There is much to be welcomed in Labor's willingness to be involved in a bipartisan climate and energy policy (Labor extends olive branch to Coalition on energy policy, canberratimes.com.au, June 24).
Better that than a policy void, as long as the bipartisan policy thrust is for a rapid transition away from fossil fuels to renewables.
The case for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is fraught. The United Kingdom in their Climate Act is depending on CCS to help them achieve zero net emissions by 2050 (also Labor's goal) but Britain has more sites for burying carbon dioxide than Australia, so it may be chasing a pipe dream here.
Labor's call for continued funding of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is welcome. On the other hand, its unwillingness to adopt a new Renewable/Clean Energy Target (RET/CET) is unfortunate because, without it, investors will not commit to building large-scale renewable projects. Investment in renewable energy generation fell by 50 per cent in 2019, largely because the RET that expires in 2020 was not being replaced by a new target.
It would be simpler if both the government and Labor just adopted Independent MP Zali Steggall's Climate Change Bill which she tabled in February but had to defer because of the COVID-19 crisis. It is modelled on the UK Bill that provides a long-term pathway to net-zero emissions. Steggall's Bill would establish an independent Climate Commission to set interim targets and emissions budgets. That really would take the politics out of it.
Jenny Goldie, Cooma
No surprises here
When I read the article "Eden-Monaro wants lifeline for arts: poll" (canberratimes.com.au, June 23) I was initially surprised at the disparate results between voters of different political persuasions.
However, I then thought about the evident policy biases of the parties mentioned and immediately ceased being surprised.
The fact that well over half of Liberal/National Coalition voters surveyed did not support a COVID-19-related package for those involved in the arts industries simply echoes the disregard the Coalition has shown for the arts over many years.
Recent evidence is the fact that, due to ongoing lack of funding for the National Gallery of Australia, 10 per cent of NGA staff will now have to find alternate employment.
The fact over half of Coalition voters surveyed did not support a COVID-19-related package for those involved in the arts echoes the disregard the Coalition has shown for the arts over many years.Bob Stirling, Scullin
On top of that is Dan Tehan's recent announcement of an absurd fee restructure for university courses, obviously aimed at discouraging the arts and humanities.
Pamela Collett (Letters, June 24) summed up this philistine approach beautifully: "Without the arts, history, literature, and music, our lives are diminished every single day".
Please think carefully about what we stand to lose as a society if we allow this approach to continue.
Bob Stirling, Scullin
Lost in Latham
The suburb of Latham and I have been peacefully growing old together. But the ACT government's lack of taste, let alone sense of history or heritage, has disturbed the equanimity.
The government is in the process of replacing the lights on top of the quaint 1960s and 1970s vintage street-light poles in the 50-year-old suburb of Latham.
So lights which represented their era and matched their poles are being replaced by ultra-modern, new-fangled, slim-line fittings totally out of place with their setting and the poles they top.
I could understand if the government wanted to fit more efficient lights. But it could have done so in better-matched fittings.
Bruce Wright, Latham
A double standard?
Last year the Australian foreign minister expressed deep concern that an Australian citizen, the writer and political commentator Dr Yang Hengjun, had been held without charge on suspicion of harming Chinese security.
He has not had access to lawyers. He potentially faces the death penalty, and it is most likely that his trial will be in secret.
Clearly, our Foreign Minister has a high regard for the rule of law, and the right to an open trial, for Australians in China.
For years after the amoral bugging of the East Timorese to gain advantage in the oil/gas negotiations, Attorney General George Brandis did not act to charge anyone under Australian law.
Bernard Collaery went about his normal business. Then, several years ago, the incoming Attorney General decided to secretly charge and try a man who has done nothing more than note a corrupt government practice against the impoverished East Timorese.
The "pub test", often referred to by politicians, says he has done nothing wrong.
Given the Australian government's concern about secret trials proceeding in China, something very significant must have occurred to have Chinese-style secrecy brought into our normally open Australian courts.
Who or what has twisted the current Attorney General's arm to the extent that we are headed down that dismal road usually travelled by authoritarian governments?
Digby Habel, Cook
Who to vote for?
I agree with voter Howard Uber (Letters, June 22) who is in despair trying to find out how to vote for anybody who is not a 'drongo'.
I just hope that there will be at least one independent in our electorate who is not a total ratbag. The way our electoral system works it is quite possible that such a person, if elected, could hold the balance of power. If he or she could resist the bribes and other inducements which will surely be offered we could be in for a period of useful government.
What a change that would be! But then again, we might get a ratbag. Vote responsibly.
James Gralton, Garran
A dubious claim
Eric Hunter (Letters, June 22) claims over 70 per cent of Australians consider the ABC is doing a good job, whereas a poll conducted by the Institute of Public Affairs reveals that Auntie's popularity stands at just 32 per cent, with 30 per cent saying it was out of touch with ordinary Australians, and the balance having no view.
Where did Eric get his figure of 70 per cent from?
Where else than the ABC itself.
I wholeheartedly agree with comments made by Ian Pilsner and Roger Dace (Letters, June 19). The sooner the organisation is restructured the better.
In its current format it appears to be a product of the left wing side of politics. I don't believe it is complying with its charter.
Mario Stivala, Belconnen
Odd approach to education
I have been following the news that the Prime Minister wants to modify the cost of various university courses to correspond with the needs of the workforce.
He hopes young people will choose cheaper courses which more closely match the needs of the workforce.
This seems odd to me.
When young people are contemplating their future, they give consideration to their talents, their idea of what would be fulfilling and rewarding, and other things such as protection against unemployment in times like these.
There are also family traditions. The cost of training is a long way down the list.
Surely a course of education should reflect the cost of providing it.
Stewart Bath, Isabella Plains
Thanks, no thanks
As a voter in Eden-Monaro I was considering voting for the Liberal candidate. I decided not to after receiving a letter from Senator Jim Molan.
No mention of two issues important to this electorate, namely environmental protection and climate change. The letter boasts of entering the virus crisis with the first balanced budget in 11 years; this is misleading.
Also, he uses glib terms such as "retiree and housing taxes" to describe Labour's tax policies.
Altogether not a good look for our otherwise impressive LNP candidate, Fiona Kotvojs.
Paul Kable, Sutton
Thank you, Nicholas Stuart, for your excellent opinion piece on the misguided financial "disincentive" Dan Tehan appears determined to inflict on students of the humanities ("Wham, bam, thank you, Dan: The Cuban model", June 24, p19).
The need for a general, well-rounded education, as provided in the humanities, was ironically illustrated in Minister Tehan's answer to a "Dorothy Dixer" in Question Time (Hansard, 10 Sept 2018), in which he posed the rhetorical question: "Without grades, how would we mark a geography student who didn't know that Africa is a country, a nation?" Indeed, how would we?
I do, however, know how we would grade Minister Tehan's knowledge of the history, politics, and geography of the continent of Africa.
Chris Ryan, Carss Park, NSW
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