Credit:Illustration: Andrew Dyson
To submit a letter to The Age, email [email protected] Please include your home address and telephone number.
Protect our landscape and wildlife for the future
The conclusions in the final report of the review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (The Age, 28/1) are stark: the act is not fit for purpose and needs a complete overhaul. The urgency of this challenge demands that politicians of all parties work together to ensure that the natural beauty of the Australian landscape and its native wildlife remain as a legacy for generations to come.
It is time to act on the report’s recommendations, including strong legally enforceable standards, an independent environment assurance commissioner, and an independent office of compliance and enforcement. I hope everyone, like me, will be contacting their representatives to seek urgent action.
Ann Taket, Fitzroy North
Our environment is in a dire state
Clearly our environmental protection laws are not keeping pace with the rate of degradation, loss of species and escalating impact of climate change. The review by Graeme Samuel puts the Morrison government on notice and makes it clear that significant reforms and proper resourcing are urgently needed. This is a once in a decade opportunity and we must not waste any more time given the challenges we are facing.
Brenda Tait, Kew
Call for moratorium on logging of native forests
Graeme Samuel’s report calls for the removal of exemptions for the logging industry from the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. These exemptions explain the frequent breaches by the state forestry agencies. According to the report, a separate ″rigorous compliance and enforcement regime is needed″ to uphold the law and national standards.
Australia was notably absent in the list of more than 50 countries which pledged to protect 30per cent of the planet to halt species extinction and address climate change issues.
Victoria alone has more than 2000 threatened species, of which about 700 are now designated ″critically endangered″. Given the recent devastating fires and this highly critical report, there should be a moratorium on the logging of all remaining native forests until national standards and an enforcement regime are in place.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn
Learning about clean energy in a practical way
How is it that all our schools do not have solar panels on their roofs? Most of their power demand is during the daytime, few schools have overshadowing trees or buildings, and they have plentiful roof space. Further, as Nicola Philp (Opinion, 28/1) points out, we have a communal obligation to do everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint. Educating our children about clean energy through practical action would seem to be a good place to start.
John Hillel, Mount Waverley
Political advantage of a strong climate policy
Does removal of Mark Butler from Labor’s climate and energy portfolio mean both our government and opposition will defy efforts of the Biden administration and others to step up global action on climate? When will the ALP recognise that it will be attacked by some vested interests whatever its policy on climate, and that the best way to respond is a strong policy which clearly articulates benefits to people like the one the Democrats successfully campaigned with in 2020?
Jim Allen, Panorama, SA
Immediate action to keep our planet habitable
″Our children could face the prospect of their planet becoming uninhabitable in their lifetimes,″ says John Hewson (Opinion, 28/1). The new US President has made it clear he is aware of the urgency, will act and will encourage (force) other countries to join him. Our Prime Minister, encouraged by the deniers within his Coalition, continues to procrastinate. He has proudly defended past unpopular policies as necessary to ″keep Australians safe″. Immediate and significant action to keep the planet habitable is the ultimate test of whether this sentiment is truth or spin.
Peter Thomson, Brunswick
What were you thinking?
Bad moves, Anthony Albanese. Two respected shadow ministers lose out in your left to right reshuffle. Mark Butler and Tanya Plibersek have been taken away from roles of immense importance.
Butler has been a very capable climate activist and spokesperson for years and Plibersek a most effective advocate for education, including skills and training (TAFE), the latter now lost to her. Mr Albanese, you have lost me with these moves. I trust that Chris Bowen and Richard Marles, both competent, will step up to the mark in these vital policy areas. If they don’t, the outlook looks grim.
Nora Sparrow, Canterbury
Labor’s winning team
Yes, Noel Butterfield, ″our strength lies with Penny Wong and Tanya Plibersek″ (Letters, 29/1), but we do not need to be denied Wong’s astute mind because she is a senator. John Gorton was a senator and he became prime minister. And having Tanya Plibersek as our deputy leader would certainly complete a formidable Labor leadership that we have lacked since the Hawke era.
