ISRAEL Folau has begun the discussion we need to have. I believe all religions are voodoo and have no place in a modern world that uses science to explain existence and phenomena, as opposed to ancient fairy stories. This discussion must seriously question the vast sums of taxpayer money that goes toward promoting and protecting such voodoo.
Religious schools are taxpayer funded, and religious institutions receive tax-free status to keep alive such beliefs as Folau espouses. In my opinion the influence of religion adversely affects the way elected politicians behave, such as the plebiscite on gay marriage. Some were voting not in the interests of an enlightened 21st century society, but in the interests of their personal brand of voodoo. A powerful number of politicians want exclusive laws to protect the ability of religions to maintain their ancient discriminatory practices. They want free speech with no responsibility.
People can believe whatever they want, but taxpayers should not be supporting their beliefs at all. And as far as free speech goes, they can say what ever they want but must understand that with rights comes a responsibility as Mr Folau may soon find out.
John Arnold, Anna Bay
COMPETITION POWERS US
THE main pollutant contributing to global warming, Tony Morley (Letters 12/04), is carbon dioxide gas. When coal burns the number of carbon atoms (C) in the coal combine with oxygen (O2) to form an equivalent number of carbon dioxide gas (CO2) molecules, releasing an amount of heat also related to the number of carbon atoms in the reaction.
The purer the coal, the greater the carbon content, the more greenhouse gas [CO2] generated and heat produced. The heat can then be used to produce electricity. Modern high-efficiency power plants manage to produce a small increase in the electricity produced per tonne of coal, which translates to a small reduction in the CO2 generated per tonne of coal, but the process is far from "clean". The result is no different in India which, incidentally, is ahead of Australia in its conversion to renewable energy.
Both wind and solar renewables can now produce electricity for less than half the price of new coal plants, and are still cheaper when "firmed" by batteries and hydro to provide 24-hour power. If you want cheaper power what you need is more generators providing more renewable energy, and more competition in the market.
Richard Mallaby, Wangi Wangi
BARREL'S BOTTOM IS DEEPER
IF the majority of Australian society in October 2001 thought the false claim made by Howard government minister Peter Reith that asylum seekers, intercepted on the high seas by the Australian navy, had callously thrown their young children overboard was the "scrapings from the bottom of the political barrel", what measure could Australian society in 2019 apply to the remarks made by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, about Ali France, an amputee contesting Dutton in the seat of Dickson, that she is using her disability as an excuse for not residing in the electorate?
Ms France, while pushing her child in a stroller, was hit by a car. As any caring parent would do, she shielded her child as best she could from the impact. As a consequence, she lost one leg above the knee. From time to time Ms France has need of a wheelchair and, despite her best efforts to date, has been unable to locate wheelchair-suitable housing in Dickson.
Peter Dutton claimed he was only repeating what many Dickson voters have said to him. What a cowardly cop-out.
Barry Swan, Balgownie
LET US TALK MIGRATION
ELECTIONS should be a time when important issues can be aired, but it often seems there is more insight in the political cartoons than in the comments of the contenders. Even worse, there is a growing feeling that discussions on these important issues are being stifled.
Recently Melissa Parke, Labor candidate for Curtin, was stood down because of accusations of racism after she had accused Israel actions in Palestine as being worse than apartheid (ABC 13/4). This was followed by similar attacks from the PM hinting Tanya Plibersek was racist for claiming the Indian company Adani would not create many jobs (AFR 13/4). In the state election, a video clip was aired showing Michael Daley claiming Australian jobs were being taken by foreigners ('Daley: ads not my doing', Herald 21/3). Following this he was stood down as leader without any investigation into the veracity of his claim.
I believe he was not blaming migrants; after all they were here by invitation. The problem was in an immigration system designed to provide skills needed to cater for the demand of the mining boom, a situation that is obviously no longer the case.
At present up to 40 per cent of recent immigrants are unable to find employment that matches their qualifications ('Australia's jobs and migration policies are not making the best use of qualified migrants', The Conversation, 8/2/18) and Professional Engineers Australia's website says only 55 per cent of overseas-born engineers stay working in engineering after arriving in Australia. None of this detail has been debated in public, yet surely any politician who makes a controversial statement should have that claim justified by an independent source. In my opinion, anything else is censorship.
Don Owers, Dudley
LABOURING WRONG POINTS
I HAVE been a unionist all my adult life, voted Labor as my parents did, but I am ashamed of what this political party has become. Most of Newcastle has been a Labor stronghold but you've lost my vote.
Now it's a party that wants to tax the super of hard-working people who have struggled all their lives. While you're at it, how about tidying up our NDIS system for parents with autistic children? Sure, people claiming for any benefits should be thoroughly investigated to prevent scammers, but once proven and established as a worthy recipient then they shouldn't have to be subjected to this sort of invasive scrutiny again. Life for these parents and kids is tough enough. Don't block them out hoping they'll go away because of your inability to cater for these needy people in your budget. You're helping the wrong people, help those in need.