Australia has moral duty to its Pacific neighbours
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In a strategic and geopolitical coup for the Albanese government, Tuvalu’s ″migration with dignity″ treaty will entitle its residents to permanent residency in Australia, beginning with 280 a year. According to columnist Peter Hartcher (″Pacific Pact keeps China at bay″, 11/11), the strings attached to the pact ″amount to an Australian veto over any future security deal between Tuvalu and another state. China for instance″.
As the highest per capita emitter of carbon emissions on the planet, Australia has a moral duty to support all members of our Pacific family this way as sea levels rise to steal their collective livelihoods. After all, they contribute least to global warming.
Nick Toovey, Beaumaris
Obligation goes beyond offering new home
Of course, Anthony Albanese should support Tuvaluans and other Pacific Islanders in their plight against climate impacts (“Australia to offer Tuvalu residents climate visas”, 11/11). If, however, my bathtub was overflowing, I’d prefer to have the tap turned off and plug pulled out, than to be offered a new bath. Similarly, as Matt Golding depicted in his cartoon (11/11), our leaders cannot simply offset their climate guilt by offering Pacific Islanders a new home in Australia. Our responsibility goes beyond providing what Peter Hartcher labels an “evacuation avenue” for sinking nations; we must turn off the fossil-fuel tap. Amy Hiller, Kew
Opposition can’t hear the lapping of change
The Australian government’s proposed new arrangements with Tuvalu to offer sanctuary for the imminent climate-affected population is welcome. As an analysis of genuine concerns by Australia towards its neighbours, voters should never forget or lose sight of the federal opposition’s contrary position and demonstrated attitudes in this regard. Peter Dutton’s “microphone gaffe” in 2015, when he flippantly remarked to Scott Morrison and Tony Abbott on the “lapping of water at the doors” of Pacific nations, was, and is, telling. It seems unlikely that the opposition will ever be able to promote and embrace compassionate and practical policies involving climate change action and solutions.
Mark Bennett, Manifold Heights
The other side of the government coin
If, as claimed, the Albanese government was actually committed to climate action, government agency Geoscience Australia’s website shouldn’t say: “Encouraging petroleum exploration is a high priority for the Australian government. The annual release of offshore petroleum exploration licences is a key part of the Australian government’s strategy to further petroleum exploration in Australia’s offshore waters.” But it does.
Negotiating the right to veto Tuvalu’s security arrangements in exchange for helping with a bit of “new land” and a few visas, while simultaneously auctioning the right to look for new offshore gas fields feels like a protection racket, but without the protection.
Lesley Walker, Northcote
We could simply try to live together in harmony
With the planet recording its fifth consecutive record temperature month, there can be no doubt we are in the grip of anthropogenic climate change (“Hottest year record almost certain to fall”, 9/11). It’s equally clear that while economic growth dominates our planning decisions, little progress will be made in reversing the situation. Even then, it’s going to take a huge global effort.
One thing we could attempt without disrupting the economy is living in harmony with each other. The cost of the global war machine and repairing the infrastructure and human damage it renders when activated eats up an enormous amount of our energy budgets. It brings no net growth other than to a hollow
GDP rating and brings untold misery to millions.
John Mosig, Kew
Mother’s job label
Bravo to your correspondent (Letters, 11/11). I, too, had the privilege of being a full-time ″head of human resources″, however on the forms where it asked for ″mother’s occupation″, I sometimes referred to myself as ″circus manager″.
Christine Moore, Frankston
Leaders, speak out
Can there really be any justification for Israel’s bombing near hospitals? The distressing images of wounded children and overwhelmed hospitals is disturbing. More leaders need to speak out like French President Emmanuel Macron. Stop the bombing.
Susan Simpson, Surrey Hills
Your correspondent (Letters, 11/11), not to mention Peter Dutton, have had the core of their argument for developing nuclear power to provide electricity without greenhouse emissions, in effect, decommissioned as a result of the decision by NuScale, the only commercial developer of small modular nuclear reactors (SMR) in the US, to cancel its first SMR pilot plant due to a combination of spiralling cost to build the plant and plummeting prices for renewable energy.
