Rudd on climate change
Your May 1-7 editorial (“Hint and miss for climate targets”) reprised the utterly false premise that, during my leadership, I framed climate change principally as a moral challenge rather than a practical economic, geopolitical and environmental one. If you’d actually re-read those remarks in 2007, rather than lazily internalising Tony Abbott’s talking points, you’d know that I did no such thing. I said: “Climate change is the great moral challenge of our generation. Climate change is not just an environmental challenge; climate change is an economic challenge, a social challenge, and actually represents a deep challenge on the overall question of national security … Because the dimensions of this challenge are so great and they reach so far and they extend over such a wide period of time and cross so many of the traditional portfolios within government and between governments, we should be at a stage now in this country where climate change is beyond politics.” I don’t resile from describing climate change as a moral challenge; it remains the core question of intergenerational justice. But I was equally clear about its concrete consequences. At every turn, Labor has been ready and willing to take substantive climate action. Yet when the Greens party subculture surveys our lost decade, it blames Labor! Give us a break from this smug riposte that ignores the contradiction of Greens senators siding with Abbott to kill carbon pricing in 2009. Australia’s most effective national climate reform remains my government’s mandate for 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020. Despite pigheaded conservative attempts to scuttle progress, Australia blew past that benchmark last year with 27.7 per cent renewables. It’s hard enough to drag conservatives to the climate table without other progressives providing them cover by laying blame on those who’ve been at the forefront of change against a wall of political resistance.
– Kevin Rudd, Brisbane, Qld
Shouting down the war talk
Hugh White on China (“It would probably be the biggest war since 1945 ...”, May 8-14) is a harrowing read. What does the future for Australia look like if Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton continue their dangerous rhetoric? Flippant remarks about “the drums of war” and reliance upon the United States are not viable solutions. To quote White, “hard work, deep thought and subtle execution” are required. These three qualities have not been in evidence with our foreign policies of the past few years. With the exception of World War II, Australia has joined wars for a variety of reasons, none of which involved imminent invasion. Keep talking Mr White, shout your words in worthy newspapers, seek TV and radio coverage and, dare I say it, use social media. Please continue until those who would callously commit our children to a futile and costly war with China start to listen.
– Christine Hackwood, North Lakes, Qld
A different world
The folly of Morrison’s drums of war, detailed by Hugh White and eviscerated by Jon Kudelka (Editorial, May 8-14), is easily exposed by a simple question: What would victory look like? If we, a national minnow of just 26 million people, took on the might of the Chinese forces, how would we win, and how would we be able to know that we had? These questions weren’t answered before we went to Afghanistan and look how that turned out. Fortunately, any war we start with China wouldn’t last that long. Unfortunately, it’s because we wouldn’t stand a chance. That is of course, without calling on Uncle Sam, an ally of waning value, against a neighbour of rapidly expanding power – it just doesn’t make any sense.
– Jonathon Momsen, Camberwell, Vic
Thank you for running the article on Scott Morrison’s apocalyptic religious beliefs (James Boyce, “The Father, the Morrison and the Holy Spirit”, May 8-14). The media have been far too coy about addressing this subject. While an individual’s religious beliefs may be seen as a personal matter, those of a prime minister should be made known to the nation, as they can influence the handling of important issues such as climate change and war. It is deeply disturbing that our prime minister belongs to a sect that welcomes the coming of the end of the world.
– Mike Puleston, Brunswick, Vic
Feminist and poet
Thank you, Erik Jensen, for “Kate Jennings: In Memoriam, ‘Black walnuts’ ”, May 8-14). Kate was born in Temora, where my mum was also born, though 25 years apart. I am deeply sad, and glad, to have known her writing. Here’s hoping many others (Australians and other world citizens) will now read her searing wisdom. Vale, Kate.
– Boni Gutpela, Kiama, NSW
“It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” Russia? No, Liam Runnalls’ cryptic crosswords. Well done.
– Penleigh Boyd, Reid, ACT
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on May 15, 2021.
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