Government must act to reduce emissions

Credit:Illustration: Vintage Cathy Wilcox

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ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Government must act to reduce emissions

Re “Secret plan to hold back uptake of electric cars” (The Age, 8/8). Ben Cubby has identified another cabal pressing to maintain Australia’s unsustainable carbon emissions. As the government begins to tackle the existential climate crisis, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries is plotting, through lobbying and public relations, to manipulate government policy and public opinion to serve its own commercial convenience. It is seeking to retain its existing, minimal vehicle emissions standards by positioning itself as a “trusted voice” from the “moderate middle”.

To maintain hope of limiting global warming to 1.5per cent, we need a united front. The automotive industry must accept responsibility for its own substantial contribution to our emissions generation, and for any inconvenience it faces for having contributed so little, so far, to its reduction.

Our government must hold true to its mandate and insist on strong action to achieve emissions reduction: it is the government in whom we will be placing our trust.
Chris Young, Surrey Hills

The car industry’s misinformation campaigns

It always puzzled me why there was such resistance to electric vehicles in Australia – ie, there is no car industry to protect. Now we know what is behind it: the big car manufacturers, which need to preserve somewhere in the world to dump their most polluting vehicles as they meet stringent standards in the European Union, United Kingdom and United States.

It is like the cigarette plain-packaging ban in reverse. We led the way on cigarettes, now we are being left behind due to the car industry’s misinformation campaigns.

Let us hope that after all the celebration of the first weeks of the new parliament, Chris Bowen and Anthony Albanese will act on the car industry plan, and implement the strategy on emissions standards outlined by teal MP Monique Ryan. The alternative is we are being treated like a Third World country dumping ground. Australia is better than that.
Ian McKenzie, Canterbury

Chamber should drive reform, not undermine it

Australia used to pride itself on punching above its weight and leading the way. Introducing compulsory seatbelts, for example, to save lives. How discouraging that the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries cannot see that improving emissions standards and encouraging EV uptake is also instrumental in saving lives. The chamber should drive reform, not undermine it with empty words and misleading advertising.
Jennie Irving, Camberwell

Is the chamber Victoria’s real EV policymaker?

The revelation that the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries has launched a secret campaign to delay the uptake of electric vehicles in Australia makes me wonder how long this has been operating as a “back channel” campaign. Specifically, if the chamber “suggested” a tax on electric and plug-in, hybrid vehicles to Dan Andrews, and thus the Victorian tax was born.

The tax has slowed the uptake of electric cars in Victoria, which is lagging well behind New South Wales, and has been condemned as the worst EV policy in the world by multiple organisations (The Age, 22/4/21). It is a policy that fulfils the campaign agenda of the chamber, which may well be the EV policymaker in Victoria.
Rohan Wightman, McKenzie Hill

Tackling an environmental and a health issue

Well, of course the car industry lobby would prefer Australia to keep importing cars with weak emission controls. Our emission standards have not been updated for years, so overseas car makers can squeeze a few more cars from their factories without the bother of fitting stricter controls. We should update our standards to the world’s most stringent. Why should we tolerate sloppy standards just to suit overseas car makers? This is an environmental and a health issue.
David Lamb, Kew East

THE FORUM

Power of lobby groups

Oh dear, here we go again. We read that yet another powerful, unelected lobby group, this time from the car industry, is doing its best to undermine democracy. Perhaps we can be a little reassured by the fact that someone, somewhere is disturbed enough to leak it to the media.
Anthony Albanese, a lot of people have put their faith in you to be different and act, at last, for the good of the country rather than bending to the winds of big business. Please don’t let us down.
Josephine Ben-Tovim, Carlton

Why public is always best

The cascade of medical errors which led to the unfortunate death of Annie Moylan and her unborn child (The Age, 8/8) did not start with Holmesglen Private Hospital but with the decision to present there in the first place.

If you are pregnant and feel unwell, the most suitable place for you to go is your nearest public maternity hospital with its own emergency department.

