The Albanese government's honeymoon is well and truly over

By Letters to the Editor
November 30 2023 - 5:30am

The honeymoon appears to be over for the Albanese government with some recent polls placing the Coalition neck and neck with Labor. As the cliché goes "it's the economy, stupid".

The cost of living and interest rates are at the forefront of people's minds. People focus on the "better off test".

What has Labor outlined to achieve net zero by 2050 and why does everyone keep saying 43% by 2030? Here's everything you need to know about Labor's roadmap to a cleaner Australia.

Are people better off now than they were a year ago? The reality is most aren't. Much of that is not the fault of the government. The Reserve Bank, an independent body, keeps raising interest rates.

Albanese has kept every promise he made including the ill-planned and inflationary stage three tax cuts.

There have been some major missteps, naively believing Dutton would give bipartisan support for the Voice referendum was the worst. There have been some major achievements such as vastly improved foreign relations with our Pacific neighbours, France and improved relations with China.

They have made positive changes to health policy and introduced a federal integrity commission, something the Coalition ran away from.

The Coalition which received its lowest vote in 80 years has moved further to the right.

Those responsible for robodebt, sports rorts, a trillion dollar debt, and other disasters are still there.

The Coalition doesn't deserve to govern for years. But they may still win. People vote governments out, not in.

Peter Dutton has brought pressure to bear on the government on a number of fronts recently. Picture by Gary Ramage
Peter Dutton has brought pressure to bear on the government on a number of fronts recently. Picture by Gary Ramage

Peter McLoughlin, Monash

Explore the options

I applaud efforts to negotiate with the NSW government for a better train service between Canberra and Sydney.

What about moving to a tilt train or similar vehicle that can cope better with existing track alignments?

Also, perhaps at least one of the three daily services each way could be express between Goulburn and Sydney, leaving the passengers between those cities to use the existing Opal option service (which could run more frequently).

David Purnell, Florey

The wrong direction

Your report "Nation's 'untenable' emissions stance needs 'radical reset'" (November 25) is further evidence that the Albanese government is taking this country in the wrong direction.

Anthony Albanese's Labor government owes its electoral success in May 2022 to an undertaking to take serious action on climate change.

The reality falls far short of that undertaking, as made clear by Professors Quiggin and Peel.

I have the strong impression that our government is firmly in the grip of the multinational fossil fuel industry.

The coal industry receives billions in subsidies, and is permitted to open numerous new coal mines.

The gas industry is given the freedom to exploit and export Australia's gas resources and sell a tiny fraction to us at enormous profit.

The government is doing the opposite of what was indicated. If it wishes to be re-elected it must do a U-turn.

Dr Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin

It's not just Hamas

Roni Krivoi, the Russian/Israeli hostage who was released by Hamas as a goodwill gesture to Vladimir Putin, escaped for four days after an air strike.

He was unable to make it across the border before being captured by Palestinian civilians and handed back to Hamas.

I'm lost for words that Palestinian civilians, not just Hamas, agree innocent people should be taken hostage and used as human shields.

David Eichner, Gordon

Vandalism not anti-Semitic

The Canberra Times refers to anti-Israeli stickers placed on Anita Gelato as "anti-Semitic vandalism" ("Civic Jewish-owned business allegedly vandalised with anti-Semitic stickers).

The article also refers to Anita Gelato as a "Jewish-owned shop".

The Canberra Times and others should take care not to conflate valid and justifiable criticism of Israel's war crimes against the Palestinians with "anti-Semitism" or criticism of "Jewish" persons or Judaism more broadly.

Many tens if not hundreds of thousands of Jewish persons are themselves heavily critical of Israel's unjust treatment of indigenous Palestinians, both since October 7, 2023, and historically.

There have protests by Jewish persons in the USA in NYC Grand Central Station, the US Capitol Building, and elsewhere against Israel's actions in Gaza.

Brice Hamack, Amaroo

Matters of fact

The article by Bradley Perrett "So tell me again about those 'improved relations' with China" (November 25) contains a photograph of HMAS Toowoomba with "Canadian commercial container ship MV Asterix".

MV Asterix is no longer a commercial container ship.

She was converted into a Royal Canadian Navy auxiliary replenishment ship in 2017.

Her crew includes both civilian and Royal Canadian Navy personnel.

L Roberts, Kaleen

We need to act

The idea that Australia, 55th on the list of national populations, and 16th on the list of carbon dioxide emissions, doesn't need to pick up its game on reductions because we "only" produce 1.1 per cent of global emissions is, apparently, perennial. (Letters, November 28).

But this "why should I?" argument only considers the "cost" of the transition.

It ignores the costs in lost moral authority, worse climate outcomes and forgone opportunities to provide the world with the clean energy and products it craves if we do not grasp the opportunity this critical moment offers.

Of course, Australia, like most countries, is struggling to transition away from expensive fossil fuels as quickly, and painlessly, as we would like.

But in the era of global boiling, and with our world-beating renewable resources, it is both the moral and strategically correct thing to try.

