent of global emissions”. The Australian’s editorial regularly tells us it is 1.4 per cent. And David Bidstrup (Letters, 15/9) ups the ante to 1.6 per cent. So if they can’t even get their facts consistent, then the premise of my original letter remains immutable and confirms the Pope’s suggestion: climate change deniers are “stupid”. Chris Roylance, Paddington, Qld