Be strong and pivot
Excellent article by Mike Seccombe (“The true drivers of the cost-of-living crisis”, February 25–March 3) on what is fuelling inflation. Wages are not the culprit. It is so clear but still the Reserve Bank and most politicians fall into a backward-looking neoliberal trap or, more appropriately, claptrap. The proposal to either broaden the RBA’s remit or have some other agency implement the strategy, as Nicholas Gruen suggests, is fundamental to moving forward. We all know the answers are different from those of the past, but still those in Canberra cannot break into a future mindset. This plays into Peter Dutton’s hands. Neoliberalism has failed. Labor must now be strong and pivot. Dutton’s views are of no relevance. They are an economic pastiche. We must move on.
– D.W. Robertson, Yarralumla, ACT
The robo-debt royal commission has been remarkably revealing of the character of those who rule us. The piece by Jenny Miller (“I’m not going anywhere”, February 25–March 3) is a particularly heartfelt account of the lies, obfuscations, conniving, self-centred narcissism and complete lack of empathy for victims such as her son. Are our rulers always like this? Are they suitable to decide anything important? In the same issue, John Hewson (“En safeguard”) says Australia has a unique opportunity to lead on curbing greenhouse gas emissions, but writes “unfortunately this opportunity seems beyond the imagination of our political leaders”. We are even opening new fossil fuel sources. Does our inaction lie in the same lily-livered, conniving and self-serving character being exposed in the robo-debt case? Our best hope resides in choosing truly good people to represent us. Maybe the teals, among others, constitute a first step in the right direction.
– Jock Churchman, Firle, SA
Call for accountability
The article by Rick Morton (“Naming names: ‘Hand on heart time. Any exposure?’ ”, February 25–March 3) highlights the ever-expanding list of people who have abdicated their responsibility to the Australian people. We are being taken on a ride similar to that of the London Eye but this time the public servants and politicians have hopped on without paying, have gone around in a complete circle many times and then denied they were ever on the ride. Our attempts to get them to pay have fallen on deaf ears. Even worse, they were paid while on the ride. The time for accountability has been reached.
– Daryl Regan, Eden Hills, SA
Not their money
The political background to Paul Bongiorno’s article (“Super caps to fragile votes could be a touch audacious”, February 25–March 3) explains the background to the current superannuation debate, including that some sections of politics – and my guess is some wealthy sections of the population – believe tax concessions handed over by the government are the receiver’s money. Think diesel concessions. Wrong – it has some of my money in those tax concessions. A concession is money from every Australian that the government is investing to deliver economic structural change. Eighty per cent of us do not want our contributions wasted if it is not delivering the desired effect. What we are all looking for is a comfortable retirement; let’s not contribute to the wealth of a few. There are many more structural economic changes facing us over the next 10 years that will need seeding concessions, if we are to deliver a future for our grandchildren.
– Trevor Pratt, Eaglemont, Vic
Credit where it’s due
Your editorial (“The koala strike”, February 25–March 3) encapsulated the frustration and rage I feel about Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek allowing Arrow Energy to drill 55 coal seam gas wells in Queensland. This is near the site of Linc Energy’s failed underground coal gasification project, which is contaminated with benzene, naphthalene and cyanide. The risk of ground contamination is high. And it’s not just groundwater, of course; it’s also emissions. Those gas approvals come on top of Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen refusing to rule out new coal and gas as part of updating the safeguard mechanism, which Labor inherited from the previous government. The mechanism is meant to reduce emissions by requiring Australia’s largest greenhouse gas emitters to keep their net emissions below a limit. Yet what’s the point if the government keeps approving coal and gas projects? The Greens deserve full credit for making their approval of the legislation to update the safeguard mechanism conditional on there being no more coal and gas. The government’s focus should be on “stopping the rising temperatures that will ultimately destroy the globe”.
– Jenny Goldie, Cooma, NSW
I would go further than this week’s editorial. Any politician who does not support the end of all native logging and deforestation in Australia should be banned from ever having contact with any native species. Let them exist in thickets of lantana, fending off feral cats and rats. The photo shoots of the smiling assassins Gladys Berejiklian and John Barilaro with koalas while they were plotting the creature’s demise were particularly sickening.
– Marie Healy, Hurlstone Park, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on March 4, 2023.
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