Credit:Illustration: Cathy Wilcox
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Australians want action on the environment
Why is Australia being held to ransom on setting net zero emissions by 2050 by a group of old fossils in the National Party (The Age, 28/9)? Farmers were among the first to notice the effects of climate change and most have taken local action to ameliorate it on their properties. They are part of the National Party and must be extremely upset by their so-called representatives in Parliament.
It will be an act of cowardice if Scott Morrison refuses to attend the climate talks in Glasgow. Polls have consistently shown that Australians want action on climate change, including reducing net emissions to zero. Scientists have shown that even net zero by 2050 is too slow. The obfuscation, amorality and irresponsibility by the Coalition is breathtaking.
Jan Marshall, Brighton
The Prime Minister should call the Nationals’ bluff
The idea that Scott Morrison must placate the National Party to the nth degree in order to take respectable climate targets to Glasgow is a nonsense. He does not need to put any legislation before Parliament: he simply needs to propose better targets to a Coalition party room vote and get a 50per cent plus one majority with a show of hands. A vote could be done via Zoom this week.
Members of the National Party may noisily object to the deployment of a basic democratic process. They might even threaten to retaliate in some way or another. If so, the challenge for us will be in identifying how such behaviour is different to how they behave on any other day. Morrison needs to stop pretending he is hostage to a bunch of blowhards who do not have the power to stop him acting, and who have nothing in reserve with which to retaliate if he does act.
Tim Thornton, Northcote
Taking advantage of these new opportunities
We would still be getting around in a horse and buggy if the likes of Barnaby Joyce, Matt Canavan and George Christensen had their way. Structural changes within the economy are continual and necessary as the world changes around us. Fossil fuel industries are on the decline but renewable industries are on the rise. It is important for Australia’s long-term future to adjust and grab these new opportunities as we are well placed to do so. Resisting change instead of embracing it will result in a long-term decline in our national income and jobs, and so living standards.
Jane Robins, Moonee Ponds
Ignorant – or prepared to destroy our future life?
Some Nationals such as Matt Canavan and Keith Pitt oppose taking any significant action on climate change. If they deny the reality of global heating, then they are ignoring the January 2020 statement (with evidence) of 11,285 scientists that “planet Earth is facing a climate emergency” and also the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. In this case, they are showing wilful ignorance. If they accept the findings of climate science but consider short-term profiteering from coal and gas to be all-important, then they are callously disregarding the future wellbeing of our young Australians and future generations.
Ian Bayly, Upwey
The courage to expose our policies to the world
The suggestion that Scott Morrison may not attend the climate summit in Glasgow leaves the image of an embarrassed leader cowering behind the couch while his international colleagues hold themselves accountable. Prime Minister, expose your policies, with their marketing double-speak, to the world and take the flak.
Rhonda Fitch, Sandringham
Too embarrassed to admit that we don’t have a plan
If I were prime minister of a government that could not get internal agreement for a net zero commitment or put a coherent emissions reduction plan together, I would probably be too ashamed to show my face at a global climate change summit too.
Richard Fone, Camberwell
Time to change the plan
Barnaby Joyce, as a football coach, has spent months working on a detailed game plan. Throughout the season the plan has failed to get his team much past the halfway point on the field and they finish plum last with no points at all.
“You’ve done well, lads”, he tells them. “You carried out the plan to the letter. I don’t know what went wrong.” A voice from back calls out: “Maybe our plan should have had a target to get to the line at the end of the field, the one with the goal on it. Like the other teams do”.
Barnaby replies: “Don’t be silly. That would be putting the horse before the cart. We’ll keep working on the plan and worry about the target later. Is it just me, or is getting hot around here?“
Lawrence Glynn, Grovedale
The Coalition strives to do as little as possible on climate change (although its extreme right strives to do nothing). Meanwhile the ALP sits by, with a well-justified stupid look on its face. It makes you proud to be an Australian, doesn’t it?
Nick Jans, Princes Hill
Start with the easy things
To reach net zero emissions, why isn’t the government going for the low hanging fruit like introducing vehicle emission standards? These have been talked about for years yet nothing has been done.