The fallout of this decision is that if building a SMR is not economically feasible in the US then there is no way it can be done in Australia. It’s time for the proponents of this idea to retreat to the shelter to develop viable solutions for emission-free electricity.
John Togno, Mandurang
Why should religious speech be safeguarded (12/11)? The ideas espoused by one particular religion may offend all others, not to mention speeches by all religions may offend atheists and humanists.
Les Aisen, Elsternwick
Ringing in his ears
As a periodic cyclist I confess to being a gentle but polite bell-ringer. Walkers on shared paths receive a slightly apologetic single warning ding when I need to overtake. Hardly a tintinnabulation. Recently, however, I was harshly admonished by an anti-bell ringing shared-path walker. I was quite shaken that my humble bell triggered such unadulterated anger. The mansplaining walker, a lawyer he claimed to be (gosh), indelicately explained that being a bell-ringer is irritating and unnecessary. And not even a VicRoads legal requirement. The latter point may be correct, but surely a friendly warning ding to avoid striking a walker is better than having an almighty ding-dong with a stricken walker? Campanology advice welcomed.
Steve Clark, Kew
Thanks for the comprehensive explanation of Australia’s electrification – past, present and future (“Electricity switch still sparks pain”, 12/11). It’s clear that storing cheap excess renewable energy and releasing it at night is the key to lowering prices. Those wealthy enough to have a rooftop solar with a home battery system already know this. The state government is to be commended for trialling neighbourhood batteries and, as the Yarra Energy Foundation reported, when battery costs halve, and insurance issues are solved, they will become more viable and bring costs down. In the meantime, energy efficiency and conservation must not be underestimated.
Analysis by consumer group Renew found that “building an all-electric home could reduce household energy bills by 35 per cent, and that these savings can double when electrification is paired with rooftop solar and energy efficiency upgrades”. The Victorian government’s decision to ban gas to new homes is visionary and should be applauded. While there is some short-term pain, the long-term gain is undeniable.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn
Shane Wright (″Inflation falling too slowly: RBA″, 11/11) outlines how the Reserve Bank may further increase interest rates as ″population growth, the war between Hamas and Israel, pressure in the rental market and even an El Nino weather event threaten to keep inflation higher for longer″. Now, I’m no economist, but how many of these factors will be at all affected, thereby addressing the actual drivers of inflation, by forcing mortgage holders to hand over more of their income to banks? Is it economic blasphemy to ask why the mere fact of having a mortgage is regarded as sufficient reason to be saddled with the greatest responsibility for controlling a nation’s rate of inflation, regardless of its cause?
Andrew Melville, Glen Iris
Your correspondent (Letters, 11/11) says, notwithstanding the Voice referendum was lost, there is no reason there cannot still be a Voice advising parliament. He suggests that already elected Indigenous federal politicians could form such an advisory voice. What a laudable proposal if it was in any way possible those elected members would be able to put forward agreed advice that was formulated after discussion with their electorates. It is unrealistic to imagine that political parties of any persuasion would allow a group to have licence to do something for the common good as it could well detract from their political strategies. This unfortunately is the world we live in because of the adversarial nature of our political system.
Bill Pimm, Mentone
Honesty in science
I am surprised by how often research papers have been retracted (″Unis, scientists call for research misconduct body″, 12/11) though money and prestige are powerful motivators to do the wrong thing. As a student I was taught that honesty was one of the underlying values of science. Obviously not for everyone. It’s essential that there’s an oversight body.
Books in a tablet
After reading “Should adults be paid to read books?” (Comment, 11/11), I have a question about the survey to determine how much adults read. If it was based on the sales of hard-copy books, then it might have left out a large contingent of readers of digital books.
In my eighties, I try not to increase domestic clutter, so all my book purchases (about five books a year) are from the Kindle store. The advantages are enormous. I carry around a huge library on my iPad which I can access at any time. I save whole forests of trees. Digital readers should be included in the survey even though they may not contribute as many dollars to the publishing industry as the book buyers.
