Letters to
the editor

Wilson’s credentials on climate change

As a qualified carbon accountant and possessing postgraduate qualifications in energy and carbon management, including studying greenhouse science and executive education at the University of Cambridge into the path for business to net zero, I have taken the challenge of global climate change seriously well before seeking public office, so it was disappointing to read Mike Seccombe’s article (“Independents: Inside the insurrection of the centre”, December 4-10) implying otherwise. In fact, some of the earliest research work completed on climate policy focused on the attempts of global green groups to remove incentives and intellectual property for lower carbon technology that would have been short-sighted and self-defeating. Seccombe also claimed I said “a proposal to establish an independent climate change commission … amounted to ‘subversion and treason’.” This is false. Australia already has such an independent body, the Climate Change Authority, which fulfils this role well. My comments were directed at models that proposed empowering bureaucrats to overrule elected representatives – robbing the Australian people of their voice. The challenge of climate change is considerable, and the most sustainable way to address it globally, and particularly in democracies, is to work with, not against, the slipstream of technological innovation and deployment. It is not the deindustrialisation policy of the Greens, the economy-wrecking tax and regulation approach advocated by Labor or through the creation of undemocratic climate tsars proposed by urban independents.

– Tim Wilson, member for Goldstein

High-pressure campaigns

Mike Seccombe’s article demonstrates the promise of the independents movement and the pressures they can expect to face. If we elect well-qualified independents who can wield significant influence in the next parliament, we can foresee stronger action on climate change, an effective federal ICAC and a safer world for women. If, however, independents don’t win seats, then this movement will be remembered as simply a noisy but ineffectual protest. Those standing must expect vitriolic criticism and misrepresentation from the incumbents. This will only intensify as election day approaches, backed up by advertising financed by vested interests. This election is do or die. We must get independents elected.

– Chris Young, Surrey Hills, Vic

Liberals by another name

Mike Seccombe wants us to believe that science, integrity and respect for women are the preserve of well-heeled but disgruntled, ex-Liberal “progressives”? Talk about an opinion from inside the tent. Seccombe may think it wise for these so-called independents to hide their choice of PM in the event of a hung parliament. Many of us who want the Abbott–Turnbull–Morrison governments consigned to the dumpster of history see it only as disingenuous.

– Kenneth Fisher, Yaroomba, Qld

John Safran as meme translator

With his vignette of the woman who unwittingly picked up a Nazi meme placard, John Safran neatly encapsulates the conundrum of the wildly diverse, anti-everything crowd at the Kill the Bill rally in Melbourne (“Pun times: A dispatch from the protests”, December 4-10). The woman’s need to protest her amorphous sense of injury, her confusion and need for quick and easy answers, mirrors that of the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, drawn to pick up the many carefully curated and widely distributed, subtly toxic memes on the internet, without fully understanding their import or just how far they have already been encouraged down the rabbit hole. If only there was a Safran standing by to explain memes to the unfortunate trawlers of the internet in search of reasons to explain their pain. Perhaps a lot more people would be saying “Yuck!” and “Shit, thank you” for having narrowly avoided becoming a type of person they actually find repulsive.

– Tor Larsen, Marrickville, NSW

Barnaby’s taking the piss

When I read the headline “Exclusive: Barnaby Joyce warns drunk MPs after Jenkins report” I had a chuckle assuming it was a parody article. It was only after noting the author, Karen Middleton (December 4-10), that I realised it was serious. I know many politicians lack self-awareness, but for Barnaby Joyce to be lecturing other politicians on appropriate behaviour is the absolute pinnacle of hypocrisy.

– Ross Hudson, Mount Martha, Vic

The PM is in a confused state

It’s clear from your editorial (“The smallest man in the room”, December 4-10) and other articles that Scott Morrison is incapable of taking in the big picture and has a very poor understanding of state and federal functions and how relevant, or often irrelevant, his pronouncements on them are. The establishment of concrete state emissions targets does, indeed, make all the ballyhoo about federal 2050 targets look pretty dopey; however, there are more dangerous rumblings on the horizon. The federal bean-counters appear to have overlooked that combined state–federal debt has already passed $1 trillion and looks set to reach $2 trillion by 2024-25, giving us a debt-to-GDP ratio of about 80 per cent – anything more than 60 per cent is disastrous. Good luck with the responsible economic management campaign.

– Bruce Hulbert, Lilyfield, 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 December 11, 2021.

For almost a decade, The Saturday Paper has published Australia’s leading writers and thinkers. We have pursued stories that are ignored elsewhere, covering them with sensitivity and depth. We have done this on refugee policy, on government integrity, on robo-debt, on aged care, on climate change, on the pandemic.

All our journalism is fiercely independent. It relies on the support of readers. By subscribing to The Saturday Paper, you are ensuring that we can continue to produce essential, issue-defining coverage, to dig out stories that take time, to doggedly hold to account politicians and the political class.

There are very few titles that have the freedom and the space to produce journalism like this. In a country with a concentration of media ownership unlike anything else in the world, it is vitally important. Your subscription helps make it possible.

Select your digital subscription

Month selector

Use your Google account to create your subscription