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Andrew DysonCredit: .
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The article “Record heat signals breakdown” (8/9) is yet another warning on the consequences of the changing climate. What is it going to take to fully realise and accept that it is madness to think that life can go on as normal with the threat of the horrendous outcomes as the climate changes. It is urgent that we cease the mining of fossil fuels and other aspects that contribute to the destruction of the environment. We live in a complex global environment that benefits the rich; those with the lightest footprint suffer the most. Many governments seem to be sleep walking. The world needs courageous leadership willing to make difficult decisions and we, as individuals, must examine how we can contribute to lessen our own footprint. Judith Morrison, Nunawading
Loss of biodiversity hurts us all
Policymakers, politicians, certain press tsars and uninterested citizens are answerable for the devastating effects of climate change and a heating environment (″Colonies of emperor penguin chicks wiped out in spring″, 25/8). Situations like this, caused by us, should be declared crimes against humanity. Because it is humanity that will suffer from the loss of biodiversity and environmental destruction even if you don’t care about the tragic fate of the emperor penguins.
Judy Hungerford, Kew
Digging our own graves
The article ″The big and the small of it″ on the traffic and environmental hazards of the large pick-up trucks that are rapidly becoming popular (Good Weekend, 26/8) highlights yet another instance of the way we are going headlong into a climate catastrophe. We keep using fossil fuels and these big trucks make the situation worse. Many people keep flying around the world oblivious of the greenhouse gas emissions. We keep eating meat and dairy with its huge ecological footprint. Everyone can come up with a reason for their self-indulgence while paying lip service to the environment, but we are digging our own graves, or at least future generations’.
Trichur Vidyasagar, Doncaster
Running hot, the irony abounds
The irony cannot have been lost on the organisers of the Burning Man festival in Nevada. Our burning planet, more than any other factor, has led to the ravages of climate change evident in the unseasonal torrential rainfall at the time of the festival. As the UN declared this week, our climate continues to collapse.
Nick Toovey, Beaumaris
Power problems long time in the making
David Hodgett, opposition energy spokesman, was spot on when he said that paying business not to use power on hot days was not what Victoria should be about. However, the situation is the inevitable result of a decade of the Coalition in Canberra denying and failing to act on the climate change emergency.
Barry Lizmore, Ocean Grove
There’s much to like about the opposition’s housing strategy (“State Coalition reveals housing strategy”, 8/9). For example, building more social and affordable houses while “protecting the voice of residents in local planning decisions” is important.
But the strategy shares the same flaw as the government’s. Both aim to squeeze an extra million homes into Melbourne’s suburbs by 2050 to accommodate an extra 3.1million people. This would involve an unprecedented rate of construction and further loss of green spaces. The challenge is nigh on impossible and our suburbs will be perpetual building sites, and far less liveable.
What neither political party acknowledges is that the housing crisis is being driven largely by high immigration. The government is planning on 1.5million net overseas arrivals in the next five years. Let’s slow down immigration until every Australian has a roof over their head.
Ian Penrose, Kew
Where power resides
The premier’s recent description of “part-time councillors making decisions, say, to turn farmland into a new suburb” (″State Coalition reveals housing crisis strategy″, 8/9) indicates a lack of familiarity with Victorian planning law. The power to rezone land resides solely with the minister for planning. Ministerial approval of planning changes proposed by councils can be rejected, indefinitely deferred, or undergo substantial redrafting. This commonly inserts “preferred” into any specified maximum building height limits, identified after balancing multiple public interest considerations, and effectively changes these into minimum building heights.
Creating such intentional ambiguity incentivises speculators to outspend councils and impacted communities in pursuit of greatly scaled-up approvals that can be on-sold for massive windfall profits, pocketed without necessarily building anything or contributing towards increased public infrastructure needs.
Rod Duncan, Fellow, Planning Institute of Australia
Just kick straight
How can professional AFL players constantly miss set shots on goal, often kicking it out of bounds?
Do AFL club recruiters actually look to see if potential recruits can kick straight, or do they just look at running speeds and endurance?
Misses occurred in Thursday’s Collingwood-Melbourne game, but it has been happening right across all clubs, all season. Surely, the ability to kick a ball straight is a fundamental requirement of highly paid AFL players?
Little mice, big task
I was disappointed to see state political editor Annika Smethurst refer to ground-breaking conservation efforts as ″the government offering its support for the release of six mice at Wilsons Promontory″ (Comment, 8/9).
The release of six endangered pookila is the first of its kind in the state and immensely important for the recovery of a native species that has disappeared from most of its historic range. Australia has the worst mammalian extinction record in the world and many other species are at risk of becoming extinct without management intervention.
Yes, six mice may seem small, but the investment in them by the recovery team and government is not. Information gained from this release will almost certainly be used to inform future translocations of more individuals, allowing methods to be fine-tuned to ensure optimal survival outcomes. These six individuals can provide a vital boost in genetic diversity to the heavily related population of mice at Wilson’s Promontory, giving it a better chance of withstanding future threats.
