I fear for our precious earth, seas and air
Credit:Illustration: Andrew Dyson
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I fear for our precious earth, seas and air
It is heartbreaking to hear people share their stories of fear, danger, days without power and their sense of being not prioritised for support following last week’s storm. Seven years ago I moved away from beautiful Kallista and the hills after summers of bush fire fear and many experiences of the power being cut due to downed trees. I was, and still am, most anxious about the increasing frequency of these devastating weather events made worse by climate change, and very frustrated about successive Australian governments refusing to listen to our climate scientists.
I send my disgust to the Murdoch media, fossil fuel corporations which donate to the major political parties, particularly the Coalition, and the conspicuous lack of courage by the Labor Party.
And now here we are with the federal government inviting oil and gas companies to bid for exploratory drilling, including off the coast of our Twelve Apostles and in our Gippsland and Otway basins (The Age, 16/6). I lament every day for the futures of my grandchildren and our precious earth, seas and air. As Steve Biddulph (Opinion, 16/6) says, “Bluster, weakness represented as strength, and rigidity when change is needed, soon convey to people that they don’t matter. And chaos is the result.“
Maria Bohan, Newtown
We must all appreciate the urgency and act now
The COVID-19 pandemic has rightly occupied our thoughts for more than a year. But it has also served as a mighty distraction from a more pressing issue – climate change and the impending death of our planet. Am I the only one who is outraged by the announcement of drilling off the coast of Victoria and the proposed nuclear dump on the Eyre Peninsula? Are we such a complacent lot that we barely react when Australia refuses any commitment to zero emissions by 2050? That is such a long way off and perhaps that is the problem.
No one seems to appreciate the urgency. Both the federal government and the opposition must get serious and divorce themselves from the fossil fuel industry. If they do not, then we must all take the fight to the streets. Until our politicians see 20 million of us out there, they will continue this facade that will condemn our grandchildren to destruction.
Robyn Edwards, Chelsea
Cleaning up how we consume on this planet
We are going through a challenging upheaval because racial, gender, religious and other minority groups are asserting their right to a fair share of what society offers and the rest of society is learning to adjust. But a far larger struggle is looming since humans have become the Earth’s dominant species – survival of every other voiceless (non-voting) organism upon which human life depends. Ignoring that challenge imperils us all. Learning to limit the human urge to dominate everything is the challenge of the century.
Former competition watchdog Graeme Samuels’ recommendations to strengthen the federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act are now up for a vote in the Senate. The act’s improvements need Senate support, together with a comprehensive process to clean up how we consume on this planet.
Robbert Veerman, Buxton
We will pay the price for not having a carbon tax
Nick O’Malley (The Age, 16/6) provides a clear analysis of one of the negative consequences for Australia of not having a carbon price: the high likelihood of having to pay higher tariffs on our exports to nations that are taking serious climate action. It counters the federal government’s fairy tale narrative of “technology, not taxes”.
The results of the Resolve Strategic survey (The Age, 16/6) show that a majority of the people surveyed have bought the government’s story line, despite the contradictions between its rhetoric and evidence (for example the barriers to the uptake of electric vehicles). Evidence shows that market mechanisms are the best way to reduce emissions. Thank you, Nick O’Malley, for setting us straight about the reality of Australia’s climate and economic negligence.
Jenny Henty, Canterbury
Acting on climate change
It is unsurprising that a small minority of people are prepared to pay for emitting carbon dioxide (The Age, 16/6). There seems to be a disconnect between a growing acceptance of climate change and actually realising we have to spend money to do something about it.
Yet we are starting to pay big time for our lack of action, in the costs of the dramatically increasing weather “events”. Compounding the problem would be a lack of understanding of how a price on carbon would work.
Forward-thinking leaders would be able to take the public with them on this, in the same way that John Howard convinced the public that a GST was needed in the late 1990s. We do not have a government that is promoting new low emissions technology either, given its lack of interest in incentivising electric vehicles, but instead allowing tradies to claim their new diesel ute as a full tax deduction. Its focus is on short-term political gain.
Alex Judd, Blackburn North
Loss of our precious earth
Scott Morrison persists on placing the value of trade above the major influences we are experiencing in climate change. What will it take for him to understand that money is worthless when we can no longer live on our beloved earth? His value systems are archaic and belong in the “white, male and pale” garbage bin along with the mammoth he cannot see in the room. I feel distraught that he can continue to take us down this path. Please save us from this man.
