I write with considerable concern over the latest attempt by the federal government to try and jump-start our ailing economy with a $250 million program for the arts in Australia. It is far too little, too late.
The money is aimed almost exclusively at the large organisations, one third of it in the form of loans. It will do little to improve the sustainability of our country's independent creatives, and the small to medium galleries and companies that support them, all of whom appear to have been comprehensively excluded from arts grants to date.
Remember that whenever there is a disaster that affects the wider community - and 2020 has been rife with them: drought, bushfire, flood and COVID-19 - it is our creatives who are asked to donate a work or performance for some charity auction or other, the proceeds of which then go to relief for victims.
However, when those artists themselves actually need something in return - such as a living wage - their avenues to access this are virtually non-existent. Many independent creatives were ineligible for JobSeeker/JobKeeper. While acknowledging the aid given by the ACT government, too little real help has been forthcoming from the federal government.
Fortunately, smaller arts-focused organisations such as the Capital Arts Patrons' Organisation (CAPO) can fill some of that gap by offering grants to these creatives, to help them to continue their work, and to hopefully improve their mental wellbeing at the same time. Our COVID-19 Grants Round begins on July 31. See www.capo.org.au for details.
P. Jurkiewicz, president,
Floyd's death devalued
We now have preemptive 30 Rock censorship, The Simpsons voice-over re-tasking, and all the film, radio and television archives - no matter how progressive and enlightened the programs and movies were at the time - under the microscope in pursuit of anything that may offend.
At this rate, the consequences of George Floyd's death will amount to a mountain of mostly superficial political correctness created to conceal a total dearth of important substantive change. It's much more convenient for all those who really profit from racism.
However, as a former Italian, I do hope all the "laughing-at-you, not-with-you" condescending "Mamma Mias" and contemptuously heavy "wog" accents also get pulled from food commercials and sitcoms while we're at it.
Alex Mattea, Sydney, NSW
The ABC's decision to axe its 7.45 am news is short-sighted and foolish. It plays into the hands of its detractors and deprives listeners of its most important radio bulletin of the day.
The agenda-setting time slot distinguishes it from resource-starved hourly commercial news bulletins because its delivers the voices and issues of major events in the top half of the world and refreshes the national and local newspaper headlines of the day in one 15-minute bulletin.
Breaking news? Not really. Heart-breaking. The 7.45 news is not broken, don't fix it! Just ask its listeners.
Ken Begg, Barton
ABC's new subterfuge
Once again, the ABC is resorting to subterfuge to blame government for cuts to important programs. This is a classic example of the spin doctor techniques used by the ABC to gain sympathy from the public by axing programs that really matter to viewers and listeners - for example the 7.45am news, Australian Story, and emergency broadcasts - while retaining highly paid commentators to present one program per week.
Talk fests such as Media Watch, Q & A and Insiders might appeal to a few who follow the ABC mantra but do not provide anything of real substance or value.David Hall, Kingston
Talk fests such as Media Watch, Q & A and Insiders might appeal to a few who follow the ABC mantra but do not provide anything of real substance or value.
The savings from axing some of those would more than cover the costs of the programs which really matter.
David Hall, Kingston
Blame the Coalition
Re: Jennie Goldie comments on Labor's climate policy, the Zali Steggall Climate Bill, and a call for bipartisanship (Letters, June 27).
Well the ball is really in the Coalition's court on this. Australia had a good climate policy under the last Labor government that was reducing emissions. We would have been well on the way to 2050 net zero emissions by now if the Coalition governments had not abolished the policy.
As for Zali's commission; the Labor government established the independent Climate Change Authority which recommends targets. Unfortunately the Morrison government takes no notice of the authority.
Jennie and other commentators should focus on the "do nothing on climate change" Morrison government, not on Labor.
Rod Holesgrove, Crace
We are CCS capable
Jennie Goldie (Letters, June 27) points to the UK's Climate Act and its long-term pathway to net-zero emissions as a model for Australia to follow. I agree.
She also draws attention to the UK's dependence on CCS as a critical part of its zero-emission pathway, but claims "Britain has more sites for burying carbon dioxide than Australia so it may be chasing a pipe dream here". I disagree.
The Energy Technology Institute (in 2016) estimated the UK total theoretical storage capacity (for carbon dioxide) at 78 Gigatonnes (billion tonnes).
In 2009, the Carbon Storage Taskforce estimated Australia's carbon dioxide storage potential at 417 Gigatonnes, or five times the estimate for the UK.
Ms Goldie, and all who support the target of net zero by 2050, can be very confident indeed that Australia has the storage capacity (and the CCS know-how), that will be very important if we are to make deep cuts to emissions in the short term, and essential if we are to achieve zero emissions by 2050.
