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Country held to ransom by Coalition’s blockers

Nationals a brake on climate change action
It’s embarrassing to think that Australian government leaders appear to be surprised by British moves to include green sanctions in trade negotiations and determined to fight a rearguard action against this desirable initiative. Climate change is the number one issue in the world and must be tackled by every initiative, especially as we are high per capita emitters. It is hard to believe that less than a year ago our energy minister was courting the fossil-fuel gas lobby as the path to a greener future and encouraging supplementary government investment.

A former Liberal opposition leader, John Hewson, has not held back, saying the National Party has lost contact with the younger and more enterprising farmers who understand well how carbon can be a productive component of soil management for the future (“Nats lose touch with farmers on climate”, 11/2). They have little in common with the Nationals’ leadership, who are even a brake on the Liberal Party on climate matters.
Neil Wilkinson, Mont Albert

Pushing back is not a viable strategy
Pushing back is Morrison’s chief modus operandi (“Morrison pushes back on UK green sanctions”, 11/2). He has pushed back on climate change action, renewable energies, emission reductions, on a national approach to quarantining, on regulating political donations, on creating sustainable industries, on addressing Australia’s wealth gap and on having a vision for Australia’s future. I hope Australians can see through Morrison’s political games before the next election.
Leigh Ackland, Deepdene

Penalties for continuing to play games
No Mr Morrison the UK, US and the European Union are not taking nasty steps to harm Australia’s exports. They are simply recognising that you, your backbench climate change deniers, previous Liberal leaders and your Coalition partners are recognised laggards as far as steps being taken to reduce pollution levels. You have announced that your environment policies will be based on fossil fuels and that you will put Australia First (as per Trump) and you will continue to export dirty coal. It was only a matter of time before other countries would recognise that Australia is not pulling its weight to save the planet. Time to recognise that there will be penalties for continuing to play games around climate change action.
Malcolm Ellenport, East Brighton

Economic future undermined by short-sightedness
Arguing that Australia is a special case, as John Howard did with the original Kyoto emission reduction targets, and resorting to disingenuous cries of protectionism, will not save Scott Morrison when he is faced with the reality of better informed and better prepared G7 colleagues. It is not just about targets and tariffs. The National Farmers Federation, and smart business worldwide, see the future opportunities – for jobs, communities and prosperity. The future lies in innovative and sustainable management of energy, water, agriculture, resources and transport. How long before the ill-informed crippling force of the Nats and short-sighted fellow travellers Joel Fitzgibbon, Craig Kelly, and Matt Canavan is recognised as terminal for the Coalition, because it undermines progressive Liberals and a rational approach to the economic future of Australia?
William Chandler, Surrey Hills

THE FORUM

Tennis shame
I started to watch the Kyrgios v Humbert match on Wednesday night, but eventually had to turn off the television as I was disgusted by the behaviour of the crowd. It’s just not sporting to applaud when the opponent serves a fault. I understand the crowd wanted Kyrgios to win, but their behaviour was so one-sided I was ashamed to say I was Australian.
Carole Nicholls, Surrey Hills

Break the habit
Racquet abuse in tennis is easily stopped – follow table tennis rules: accidentally break racquet, replace it; deliberately break racquet, play on with the broken racquet. One tournament with this rule and racquet abuse would die a natural death and the game would be the better for its demise.
Bill Freeman, Charlton

Biodiversity irony
How ironic. The controversial duck shooting season decision was quietly released on a weekend via the Game Management Authority, not the Minister. Five days later, the Environment Minister trumpets $7.4 million in new grants for “protecting and enhancing our precious biodiversity”.

