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Albanese’s position a cause for alarm, not celebration
What your correspondent appears to celebrate, that Anthony Albanese is singing from the Coalition’s songbook on the issue of new coal and gas projects (“Rush to ban new reserves is in no one’s interests”, Letters, 29/7), is cause for deep disappointment and alarm.
It’s simply untrue to say that banning new fossil fuel ventures will devastate the economy. The devastation from continued fossil fuel exploration, extraction and use is far more dangerous, not just for Australia but for the planet. Australia’s economy, and the world’s ecosystems, will have the opportunity to thrive when subsidies to the fossil fuel sector are invested in clean energy and the infrastructure that’s needed to deliver it. The immediacy of the energy crisis that the world is facing must not deter us from taking the tough decisions that will secure our long-term survival.
Tom Knowles, Parkville
A reckless and callous disregard for humanity
James Lovelock, a giant of the scientific world and author of the Gaia hypothesis (which sees Earth as a living organism), has just died on his 103rd birthday. He had been in good health until quite recently when a bad fall triggered his demise.
Lovelock devoted much time and energy warning humanity of the impending climate catastrophe. Not long before his death, he said: “The biosphere and I are both in the last 1 per cent of our lives.” It will require a prodigious, and some would say improbable, effort on the part of humanity to prove his sad biosphere prediction wrong.
In view of this, Peter Dutton’s decision to oppose the overly modest provisions of Labor’s proposed climate change and emissions-reduction legislation can only be described as showing a reckless and callous disregard for the future welfare of humanity. Tragically, our destructive climate wars still seem not behind us.
Ian Bayly, Upwey
Such a clever framing of the problem
The image we have of “net zero” is of a balance where new emissions of greenhouse gases equal the amount removed from the atmosphere (by tree planting and, fingers crossed, new technologies).
Such a clever framing of the problem, for the way it allows emissions to keep growing so as to protect the economy. It’s not hard to see that nature is the loser here, and by the way, Homo sapiens are in a symbiotic relationship with nature.
As the Climate Council expresses it: “To avoid a climate catastrophe, new emissions of greenhouse gas must be as low as possible. In other words, we need to get as close as possible to a real zero and only rely on offsetting when it is absolutely necessary. This means that we need to rapidly phase out fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas.” Jim Spithill, Ashburton
A question of complicity
If I hand someone a weapon, knowing it was going to be used the next day to commit murder, am I complicit in the crime? If I use the excuse that if I had not supplied the weapon, someone else would have, am I exonerated? The burning of coal is destroying our planet. To open new mines to export this product for corporate profit cannot be justified when there are safe, cheaper alternative sources of energy.
There is a limited role for methane gas while we transition to renewables over the next decade. Sufficient amounts can be diverted from existing producers in Australia. Beyond that, all carbon needs to remain underground rather than wreaking irreversible damage to our living planet.
Peter Barry, Marysville
A generous offer indeed
Waleed Aly’s reflection on “Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s full-throated support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart” is both discerning and incisive (“Generosity deserves reciprocity”, Comment, 29/7).
Aly, like the prime minister, shows a deep understanding of the statement’s overarching intention, which is to join the nation in reconciliation and healing.
Language matters and the way in which the prime minister has congenially reframed The Uluru Statement from the Heart as a “generous offer” is an important first step in uniting our nation.
Albanese’s framing of the issue stands in stark contrast to Malcolm Turnbull’s assertion in 2017 such that a constitutionally enshrined First Nations Voice to Parliament “would inevitably become seen as a third chamber of Parliament”.
A generous offer indeed – a gift to the nation of reconciliation and healing.
Jelena Rosic, Mornington
These times call for unity
We live in troublesome times. COVID doesn’t look like it’s going to go away any time soon. Then we have the winter flu, the monkeypox, foot and mouth disease in Indonesia, the war in Ukraine, uncertainty about China’s intentions and the world’s economists predicting a possible global recession.
Surely this is when we need bipartisan government not the squabbling circus we are used to, otherwise things just might keep getting worse.
John Cummings, Anglesea
Bad building, great staff
While I agree with your correspondent about the appalling design of Melbourne’s Sea Life Aquarium, the staff should be recognised for their enthusiasm and commitment to guide people through the maze (“These buildings fail us”, Letters, 29/7).
I recently accompanied several aged care residents to the aquarium, and the lack of directional signage created confusion for us as we attempted to move between floors via the inadequately sized lift.
But I was so impressed with the staff who helped us navigate through this awful building. They were eager, helpful and kind – as it wasn’t easy for members of our group with wheelchairs and walking frames. The highlight was the colony of magnificent king and gentoo penguins.
Despite the building’s pitfalls, it was a joyful experience: as a volunteer with an aged care home I realise the importance of such excursions and how much we rely on the goodwill of employees who want everyone to share the wonder of nature with all ages.
Sally Davis, Malvern East
Rethink the relationship
Jim Chalmers sounded like an unashamed conservative treasurer in his economic statement to federal parliament this week – telling Australians that it was all on them to dig deep and brace for bad times ahead.
Apart from reaffirming the wafer-thin difference between both major political parties on the economy, the government’s rhetoric on the cost of living crisis underscores the need to rethink our relationship to the economy.
It just won’t do to have a federal treasurer stand helplessly by and tell us all that we need to be patient while the economy supposedly works itself out. The economy is not some kind of natural phenomenon. It is made up of people, and it must work for them.
