Never more important to learn from the past

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Never more important to learn from the past

For the past two decades we have had the “climate wars”, fought in Parliament, the media and the streets. Legislation has been passed and rescinded, leaders deposed, elections won and lost. Kevin Rudd’s “greatest moral challenge of our times”, Tony Abbott’s “absolute crap”, Coalition politicians dancing as Julia Gillard’s carbon pricing scheme was destroyed, Scott Morrison fondling a lump of coal in Parliament.

Yet now we see a change in rhetoric from the Murdoch empire and Business Council of Australia (“News Corp’s climate campaign a development with impact”, The Age, 12/10) and greening up by Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg. We see Barnaby Joyce shamelessly posturing before the inevitable pivoting. We are now seeing one of the great greenwashing campaigns foisted upon us by the Coalition. At the next election the prime marketer will ask us to forget the two decades of deceit and delay the Coalition and its propaganda partners have undertaken. We will be asked to believe that only Morrison can take advantage of the enormous potential of a post-carbon economy.

Australians would be wise to recall the words of philosopher George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.
Graeme Henchel, Yarra Glen

Embarrassing call to action for Australia
Once again our reluctant Prime Minister needs to be reminded that he should be present at a significant event. This time the prompt was to attend the climate change summit in Glasgow and was delivered by no less a VIP than Prince Charles. How embarrassing for Australia that this was needed.
Cheryl Day, Beaumaris

A decade of wasted time
It seems remarkable to consider the epiphany that Morrison and Murdoch must have gone through to be apparently and suddenly embracing net zero by 2050. However, will they be interrogated by the media in general to explain and justify the past decade of wasted time where they held lumps of friendly coal and refused to accept climate change was happening or will they be allowed to bask in the hypocrisy of their undeserved glory for finally accepting reality and doing something about it.
Ross Hudson, Mount Martha

Time for crab-walking on climate is over
In the next few weeks there is a real opportunity for the Prime Minister to define his leadership. He can decide on an acceptable climate policy, and demand the Nationals agree, with the unspoken ultimatum that if they don’t, the Coalition faces the prospect of sitting on the opposition benches following the next election. The time for crab-walking on this issue is over.
Bruce F. MacKenzie, South Kingsville

Voters need a clearer choice
We should get behind Twiggy Forrest’s clean energy initiatives by reintroducing Julia Gillard’s 2012 carbon tax that, paradoxically, polluting industries were encouraged to avoid paying. It was dumped by the Abbott government in favour of an ineffective $3 billion taxpayer subsidy to applicants that promised to cut emissions.

We know now that renewable energy is cheaper than burning fossil fuels, yet Coalition policies have consistently favoured investment in the latter. Climate science is real, and its predictions in default of global efforts to curb global warming to less than 1.5 degrees by 2050 are dire. Carbon pricing, with its inbuilt monetary incentive for businesses to come up with less polluting ways of doing things would put laggardly Australia at the forefront of global efforts to mitigate the catastrophic effects of global warming.

Beholden to fossil fuel lobbies, the Coalition can’t introduce a carbon price and, in deference to some misinformed constituencies, Labor won’t. The big issue at the next federal election is whether to vote for a hidebound Coalition, vacillating Labor, opportunistic Greens, or unpredictable independents. I wish we had clearer choices.
Bill Wright, St Kilda West


Independence essential
The resignation of Victorian aged care minister Luke Donnellan (“IBAC claims first scalp as minister quits”, The Age, 12/10) for his involvement in branch stacking is another illustration why the Morrison government has so far resisted calls to establish a federal corruption body.

It was 12 months ago when Victorian federal MPs Kevin Andrews and Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar were cleared of allegations they had misused taxpayer money by recruiting party members in a bid to boost factional numbers in their respective electorates. Both MPs would have directly benefited from the recruiting of such members, which would have strengthened their hold on pre-selection in their respective seats.

That is not too dissimilar as to the intent of actions which have resulted in the resignation of Donnellan this week. The difference being that the former federal MPs were cleared of wrongdoing, not by a body independent of government, but after an investigation by the Department of Finance, an arm of the government. Who knows what the outcome would have been had there been a federal ICAC.
Garry Meller, Bentleigh

Noble goals
Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce recently described politics as good, bad, discourteous and noble. The Oxford dictionary defines the word noble as having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles. Being virtuous, honest, decent, uncorrupted, moral and ethical. Ethics is about doing what is right, fair, just or good; what we ought to do rather than what is most expedient.