David Robertson, Wheatsheaf
The party of politics
Federal Liberal Party director Andrew Hirst is understandably worried about environmentally concerned voters in some marginal seats. He has accused Labor, the Greens and left-leaning independents of “being more interested in playing politics and symbolism than getting results” (The Age, 28/9.
This mind-boggling hypocrisy comes from the party that, inter alia, destroyed the effective Gillard Emissions Trading Scheme, made bipartisanship in addressing a global crisis a dirty word, has made Australia an international climate pariah, and remains incapable of reaching internal agreement on appropriate climate change policy.
Norman Huon, Port Melbourne
A plea for action, now
If only the two major parties could get together to develop a bipartisan policy on climate action. Their dissenting fringes would then become irrelevant and Australia could take respectable targets to the Glasgow summit.
It is not a question of whether or not to have ambitious targets. This is serious, we just have to find a way. It is not worth working out what will happen if we do not stop runaway global warming. It would be easier and a lot cheaper to do what it takes now.
Cate Lewis, Clifton Hill
The need for partnerships
The climate crisis is beyond anything we have ever faced. There is time still to prevent catastrophic climate change, but not that much. Once these realities are absorbed , our priorities shift. Is it possible for the Prime Minister to convene a bipartisan meeting of federal Parliament’s leaders to take advice from experts and shape a national policy and Contribution he can then take to Glasgow? Unprecedented circumstances require unprecedented partnerships, for the good of all.
Philip Huggins, Point Lonsdale
The forgotten workers
I read with interest your editorial about the 40,000 jobs in the coal industry (The Age, 27/9). There is much talk about the devastating effect the closing down of this industry will have on these workers. In contrast the 40,000 jobs that have already been lost at universities receives much less acknowledgement. Surely this will have just as devastating effect on the future of our higher education sector and our country.
Jane Dubsky, Glen Iris
Clean up the sector to …
It is deeply disturbing to read about the neglect and shocking conditions in the disability sectors – “How Denise Morgan escaped Melbourne’s house of horrors” (The Age, 27/9). The perpetrators must face repercussions. Operators should be strictly licensed and qualified, demonstrating both competence and empathy. There will have to be better checking and policing to ensure this community is being properly treated.
Christine Weatherhead, Glen Waverley
… protect the vulnerable
How distressing to read of the circumstances last year of the residents of Hambleton House. Privatisation of residential care, and now the creation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme cash cow, was always going to bring out the bottom feeders to milk the system, and that is indeed what has happened.
I am sure that a lot of operators are very caring. I am equally sure that a lot of them are not. It is one thing for politicians to wash their hands of responsibility for providing care to the needy, but to create a system where operators who are found to abuse their “clients” and government’s trust suffer no consequences is an absolute disgrace.
Julian Guy, Mount Eliza
Home quarantine using technology will be a great addition to the COVID-19 toolbox, if it works. I understand how the individual being quarantined is to be monitored through phone calls and selfies, although I think the use of selfies could be gamed. However, how will the system work to prevent relatives and friends from “just popping over for a few minutes”? Unless there is a system in place to prevent incursions in addition to excursions, home quarantine will not protect us.
Louise Kloot, Doncaster
Put clients’ safety first
Sophie Froidevaux (The Age, 27/9) asks: “Why would I turn away somebody [from my gym] that is choosing not to be vaccinated?” Australia will be a safer place when most of us are vaccinated, but COVID-19 will still be around.
Those who are not vaccinated are more likely to become infected than those who are, more likely to infect others around them, and more likely to get seriously ill. Business owners must do as much as possible to keep their customers safe and healthy. In fact, the survival of businesses and their reputations could be at stake if they become exposure sites.
Bill Farrell, West Wodonga
Offer love and comfort
Professor Brett Sutton, it is time to let us visit our families in hospital if we are vaccinated. Healing is not just medicine. It is love and being there for them.
