Climate change: It was a joke to them, now the PM is serious?

Congratulations to weather presenters Jane Bunn and Paul Higgins for signing on to Monash University’s climate communication program. They quietly, and without hype, educate viewers about trends in rainfall and temperature that signal climate change.

School curricula could well copy this «softly softly» approach by including climate education across the board. Trusted «presenters», i.e. teachers, would get the message across to students so that they understand the effects of burning fossil fuels. They would then not be confronted with this fearsome new knowledge as adults when their lives are so complex that change is too hard.

Rather, they would be empowered to tackle change backed up by up-to-date knowledge about their world gained over the 13 years spent at school. Such an approach by schools would set up new mindsets among the next generation that may give them the creative edge they will need to survive in a hotter world.

Jill Dumsday, Ashburton

Time-wasting Coalition has had its chance

It’s time Scott Morrison realised climate change is not just an environmental issue (Comment, 26/2), but one that affects the whole economy. Heatwaves, drought, fires, cyclones and floods may be weather events of the environment, but they have an impact on a wide range of businesses and services from food production and tourism to transport systems, as well as directly impacting on people’s health and the destruction of their houses.

We need much stronger targets and greater action on climate change. Far from being «a wrecking ball through the economy», failure to act is by far the most economically irresponsible action as it places the whole country at high risk of multiple catastrophes. The Coalition has wasted too many years blocking action and obfuscating already, it’s time to get out of the way.

David Blair, Healesville

Like motorists being given money not to speed

The Liberal Party’s climate policy to give taxpayers’ money to carbon-polluting businesses is as ludicrous and ineffective as a policeman catching speeding motorists and giving them public money to slow down; and then not even bothering to check if they have slowed down.

Mike Fajdiga, Beaumaris

Fair dinkum approach would reduce emissions

So after abandoning the National Energy Guarantee as a means of tackling climate change and the resultant dumping of Malcolm Turnbull, Scott Morrison now presents us with the «Climate Solutions Fund» policy. This is nothing more than a rebranding of the failed Direct Action policy which Tony Abbott introduced when the so-called carbon tax was abandoned.

Yet since the Direct Action policy was introduced five years ago, Australia’s total emissions have risen every year. Our total emissions will keep rising because, like Direct Action, this new policy does not tackle reducing emissions. This rebranded policy isn’t fair dinkum about tackling climate change, Prime Minister, but just an advertisement to give your government the appearance that you have a policy on this issue for the forthcoming federal election.

Peter Soucek, Mount Evelyn


Time for God to step in

Maybe God himself needs to spell out those new measures on child abuse that the Pope was unable to.

Bryan Fraser, St Kilda

Hard to have faith

If the Catholic Church is following the teachings of Jesus Christ, I have no faith in Jesus Christ.

If the Catholic Church is not following the teachings of Jesus Christ, I have no faith in the institution perse.

Francis Bainbridge, Fitzroy North

Rethink on celibacy

If Catholic priests did not practice celibacy and were allowed, even encouraged, to enter into meaningful relationships, maybe none of this would have occurred.

Rosemary Lithgow, Miners Rest

Caring for the carers

The article «Key players named in mental health probe» (The Age, 25/2) mentions that the terms of reference for the royal commission include how to best support the family and carers of people with mental illness.

Carers Victoria is pleased to see priority placed on the expertise of people with an experience of mental illness, including family members and carers.

However, with an estimated 736,600 Victorians providing unpaid support to people with mental illness, older people, people with disability, chronic illness and terminal illness, the emotional wellbeing of carers must also be considered.

Caring can be emotionally, physically and financially demanding. A Deakin University study has shown carers have the lowest level of wellbeing of any group studied. Almost 40 per cent of carers were estimated to experience «severe» to «extremely severe» depression.

Carers Victoria hears first-hand the additional difficulties experienced by mental health carers in rural and regional Victoria. We especially look forward to the royal commission delivering improved outcomes for those residing outside of Melbourne.

