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The Age is trialling new cartoonists for our Monday editorial cartoon. Today’s cartoon is by Megan Herbert, cartoonist, illustrator and children’s book writer based on the Mornington Peninsula. Michael Leunig’s cartoons will continue to be published in Spectrum on Saturdays.Credit:

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CLIMATE CHANGE

We must respond as we have to this pandemic
Almost 5 million people worldwide have died from COVID-19, while over the same period millions more than that have died from air pollution, and somehow we fail to recognise that as the impact of burning fossil fuels.

The pandemic has generated a huge response around the globe, changing the ways we live and and vast sums of money have been released to tackle it. How ironic that we can’t respond in the same way to climate change. Extreme weather events are occurring around the world, just as we simultaneously hear reports of birdsong not heard before, air pollution levels dropping and mountains suddenly becoming visible – and our government still can’t agree on a response to climate change.

Worldwide we have spent trillions of dollars addressing the pandemic and changed the ways we do things. It is unforgivable that this government can’t respond in the same way to climate change. Just imagine a world with fewer deaths from air pollution, more birdsong and clear views to the mountains.
Bryan Long, Balwyn

Forget the Nationals, talk to the opposition
Scott Morrison doesn’t need to get Barnaby Joyce and his mates onside to come up with acceptable climate policy targets to take to the Glasgow climate summit. He only needs to come up with policies that would attract the supporting votes of Labor in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

I’m a Labor voter and don’t like the idea of this man getting a leg-up for the next election. However, as a resident of Planet Earth I want action taken now to leave a liveable planet for the generations that follow my fellow Baby Boomers.
Tony Blackshaw, Officer

Change is afoot, but will it be enough?
There are signs that global capitalism is moving to reduce, if not avert, global warming just in the nick of time (“Resisting net zero target ‘would hit home loans’”, The Age, 15/10). The combination of top-down mobilisation of sufficient finance, investment and other capital, media reframing and the bottom-up mobilisation of the young and not-so-young peoples of the planet is creating a potentially just-in-time dynamic of change.

Finance and investment capital is withdrawing support from the carbon economy and transferring investment to renewables and sustainability. The people are increasingly withdrawing support from governments that do not act on global warming.

Capitalism is, again, on the cusp of adopting sufficient change to reproduce itself. Unlike the earlier dominant economic systems of slavery and feudalism, capitalism has demonstrated adaptability that has sustained its dominance since the 16th century.

It, however, remains a question whether the pace and scale of change will be sufficient to head off immediate danger, let alone to sustain the planet. It remains a certainty that unless additional action and changes are made that multiple inequalities and injustices will remain even in the greenest variety of capitalism.
Stewart Sweeney, Adelaide, SA

No one knows how this will play out
David Crowe’s analysis (“Jumping through net zero hoop”, Comment, 15/10) describes a Coalition government in a state of paralysis over how to deal with global warming, the biggest threat to its existence humanity has ever faced.

Succumbing to worldwide government and scientific pressure, not to mention a spate of natural disasters, Scott Morrison has finally started voicing the idea of a move towards renewable energy and lower carbon emissions. However the mere idea of setting goals to that end has revealed such vocal dissent and disunity within his own cabinet that Crowe characterises the situation as “pantomime” and “madness”.

Traditionally a government in such disarray a few months from an election would be inevitably facing a term or few in opposition to get itself sorted. But these days, who knows?
Bill King, Camberwell

THE FORUM

My health is on the line
The tragic news that a Melbourne teenager with underlying health conditions died from COVID-19 (“Girl, 15, dies with COVID-19 but experts say child fatalities rare”, The Sunday Age, 17/10) has forced me to reflect upon my own situation.

I, too, have a chronic illness, and was recently hospitalised, spending two days in intensive care. I was able to access the resources I badly needed because ICU was not yet at capacity. It is not lost on me how much of a privilege this will become. I don’t know how my body will react if I catch COVID. I could be fine, or I could become a death statistic at age 20.

Understandably, Melburnians are disheartened by the many lockdowns we have endured and the lack of federal government support. But when people blatantly break restrictions, and politicians without medical qualifications disparage public health orders for the sake of the economy, I am left deeply hurt and angry.

