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Why are governments supporting such bigotry?

We all have the right to live our authentic lives

Last century we had a dedicated and popular teacher at my local Catholic school. He lived a closeted life. Everyone knew, no one said a word. He suicided. He just wanted to teach. However, it was too difficult to come out then in a religious school. Bigots in the school community equated homosexuality with paedophilia. This was considered to be “humorous” or, worse, “true”.

The kids were not homophobic. In fact, they were known to cheer when the classes for the next year were announced and they learned they would be in this teacher’s class. If he (and others) had had protection from discrimination, he would still be here. He would be a long serving, dedicated teacher living his authentic life. We need to reform our laws to save lives.
Cindy O’Connor, Brunswick

Reading ancient texts in the context of their times

As a practicing evangelical Christian, I am amazed that many Christians read the Bible, written thousands of years ago, in the same way they would read a novel published last year. We have to be very careful to read ancient texts within the context in which they were written, a too hard a task for many people.

Of course, Christians will never embrace all secular narratives. We still oppose abortion and would rather not have Crown Casino in town. We promote sobriety, oppose poverty and racism, and refuse to accept sex as a form of sport. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, had some hard words for people who were utterly depraved, but was clearly not speaking about two gay guys or girls living in a loving, monogamous relationship.
Lance Sterling, Nunawading

These organisations cannot have it both ways

I abhor any exemption from anti-discrimination laws but if such an exemption is allowed it needs to carry with it a requirement to pay tax. If any entity, religious or otherwise, wants to have the financial benefit of not paying tax then it must not be exempt from the laws by which all taxpayers have to abide.
Jenny Callaghan, Hawthorn

THE FORUM

Schools advocating lies?

So religious schools still want to discriminate against LGBTQ+ teachers if they confess – I use the word deliberately – to their orientation. Apparently John Pendergast (The Age, 11/8) was a valued member of the community for a decade, until he told his school that he was gay.

No wonder those of religious bent find themselves confused. Evidently the schools would rather their LGBTQ+ teachers lie than tell the truth. And evidently despite their teaching skills, a confession of “choice” overrides the remaining worth of their personal landscape and abilities. Methinks the terrain of the religious is far more dangerous and rugged.
Tania Hardy-Smith, Mitcham

Widespread ignorance

The Age has published compelling articles about LGBTIQ teachers being discriminated against in government-funded Christian schools. This in the same week that the census basically ignored the LGBTIQ community more broadly (Opinion, 6/8). Examples of hate, ignorance and fear writ large.
Dean Michael, Mount Macedon

Time to change direction

Our Prime Minister’s response to the code red warning from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reminds me of a driver of a bus speeding towards a cliff and telling his concerned passengers: “It’s OK. I’ve taken my foot off the accelerator”. How about trying the brake and turning the steering wheel as well, Scott Morrison?
Michael Weadon, Ballarat

The evidence is clear

Prime Minister, with more droughts, more severe rainfalls and floods, more intensive bushfires, more rising seas, greater rising temperatures, greater extremes, and bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, sadly, regional Australia is already “carrying the climate burden”. What don’t you get?
Helen Mariampolski, North Melbourne

The Coalition’s failings

Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce says setting a 2050 emissions target without explaining its price is like forcing diners to eat from a menu with no prices displayed (The Age, 11/8). What he conveniently neglects to mention is that it was his own Coalition which erased the menu prices, and that the restaurant is now on fire.
Peter Dann, Blackburn

Seeking a leader who’ll act

Could someone please remind Barnaby Joyce that he is part of the government and that he has a responsibility to look after all Australians. If he is not able to work out a plan on how to get to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 then he should step aside and let someone who has the intelligence, and who is not bogged down in anti-climate change rhetoric, take over. There are none so blind as those who will not see.
David Conolly, Brighton

Leadership at state levels

Like many Australians, I am aghast at the latest IPCC report and even more so at our Prime Minister’s response to it. After watching many premiers defy the federal government in order to protect their citizens from the pandemic, I wonder if they could be our climate champions too. If all state and territory leaders committed to net zero emissions before 2050, could Australia reverse its shameful global reputation despite our federal leadership?
Gillian Crosby, Yarraville

An unappetising menu

Perhaps Barnaby Joyce should dine at the Warming Globe restaurant and select a few hideously expensive dishes from the four-degrees-plus menu. He might turn a deeper shade of maroon when he sees the price of dishes such as runaway temperature change, destructive positive feedback and seasons gone accompanied by several sides of infinite drought, insufferable heatwave, scorched earth, crop failure and famine.

Alternatively, he could choose from the economical chef’s specials such as cold water kelp, photo-voltaic, wind harvest and green hydrogen accompanied by a hydrogen fuel cell. The choice, the costs and the benefits are all there and well known, Mr Joyce. People of New England, please save us all and help him out.
Andrew Barnes, Ringwood

Miracles won’t happen, PM

Our Olympians achieved success by setting goals, working to timelines, working hard and having their performance monitored by their coaches.