Scott Walker, Chief Executive Officer, Carers Victoria

Centrelink a shambles

How good would it be to see all the taxpayer money spent on thinly disguised party political advertising put to good use in funding Centrelink?

Phone numbers for reporting are constantly engaged. If you front up to an office, there is a long wait. Staff are at their wits’ end and suggest contacting your MP. Even in the offices staff are not trained in many of the applications.

This is a service used by most of us in one form or another and causes unnecessary confusion and angst.

Denise Samsworth, Abbotsford

Right to have my say

As Jim the retiree referred to in Fergus Hunter’s report in The Age («Liberals take a spin with Jim», 24/2) regarding a video criticising Labor’s retiree tax, my Liberal Party background is irrelevant to the issue. I retired two-and-a-half years ago but I believe I can voice my opposition to bad policy.

I am very concerned about Labor’s policy to remove imputation credit refunds on shares held by those retirees with self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs), some of whom are pensioners – and what is worse, the plan is retrospective.

The Shorten strategy is to penalise any retiree who had an SMSF and became a pensioner after the end of March last year. Denying retirees tax refunds on franking credits is double taxation. Companies have paid tax on their shares already so it is unfair to stop tax refunds to shareholders.

Under a Labor government, ordinary retirees would no longer receive 30¢ back for every 70¢ worth of franked dividends they receive. Retirees structured their finances for retirement in good faith, only for Labor to change the rules.

Jim Bonner, Victor Harbor

China in perspective

In 1839, Lin Tse-Hsu, an official of the Quing Dynasty, was appalled at the impact of the opium trade that provided huge profits for Europeans – a crowd of barbarians – and was undermining his country. He wrote to Queen Victoria asking her to put an end to the trade. She probably never saw the letter – the trade continued and the opium wars were another humiliation for the Chinese.

In 1972, Chinese premier Zhou Enlai was asked about the impact of the French Revolution. He replied, «Too early to tell». Perhaps snippets like this provide some relevant background to matters discussed by Peter Hartcher in The Age (26/2).

Norman Huon, Port Melbourne

Not impartial on ABC

While John McDuling (25/2) is entitled to his comments regarding the ABC, I would take issue on lack of impartiality in stating that three basic points have been failing on all three fronts:

(a) In ensuring functions are performed efficiently, etc.

A KPMG report of 2006 found the ABC is efficient but underfunded.

(b) Maintains independence and integrity, etc.

Its independence and integrity were called into question when the chairman was acting on presumed preference of politicians on certain issues or ABC presenters.

(c) Impartiality and accuracy.

In the decade to 2018, the media watchdog investigated over 200 complaints, finding only two examples were not impartial.

Independent polls have found 80per cent of Australians trust the accuracy of the ABC’s news and current affairs more than any other media.

Shirley Videion, Hampton

Cooney sets example

Thank you, John Silvester (23/2), for your fine appraisal of senator Barney Cooney’s legacy.

He was a politician who was all for constructive dialogue in Parliament rather than cheap point-scoring. After all, aren’t our elected representatives meant to be working for a more just and equitable society?

Kate Donovan, Northcote

Another river oversight?

As an old engineer, I liked the idea of Snowy 2.0 until I started to wonder about its effect on the Murray River flow. Pumping water back up means it does not flow down the river. I have not seen any assessment of the scheme’s effect on environmental river flows. Has there been one? If not, why not?

Michael Hipkins, Richmond

Sham climate solution

How precisely does seasonal burning of native grassland in northern Australia do anything to reduce atmospheric carbon? This program was a component of the Abbott Direct Action plan and it remains a part of the Coalition’s Climate Solutions Fund.

Grass and herbs certainly absorb carbon as they grow but it is all released again when they burn or rot. It does not matter whether the grassland is burnt more or less frequently, the net result is zero carbon sequestration.