Dr Katharine Senior, Footscray
Far from perfect
I’m not surprised at the carnage feral and domestic cats cause to native fauna. They frequent my yard and nearby council reserve every day and regularly kill and scare away birds and lizards. I contacted my council to ask about them about setting up cat traps in the surrounding area, only to discover that they do not do anything, but I could hire a trap through them, collect it and then take any captured cats to their animal shelter. I find it extremely frustrating that they fail to pursue households that don’t abide by cat curfews, or attempt to deal with feral cats on council land.
Patricia King, Ballarat
Your correspondent (Letters, 8/9) makes a humorous but valid case for proportionately deflating tyres on all cars according to engine size, leaving caravans alone on account of their ″environmental purity″. This overlooks a caravan’s dependence on a towing vehicle, usually with a large engine, making it an indirect carbon emitter. Every human action has an environmental impact of some sort.
Andrew Barnes, Ringwood
It moved me to tears when I read the Uluru Statement from the Heart, to hear the impassioned plea from a significant number of Indigenous peoples, crying out for a better future for their peoples. I cannot fathom how, we, as a nation, cannot bring ourselves to recognise their request to enshrine the Voice in the Constitution. We have failed our First Nation peoples miserably and surely it is time to heed this request to rectify the injustices of the past.
Ivor Chappell, Barwon Heads
Narrow world view
Those who blame Anthony Albanese for not acting more like a politician in leading the Voice debate miss the point that, in a civilised and humane nation, the passage of the moderate and historically informed Voice through a referendum would be a formality.
Sadly, the real home truth here may be that the failing momentum of the Yes campaign can be attributed more to the entrenched racial animus towards Indigenous people held by a nation which is still stolidly Anglo-Celtic in its view of the world. We, it now seems, remain part of what has been referred to as an imperial ″Anglosphere″ in which the metaphorical sun never sets. I hope that I am proven wrong and the Yes vote prevails.
Jon McMillan, Mount Eliza
There is hope
If the referendum, as some are already suggesting, is already lost, it matters not. All the intentions and presumptive positive actions that are in its sights, can still be implemented. The need for a treaty, and the implementation of health and housing goals for Indigenous people are still all doable. As they should be. While recognition in the Constitution is important, the Uluru Statement is more than that. It is a heartfelt plea for restitution for hundreds of years of wilful neglect. We can make amends for that. And we should.
Frank Flynn, Cape Paterson
Whatever the merits of arguments about the referendum the lack of detail in the question ignores that the level of detail is consistent with how the powers of the parliament are conferred by section 51 of the Constitution.
To pick three as examples, the parliament is empowered by section 51 to make laws for ″(I) trade and commerce with other countries, and among States″, ″(xix) naturalisation and aliens″ and ″(xxix) External affairs″. The detail is in the legislation passed by the parliament.
The assertion that the question creates a power to make laws for any race ignores the existing power in section 51 ″(xxvi) the people of any race for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws″ and therefore the proposal would not add the power to make laws based on race.
Ian Pitt, KC, Brighton
The “K” in “nothing” (Letters, 8/9) is designed to replace the now-missing first “L” in “vulnerable”.
Angus McLeod, Cremorne
AND ANOTHER THING
Another referendum? Don’t they have any regard for taxpayers’ money? Doug Perry, Mount Martha
John Farnham’s song is just that, not a “how to vote” order and what am I supposed to be confused about? It seems pretty straightforward.
Toni Brady, Ballarat
Did Alan Joyce receive the Qantas departure blessing before he took flight? ″May God and your luggage go with you.″
Peter Thomas, Pascoe Vale
How will cheaper airfares assist those battling cost of living increases and mortgage payments?
Arthur Pritchard, Ascot Vale
Australians have to decide which is more important, human rights respected by ethical airlines or cheaper flights?
Bernadette George, Mildura
Why prop up an airline when we let the car manufacturing industry go so easily?
George Stockman, Berwick
Australians to buy back Qantas shares? Much better to nationalise without compensation.
Miranda Jones, Drummond
The Rolling Stones releasing new music after all this time seems a bit sad, but I do admire their tenacity.
Ian Macdonald, Traralgon
As I cast an eye on the state of the nation Poor Fellow My Country comes to mind, and the overlooked irony in The Lucky Country. How do we recover a collective ethical mindset?
Jim Spithill, Glen Waverley
Hottest three months on record, feral cats destroying our endangered species, we are heading to hell in a handbasket.
Greg Curtin, Blackburn South
Here’s a heads-up Yarra Trams. There was a match at the MCG on Thursday night and there will be more there over the next couple of weeks. Probably be a good idea to check the fixture so (unlike Thursday night) you can have plenty of trams ready to go.
Belinda Burke, Hawthorn
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