Letters to
the editor

Time to work together

Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu challenges a regressive colonial mindset (Rick Morton, “Bolt, Pascoe and the culture wars”, November 30–December 6) in fundamental ways. His thorough research highlights the shallow mythology of “pioneers toiling in a harsh and empty land”. The land, of course, was not empty on arrival of the British from the late 18th century, and those farming it had successfully done so for tens of thousands of years with ingenuity and care. Dark Emu is a groundbreaking and remarkably generous book. It offers us an opportunity to work co-operatively with each other in order to protect country in a time when both land and people are being impacted by the devastating effects of climate change. There is much we must do to meet this challenge. What we do not need is the wasted energy of a vindictive culture war.

– Professor Tony Birch, Victoria University, Vic

The truth on the occupation

Rick Morton is to be applauded for his article. Having read Andrew Bolt’s article in the Herald Sun, I was appalled at the seemingly undermining attempts to denigrate Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu. As Morton articulates, the obscurantism by Bolt further illustrates how far we still have to go to acknowledge our colonial past. Like Bruce Pascoe, I have had much to unlearn about the occupation of Australia. We are in need of a truth-telling ministry, along with the recognition of our nation’s First Peoples, in the way they choose.

– Judith Morrison, Mount Waverley, Vic

Check the source

I read Dark Emu earlier this year. When I read Andrew Bolt’s article in the Herald Sun there were so many things he claimed were in the book that I didn’t recall, I thought there must be different editions or else my memory was age-affected. Reading Rick Morton’s doubts on whether Bolt has ever read the book, I felt a new reliance on my memory.

– John Walsh, Watsonia, Vic

Sharing the message on asylum seekers

As Jana Favero and Kon Karapanagiotidis have written (“Shifting the politics”, November 30–December 6), there is a change in public opinion towards asylum seekers, at least in Victoria. When people are made aware of the injustice, they realise how much refugees are suffering. The daily press does not do enough to inform the public. It is up to us to tell acquaintances and people we meet of the real cruelty refugees experience at the hands of our government. We should also try to stiffen the resolve of the Labor Party to end the persecution. The lack of empathy from Coalition members seems boundless but we must appeal to them too.

– Gael Barrett, North Balwyn, Vic

What about duty of care?

The most baffling aspect of the government’s entrenched attitude to the medevac legislation is the apparent inability to acknowledge or accept its duty of care for the asylum seekers it chose to incarcerate on Manus and Nauru. No matter how persuasively refugee advocates present the case for medevac, as in last week’s “Shifting the politics”, it still falls on deaf Coalition ears. No matter how much public opinion is shown to have moved towards greater support for the refugees’ plight, this still fails to register on government members’ radar. Common human decency seems to be an alien concept: empathy is running on empty. The legislation seeks to target a specific, limited situation: to allow the refugees access to life-saving medical attention for problems caused or exacerbated by their detention. How the government can believe it has any right to deny this is simply beyond understanding. Perhaps it’s time for Australia to be subjected to international sanctions.

– Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale, Vic

We must stick to renewables

According to Mike Seccombe’s “Played for a fuel” (November 30–December 6), Resources Minister Canavan and Energy Minister Taylor are promoting hydrogen as the new “wonder fuel”. Both MPs have strong links to “Big Coal”. It seems like a good idea to extract a very useful fuel from a readily available commodity such as water. The downside seems to be the amount of electricity required. I agree with you that Canavan and Taylor are promoting hydrogen because it is a way to proliferate the burning of coal. This flies in the face of the IPCC reports stating that Australian emissions must be heavily reduced. But in the past four years, our emissions have continued to rise. If hydrogen is to be the new “wonder fuel”, it is an opportunity to expand the renewable energy industry, not to proliferate our use of coal.

– Trevor Scott, Castlemaine, Vic

Coal uncovered

There will be many such as I who are grateful to Mike Seccombe for his excellent work. His writing in The Saturday Paper of November 23-29, “Raking over old coal”, and in the issue of the previous week on coal and our climate emergency (“Actually – it is climate change”, November 16-22) are carefully researched and thoroughly well written. Coal is estimated to cause 40 per cent of our greenhouse problems but here go ScoMo and his buddies, making hell on earth.

– Rupert Russell, Mount Molloy, Qld

In her paw prints

When I grow up I want to be understudy to Meow Meow (Alison Croggon, “How great Meow art”, November 30–December 6). I’m purrfectly happy to bide my time.

– Pam Connor, Mollymook Beach, 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 December 7, 2019.

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