Christine Garth, Malvern
Beyond the call of duty
Jenna Price (Opinion, 15/6) suggests that honours should go to volunteers and not to people who only do their highly paid jobs. My OAM (Medal of the Order of Australia) was for volunteering, but in my professional life as a teacher I was part of a community in which some teachers did far more than was required by their jobs – writing textbooks, organising teacher networks, developing new curriculum, offering much time for tutoring weak students – while others did the bare minimum.
I am sure it is the same for all professions. So I have no problem with national awards going to these leaders of their professions. It is the same with volunteers – some contribute a day a year, others devote most of every waking day to their passion for volunteering, often in several fields. From what I can tell, the judging panels do a thorough job of assessing whether a nomination deserves an award.
Robert Bender, Ivanhoe East
Why we still need cash
I strongly disagree with Howard Brownscombe’s proposal to “outlaw cash” (Letters, 16/6). Cash is reliable (digital payment methods are unusable when power supplies are disrupted), secure and convenient. Electronic payment methods can compromise one’s privacy, can have added fees and are also unusable if the network and power go down, as has happened several times.
Suzanne McHale, Bentleigh
Speed is of the essence
Geraldine O’Sullivan asks why there can be “50-plus people in a restaurant, but no one in my house” (Letters, 15/6).
This rule is put in place to assist contact tracers who are a critical part of the response to the pandemic. When 50 people go to a restaurant, they are all registered either through a QR code or manually. If a viral outbreak occurs that is connected to the restaurant, the contact tracers have a flying start at contacting these people quickly.
However, it would be more difficult, and take more time, for the contact tracers to get in touch with the people who have come over for a meal. In the event of an outbreak, the virus could be out of control before they could do their job.
Brian Tait, Blackburn
Isn’t it interesting that we are being told we have a shortage of the Pfizer vaccine because of the “appetite” of Victorians to get the jab?. It has nothing to do with the bizarre lack of orders for it, despite the attestation to the public that plenty had been arranged and that we would all be vaccinated by the end of 2021. It’s not “a race”? No, it is a crawl over a trail of broken promises.
Lisa Dooley, South Melbourne
Understand the mask-less
Thank you to the reader who explained why they cannot wear a mask for extended periods (Letters, 15/6). I truly feel for you and others with medical conditions who also cannot wear masks – for example, those with lung diseases. As a health care worker, I might have been someone who has glared at you, in an outside setting. There should be a way you can avoid these awful experiences. Would it be possible to wear an approved lanyard or a badge explaining your exemption?
Penelope Jones, Hawthorn East
Making sense of policies
I am confused. Is the Morrison government’s refusal to allow the Biloela family to remain in Australia because the people smugglers and boats will return, or is it because when they do not return it will expose the government’s cruel and costly refugee policy for what it is – cruel and costly?
Geoff Wasley, Berwick
The economic argument
After listening in despair to Immigration Minister Alex Hawke speak this week, it is clear to me that appealing for a compassionate outcome is not going to sway the government. Perhaps we need to focus on the ridiculous cost of its actions in detaining the Murugappan family and ask what else this money should be spent on.
Glenice Brant, Eltham
Such twisted thinking
The appalling response of the government to the plight of the lovely Murugappan family convinces me that it is in the thrall of a new conspiracy group I have called BNumb. Its members believe that compassion is bad, that accountability displays weakness, that words speak louder than actions, that the laying of hands is better than doing something useful with them, that boats can miraculously appear from nowhere and that vaccination is not race.
Michael Feeney, Malvern
When laws need to change
Is Amanda Vanstone (Opinion, 14/6) serious? Surely she is not advocating for laws to remain the same because changing them may be unfair to previous victims of these laws. Think about it.
Dorothy Waterfield, Seaholme
The media loves misery
I have myself considered the morality of deporting the Sri Lankan family, until I read Amanda Vanstone’s article.
Always enlightening, she gives an unbiased perspective. We have good, fair laws in this country and it irks me that the media so often takes an opposing stance on our immigration system’s decisions, tested and re-tested as they are. We are bombarded with this tale of woe. Have you nothing more compelling to write about in such challenging times?
