Canberra Times Letters to the Editor: Policy lands us in hot water

Canberra Times Letters to the Editor: Policy lands us in hot water

I'm no expert on climate change, but I must – for once – agree with Tony Abbott. Global warming will improve some people's lives.

Think of those poor frozen sods in Siberia.


I bet they are looking forward to being able to grow citrus instead of potatoes – or whatever will grow in permafrost.

Cold climate countries must be really excited about the changes that are taking place. But I wonder if they, and simpletons like Tony Abbott, have thought of the problems that will be caused by the migration of millions of people whose lands and livelihoods will have been destroyed by increasing temperatures.


Fortunately for Australia, as we will be at the hotter end of the scale, we won't be the target of these migrants.

We won't have to worry about our illegal immigrant offshore concentration camps. They will all be under water.

John Walker, Queanbeyan, NSW

Heatwave of condemnation

I cannot let Tony Abbott's London speech yesterday go without a comment. In part he said: "In most countries, far more people die in cold snaps than in heatwaves, so a gradual lift in global temperatures, especially if it's accompanied by more prosperity and more capacity to adapt to change, might even be beneficial."

Given the way electricity prices are heading, households may not be able to afford to cool their homes in the coming heatwaves.

Which leads me to suppose Mr Abbott forgot what an increase in temperature did to the people of Victoria in 2009 when 374 people died.

That same heatwave resulted in extreme bushfire conditions.

The resultant bushfires, which received the greater publicity, caused 173 deaths.

Valdis Juskevics, Flynn

Motivation to act

My prediction is that after the 'yes' vote gets up, the government will see the writing on the wall and will finally tackle its other major problem — by adopting a clean energy target.

Michael McCarthy, Deakin

Invite all to emissions party

The government seems to be softening us up prior to abandoning the clean energy target recommended Professor Finkel.

The situation for the government is indeed challenging – we need reliable and affordable electricity – and to be able to meet our Paris targets. But a clean energy target is useful to set the framework for an orderly transition to a cleaner energy future.

We should bear in mind that the ultimate goal of the Paris Agreement is to keep average global temperatures well below 2C.

Australia must do its fair share of the lifting and our energy policy needs to align with the Paris target.

That will also require a tightening of Australia's emission commitment that has not yet been factored in. Perhaps it is not too surprising that the government may choose to walk away from a clean energy target.

After all, the Prime Minister hasn't provided the leadership on climate change that he espoused in 2009.

What is required is the "political will" to provide a plan that will provide certainty for investment in lower emission electricity generating capacity and storage. While emissions in the electricity sector are falling Australia's overall emissions continue to rise. We need plans for the both the short-medium term and for the longer term.

A bipartisan clean emission target should be part of the solution.

Darryl Fallow, Stirling

Insurance reform needed

Unfortunately, the examination of the ACT compulsory third-party insurance scheme by a citizens' jury has become a philosophical battle between the government and the legal fraternity, as demonstrated by Brian Brocklebank (Letters, October 11).

I was expecting true economic reform. Insurance is purchased to compensate for loss with insurers assessing the likelihood

of a compensable event occurring in deciding the premium and whether to insure the risk. Rational purchasers of insurance products take measures to both reduce their risk exposure and minimise premiums.

The ACT government has distorted the third-party insurance market by insisting drivers at high and extreme risk of causing an injury collision are subject to the same premium as the lower risk drivers, while also significantly contributing to the risk exposure by presiding over the softest touch road safety regime in the country.

The industry has responded to the perverse market by providing only two insurers, NRMA and Suncorp.

To put it simply, the driver in the clapped out old banger who regularly runs the same red light you just stopped for will pay pretty much the same third-party premium as you.

They will probably have also accumulated very few demerit points. The scope of the review must be broadened.

Bill Gemmell, Holder

Resources stretched

Tony Abbott's simplistic assessment of the effects of climate change is breathtaking.

With wildfires at this moment destroying whole communities in California, caused, in the judgement of the local fire chief, by years of drought which have desiccated the soil and the vegetation, following on from similar fires in the north in British Columbia earlier in the year, as reported on the Wildfire Today website ("128 active wildfires in British Columbia as firefighters from North America and Australia arrive to help", August 2017) which consumed up to half a million hectares a day, it is inconceivable that a man who makes a point about being a member of his local bushfire brigade could be so cavalier about the effects of global warming.

At that time of the BC fires it was possible for the NSWRFS to provide 40 firefighters to join the others from New Zealand, Mexico and the US — over 400 in all — to assist in the struggle.

As the fire seasons are starting earlier and finishing later in the opposite hemispheres the previous ability to provide manpower and assets to support the locals will become increasingly less possible due to the overlapping seasons, and will have devastating results for all those involved.

Mr Abbott should be aware of this.

Margaret Lee, Hawker

Lights flashing as City to the Lake ends in 'Pointless Park'

As far as I can see, all that survives of City to the Lake is a $10 million "Pointless Park". Oh, plus a proposed residential development stranded on a traffic island bounded by the lake, Commonwealth Avenue and Parkes Way.

Fortunately, the NCA seems willing to improve access by introducing lights where a cloverleaf now manages the current traffic flow quite nicely, thank you. And a declaration of stupidity: I supported the original concept. Silly me.

Allen Mawer, Acton

Going driverless

NRMA chairman, Kyle Loaders, wrote in the most recent issue of Open Road: "The potential convergence of on-demand and autonomous technologies will provide the most significant disruption to personal transport in the almost 100 years that the NRMA has been operating."

Yet another person whose responsibility is to look at trends in car technology has seen the writing on the wall.