Vivienne Fry, Beaumaris
Why Labor has split
If Joel Fitzgibbon had worked creatively with his community in the Hunter Valley, and the education arms of their unions, to develop a constructive transition plan from the mining of fossil fuels, a bitter struggle within Labor could have been avoided. Mark Butler, with his commitment to building an economy based on an environmentally sustainable future, is the reason many hang in with the ALP.
The ability to handle change and steer others through it is a mark of good leadership, and unions have led the way on many social issues. What a tragedy Fitzgibbon has not drawn on this history, and has thus managed to jeopardise the future of our children and split the Labor Party at the same time.
Prue Gill, Carlton North
Is history about to repeat itself? The Age’s coverage of ″Albo″ is very similar to the coverage of ″Sleepy Joe″ Biden nine months out from the US elections. Will the Australian media have misjudged the Australian electorate, as did the US media misjudge President Biden?
Geoff Wescott, Northcote
Greg Barton’s article – ″We must stem the rising toxic tide of extremism″ (Opinion, 29/1) – is a wake-up call, especially for politicians who belie the potential influence of extremist groups and, in some cases, could or would exploit it for political opportunism. As yet we do not have the level of extremism that exists in the US, but democracy is a fragile entity and something we should not take for granted. Vigilance is essential.
Judith Morrison, Mount Waverley
When Hillary Clinton called Trump supporters “a basket of deplorables”, she was derided by the right wing. How mild were her words. Given the racist and anti-Semitic views of the Proud Boys and their ilk, we should call them what they are: neo-Nazis. And they are here too. To allow them to flourish under the banner of free speech is a serious mistake. If there are defects in our laws prohibiting racial vilification, they should be amended. The root cause of this extremism is also unemployment and should be tackled.
Robin Edwards, Malvern East
Oh sorry, am I late?
Marnie Vinall left out the most effective method to deal with ″the always late friend″ (Opinion, 29/1). First, you calculate their average lateness, for example, half an hour. Then, if you want to meet them at 7pm, you arrange it for 6.30pm.
When you arrive at 6.50pm, you will only have a short wait, after which you can generously forgive their late arrival. But what if they actually get there at 6.30pm and have to wait 20 minutes for you? In that case you will experience the inner glow of triumph that revenge brings. But does this method really work? Don’t ask me, I don’t have any friends.
Simon Thornton, Alphington
The joys of lateness
Marnie Vinall, I discovered ″lateness benefits″ early in life. Growing up, my father, bless him, dragged us off to church on Sundays always early, always getting a front-row seat and me, always feeling over-exposed and bored stiff.
As soon as I was old enough, I went to church alone, late, got a back-row seat and found benefits in this compulsory event: checking out persons of interest, what outfits they wore, how pious they were, how dusty the pews and if any spiders were weaving their way down onto an unsuspecting lady’s hat. Later in life, as I speed out the door, leaving when I am due to arrive, I remind myself ″better to be late than dead on time″.
Kerry Bergin, Abbotsford
Cause for celebration
I thought the joint article by Josh Frydenberg and Josh Burns (Opinion, 27/1) was uplifting and relevant. I was stunned at the response from readers (Letters, 28/1). While several applauded an all too rare example of bipartisanship, almost every reader attacked both political parties or simply Frydenberg and the Liberals. Surely we should encourage bipartisan views rather than slap them down as hypocrites or introduce other topics that were not the subject of the article.
Alan Kozica, South Yarra
High cost of elections
According to your article (The Age, 27/1), Kevin Andrews has indicated to local members that he will retire in the next term of Parliament. Surely he should retire now and save the community money (ie, by not having to hold a byelection to replace him), or do conservative Liberals care nothing about this?
Peta Colebatch, Hawthorn
The Reverend Alistair Macrae was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for his contributions to the church and the community, but has handed his award back because of Margaret Court’s ″bad theology″ (The Age, 28/1). True leadership requires action representing beliefs and standards. I applaud him for demonstrating the courage to set a standard for behaviour and what is morally right despite religious background and backlash. He provides leadership to lift others, it is inspirational.
Robyn Stonehouse, Camberwell
Accepting the whole
The Reverend Alistair Macrae made the point that anything that harms people is bad theology and not from God. The authority of the Bible relies on the assertion that it is the inspired word of God, yet it sanctions many obnoxious and inhumane practices, such as the keeping of slaves, and putting to death anyone who curses or strikes their parent or works on the Sabbath. Would it not follow that any theology based on the Bible is a bad theology? If you believe that a text is the inspired word of God, you are not entitled to disown the parts that you find distasteful or offensive.