Frequent burning may reduce bushfire risk and it might promote both ecological diversity and Indigenous employment, but it does nothing for climate change. We are being sold a nice-sounding but sham solution.

Peter Sheehan, Camberwell

Talent search a waste

Scott Morrison’s «captain’s call» of Ita Buttrose as chair of the ABC is to be applauded. But if she wasn’t even on the headhunter’s shortlist, one wonders why money was wasted on hiring headhunters in the first place.

Jill Rosenberg, Caulfield South

Recycling never worked

The truth is we never had a real recycling industry, did we? At best it was a collect and export business, then a payment for storage business and now it’s a collect and disposal-by-burying game.

So when will our governments at all levels get together with industry and create a recycling system that actually works?

That is, to take our waste materials, especially plastics, and turn them into usable products. It’s surely achievable, and it would create jobs.

Colin Mockett, Geelong

More jobs for mates

Attorney-General Christian Porter has given his former staffer a seven-year job on the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. How many more unconscionable appointments will Scott Morrison condone?

John Walsh, Watsonia

Integrity forgotten

It is not about what is legal, or what is «allowed within the rules», or «everyone is doing it», or «if we don’t do it, someone else will».

It is about the inherent integrity and ethical soul within a person that guides him or her to do what is right.

This applies to all ministerial behaviour, and can also be extended to governments dealing with people on welfare, asylum seekers and the serious problems facing our environment.

Jurate Flanagan, Mt Stuart, Tas

Cash for no action

What a bizarre principle the government’s Emissions Reduction Fund advances: using the public’s cash to pay businesses to not cause (environmental) harm.

Will the government also splash taxpayer funds to pay financial institutions to not rip off customers, casinos to not curry addictive behaviour, and politicians to not rort privileges?

Neil Francis, Doncaster

An undeserved end

How unfortunate that Troy Thornton had to travel to the other side of the world to fulfil his wishes and without his children to share his last moments («Call for euthanasia changes», The Age, 25/2). Sadly he didn’t «qualify». To all the Thornton family, you are exceptionally brave people. Troy deserved better.

Greg Bardin, Altona North

Foot spurs now fixed

It’s good to know that Donald Trump’s foot spurs aren’t preventing him from going to Vietnam now.

Julie Carrick, Leopold

Freedom in truth?

George Pell will certainly have time to reflect on those words from the Bible – «and the truth will set you free» … not.

Susan Nisbet, Caulfield North



Action on climate change at last – must be an election looming.

Margaret Collings, Anglesea

Planting trees and creative accounting are no substitute for actually reducing coal-fired emissions.

Wendy Knight, Little River

Too little and far too late for Scott Macbeth to wash the coal dust from his hands.

Don Stewart, Port Fairy

One day the climate change sceptic, the next day a greenie.

Denis Evans, Coburg

Scott Morrison, Clayton’s man on climate change and emissions control.

Margaret Burbidge, Ararat

The Abbott-Morrison «emissions reduction» fund pays farmers for not cutting down trees. Can I get paid for not leaving the lights on all night?

Mary Mack, Box Hill

The Pope

Is it a case of the Pope and the devil take the hindmost?

Bob Stensholt, Glen Iris

Will we hear from the Pope now that Cardinal Pell has been convicted?

Susan Munday, Bentleigh East

The Pope is just a politician: sadly no more, certainly no less.

Chris Wilson, Poowong

So it seems the Catholic bishops need a book to instruct them what to do about cases of abuse. Really?

Chris Burgess, Port Melbourne

The Pope is showing the Catholic Church’s true colours: yellow.

Bill Trestrail, St Kilda


If my tax deductions are greater than the tax I pay this year, will I also get a refund?

Steve Melzer, Hughesdale

Please can we have a public servant to run the ABC. It is a public service, not a business.

Colin Patterson, Maldon

Q&A on Monday night – a panel of six white people discussing equality in society.

Benjamin Doherty, West Melbourne

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