What if, no matter where you were in Canberra, you could walk to the nearest kerbside at any time and book a trip on a driverless car or people mover at an average wait time of one minute?

The NRMA can see the possibility and the enormous advantages for all citizens, whether poor, disabled, aged or able-bodied.

The intention of the ACT government to pursue the light rail extension to Woden can only frustrate the transition to this type of service and unnecessarily burden taxpayers with a multibillion-dollar debt.

John L. Smith, Farrer

Preserving Canberra

Derek F. Wrigley's sad comparison with Sydney's decrepitude (Letters, October 9) and other correspondents' recently decrying the fate of Lake Burley Griffin and surrounds are predominantly residents of north or south Canberra or old Canberrans.

Where are writers from newer areas like Weston Creek, Tuggeranong, Belconnen and Gungahlin, who appear to accept the environmental rape by our government, developers and unions?

Do they not realise their areas will be next when the money machine moves on and do they not appreciate all ACT residents are only – and hopefully responsible – custodians for the rest of Australia's beautiful national capital?

Greg Cornwell, Yarralumla

Adani mega-mine

Expert evidence presented to the Queensland Land Court revealed that the proposed Adani Carmichael mine will result in 4640 megatonnes of cumulative carbon dioxide emissions during its expected life of 60 years.

This is nearly nine times Australia's annual carbon dioxide emissions, currently 534 megatonnes per year.

Under the Paris agreement, Australia's emissions will fall significantly between now and the year 2030, and more steeply thereafter as we near the global aim of zero net emissions by 2050.

Such is the scale of the Adani Carmichael mine that the annual carbon dioxide emissions associated with the burning of the coal would exceed by far the annual emissions reductions yet achieved by successive Australian governments, Labor and Liberal, in the years 2000-17. But worse is in prospect. If the Adani mega-mine proceeds, it opens the way for other large thermal coalmines in the Galilee Basin.

The Queensland Premier's recent claim that the Adani proposal has the strictest environmental safeguards is utterly absurd.

Carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere when Australian coal is burnt in India (or elsewhere) does not respect national boundaries.

David Teather, Reid

Criminalising our kids

Alas, drug laws do criminalise our kids (Geoffrey Fitzgibbon, Letters, October 9).

How else can you explain that some 90 per cent of those arrested for cannabis offences are consumers, not providers?

We have seen a large reduction in smoking by making it an offence under the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act to sell cigarettes to those under 18, not for them to possess tobacco. But Mr Fitzgibbon is right that methadone is not for everyone. We need every effective therapy that minimises the obstacle to users seeking and remaining in treatment.

Many beneficiaries of pharmacotherapies, including heroin assisted treatment in countries providing it, graduate to abstinence-based rehabilitation.

All things are possible when people's lives are stabilised. As the US National Institute of Drug Abuse writes: "methadone treatment has been shown to increase participation in behavioral therapy and decrease both drug use and criminal behaviour."

Bill Bush, Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform, Turner

Confused argument

Jill Murphy ("If a close mate votes 'no', are we still friends?", October 12, p.17) seems to be wanting not to be a bigot, but failing miserably.

She considers it insulting that we're being asked whether same sex couples should be "allowed" to marry.

"Allowed" is the wrong word. "May" denotes permission; "can" denotes ability. As marriage is defined as a union of people of different sexes, same-sex marriages cannot exist. "Allowance", ie "permission", is irrelevant. She is also confused about "marriage" and "equality". "Marriage" is a specific type of "union"; in Australia, same-sex couples have been able to unite for decades, but cannot marry only because of the more restricted definition of "marriage".

Any inequality between same-sex unions and different-sex marriages can be rectified without redefining "marriage".

Murphy wrote: "'Yes' has become synonymous with love and equality, 'no' with hatred and prejudice". Both statements are false: same-sex unions do not have to be renamed "marriage" to achieve love and equality, and 'no' does not indicate hatred and prejudice.

These statements have been made only by 'yes' proponents, usually dishonestly as propaganda to deceive naïve people (who could vote against motherhood or equality?).

Murphy has also been deceived by other propaganda. What is the "very real abuse and inequality" suffered by same sex-couples? (If it does exist, how can redefining "marriage" eliminate it?); and how have same-sex couples "been handed over like lambs to the slaughter"?

Murphy needs to evaluate both sides of opposing arguments.

Robert Salmond, Melba



The irony of conservative Christians complaining the issue of gay marriage equality is being "shoved down their throats" is completely lost on them. Having also been indoctrinated into their faith as a child I really wish they'd shut the hell up.

James Allan, Narrabundah


Rajend Naidu ("Abbott's Wisdom", Letters, October 12) reminds us of Tony Abbott's role as a suppository. I have no further need for this treatment, and would like to return to regular activities.

Peter Baskett, Murrumbateman, NSW


Why is it when North Korea conducts a reckless, provocative and dangerous act near the border with South Korea, it is reported as a reckless, provocative and dangerous act, and when the US conducts an equally reckless, provocative and dangerous act it is reported as "a show of military strength"?

Dr Sue Wareham, Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia), Canberra


Yes, Douglas Mackenzie (Letters, October 11). The ancestral Quercus lived in a tropical forest and many of today's oaks are evergreen. A few species native to cooler northern climes have discovered deciduousness, but they are relative newcomers to that art . Increasing leaf retention, especially on the lower, less exposed branches, is a clear sign winters are warming.

John Trueman, Downer


Mr Abbott is claiming more people die from cold than heat waves. He ignores the bushfire deaths around the world, plus the huge damage from the fires.

Geoff Davidson, Braddon

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