Regardless of who your usual care provider is. There you’ll encounter highly skilled and experienced midwives at triage, and the most appropriate care and treatment, including pathology services, from a suite of onsite clinicians.
Maxine Hardinge, midwife, Clunes

The other inhabitants

Thank you, Rod Watson (Letters, 8/8). All too often reports of war and other catastrophes focus on human beings. We are not the only living beings on this planet although you would think so most of the time.
Louise Page, Tyabb

Getting their hands dirty

Senior executives and managers at Qantas may soon work as baggage handlers and other roles in airports. I trust this includes CEO Alan Joyce who always seems to have reasons for passengers’ missing luggage etc. Perhaps by doing three months “on the floor”, getting his hands dirty so to speak, he will have a better appreciation of what is actually happening and the frustrations of travellers.
John Tingiri, Mornington

Dangerous influences

I attended the Collingwood-Melbourne match in the MCC members’ enclosure on Friday. Sitting in the unreserved seats there was not for the faint-hearted and not very child-friendly.

Groups of young men hurled foul-mouthed abuse at players and as the game became tighter, the aggression and beer consumption increased. At certain points, patrons attempted to curtail some of the worst elements and shield children from it. There was no security in the area and whilst there was no physical violence, it was simmering.

The MCC’s committee may accept this behaviour as the club is linked financially to alcohol sales. Also, they are not exposed to it in the committee room. However, two elements struck me. Children are being exposed to horrendous language and verbal aggression, and they will see this as a normal part of attending the footy.
Nick Edwards, South Yarra

Undreamed of success

In the early 1960s, I was talking to a young Judith Durham at a Melbourne jazz club after she had sung. She was shortly to go overseas and said to me, “I know I will never be as popular as Judy Jacques (another very good singer) but I want to give it a try anyway”. How wrong Judith Durham was in her assessment of her chances.
Jacki Burgess, Port Melbourne

Killing double standard?

I am confused as to why Anthony Albanese is cheerleading the assassination of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a US drone strike. Doubtless Zawahiri was an awful person with blood on his hands but I wonder why there was no apparent attempt to bring him before a court. If Russia assassinates someone on foreign soil, we get all fussy about it. Or am I missing something here?
Jeff Fitzgerald, Clifton Hill

Threatened by democracy

Isn’t it obvious why independent Taiwan, like Hong Kong, must be crushed? A cruel, corrupt, totalitarian regime is threatened by the mere existence of prosperous democratic societies next door.
Felicity Bloch, Hawthorn

Calling China’s bluff

Your correspondent (Letters, 6/8) believes US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was “unnecessary, provocative and dangerous”. Yes, if you think you can hold back the dawn.

China’s military exercises near Taiwan are a bluff.Impressive but harmless. China will move on Taiwan when China perceives the timing favours it. That time is not now. In going to Taiwan, Pelosi has clearly signalled the US will stand with democratic Taiwan. The “visit” was a caution to China, not a provocation. Pelosi has called China’s bluff.
Ken Feldman, Sandringham

Lesser views for the ’plebs’

A few years ago, a colleague and I went to the Northcote public housing estate (Sunday Age, 7/8) where an elderly gentleman invited us in to look at his flat. Most of all he wanted us to admire his little balcony full of plants and the lovely view of the creek from that balcony. He told us he was happy living there.

But now luxury apartments will be the only ones overlooking the creek. The social housing which will be built on 20per cent of what used to be public land will, of course, face High Street. The plebs should feel grateful they have been considered at all.
Janna McCurdy-Hilbrink, Northcote

Seeking open, green space

Why in our state, where open green space is slowly being eroded by over-development, are so many councils prioritising the building of sports stadiums and synthetic sporting fields as a replacement for grass reserves and open recreation areas? The at-risk McIvor Reserve in Yarraville (Sunday Age, 7/8) is one example.

Surely councils should be looking at how they can create new, open, green spaces rather than diminishing the small amount we already have.

Grass reserves permit the playing of many sports whilst encouraging both passive and active outdoor recreation. They provide wildlife corridors, reduce the urban heat island effect, and provide peace and tranquillity and an opportunity to connect with nature.

Reserves are often zoned for sporting purposes so councils tend not to prioritise their wider environmental benefits. Imagine if every sports reserve across Melbourne was turned into a stadium or concreted for courts or replaced with synthetic turf. How much urban green space would we be left with?
Suzette Miller, Ashburton

No respect or support

Older Boroondara residents are being shortchanged after a private provider took over Boroondara Council’s in-home care. Not only did the transition process prove overwhelming for mecwacare, but many who previously got services are now without any.

