Letters to
the editor

Little progress

The fact that the Labor government has approved almost 47,000 square kilometres for new oil and gas exploration in the face of spiralling climate breakdown will come as no surprise to most Greens voters – it is precisely why we vote Green (Mike Seccombe, “Fields of contention”, September 3-9). The ALP has long been captive to fossil fuel interests to the same extent as the LNP. Likewise, the ALP’s inability to oppose handing over $243 billion to the top end of town. It is past time progressive Labor voters accepted this.

– Michelle Goldsmith, Eaglehawk, Vic

More than slogans

Rick Morton’s Covid-19 reporting clearly articulates an ALP problem (“No model for Covid changes”, September 3-9). It also clearly articulates how confused thinking still pervades pandemic policy. “Living with Covid” has become a meaningless political slogan. We know Covid exists; how to be safe is what counts. Infectiousness and the danger of long Covid sets this virus apart from the flu; long Covid leaves a legacy. Politicians sell beguiling messages of “respect” and “responsibility” to sell a confused message. Reducing isolation periods increases transmissibility and the burdens of chronic disease, while forgoing public health messaging on masks undermines people’s capacity to be responsible. Slogans undermine respect that must be earned, so that disadvantaged groups, hospitals and workers aren’t unfairly made to suffer. The community well know the sick cannot work. Sensible, clear policy mandated by science, not petty politics, is the more responsible path.

– Gil Anaf, Norwood, SA

Profound transformation

Climate scientist Joëlle Gergis warns that, any day now, the Bureau of Meteorology may declare a third La Niña event in the Pacific Ocean, plus floods this summer (“Weathering heights”, September 3-9). She details some of the complex interconnections and adds that they are even more complicated by “human-caused global warming”. It is good that Gergis also explains what we humans must do urgently to correct the dangers. In a recent talk with the Climate Council, she emphasised that climate change extremes globally are devastating. So we must urgently undertake a “profound transformation”, including ending the use of fossil fuels. Hence, it is “a miraculous time to be alive” and able to help with the necessary changes.

– Barbara Fraser, Burwood, Vic

Lobbyists, too

I agree with John Hewson (“Buzzwords, bullshit and mockery”, September 3-9), we need an inquiry into our media. I would like to add an inquiry into political lobbying to the list as, in my opinion, lobbyists have become too influential and may have caused some of the more egregious of the government handouts of the past decade. It irritates me that, in a democracy, one very small section of the community has such a large influence on our politicians.

– Sean Mellerick, Croydon, Vic

Problematic prescription

I enjoyed Brian Toohey’s reminiscences about the Whitlam government and his cataloguing of its many achievements (“Gough medicine”, September 3-9). The only problem with his prescription that the current government be more like Whitlam’s is that Albanese came to power on a promise to do not much beyond being less corrupt than the other mob. It was hardly an “It’s Time” campaign. This makes abandoning the wanton fiscal vandalism of the stage three tax cuts all the more difficult, especially for a party that has consistently failed to fight for its values when the conservative media turns on it. Albanese might not be a great sage but he’s probably smart enough to let the conversation run past the government, who can then quietly catch up by conceding defeat and cancelling this latest round of tax relief for the rich.

– David Lisle, Mullumbimby, NSW

Apocalypse now

The disaster in Pakistan (World, “UN calls for action as Pakistan floods turn ‘apocalyptic’ ”, September 3-9) yet again demonstrates that those with the lightest footprint suffer the greatest burden. What is it going to take for the rich countries to realise there is a debt to be paid to poorer countries in order for them to continue to have liveable environments. In the long run, if millions of people in poorer countries can’t survive, they will seek shelter elsewhere: this is already happening. The climate crisis will continue to have catastrophic impacts. It is naive for those in rich countries to believe that life can just bubble along as if we are immune to it.

– Judith Morrison, Nunawading, 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 September 10, 2022.

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