Lamenting the death of the gentleman’s game

Credit:Illustration: Andrew Dyson

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Lamenting the death of the gentleman’s game

I played cricket for more than 30 years. I saw all of the 1946/47 Boxing Day Test, saw Bradman make 100 and watched all the greats that became the ‘‘Invincibles’’ in England in 1948. What heroes for any boy to try to emulate. There was a saying in those days when referring to unsportsmanlike or untoward behaviour as ‘‘not being cricket’’. It was as if the game of cricket was indeed a moral code.

Now we are witnessing, sadly, not only Test players but Test captains involved in unsportsmanlike behaviour. No longer any off-field socialising after the game, nothing like the camaraderie that existed in the West Indies tour years ago. So old traditionalists like myself mourn the passing of the values that set cricket above all other sports.
Rod Mackenzie, Marshall

Sadly, another case of our poor sportsmanship

Tim Paine has led the Australian team with distinction since the South African incident. It was therefore disappointing to see his actions and words during the engrossing last day of the third Test. What was an amazing performance by the Indian batsmen will now also be remembered for the petulant performance of Paine and some of the other Australian team. His excuses were inadequate. Cricket is a great game with a wonderful history, including many tales where opponents congratulated each other for their great efforts.

Why is winning more important than anything else? Who is mentoring Paine? Where were the other leaders in the Australian team? This is another case of poor sportsmanship from an Australian captain and his team.
Shaun Quinn, Yarrawonga

Ignoring times when Australian players are abused

We Australians are good at pointing the finger at locals who behave appallingly at cricket matches but I have not heard one peep regarding the disgusting behaviour meted out to our team at the Old Trafford Ashes test in 2019. My son and I spent two days there and witnessed atrocious behaviour from a large part of the crowd, with abuse directed towards Steven Smith and David Warner. It was continuous and vicious.

I have not witnessed anything as feral as this in all the years I have attended cricket matches in Australia. Where were the indignant articles about that? Where were the calls to hold England cricket responsible for the terrible behaviour of a crowd that appeared to be hellbent on consuming as much alcohol as possible during the game?
Peter Wiegard, Wheelers Hill

It is time to prevent workplace abuse on the pitch

Tim Paine was at work on that cricket pitch. If you abuse people at work, you will be summoned to a formal investigation. Sometimes you are demoted or lose your job. At a minimum, you end up with a formal warning. Being ‘‘under pressure’’ is not a defence.

Paine is paid millions to play sport. That is a privilege that most workers never enjoy. If he cannot perform the inherent requirements of his job without abusing others, then why is he there? It is time WorkSafe investigated Cricket Australia. What effort, if any, is that employer making to prevent workplace abuse?
Cindy O’Connor, Brunswick

An allegation does not mean automatic guilt

I never cease to be amazed at how quickly the media, and readers, assume that allegations, real or perceived, are the absolute truth. An Indian-Australian spectator firmly denies there were any racial slurs coming from the group who were evicted (The Age, 12/1), on the claims of a stressed team member. The new Australian rule: guilty until proven innocent.
Trish Young, Hampton

Please, end the Americanisation of our sport

Memo to cricket commentators: Please stop the Americanisation of cricket commentary. Cricket has batsmen, batswomen and fielders. It is baseball that has batters and catchers. The respective sports are derived from two separate nations.
James Henshall, Richmond


The reality of racism

Are we a racist society? Our leaders say no. Have they never heard Aboriginal people, the Chinese, Muslims and Africans talk about racist slurs against them? What is the magical number of people of colour who need to be abused before we will admit we have a serious problem?
Liesma Lieknis, Beaumaris

Too dangerous to hold

With the Grand Prix deferred until November (The Age, 13/1), it is even more surprising that the Australian Open is going ahead. The experience of at least one overseas tennis tournament and indeed the qualifying rounds in Doha, do not encourage optimism. Australians who are trying to get home from overseas must wonder about priorities. Not a peep from the usually hypercritical Opposition either. Is it just the money or some misguided equity with cricket? Or am I missing something?
Alison Fraser, Ascot Vale

