Rush to ban new reserves is in no one’s interests
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Rush to ban new reserves is in no one’s interests
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says banning new coal and gas mines to reduce emissions won’t stop global warming but will devastate the Australian economy. Speaking on ABC television, he said banning coal exports wouldn’t lead to a reduction in emissions, as countries like China would simply source lower quality coal from elsewhere, which would actually lead to higher emissions (“‘Devastating impact’: PM rejects Greens call to halt fossil fuel exports”, online, The Age, 26/7).
This is precisely what the Coalition parties and the conservative media have been saying for years and Albanese’s words could have been lifted straight from a Coalition speech on the matter.
A headlong rush to ban new coal and gas reserves, as the delusional Greens insist, is in no one’s best interests and certainly not that of the Australian economy.
Greg Hardy, Upper Ferntree Gully
Mask divide a sign of things to come
Tony Wright’s report on the obvious divide across the parliamentary aisle, clearly illustrated by the wearing of masks or not, would seem to be an indication of how politics is going to unfold in this term (“No masking the divide as a new parliament begins”, The Age, 27/7).
As we edge towards the division splitting the people of the US, perhaps it is time for reflection about where this could take us as a country.
Surely the increase in infections and deaths attributed to COVID-19 is significant enough for public figures to wear masks in crowded situations as an example to the country of something that may be in the community’s interest. The need to illustrate a clear division between the parties should be by way of policies not by actions that could have major deleterious effect on the health of the country.
Jill Pimm, Mentone
All we want is good government
While I understand the interest in the pomp and ceremony of parliament’s opening, I can’t help but think it is the parliamentary “industry” of politicians, the political media and the news heads who think that the drivel that goes on at question time is of interest to those of us who live outside the rarefied atmosphere of Canberra.
We want good government, that’s all. If the members of the media weren’t salivating over every grab, gaff and gotcha moment in question time, would we, perhaps, get it?
Julian Guy, Mount Eliza
Pleasing signs of progress
It was pleasing to read that the new parliament is making progress on legislating a higher emissions target (“Greens ready to back climate bill”, The Age, 27/7). Australia is the only country in the world to dismantle a national emissions trading scheme, so legislation is an important safeguard.
While Labor has ruled out blocking new coal and gas, it’s likely that down the track this will be seen as immoral as emissions continue to grow and the planet continues to warm. Just last year, the International Energy Agency stated that “no new oil and natural gas fields are needed in the net zero pathway”.
If the world, including Australia, continues to put the dollar ahead of the needs of nature, we will become effectively poorer – not just in monetary terms but emotionally and spiritually. Burning more coal and gas won’t help the pollinators, for example, on which we depend. Einstein’s words “The most precious things in life are not those you get for money” are more important today than ever.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn
Centre-right policies won’t save Australia
Shaun Carney’s reflections on the tensions between Labor and the Greens are sensible and show a strong awareness of what is essentially a conservative working-class base for the ALP (“Climactic moment for the left”, Comment, 28/7). However, what the latter means, is that the ALP is now a centre-right party with some minor left-wing factions.
Centre-right policies won’t save Australia from the ravages of climate change over the next few decades, even if they do keep the ALP in power. One can only hope the ALP factions will read the science on climate change and work zealously to bring their members and the voting public to a much more realistic view as to what must be done to mitigate the effects of a changing climate.
Greg Bailey, St Andrews
It doesn’t need fixing
Having experienced an opera and ballet “drought” for the first two years of the pandemic, which was devastating for both performers and audience members, it is very disappointing that this will happen again while the State Theatre is closed from 2024 for almost three years for a refit (“City faces opera, ballet drought”, The Age, 28/7).
I have attended both opera and ballet performances at the State Theatre in the past few months, and in my humble opinion as an audience member, it is hard to understand why it even needs a refit. It is such a beautiful place, with a heartwarming atmosphere, comfortable red seats, excellent acoustics (to my musically trained ears), and the exquisite red velvet curtains with the lyrebird fanning out across them are magical.
Surely the $1.7 billion that is going to be spent on the revamp of the Southbank arts precinct could be put to better use, like housing for the homeless, rather than wasting it on something that doesn’t need fixing.
Joy Hayman, Blackburn North
It’s not about the staging
Perhaps the closure of the grand State Theatre at the Arts Centre can be compensated by staging more operas as concerts.
