Look to Merkel’s Germany
Senator Abetz’s assertion (Sophie Morris, “The Queen’s Guard”, March 29-April 4) that his royalist views are an appropriate response to the disastrous course of German history during the 20th century is so inaccurate that it can be seen as his contribution to the tendentious history wars that his colleagues inflict on the Australian people. Contrary to what he implies, a monarchy and an anti-republican regime dominated Germany when it perpetrated its worst excesses. The Hohenzollern dynasty in the person of Kaiser Wilhelm II plunged Germany into World War I and Hitler’s dictatorship did likewise in World War II. Between the wars the Weimar Republic offered Germany an alternative future under a democratic constitution, but this was ultimately destroyed by Hitler in alliance with monarchists such as von Hindenburg. The present-day German republic to which Abetz does not refer is a highly successful democracy from which his party could learn much.
– Alex Tyrrell, Greensborough, Vic
Driving business away
The Queensland tourism lobbyist, Tony Brown, had it half right when he said “mining is a very strong economic driver and we need to find that balance” (“Killing the reef’’, March 29-April 4). As an “economic driver”, mining has been foremost in driving the value of the Australian dollar, which is driving our more valuable industries offshore – or out of business. These industries include manufacturing, agriculture, education exports and tourism. Between them, they employ millions of Australians. Mining employs just 2 per cent of Australia’s workforce, its profits are mostly sent overseas and its main contributions are the taxes it tries to avoid. On balance, the damage caused by a high exchange rate outweighs the elusive benefits of the (no-value-added) resources sector. What’s more, in the pageant of parasitic industries, you’ll tend to find coal and coal seam gas are clear winners. The environment is first on their list of victims.
– Marco Fante, Katoomba, NSW
Dumping is the problem
Thank you for the article on the Great Barrier Reef. However, I wish to expand on the point: “He said the dredged material would not be toxic.” In many respects this is irrelevant. Sand is not toxic, for example, however, the dumping of large quantities of sand, rock, dirt, even warm water could have serious consequences. The danger is, if dredging is allowed, the reef’s ecosystem will change.
– Dave Harmer, Keiraville, NSW
Believe it or not
Mr Garretty (Letters, March 29-April 4) should read some more on atheism. If compelling evidence for the existence of a god or gods is found then I will change my current belief that it is extremely unlikely that there is one. Doctors, teachers and jurists should not have to declare their non-belief in religion. Atheism is not a form of theology unless you would propose that not collecting stamps is a hobby.
– David Nevell, Pymble, NSW
The dogma of having no dogmas
John Garretty shows the usual wilful misunderstanding about atheism in repeating the tired old idea that atheism is, in itself, a form of religion. No, sir, it is not. The “a” in atheism simply means absence or lack of theism (which is belief in a god or gods). We also have no dogmas as he states, unless seeking to understand the natural world by observation, testing and reason is a dogma, in which case I fully support this method.
– Judy Scholfield, Lilyfield, NSW
Someone send John Garretty a copy of the Australian constitution immediately. He is under the false impression that it protects religious freedom.
– Samantha Chung, Newtown, NSW
Unite and realise the fight isn’t over
I absolutely agree with the points that Eva Cox made in her article (“Has feminism lost its way?”, March 29-April 4). As a woman of the same generation and one who well remembers the struggles of the ’70s to be recognised as an equal in the workplace, I can clearly see that the tactics have to change and women have to become proactive in order to modify the gender distribution in positions of power. We also need to understand that quite often it is not the male of the species who keeps us in “our place”, but women – women who have achieved high-status positions, often in difficult circumstances, and say, “If I had to struggle, why should I make it easy for others?” As women we need to be much more united and clearly understand that the fight is not over.
– Kathy Bradley, Wollstonecraft, NSW
Agreement’s loss could be industry’s loss
Your editorial (“Tearing up forest deal no help to anyone”, March 22-28) is unduly polite to both the Liberal Party, which wants to tear up the Tasmanian Forests Agreement, and to the agreement itself. The Liberals are vowing to defy international Forest Stewardship Council certification and resume voracious native forest harvests, but this time for unregulated “emerging markets”, i.e. China. The chronic losses of Tasmanian forestry can only increase, along with its outsized carbon footprint and environmental disrepute. The forests agreement itself was forced by Tasmania’s desperation for FSC certification. Some Tasmanians argue the Liberals’ extremism could be the more eco-friendly by hastening the total economic demise of the industry.
– John Hayward, Weegena, Tas
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Apr 5, 2014.
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Letters & Editorial