WITH Australia in the grip of drought and bushfires never before experienced in its history, the divisions within communities have been brought to the surface and sadly it is not how it should be. Yes, for years politicians across the world have been warned that if we do not change our lifestyle we will suffer the consequences and sadly this has occurred.
It is easy to pour scorn on the coal miners, blaming them, and to some degree I believe rightly so. However, the ultimate blame lies with us all.
The first mistake we made was not listening to the scientists and ridiculing anyone who dare believe in their findings.
Perhaps the worst example of this in my opinion was the corners of the media who ridiculed Tim Flannery and anyone else brave enough to disagree with their consensus. I wonder if these same people are now brave enough to admit they just might be wrong.
Ultimately we selected the politicians to govern us, the same politicians who have allowed the mining giants to dictate to them without a whimper. Overseas the vast open-cut voids have to be refilled, but not in Australia.
With the scarcity of water, the miners might end up allowed to keep using it with little restriction while farmers could be forced to go without ('Power on tap', Newcastle Herald 14/1). Large leases have been granted to prime agricultural land which includes areas of livestock breeding, in particular horse studs. It seems as if the coal giants are in control of Australia, not the government.
I firmly believe the current crop of politicians in power as well as Labor are frightened as they have no answer due to the fact they seem to have put their eggs into one basket.
Will they continue selling off our assets to overseas interests and continue to grant massive coal mining leases?
We must not blame those who work in the mines. It is not their fault, for who would not change their job for an increase in wages? It is with great interest that the Coalition's leader now seems to argue his government firmly believes in climate change.
It is no use pointing the finger at overseas countries who do not believe this threat is real; why can't we be a world leader? For the sake of our children we must act, but we must act together.
Alan Metcalf, Stockton
COAL CRITICS, DO THE MATHS
MANY letter writers demand an end to reliance on coal and mining and their replacement with alternative, sustainable industries. Yet business plans for this replacement effort are lacking in detail. People should really appreciate the scale of that challenge.
According to AusTrade, Australia exports around $370 billion of goods and services every year. Iron ore and coal are the top two exports, collectively worth $120 billion a year. Throw in natural gas and other fossil fuels and we're at $145 billion a year, or 40 per cent of that total export figure.
That excludes all other mining such as gold, copper, diamonds and other minerals.
How many solar panels can we make (at a lower cost than China) and export to make up that $145 billion gap? Forget about tourism; it's worth a mere $22 billion. It would have to triple just to replace iron ore, and with the same people who oppose mining complaining about infrastructure pressures that should be fun.
We can't ride into a green future on the sheep's back, either. Agriculture is worth just $47 billion, and I can't see those exports tripling.
We're going to be weaving an awful lot of organic wicker baskets to sustain our standard of living if we ditch the mining industry.
Scott Hillard, New Lambton
RESPECT HAS DWINDLED
HAVING been a resident of Australia since birth early last century, I cannot recall a time when some people in Australia have been more disrespectful of authority and leadership, or when truth has been so distorted and turned to personal bias by some TV and radio interviewers and some written media reporters together with many talk-back radio callers, some of whom call every available radio station almost daily. I fear facts are being presented that, more often than not, bear little resemblance to actualities.
Talk-back comment in my opinion often shows that the caller is little more than a repeater of previous hearsay or gossip. It is very evident that many have never been in positions of authority; have never had to deal on a personal level with major or national problems; have never had to organise or direct or show leadership in disastrous situations; nor have they any idea what and how many hoops have to be jumped through, and how many rules and regulations must be observed correctly before things can be put into operation.
It is so easy to say this and that should be done, and maybe in some cases the suggestions could be put to good use, but few suggestions come with a workable solution.
The majority of unknowing or ill-informed vent on available sites often comes with the support of presenters who themselves have no leadership credentials other than the computer screen on their desk.
Genuine reporters and broadcasters of news should remain impartial and stay with the truth as it is. There is no place for personal bias when conveying happenings to the public. Disrespect to the leaders of this country be they Labor, Coalition or of any other party should not be tolerated.
It is with much regret that I believe the above misbehaviour has helped Australians become the world's greatest whingers, and sadly I think most of the whinging is coming from those who have least to whinge about.
If you are a victim of the current disaster you certainly do have reason to have a whinge, but unfortunately it appears most whingers are political stooges of one side or the other. In my view many media distributors have a long way to go to return to what their purpose in the community is, and to make it what it should be.
Joseph Williams, Wallsend
DAM THE LACK OF FORESIGHT
As I sit in my backyard a staring at the dead grass and wilting flowers I ask myself how did Australia end up in such an appalling position?
Then I remembered in years past how a range of nearly-extinct animals and political posturing had killed off a new dam.
It wasn't so much the endangered animals that stopped water storage but politicians not willing to stand up and be counted. I believe their pensions were way more important, and now we are paying the price for the lack of foresight .
We live in the driest continent in the world and our water, the most precious natural resource we have, is going to be used to wash coal.
Is common sense in such short supply in Canberra?
We can't drink coal.
Nick Ryder, Booragul
SHARE YOUR OPINION
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a text message to 0427 154 176 (include name and suburb). Letters should be fewer than 200 words. Short Takes should be fewer than 50 words. Correspondence may be edited and reproduced in any form.
IF Harry and Meghan dumped the royals, why can't Australia? It's nearly Australia Day.
Bill Slicer, Tighes Hill
I THINK Her Majesty the Queen wants her empire back and has fired the first shot by encouraging the Sussex royals to emigrate to Canada. I wonder who Oz will get.
Gwen Collis, Mayfield
THE recent rains along eastern Australia have been most welcome. Especially in bushfire areas. But do people realise that if those rains had fallen a month earlier, in say early December, then it is quite possible that some of those bushfires would never have happened? Such is the fickle nature of weather that small changes in the timing of weather events can make a big difference to us. We are both its victims and its beneficiaries. Those people who, like Chicken Little, have been running around shouting "climate change caused the bushfires" should reassess their notions on this matter. As Dorothea Mackeller so eloquently put it all those years ago, it is a land of droughts and flooding rains.
Peter Devey, Merewether
ANOTHER day, yet another tree gone from our neighbourhood . You would think there would be a bit more care taken after all we lost to drought and bushfires. The native birds and animals will lose more nesting and shelter and we lose green canopy bit by bit. It makes me very sad to think of what we are leaving for our grandchildren.
Helen Mulligan, New Lambton Heights
AH, the irony. The Sutherland district south of Sydney is absolutely battered by huge hail stones. Isn't that where our climate-denying Prime Minister lives? Canberra gets the worst hailstorm ever. Isn't that where our climate-denying Prime Minister cloaks himself in his political bubble? Is Huey reprimanding him for his stance?
Brian Roach, Whitebridge
I WAS happy to know that Steve Barnett (Letters 21/1) is looking out for the taxpayer by lobbying (I think) the government to cut out or reduce subsidies to renewable energy. I just wish he had gone a little further with his lobby and ask to cut out or reduce subsidies to the mining industry, in particular the coal mining industry.
Fred McInerney, Karuah
WHEN our prime minister talks about what the government is doing or not doing, he personalises the topic by using the word I. "I have done this, I have done that, I will not do something or another." It seems that he is running the country alone, without any assistance from his colleagues. Surely he would be wiser to substitute 'I' with 'we'. I remember when Kevin Rudd tried to run the country with just a few selected ministers. We all know how that ended. Perhaps Mr Morrison awaits the same fate.
Stan Keifer, Arakoon
JOHN McLennan (Short Takes, 17/1): we just had an election and the silent majority did not want a price on carbon. They supported the coal industry, especially in Queensland, so why should we call for another election? Get over it.