The best Wagner Ring Cycle I’ve ever seen was a concert version one in Duisburg on the Rhine in 2019 (their opera house was out of action due to flooding) and I was looking forward to seeing Simone Young conduct a concert version of Korngold’s opera Die tote Stadt in 2020, which, alas, was cancelled owing to COVID-19.
I think most people go to the opera for the music and the singing, not the staging.
Wayne Robinson, Kingsley, WA
The article “Building inspectors ‘forced to cut corners’” (The Age, 27/7) highlights the sort of ludicrous state government policy that saves money for the government but causes a world of pain for anyone who has the misfortune to contract a dodgy construction company.
This makes me so angry. I’m not going to vote for a government that pursues this sort of idiotic policy.
Chrissie Schubert, Windsor
Why is this unreasonable?
Chris Uhlmann (“There’s nothing to fear but the pandemic truth”, Comment, 27/7) doesn’t seem to have considered that there may be options between “the despotic lockdown regime [the Chinese Communist Party] exported” and the laissez-faire approach to COVID-19 that he advocates.
Uhlmann says “this only ends with Australian governments lifting all restrictions and actually learning to live with COVID-19 as just one more risk in a dangerous world”. But our society does much to reduce the probability and severity of these risks. Does he want to repeal workplace safety laws, the requirement to wear a seat belt when travelling in a car, etc.?
Many people believe that the mandating and enforcing of mask wearing on public transport, in supermarkets, etc. is a proportionate response to the current COVID-19 situation.
Uhlmann, in his libertarian polemic, makes no attempt to explain why such a measure of minor inconvenience to most people is unreasonable but prefers to attack the lockdowns that no one is claiming are still necessary.
Tony Ralston, Balwyn North
Off by a few days
There may be reasons to keep January 26 as Australia Day, but because that “was when European settlers came to Australia” as your correspondent claims (“A day worth celebrating”, Letters, 28/7) is not one of them.
It wasn’t so. The First Fleet began arriving in Botany Bay on January 19, 1788. January 26 is the date the fleet relocated to Sydney Cove after Governor Arthur Phillip declared Botany Bay an unsuitable site to establish a colony.
Maurice Critchley, Mangrove Mountain, NSW
How serious are they?
The anti-gay Manly footballers have every right to choose not to wear their company’s uniform.
If they do not agree with the moral code of their employer, that’s fine. They have every option to leave the company stating that they disagree with the company on moral or religious grounds.
If they are so convinced of their position, this should be a great chance to show the world just how important their religious convictions are to them and they can walk away from all that money they are being paid. Let’s see if they are serious about their beliefs.
Doug Steley, Heyfield
Not an uplifting example
I just might have been interested in what Moira Deeming has to say if it concerned ameliorating social injustices or efforts to protect our rapidly vanishing wildlife.
But like most social conservatives, she seems more focused on denying science and telling other people how to live their lives.
Demonising a group of people estimated to be well under 1 per cent of the population is not an uplifting example of Christian compassion and charity from this “devout Christian” (“State Lib ‘too extreme’ for Morrison’s team”, The Age, 28/7).
Michael Read, Carnegie
Different values on display
The non-wearing of masks by Liberal and Nationals politicians at the opening of parliament is a powerful reminder of the differences in values across parliament.
Non-wearers typically believe that their individual freedoms and rights are more important than consideration of the greater good (although mask wearing could be interpreted as a “selfish” concern for one’s own health).
Unless we all move towards considering legislation and political action in terms of the greater good for society and a belief that co-operative behaviour is just as natural as competitive behaviour, then humanity really is in trouble.
Howard Tankey, Box Hill North
These buildings fail us
As someone who has a wheelchair user as part of the family, we have avoided the Melbourne Aquarium for many years. There is no disabled parking nearby, the building layout is appalling and the lifts are not big enough.
Unfortunately, our recent visit to the Melbourne Museum was much the same. While the disabled parking there is good, the disabled toilets are nowhere near big enough, the lifts are totally inadequate and the central ramp (which the staff failed to mention to us) meant that our group had to separate at various times in order to move between floors.
There was also difficulty circulating within the crowd around various areas of the building because of the placement of furniture or exhibits.
