Credit:Illustration: Andrew Dyson

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REGIONAL COMMUNITIES

Communication, honesty, transparency and help

A great article from Andrew Charlton – “I hate to say it, but Joyce has a point on climate” (Opinion, 29/10). What we should have done, as Charlton says, was consult more fully with the communities which are most affected by climate change and the transition to renewable energy. In Australia this of course is mostly regional workers, especially in areas of large-scale coal extraction.

Most issues would be more easily solved with bipartisanship, but sadly this is not generally part of the Westminster system of parliament. Although time is running out for action on climate change, a concerted effort should be made to reduce emissions. We do not know what concessions the Prime Minister has made to the Nationals but perhaps it contains some consideration for regional workers. Certainly this is the very difficult part about the change to renewable energy.

What is needed is large-scale planning by experts in consultation with affected communities, as well as funding by governments and private enterprises. Possibly tax concessions to such businesses. Good communication to those who are affected, and honesty and transparency. No more obfuscation and grandstanding. Wouldn’t that be great?
Jan Marshall, Brighton

Barnaby Joyce spread fear for his political gain

Normally I am a fan of Andrew Charlton’s analyses, but he lets Barnaby Joyce off far too lightly in his commentary piece.

Joyce did highlight early on the economic pain that some in the regions might suffer, but instead of working towards solutions in their interests and for those of the wider community, he weaponised the issue. For more than 10years he proceeded to spread misinformation (viz the $100 roast) to provoke fear for his political gain. His cynical, selfish and irresponsible actions should be condemned for his contribution to the appalling waste of time, and the squandering of Australia’s reputation on the world stage.
Graeme Lock, Oakleigh

Arguing for the rights of all working people

It is incorrect for Andrew Charlton to suggest that inner-city folk argued “passionate rhetoric” to save our planet but ignored the needs of regional communities. It has been the wedge politics of Barnaby Joyce and the mining industry which pitted the urban working class against the regional working class and raised fears of job losses.

Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, as Labor prime ministers, caved into the pressures of such wedge politics. Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce excel in pitting communities against each other. Malcolm Turnbull could not coalesce the progressives within his party and the Nationals. Such divisions were not caused by hipster urbanites. They were caused by Joyce and greedy mining billionaires.

When Scott Morrison lands in Glasgow, I hope he will argue for the rights of Latin American working people as strongly as for regional and urban Australian communities. You can be sure, though, that Joyce will be channelling Morrison to grasp a lump of coal in his pocket at COP26 to keep coal mining exports going. At the next election, we should never forget the Joyce divisions of dirty politics.
Leon Zembekis, Reservoir

Advocating for jobs in clean renewable energy

Yes, fossil fuel workers must be assured that they can be retrained into other jobs as we replace fossil fuels with clean renewable energy. But I am astounded Andrew Charlton did not appear to be aware that this has been advocated since at least 2011, for instance by internationally recognised think tank Beyond Zero Emissions. BZE says there will be more jobs in renewable energy than are in the fossil fuel industry and has always advocated this to political leaders.
Marguerite Marshall, BZE presenter from 2011, Eltham

THE FORUM

Our right to vote freely

Voter fraud and multiple voting is a tiny problem in Australia that is effectively handled by current processes. Nevertheless the Morrison government is introducing legislation to mandate voter identification (The Age, 29/10).

As we have seen in the United States, requiring identification suppresses voting by people who need a voice, including the homeless, victims of domestic violence, people without ID and Indigenous people. Australians must stand up for the right to cast their vote unencumbered by unnecessary and discriminatory laws.
Kate Leslie, Fitzroy

The system works now

This legislation being introduced by the government to require identification for people to be eligible to vote ignores one key feature of our system. It is compulsory to vote. Unlike countries such as Canada, the US and the United Kingdom, in Australia the Electoral Commission actually identifies non-voters and fines them. Talk about making sure everyone votes. In Scott Morrison marketing spiel: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Dave Robson, Port Melbourne

Clarifying the ″⁣drug use″⁣

While not factually incorrect, the story with its headline “Gudinski died with 12 drugs in his system” (The Age, 29/10) seems designed to sensationalise Michael Gudinski’s death. It fails to note that other than alcohol and cocaine, all are common prescription drugs and may well have been legitimately prescribed. While mentioning recent vertebral fractures, it fails to note whether any of the drugs found had been prescribed for pain management in association with this.In

listing the drugs identified and recorded in his death certificate, it fails to acknowledge that a number of these do not have to be taken/ingested by an individual to be found as they can be produced in the body in the metabolism of other drugs – eg, nordiazepam, temazepam and oxazepam are all metabolites of diazepam, and so may show up after just diazepam use. Similarly, codeine is a pro-drug with no analgesic effect of its own – metabolised to morphine in the body.

I am not saying Gudinski did not abuse/misuse drugs (with such use sadly often associated with the music industry), but the article’s focus on the quantity of drugs seemed to besmirch the impresario’s legacy.
Julie Lord, St Kilda East

Such illogical logic

Giving unvaccinated Victorians a month’s grace – “Unvaccinated shoppers given grace period as retail reopens” (The Age, 28/10) – when case numbers are high is a truly idiotic policy. A bit like telling thieves that they can have free access to your stuff for a month and then you are going to lock the door.
Derek Wilson, Cheltenham

Enjoy our new freedoms

Victorians have proved with sheer will, regulations and guidance that we can prevail. You can accuse Dan Andrews of many things but he was successful in guiding us as safely as possible through the pandemic.