Seeking an explanation

Re your article, ‘‘Scientists urge pause on vaccine rollout’’ (The Age, 13/1). When asked why the Australasian Virology Society had changed its official position at the last moment, its president, Professor Gilda Tachedejian, reportedly replied: ‘‘That’s for us to know and you to find out. One reason is we don’t want to undermine the confidence in the vaccine. And we don’t have the full picture.’’ Well, one way to undermine confidence is to give an answer like that. It is for all of us to know and it is certainly for the Age to find out on our behalf.
Philip Bunn, Beechworth

The more things change…

As a schoolboy, I could never understand how each state decided to use a different gauge railway line, causing an unnecessary disruption to interstate travel and commerce. Fifty odd years later, as the premiers bicker and posture about when and how to open and close borders, it is truly comprehensible.
Peter Thomas, Pascoe Vale

Take a leaf from France

Perhaps we should renovate St Kilda Road, Royal Parade, Victoria Street and Flemington Road to the standard of what is proposed for the Champs-Elysees in Paris (World, 13/1). The architectural impressions look amazing.
David Blom, Nunawading

A bold, necessary step

At last some real hope of managing online hate speech, with 50 MPs joining a new parliamentary group dedicated to reining in the technology giants (The Age, 12/1) Lives can and are being torn apart by this behemoth. Along the way we discovered it was out of reach of the average person, who lacks the financial resources to mount the currently required legal challenge, to have the hate speech taken down. We commend those politicians who have put forward this draft legislation.
Margaret Scanlon, Carlton North

Knowing our enemies

There is no absolute right to free speech, some things are dangerous to say. However, some things are more dangerous to ignore.

‘‘Shouty’’ people will find alternative forums that are not subject to popular scrutiny. My fear is that when individuals are driven from the town square, they will congregate in shadowy recesses of malignant and delusional self-affirmation and escalation. The balkanisation of platforms will harden bubble walls and insulate everybody from divergent and even enlightening points of view.

Obviously many of Donald Trump’s acolytes dwell in the inflamed, outer reaches of the reality-based universe, but at least when he is on Twitter we know the brand of petrol he is throwing on their fire. Rather than shutting them down, I would prefer to know what what my enemy is thinking and saying.
Peter Rushen, Carnegie

Avoid the American model

It seems some of our politicians have not learnt from the problems in the US. That country has shown what can happen after years of politicians telling lies and spreading conspiracy theories, and now some are attempting to override the democratic process.

It is apparent we have Trumpism supporters with the likes of Craig Kelly, Bernie Finn and George Christensen. The outrageous statements coming from these three show they need to be pulled into line. How on earth did they become holders of such responsibility? That is right: people in their electorates voted for them.
Rod Stevens, Torquay

Ex-president’s wise words

In his recently published memoir, A Promised Land, Barack Obama reflects on the trials of getting environmental legislation through Congress and the obstructions put up to thwart it. He comments on the need for leadership: ‘‘Getting things done meant subjecting yourself to criticism, and the alternative – playing it safe, avoiding controversy, following the polls – was not only a recipe for mediocrity but a betrayal of the hopes of those citizens who’d put you in office.’’
Scott Morrison and co, take note.
Helen Verdnik, Bell Post Hill

The Donald can speak

Dave Sharma – ‘‘Limiting free speech no role for Big Tech’’ (Opinion, 13/1) – Donald Trump has not been ‘‘stripped of his political voice’’, merely banned from social media (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook). His press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, is still able to release his statements, call press conferences and arrange interviews. She is employed to enable his voice, as POTUS, to be heard. The official @POTUS instagram account is still active. As is @TheWhiteHouse. But these are official, government-operated accounts. Unlike @realDonaldTrump, which was a personal, not a presidential, Twitter account.
Anne Rutland, Brunswick West

Read terms and conditions

Dave Sharma misses the point entirely with his piece on free speech. The US President, a man with many press staff and public communication tools at his disposal, elects to use a privately owned and privately regulated social media tool to spread his message while still in office.

Sharma is upset that after inciting violence of the type not seen since 1812 in the US, Trump was permanently banned from Twitter. He was banned for blatantly contravening the terms and conditions which he no doubt agreed to when he signed up to the service.
Dave Kaleta, Bacchus Marsh

Stopping Trump’s ‘shouts’

Dave Sharma is wide of the mark when he says it is unfair to ask digital platforms to self-censor and get it right, and that they should not be the arbiters of truth. Swap the term digital platforms for newspapers, radio and television and we see that they neither ‘‘lack the expertise’’ nor the ‘‘lack the legitimacy’’ to control what is published. Hatred, ridicule and contempt are illegal in the media and steps are taken to put forward what is true. It must also be the case online.

