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I suspect the Morrison proposal for a royal commission is the classic "kick the can down the road" tactic. It would be unlikely to conclude before the next election.
We already have climate science, land and fire management expertise that has provided a plethora of reports and recommendations that have been ignored or not effectively acted on by this government. Just get on with real action.
Ian Coles, Anglesea
The proposal is lazy politics
The Prime Minister's proposal for a bushfire royal commission is lazy politics and a weak attempt to give the appearance of doing something. It will be years before any recommendations that might have implications for climate change are ever likely to be implemented. It's no wonder people are increasingly cynical about politics.
Brandon Mack, Deepdene
You have to manage the environment in which you live
The Prime Minister's proposal of yet another royal commission into bushfire is over the top. We have had many royal commissions into bushfire and most recommendations ignored.
For example, the 1939 commission was conducted by Leonard Stretton who said "... national and regional bushfire education be delivered to all Australian children as a basic life skill, with an emphasis on preparedness and survival as well as the role of fire in the Australian landscape". Again, following the 2009 royal commission in section six "... the report indicates that most houses are damaged by embers, rather than direct flame contact or radiant heat; that a house is more likely to survive if people actively defend it: and in the absence of human intervention a house is likely to burn to the ground once ignited, rather than just be damaged".
No, Prime Minister, the evidence is comprehensive and another investigation is simply spending money that could go to the education of Australians about where they live and how to manage that environment, as did the First Australians before we arrived.
Bruce Dudon, Woodend
What we need is action
What use is yet another inquiry into the bushfires, when the 2012 inquiry – into which Professor Ross Garnaut had much input – warning of disastrous bushfires in 2020 was completely ignored? And he is an economist – not the hated scientists.
Action is what is needed, enacting the previous reports. It can be done, but it needs a government with the will to do it.
Doris LeRoy, Altona
An endless cycle of royal commissions awaits us
No doubt another bushfire royal commission is warranted. However, going by the outcomes of previous such inquiries, government(s) will again fail to institute vital recommendations due to the protestations of property owners and business about red tape and increased costs.
Then, there will be another disaster, wherein the loss of human life, flora, fauna and property is exacerbated by the fact that the advice of previous commissions was not followed fully. Whereupon, there will be yet another royal commission, and so on, ad infinitum.
Perhaps before the findings of the next commission are handed down, we need in place a legislative mechanism that ensures all of the recommendations of these costly investigations are enacted.
Matthew Engert, Brunswick
It's up to the states and territories
I am a bit concerned that a royal commission on the bushfires, commissions being thorough but slow, may result in no agreed recommendations, on either climate policy or fire prevention/management that will be effected before the 2020-21 fire season starts, noting that this season started in September last year.
And, while it is heartening that expert opinion may now be sought, it does not change the lack of respect or action federal governments have demonstrated on expert opinion over the past decade.
It will be up to state and territory premiers and first ministers to get the ball rolling in a timely way.
Alison Fraser, Ascot Vale
Talk, don't shout
Many of us believe in a warming planet, while some are still to make up their minds and need more time to look at the evidence, and others are convinced there is no change to the climate. Climate change science is complex and multi-layered, which belies the glib one-liners seen at demonstrations. This is the messy and chaotic way humans work.
This needs to be kept in mind so that those who disagree with us are awarded respect and allowed to voice their opinion in the public domain without being called names and shouted at.
Thinking of the Liberal MP Craig Kelly, who claimed to be a climate sceptic (not a denier) on television, where a calm rational discussion should be undertaken rather than being burned at the stake of reality TV, I wonder if anything was gained by shouting at him.
Yelling and screeching with megaphones at climate change doubters and deniers only serves to push them further into their bunkers and erase any chance of a change of mind.
Indeed, many climate activists appear eerily similar to ultra-orthodox religions. More calm and thoughtful interactions with whom we disagree (difficult for some) is required.
