Fuelling the fire
Thank you, Polly Hemming, for continuing to expose the Australian government’s Janus face on climate change (“Meet the climate hustlers”, October 7-13). As United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has said, the fossil fuel industry is the polluted heart of the climate crisis. Yet according to Resources Minister Madeleine King, in order to decarbonise, the world needs our gas, and that gas will help us reach net zero. As the world hurtles towards climate disaster, the government continues to safeguard, subsidise and approve the expansion of the fossil fuel industry. The Australian government is fuelling the climate crisis, not working to avert it.
– Angela Smith, Clifton Hill, Vic
Cause for concern
Polly Hemming’s article reveals how a government elected to fight harder against climate change is treating Australians and other countries’ leaders like fools. Instead of ensuring fossil-fuel emissions fall, it is supporting rises from the gas and coal industries. An increase in average global temperature of about 1.2-1.3 degrees since 1860 may not be of concern to the federal government. However, the rate of rise is faster than in at least the past five million years. Observations by organisations such as NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show clearly that the time for emissions action is now.
– Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin, ACT
Polly Hemming gives a devastatingly direct account of Australia’s “working-the-room” spin tactics on the international climate stage. The denial, obfuscation and delay continues. Perhaps most shameful is our two-faced approach to our Pacific neighbours, who have contributed little to global emissions. What hope is there when we continue with fossil fuels, and open new mines, in the face of increasingly dire warnings not to?
I once held Penny Wong in highest regard but she’s a great disappointment as Australia’s spokesperson in climate change negotiations and policy. Polly Hemming exposes Wong as a master of spin, obfuscation and deceit, and a strong protector of fossil fuel interests. Wong has since announced Australia would rejoin the global Green Climate Fund in response to “feedback from our partners in the Pacific”. Ostensibly this is good news but it conveniently serves to divert attention from the fact Pacific countries would much prefer the Albanese government stop heavily subsidising fossil fuels and opening new coal, gas and oil fields.
– Ian Bayly, Upwey, Vic
The White Australia policy is difficult to defend, but apparently there are those among us who yearn for its negative positivity. In our more enlightened minds it reeks of fear and self-interest and, of course, racism. That latent racism has affected our national psyche. John Hewson (“The stain of White Australia”, October 7-13) deals objectively and sensitively with the stain of the policy on our Constitution and our society and its stain on some of our conservative politicians. It is not possible to whitewash the injustice and disadvantage imposed on First Nations peoples through colonisation by pretending we are all equal in every respect. In terms of health, advantage and opportunity, some of us are more equal than others. Noel Pearson’s address should be required reading for anyone entitled to vote in this referendum. Indigenous peoples should be embraced and supported, not vilified.
– Geoff Nilon, Mascot, NSW
Act of independence
I hope the Voice referendum succeeds, but if it doesn’t perhaps it’s time for a new Australian Constitution (“Into the final week: ‘Yes’ case ‘more hopeful than optimistic’”, October 7-13). The current “sacred” one espoused by many “No” voters was actually an act passed by the British Parliament in 1900 to establish an Australian dominion, not an independent Australian nation. Australia didn’t become independent until October 9, 1942, with yet another act passed in Westminster – and was not fully independent until the right of appeal to the British Privy Council was abolished. Australians should write a new one, not just accept one written by remote British conservative politicians a long time ago.
– Wayne Robinson, Kingsley, WA
Imagination at the core
Elizabeth Farrelly never disappoints. Her story on children’s literature (“Less wind, more willows”, October 7-13) has so much to unpack and brings us so much that is true. At the core has to be imagination and the space and time to nurture it. The inquiring mind that comes with imagination can bring us the unexpected, the life-changing moment. We will never get that in an algorithm-moderated universe; we will never get anything that surprises us, encourages us to change our minds or to follow what is true and moral in our world. We will just continue to get what Farrelly rightly calls “mush”.
– Greg Baker, Fitzroy Falls, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on October 14, 2023.
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