This pandemic has demonstrated that both the public and those in power have little empathy for the medically vulnerable. The coming weeks out of lockdown will prove this.
Alessandra Akerley, Armadale

It doesn’t stop at the border
Annika Smethurst rightly highlights the many ministers gone in Victoria, but bad behaviour does not stop at state borders (“Coalition attack should go Wilde”, Comment, 15/10). There is no accountability in Canberra, even when scandals are eventually unearthed from this very secretive government.

The Auditor-General is underfunded, FOI is actively undermined and the “look over there” media diversion technique has been perfected. Pork-barrelling to buy re-election is boasted about.

Losing these ministers at least shows accountability and a functioning IBAC. We urgently need a federal anti-corruption commission – with teeth.
Margaret Beavis, Brighton

These are the real victims
A letter in Saturday’s Age (“COVID deaths, the new form of victim blaming”, 16/10) highlights the tragedy of COVID deaths. Indeed any death is a great loss whether by COVID or not and all people who die need to be treated with dignity.

However, the writer suggests that the unvaccinated who die are ridiculed, and uses the word victim and suggests victim blaming. I do not see the unvaccinated as victims, they are making a choice in a pandemic that puts our community at risk.

I suggest that those who die as a result of getting infected by the unvaccinated are the real victims here.
Julie Ottobre, Forest Hill

Doing a grave disservice
Josh Frydenberg has done himself and the cause for national unity in the face of this pandemic, a grave disservice with his petty political sniping at the Victorian government.

His call for Victoria to follow NSW and “open up” ignores the facts of the situation. NSW entered this phase of the pandemic significantly earlier than Victoria and our current surge was sparked by infection leaking in from NSW, probably because NSW was slow in locking down.

NSW is reopening because it has achieved vaccination levels that Victoria is fast approaching. And that state was aided in reaching this target by preferential vaccine allocations from the federal government.

Mr Frydenberg is stoking the federal/state divide that threatens our cohesion as a nation. Are we being led down the path the United States is on that could see the destruction of our federal system, based fundamentally on federal/state co-operation?

Surely we are better than that.
Bob Malseed, Hawthorn

The details are disturbing
Your report (“Tracing a quiet revolution”, The Age, 16/10) informs that contact tracers distinguish between certain cohorts with respect to contact and follow up.

The details worry me: they may know my age, but how do they tell if I’m “young and otherwise healthy” or “old, obese, in the late stages of pregnancy or immuno-compromised, or work in aged care or heathcare or with young children” just from a nose swab?

Is Big Brother even closer than conspiracy theorists say?
Peter Price, Southbank

Unite this family
Your story (“A life in limbo: This family fled from the Taliban but – still – they are not free”, The Age, 16/10) depicts what is truly morally reprehensible by the Morrison government with the continued demonisation of refugees.

Surely the time has come for the Alizadeh family to be united. Also for the thousands of other refugees, especially from Afghanistan, currently languishing in the community, without a sense of hope for their future.

Because of our involvement in Afghanistan and its dismal failure, we have the greatest moral responsibility to atone by granting permanent residency to those refugees living in limbo in our community.
Judith Morrison, Mount Waverley

Severe penalties in order
The production of false certificates of COVID vaccination has become a sudden, cynical industry (“Push to stop fake certificates”, The Age, 16/10).

Those involved in this fraud should face penalties similar or greater to those involved in counterfeiting money as the danger to other members of the community is real and possibly fatal. These penalties should equally apply to medical practitioners who provide patients with exemption certificates without proper justification.

It is difficult to understand the thinking of those involved in these deceitful activities.
Peter Barry, Melbourne

Times have changed
Energy Minister Angus Taylor says he wants to see traditional industries supported. Has he heard of the Luddites? That’s what they said. They were furious at the thought they might be replaced by new ways of doing things and spent years railing against the inevitable until they were forced to concede defeat.

We don’t have the time to wait on this one. The government must acknowledge that times have changed and you can’t keep propping up old industries just because they are traditional.
Carolyn Ingvarson, Canterbury

A different perspective
On Q&A recently, ethicist Simon Longstaff recommended that the word mandate be dropped in favour of “condition of employment”. I totally agree, it puts a different perspective on the requirement.

