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What Thinking Autralians Are Thinking

As a participant of the Battle of Long Tan (I was platoon sergeant of 11 Platoon, D Company, 6RAR), my platoon went out with 29 soldiers that day and returned with eight — and who visited the Cross in 2006 — I have a view on the restrictions.

The restriction to the wearing of uniforms and medals when visiting the Cross has been a condition since about 1996. There was never any restriction placed on visitors when it was a rubber plantation. There has been when it’s planted with crops.

This year, for the second time to my knowledge, the rubber trees have been replaced with a corn crop. Corn is planted to the edge of the concrete slab where the Cross is placed. More than 1000 gathering around site would destroy many plants and trample a hectare of crops.

The 40th anniversary in 2006 would have been a shock for the Vietnamese when a group of veterans behaved in a disgraceful manner. This could have influenced limitation of numbers visiting the site, in my considered opinion.

Also, following anniversaries in Vietnam in 1996 and 2006, the Vietnamese authorities are now aware of Australia’s method of viewing battlefields that are, I believe, contrary to their culture. This consideration could have influenced the Vietnamese decision.

Robert S. Buick, Mountain Creek, Qld

While Australians commemorate the Battle of Long Tan, let’s not forget the Labor Party and many unions were supporting the Vietcong while the battle raged. When the communists took over the south, Gough Whitlam proclaimed South Vietnam had been “liberated” and tried to stop anti-communist Vietnamese refugees coming here because he knew they would vote Liberal.
Bob Vinnicombe, Sefton, NSW

Importance of a plebiscite

The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex lobby is worried that holding a plebiscite will unleash a torrent of anti-gay abuse. I think it more likely that they are worried that they will lose the vote.

Although I will be voting yes, I feel that an important national reform such as same-sex marriage should get clear majority support in order to be accepted by society. And if the proposal does not pass, guess what? That’s democracy.

Terence Jessop, Killcare Heights, NSW

Brian Greig’s demand for more restrictions on freedom of speech (Letters, 18/8) is absurd. Most of the “hate speech” in the same-sex marriage debate is directed at those who want to preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

When I said in an internet discussion that I had supported the legalisation of homosexual sex more than 40 years ago, I was accused of being a bigot for using the word homosexual, even though that was the term used in that previous debate, which was about something real. Human freedom is slowly being crushed by zealots on bandwagons. The more we concede, the more they will demand.
Chris Curtis, Hurstbridge, Vic

accuse Labor of duplicity. Its rejection of budget repair measures (supported during the election campaign) is openly putting Labor Party interests ahead of the national interest.

Paul Tooker, Bald Knob, Qld

Why is everybody so surprised Bill Shorten is carrying on where he left off in the election — copious amounts of bulldust sprinkled with a topping of sincerity without taking his hands out of his pockets? By the way, I walked past Medicare the other day — it’s still open.

John Bain, South Bunbury, WA

Shortly after World War II, Britain faced shortages of coal and fish, prompting the question how a government could manage this on an island made of coal and surrounded by fish. A similar question could now be asked here in Australia with this gas shortage and impending huge rises in power costs.
Doug Hurst, Chapman, ACT