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission public inquiry into allegations of branch stacking within the Victorian Labor Party, reminds us parliamentarians are privileged members of society. It’s imperative they make good decisions. Australian politicians should always be above self-interest, vested interests and noble in their conduct. Transparent, independent and accountable.

It’s important Australia has a federal Independent Commission Against Corruption, to hold politicians to account, protect the public interest, prevent breaches of public trust and guide the conduct of public officials in our federal public sector.
Michael Walton, Newcastle, NSW

Kafkaesque nightmare
It’s all very well for the government to demand we be vaccinated to go to work or enter restaurants or pubs but useless if the software and system isn’t working so I can prove my status. I work in Bendigo, one of the areas doing the vaccine trial to open up earlier. I enjoy going out to lunch with my colleagues and am fully vaccinated. My attempt to download my vaccination certificate, so I can have lunch with my colleagues, has been a futile waste of time. Prompted to open up a new MyGov account as my current one was not recognised I waited in vain for the promised email with my account details. So now I have no account and no ability to open one. How elderly people with poor computer skills are supposed to navigate the Kafkaesque nightmare of MyGov is beyond me.
Rohan Wightman, Muckleford

Magnetic appeal
Businesses and conservatives have long-called for low taxes and small government. But put a lucrative government wage subsidy program on the table (“JobKeeper paid billions to business”, The Age, 11/10), and they will rush to it like pins to a magnet, after which many will either refuse to disclose it, repay it or both.
James Henshall, Richmond

Perish the thought
Just imagine our health responses to a pandemic being led by the guy who has never held a hose, much less a needle. Or by other knowledgeable and elected representatives such as Craig Kelly, George Christensen, Richard Colbeck, Michael O’Brien, Peter Dutton or Josh Frydenberg.

Please leave the health response with health professionals. The problems we are facing were not caused by medical directives or medical professionals, they are solely due to incompetent management of quarantine and vaccine delivery by our elected representatives.
Wendy Tanner, Footscray

Medical segregation
Sam Frost’s use of the word segregation to describe the division of society into those vaccinated and those not is perfectly appropriate. It will become increasingly hard for the unvaccinated to remain employed or move freely.
Giving rights to some but not others based on their medical choices is surely the very definition of segregation? If not, what is a better term? Discrimination? Apartheid? Isolation?
Melanie Stafford, Altona

Wait for 90 per cent
At 80 per cent double-dosed, when most restrictions will lift, more than 1.1 million Victorians 12 and over will not be double-dosed. At 90 per cent this would be about 570,000 not double-dosed and going from 80 to 90 per cent should take two weeks.

The reduced pressure on hospitals and fewer COVID deaths, long-COVID cases, and non-COVID suffering and deaths that would be avoided surely justify waiting until we reach 90 per cent.
Brewis Atkinson, Tyabb

Change overdue
Labor is right to promote a manufacturing renaissance. The Coalition has had the lion’s share of power in the last 20 years and because of its inept management, manufacturing has been in free fall.

The biggest disaster of course was the collapse of the Australian motor industry. Had it survived we may be producing the inevitable electric cars, by now. It’s time for a long-overdue change.
Paul Gearing, Moonee Ponds

Wrong priorities
So, there are 5 million of us in Melbourne unable to visit others even if jabbed. But, 10,000 will be able to go to the races. I like sports but Victoria has its priorities all wrong.
Des Shaw, South Melbourne

Gross injustices
It was truly shocking to read Rob Hulls’ article (“Hearing the awful truth key to change”, The Age, 12/10). We are so shamed by the continuation of the abuse towards many of our First Nations People. There must be an urgency towards truth-telling and acknowledgment of the past violence and abuse of human rights. The continued incarceration speaks to gross injustice and diminishes us as a nation.
Judith Morrison, Mount Waverley

Too little, too late
It’s probably long overdue that qualified advisers are set to curb building designs and methods that prioritise profits (“City’s new design mantra”, The Age, 12/10). However, by what standards are we to judge “good” architecture? Conservative voices inevitably take their influences from a glorified past while progressives smirk at any attempts at such faux historical styles. Meanwhile, academics’ view of what’s appropriate may not accord with popular tastes. Let’s not disregard residential construction either, as developers rush to provide every family with four bedrooms and three bathrooms, hastily clad in rendered polystyrene.