Tania Kaye, Caulfield
Act for the greater good
Holly Lawford-Smith (Opinion, 27/9) writes about the dilemma our health professionals face when confronted with people who choose not to be vaccinated. Yes, freedom of choice is something we all value, but there are also times when the greater good for the greater number is surely more important. In Australia we are lucky to have the opportunity to be safe in the face of this frightening disease. We should all cherish that.
Annie Young, Junortoun
A shortage of vaccines
How can the state or federal governments try to discriminate against people who have not been double vaccinated when they cannot supply the vaccines? My one small clinic in Boronia has had to cancel 340 appointments in the next two weeks due to lack of supply and every other clinic that we have spoken to has the same problem.
David Hodge, Boronia
Come in, one and all
Regarding freedoms for the unvaccinated versus the vaccinated: a notice displayed prominently at entry points of those venues that choose not to discriminate would offer the fully vaccinated the freedom of choice as to whether they entered. Perhaps this measure could be specified under public health orders as we open up.
William Birch, Windsor
Give us all the information
While I applaud The Age’s decision to publish daily the state and national vaccine rollout rates, can I implore you to give equal prominence to the following statistics – hospitalisations, intensive care units and ventilator numbers with a breakdown of each category into patients who are double vaccinated, single vaccinated and unvaccinated.
Only then will people understand that while vaccines are only partly effective in preventing infections, they are remarkably effective at preventing serious illness.
Dr Peter Brukner, Malvern
Prepare the for next quake
Expert opinion (The Age, 28/9) that if the recent earthquake had been centred on Melbourne it could have caused 1400 deaths or injuries and $163 billion of building damage is very disturbing. Add to this the usual adverse effects of high-rise buildings, namely huge construction and maintenance costs, congestion, safety and environmental effects, and the case for an urgent review of current policies towards town planning, high-rise construction and population growth and distribution become obvious.
Of course the probability of another earthquake close to Melbourne may be very low, but the same could have been said of the current pandemic.
Robert Braby, Eltham
Two great Flanagan reads
Credit to The Age for the substantial articles by the Flanagans, Richard in Spectrum on Saturday (“Looking away won’t save us”) and and Martin in The Sunday Age (“Tom Wills remains a major figure in Australian history”). Both are thought provoking and timely. And thank you to the Flanagan family.
Margaret Pullar, Richmond
Doggies, down but not out
The photo of Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge and captain Marcus Bontempelli says it all (Sport, 27/9). The Dees have had their deliverance day. Yes, the Dogs were defeated but they are not destroyed. They will back in 2022 more determined, defiant and dominant than before.
Philip Ryan, Burwood East
AND ANOTHER THING
Well done, Bridget McKenzie, for finally recognising that actions in politics have consequences.
Elaine O’Shannessy, Buxton
Climate commitments aside, if Macron goes to Glasgow then Morrison must go too.
Michael Hipkins, Richmond
If Morrison ducks Glasgow, will Barnaby represent Australia? Seriously?
John Boyce, Richmond
It’s imperative that Morrison attend the Glasgow climate talks. We’ve managed without him during other major events, so Australia reopening is no different.
Katriona Fahey, Alphington
I feel sad for the many families in the same position as the Murugappans who don’t have the media juggernaut on their case.
Susie Holt, South Yarra
So ScoMo did a backroom deal with the US. We buy the subs and you give us a break on climate action.
Tony O’Connor, Northcote
With Keneally’s charisma and fighting spirit, it’s inevitable she’ll be our second female PM. Let’s make it sooner rather than later.
Ian Cameron, Chelsea
If Craig Kelly becomes PM, we will all fall off the edge of the world.
David Lyall, Mount Eliza
What news of the quarantine facility in Mickleham?
Jennifer Peterson, Abbotsford
Can’t we get our hair cut before we go to the pool?
Simon Staines, Mudgee
Hunt wants rapid antigen tests in homes by Christmas. Which Christmas, Minister?
Jonathan Emes, Fitzroy North
The union motto “Solidarity forever” means that members forgo some personal rights for the sake of the common good.
Michael Donnelly, Essendon
Well done, Melbourne, in breaking the 57-year drought. Tip: maybe don’t sack the coach this time.
Ray Gormann, Footscray
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