Letters to the Guardian

Australia’s loss

Like many Australians, I will miss tuning in to ABC television at 6.55pm on Thursday nights to watch the short and brilliant Clarke and Dawe.

Those few minutes captured the brilliance of John Clarke, and remind us of his great gift as a political satirist.

He will be missed, even by those politicians who he gently and in a good-humoured way, made fun of.

Keith Curry

Alarm over reefs

There is a large coral reef off the coast of New Caledonia, apparently the world's second largest.

Is it suffering the same fate as our Great Barrier Reef?

After all, the two reefs are not that far apart.

Are any other coral reefs affected to the same extent? If not, why is our reef suffering such extensive damage?

Valerie Craig

Scam: easy come, easy go

I HAVE recently had an unusual experience unlike anything I have ever heard of.

At noon I had just turned the wireless on and I was listening to an interesting item on the ABC Country Hour when the phone rang.

I answered it and someone from one of the charities that I donate to spoke and I asked them if they could ring me back in an hour as I was listening to the Country Hour.

The person rang back in an hour and said that they hadn’t wanted to spoil the Country Hour for me by telling me that I had just won $20,000 in their raffle and that I would receive the cheque in the mail.

I don’t think that the charity was mentioned this time and I wasn’t sure of which charity it was from the previous talk as I had both it and the ABC item on my mind at the same time.

When the cheque hadn’t arrived in a fortnight’s time, I rang Telstra to ask if they could tell me where the call had come from.

I was informed that Telstra could tell me what numbers I had rung, but couldn’t tell me where incoming calls had come from.

I then looked in my cheque book and rang the number of any charities that I had donated to in the previous three months and the several ones that had raffles informed me that I had not won anything.

I don’t remember all of the people that I have told that I had won $20,000, so if anyone has told you that Bill Hoolihan won $20,000 in a raffle, you will know that unfortunately it’s not true.

Has anyone else heard of a scam like this?

Bill Hoolihan

A poem for Anzac Day

He was getting old and paunchy

And his hair was falling fast,

And he sat around the Legion,

Telling stories of his past.

Of a war that he once fought in

And the deeds that he had done,

In his exploits with his buddies;

They were heroes every one.

And ‘tho sometimes to his neighbours

His tales became a joke,

All his buddies listened quietly

For they knew where of he spoke.

But we’ll hear his tales no longer,

For ol’ Joe has passed away,

And the worlds a little poorer

For a Veteran died today.

He won’t be mourned by many,

Just his children and his wife,

For he lived an ordinary,

Very quiet sort of life.

He held a job and raised a family,

Going quietly on his way;

And the world won’t note his passing.

‘Tho a Veteran died today.

When politicians leave this earth,

Their bodies lie in state,

While thousands note their passing,

And proclaim that they were great.

Papers tell of their life stories

From the time that they were young,

But the passing of a Veteran

Goes unnoticed, and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution

To the welfare of our land,

Some jerk who breaks his promise

And cons his fellow man?

Or the ordinary fellow

Who in times of war and strife,

Goes off to serve his country

And offers up his life?

The politician’s stipend

And the style in which he lives,

Are often disproportionate,

To the service that he gives.

While the ordinary Veteran,

Who offers up his all,

Is paid off with a medal

And perhaps a pension small.

It is not the politicians

With their compromise and ploys,

Who won for us the freedom

That our country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger,

With your enemies at hand,

Would you really want some cop-out,

With his ever-waffling stand?

Or would you want a Veteran

His home, his country, his kin,

Just a common Veteran,

Who would fight until the end.

He was just a common Veteran,

And his ranks are growing thin,

But his presence should remind us

We may need his likes again.

For when countries are in conflict,

We find the Veteran’s part,

Is to clean up all the troubles

That the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honour

While he’s here to hear the praise,

Then at least let’s give him homage

At the ending of his days.

Perhaps just a simple headline

In the paper that might say: