Politicising action on climate has to stop

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CLIMATE CHANGE

Politicising action on climate has to stop

Scott Morrison must stop politicising climate change (“Industry key to Australia’s emissions target, not ‘inner city dinner parties’: PM”, The Age, 19/4). This government, and as a result Australia, are way behind where we need to be on reducing emissions. We need strong targets and definite plans to achieve these targets. We know what needs to be done. See for example Ross Garnaut’s book Superpower and Alan Finkel’s Quarterly Essay Getting to Zero. Politicising the issue by referring to “inner city dinner parties” is most unhelpful and is a continuation of Morrison’s failure to address this critical issue in a mature, sensible way. The man who brought a lump of coal into Parliament as a prop still just does not get it.
Rowan Russell, Queenscliff

What point was Morrison trying to make?
I am puzzled about Scott Morrison’s claim that net zero carbon emissions would “not be achieved at cafes, dinner parties and wine bars in the nation’s inner cities”. Certainly over the last 30-plus years, people across the country have been meeting to build the climate movement. Their aim has been to pressure political leaders and industry to take strong action to slash Australia’s carbon emissions. Much of this talk to build the climate movement has been accompanied by food and drink.

I believe that this movement has been very successful. A large majority of the population now want strong climate action. Even the LNP is now changing its tune on climate change.

So what point was Scott Morrison trying to make? Should we have avoided eating and drinking while planning our campaigns? Or does he think that the inner-city climate meetings were not as effective as those held in the suburbs or regional centres? Or is Morrison just ignoring the decades of building a movement now that he has realised he can’t avoid the need for climate action?
Andrea Bunting, Brunswick

Time for obfuscation has passed
The PM seems to be tying himself in knots by trying to please the fossil-fuel lovers in his party and the rest of Australia. His latest comments simply show how little understanding or care he has for the suffering that will be inflicted on the Australian electorate if the world does not act soon on climate change.

We are in an enviable position with good access to solar, wind and thermal energy and the market forces are rapidly heading that way. The only obstacle to an economy based on renewable energy is our government. We must start planning now to phase out coal and gas and to ensure that those who work in those industries have a plan to support their transition to other opportunities. The time for obfuscation has passed.
Marg D’Arcy, Rye

Vague net zero emissions timeline not good enough
The story “Farming, manufacturing in PM’s climate sights” (The Age, 20/4) quotes Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying that net zero carbon emissions “will be won in places like the Pilbara, the Hunter, Gladstone, Portland, Whyalla, Bell Bay, and the Riverina. In the factories of our regional towns and outer suburbs … It will be won in our energy sector. In our industrial sector. In our agricultural sector. In our manufacturing sector. This is where the road to net zero is being paved in Australia.”

Not a word about how or when the net zero target would be achieved. As pointed out by Labor climate spokesman Chris Bowen, the Morrison government will not commit to net zero emissions by 2050, despite every Australian state and territory having made that commitment.

The climate experts of the Climate Council have advised the government the net zero target must be moved forward to 2035 if we are to have any hope of keeping global heating below 2 degrees as per the Paris agreement. Climate scientists tell us that 2 degrees is the long-term difference between an ice age and a warm period. “As soon as possible” and “preferably” by 2050 is simply not good enough Mr Morrison.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin, ACT

THE FORUM

Benefits to staying shut
Steven Hamilton and Richard Holden “ran the numbers” to estimate the cost of resuming our normal rate of immigration (“Huge cost of staying shut to the world”, The Age, 20/4) but two points in their argument are seriously flawed.

As Dr Norman Swan and many other medical professionals have stated repeatedly, COVID-19 vaccination reduces the chances of developing serious illness from the coronavirus, but is not particularly effective in reducing transmission. Therefore you can catch COVID-19 and you can pass it on, even if immunised, and immigration remains risky.

Higher education, seen in their modelling merely as an export industry, has only had to rely on international fee-paying students because of decades of relentless funding cuts to the sector by the federal government.

In view of this, welcoming immigrants or international students in an attempt to return to normal is simply not worth the risk. The imperative is to find ways to de-couple our economy from our unrealistic reliance on endless growth and to restore proper government investment in higher education. In these terms there can be huge benefits from staying shut.
David Smith, Balwyn North

Cryptic fan
Legions of cryptic crossword fans, including me, will be delighted to see the face behind DH (“Numerous clues to a ‘lucky’ life”, The Age, 20/4).

Donald Harrison states that devising the puzzles brings him joy, and indeed, the weekly attempt to solve these marvellous, and elusive puzzles has been a joy for me and all the other hopefuls who attempt to solve them. I hope his career as a cruciverbalist lasts for a long time to come.
Helen Scheller, Benalla

Cruciverbalist’s joy
I have enjoyed pitting my wits against The Age cryptic crossword for many years, sometimes highly successfully, sometimes making a complete hash of it. To read the article featuring DH not only put a face to a prolific cryptic compiler but also gives me the opportunity to say a huge thank you.

On long-haul flights to Canada or England, my reading matter always included a DH cryptic book.

To learn that Donald Harrison already has crosswords to keep us going until mid-January 2022 gives me the greatest of joys.
Carolyn M. Reynolds, Lake Boga

Commission’s commission
I look forward to the Morrison government royal commission into commissioning royal commissions.

Here are the guidelines: How effective are they at fobbing off the public?; How do we ignore the advice while seemingly embracing the recommendations?; How do we engineer the results to reflect the government agenda?; How many can we have before the public wakes up to us?; How do we stretch difficult subjects over a two-year period in which we may lose the election and handball the problem?
Rob Price, Preston

Where’s the plan?
The Prime Minister has made yet another announcement about a sprint to vaccinate most of the nation by Christmas, and is now urging people aged over 50 to come forward. My 92-year-old mother-in-law is in an aged care facility in western Melbourne and the residents have still not been vaccinated.

Rather than grandstanding about the future rollout, perhaps the Prime Minister and Health Minister should be concentrating on those vulnerable Australians who are in phase 1a, and still have not been vaccinated. Where is the plan, and the vaccines, for these Australians under the “war footing” we are now on?
Doug Shaw, Sunbury

Aged forgotten, again
Have aged care facilities ceased to be in the 1a category? My 98-year-old mother’s facility has no idea when the residents and staff will be vaccinated. When I inquired yet again at the facility I was told staff and residents could go privately for their vaccinations.

So, the most vulnerable in our community, those who suffered most during the pandemic are again forgotten, thrown on the scrapheap, and told they and their carers can make their own arrangements to be vaccinated.
Elaine Macdonald, Watsonia

Public v private services
Margaret Callinan (Letters, 20/4) argues that we should not vote for a government that outsources services ensuring that we end up with the minimum and cheapest possible service, and I agree. Unfortunately the fiction that private enterprise can deliver better quality public services more cheaply is believed equally by both sides of politics who embrace the happy consequence of less direct accountability with great enthusiasm.
Julian Guy, Mount Eliza

It’s not that hard
Last year Scott Morrison’s demands that Dan Andrews produce a lockdown exit road map, with fixed dates, were beyond unreasonable given the complexity of predicting how restrictions and human behaviour would play out.

Now he claims it’s too difficult for him to do the same; so there will be no vaccine rollout targets, just some future possibility of being vaccinated. That’s unacceptable.

Comparing the complexity of planning and implementing Andrews’ road map with promulgating a vaccine distribution schedule is like comparing building the space shuttle with organising to put your bin out on garbage day. What’s so hard about issuing a weekly delivery schedule, over a rolling two-month period, for instance? And updated each week, detailing how many vaccine doses are contracted to be available.

Then just distribute them to the states on a per capita basis and GP network. And then let them do the vaccination jobs they have been doing for years.
Carlo Ursida, Kensington

Bigger picture
There exists a clear problem with the depiction and perception of women in our society where they are, as a cohort, subject to incomprehensible discrimination. While it’s convenient (and correct) to blame men’s attitudes there’s a broader and deeper cultural issue at play: advertising. Advertising creates unattainable images of photoshopped perfection against which women are compared not only by men but by women themselves.

