Letters to the editor

LETTERS: Send letters to the editor to olivia.barnes@fairfaxmedia.com.au.
LETTERS: Send letters to the editor to olivia.barnes@fairfaxmedia.com.au.

Why would we risk it?

I understand that NOPSEMA has approved seismic testing in the Bight.

This should delight Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey as he is on the record as a supporter of oil exploration and exploitation in the Great Australian Bight.

I attended an information night at the Nautilus Arts Centre last year where I heard 19 out of 20 members of the public speak against drilling in the Bight.

These were not 'mad Greenies’ but local young people and calm and well informed representatives of nearly every viable industry that the Eyre Peninsula and its incredible environment supports.

Mr Ramsey claims he will be targeted by GetUp and “organisations saturated by labour operatives” in the upcoming federal election which, for me, is playing mere politics with an issue so much greater than who wins elections.

As I watched the locals enjoying the foreshore during the recent hot spell I couldn’t help but think about what happened in the Gulf of Mexico notwithstanding their “extensive record of drilling” and strict environmental checks and balances.

Why would we risk it? For money? Profits? Wake up Mr Ramsey, stop playing politics and act now on behalf of our grandchildren.

MARK BLACKWELL

Port Lincoln

Australia Day solution

Every summer the country starts tearing itself apart over the issue of Australia Day. However, the solution is staring us in the face. 

When Matthew Flinders published his chart of the Australian coastline in January 1814, following his circumnavigation in 1802, 1803, he chose the title ‘Terra Australis’ or Australia. 

For the first time the name of the whole continent came under one name ‘Australia’ superseding ‘New Holland’ in the west and ‘New South Wales’ in the east. 

The new day for celebrating a unified national identity should be a floating day, the last Monday in January every year. 

I think South Australians are more aware of Matthew Flinders’ story than other Australians simply because of the fact that he named most of our coastline.

Places like the Great Australian Bight, Streaky Bay, Coffin Bay, Port Lincoln, Spencer Gulf, St Vincent’s Gulf, York Peninsula, The Hummocks, Kangaroo Island, Investigator Strait, Mount Lofty, Cape Jervis, Encounter Bay, are all well-known but also Bass Strait, the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea were named by him.

There are many places named after Flinders, so we are well acquainted with his name, but not many people are aware he circumnavigated the continent and named the country ‘Australia’.

This new concept also integrates the interests of indigenous Australians as one of Flinders' crew was Bungaree, from the Broken Bay area north of Sydney, who was therefore the first aboriginal circumnavigator of the continent.

In his book ‘A Voyage to Terra Australis’ he referred to the aboriginal group he encountered at Port Lincoln as ‘these Australians’.

It was the first time any member of the population of the land was referred to as Australian.

By deeper coincidence, a giant aboriginal statue ‘Anmatjere Man’ is located at Aileron, NT at the midpoint of Flinders locations on the last Mondays of January 1802 and 1803 in his circumnavigation.

So 205 years later, every time you hear the word ‘Australia’ or the term ‘Australian’, it is the consequence of Matthew Flinders naming our country on his chart in 1814.

I think he would be pleased to know our national unifying holiday ‘Australia Day’ honoured his and Bungaree’s achievement on a guaranteed long weekend, where we all, regardless of ancestral origin, reflect on where we have come from and where we are going.

PAUL CARMODY

Brighton, QLD