Lesley Walker, Northcote, Vic

One man's terrorist ...

There have been a few letters lately about terrorism in Israel. We should remember that the paramilitary Irgun, which operated in Palestine during the 1930s and 1940s, was classified as a terrorist organisation. This was because they attacked civilian targets and massacred British and Palestinian civilians.

The last leader of the Irgun was Menachem Begin.

He later became the first Likud Prime Minister of Israel from June 1977 to October 1983.

It appears that one person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter and statesman.

Pauline Westwood, Dickson

Let's talk of peace

In his recent piece in Eureka Street (eurekastreet.com.au, November 21) Constant Mews talks of "revisiting an ancient call to uphold justice for the vulnerable".

Most groups of humanity have experienced this vulnerability at some stage. As we rethink the Holocaust and the Nakba (or "ethnic cleansing of Palestine" as it has been called) we are trying to see how we can bring both sides to see how they have had turns at being left intolerably vulnerable.

But to think historically when it's your own family being vulnerable and even killed at the present moment is perhaps asking for super-human powers. What can the world do about it?

We need more bodies like the UN where we can share our ideas about how we can navigate our differences over who can live where and how we can be better stewards of this planet.

We should be talking about the planet's dilemmas at every social occasion. It could be our way of showing gratitude for the privilege we've had of living on it and our acknowledgement of our ongoing obligation to uphold justice for the vulnerable.

Jill Sutton, Watson

Netherlands goes right

The gains of the racist far right in the Netherlands doesn't come as a surprise ("Wilders vote sends a chill across Europe", November 24).

I spent a week in Amsterdam as a tourist last summer. I petted a dog in a park. Its carer was a black women; Dutch it turned out, her family originally from a colony in the Americas.

Curiously, her dog responded to commands in English. I asked why. She only ever spoke English she said, because she was treated by her compatriots respectfully as a monied tourist, and not nastily as an unwelcome immigrant. It's not a new problem.

A visit to the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam inexorably drags one to the conclusion the vast majority of the country sat back quietly while 150,000 of its Jewish citizens were targeted for internment and death.

The only political force that opposed the fascists from the beginning were the communists. About 22,000 Dutch men volunteered for the Waffen SS. Chilling indeed.

David Perkins, Reid

TO THE POINT

VANSTONE MIMICS TRUMP

Like Trump, Amanda Vanstone ("The govt, APS and the media are hilariously out of touch with Australia", November 23) seeks to divide the population into "us" and "them", in this case on the basis of whether one voted "yes" or "no". Amanda infers the 61 per cent of Canberrans who voted "yes" are not proper Australians as supposedly we think differently from the rest of the country. Does she also include 40 per cent of Australians overall who voted "yes"?

Ian Webster, Curtin

SOLAR FOR RENTERS?

How serious is the ACT government about zero emissions and the energy crisis when it only allows home-owners to access the Home Energy Support Program (HESP) which provides a substantial subsidy for the installation of solar panels. People who rent can't take advantage of this. Renters also pay taxes.

Bob Nairn, Page

IN DEFENCE OF WOKE

Re John Smith's unpersuasive defence of Zed Seselja's "anti-woke" crusade (Letters, November 24). I am puzzled why my support of any "oppressed minority" associates me with violence and tags me as a Marxist. I now have to think carefully before donating to any charitable cause for such minorities lest I abet a furious woke revolution.

David Roth, Kambah

ON DOUR DUTTON

S W Davey you took me on a magical journey back probably more than 60 years when you referenced A A Milne's poem Disobedience (Letters, November 24). I still have my somewhat battered copy of When We Were Very Young. But putting Peter Dutton and those wonderful books in the same sentence is disturbing. Give me the innocence of children over his negative and divisive politics any day.

Janet Cossart, Stirling

TAKE IT OUTSIDE

To all those who feel inclined to protest, annoy and intimidate the people of Australia, irrespective of which warring side you identify with, if you feel that strongly about it, take your bile, anger and hatred, and go back from whence you came, and carry on with your never ending fight for what "you" believe in.

James Phillips, Kaleen

WELL DONE LIBERALS

After dedicating 4015 days of non-stop campaigning to save Canberra's kangaroos I am delighted to see a major political party commit to reviewing the annual slaughter. Thank you, Elizabeth Lee. We know Liberals don't win ACT elections by running scare campaigns. Outlining alternative positions is more productive.

Chris Doyle, Gordon

ALBANESE SHOULD DO MORE

Albanese, running scared from Shorten's shakedown in 2019, cowers behind the RBA's rate hikes while lacking the courage to abolish capital gains and negative gearing, imposing GST on private education and health, and taxing windfall profits and inheritances.

Albert M White, Queanbeyan, NSW

SNOWY 2.0 SNOW JOB

Despite being told the new $12 billion contract for Snowy 2 had got the scheme running again, the tunnel boring machine is still bogged and unmovable. Is it now a $24 billion project with no chance of operation and power for at least six more years? We are being conned.

Murray Upton, Belconnen

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