For decades there hasn’t been an uproar over other vaccination requirements as a condition of employment or for travel or for compulsory medicals. You chose to satisfy the conditions of employment, or make the choice not to work in a particular industry or occupation. Up to you.

It’s not about choice for those creating an uproar. It’s about chaos, thuggery and a total lack of interest in the safety and wellbeing of others – their parents, grandparents and children included.
Susan Hunter, Newstead, Tas.

Mickleham facility will be …
One can but hope that the Mickleham quarantine facility currently being built (“Fears over ‘white elephant’ facility”, The Sunday Age, 17/10) is designed with a multipurpose focus and could be used as a hospital or health centre.

The latest Melbourne Delta outbreak has focused on the north and west, where there are limited health facilities and where hospitals have been operating at overcapacity. This new facility could benefit these expanding communities by providing new facilities and then when needed, can be used for quarantine.

The demise of the Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital many years ago has also damaged our ability to meet new viruses and infections. This is not a white elephant, but future-proofing.
Denise Stevens, Healesville

… no ‘white elephant’
Your report wonders whether the Mickleham facility is going to be a $200 million “white elephant”. The answer is a resounding “no”.

The number one issue of COVID-19 over the past two years is how we handled large numbers of infected people coming into the state from other states and overseas. There was no precedent to fall back on and hotel quarantine became the preferred solution nationally, but it failed, miserably.

It might have been 100 years since the last major pandemic but the experts are forecasting that the next one will appear much sooner.

We must build the Mickleham facility and have it ready for the next pandemic. After all, it’s a fraction of the cost of buying submarines.
John Cummings, Anglesea

How has this happened?
Victoria now holds the Australian record for the most cases reported on any day and Melbourne now holds the record for the most locked down city in the world, a title we wrested from Buenos Aires earlier in the month.

Surely this is an unenviable record, with both titles having been achieved after almost two years of exposure to the virus and during our greatest period of inoculation.

Sadly, we Victorians are left plenty to think about as we look to the other states and indeed the rest of the world and contemplate “Why is it so”?
Brian Marshall, Ashburton

Pass this bill
Today, while the Liberal Party waits for the National Party to tell it what their joint climate change policy will be, independent Zali Steggall is reintroducing her climate change bill to Parliament.

This bill would set clear goals for emissions reduction, bring the Australian economy into the mainstream for future economic development and bring thousands of jobs into areas currently languishing for lack of federal policy.

For all our sakes admit this bill, debate it, pass it and enact it, and thereby open our doors to a brighter, sustainable, more prosperous future.
Chris Young, Surrey Hills

AND ANOTHER THING

Climate change
While Jen and Rupert must have given Scott Morrison permission to travel to Glasgow, Barnaby Joyce is still in charge of the luggage.
Joan Segrave, Healesville

Credit:

There is only one sure way to end the effects of the National Party’s stonewalling on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, don’t vote for the Coalition at the next federal election.
Phil Alexander, Eltham

When it comes to climate action, the individual states are the lifters and the federal government is the leaner.
Corrado Tavella, Rosslyn Park, SA

How much will Barnaby Joyce charge the nation for Scott Morrison’s trip to Glasgow?
Max Nankervis, Middle Park

The lockdown
I must say, this latest short, sharp, seven-day lockdown is really dragging. It feels like months.
Monty Arnhold, Port Melbourne

All very well for Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to say our sporting stadiums are deserted, unfortunately our hospitals are not.
Howard Connor, Sale

When Josh Frydenberg gets his degree in public health management, I will listen to his advice on opening up Victoria from lockdown. Until then, Josh, stick to numbers.
Brian Morley, Donvale

Politics
Clash of the Titans: when the Prime Minister for NSW collides with the Premier of NSW.
John Mosig, Kew

As a naive young member of a political party in the 1960s, I finally left thinking “politics stinks”. I am even more of that belief today.
Jenny Collins, Hawthorn

Furthermore
The National Party gains about 5 per cent of votes in our Federal Parliament. Why are they being allowed to decide our nation’s climate change policy? This is not democracy at work.
Margaret Ludowyk, Brunswick

Finally
I am with Prince William. There is plenty needs doing here on earth.
Dan Drummond, Leongatha

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