Among that biodiversity is the critically endangered Plains-wanderer, a delightful bird. Zoos Victoria runs a captive breeding program in a last-ditch bid to save the species. But Victoria is also on track for a full quail-shooting season, likely to slaughter the Plains-wanderer by mistake. South Australia has banned quail shooting but Victoria slaughters 173,000 in an average year. Does biodiversity really matter to politicians?
Joan Reilly, Surrey Hills

Renewable future
Another oil refinery closes and Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox warns of “our severe fuel insecurity” (“Running on empty: Oil plant closure sparks alert”, 11/2). Further evidence that we must rapidly transition to electric vehicles and renewable energy. All the fuel we could possibly use can be supplied every day by the sun and the wind.
Helen Moss, Croydon

Nebuliser risk known
I am a GP in Melbourne and in March last year, I forwarded to my practice an article from the Canadian Medical Association Journal on the use of nebulisers during COVID-19. I established from hospital colleagues at the time that the transmission of COVID-19 via aerosol generating procedures was well-recognised and that the use of nebulisers was discouraged and if medically required, only given under strict protocols. This included being used in a hospital negative pressure room, preventing escape of air or infectious particles if there was a risk the patient had COVID-19.

Surely the running of hotel quarantine should be to the highest hospital infection control standards. Any person requiring the use of a nebuliser should therefore have been transferred to hospital under proper infection control procedures.
Dr Judy Campbell, West Preston

Goodbye larrikinism
Eddie McGuire’s downfall signals the end of the Aussie larrikin in our country. The bloke who smiled but played hard, had wins and losses, but above all else, was prepared to give it a go. Instead we now seem to prize types such as Henry Lawson’s Middleton’s Rouseabout – people without any opinions and any ideas.
Mark H. Kennedy, Sebastopol

Resignation overdue
No Eddie, people didn’t just latch onto your opening line last week. It is about your history of racist and misogynist comments that have always been excused as gaffes and that you got it wrong.

How many times of getting it wrong is acceptable for a CEO of such a powerful football club? Finally, this is about accountability and repercussions which should have occurred after the Adam Goodes comments. Long overdue.
Mira Antoniou, Brighton

Time for a ceasefire
Sensitivity to name-calling and so-called “jokes” can be seen as weak. Whether it happens because of a person’s race, gender, sexual orientation, disability or hair colour, it can cause hurt and anger. And a desire to fight back, sometimes when it may not seem wise to call it out. We all need to be more aware that what some see as a “bit of fun” can be painful for the target. Another frontier? Try being a Collingwood supporter, especially now. That abuse from haters of the Pies is particularly nasty, long-standing and continual. Let’s all give any sort of baiting a rest.
Glenda Johnston, Queenscliff

Quality education for all
Decades of research evidence supports the importance and benefits of inclusive education for students, teachers and the broader community. Contrary to Rosslyn Jennings’ assertion (Letters, 11/2), special schools are – by definition – segregated. Special schools and special classes, while undoubtedly well intended, are the antithesis of inclusive education. They are a by-product of exclusion within mainstream settings, and should not need to exist.

Inclusive education is about providing quality education to all students, across the full breadth of human diversity. Jenny Callaghan (Letters, 11/2) would be heartened to see the wonderful experiences for so many students in inclusive settings. To (incorrectly) suggest that some students could never achieve their potential in an inclusive setting entrenches low expectations.

It is true that systemic change is desperately needed to make genuine inclusion a reality for everyone. However, this requires political will, support and targeted funding to be directed towards inclusion and not segregation. Ending segregated education is long overdue.
Kathy Cologon, Macquarie University

Fresh start needed
I couldn’t agree more with Stephanie Gotlib (Letters, 10/2). “Segregating students in separate settings because they have disability is exclusion at its most basic level.” Problem is, when you’ve been coerced into believing that such settings are best for your child, many succumb. Like myself, most don’t question the professional advice of misinformed educators, child development experts with last-century attitudes and many medical practitioners unfamiliar with inclusive practice.

If Education Minister James Merlino is serious about being portrayed as a champion of inclusive education, then he’ll approach all parents and offer them assistance to reassess their decisions, to examine contemporary inclusive education practice and the opportunities open to all students, but denied their own.
Cynthia Pilli, Doncaster East

Close Crown now
Despite shocking revelations in explosive investigative news reports over at least the last five years, about Crown casino’s misdemeanors, and now a damning report originating from the New South Wales government alleging parlous practices at Crown casino in Melbourne, both the Victorian government and opposition are calling for another inquiry. Both the government and opposition are addicted to revenue from gambling and Crown is central to that despite the harm it causes.