With a full vaccination rate for people aged 16 and over approaching 90per cent by the end of the year, we can commend ourselves for our commitment in making us and others safe. Also the Andrews government staying steadfast when at times it had little support from the federal government and other states. So here we are with new found freedoms. It is not over yet but we have jumped the biggest hurdle. Take a bow Victorians.
Sharon Hendon, Glen Iris

A dangerous power grab

It is just what we do not want, a premier credited with the worst performance in the country with respect to COVID-19 cases, deaths, lockdowns, hotel quarantine and business continuity, now telling us to trust him with legislating ultimate emergency powers for himself. Does he even realise he is not an epidemiologist, let alone realise his abysmal track record on handling this issue so far?
Arthur Gouros, Carnegie

The innocent detainees

Matthew Guy is concerned that the new pandemic laws could see indefinite detention for people who breach restrictions. What about those who have been accepted as refugees by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, but have been held in detention for nine years by the federal Coalition government? Mr Guy, if you do not like indefinite detention then work to allow these people a chance to restart their lives.
Ruth Berkowitz, Kew East

Timely advice unheeded

Today marks 15years since the release of the landmark Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change which definitively concluded that “the benefits of strong, early action on climate change far outweigh the costs of not acting”. It is a catastrophic act of culpability that a decade and a half later Australia, an affluent nation generating one of the highest per capita levels of carbon pollution, remains a recalcitrant laggard rather than global leader in heeding this wisdom, even if only for our self-interest.
Rod Duncan, Brunswick East

Spend our taxes wisely

As a taxpayer, I still need to be convinced that the latest plan to pay business to reduce emissions will work any better than JobKeeper and many other taxpayer-funded programs where, seemingly, businesses greedily take the offered money, primarily for support of their support.
Bernd Aberle, Southbank

Our shameful ’way’

The Australian way: to deny, obfuscate, damage faith in democratic process, delude the community and imperil the future of this fragile planet.
Lisa Magnusson, Fitzroy North

Thank heavens for gas

Yesterday morning, sitting in a dark house with no power, I enjoyed an egg and chive omelette and a coffee followed by a warm shower, courtesy of my gas appliances, and contemplated the proposed phase out of gas appliances to the home.
Pieter van Wessem, Balwyn

A case of quid pro quo?

I think the support for Scott Morrison’s “plan” voiced by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Letters, 29/10) was a simple reward for his $90billion-plus submarine agreement. Hopefully Australian voters will not be so generous as all we will get from his “plan” is continuing warming of the planet.
Judy Kevill, Ringwood

The poor pay the price

There will be a further 2billion people on the planet by 2050. The global increase in temperature is a byproduct of human interaction with the planet – via destruction of the environment, mining and processing of resources, and accumulating mountains of indestructible waste. Two billion people will be born into a world already depleted of resources, forests and clean water.

“Net zero emissions by 2050” is a deckchair shuffle from wealthy, industrialised countries based on maintaining their profligate lifestyles and domination of the world’s resources while ignoring an inevitable population catastrophe. It will be the world’s poor who suffer and die.
John Laurie, Riddells Creek

Same old, same old ALP?

It is said that it is “time for Albanese to kick a goal” (Opinion, 25/10). Your correspondent (Letters, 26/10) suggests that Labor only needs to “line up the goalposts for constructive action”. Fairly simplistic. Even though the Coalition’s recent performance has been less than inspirational, a Labor shot from point-blank range would probably go out on the full. Commentary after the 2019 result said that Labor was “unelectable”. Has anything really changed?
Peter Forehan, Murrumbeena

Take a deep breath…

Anthony Albanese, please send Chris Bowen on an anger management course or at least make him take a chill pill before he fronts the media. He risks a rerun of his performance before the last election.
Martin Crowe, Fitzroy North

AND ANOTHER THING

Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

Glasgow grab bag

Glasgow travel checklist: Tim Tams for Xi and Macron, whiteboard, hose, lump of coal.
David Charles, Newtown

Is Keith Pitt a coal war warrior?
George Campbell, Sale

The plan you have when you don’t have a plan.
Mick O’Mara, Winchelsea

Will Morrison wear an Australian flag kilt to COP26?
John Bye, Elwood

I like Morrison’s “Australian way”. Out the door at the next election.
Frank Flynn, Caper Paterson

Acting PM Barnaby will be humming ″⁣Australians all let us rejoice” while Scott’s away.
Graham Cadd, Dromana

Politics

The voter ID bill isn’t the Australian Way. It’s the American way.
Pat Lord, Sale

Our voting system isn’t broken, so why exactly do we need to fix it?
Michael Brinkman, Ventnor

Australians need to send the message to the two major parties that we’re fed up. Vote independent.
Meredith James, Glenhuntly

Furthermore …

Re anyone can go shopping. You’ve lost me, Dan. It will be interesting to see how the next few weeks pan out.
Carole Ruta, Cheltenham

Crown Casino to keep its gambling licence. You could have bet on that.
John Page, Glenroy

If I were deemed ″⁣unsuitable to hold my (driver’s) licence″⁣, I’d be off the road.
Bryan Lewis, St Helena

Gambling is a tax on the stupid. Allow people their vices but please ban the ads.
Neale Woods, Wattle Glen

How shocking and selfish of Australia. Why are we getting booster shots when at least a billion people haven’t had their first one?
Howard Brownscombe, Brighton

Have we ever heard of the gap between the rich and poor narrowing?
Rod Matthews, Fairfield

Dino Bressan (29/10) and others, I also had difficulty negotiating the myGov portal but my grandson had it fixed in two minutes. Think young.
Rick Milne, Brunswick

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