Letters to
the editor

Missing the point

Many journalists repeated the intergenerational report’s findings apparently without much investigation into the impact that climate extremes will have on economic forecasts (Karen Middleton, “Forty years older and deeper in debt”, August 26–September 1). The Saturday Paper story includes quotes from the Business Council of Australia and the Grattan Institute but none from climate or health scientists. Many media articles largely ignored the findings of the State of the Environment report, which was prepared by scientists and put much of the blame for our current crisis on the issues – such as population growth – being promoted by the IGR. While they accepted our population would reach more than 40 million, they did not examine the potential growth in current issues such as homelessness, cost of living, infrastructure shortfall or political corruption, which has seen our ranking in the Transparency International corruption index drop six positions in just 10 years.

– Don Owers, Dudley, NSW

No going back

Tim Moore’s article (“Losing our faculties”, August 26–September 1) rightly questions the managerial and administrative competence of universities since the 1990s Dawkins reforms. I entered the tertiary sector at that time and now I am part of the casual workforce that dominates the teaching/learning/research frontline that Moore references. However, it would be a serious mistake to blame the leaders, managers and councils of universities. A Band-Aid fix that returns us to the halcyon days of faculties would be to ignore greater structural changes. Right across the planet, the dissemination of knowledge – or better, data – is undergoing a wicked array of adaptations,
a significant component of which is the r/evolution of literacy into electracy, that is, electronically mediated learning, teaching and research.

– Terrence Maybury, Woodenbong, NSW

Fuel for thought

I refer to the editorial (“The world is burning”, August 26–September 1). The power of the fossil fuel industry largely dictates government climate policy, regardless of which party is in power. The science is clear; fossil fuels must be rapidly phased out, but the federal and state governments think it is in their political interests to ignore the science, regardless of the consequences. Proof of the close relationship between the government and the fossil fuel industry includes the more than $50 billion in fossil fuel subsidies the Albanese government has included in the forward estimates. This is incompatible with phasing out fossil fuels.

– Ken Russell, Redcliffe, Qld

Plan for a mandate

Your editorial concludes that the 2023 Intergenerational Report is so dire with devastating fires in the northern hemisphere that “The world is burning”. Treasurer Jim Chalmers knows strong mitigating measures are needed; the last thing we should be doing is increasing fossil fuels. But he seems to miss the need for urgency. Let’s hope in 2024 or ’25 the Albanese government runs a science-based climate action campaign and wins the election. Then they would have a genuine mandate to commence establishing it. This could also help set a renewed example on speedy, genuine decarbonising for the whole world. Total cooperation somehow, is necessary for success.

– Barbara Fraser, Burwood, Vic

Positive influence

Andrew Wear’s article (“Voices in harmony”, August 26–September 1) provides useful examples of ways in which the recognition of indigenous peoples elsewhere has exercised a positive influence on a nation’s development. Here, the work of the Referendum Council in 2015 to 2017 can be seen as our own example of potentially positive influence. Through the regional dialogues, culminating in the National Constitutional Convention and the Uluru Statement from the Heart, Indigenous leaders have shown that constructive representation of local and regional bodies can produce positive results at a national level. The referendum itself opens the way for the realisation of this development. There is no limit to the positive influence of the unique role which can be played by an Indigenous advisory body once accepted and recognised by the general population.

– John Gare, Kew East, 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 2, 2023.

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