Letters to
the editor

Wombat State Forest care

There has always been pushback when traditional owners exercise their rights to Country and Culture but, after so many generations of this experience, it should no longer be such a point of conflict (Kath Wilson, “Wombat forest fight”, June 18-24). Our collective Dja Dja Wurrung voices should be heard in the commentary and reporting on our work to return the Wombat State Forest to health. Instead, it seems that our voice is diminished and those of individuals and naysayers are dialled up to 11. As in any community, there are those who will be active members and those who will not. Some people are comfortable embracing the opportunity to work together to achieve common goals, while others prefer to take their own path. However, it is only through active involvement at a decision-making level, accepting the associated responsibilities of directorship, that members can be leaders. It is only in this way that they can effect real impact for the community’s shared benefit. To suggest that a collective organisation with respected governance processes has the capacity to perpetrate cultural genocide on its own represented members is as distressing as it is wrong. To say that corporations “can also operate as a state instrument” is to say that government contract or grant recipients, such as Beyond Blue or your local football and netball club, are being manipulated to become a voice of the state. Forest gardening is a combination of familiar, sensible terms. Gardens invoke emotion, exhibit beauty, exist dynamically and require humans’ enduring interaction, adaptation and care. To Dja Dja Wurrung people, Country is our garden and we are gardeners of the environment. Forest gardening is our dialogue with Country. We believe it is essential that the potential for devastating fire damage be significantly decreased.

– Trent Nelson, chairperson,
Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation (Djarra)

The answer is renewables

We Australians demonstrated at the polls that we are fed up with the “lens of fear”, negligence, and unabated consequences that characterised the government we endured for almost a decade (“The cow and milk for free”, June 18-24). Now, to rise out of the resultant policy vacuum on climate and energy, our resource-rich nation is in desperate need of a positive vision, strong leadership and reform. Most agree that “no matter the question, the answer is renewables”. A mix of renewable energy with battery storage will allow us to solve the “energy trilemma” and achieve a reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible energy supply long into the future. There’s a legacy waiting for you, Chris Bowen.

– Amy Hiller, Kew, Vic

Need for educational reform

The article by Elizabeth Farrelly (“Ban private schools”, June 18-24) was brilliant. Many of us have been wanting to say this for so long. The inequality of our system is so obviously the elephant in the education room. Unless private schools are banned, we will keep lamenting the poor state of our public schools and the unfairness it produces in so many ways. Why haven’t we woken up to the glaringly obvious? Julia Gillard was our best hope for educational reform. It shows how strong a grip on society power and money have when it comes to real societal reform.

– Helen Clements, East Maitland, NSW

Belligerent approach

Mike Seccombe captures the traditionally hostile nature of so much conservative political behaviour (“The Howard battlers joined the party”, June 18-24). The intense emphasis on winning office and dominant wealth, irrespective of its adverse effects on the society it operates in, suggests some sort of tribal belligerence rather than devotion to society at large. The monetary enrichment of powerful supporters and frustration of opposition aims commonly appears to enjoy a higher priority than societal needs or efficient governance. Does secretive, belligerent, authoritarian government arise from some vestigial perception of society as an eternal struggle for dominance perhaps inherited from recent hominin ancestors? The persistence of leaders such as Putin, Trump, and even Morrison, suggest that sapience, or wisdom, may be a grotesque atavistic vanity.

– John Hayward, Weegena, Tas

Qantas brand sent flying

Ask any CEO who has a business IQ somewhere north of a boiled potato and she or he will tell you that the most valuable asset any corporation possesses is its brand (Rick Morton, “Inside the Qantas saga”, June 18-24). Qantas once had one of the most trusted and esteemed brands in Australia and around the world. Alan Joyce has trashed the Qantas brand, sent the flying kangaroo to the financial meat-packers, and become fabulously wealthy in the process. Quite an achievement.

– David Clarke, Battery Point, Tas

More nuclear dangers

I was surprised that Scott Ludlam (“The name of the next Fukushima”, June 18-24) did not mention the Russian Army’s clumsy forays near at least two nuclear power stations in Ukraine, one of them the infamous Chernobyl. Russia’s actions make very clear that nuclear power facilities will be targets in times of war. This fact should enter the debate on nuclear power for Australia and, really, end it with a resounding no.

– Neal Morrissey, East Sydney, 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 June 25, 2022.

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