At the end of the day, most of our greatest architecture has already been lost, in the form of countless period structures that could easily have had a new lease of life breathed into them. This has included modernist architecture that was derided for a time but that has since enjoyed a revival. Is all this a case of shutting the gate after the horse has bolted?
Marish Mackowiak, Ormond

Why the delay?
Why is there a delay in raising the quota of the number of Afghans that Australia will rescue to our shores? This is a humanitarian emergency, and any delays mean innocent lives lost. We did the right thing to defend these people against the Taliban, to desert them now is to be complicit in a crime against humanity.
Robert Preston, McKinnon

Taking us for fools
The Federal Treasury is surely taking us for fools when it claims that the $27 billion JobKeeper payments to businesses which did not meet the stated criteria of a 30per decline in revenue was OK because “including mechanisms to claw it back could have ‘scarred’ the labour force and encouraged businesses to cut operations to game the scheme” (“$27b paid to businesses going OK”, The Age, 12/10).

Such disingenuous reasoning would be scant consolation to industries such as higher education which did not receive JobKeeper, and conveniently ignores the effect of the subsequent “naming and shaming” that saw some public companies return their JobKeeper payments.
Maurice Critchley, Kenthurst, NSW

Make a difference
So there is an international supply chain crisis and it is likely to impact on Christmas gift purchases (“Economic storm brewing ahead of Glasgow summit and Christmas”, The Age, 12/10). There is a simple solution – don’t buy new gifts this Christmas. Op shops are going to be open soon and with people cleaning out their sheds during lockdowns there is a heap of stuff there. Lots of pre-loved things are sold on eBay, just tick the “used” option on the search filter. Freecycle offers all sorts of things for free that people are happy to give away. The (hopeful) re-emergence of garage sales offer great possibilities for an interesting find. Teach children that they don’t have to have new things all the time. Give them and your adult family low price limits on what each can spend on gifts and stipulate it can’t be anything new. Above all, stop this consumption habit, it is not necessary. Every plastic toy will take thousands of years to break down. We need to start changing our world ourselves. It is not just up to governments, it is also up to us.
John Hillel, Mount Waverley



Climate summit
Australia Felix? Australia Selfish, more like it. Go to Glasgow, PM.
Lawrence Pope, North Carlton

Don’t mean to be a wet blanket, Scott, but your coal won’t get through the Heathrow metal detector.
David Cayzer, Clifton Hill

Why not send Barnaby Joyce to Glasgow, as he seems to be deciding Australia’s future climate response?
Doug Shaw, Sunbury

Sorry, Charlie, it looks like our recalcitrant climate change PM is going to squib the Glasgow games.
Don Stewart, Port Fairy

What are the chances Morrison will decide to go to Glasgow now he knows the royals will be there?
Jenny Callaghan, Hawthorn

Net zero emissions? Scott Morrison isn’t holding the hose, he is dragging the chain.
Greg Curtin, Blackburn South

Memo to Angus Taylor – we already have a carbon tax. It’s the cost of the damage climate change is imposing upon us all.
Des Bleakley, Vermont South

Maybe the government could roll out their flawless robo-debt system to claw back the billions of JobKeeper overpayments?
Derek Wilson, Cheltenham

$1 billion possibly given to welfare recipients equals robo-debt, while $27 billion handed out to companies that don’t need it equals don’t worry about it.
Niko Melaluka, North Fitzroy

Scott Morrison is right to resist a federal ICAC. Dan Andrews has lost four ministers due to IBAC, it could wipe out federal cabinet.
Andy Wain, Rosebud

Why not make masks in school colours so they can just be part of the uniform? Students would wear them the same as hats in summer.
Jan Saliba, Moonee Ponds

Prince Charles says he runs his Aston Martin on white wine and whey, a “let them eat cake” moment?
Gwenda West, Research

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