Facing the coal truth
The article “In the coal light of day” by Guy Pearse (July 23-29) was an exactingly researched exposé of the brazen hypocrisy with which successive Australian governments have concealed the true extent of our appalling contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions, through the continuing export of coal. Pearse makes the point that “as well as our domestic emissions, one in every 35 tonnes of CO2 emitted worldwide comes from exported Australian coal”. He goes on to reveal that “Australia exports three times as much coal as all other OECD countries combined”. Is this not the most horrifying scenario? Our country is taking a leading role in poisoning the world's atmosphere, and further frustrating most other advanced countries’ attempts to reduce emissions, and hopefully, mitigate global climate change. These disclosures make our pathetic undertakings towards the emissions trading scheme look even more fraudulent. The cynicism of government is made more apparent with the appointment of a single minister for the environment and energy. It is insulting to the majority of Australians who are desperate for a genuinely constructive response to the rapidly growing threat of climate change. It is astonishing to realise the extent to which a prime minister, who is absolutely aware of that threat, is prepared to debase himself to remain in office, even if it means to hell with the consequences.
– David Payne, Bermagui, NSW
The vacuum on climate change
Guy Pearse’s well-informed article makes a pointed reference to “la-la land”. This is the land now governed for another three years by a conservative coalition that considers “coal is indispensable to Australia”. Given that “Australia exports three times as much coal as all other OECD countries combined”, it seems reasonable to ask why it is that the link between the disastrous coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef and the burning of exported coal has yet to sink in to the politicians of “la-la land”. Why the voters of “la-la land” continue to elect such politicians is another question. We know that the effects of global warming will persist for hundreds of years, and we know that very young people alive today will be among the first whose quality of life will suffer as a result. But for most conservative politicians, the moral question: “Why invest in a far-off future?” is, evidently, not of great concern to them or their supporters. Malcolm Turnbull needs to step into this moral vacuum and stop Australia’s practice of exporting climate change.
– David Nash, Manly, NSW
Rise of the irrational
It is interesting to read Martin McKenzie-Murray’s and Mike Seccombe’s analysis of Donald Trump and Pauline Hanson (“Unbowed by Convention” and “How Sen. Hanson changes politics”, July 23-29) respectively. Trump’s and Hanson’s fearful rhetoric is moulded from the same pot of clay. For example, blame all the ills and threats within a society on vulnerable ethnic minorities (from job security to homeland security to housing affordability et cetera). Assume all actions by extreme Muslims throughout the world are a personal threat. Ignore the fact that most such acts kill more Muslims than Christians and that most of these murderers are psychologically unwell. Paint society as existing in a discordant crisis that needs forthright masculine solutions in order to return it to a “blissful” earlier era (that has long gone). Claim you are the new risen phoenix that will right all of these supposed wrongs – even though you have only stated your “wrongs” rather than propounded rational solutions. Don’t cater to Trump and Hanson with irrational weasel words such as the legitimacy of their ideas stems from the fact that other irrational people voted for them. Please, see them as they are: terrified, insecure and irrational small-minded politicians who want to be protected at all costs from the paranoid shadows that have haunted them since birth.
– Dr Ellak I. von Nagy-Felsobuki, Arcadia Vale, NSW
Pauline Hanson certainly seems to have an ability to argue that isolated disturbances within minority groups are representative of behaviour by all members in that group and, in so doing, scare the bejesus out of many in the community. Having said that, it is still hard to believe there is in excess of half a million people who have voted that way.
– John Fryer, Ryde, NSW
Wealth tax scare remembered
The “Labor figure” who considered Labor’s Medicare campaign unprecedented since the late 1940s (Karen Middleton, “Hard politics and messy spin”, July 16-22) can’t be all that senior if he/she can’t recall how hard the Coalition went during the 1980 election with its, let’s say, inexactitude that Labor planned to impose a wealth tax.
You don’t have to privatise Medicare to destroy it, by the way. If the Coalition continues to circumscribe what it’s allowed to cover – freezing what it can rebate, increasing the cost to patients of medicines, X-rays and other health services, discouraging bulk-billing, et cetera – we’ll wake up one day and find that there’s nothing left of Medicare to privatise. We’ll all be left then to the tender mercies of private health insurance, which is what the Coalition has always preferred. There’s never been a more exciting time to be an Australian patient.
– Dominic Nagle, Weston, ACT
Georgia Blain’s monthly column “The Unwelcome Guest” has been very inspiring and I wish her all the best.
– Lesley Raper, Bentleigh East, Vic
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Jul 30, 2016. Subscribe here.