Nothing changes if we let ourselves be ruled by fear | #socialmedia


The Morrison government, particularly the recalcitrant Nationals, however, are the last outpost holding Australia back. Yet, even as a net-zero by 2050 target announcement seems inevitable, scientific experts tell us that to keep 1.5 degrees warming achievable, we need to slash emissions by 75 per cent before 2030 and be carbon neutral as soon as 2035. All indicators suggest that those who are ambitious enough to change will be rewarded economically, socially and environmentally. Rapid transformation amid a bold futuristic vision is required.
Amy Hiller, Kew

A carbon tax by any other name …
Our learned Energy Minister, Angus Taylor, often warns of the dangers of a carbon tax (“‘This is a carbon tax’: Taylor takes long handle to Business Council”, The Sunday Age, 10/11).

His government’s Emissions Reduction Fund is paid for by the taxpayer. No proper public auditing, no penalties for under-achievement, and sometimes money for work they probably would have done for efficiency anyway. Surely that part of our tax contribution going into this fund is a carbon tax; in fact the only true carbon tax Australia has ever had. Well spun.
Grant Hawthorne, Golden Square

THE FORUM

External review is needed
Your correspondent’s point (“This is bad practice”, Letters, 11/10) about university students routinely submitting certificates from compliant GPs to defer their exams is very valid.

Equally so is her recommendation for an external panel to approve medical exemptions from vaccination against COVID. Conscientious objectors in previous wars were required to satisfy a tribunal as to the genuineness of their claims. A supporting letter from the local vicar was not an acceptable substitute.

Nothing less stringent should be acceptable in society’s war against the pandemic if front-line health professionals and other workers in “customer-facing roles” are to be respected and protected.

Requiring tribunal exemption might sound harsh, but it is fairer and far less onerous than the “birthday ballot” used by a previous Coalition government to send 20-year-old men to fight in Vietnam.
John Carmichael, Hawthorn

Self-interest calls the shots
The ethics didn’t cut it, the science didn’t cut it, but suddenly the threat of being a global pariah and trade being affected, and zero emissions by 2050 seems possible.

At least something brought them to the table.

Similarly, many of those squawking loudly about their choice to not be vaccinated are quietly getting the jab so they can go to the races or their favourite restaurant.

Social media trolls have been going about their vile business, largely unchallenged until it affects a prominent politician. Now there is outrage and something may be done.

All end results are great, but it does seem rather sad that self-interest is a better motivator than altruism.
Liz Harvey, Mount Eliza

Putting a phrase to rest
Will anyone who reads Tony Wright’s descriptions of the murderous displacement of Indigenous people in Victoria ever again use the term “black armband history”? Or question that January 26, 1788, was a day of invasion and the beginning of the attempted destruction of a unique race and culture that came close to genocide.

These are truths that we have for too long chosen to forget if not deny. The state government’s implementation of the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission should rank with Kevin Rudd’s apology and Paul Keating’s Redfern speech as a landmark step towards truth, justice and reconciliation.

Progress has been fitful and hesitant and there is much more to be done, but Labor deserves credit for leading the way.
Peter McCarthy, Mentone

The ultimate cancellation
Kudos to the ABC and Marc Fennell for a fascinating look at racism in the program The school that tried to end racism. It is heartbreaking to see the hurt and confusion these kids deal with on a daily basis.

One thing that struck me was the notion of cancel culture. These students visited the Captain Cook statue in Sydney and were stunned to understand why he was honoured at all. The youngsters were then perplexed when told there were no statues in Sydney honouring any of our Indigenous people.

Then I truly had a lightbulb moment: Since white settlement in Australia, we have cancelled the culture and history of our First Peoples. We have rubbed out their stories, their languages and their customs.

This is the worst example of cancel culture, and for the last 200 years we have condoned this barbaric and still active systemic brutality. And we dare clutch our pearls when some “entertainment” acts from the 1980s are called out for the racist and crass skits they did.

I am heartened to see the kids from this documentary pointedly refuse to endorse the racism and erasing of the oldest culture on earth. Good one, kids.
Max Fleming, Warrane, Tas.

It’s time for fixed dates
Why Australia can’t have fixed-date elections is quite beyond me (“‘Freedom Day’ will roll the dice”, Comment, 11/10).

The European Union itself, and most of its member states, the US, UK and many other democracies have fixed general election dates. This is so that no government or party has an advantage to game the election as politics allows us to in federal Australia.

Voters are being manipulated and pork-barrelled enough as it is in our country. Having fixed election dates would at least take away one of the ruling party’s unfair advantages.
Henk van Leeuwen, Elwood

A dangerous idea
As elected members of Parliament, politicians represent their electorate. When appointed to a ministry they represent and enact the policies of their party. The suggestion the health minister should be able to override the chief health officer in Victoria is a dangerous one, given the way ministries are allotted (“Sutton may be sidelined in push to shift power”, The Sunday Age, 10/10).

Would we really want some of the more contentious MPs controlling public health orders? Some members have very controversial medical opinions on various matters, but ministries are allotted to supporters of the leader, not always on ability.

Politicians need to be held to account, they are able to eat away at democracy, as was seen in the lessening of the power of the SA integrity commission. To have them able to control public health orders would be extremely risky and leave our health open to political pressure.
Doris LeRoy, Altona

The reluctant candidate
Tanya Plibersek is certainly “the standout candidate” (Letters, 11/10), however, she has previously said that, as the mother of young children, she felt somewhat constrained in considering such a role.

