Save us from the thought bubbles of Barnaby Joyce
Listen to the scientists, not politicians
The fact that Barnaby Joyce advocates adding nuclear power to our energy mix, while ignoring the fact of the Japanese tsunami, and the resultant pollution caused by the damaged nuclear reactor, convinces me that he is wrong to suggest such a dangerous plan. It’s not as if there haven’t been other disasters from other nuclear accidents to remind us that accidents do happen. We should heed the warnings of the majority of scientists on this issue.
Rosemary Taylor, Castlemaine
We are at a tipping point. We must act
Dead canaries in a coal mine are a stark warning the mine air is toxic. Koalas are Australia’s canaries, and they are burning and dying in our catastrophic fires. They warn that we are terribly close to a tipping point of irreversible global heating. We must turn Australia off coal – faster than we ever thought was necessary. We must reduce Australian coal going to India and China, and super-heating our world.
But our politicians look powerless. I see parallels between Australia’s fossil fuel, and America’s gun industries. In both countries, whole populations see the problem, politicians feel and talk sad, but they do not act. But money is a big factor.
Australian people can act. The big money in superannuation funds, investment funds and with philanthropists could collaborate together and shift their investments, out of old coal, into sustainable alternatives. Fifteen million Australians hold shares in their super funds. We could switch to the sustainable investments option, today. Acting together, we could shrink share prices, and reduce national dependency on coal tax dollars, a heat source which became toxic. Together we can – with or without our politicians. For our grandkids’ world.
Jamie Cooper, Malvern
Australia needs to step up
There is a specious argument about climate action that does not seem to be going away. It says that because Australia’s contribution to harmful emissions is roughly 1 per cent, then it makes no difference if we do or do not attempt to reduce our contribution.
What is overlooked in this argument is that while the US, China, Russia and India produce roughly half of the world’s emissions, there are dozens of smaller emitters like ourselves who contribute between 4 and 1 per cent each. Taken as a total, countries like ourselves together constitute roughly half of the world’s emissions. If each of these smaller countries was to reduce their contribution then the total emissions could be lowered by something like 25 per cent. Middle and small emitting countries like ourselves must each step up to the plate and do their bit.
Trevor Parton, Clayton
John Cain was a great reformer in key aspects of public policy. He was generous and shrewd, saintly even, by today’s standards where the Westminster system of ministerial accountability is in tatters.
My insights are unusual as I was a department head when he was elected premier. He immediately required each incumbent to detail the strategy for implementing Labor’s platform. Only the four who responded survived. Premier Cain was singleminded, tough but fair.
He was in direct contact with me weekly – passionate about all aspects of consumer protection and was insistent that the VFL grand final not be moved to Waverley unless the public supported such a move. Through a plebiscite I was able to demonstrate widespread support for his view. He transformed hospitality from the grip of hotels such that even the local cafe could serve wine with coffee.
I had some interpersonal issues with my minister. Premier Cain intervened with the words “I won’t see you thrown in the gutter on this, you’ve been effective, but I might move you sideways to another portfolio”. He did. Can one imagine such integrity, empathy and leadership today in any of our parliaments?
John Cain set very high standards for all – including himself.
John Miller, Toorak, formerly director of consumer affairs for the Hamer, Thomson and Cain governments.
A major milestone from the John Cain era, missed in the article (24/12) was the Review into Educational Services for Children with Disabilities in Regular Schools in 1985. This significant review opened the doors for many children with disabilities to receive a real education with and alongside their peers. My son, and many others, benefited from the processes that followed leading to mainstream education inclusion and not segregation.
Tragically with the exception of the Joan Kirner era, successive governments failed to fully live up to the supportive processes that John Cain implemented.
Leslie Cope, Menzies Creek
Keep the fireworks . . .
Whenever we have major bushfires, there are inevitably calls to cancel New Year’s Eve firework displays and to donate the money saved to bushfire relief.
While it may seem insensitive to watch fireworks while other parts of the country burn, would cancelling firework displays achieve anything?
Major displays take many months of planning. Generally the money has been spent or at least committed well in advance, so cancelling at the last minute is unlikely to result in any meaningful saving.
Major displays, such as those in Sydney, are worth millions of dollars to the tourism industry. Many people plan to travel to major cities specially for the New Year’s Eve fireworks, many travel to Australia at other times as a result of Australia being put on the map by spectacular New Year’s Eve displays televised around the world.
The return to the economy from New Year’s Eve fireworks is many times their cost, so while cancelling New Year’s Eve fireworks may appear to result in a cost saving that could be used for bushfire relief, it will actually have the opposite effect.
James Proctor, Strathdale
. . . Get rid of them
In an affront to country Victoria, Melburnians will celebrate fire with a magnificent display on New Year’s Eve, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars as 14 tonnes of fireworks go up in light and smoke. End result – brief entertainment and a 30-second grab on television.
In the meantime the people of rural Victoria suffer and lament the loss of lives, destruction of properties and the deprivation of livelihoods.
So Melburnians, when you’re looking at your fireworks just spare a thought for all those living in rural areas, not only in Victoria but in Australia, and in some way justify your self-indulgence.
