All about the spin cycle
The government’s decision to make use of marketing firms to promote the Covid-19 vaccination program instead of the highly skilled experts affiliated with the Australian Collaboration on Social Science and Immunisation is symptomatic of a government that prefers propaganda to truth (Justine Landis-Hanley, “Vaccine but not heard”, February 13-19). From the government’s point of view, engaging experts such as Professor Julie Leask and others at COSSI may present unacceptable risks because these experts will speak the truth and will not just repeat what the government wants said. There has been a growing concern about the government’s choice of vaccines. Was the government’s desire to give the main production contract to a local company in the best interest of the Australian people?
– Harry Melkonian, Vaucluse, NSW
Capacity for error
Your otherwise excellent article (Mike Seccombe, “Who’s about to get rich off the green energy revolution?”, February 13-19) was marred by some underwhelming numbers. The Asian Renewable Energy Hub is planned to be 26 gigawatts, not megawatts, and Sun Cable’s Northern Territory plan is likewise three orders of magnitude larger than the quoted 10,000 kW. Together they add up to about half of Australia’s generating capacity today.
– Derek Bolton, Birchgrove, NSW
Thanks for the excellent read about the entrepreneurs with the courage and smarts to take Australia forward in the renewable energy sector. I was struck by the number of times the word “vision” appeared in the article. People with vision are capable of capturing the imagination of others and achieving great things. Vision is sadly lacking in Australian politics today, and this is felt mostly by the young. While young people came out in force for the 2017 same-sex marriage postal survey, they were under-represented at the last federal election. Fewer than one in five felt their opinions were represented by their politicians, especially on climate change. However, any young Australians who read your article will be excited and encouraged by the personal stories of Anton Vikstrom, Mike Cannon-Brookes and Eytan Lenko and friends. Relatively youthful at about 40 years of age, they share a common understanding that the way forward must be clean and green, but more than that, they are investing not just their money but also themselves in what they believe in. Moreover, it is paying off. They are the inspiration and example that young Australians crave and need. I am sure the article would be read voraciously in schools and universities around the country.
– Ray Peck, Hawthorn, Vic
Unimpressed by party politics
Why does so much political commentary treat politics as some sort of lucky dip? You want a different policy or a new leader: shut your eyes, scratch around and see what comes up. The result is more like the party game where you take turns in drawing the head or body or tail of the animal, without knowing what others have drawn. The emissions reduction policy and pandemic management “animals” are just the most obvious recent examples: there’s no evidence of sustained, rational planning or forethought, let alone any acceptance of responsibility for putting policy into practice. On one hand, the government promotes fossil fuels while the opposition props up jobs; on the other hand, the federal government is happy to assume any credit for controlling the spread of the virus while flicking aged care and quarantine management problems to the states. These thoughts were prompted by comments such as Karen Middleton’s “Tanya Plibersek on post-Covid politics” (February 13-19) and others claiming that the PM’s popularity continues to rise in spite of glaring gaps in accountability and integrity. The question remains: when will we face reality and stop playing games?
– Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale, Vic
Telling it like it is
Resist the urge for an expensive economics degree from our finest universities. Learn from the masterclass of Richard Denniss, The Australia Institute’s chief economist, at a fraction of the cost, in this very newspaper (“The truth about Australia’s wages”, February 13-19).
– Carmelo Bazzano, Epping, Vic
Warming up to Kyrgios
How timely was Osman Faruqi’s article on Nick Kyrgios (“The great showman”, February 13-19). The diverse boisterous crowd at his losing match against Dominic Thiem on Friday night showed what an asset to the sport he has become. He is surely a better role model for young Australians than many of our cricketers or footballers. Long may he continue to refuse to “stay in his lane” while being an Australian of Greek–Malaysian background.
– Ron Benzie, Surry Hills, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Feb 20, 2021.
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