It would not be surprising if the egregious, abusive treatment of former colleague Julia Gillard, both inside and outside Parliament, also tempers any such aspirations that she may hold.
Marcia Roche, Mill Park

Accidental activists
How fortuitous that our Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister are both the proud and supportive fathers of female children.

If not for this accident of conception, it appears neither of them would have ever had the faintest idea that young women are frequently subjected to sexual assault and/or vicious online trolling.
Really? Is this how we develop public policy now?
Vera Boston, Fitzroy North

Validated by events
The opposition can rightly consider itself hard done by. All its major policy announcements prior to the last election, which were denigrated by the government, ridiculed by big business and rejected by voters, have been vindicated already.

Maybe it was too much, poorly explained. But winding back negative gearing, franking credit refunds from government coffers and tax cuts for the wealthy would have gone a long way to helping put a lid on soaring property prices and help repair the current budget deficit.

Big business and the Business Council of Australia (still led by the shameless Jennifer Westacott) have completely reversed their criticisms of the opposition’s emission reduction targets and are pressuring the government for similar aggressive but necessary action. The opposition deserves credit for past (correct) policy visions and has the opportunity to again provide the integrity, insight and accountability sadly lacking from this government.
Peter Thomson, Brunswick

Forget the races …
I couldn’t care less about thousands of people being allowed to go to horse races or live music events.

The only thing I want is to be able to visit my family in Melbourne, whom I haven’t seen for many months now, and to have a friend around for a cuppa. And when will my grandsons in year 5 and year 3 return to schoolroom learning?
Jan Laidlaw, Newtown

… what about the kids?
I was bewildered and annoyed to learn on Sunday that this year’s Melbourne Cup will run with a permitted crowd of 10,000 vaccinated racing fans. All of us Melburnians are thoroughly fed up with the harsh and seemingly arbitrary lockdown rules, and it does seem particularly unfair given that school students in years 9 and 10 will not be permitted to return to school until after Cup day.

My son and many of his cohort will be fully vaccinated (or very close to it) by that time as well.
Denise Toomey, Chelsea

A simple social media fix
Politicians, lawyers and pundits have offered solutions to curb misinformation, vilification and harassment on social media.

The simplest solution is to regulate these platforms as publishers are and make them responsible for their content and liable to be sued if they breach the law.

The big platforms will have tantrums and threaten to leave; this will open space for new platforms that can participate responsibly. Society has suffered as social media platforms have profited.

It is time to make the platforms responsible for the harm they continue to cause.
Gabriel Dabscheck, Elsternwick

Sydney got this bit right
For all of Sydney’s failings, the travel limit right up until the end of their lockdown essentially remained at five kilometres. This is the one thing I firmly believe should have stayed in place in Melbourne.

I can’t understand why we are already able to travel 15 kilometres from our homes. Little wonder why there is so much more movement and mixing around Melbourne, which has only helped spread the virus throughout Melbourne and even into regional areas.

The vaccines are making a difference but the effects are being counteracted by the increase in transmission and unless case numbers are low enough when we open up, I can’t see it being done safely.
Richard Pearson, Upper Ferntree Gully

It needed to be said
I don’t usually find myself in full agreement with Tony Abbott, but I thought his recent speech at the conference in Taiwan was spot on (“Abbott lashes ‘new red emperor’”, The Age, 9/10).

He said things that need to be said, things that China’s leadership should try to heed rather than scorn.
It is a pity the Chinese embassy in Australia couldn’t do any better than attack the man rather than the ball.

By failing to provide a reasoned and evidence-based rebuttal, the embassy left his incisive critique of China’s “wrong turn” untouched and still standing on the field.
Don Milne, Reservoir

AND ANOTHER THING

Glasgow climate summit
Prime Minister Scott Morrison must attend the Glasgow summit with a chunk of coal and tell them to not be afraid.
Phillip Edwards, Churchill

Credit:

Life in lockdown
Dear Sydney, your locks may have reached to your shoulders but mine are down to my backside. Regards, Victoria
Cheri Lee, Brunswick East

Oh, please, we do not want a concert at Myer Music Bowl or Flemington races for a chosen few if we cannot see our family or have a haircut.
Annie Jones, Toorak

Doing nothing during lockdown has worn me out.
Susan Munday, Bentleigh East

The Melbourne Cup on November 2 is allowed a crowd of 10,000 spectators but retail is not allowed one customer in their stores until November 5. It doesn’t make sense.
Garry McIntosh, Macleod

Politics
Scott Morrison slams anonymity on social media, but he turns a blind eye to MPs receiving anonymous donations.
Annie Wilson, Inverloch

Barnaby Joyce, you are worried about Facebook and Instagram and the harm they are doing to our children, but what about climate change?
Roger Prowd, Glen Iris

The Pandora Papers
It’s important to remember the Pandora Papers do not describe an aberration within capitalism. This is capitalism.
Tony Adami, Caulfield South

Furthermore
A casino with criminal problems, who would have thought?
Peter Baddeley, Portland

Surely enough iniquity in casinos has now been seen to withdraw all Australian casino licences.
Ken Courtis, Golden Square

Finally
Congratulations to The Age for having the courage to tell the truth about our uncomfortable past. Healing begins with truth-telling.
Danny Hampel, South Yarra

The Age’s editor, Gay Alcorn, writes an exclusive newsletter for subscribers on the week’s most important stories and issues. Sign up here to receive it every Friday.



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