Columnist Malcolm Knox writes that reading is good for mental health and should be encouraged. However, giving everyone turning 65 a $100 book voucher is not the best way to do it. Hard-copy books are a poor use of resources and once read, are a nuisance. Just ask any downsizer trying to get rid of them. If Knox really wants to encourage reading, he should encourage people to join their local library. They can read hundreds of books without owning any of them.
Rod Wise, Surrey Hills
… and save them
Anything that seeks to encourage reading among our older population should be considered by the powers that be. But what else could be done? Remember the intellectual value of libraries. No longer standalone places but part of ″community hubs″, libraries seem routinely to be overlooked by planners, often seen as old-fashioned repositories of wisdom for the students, the lonely and the poor among us. In turn, their physical collections of books wither away, replaced by e-books and streaming content limiting what can be borrowed and enjoyed by the regular visitor. The demise of reading and of libraries affects us all.
Anders Ross, Heidelberg
Not caring for the aged
The ″difficult and poor decisions being made″, which lead to elder abuse (‴Inheritance impatience’ behind rise in cases of elder abuse″, 12/11) are linked to society’s practice of writing people off once the ageing process causes disability which requires care.
The main manifestation of this is the age-care system. This ″terminal decline model″ of what is, in effect, out-of-sight, out-of-mind aged storage, with a hands-off approach by the federal government, hastens ageing-related decline, by using minimal numbers of minimally trained workers.
It makes the last stage of life of many Australians more unpleasant and distressing than the last stage of life of people in other OECD countries.
Ruth Farr, Blackburn South
The article on the challenges facing Millennials such as buying a home and rising CPI (″Eager to please and eager for keys in a market all locked up″, 12/11) prompted me to think about whether it was easier for Baby Boomers to buy a home. I concur that life is difficult for our children’s generation but also remembered the times we gratefully accepted relatives’ second-hand furniture, rarely bought new clothes or shoes and were laggards in buying the latest ″must-have″ items.
Yet, the paragraph I found most irritating was in reference to Baby Boomer colleagues’ inability to recall how to convert a PDF. My generation began their professional lives using a manual typewriter, then an electric one followed by word processors. We adapted to many iterations of computers and mobile phones. And we had to quickly learn how to text because our children refused to answer our phone calls. Mock us all you like, Millennials: but improve your general knowledge and you’ll discover how adaptable our generation has become.
Sally Davis, Malvern East
AND ANOTHER THING
Hamas is a terrorist organisation, but the people being killed are largely not Hamas. So please can we stop?
John Crossley, Oakleigh
Killing 10,000 people to avenge 1200 means Israel may win the battle against Hamas but lose the war for world support.
Michael Brinkman, Ventnor
There will be no peace in Gaza as long as Israelis continue to allow Benjamin Netanyahu to be their leader. Change leaders and there will be a real prospect of peace.
John Walsh, Watsonia
Why do we tolerate a society in which, according to some economists, inflation can only be beaten by increasing unemployment? There has to be a better way.
Ian Brown, Sandringham
Anthony Albanese offers Tuvaluans climate refuge. Now that’s my kind of leader.
Jenny Bone, Surrey Hills
The article ″Films of great pop acts rocking the house are box office″ (11/11) doesn’t mention The Grateful Dead Movie. Sacrilege!
Simon Tatz, Newport
Dear premier, now the big hole for the underground tunnel has been dug, can we have the zillions of potholes in the roads across Victoria filled in, please.
Madelene Rich, Seaford
Whipping horses must be banned. Clearly whipping hurts. Coming to the finishing line, the horses are being hit with force. Inhumane.
Merle Mitchell, Mt Eliza
The latest conspiracy theory: wind turbines kill whales.
Reg Murray, Glen Iris
Thank you, Tony Wright, for the article “A tale of heroism and humanity in wartime” (11/11) for the reminder that there’s humanity and good people on both sides of conflicts.
Kate McCaig, Surrey Hills
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