With relief I have read this week’s editorial addressing the shameful newest twist in the federal government’s disgraceful treatment of the asylum seeker issue (“Dutton’s terrible invention”, November 5-11). Thank you for taking such a clear and strong stand. Here in Lismore the local Amnesty branch together with the Northern Rivers peace group Remembering and Healing have been holding weekly vigils outside federal MP Kevin Hogan’s office about this issue for close to 40 weeks. A glimmer of hope: at the last regular vigil the expressions of support were up from 25 per cent in the past to 44.5 per cent positive responses from cars driving by: hooting, waving, thumbs up. Let’s hope the tide is turning. We certainly will not stop before a radical change for asylum seekers has been achieved.
– Sabina Baltruweit, Lismore, NSW
Buck stops with Turnbull
Your editorial spells out clearly the latest example of cruelty being inflicted on refugees on Manus Island and Nauru. While agreeing with you that “Dutton has neither the care nor intelligence” to find a satisfactory solution to our offshore detention impasse, what of Malcolm Turnbull, our present prime minister, who has so glibly mouthed the same outrageous policy?
– Zeny Giles, New Lambton, NSW
Solution doesn’t wash
Your editorial started with an acutely accurate sentence and closed with one that was plain wrong. Yes, Peter Dutton’s proposal of a lifetime visa ban for those seeking to reach these shores by boat has no purpose beyond cruelty. Yet your “simple” solution to “bring them here” is not a solution at all. Such a remedy – despite legal and moral merits – will not, and cannot, happen in this parliament. Advocating such a course of action is, unfortunately, a waste of ink. One might as well howl at the moon.
– Dave Lisle, Mullumbimby, NSW
Australia should help Assange
Julian Assange is flawed like the rest of us (Martin McKenzie-Murray, “What is going on with Assange?”, October 29-November 4). But he has helped bring to light information that should not have been in the dark. I am thinking of the footage of the destruction of the people in Iraq. While John Howard, bizarrely, is honoured by Sydney University, Julian Assange remains in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, because to leave it could mean the fate of whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Julian Assange, as an Australian citizen, deserves the protection of the Australian government. Yes, the Australian government is besotted by the United States, but he still deserves it. Julian Assange has been brave. He has changed journalism. He deserves our support. You don’t have to be perfect to deserve the protection of your own government.
– Stephen Langford, Paddington, NSW
Duty bound on climate risks
The interview with economist Paul Fisher (Mike Seccombe, “Climate for change”, October 29-November 4) nails the problem Australia has with its ongoing
subsidy support of the export fossil fuel industry. More than 80 per cent of the Australian production is exported. The lobbying power of the Minerals Council of Australia and potential loss of this export income probably explains why the Minister for the Environment (and Energy) is still supporting the position that “Coal is good for humanity” in this climate-for-change era. It may also explain why this federal government is again trying to shut down avenues of legal appeal of decisions made under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and Queensland’s State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 which do not acknowledge climate change impacts of burning fossil fuel exports overseas.
– Richard Koerner, Coolum Beach, Qld
The coal question
Tony Abbott taught us that if you say something often enough it becomes “the truth”, even if it isn’t. Contrary to Abbott’s scaremongering, the carbon tax raised billions of dollars, resulted (according to an Australian National University study) in emissions reductions of up to 17 million tonnes in the electricity sector with even more to follow, and was not a great financial burden. Peter Garrett (“Environmental pressure”, October 29-November 4) supports the idea that the ALP is the “true party of protecting our natural environment” and says that the “Greens’ refusal to support a scheme they believed was less than perfect set back climate change reform several years”. First, the Greens took their advice from peak environment bodies and climate change experts, few if any of whom supported the emissions trading scheme. Second, if he was serious about it, why didn’t Kevin Rudd try a new, improved version? Yes, in comparison with the LNP and their pathetic Direct Action policy, the ALP has a better environmental record. After all, it introduced the carbon tax as part of its agreement with the Greens. But only once does Garrett mention coal, and only then to blame the mills pumping out greenhouse gases. A party of the environment recognises the imperative to stop coalmining, now, and implements a just transition to renewables, now. It is not a party that approves and fast-tracks new coalmines.
– Catherine Moore, Charleys Forest, NSW
A recipe for success
Andrew McConnell’s artichokes (“Thistle do nicely”, November 5-11) were amazing, the recipe demystifies the thistly veg and works well with sage instead of mint. Star dish of the evening.
– Anton Teese, Briagolong, Vic
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Nov 12, 2016. Subscribe here.