To suggest that it is chilling to gag an inflammatory voice such as Trump’s is to err. It was the US Supreme Court which ruled that free speech ends when someone falsely shouts ‘‘fire’’ in a crowded theatre. Such shouts have to be stopped online.
Kevin Childs, Hepburn

Speak up for Assange

If acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack is so keen on free speech, I wonder why he is remarkably quiet on supporting and freeing Julian Assange.
Russell Wanklyn, Fairfield

Come back, Mr Morrison

There cannot be such a huge population of non-believers that Michael McCormack feels his rants will be well received. Or maybe he believes Australia is the 51st state and will travel down the same health and economic path as the US. Wherever McCormack’s boss is holidaying, he should return.
Sharyn Bhalla, Ferntree Gully

Inciting Trump’s fans

Margaret Simons (Comment, 13/1) made some telling points about how a bully boy like Donald Trump can use media like Twitter to stir up his followers and foment the violence that occurred at the Capitol. Her solution – to use codes of conduct for media, as employed in Australia for commercial broadcasters, which would remove incendiary speeches such as Trump’s – looks attractive. But would it be effective in the American context? My suspicion is that ‘‘cancelling’’ Trump would lead to a further growth of conspiracy theories among his disenfranchised followers, and possibly even more violence and social disruption.
Peter Deerson, Mornington

The winners and losers

I am staggered but not surprised the government may give workers the choice of putting more money into their superannuation or having more take-home pay (The Age, 13/1). The Coalition has never been a supporter of compulsory super savings because it has created a pool of funds that can make a huge difference in the way our society operates. It finds this ideologically distasteful as the template has been inverted, with workers controlling large amounts of capital, not the other way around. The people who will opt out will be the lower paid. Therefore, they will be denied a decent retirement while the higher paid will stay in and gain all of the benefits of a tax system-subsidised savings program.
Steve Griffin, West Coburg

More double standards

Whenever the Morrison government is faced with spending that will provide a benefit to women, the disabled, the aged or the poorer part of the community, there is immediately talk of needing an offset. Obviously, if working people want enough super for retirement, they must forgo wage increases. However, I do not recall talk of an offset for the billions in subsidies given to the fossil fuel industry, for the taxpayer-funded renovation scheme for those who already own homes or for dubiously allocated sports grants. Did I miss that?
Kairen Harris, Brunswick


Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding


Does criticism of Craig Kelly’s opinions constitute child abuse?
Ronald Burnstein, Heidelberg

Aussies stuck overseas could change their employment status to tennis-playing, fruit-picking au pairs.
Pete Sands, Monbulk

Checkpoint Charlie proudly announces no new cases since we introduced the traffic light system.
Breda Hertaeg, Beaumaris

Why are the US and Britain getting vaccines that are 95per cent effective while ours is only 62per cent effective (13/1)?
Russell Brims, Bentleigh


I sympathise with the Indian team. My idea of roughing it is no room service too.
Mary Wise, Ringwood

Are there any adults in the Australian cricket team?
Joan Segrave, Healesville

The Aussie rule: If you can’t beat ’em, sledge ’em.
Jerry Koliha, South Melbourne


A typical narcissist. It’s everyone else’s fault, never his responsibility.
Dean Michael, Mount Macedon

This sorry apology of a man should not be allowed to wander the country promoting his ‘‘religion’’.
Meg Stevenson, Hobart

In refusing the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Bill Belichick demonstrated true leadership.
Michael Cowan, Wheelers Hill

What’s the most popular bid in bridge and five hundred? No Trumps.
Kerry Lewis, Williamstown

With Christensen, Kelly and Finn, we have our own fair dinkum Donalds.
Barry Culph, St Leonards

Freedom of speech

Michael McCormack, beliefs and opinions are not facts.
Kerry Landman, Alphington

The howls of protest from the Coalition’s Trumpophiles citing freedom of speech lose credibility when viewed alongside their attempts to stifle the ABC.
Peter Knight, St Arnaud

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