John Fitzgerald, Glen Huntly
The blame game
The blame instinct is the need to find a clear and uncomplicated reason for why something bad has happened. While it is understandable, it can also lead to some overly simplistic conclusions.
Blaming the prime minister for Australia's bushfires, and believing that removing his government will address the real causes of the fires, might make us feel better for a while, but will not solve a wickedly complex problem that has its origins in our own values and culture.
We all must accept some responsibility for the state of the planet. As the late Hans Rosling of Gapminder fame said, "If you really want to change the world, you have to understand it. Following your blame instinct isn't going to help."
Rod Wise, Surrey Hills
Keep the landlines
I write to support the recent suggestion that old landlines are left in the ground permanently.
In my area it is common for the mobile to drop out for no apparent reason, even when talking to a neighbour, yet I have an old landline phone that works when the power is off, which could be invaluable in this fire-risk area.
Jane Holth, Ashbourne, SA
The wrong sort of noise
On Sunday night watching the ATP Cup men's final (Nadal v Djokovic) on Channel 9 with my hand on the mute button so I didn't get a headache, I was feeling extremely sorry for those poor folk who paid good money and were seated anywhere in the vicinity of a person with the "horn" blasting between every point.
It is ridiculously loud on the TV; it must be deafening for those folk in the stadium. Incredibly inconsiderate. I don't understand why the device or horn or whatever has not been confiscated by officials, or the operator ejected.
I sincerely hope that use of a noise-making device/toy is not permitted during any games at the Australian Open. The roar of the crowd is much more inspiring, evocative and respectful of a great contest between players.
Wendy Tanner, Footscray
We have a chance to lead
Robert Humphris (Letters, 13/1) opines that us reducing our emissions wouldn't have stopped the fires as we only contribute 1.5 per cent of global emissions.
He is dead right. But what if Australia became an ambassador for climate change? We have the pictures and evidence to prove what it is like. Maybe, just maybe, it might influence other nations to take additional steps to reduce their emissions.
Otherwise we will just sit here and accept what comes our way and our summer entertainment will be to watch Australia burn on TV and endless discussions about the usefulness of hazard reduction. No one will dare go on holiday.
Is that the so-called Australian way? My dad fought in World War II and would be horrified at our pathetic submission.
John Rome, Mount Lawley, WA
Ignoring community health
The Andrews government prides itself on being progressive and empathetic (think needle exchange, right-to-die laws) and continues to chant its mantra of "we're getting things done". In stark contrast, its decision to quietly back away from the inner west's Smart Freight Initiative ("'Bureaucrats' derail stricter truck curfew", 13/1) is an act of spinelessness and wilful disregard for community health.
It is unconscionable for a government to allow already excessive truck numbers to double through the residential corridor of Williamstown Road once the West Gate Tunnel opens. Two in five trucks passing our homes have no emissions controls at all and they fill the homes and lungs of residents with diesel pollutants that worsen asthma, cause cancer and raise the risk of heart and lung disease and dementia.
Ministers know a low-cost fix is available through the design of dedicated freight routes away from residential streets. The Smart Freight Initiative was a stepping stone. Their refusal to do anything is a disgrace.
Graeme Hammond, Kingsville
Don't follow their lead
Tony Walker describes how the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani may lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East (Comment, 13/1). He also notes the timing of the Iranian escalation in the setting of Donald Trump's impeachment hearings.
Australia has supported the Iranian nuclear deal and calls for de-escalation, yet is sending HMAS Toowoomba to the Gulf. A good government would be calling for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East and looking to withdraw our forces from the region.
We need an independent Australian foreign policy, not one determined by Washington.
Margaret Beavis, Carlton
Beyond the bushfires
For so long, reputable scientists have been warning us about the threat posed by climate change ("Nation wants answers on climate change action", Editorial, 13/1).
While Scott Morrison states he will hold a royal commission on this year's fires, what we know is that often governments hold royal commissions as a distraction from not having sound policies on a particular issue.
