The widening chasm between scientific understanding and the political response to global heating is reprehensible (“El Niño’s menace”, July 1-7). Climate scientist Joëlle Gergis appropriately labels it “horrifying”. In some ways, the Albanese government’s propensity to support the ongoing expansion of fossil fuels is more damaging and disappointing than the Coalition’s. Promising to act on climate while providing billions in fossil fuel subsidies, actively enabling gas expansion and even approving coalmines is deceitful and disrespectful to the Australian public. We deserve better and so do all who live on this beautiful but threatened planet.
– John Shute, Edge Hill, Qld
I am grateful to Joëlle Gergis for writing so candidly about the escalating catastrophe global heating is causing. As heat and extreme weather records fall like dominoes, I shudder to think what an El Niño summer means for Australian wildlife, regional communities and the Great Barrier Reef. Infuriatingly, as Gergis explains, climate science findings and warnings are largely ignored by political leaders. I can’t help but conclude that if politicians applied to their work the same integrity and meticulous attention to detail as our esteemed scientists, the world would be in much better shape.
– Amy Hiller, Kew, Vic
I was moved by the passionate plea by Australian climate scientist Joëlle Gergis for decisive climate action. Gergis asks “Exactly how bad are we going to let things get?” and is frustrated by ongoing political support for fossil fuels. Australia remains heavily dependent on fossil fuels, not only for energy, but also for income from exports, and tellingly, for political donations. The Coalition’s resistance to the proposed reform to donation rules is consistent with its favouring of fossil fuels and its derision of renewables. If, as Gergis writes, the forecast climate-fuelled El Niño increases ocean temperatures by a whopping 3 degrees above average in spring, corals will die and politicians who support and approve new coal and gas projects should hang their heads in shame.
– Jennifer Griffiths, Nedlands, WA
Look to the future
It is not surprising the polling for the “Yes” vote has dipped after the fearful shadow of past white Australian exclusion was strategically exhumed by the “divider in chief” (Martin McKenzie-Murray, “How the ‘Yes’ campaign is responding to sliding support”, July 1-7). Now parliament is out, and another byelection is threatening, I’m particularly buoyed by First Nations Rio Tinto non-executive director Ben Wyatt noting the “No” campaign has reached maximum impact. So, the key question now flips. If the Liberal leader is so caring and concerned about First Nations reconciliation, why is he so obviously framing the “No” campaign as a personal vendetta against our prime minister? It’s time for decent Australians to confirm the unifying bravery we rallied for in May 2022. It’s time to silence one man’s reliance on a past Australia’s prejudices, and formally enshrine the spiritual ancestry of the land we all call our future.
– Andrew Barnum, Meroo Meadow, NSW
The mathematical aspect of the Voice referendum is not just about a majority of votes in a majority of states. It is about mathematical operations. The “No” campaign is division, turning Australians against each other. The “Yes” campaign is addition, seeking to enhance the lives of First Nations Australians.
– Barry Welch, Bridgeman Downs, Qld
Your editorial nails the petty focus of the arguments Peter Dutton presents against a constitutional Voice (“The hole”, July 1-7). With great respect, though, that’s not the main problem: he’s preaching to the converted; after all, they elected him. The main problem presented by Dutton and the naysayers is a much bigger, blacker hole that sucks all the air out of logical argument and civilised thought. It’s as though he’s looking through the wrong end of the telescope. The more he narrows the focus, the easier it is for him to claim we’re being misled. No matter how much detail he’s given, it will never fill that black hole, because he can’t and won’t accept it. The “Yes” case must turn the telescope around in order to convince the majority. Only the bigger picture will show the significance of the opportunity being offered: it’s a matter of principle, not political pointscoring.
– Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale, Vic
Victoria Hannan’s Bonnard review (“Bright hotness”, July 1-7) raises the issue of art in context. There is the cultural context, such as the presumptions made looking at a painting in the Met or Louvre as opposed to a bric-a-brac store in a country town. In a private house you might be sensitive to your relationship to the owner. The physical context is the architecture, light and colours. Galleries tend to have more or less imposing architecture, the light as even and “natural” as possible and the background colour usually neutral – presumably to be able to take the painting in without distraction. I wonder why the paintings need enhancing? I haven’t seen the show but I am looking forward to seeing how this works. I saw the 2019 show at the Tate with neutral surroundings and left high as a kite on the sense of humanity that came from these paintings. Can that be bettered?
– Paul Hopmeier, Lane Cove, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on July 8, 2023.
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