Taking issue with Labor’s stance
It is disheartening to learn that Labor aims to adopt the disgracefully negligent approach to opposition formerly taken by the Liberal-National Coalition (Sophie Morris, ‘‘Inside Shorten’s party war room’’, April 26-May 2), rather than critique the values defended by the current regime and consider whether it has something better to offer the Australian public. True political opposition is philosophical and involves taking issue with the deeper meanings that lie behind promises, broken or unbroken. The conservative political values established in the late 18th century by Edmund Burke upheld a hierarchical society with an unquestionable, highly privileged aristocracy defended by the church at the top, and an inadequately serviced pool of subservient working poor near the bottom. Gender inequity was built into this undemocratic scheme. These anachronistic values are clearly evident in the actions of Abbott’s government and I, for one, would like them to be effectively challenged.
– Sue Hobley, Lilyfield, NSW
We can handle the truth
In your recent editorial (“PPL will make a mockery of the budget”, April 26-May 2) you gave the federal treasurer credit because “he correctly diagnoses one of the major structural problems of the Australian economy”. What had he said that was so astute? Your quotation actually suggests he was loose in his use of words, if not his thinking, when he said, “The volume of demand for these programs is outstripping the capacity of taxpayers to fund them.” He should have said the “current willingness of taxpayers”, which is a very different matter from “capacity”. Australians have been encouraged to believe that they are heavily taxed and “are doing it tough”. Neither proposition is correct. It is time for some honest truth-telling by our politicians and it is time for our media to demand better standards from those political leaders.
– John Carmody, Roseville, NSW
Jet fighters not the answer
As a World War II veteran, I agree wholeheartedly with Dennis Jensen’s criticism of the purchase of new fighter jets (The Week, “It’s a dud decision. No one has had the balls to call a halt to it.” April 26-May 2). I don’t believe they will ever be needed, or be a vital part of our defence, if any other nation decides to take us over. Japan is out of the game, Indonesia will never be able to do more than send broken-down fishing boats at us, and China will never have the need to do so. They are working at it already, and with considerable success, using the Trojan Horse method. At least there should be less bloodshed.
– Ron Elphick, Buff Point, NSW
Saving the planet more important
Twelve billion dollars for fighter planes? You’ve got to be joking. Who do we need protection from? Or who needs protection from us? It’s cut and dried who our biggest enemy is this century: us. Our affluent, unsustainable way of living is pushing all of our planet’s natural systems to the brink. Do we need a fund for fighters? No, we need a fund to fight for our land, water and biodiversity, and a fund to fight our addictions to coal, oil and gas that are steadily cooking the planet. A well-timed announcement on the eve of Anzac Day, when the country is busy conjuring dreams of mud-covered Diggers, tank divisions and exploding artillery shells. People awake and living in the now: don’t let manipulative greed-mongers wreck the future.
– Matthew Currell, Armadale, Vic
Watching brief on Galilee Basin
Mike Seccombe’s analysis of GVK and the future of coalmining (‘‘The end of coal’’, April 26-May 2) was an exemplar of first-rate journalism. It gave an insight into the complexities and enormity of this project, and its global context. The scale of the Galilee Basin project is mind-blowing at every level, and his article gave us the detail needed to get a sense of that scale. Given the potential impact of this project and its importance to all of us, for better or worse, I hope Seccombe gives us some more on this and the Abbot Point railway link construction as they develop (or not).
– Jack Bowers, Downer, ACT
Devil’s in the detail
Your article (‘‘The end of coal’’) is an insightful analysis of Australia’s thermal coal trade prospects. An issue not explored is the low rank of Galilee Basin measures, making them totally unsuitable for export, and the loophole in Australia’s greenhouse gas accounting conventions under Kyoto 1 agreements permitting no consideration of scope 3 global warming-related externality costs when performing environmental impact assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. Scope 3 emissions make up some 95 per cent of total emissions for thermal coal export projects and some 97 per cent for metallurgical coal export projects.
– R.J. Koerner, Coolum Beach, Qld
How could you people be so thoughtless – and dumb – as to run a spoiler for Game of Thrones on the Letters page. Strike 1, Saturday Paper.
– Graham Barry, Rozelle, NSW
Thank you for the latest issue ( No. 9 ) of The Saturday Paper. Every article had depth, cogent information and led other media on major issues. No easy task but achieved.
– Des Files, Brunswick, Vic
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on May 3, 2014. Subscribe here.