People like myself who requested housekeeping late last year were unable to access them and now cannot access the new provider. Transition has meant diminution of service delivery, no access for new people who need them. Only promises for those not prioritised that the situation will be rectified in a few weeks.

Why did this transition occur whilst there was no guarantee of adequate implementation? There has been no respect or regard for the support for older residents, something the royal commission was hoping to ensure. A tragedy for the wellbeing of all.
Joy Vogt, Ashburton

Benefits of persevering

Kerri Sackville says, “Life is too short to read books I don’t enjoy, and yet every time I leave a book unfinished, I feel guilty, even ashamed” (Comment, 8/8).

I always completely read a book no matter how slow or frustrating it may be. I know the author worked diligently on it and deserves my dedication to finish reading their work, much to the surprise of my friends and family. Give it a go and you too may be surprised by persevering.
Kay Johnston, Doncaster

GPs are specialists too

General practice is not a “shit job” (Good Weekend, 7/8). The article outlined the many pressures on GPs, but did not adequately discuss how rewarding, and important, the job is.

I have been a GP for seven years in an inner-city clinic. Every day I manage patients with serious medical problems such as diabetes, hepatitis, HIV, skin cancers and pneumonia, as well as heroin and alcohol addictions. Many will never see a non-GP specialist for these conditions. These patients, I think, are managed better by GPs.

GPs do not just nag patients to stop smoking and exercise more. General practice is its own speciality, with a complex body of medical knowledge and skills, equivalent to any other speciality (although much more cost-effective for government to fund).

The answer to GP shortages is not to turn a select few clinics into mini-emergency departments, as worthwhile as this idea is for these communities. If general practice is to be attractive to medical students, and if you want to be able to continue to see high-quality doctors, then general practice needs to be recognised as its own speciality, equivalent in status and remuneration to others. I would not want any other career.
Dr Jonathan Epstein, Balaclava

MPs, lead by example

It is admirable of Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth to call for more employers to hire people with disabilities (The Age, 8/8). Perhaps she could lead the discussion by telling us how many people with a disability are employed by parliamentarians, both in Parliament House and in their electorate offices.
Juliet Flesch, Kew

Two very simple questions

Since it is proposed to put a simple question to Australians on the Indigenous Voice to parliament, would it not be wise to add another simple question: Should Australia become a republic?
Peter Duncan, Daylesford

Taking up the challenge

Birmingham has delivered the goods, setting a high bar for regional Victoria in 2026.
Greg Curtin, Blackburn South

AND ANOTHER THING

Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

Politics

My bumper sticker for the state election: “I back IBAC.“
Kevan Porter, Alphington

When it comes to “development”, Victorian Labor is more Liberal than the Liberals. Oh for a raft of independents at the election.
Margaret Callinan, Hawthorn

Matthew Guy and Mitch Catlin: know nothing, do nothing.
Richard Wilson, Croydon

Xi should be required to stay after school and write 100 lines: “I must not have hissy fits in class.
Paul Drakeford, Kew

The new winner appears to be the politician who sins the least.
Winston Anderson, Mornington

Re ex-PMs who make negative comments about their successors’ policies (8/8): a ″⁣curmudgeon″⁣ of them.
Rob Willis, Wheelers Hill

I suggest a “bile” would best describe our current crop.
John Pritchard, Melbourne

An ″⁣irrelevance″⁣ of former prime ministers.
Ted Brown, Moama

Furthermore

Our public hospitals will be under more stress because nobody will pay to go private, especially Holmesglen Private and StVincent’s Private (8/8).
Mary O’Shannassy, East Melbourne

Vale, Judith Durham. God gives us the pleasure of a perfect rose. So too your voice, a perfect instrument.
Hilton Sheppard, Londrigan

It’s good that Judith Durham’s family has been offered a state funeral, but what about Archie Roach?
Gloria Meltzer, Chewton

Shame, Mornington Peninsula Shire, over your lack of empathy for our elderly and most vulnerable.
Eric Kopp, Flinders

Re the Commonwealth Games. Ollie, Ollie, Ollie, Oi, Oi, Oi.
Zena Marzi, Kew

Re the automotive industry (9/8). We need laws, not the industry’s existing voluntary emissions scheme.
John Hughes, Mentone

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