Letters to
the editor

An election protest

Almost 40 years ago the ever-passionate Dr Bob Brown led the huge protest against damming the Franklin River in Tasmania and saved it. But recently Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania have all passed anti-protest laws with heavy fines, imprisonment and consequent deregistration of any organisation involved. Despite an international law protecting protest as a human right, the new laws here have discouraged most protesters (Mike Seccombe, “The path of ceased resistance”, October 22-28). It seems that certain governments’ lack of speedy, full decarbonising has provoked stronger forms of protest which, in a vicious spiral downwards, have in turn provoked harsher controls. The most sensible recourse now for would-be protesters is to protest in orderly ways including via the ballot box. In Victoria’s coming election, the teals and Greens especially should make climate action and fair protest laws into leading issues.

– Barbara Fraser, Burwood, Vic

Right to decide

Marrying the nation’s budgetary needs with John Hewson’s “Corporate misincentives” (October 22-28) highlights the unnecessarily high cost of the nursing home sector. It provokes the question: Do you want to end up in a nursing home? If not, then it is high time Australia stopped buckling to the nursing home and religious lobbies and allowed people who are no longer able to live independently to die with dignity. State governments have gone part way in allowing this for the terminally ill. Let’s grow up as a nation and, with appropriate safeguards, allow the mentally able elderly the right to decide. It’s a sure way to shave billions from the federal budget and shake up a blighted industry. 

– Joy Ringrose, Pomona, Qld

No warranty

The pile-on to Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe (Dennis Glover, “Lowe and behold”, October 22-28) over his 2021 expectations that low interest rates might last relies on very selective hindsight. In early 2021, while the Reserve Bank cash rate remained steady at its historic minimum, the bond market was instead forecasting rates would rise, doubling yields over a matter of months – well before the external shock of war in Europe. If we’re to believe prospective house buyers were diligently studying the governor’s speeches, we can also expect them to check other indicators. The idea that Lowe gave some sort of warranty to Australian borrowers is absurd. 

– Dominic Grounds, Melbourne, Vic

Electric future

I am thoroughly grateful for Zali Steggall’s presence in parliament but cringed as I read her effusive piece about electric vehicles (“Greening the wheels”, October 22-28). Despite their quietness, lack of fumes and ability to withstand bowser price shocks, we should not get too excited about the prospect of “electric vehicles in every driveway”. Private EVs are incompatible with climate justice and while they represent an improvement on the status quo, mobility based on the private motor vehicle is something we must abandon if the planet is to remain habitable into the next century. Electrifying transport is a laudable goal but we must reduce overall energy consumption if we hope to reach emission neutrality in a meaningful time frame. And that is saying nothing about the dirty sources of clean energy – the extraction and processing of rare earths and other minerals. Our profligate lifestyles are the problem. We need energy descent, not a green mirage. 

– David Lisle, Mullumbimby, NSW

A case of more

The test of a classic in the arts lies chiefly in its universality (Kate Holden, “The Influence” October 22-28). It speaks to generations and its message is serious and searching. Joni Mitchell’s magnum opus may well be “Both Sides, Now” and it certainly has fuelled the creativity of a young virtuoso in Laura Murphy. The song’s depth, and veracity, has touched many lives, including mine. However, an artist of the calibre of Mitchell cannot, and should not, be limited to one masterpiece. Listening to “A Case of You” is a case in point.

– Pam Connor, Belconnen, ACT

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 October 29, 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

Month selector

Use your Google account to create your subscription