Cloudy with a chance of landslides
It seems there’s some uncertainty in the White House about Australia’s political leadership on climate change (Mike Seccombe, “Biden adviser: ‘I don’t know whether Angus Taylor is an ideologue or an idiot’ ”, October 2-8). First Nancy Pelosi mistakenly praises the obdurate Scott Morrison for his “leadership”. Then a Biden climate adviser, Saul Griffith, wonders whether Taylor is “an ideologue or an idiot”. Uninterested or bamboozled by climate science, both Morrison and Taylor seem to think the more they say “technology, not taxes” or “meet and beat”, like a Harry Potter spell, emissions will somehow drop. But one thing is for sure: the majority of Australians want stronger action on climate change, and if Morrison and Taylor don’t deliver it before the election, “Expelliarmus!” it will be.
– Ray Peck, Hawthorn, Vic
The burning issue of coal
John Hewson (“Target practice”, October 2-8) highlights the void at the heart of the government’s climate change policy. The Abbot–Turnbull–Morrison government has shown no commitment to making substantial reductions in Australia’s carbon emissions. Their talk of realising reductions through as-yet-undeveloped technology is no more than kicking the can down the road. Scott Morrison himself shows no passion for current renewable energy technology, which is delivering substantial cuts to emissions globally. His passion is for coal and other fossil fuels. To Morrison these fuels have delivered prosperity to Australia for generations, and still do. He seems incapable of grasping that their day is drawing rapidly to a close. The world will be largely powered by renewable energy within two decades. Prosperity past does not represent prosperity future.
– Chris Young, Surrey Hills, Vic
It was interesting to read Amy Fallon’s “Statue of Limitations” (October 2-8) about Stephen Langford “defacing” a statue of Lachlan Macquarie by just sticking on a bit of paper with a quote on it. Big deal. Desecrating a monument to a founding father, according to some. A couple of weeks ago demonstrators climbed onto the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, urinating on it and leaving graffiti all over it. Many saw this as the desecration of a sacred site. However, when the Victorian government knocked down a large stand of trees, which were considered a sacred site to local Aboriginal people, there was hardly a murmur. In Western Australia, Rio Tinto blew up and totally destroyed a sacred and historical site showing 400,000 years of Aboriginal life in the area. The chairman and two others were forced to resign but still took their million-dollar bonuses with them. Again, very few people cared. Langford faces two years’ jail, showing once more that only European history and culture is considered important.
– Paul Bailey, Winmalee, NSW
Stephen Langford singled out
Activist Stephen Langford is the brave public educator on Australia’s history because others have failed us repeatedly. Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s 1816 command, which resulted in the massacre of Indigenous people, is the history that binds us together and more often tears us apart. Langford’s prosecution is blatantly political in its attempt to stifle free speech. I wonder whether those charged with urinating along the walls of Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance face the same prospects?
– Carmelo Bazzano, Epping, Vic
Murdoch power play no succession
You could be forgiven for thinking you had accidentally picked up the Financial Times or The Wall Street Journal reading Paddy Manning’s puff piece for News Corp (“Welcome to Lachlanland”, October 2-8). If I had been thinking of investing, it was a useful indicator of the company’s performance and future potential. But if, as I was expecting, it was to be an examination of how News Corp’s stranglehold on Australian media would be affected by the “gradual passing of the baton from Rupert to Lachlan”, I was sadly disappointed.
– Tor Larsen, Marrickville, NSW
A truth-teller’s response
Ben Brooker wrote a theatre review of London Artists Projects’ Truth to Power Café event in Adelaide, in which I was one of nine local participants (“Fringe existence”, September 25–October 1). While mostly reasonable in his review, Brooker deviated from this in his appraisal of my contribution. I spoke unambiguously of being targeted by what I referred to as the Surveillance State for five traumatic years. Brooker described my presentation as “a first-person monologue” and “slippery”, as if it were a prepared work of theatre or intended to deceive. It was neither. It was a warning and a cry from the heart of a victim of politically motivated surveillance and interference. Brooker chose to subtly question my authenticity by claiming he couldn’t tell if my speech was metaphorical or literal. No interpretation was required, only trust. Before describing my speech as “full of paranoid-sounding assertions” Brooker could have easily found me online and sought clarification. Truth to Power Café was a platform for truth-telling to power, but Brooker’s own subtle challenges to the integrity of my speech could be evidence of deeper cultural problems. Why is it so hard to listen without prejudice and grasp that law-abiding citizens can be subjected to psychological torture or extrajudicial punishment on Australian soil?
– Dan Monceaux, Port Noarlunga, SA
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Oct 9, 2021.
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