Letters to
the editor

Nuclear not the only option

Well might Premier Jay Weatherill take his time to ponder the politics of selling the idea of a nuclear dump in South Australia (Max Opray, “Nuclear cloud”, February 20-26). That the case for a dump, which will only service 13 per cent of the world’s waste, rests on debatable economics may be an indictment on the governance of the state. Are the premier and opposition really saying that this is the only way to end “South Australia’s seemingly hopeless descent into economic oblivion”? Are we so lacking in imagination that we can’t envisage more actively promoting a renewable energy industry, or an outback tourism industry, or a green agriculture, food and wine industry that isn’t overrun by developers? Or making Adelaide a real university city, where research, education and high-tech start-ups might thrive? The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute project is already a testament to these ideas, as are the Flinders University campus at Tonsley Park, and Mawson Lakes technology park. Why do we need to be dumped on?

– Gil Anaf, Norwood, SA

Christian lobby’s fears unfounded

The editorial “False gods” (February 20-26) made for some fascinating reading. I am highly sceptical of any group that calls itself a “Christian” anything – it usually means its adherents espouse a particular type of Christianity that represents a very narrow viewpoint. The editorial indicates the Australian Christian Lobby is no exception. Lyle Shelton, the managing director of the lobby, is the perpetrator of some particularly unpleasant notions. Shelton’s suggestion that same-sex marriage will somehow lead to the persecution of heterosexual married couples is at best spurious nonsense, and at worst, pure bigotry. My guess is that legalising same-sex marriage would have no relevance whatsoever to heterosexual couples. But if Shelton fears a backlash of discrimination against heterosexual couples, where does that fear come from? Is he afraid gay people will visit upon him the same sort of treatment they have suffered? So discrimination against gay couples is okay, but discrimination by gays against heterosexual couples is not okay – is this what the argument amounts to? I suspect such fears are groundless – most homosexual couples simply want to be left alone to live their lives. Shelton sees himself as an advocate for the society he believes is valid and everyone else is out of step. Lord save us from all such minders of other people’s business!

– Julie Hopper, Bendigo, Vic

Call for the Fixer

Plans to reduce the capacity of the CSIRO to monitor climate change are entirely consistent with the ideology of the previous prime minister Tony Abbott, whose government appointed Larry Marshall to head the CSIRO (Martin McKenzie-Murray, “Backlash against CSIRO’s ‘cowboy’ chief”, February 20-26).The disappointment is that neither Malcolm Turnbull nor the CSIRO board has shown any leadership and is allowing Marshall to make what appears to be a captain’s call. Perhaps Minister for Science Christopher Pyne could consider using his skills as a fixer to ensure that the CSIRO continues to have the capacity to monitor climate change?

– Genevieve Kang, Glebe, NSW

More thought to language on CSIRO

Dr Larry Marshall’s recent pronouncements on the ABC were clear and quite convincing as he laid out new roles and a new direction for his staff. Unfortunately his language and emphasis has aroused strong reactions. It need not have been so. If he had reiterated the fundamental role of the CSIRO in the Australian psyche and then pitched his “new directions” within that framework he (and his ideas) may have had a much less bumpy reception. He came across as an outsider trying to tell us how to do our job. The politicians must ensure his innovative agility does not destroy the integrity of our institution. Commercial success is all very well but the public good has always been the foundation stone of the CSIRO. It must remain so.

 – Lyn Kennedy, Wesburn, Vic

Looking beyond pop music

Dave Faulkner’s column on the AMP was interesting (“Breaking bands”, February 13-19) but leads me to ask – why is it called the Australian Music Prize? Why is it not called the Australian Pop Music Industry Prize? Only a very narrow range of music is included in the prize. It’s all pop music. Where’s the Australian jazz, world music, classical/derived and so on? What about the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Joseph Tawadros, Genevieve Lacey, William Barton, Elena Kats-Chernin, David Stanhope, Katie Noonan, Paul Grabowsky, Black Arm Band, Carl Vine, the Grigoryans, Ross Edwards? It’s well past time that the word “music” started to refer to all the musical worlds that are alive and well in this country.

– Tom Mangan, Woy Woy Bay, NSW

Room for another view

Brigid Delaney compares her fellow passengers to peevish characters in an E. M. Forster novel (“Taking it on bored”, February 13-19). The character brought to my mind was arch-snob Cecil Vyse in A Room with a View, who sneers at other people’s amusements “spoiling everyone’s pleasure”, as Brigid seems to be doing. Not that she saw much pleasure to spoil; everyone was having a terrible time, if only they knew it. It’s a shame they couldn’t rise above themselves, as Brigid was able to rise above them, to appreciate the stars, the birds, the dolphins. This is really a review of a couple of thousand people and their behaviour in very specific circumstances, used to represent a socio-economic class and pinpoint blame for Australia’s woes. It is dangerously divisive and fosters an “us” and “them” mentality.

– Adrian Rigg, Dulwich Hill, NSW

Letters are welcome: [email protected]
Please include your full name and address and a daytime telephone number. Letters may be edited for length and content, and may be published in print and online. Letters should not exceed 150 words.

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Feb 27, 2016.

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