The burning issue
So Anthony Albanese says “we’re going to get on with winning an election based on Labor principles about jobs, industrial relations and climate change” (Mike Seccombe, “The inside story of Labor’s election promises”, April 30–May 6). The trouble is, Labor’s efforts to preserve jobs in the coal and gas sector is at odds with having an effective climate change policy. Despite the International Energy Agency and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warning there can be no new coal or gas projects if we are to stay below 2 degrees Celsius of warming, Labor says it will endorse new coal projects if they stack up “economically”. What? How about the planet? We are in a climate emergency – don’t they know that? And Labor may have a detailed plan for achieving its 2030 emission reduction targets (43 per cent reduction on 2005 levels by 2030) but they are nowhere near what the science demands (70-75 per cent). Labor truly revealed its state of cognitive dissonance on the issue when it announced its “captain’s pick” for the seat of Hunter, the heart of coal country, namely Daniel Repacholi, who “loves coal”. Give us a break.
– Jenny Goldie, Cooma, NSW
Who will give us a federal ICAC?
In his article “A matter of integrity” (April 30–May 6), Stephen Mutch wrote “My own view is that ... the federal Morrison government is unfit to hold office”, an opinion “based specifically on the question of government integrity”. The Morrison government has been sitting on a 363-page draft of an integrity bill, in deliberately obscure “Orwellian language”, since 2020. In stark contrast, Anthony Albanese’s Labor opposition has released a two-page summary of its commitment to a federal anti-corruption commission. It is plain to see just who is serious about ending the scourge of political corruption rather than hiding it.
– Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin, ACT
The politicians’ urge to meddle
Claire Connelly’s piece (“Stealth attack on health”, April 30–May 6) highlights the perennial tendency of governments of both political colours to meddle with the governance and independence of statutory bodies. It’s interesting that elsewhere on the date of publication other media are reporting the incumbent government will slash the co-payment of medicines listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme by $10 from July 1. Whether such will be achieved is in the hands of an electorate understandably confused and lacking confidence in the institutions created for the nation’s benefit.
– Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW
Opinion polls and 2019
Paul Bongiorno must have more faith in opinion polls than I do. If a Morgan poll claims that Penny Wong is Australia’s most credible federal politician (“Everything going up, except Morrison’s chances”, April 30–May 6) then who is the least? I do know that an Albanese government will contain many former members of past Labor regimes, of which Penny Wong is one. Disunity is death in politics but so is hubris. For your paper to propagandise federal Labor before the election is arrogant. We all recall how certain Labor was in 2019 when it believed it had the election in the bag. Let’s not celebrate before the outcome like last time.
– Andrew Trezise, Greensborough, Vic
Morrison leaves workers worse off
Like gender issues, integrity, unaffordable housing and climate change, industrial relations and the long wage freeze are topics Scott Morrison would prefer to avoid (John Hewson, “Industrial noise”, April 30–May 6). But his government’s calculated neglect is felt in the lived experience of workers. For almost a decade, it has demonised unions, fragmented and casualised the workforce, fought against benefits and supported below-inflation wage increases. It has stacked arbitration bodies with government-appointed, profit-driven employer representatives. Exploitation and wage theft are rampant as is the ill-treatment of people on temporary and student visas. Morrison’s avoidance of the issue is driven by a visceral fear that the lucrative gravy train is derailing. As the last days of this rotten empire rumble to a close, he constantly should be reminded about the inequalities his cruel government have perpetuated.
– Alison Stewart, Riverview, NSW
Put justice at the centre
The scientific basis for the causes and escalating impacts of anthropogenic climate change are unequivocally understood. Thus, on ethical grounds, no aspect of our society should be enabling the fossil fuel industry to continue their polluting ways (Zoe Bush and Fleur Ramsay, “Doing harm”, April 30–May 6). The law is about justice and nothing about big corporations fuelling a crisis that is negatively impacting marginalised people and innocent wildlife is just. It is time the saying “people over profit” and basic moral human values of caring for each other and providing stewardship over our environment took centre stage.
– Amy Hiller, Kew, Vic
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 7, 2022.
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