Kirk Weeden, Frankston
How about the Palais?
For many years I have been a subscriber to the Australian Ballet and am saddened by the lack of performances over the next two years or so, due to renovations at the State Theatre.
Back in the 1980s, the Australian Ballet used the Palais Theatre in St Kilda for their performances. It is an ideal venue with a large stage and orchestra pit. Why can’t it be used again over the next two years?
David Orr, Croydon
It’s not set in stone
The “Manly seven” have, sadly and inadvertently, served the devil well over the past week by providing a huge amount of free publicity for the jersey sponsor and gambling giant, PointsBet, whose sinful activities include seducing new gamblers into participation, while knowing that some of these will lose their homes, families and even lives as a result.
Instead of promoting a view of an inclusive and loving God, the Manly seven appear to believe in a punitive and vengeful one.
Many theists have looked into their hearts and discovered that sexual diversity is not a sin, but the way God has made us, and harms no one (as opposed to gambling). Believers in God can change their views about God’s creations’ behaviours: I hope they do. I did.
Greg Malcher, Hepburn Springs
Abolish the tax cuts …
Surely the planned stage 3 tax cuts are irresponsible in the current economic climate. Abolish them and give the savings to those on JobSeeker and low-paid workers and invest in more affordable and social housing.
These are the people who need it the most and are the ones who will spend the money.
Dean Virgin, Strathmore
… and reform the system
Your article “Average electricity price tripled to an all-time high last quarter” (The Age, 29/7) outlining the soaring cost of electricity will ring alarm bells for charities and welfare agencies.
All sides of politics and economists agree people are hurting. The cost of living pressures are channelling people down a road to poverty, and rising interest rates are set to make the situation worse. At the same time Labor has inherited a huge national debt.
Tax reform should not be dirty words. We urgently need a complete overhaul of our tax system to ensure government revenue is sufficient to support a just and fair society. Clamping down on massive tax avoidance schemes employed by multinational companies, raising tax rates for high income earners and ending tax concessions through negative gearing and franking credit schemes will raise more money than selling global-heating fossil fuels overseas.
We must continue the urgent push to net zero to ensure that climate change doesn’t wreak more pain on our lower and middle income earners while continuing to implement policies that make our society fairer through targeted support for those struggling to make ends meet.
Graeme Lechte, Brunswick West
Par for the course
Malcolm Conn writes that “the dilemma of Australia’s latest golfing champion Cameron Smith highlights the hypocrisy which surrounds our sporting heroes” (“Cameron Smith the latest sporting star being held to a higher morality”, Opinion, online, The Age, 28/7), in relation to Smith possibly considering joining the Saudi-backed LIV golf tour.
Conn is, of course, correct. Australian business has little problem doing business with China, the Saudis, the Malaysians and other countries with abysmal human rights records. In fact until the Ukrainian war, Australian trade with Russia – another tyrannical human rights violator, was valued at many hundreds of billions annually. And we as consumers seem to show little regard as to whether or not a product is manufactured in such countries.
Smith, therefore, should not be held to a higher level of moral accountability than Australian consumers and the Australian government and private Australian companies plying their trade with such regimes.
Now, if Smith truly wanted to take the moral high ground and announced that he refused to be associated with the House of Saud because of its brutality, then he would become a shining beacon. However, for others to impose this position upon him is wrong.
George Greenberg, Malvern
Words to live by
The new Senate president, Sue Lines, who is an atheist, wants to scrap the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer at the start of the daily Senate proceedings.
Christians, not atheists or believers from other faiths, should be leading the move. This is what Jesus had to say on the subject: “And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others … But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret …”. (Matthew 6:5-6).
Compulsory, ceremonial and ostentatious displays of religiosity have nothing to do with the way of Jesus. Our immediate ex-prime minister should note these words.
Tony Lenten, Glen Waverley
AND ANOTHER THING
How come a subtle rainbow on a rugby jersey is more divisive than a massive, explicit, gambling advertisement?
Andrew Gunner, Brunswick West
Manly’s inclusiveness is laid bare on their jersey. Anyone is welcome to gamble away their hard-earned money.
Bernd Rieve, Brighton
A typically insightful article by Waleed Aly (“Generosity deserves reciprocity”, Comment, 29/7). It chimes with the views of many Greens Party members like me, who are not happy with Lidia Thorpe’s confrontational approach to the issue of the Voice to Parliament.
Mike Puleston, Brunswick
After watching question time at Parliament House, it seems the opposition was a more effective opposition when it was the government.
Jenny Bone, Surrey Hills
Stan Grant is to become the sole host of Q+A and once again the program becomes Sydney-centric. What a shame.
Robyn Westwood, Heidelberg Heights
Being behind Scott Morrison’s speech would be preferable to being in front of it (“Sect leader behind ex-PM’s speech”, The Age, 29/7).
Richard Opat, Elsternwick
Wonderful to see Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton back in the media. Lately, people seem to be getting complacent about COVID and fewer masks are being worn.
Susan Munday, Bentleigh East
The “experts” calling for the head of the governor of the Reserve Bank should be reminded of the words of the eminent economist John Kenneth Galbraith: “The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.“
Les Anderson, Woodend
Years ago we travelled all the way to London to see family. An elderly auntie opened the door to me and said “Make it quick, dearie, Neighbours is on in a minute”.
Myra Fisher, Brighton East
So proud of the fact that I never even turned on Neighbours once.
Les Aisen, Elsternwick
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