Letters to
the editor

Howard began blocking on climate

Tim Flannery is too generous to the Coalition when he says they have been blocking action to slow climate change since the election of Tony Abbott in 2013 ( “Australia turned Glasgow into fossil fuel ‘coffee shop’ ”, November 20-26). They have been blocking action since the election of John Howard in 1996. At COP2 in Geneva and COP3 in Kyoto, I cringed as an Australian to see the appalling obstruction of progress by our delegation, basically working for the fossil fuel interests and energy-intensive industries rather than our country. During 2007-13 the Rudd–Gillard–Rudd government negotiated measures, most of which have since been undone or weakened by the Abbott–Turnbull–Morrison administrations. Glasgow was simply the latest and most outrageous demonstration of the Coalition’s commitment to crony capitalism, governing in the interests of corporate backers. It has been 25 years of consistent misuse of government funds and policies to accelerate climate change. The only hope of progress is to terminate this disgraceful regime.

– Ian Lowe, Marcoola, Qld

It takes more than market forces

John Hewson’s exposition of Scott Morrison’s duplicitous faith in market forces (“Market farces”, November 20-26) is neatly complemented by the report on Haiti’s “Democracy in retreat” (Jonathan Pearlman, World, November 20-26). Haiti is an extreme case, where criminal gangs exercise powers normally reserved for government. It is a real illustration of the outcomes of absent, ineffective government. Effective government does more than unleash market forces. It creates and enforces the rules essential for equitable and efficient operation of markets. Don’t expect Scott Morrison’s “small” government to abandon corporations law, control of land titles, contract law or other regulations required for markets to operate. Not even the most ardent free-market devotees go that far. The Coalition should be honest and acknowledge that good markets are enabled by good regulations and undermined by poor regulation, poor enforcement or both.

– Ken Coghill, Surrey Hills, Vic

Looking for real purpose

While it is unsurprising that a Coalition member has expressed disappointment at the lack of good policy, the surprise is that John Alexander is the only one (Paul Bongiorno, “The Alexander technique”, November 20-26). With the government’s legislative agenda revolving around the wedge issues of religious discrimination and voter identification, it becomes clear that positives in the economy arise despite any good policy settings. What then is the purpose of the Morrison government and the reason each of its members take their seat if not for the benefit of the nation? To all intents government has become the PM’s plaything for his prejudices, its members merely echoing an acquiescence, undeserving of their positions. Mired in toxicity that will be difficult to erase, stagnation is the destination Scott Morrison has led us all to endure, with a fairer society more a remote possibility than ever.

– Rod Milliken, Greenwell Point, NSW

The definition of Australia

The editorial (“The flat man”, November 20-26) asked an important unanswered question: “Is Australia a flat character or are we something more?” This was based on Sean Kelly’s portrayal of Scott Morrison as a flat person (character with no interior) and the suggestion this may also describe Australia’s character. In reply, I point to two important Morrison traits reflecting underlying flat person ideals. First, he is a pragmatist concerned with matters of fact and immediacy such as maintaining power with the support of a Nationalist rump (at unknown cost). Second, he is a master of convenient truths such as “I never said that” and “can-do capitalism”. Australia’s character is not based on pragmatism or convenience. It is built on the past (the tyranny of distance); a present (egalitarianism, diversity, high vaccination rates); and a future (equity for women, political integrity, a substantial climate policy). Behaviours are underpinned by ideals and Australia’s ideals are definable. Not so Morrison’s, and we should therefore conclude Australia is something much more than flat!

– David Wilson, Newport, Qld

A matter of choice

Lest concern was triggered by Stephanie Dowrick’s grim description (“Lonely survivor”, November 20-26) of those of us who live alone, let me introduce some nuance. As Dowrick noted further on, the line in the sand between glorious solitude and social isolation is choice. Many more of us are choosing to be a one-person household, relishing the freedom to pursue interests and activities without domestic constraints. Patriarchy’s response to this is to pathologise the independent life, basing it in a narrative of deprivation and disadvantage. If more people opted for independent lives, the social status quo underpinning hierarchical privilege might start to wobble, showing how vulnerable it really is.

– Andrea Shoebridge, Victoria Park, WA

Drawn to Muggsy’s story

I have as much interest in basketball as Scott Morrison has in telling the truth but Martin McKenzie-Murray’s three-part series on Muggsy Bogues was simply brilliant (“Bogues’ draft”, November 6-12; “Welcome to Muggsyland”, November 13-19; “Quality control”, November 20-26). Reading Bogues’ memoirs and booting out Morrison in 2022; how good will that be?

– Richard Gray, Nundah, Qld

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 November 27, 2021.

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