Brian Kilday, Jeeralang Junction
A question of context
First principles to be applied prior to quoting isolated verses from the Bible: Who said it, when, and in what context? This changes lots of things, really.
Reverend Jim Pilmer, Camberwell
The simple facts, PM
So Boris Johnson is ″deeply sorry for every life that has been lost″ and says ″we truly did everything we could to minimise loss of life″ (World, 28/1). Pardon? No closing of the UK’s borders? Allowing bars and restaurants to stay open until 10pm? Handing out free meal vouchers to help the economy recover? Wake up, Prime Minister. The more that people mingle, the more the virus will spread. It is not rocket science.
Jen Gladstones, Heidelberg
″I’m sorry″ is not enough
Is it enough to apologise for being responsible for more than 100,000 coronavirus deaths, many of which were avoidable? New Zealand and Australia led the way last year with ″Go hard, go early, go home″. Boris Johnson’s shambolic ramblings were ″Go soft, go late, go to the pubs but make sure you leave one hour early to fool the virus″ and ″Go Christmas shopping, you’ve earned a treat″.
In our family communications to the UK, the phrase “incompetent government” often crops up. There has to be a point where under-performance morphs into criminal neglect of duty for which Boris Johnson’s “sorry” is just another sad inadequacy.
Roger Green, Ferntree Gully
Giving preference to Indigenous Australians in the queue for COVID-19 vaccination would stand as a strong measure for redressing past wrongs. It would be simple, effective and courageous, and a strong move towards closing the gap. Sadly, I doubt that our politicians have the guts to do this.
Graeme Rose, Stanley
The federal health minister yesterday praised Australia’s extraordinary efforts in achieving zero community transmission. It seems it is good news when it is an ″national″ success. However, when people died in federally managed aged care in Victoria, the Prime Minister ″We regulate aged care, but when there is a public health pandemic…whether it gets into aged care, shopping centres, schools or anywhere else, then they are things that are matters for Victoria” (ABC).
Richard Jamonts, Williamtown
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding
Joel Fitzgibbon is to Labor what Craig Kelly is to the Liberals. When will these parties wake up and get rid of these dinosaurs?
Corrado Tavella, Rosslyn Park, SA
For once I’d be happy if our government followed US policy and re-joined the world on climate action.
Ray Jones, Box Hill North
It’s official: the government and opposition believe saving the planet is too (politically) expensive. Let the other countries do the lifting.
Jerry Koliha, South Melbourne
The Butler didn’t do it.
Tony Lenten, Glen Waverley
Albo is unelectable. Find a lower-house seat for Penny. Hayden put his party and country before self.
Tony Jackson, Fitzroy
Shuffling deck chairs has never saved a sinking ship. This one needs the skipper to go first, not last.
Nicholas Melaluka, Fairfield
The Labor pains will continue until an electable leader is delivered.
Graham Cadd, Dromana
Find Wong a House of Reps seat and bingo, our next prime minister.
Judi Crisp, Queenscliff
The knives are out. A note to Shorten: ″Mate, a souffle doesn’t rise twice″.
George Greenberg, Malvern
Rudd, Gillard, Rudd, Shorten, Albanese. Deja vu.
Lawrie Bradly, Surrey Hills
The far-rightFar-right extremists sang Waltzing Matilda in the Grampians (28/1). Ban it before it spreads like a virus.
David Hughes, South Melbourne
Can’t we send them to the bush to pick fruit for the farmers?
Eric Kopp, Flinders
If you are not anti-fascist, then what are you?
Michael Neighbour, Beaconsfield Upper
How to tell school’s back: Politicians in suits sit at low tables, in front of cameras, trying to have conversations with young children who ignore them.
David Cayzer, Clifton Hill
Note from the Editor
The Age’s editor, Gay Alcorn, writes an exclusive newsletter for subscribers on the week’s most important stories and issues. Sign up here to receive it every Friday.
Most Viewed in National
Source: Read Full Article