James Walcott (Letters, November 16) wonders, given the untrustworthiness of politicians' expressed policies and claimed truths, how we can vote for any of them.
Promises, promises ... Mr Walcott refers to John Howard's invention - the twin concepts of "core promise" and "noncore promise". It's no use deciding how to vote based on promises and platforms (collections of promises).
In the life of any newly-elected government, problems and issues will arise which were not conceived of at all at election time. How will the government deal with them? Character and the hierarchy of interests are the only available predictors of future behaviour.
The only available indicator of character is current behaviour and how characteristics are displayed (or not) such as honesty, integrity, moral compass, regard for the national interest (above others), regard for equity, fairness, empathy, accountability, adherence to proper process and administrative efficiency.
Assume that candidates' behaviour will be governed by special interests, in the following order (and not independent of each other):
1. their own, 2. those of their party and, 3. those of their political donors (ie legalised bribes).
After that comes the national interest (perhaps). Select by starting at the bottom. Put your least preferred candidate last, then work upwards.
Forget promises. Ignore election campaign blandishments and spin. Look at character.
Oliver Raymond, Mawson
How good is arithmetic?
Interesting. Our government claims our contribution to global emissions is only 1.3 per cent, strenuously ignoring the fact that with only 0.33 per cent of the world's population, our per capita emissions are world leading. If we include our contribution through coal exports. But let's not go there.
However, when the government claims we will meet and beat our 2030 reduction target, it calculates our emissions on a "per capita" basis.
Our world-beating migrant-driven population increase (projected 40 per cent from 2005 to 2030) is a very effective way to boost the denominator. For those elderly folk who know what a denominator is, check it out - the numerator here needs hardly change to meet the government target.
How good is arithmetic?
G Williams, Gowrie
Clinging to coal
British High Commissioner to Australia Vicki Treadell sensibly says every nation must "reassess and recalibrate" their relationship with coal ("UK High Commissioner Vicki Treadell issues coal warning to Australia after COP26 climate summit", November 18).
I am appalled by the Morrison government's immediate and unabashed decision to continue to support a coal mining future "for decades to come". Further, the Coalition's defiant avoidance of their global and moral responsibility to increase 2030 emissions reductions targets, is also shameful.
Former Irish president Mary Robinson summed it up well, saying: "Australia, a wealthy country, is still in fossil fuels mode, not in crisis mode". It is no wonder Australia won the "colossal fossil" award at the Glasgow summit for our "breathtaking climate ineptitude".
Dr Amy Hiller, Kew, Vic
Waking up in Australia
I had a dream that the political parties developed comprehensive policy platforms that they put before the public and debated the merits; that fear and spin were unknown; that public funds were not spent buying electoral support but allocated on the basis of need; that hidden donations and billionaires' money corrupting political processes was unlawful; that all media coverage, excepting editorials, was even handed and measured; and that truth was law.
Then I woke up in Australia.
Jane Timbrell, Reid
It is has been reported in some of the Murdoch newspapers that former federal attorney general Christian Porter is set to quit politics and pursue a legal career as a barrister in Sydney. Mr Porter has vehemently denied these rumours. He is, in fact, leaving politics to pursue a career as a barista in Sydney.
Steve Whennan, Richardson
Surprising price difference
Would the Chief Minister, Mr Barr (or anyone for that matter), please enlighten me as to why the price of unleaded petrol (91 oct) here in the ACT is around 176c a litre, whereas at Cootamundra and at Moruya it can be purchased for 162c. Please explain.
Bruce Kentwell, Holt
The point of this government
Scott Morrison tells us he wants the government to stay out of our lives. Morrison has certainly succeeded. His government has been largely missing in action for the past few years. Though groups like Indue card holders would probably appreciate the government getting out of their lives and telling them where they can spend their money. If Morrison really wants government out of our lives then what exactly is the point of Morrison and his government? What do they do?
Dr Ross Hudson, Mount Martha, Vic
Behind the curtain
Alistair Bridges is wrong (Letters, November 19). There is no compulsory voting in Australia. What is compulsory is that you turn up on election day and have your name crossed off. What you do with the ballot paper then is your own decision. I firmly believe that if each cubicle had a full length curtain you could do what you'd really like to do with some ballot papers. Yes indeed. An informal vote with a visible difference.
Ken Maher, Ainslie
Make the vote for change
Brett Evans' story ("The battle for Hume heats up", Inside Story, p1) paints a portrait of a woman who could spell the end of Angus Taylor's time as chief spokesman for and supporter of the fossil fuel industry. Penny Ackery is highly intelligent, articulate, comfortable in any company, and stands in the sensible middle ground of politics.
It is to be hoped that the voters of Hume take advantage of the opportunity to replace a man who appears to represent vested fossil fuel interests with a candidate who understand the need to phase out fossil fuels, and will transform their wishes for a more equitable and harmonious community into reality.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Demanding more from rates
Most Canberra Times readers would, I'd suggest, be paying quite considerable amounts in their rates. Like myself, I would contend that they might too have concerns about those dangerous intersections where tall (out of control) grass impedes a driver's vision.
Notwithstanding that, with the near invisible grass slashing effort, our city is just becoming grubby.
Michael Doyle, Fraser
Hollowing out our morality
I cry in shame, anger and despair. Our government granted a minimal number of visas to Afghans attempting to flee persecution by the Taliban. We, as a wealthy and well equipped nation, complicit in the conflict, failed to extract these people either before or during the takeover.
And yet we expect them as individuals to successfully extricate themselves from this same conflict zone within the very limited time of three months. If they fail, no extension is granted to their visas. Their escape, their futures are cancelled with the stroke of a pen!
Does our cruelty and lack of compassion know no bounds? Forget the "ceiling", vaguely referenced in the days of the takeover; the very "floor" is crumbling beneath the feet of asylum seekers.
If we become Hollow Men and Women, we are much the poorer for it. We diminish ourselves far more than those upon whom we inflict suffering, and needlessly abandon.
Kerry Foster, Allambie Heights, NSW
Not zero, not ethical
Perhaps the most ironic component of the government's net-zero modelling is the assumption that "businesses could voluntarily pay up to $25 per tonne of carbon dioxide emissions to cut their environmental impact" ("Not zero: Modelling did not consider cost of climate change", November 13).
Hasn't the government previously labelled such a price on carbon as a tax? What happened to "technology, not taxes"?
And the technology component of the modelling is dodgy relying on unproven technologies such as "direct air capture" of carbon dioxide.
A recent study by Imperial College London found that the energy needed to run sufficient direct air capture machines is huge - more than half of overall global demand today. It would be "equivalent to the current annual energy demand of China, the US, the EU and Japan combined".
The only reason the Morrison government is pushing these technologies is to try and justify opening up more gas wells and coal mines. Not zero and not ethical.
The world will not be fooled, and our exports will incur carbon border tariffs. How many Australian voters will be fooled is another question.