Spirit didn’t move the voters
Your editorial noted “it was an election set piece dreamed up by the most earnest of Labor strategists” (“Time to choose”, May 18-24) as now former Labor leader Bill Shorten invoked the ghostly spirit of Edward Gough Whitlam, QC, MP in the very same Blacktown venue whose stage Whitlam had graced on November 13, 1972. The leader writer concluded with a quote from the late Bob Hawke’s campaign speech in 1987: “It’s a decision about what kind of a people we are. It’s a decision about what kind of a nation we are going to be.” While Labor would have hoped to replicate the 1972 victory, I wonder if they also remembered that just two days shy of the third anniversary of the Blacktown speech, Whitlam was dismissed. The dismissal in itself is a matter for historical analysis, but it was Labor’s term in office that was punctuated by the actions of some of his team, Cairns, Crean and Connor and, of course, the latter’s involvement in the infamous loans affair with the likes of Khemlani. By the time the clock had struck midnight on election day 2019, the people had indeed decided and the Labor leader and his party’s fortunes were shattered. Perhaps it wasn’t time.
– Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW
Bob Hawke’s legacy
The remarkable outpouring of emotion at Bob Hawke’s death surely reflects a desire in the Australian electorate to put the utter nastiness of politics in recent years behind us. Hawke had a temper, for sure, and he could be a trenchant opponent, but at heart he was a conciliator, he didn’t hold grudges, and he never thought he was superior to the people, he was just in a superior job. We need to get back to that.
– Stephen Yolland, Templestowe, Vic
Numbers on climate change
In his letter “No climate for action” (May 18-24), Colin Hesse writes about “real action on climate change”. Real action is in fact long overdue. A recent report by sciencealert.com shows that for almost 10,000 years atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2 ) levels had varied only between 265 and 285 parts per million (ppm) until about 200 years ago – at the height of the Industrial Revolution. After 1820, the trend rapidly steepened until about 50 years ago when it became virtually vertical and passed 415ppm, a level not reached for millions of years. Global temperatures and sea levels have risen accordingly. To slow or reverse the build-up of atmospheric CO2, and the unwelcome changes that it causes, will require global thinking and concerted global action. The world simply cannot afford to have governments taking token steps to reduce emissions, as the Morrison government has been doing, let alone urging more use of fossil fuels, as do some conservative Australian politicians and as does the Trump administration.
– Dr Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin, ACT
Boost for Adani
A year ago I wrote in these columns that the Adani coalmine was not so much a reality as a rent-seeking project. Not only Gautam Adani himself but many others within Australia and India will have already made money out of this, regardless of whether it ever gets up. The corollary of course is that millions of dollars have been lost off the back of gullible investors. The self-interest and chicanery of local, state and federal politicians has compounded the problem by wasting taxpayers’ dollars essentially keeping this charade alive. All this recently collided with Bob Brown’s anti-Adani crusade, resulting in the intrusion of large numbers of southern protesters into local Queensland communities. This understandably created a great deal of local resentment and the backlash was reflected in the massive swing to the Queensland Liberal National Party which now, in one way or another, will firmly embed the project on the government’s agenda. My guess is everything has changed and, given the current scenario, ultimately either directly or indirectly Australian taxpayers will end up funding all or most of Mr Adani’s project for him while he laughs all the way to the bank.
– Peter Alexis, Taroona, Tas
What does our PM believe?
Scott Morrison said on election night: “I have always believed in miracles.” That is precisely why he represents a danger to Australia’s future. Morrison regards his religion as a “private matter” but happily allows the media to show him in church. He is an avowed adherent of Pentecostalism, some tenets of which many would regard as extreme, and, in the context of his lack of enthusiasm for effective action on climate change, highly dangerous if not sinister. Pentecostals believe in the existence of the devil and hell, and that the Bible is literally true and inerrant. Key elements of their eschatology are that we are living in End Times (nearing the end of history) and that the Second Coming is imminent. They envisage a continual tension between the forces of good and evil, but Jesus will soon return bringing Rapture to Christian believers and consigning Satan (and non-believers) to hell. What should be of great concern is that Morrison may well believe it is pointless to try to save the Earth as “The Lord” has other plans. He may well consider there is no point in mere mortals such as you and me campaigning for greenhouse gas abatement because the fate of the Earth and humanity will be determined by the interaction of such supernatural forces as the devil and the imminent return of Jesus Christ. These are very disturbing thoughts and provide a good reason to ask: is our prime minister a closet doomsday cultist?
– Ian Bayly, Upwey, Vic
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on May 25, 2019. Subscribe here.