Crown does not deserve to hold onto its licence to operate in Melbourne, so the government and regulator should act to withdraw it and close the casino. Melbourne as a community will be a better place for it.
Ray Cas, Ashwood

Witch hunt
I am shocked and disgusted with the step Readings bookstore has taken to issue an apology over having hosted Julie Bindel in 2018 when she was promoting her book on the global sex trade. Ms Bindel has fought for the rights of women and children all her life. And for what? Who did Ms Bindel offend? And even if she had given offence, so what? Have we entered a pre-fascist state where we ban, cancel, burn ideas we don’t agree with? I thought Victoria was supposed to be a progressive state, not one intent on witch-hunting.
Maria Benavente, Werribee

Liberal vaccine?
Either the Liberal Party has taken over responsibility for procuring COVID-19 vaccines (in which case they must be paying for them), or else someone in government has decided that the public should pay for ads with the Liberal Party logo on them. How else could it be explained that the announcement that Australia has procured more doses of a vaccine is emblazoned with the Liberal Party logo?
David Lamb, Kew East

Word to the wise
Surely an organisation that opposes the use of factual words such as “mothers” and “breastmilk” (“Midwives told to avoid terms like ‘breastmilk’”, 11/2) should not be employing people called “midwives”. “Midpersons” might do the job, except for the uber-woke who would object to the syllable “son” in “person”.
Chris Curtis, Hurstbridge

Democracy slipping
This week we have seen, in Peter Dutton’s reallocation of grants in the Protecting Crowded Places program, and in Greg Hunt’s adding the Liberal Party logo to a government vaccine ad, that ministers appear entitled to spend public money for Liberal Party purposes.

The Prime Minister rarely holds anyone accountable for any breach of ministerial standards or admits any errors for himself. This government has imposed substantial funding cuts on those public institutions whose role is to hold it to account – their cuts to the Auditor-General’s Office and the ABC are prime examples. Parliamentary sittings have been reduced due to COVID-19.

With less effective checks and balances to call authority to account, our government appears to act as though it is immune to public criticism. A healthy democracy rests on the ability to hold government to account. We must stand firm against this slide towards tyranny.
Chris Young, Surrey Hills

AND ANOTHER THING …

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Credit:

Christian Porter
Someone should remind Christian Porter that Donald Trump played from a similar fake news songbook.
Phil Alexander, Eltham

How did Christian Porter acquire the Attorney-General’s portfolio when he seems to have little understanding of social justice?
John Uren, Blackburn

Climate change
ScoMo, please just do something.
Patricia Rivett, Ferntree Gully

The Morrison government simultaneously ignores both refinery closures and investment in electric vehicles. We can only hope everyone has a bike.
Steve Melzer, Hughesdale

Refineries are closing, even with the offer of subsidies. Let’s go all out on EVs, then we won’t need to import fuel.
David Robertson, Wheatsheaf

I worked for more than 30 years in oil, gas and petrochemicals. Today, I help people to get their homes off fossil fuels. Transition is possible.
Tim Forcey, Sandringham

Crown casino
Here’s a thought, Dan Andrews. Close down Crown casino and use the building to develop and manufacture mRNA vaccines. It will help restore faith in your government and put Victoria ahead in social reform.
John Heath, Hampton

Close Crown casino now, and rid Victoria of the misery it causes.
John Groom, Bentleigh

Crown is further evidence that self-regulation is ineffective.
Lance Cranage, Mount Waverley

Eddie McGuire
If anything has been systemic, it has been Eddie’s consistent misstepping over the years.
David Seal, Balwyn North

The McGuire saga has demonstrated how political correctness and cancel culture can coalesce to destroy a person’s reputation.
Martin Newington, Aspendale

Finally
Kyrgios, love him or hate him, win or lose, you gotta watch him!
Keith Lawson, Melbourne


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