Philip Bunn, Beechworth
So Barnaby Joyce is now calling for tactile measures to address climate change, including the use of nuclear power. I am not sure what dictionary Mr Joyce uses, however mine defines tactile as being connected with a sense of touch. The last time I saw any information on nuclear power there was little to suggest it was tactile. Maybe Mr Joyce can bring a piece of nuclear waste into Parliament, wave it around and prove how tactile it is.
Peter Roche, Carlton
Barnaby the anarchist
If the level of debate in the Coalition is informed by Barnaby Joyce’s musings, the rest of us might be better off taking advice from “a higher authority”. Diverting rivers into dams with high evaporation rates instead of planning changes in agrarian industries that take account of the dangers of desertification, running more (I assume) diesel (CO2 emitting) electric trains, ignoring his government’s Snowy 2.0 and the Marinus Link to Tasmania’s hydro generators and instead wishing for nuclear solutions, and of course, no “taxes” to halt “climate change”; all of this and his wish for “government to get out of his life”, make him a rustic anarchist, quaint, perhaps – but not fit for government.
Phil Kreveld, Caulfield
Barnaby Joyce has some strange ideas, but his thoughts about nuclear power are sensible.
While Australia’s greenhouse emissions are rising, two notable Western countries, the UK and France, are making huge strides in going in the opposite direction. Famously, last northern summer, the UK went for 18 days without burning any coal. Part of that milestone achievement was due to having reliable, base load nuclear power.
Australia’s uranium helps to keep the lights burning in numerous countries, including the UK and France. Yet as is so typical of us, we dig it up and only engage in the first stage of processing. The value adding is left to other countries. We could develop our own nuclear fuel cycle and consign base load coal to the dustbin of history. A sensible discussion needs to be had.
Alex Judd, Blackburn North
Sad little troupe
The Prime Minister is worried about taking reckless climate change action. I don’t know what that looks like.
Sadly, we all know what reckless inaction looks like, and it’s not a good look. Worse, we have just seen our representative in Madrid do his best to promote inaction elsewhere. What a sad little troupe of troglodytes we are.
Geoff Witten, Lower Plenty
And now a word from . . .
Some of our local churches have large billboards celebrating Christmas with the logos of real estate agents prominently displayed. What next: This Mass is proudly sponsored by . . . I look forward to Easter and the chocolate traders of the day.
Peter McIntosh, Ballarat
The waiting wind
In a recent speech in which he attacked “windmills”, Donald Trump stated that he had not ever understood wind.
According to author Christopher Dewdney (18 Miles: The Epic Drama of the Atmosphere and its Weather), the answer is simple. Wind is merely air waiting to go somewhere else.
Robert Grogan, Albert Park
A life to remember
Louis Kyriacou’s obituary (27/11) is a reminder of what makes this country so great and what we stand to lose if we continue to neglect our workers and demonise unions. From humble beginnings in Cyprus, he migrated to Australia in 1951 and with his family, dedicated his life to improve the working lives of thousands. His efforts ensured improvements such as equal pay for women in his factory, redundancy packages, stopping loopholes that allowed cheap labour and improvements in health and safety. I wonder how this wonderful life fits into this federal government’s narrative of “union thuggery?”
Craig Jory, Glenroy, NSW
I endorse every point made by Dr Colleen Lewis (Comment, 27/12). She issues an urgent plea to the Victorian government to strengthen the powers and increase funding to the Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission to enable it to do its job properly. She acknowledges the good work done by the commission but is puzzled by the government’s reluctance to respond positively to its reasonable and repeated requests for increased resources. The Andrews government promised us accountability and transparency to improve integrity and citizens’ trust in public life but perhaps this ideal has been overtaken by responding to political influence exercised by police unions and police commissioners.
Kevin Burke, Sandringham
The cat’s whiskers
Tobermory, the subject of a short story by Saki (H.H. Munro), exemplifies the cat as the “purrfect” police informer (Comment, 27/12). Victoria Police take note.
Heather D’Cruz, Geelong West
AND ANOTHER THING
Looks like poor Barnaby forgot to put his hat on before he went out in the sun.
Helen Moss, Croydon
Barnaby, Scott Morrison already has a low-cost climate change policy in place – it is called “Thoughts and Prayers”.
Alan Inchley, Frankston
Barnaby certainly has interesting thought processes when he speaks of God and tactility in the same sentence.
Robin Martin, Coburg
Barnaby Joyce could be right about divine intervention tackling climate change; that is, we’re reaching such levels where only heaven can help us.
Henry Herzog, St Kilda East
Barnaby, maybe heaven is full and God has found that it’s cheaper to move to a new neighbourhood than to renovate and extend.
Gary Sayer, Warrnambool
With the planet perspiring, the last thing we need is hypersonic Russian missiles and a new arms race.
Greg Curtin, Blackburn South
Wonder if Scott Morrison hung lumps of coal on his Christmas tree this year.
Paul Wells, Bendigo
A lot of people have said no to fireworks. The best way to stop something is to boycott it. If everyone stayed away there would be no demand for them, right?
Margaret Collings, Anglesea
Such is my admiration for the New Zealand Prime Minister and lack of it for her Australian equivalent I have actually found myself supporting the Kiwis in the Boxing Day Test.
Phil Alexander, Eltham
With more than two years until the next election, does Scott Morrison care about any issue other than a surplus?
Michael McKenna, Warragul
David Elliott, NSW Emergency Services Minister goes to Europe on holiday another slap in the face for firefighters.
Sheridan Rodgers, Berwick