Professor Peter J Cook, Centre
for CCS Research University
of Melbourne, Forrest
Up in the air
China has joined the US, Russia, and Europe as a nation with its own global satellite system, ("China launches final satellite for Beidou", June 24, page 13).
There is now a plethora of patrolling satellites, very expensive to make, put into orbit and maintain, far in excess of what is needed for communications, surveying and direction-finding here on Earth.
The reason for this over-supply is not hard to find. A global positioning system was originally developed as a vital element in the tripartite nuclear weapon system (the weapon, the means to transport it, and navigation to its target), and the peaceful uses are valuable spin-offs.
Nations with an ambition to be a superpower, with a credible means to cause unimaginable destruction, must have such an independent navigation system for their missiles.
The security implications of a foreign power having access to the targeted country's own satellite guidance system to target their missiles are too great to ignore: it is possible to deny the use of a nation's GPS to others.
Britain's "independent" nuclear weapon, which depends on US permission for guidance of its Trident missiles, is not so independent after all. It also follows that North Korea, which has the weapon, the missile, but no means for guidance, is not such a serious threat as many world leaders claim it to be.
Harry Davis, Campbell
The decision by an ACT court to permit a secret trial of Bernard Collaery and Witness K is an ugly demonstration of how our terrorism laws have been debauched by the Australian Parliament to serve current political purposes.
In using his own certificate to restrict public access to the truth of this matter under the guise of "terrorism laws'', Attorney-General Christian Porter has brought a clearer focus to the cumulative guilt of the entire Parliament in this sordid and shameful matter for the past 20 years.
This is clearly an attempt to squash the detail in Colleary's book Oil Under Troubled Waters.
No matter how you express it, consecutive Liberal and Labor governments, stole billions of dollars worth of income from the destitute population of East Timor aided by an act of subterfuge.
This misappropriation was not conducted for Australia's national benefit.
It was for the benefit of private companies.
In my view, any politician or public servant who was involved in these bugged negotiations should be charged with participating in an act of fraud.
If open courts ultimately judged the truth in this matter the negotiations would be rightfully deemed fraudulent and the contracts with East Timor dissolved as null and void. The value stolen would have to be repaid. This is most likely what Porter is really trying to prevent.
What shame this brings to be called Australian in such appalling company.
Gerry Gillespie, Queanbeyan
TO THE POINT
So John Hargreaves is not interested in what outsiders think about the governance of the ACT (Letters, June 30).
Fair enough. I suspect though that Mr Hargreaves's rage gives us a good insight into the minds of the likes of Xi Jinping, Donald Trump and Rodrigo Duterte et al.
Nothing to see here folks, please move along.
John Panneman, Jerrabomberra NSW
Would it appease John Hargreaves (Letters, June 30) if I commend the ACT government's decision not to participate in the women's soccer World Cup bid?
Debate seems focussed on the cost, but what about the lazy demand that the normal users of the stadium be locked out for three months?
Ian Douglas, Jerrabomberra
WHEN WILL IT END?
After months of social sacrifices, lives lost, economic woes, business and corporate failures, increased unemployment and negative forecasts, why is the COVID-19 virus still with us?
John Sandilands, Garran
As that annoying meerkat says on telly, Ray Edmondson (Letters, June 30), "it's simples".
The Australian War Memorial gets huge dollops of cash because the Coalition knows that ex-Diggers are likely to vote for them. It used to be the same with the RSL.
Besides, the joint used to be run by an ex-Liberal leader.
It's politics, Ray, politics.
James Mahoney, McKellar
CAN THE DRUM
Spot on, Eric Hodge (Letters, June 29).
The Drum is an hour long indulgence with repeat contributors.
I've noticed that puritanical pest and ex-member of the Human Rights Commission Tim Soutphommasane gracing the screen more than the law of averages would allow.
The producers apparently cower in terror at the thought anybody linked to the Institute of Public Affairs should appear.
Bill Deane, Chapman
Re Peter Broelman's View (June 29).
The bigger threat of climate change is not worrying the fellow who is putting out the COVID-19 hotspots.
Broelman is, as usual, spot on.
We've been told increasing temperatures may bring forth previously unknown diseases. Is COVID-19 the forerunner? Over to the scientists, please.
Ann Smith, Curtin
LILLEY FAN CLUB
Re Brenton Penny (Letters, June 29). Just to heap a bit more praise on Chris Lilley: Barry Humphries described him as "a genius - and I don't use that word lightly". Of course, this could lead us into a discussion of what genius is. But I don't think I want to go there just yet.
Michael McCarthy, Deakin
UNDER THE BLANKET
I went to buy a woollen blanket. They were all made overseas, many from Australian grown wool. Why don't Australian wool growers form a cooperative to produce woollen blankets in Australia for Australians and also for overseas markets? Could the National Cabinet have a look at it? There are many other things we could do to support local industry.
Sankar Kumar Chatterjee, Evatt
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