Letters to
the editor

Energy policy fails to enlighten

Paul Bongiorno has written, “Ten years of brutal, opportunistic politics has left this nation with no credible energy policy” (“Time for new tricks, not old dogma”, March 18-24). He’s right, of course, but let’s be absolutely clear. Ten years of brutal, opportunistic and disgraceful political game-playing by the Coalition, while in opposition and in government, a compliant, if not fawning, media and a gullible electorate have combined since 2009 to leave Australia with no credible energy policy. At least there are signs that the electorate is now awake to the threat posed to energy supply and security by the ineptitude and hypocrisy of the federal government. But the nonsense continues. Should we have to imagine, for example, the spectacle of the prime minister of the second-largest LPG-producing country on the planet going cap in hand to the mining companies asking that they might put a bit of gas aside for us?

– Raymond Brooks, Carlton North, Vic

Zero rating for Turnbull

I do not believe it is wishful thinking to suggest the Turnbull government has no hope of anything more than a single term, if indeed, it survives that far. Any relief, however, needs to be tempered by the realisation that Bill Shorten would probably be next. So many had such high hopes for Malcolm Turnbull as PM, after the dark days of Tony Abbott, but in the end, Turnbull has sadly turned out to be just another politician. He has attained his seemingly paramount ambition of becoming PM, but what he will be judged on is what he actually achieved for the nation while there. So far it amounts to zilch. Paul Bongiorno draws stark attention to the extent to which Turnbull has abandoned his convictions about human-induced climate change, and the urgent need for an effective response. Many of the issues that confront us are, in fact, climate related. Climate records are broken, agriculture is imperilled, the Great Barrier Reef is dying, our emission reduction undertakings are worthless and the energy sector has all but collapsed. His intransigence on these drastic problems now comes across as being on a par with his benighted predecessor. He will get nowhere with these issues until he gets off his knees and treats the far right with the contempt they deserve. Yes, there are risks, but pleading that he had no choice but to accede to their demands will leave his reputation in tatters. Standing up for what he believes, on the other hand, will, if nothing else, assure him of the respect that should be his. 

– David Payne, Bermagui, NSW

Retraumatised by Towards Healing

We should salute Therase Lawless for not just surviving church sexual abuse but flourishing to the point of bringing up two daughters and graduating from university with a PhD no less (“How the church forced me to relive my abuse”, March 18-24). What she has described in psychological terms is nothing less than desecration, the breaking of her will and the violation of her heart’s desires. Her experience with Towards Healing underlined how any assessment and treatment should be arranged and funded at arm’s length from the offending institution, the Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst in this instance. Her pain cannot be taken away but hopefully she will continue to find post-traumatic growth that would not have been available to her in any other way. 

– Mark Porter, New Lambton, NSW

Calling out Bill Leak

The conservative fringe and their sycophants (including the sad cabal at Bill Leak’s memorial) often proclaim they “say what the people are thinking” and this is free speech. Opposing voices are often loath to directly call out this ignorance and hate for what it is. While it is laudable to be better than that and avoid giving oxygen to these peddlers of bile, it absolves them of accountability and helps keep their targets silent. Last week’s Saturday Paper was a welcome exception (Editorial, “The freedom of a coward”, March 18-24). After days of people tiptoeing around this man’s legacy I had a palpable sense of relief to see him called out as racist. As an LGBT, not-quite-white Australian, I was additionally relieved that the full reach of his actions were also called out. Thank you, Saturday Paper, a lonely light in a darkening Australia. People of goodwill, speak up without fear if you can. 

– Jason Cheong, Heidelberg, Vic

Domestic violence deserves the attention

The self-satisfied tone of the editorial on Bill Leak did nothing to address the issues of domestic violence in First Australian communities. Rosie Batty went to the remote north of Western Australia this week, stating on ABC TV that, as she is “white, privileged, living in a fancy house in a big city”, her presence could assist Aboriginal women feel they are not alone with their problem. Leak bitingly, even angrily, pointed out in his cartoons that drunken Aboriginal men are a problem for Aboriginal women – they brutally beat them. Leak’s cartoons certainly were a gift to racists but he wasn’t illustrating fiction. Notably, his cartooning always expressed concern for Aboriginal women and children – the victims of domestic violence. A focus on Leak as “a racist” sidesteps the issue of drunken Aboriginal men and their conduct. 

– Des Files, Brunswick, Vic

Adding to the climate’s problems

If geoengineering becomes a reality (Greg Foyster, “Particles of faith”, March 18-24) and indeed works to cool the planet, what incentive would there be then to reduce our carbon emissions? It could be seen as business as usual, to keep ramping up our sulphate spraying in the upper atmosphere in an escalating cycle of eventual destruction. The answer to human-induced climate change can never be to increase our environmental footprint, only to decrease it.

– Sean Burns, Point Cook, Vic

Letters are welcome: [email protected]
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Mar 25, 2017. Subscribe here.