Bronwyn Pearl, Brighton
Look at the real danger
The Prime Minister expects us to believe that the Biloela family poses a serious threat whilst his friend, Tim Stewart, and his son, both followers of far-right conspiracy theory QAnon, are of no concern…to him.
Kerry Bergin, Abbotsford
Such admirable loyalty
Four Corners depicted Jenny and Scott Morrison on the way up who remained loyal to their longstanding friends, while a father and son developed some beliefs which could be twisted to undermine the political ascendancy. Commendable (for a change). As for the use of the word “ritual” in the Prime Minister’s 2019 apology to victims of institutional sex abuse, at the time and given the context, it was the perfect choice of word.
Ronald Elliott, Sandringham
More than a bit ’loopy’
Julie Szego, not all conspiracy lovers are “loveable if sometimes annoying” (Opinion, 16/6). This was evident in the Four Corners program (ABC TV, 14/6) where a grandson allegedly sent threatening texts to his family. It was evident in the behaviour of those who stormed the US Capitol. Saying, “Mate, I respect your opinion” tells them it is OK to believe these unproven, dangerous ideas. It is not. Also, I do not have friends who have “one or two loopy ideas”. I choose my friends wisely.
Julie Carrick, Leopold
Such a worn out excuse
Clearly the Prime Minister’s association with QAnon member Tim Stewart is yet another “on water matter” so questions will go unanswered. That excuse is well past its use-by date.
Robyn Westwood, Heidelberg Heights
End negative gearing
The laments from some Liberal MPs about high house prices (The Age, 16/6) are nothing more than crocodile tears. The solution is obvious – get rid of negative gearing so housing is not as attractive to investors. But their government will never do this. They would offend too many of their wealthy supporters.
Grant Nichol, North Ringwood
Match made in heaven
Sam Roggeveen, it is so refreshing to see that someone has had a look at the map, and has discovered that Indonesia is “the obvious candidate” for “a natural security partner” – “Australia should look to friends closer to home” (Opinion, 16/6). Europe and the United States are all very well, but Indonesia is large and on our side of the world, a clear choice for sharing the common objective of keeping maritime south-east Asia open and free.
Stuart Robson, adjunct professor of Indonesian studies, Monash University
Why we need ’red tape’
The West Gate Tunnel Project has blown out to a total of $11billion, more than double the original estimate – “Transurban claims $4b amid tunnel soil crisis” (The Age, 16/6). The project has been riddled with poor planning. We used to have sound planning processes in this state but they took time and did not fit in with political cycles, so we introduced the Major Projects Facilitation Act – to cut “red tape”. It just shows that you get what you plan for.
Jeff Moran, Bacchus Marsh
AND ANOTHER THING
Illustration: Matt GoldingCredit:Illustration: Matt Golding
Immigration detention in Perth. Not home to Biloela? How did I ever imagine that decency and compassion might prevail?
Kathy Deutsch, Kew
ScoMo has done what he does best: counted the votes, worked out that this family has public support.
Ron Snell, Elsternwick
Hallelujah, hallelujah. Australia finally has a heart, even if the pulse is low.|
Catherine Healy, Brighton
The family would have had no problems if they were au pairs and lived in Dutton’s electorate.
Rob King, Carrum
It seems to be true: people smugglers are determining Australia’s border policy.
Elizabeth Chipman, Seaford
Wait until you’re pushed and then do just enough – but this time it’s not enough, Scott Morrison.
Barbara Lynch, South Yarra
Four Corners’ QAnon expose will surely bring another round of cuts to the ABC’s budget.
John Sale, Glen Waverley
My low confidence in ScoMo has been reduced to zero after watching Four Corners.
Geoff Castles, Ringwood North
What awful journalism. What was Four Corners trying to prove? It was more like a vindictive witch hunt.
Olivia Cuming, Hawthorn
Nathan Buckley put the team ahead of himself. If only Albanese would display the same class and make way for Plibersek, Australia’s Jacinda Ardern.
Raymond Such, Brunswick
Who the hell am I going to vote for in the next state and federal elections?
Gill Salmon, Carnegie
Enough of Collingwood, please.
Ursula Miller, Frankston South
Don’t worry. It’s just China trying to be cuddly.
Martin Vaelioja, Endeavour Hills
COVID: Citizens Of Victoria Ignoring Directions.
Ken Mcleod, Williamstown
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