Why won’t our federal government follow their lead to avoid climate catastrophe? It needs to set targets for net zero carbon emissions by 2050, outline the steps to achieve it and have a body to assess its success. Simply wishing for Olympic glory does not end with a gold medal. Nor does Josh Frydenberg and Scott Morrison’s wishful thinking that technology will miraculously save us achieve net zero emissions.
Pam Pitt, Brighton

An inconvenient logic

Following the Prime Minister’s rationale for why Australia is not doing much on climate change, does that mean I do not have to pay any taxes until the major tax avoider, and all the minor tax avoiders, have done so?
John Annison, Yering

Goal to win elections

Josh Frydenberg and Scott Morrison echo each other in their response to the IPCC report on climate: we are on track and we must not act in a way that might hurt the economy, business, the everyday Australian. Maybe they fail to understand the meaning of the report – that we will all be irrevocably hurt if we continue on our current trajectory. Or maybe it is the election cycle that they have in mind.
Prue Gill, North Carlton

ALP, take a strong stance

Surely the IPCC report gives the ALP an opportunity to differentiate itself from the Coalition, Go for it, Anthony Albanese and co. Release policies regarding zero emissions by 2050, drive the push for commercial and domestic batteries, encourage electric vehicles and charging stations. Drag this country into the 21st century as the laggard Coalition does not seem to have any idea how to do this.
Greg Sturges, Maiden Gully

Putting our planet first

When I was a child (I am 75) my Nana would sit each evening with a hot water bottle and a rug and listen to the radio, no radiator turned on. She was a “greeny‴⁣⁣ by necessity but I am one by way of choice. At night I snuggle up under my rug with my hot water bottle, and with my book or television, doing my bit to lessen the potential global warming in excess of 1.5 degrees. I have 20 solar panels, my home is insulated and I have a comfortable life. My hope is that the humans of this world, including our politicians, will wake up and see that we all have to look after our physical world.
Barbara Williams, Portland

Our double standards

Isn’t it funny how Scott Morrison puts the blame for increasing carbon emissions squarely on developing countries when Australia is exporting and profiting from huge quantities of iron ore? This iron ore enables developing countries to create these emissions using outmoded technologies. Where is Australia’s moral and global obligation in this?
Atholie Harden, Williamstown

Will it be a case of NIMBY?

Queensland Senator Matt Canavan and the Nationals Senate team have called for Australia’s ban on nuclear power to be lifted (The Age, 11/8). The best way to resolve this would be to have an Australia-wide plebiscite. The understanding would be that the federal electorate that had the highest vote for nuclear power would get any resulting nuclear power station.
Alan Dowsley, Preston

Selectively heeding advice

So, when a deadly virus endangers our families and livelihoods, the Prime Minister acts on advice from health scientists. But when deadly, human-induced climate change endangers our families and livelihoods, he acts on advice from Barnaby Joyce and ignores advice from thousands of scientists around the world.
Sam Evans, Thornbury

Time for a tough lockdown

When Gladys Berejiklian says “policy positions that may have worked in the past aren’t going to have an effect against Delta” she must be talking about her own policy position of the previous Monday, Sunday, Saturday, Friday etc. Her resistance to broader, tougher measures in favour of relying on higher vaccination rates shows a lack of deeper thinking. Premier, it is not a case of either/or – you can do both and the numbers will fall sooner.
John Young, Fitzroy North

The benefit of two jabs

Here is the flip side to Leunig’s gloomy cartoon (Letters, 9/8) about vaccine passports. They will allow the vaccinated to: join family members in the regions, interstate and (eventually) overseas; go to galleries and museums and wonder at works of art and science; attend sports events and cheer children and adult participants; go to theatres and concerts to be challenged and uplifted by drama and music.

They will also allow the vaccinated to: join family and friends at weddings and funerals; attend schools and universities; work in libraries and research laboratories; and pity the unvaccinated and wish that they believed in medical science and community engagement. I will take my glass half-full, thanks.
Bronwen Bryant, St Kilda West

The overlooked rule

The lockdown rule that only one person per household can go shopping for food and supplies, once a day, is being blatantly ignored. On my last two visits to a supermarket at least 10per cent of the shoppers I saw were couples.
Robin Schokman, Doncaster

Look to future generations

At elections, vote for your grandchildren, not your hip pocket.
Brian Jones, Bentleigh East

AND ANOTHER THING


Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

Climate change

Indeed, where is the plan, Barnaby? You’ve been in government for eight years and the climate crisis only escalates.
Lesley Ryder, Blackburn South

Climate troglodytes will soon find their caves uncomfortably warm. Even the sand will be too hot to bury their heads in any longer.
Kester Baines, Belmont

The blank PM has confirmed he will not write a blank cheque.
Jonah Jones, Armadale

The bells are ringing to usher in the apocalypse. Be very afraid.
Margaret Collings, Anglesea

Given the government’s stance, our national coat of arms should feature an ostrich and a mule.
Jon Smith, Leongatha

Barnaby Joyce is happy for rural Australia to bear the burden of not acting on climate change.
Gretel Lamont, Aireys Inlet

To the government: it is a race. Learn from your vaccination experience.
Jocie Cohen, Blairgowrie

PM, I’m really frightened of the coal habit. We need you to fear it too.
Cheryl Jakab, Marysville

Discrimination

What happened to Steph Lentz (10/8) is one reason I put no religion on my Census form.
Robin Jensen, Castlemaine

It’s a pity Christian schools don’t take as much care about potential sex offenders as they do about gay teachers’ personal lives.
Jenni Reside, Bairnsdale

I wonder what God or Jesus would think of the actions of these people who profess to be Christians.
Geoff Charles, Mount Waverley

It’s absurd that institutions which receive taxpayer funding, such as schools, should be exempt from anti-discrimination laws.
James Proctor, Maiden Gully

Pandemic

Could the rest of Australia give Gladys a big shout out to lock down harder and not wait for the magic pudding of the vaccine.
Peter FitzGibbon, Inverloch

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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