I would go further than Michael Smith (“Design and functionality of aquarium all at sea”, Comment, 28/7). Public buildings – private and state – should be universally accessible. Neither the aquarium nor the museum meets this standard, nor does the NGV. Federation Square is a notorious failure.
The only public venue that we return to again and again is the Arts Centre. Parking is excellent, the staff are knowledgeable and helpful, the lifts are large and there is a Changing Places facility at Hamer Hall.
Bianca Felix, Bittern
The world turns slowly
In the early 1990s I was appointed to the board of management of a local health service. I was surprised to find that each meeting began with all members standing and reciting the Lord’s Prayer.
I queried this sort of practice in a publicly funded service in a secular and diverse society and moved a motion that it be discontinued. The main argument for the practice was our state and federal parliaments set the standards and precedents. The motion was soundly defeated. How slowly the world turns.
April Baragwanath, Geelong
Cheer them on
While obviously not as grandiose or formidable perhaps as the Olympic Games, I for one am excited about the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and encourage all citizens to cheer on from afar our 400-plus Australian athletes.
At this time in our civil history, when we are consumed daily by the grim realities of the ongoing war against Ukraine, international tensions within our Pacific region, rapid cost-of-living pressures, contention concerning Australia Day and the lingering reverberations of COVID, we desperately need the unifying
balm that the “Friendly Games” provide.
This is a competition where Australia always shines brightly and punches well above its weight, so we’ll importantly get to know those athletes who will later on be wearing the green and gold on the world stage at Paris in 2024.
Perhaps we can be too starry-eyed or optimistic about sporting contests, but I do trust that the presence of more than 5000 international athletes from 72 nations, representing their countries with pride, will give us, albeit briefly, a much-needed sensory taste of solidarity among humanity.
Peter Waterhouse, Craigieburn
Not ready to celebrate
I could not disagree more strongly with your correspondent “A day worth celebrating” (Letters, 28/7).
January 26, 1788, was definitely when European settlers came to Sydney Cove, but it was an invasion of the land where the Indigenous people were the first sovereign nation of the Australian continent.
Yes, it was the beginning of all the writer mentions in terms of progress, but this progress only benefited white people and was the beginning of disadvantage for the First Nations people, which continues today.
Australia Day can only be truly celebrated when all peoples of this land are recognised and valued, and we can only be proud of our European heritage when it is inclusive and adds honour and respect for all peoples.
And as far as relegating the celebration of our Indigenous people to the Queen’s birthday, our British sovereign, this only turns the knife into an already deep wound.
Julie Ottobre, Forest Hill
Raise the cut-off
Great news that kids under the age of 14 can go to the Royal Melbourne Show for free, but why can’t older students?
I assume this is being done to help families on what is a very expensive day out, so why penalise those with slightly older dependent children?
Sandy Richards, Merricks Beach
AND ANOTHER THING
Neighbours ends its run
Neighbours ends after 37 years. I missed every episode because I’ve been fully engaged with my neighbourhood.
Graham Cadd, Dromana
Surely Scott Morrison’s absence from parliament is his admission of political irrelevance.
Michael Challinger, Nunawading
The state Liberals have kicked out Bernie Finn and replaced him with someone who holds the same views as Finn. What was the point of sacking him?
John Walsh, Watsonia
I was impressed at the improved behaviour in question time yesterday. Can it continue?
Lindsay Donahoo, Wattle Glen
The problems discussed in your online explainer article “Why can’t anyone get an answer in question time?” (27/7) could be solved by either getting rid of it as unproductive or maybe renaming it “question and answer time” as a subtle hint.
Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill
“Russia is blackmailing us” says the European Commission president about Vladimir Putin’s gas export cuts (“Putin gaslighting Europe with his vague intentions”, Business, 28/7). When we do this we call them sanctions, a nice, antiseptic kind of word.
Tony Haydon, Springvale
David Speers is a cut above the rest and should have been made the permanent host of Q+A.
Roger Christiansz, Wheelers Hill
So the Lost Dogs’ Home is to be demolished to make way for yet more unaffordable housing. No words. Kristen Hurley, Seaholme
Just as well the sacred texts of the religions and culture of those Manly rugby league players don’t support wives as chattels, women as unsuitable for leadership, slavery, the death sentence, and colonising by force with divine help, and other outdated ideas, isn’t it? Hang on …
Stuart Gluth, Northcote
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