The cosmetics market in Australia is worth almost $10 billion annually; that’s $10billion spent on chasing the impossible dream of looking like a professionally photographed 16-year-old. There’s greater forces at play in the subjugation of women beyond plain old sexual discrimination. Women, and increasingly men, are willingly participating in the game controlled by the global advertising industry on behalf of corporations whose profits depend on denigrating people’s self-worth.
Angus McLeod, Cremorne

Logging reality check
Talk about adding insult to injury. Victoria’s native forests were devastated by the 2019-20 fires. Now we are logging what is left and both VicForests and Senator McKenzie are doing their damnedest to ensure no federal forests’ protection via the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (“Logging bill chops minister’s powers”, The Age, 20/4). Time for a reality check. Native forests are carbon sinks and home to our precious and endangered native species. Victoria needs to bring forward its commitment to stop logging native forests. The 2030 date is just too late and fails to acknowledge the fire damage suffered.
Lynn Frankes, Kew

Anzac Day march
Since 1925 the aim of the Anzac Day march has been that given by General Monash and the Anzac Day Commemoration Council: “To enable returned servicemen to re-form the ranks of their wartime units and march to the cenotaph as a mark of respect for their fallen comrades”. But our government seems determined to break up our units, and limit the number of veterans marching – in order to get us out of the Melbourne CBD before midday so that we won’t inconvenience the AFL crowd.

Acting Premier Merlino has said, in relation to the numbers allowed to attend sporting events, “It’s all about contact tracing … the ability for public health to contact trace”. Yet contact tracing seems to have been forgotten in the arrangements for veterans marching in Melbourne this year. Instead of marching with mates from our own units we are to be assembled into a few amorphous mobs; to march beside strangers. So much for facilitating contact tracing.

If the AFL can have 75,000 at the MCG, why are we veterans restricted to 5500? Why are we being forced to abandon the long-accepted practice of re-forming with our wartime units?
Ian Dunn, secretary 7RAR Assn (Vic)

Parental equality
Both parents should have equal paid parental leave, as argued by Libby Lyons (“Give both parents equal paid leave”, The Age, 19/4). However, the practice of labelling women as the primary carer is not necessarily discrimination against men.

Unlike men, women are the child bearers, they give birth and breastfeed the newborn. These are massive physical and emotional feats. They should not be downplayed in the quest for getting men to take up parental responsibilities. Recovery from childbirth and adapting to a newborn takes time. Equal paid leave by all means, but not at the expense of the mother receiving less than she needs.
Gia Underwood, West Heidelberg

People power
The Chinese government’s treatment of the Uighur population is appalling (“Uighur women chained, stripped”, The Age, 20/4). Over recent years China has amassed huge and menacing economic power over most Western countries including Australia and as a result, governments appear reluctant to take action against these crimes against humanity. Perhaps it is time to harness people power i.e., a bottom-up approach with all of us checking the country of origin when shopping and where possible avoiding products Made in China.
Geoff Naylor, Ocean Grove

AND ANOTHER THING …

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Climate change
Scomo now lacks any reason to be Biden his time on climate action.
Elizabeth Meredith, Surrey Hills

And zero emissions by 2050 will not be reached Scott by praising the boys in their utes.
Don Stewart, Port Fairy

How ironic would it be if the one issue on which the government doesn’t say “all the way with the USA” is climate change action?
Joan Selby Smith, Blackburn

The PM sees farming and manufacturing as the keys to attaining zero emissions growth but the most important key will be the ballot box.
Gary Sayer, Warrnambool

Consent videos
I wonder if the person behind the new consent education campaign is the same person who was behind that other brilliant advertising campaign – Where the Bloody Hell Are You?
Vivien Wertkin, St Kilda

What a waste of milkshake in the consent ad. Do I detect the work of the master marketer?
David Lamb, Kew East

Vaccine rollout
From now until Christmas isn’t a sprint. It’s more a middle-distance event, but Scotty and his marketing team probably think sprint is a bit more “zippy”.
Lawrie Bradly, Surrey Hills

Sprints are usually won by being quick off the starting block. Morrison is describing a vaccination race that he has handicapped!
Joan Segrave, Healesville

If I had to reset my computer as often as Morrison has “reset” the vaccination program, I would get rid of the computer.
Pauline Ashton, Maribyrnong

Furthermore
The federal government is looking like a stranded asset in terms of climate change action, the treatment of women, rising inequality … the list goes on.
Peter Bainbridge, Altona

Finally
That the world is doing nothing to help the Uighurs shows that humanity has learnt nothing from history.
Henry Herzog, St Kilda East


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