Letters to
the editor

Seeking solutions

Tim Flannery’s timely piece (“US carbon tariff offers opportunity for Australia”, May 1-7) describes the stupidity of the Morrison government’s pretence that it can somehow withstand the push for the cessation of fossil fuel mining in the face of a 100 per cent change in trading structures based on carbon savings and sustainable development agendas. Mark Carney, former Bank of England governor, said last year that by 2025 financial institutions will want fully transparent reporting of carbon impacts. This will mean the associated position of the deployment of funds must be reported against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Firms representing trillions of dollars of investment will be driving the agenda worldwide. The government’s pretence that this is avoidable is a potential tragedy for all Australian industry. Flannery makes the point that while agricultural production, specifically beef and dairy, will not be captured in these carbon imposts, current research into use of the seaweed Asparagopsis in the diet of animals, if successful, could help reduce methane produced in these industries. There are other ways to offset the carbon management of beef and dairy herds, such as regenerative agriculture, pasture cropping, holistic planned grazing and green cover crops, to name a few. Any of these solutions will also reduce the use of artificial fertiliser and chemical poisons in our food systems. If we are going to seek solutions to our broken water and carbon cycle crises, let us first of all read a little more and understand best practice and its actual cost.

– Gerry Gillespie, Queanbeyan, NSW

Carbon price supported

Tim Flannery is right. A carbon price that lets industries pick emission-reduction winners is far more efficient than the Morrison government’s approach, with too many lifelines to fossil fuels. The same is true of ALP policy if it eschews a carbon price. That’s despite a changing geopolitical context in which the European Union is contemplating a carbon tariff or border adjustment to even the playing field for local industries paying a carbon price, and United States President Joe Biden has pledged a similar carbon adjustment fee against countries failing to meet their climate obligations. Will opportunities such as lower carbon steel and hydrogen be squandered because there wasn’t the foresight and political will to price carbon here, leaving Australian exports exposed?

– Jim Allen, Panorama, SA

Grace Tame speaks the truth

How fragile is Scott Morrison’s male-centric government, wilting at the first sign of criticism (Karen Middleton, “Exclusive: Government review follows Tame appointment”, May 1-7). Stacking boards with mates is its modus operandi – Australia Post, the Covid-19 commission, the Fair Work Commission. God forbid democracy should rear its unmanageable head but it has, accidentally, and Grace Tame is the incandescent result. Here she is speaking the zeitgeist, expressing in excoriating words the ghastly systemic failures of Morrison’s government. What a disaster allowing her a voice. Far better to control the dialogue, silence the critics and seek “safe” candidates who will reflect government interests – loyal military men, compliant public servants, or perhaps some worthy national hero who directed an emergency or managed a bushfire.

– Alison Stewart, Riverview, NSW

The choice of ordinary Australians

Grace Tame and those who preceded her were not “appointed”, rather she was selected in the final stage of the Australian of the Year assessment process. Several years ago I sat on the selection panel for the New South Wales awards. The process was robust and consensus reached based on measured and focused assessment criteria. Remember the people who nominate candidates are themselves from all walks of life. If the selection of the person to the top award ends up causing the government of the day grief, then so be it. Changing the composition of the National Australia Day Council will do nothing except devalue a process where ordinary Australians can nominate those deserving of recognition in their field of endeavour.

– Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW

A bullying response

Context is all. It allows reflection, consideration, a nuanced response – all virtues that political leaders should aspire to, and which should recommend them to us. Experience tells us a different story. Whether it’s the PM verbally attacking the chief executive of Australia Post or NSW Police Minister David Elliott berating teachers at the Lindfield Learning Village (Osman Faruqi, “NSW Police minister takes aim at school”, April 24-30), the automatic response of too many of the country’s politicians is to appeal to the base of their support by bullying, belittling, castigating and victimising real, honest, hard-working people. Never mind the facts. Never mind the context.

– Neil Thomson, Bellingen, NSW

State school

Miriam Cosic left out that human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson was educated at a state school, Epping Boys High (“Human wrongs”, May 1-7). Facts like this are very important in the battle against the born to rule and overfunded private system.

– Warwick Hempel, Avoca 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 May 8, 2021.

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