It is not only bushfires that require understanding, it is the total scope of the impact of a warming climate in the coming years. The Coalition has been derelict in its denial of a changing climate and its impact.
Because of political imperatives, most governments are averse to what they perceive to be risk-taking. They often underestimate what its citizens are prepared to sacrifice for the greater good.
The time has come for the government, corporations and communities to rethink how we can all contribute to the greatest threat that is now here. Yes, the nation wants answers on climate action, but this takes leadership and authenticity.
Judith Morrison, Mount Waverley
Drink the talk
Lyn McPherson, CEO of The Ark Clothing Company, says: "A lot of people don't realise that fashion can be made here and we can create jobs for the next generation." She would love to see a campaign promoting the value of buying Australian.
Shame the wine selections at her recent lunch at Agostino (Spectrum, 11/1) did not extend to a similar support of the local industry.
Joe Wilder, Caulfield North
Defence begins at home
The federal government has committed $175.8 billion to Defence over this and the next three financial years.
Most of this is directed at a phantom enemy beyond our shores. What proportion of this should now be focused on the enemies within, the many growing threats to our own fragile, ailing and underfunded environment and the policies to protect it and the people of this amazing country?
Throwing a few belated millions at this enormous issue is like giving out water pistols to fight a massive fire. Defence, like charity, must begin at home.
Mike Armstrong, Balingup, WA
Rio medal credits
So, it's 2020, the year of the Tokyo Olympics, and I'm thinking about how many medals Australia should win – you know, to be seen to be doing our bit on the world stage.
OK, so we have 0.3 per cent of the world's population, and there will be about 1000 medals up for grabs, which means we'd definitely be doing our bit if we won three medals. Should be able to manage that in a canter. But hang on, at Rio we won 29 medals – 26 more than we really needed to – so with our carryover Rio credits we don't need to win any medals at all this year.
In fact, we won't need to win any more medals till the 2056 Olympics.
How good are statistics?
Robert Reid, Tootgarook
Too many caveats
The Prime Minister's statement about being open to further cuts to emissions has so many caveats included that it is next to being worthless in the challenge the country faces. It also shows how powerful the deniers in his government are.
Hugh McCaig, Blackburn
The Crown can handle it
Recognising that Prince Harry has often spoken about his mental anguish over his mother's mistreatment by the media, her tragic death and now his genuine fears concerning his wife, it is entirely understandable that he and the Duchess need to take time away from full-time royal duties.
The Crown is sufficiently flexible to accommodate this need.
David d'Lima, Sturt, SA
I think Gary Bourke and Jan Marshall (Letters, 13/1) are being overly optimistic in hoping that Scott Morrison has finally heard the climate change message and will act accordingly.
He has regularly shown himself to be a person who will say anything that he thinks might help spin him out of political trouble.
I would be shocked and surprised if he actually pursues any positive climate action once this crisis has passed.
The election is a long way off and voters have short memories.
Ross Hudson, Camberwell
AND ANOTHER THING
Good luck, Archbishop of Sydney, with your prayers for rain. Better off washing your car, hanging out the washing or watering the garden.
Susan Munday, Bentleigh East
Scott Morrison's bushfire royal commission: more delay, more kicking of the climate change can down the road.
Alan Williams, Port Melbourne
We'll be able to assess the likely value of any commission or inquiry into bushfires by its terms of reference and membership.
Kevin Burke, Sandringham
Unfortunately, the current lot of emissions are not a colourless, odourless gas.
Greg Curtin, Blackburn South
Has Scott Morrison finally reclassified his climate change books from the fiction section to current affairs?
Malcolm Cameron, Camberwell
No, Robert Humphris (Letters, 13/1), we don't think reducing all or part of our 1.5 per cent of global emissions will stop or reduce fires – but we do think acting on climate change to improve the quality of life on this planet through cleaner water and air and a thriving ecology is a grand idea nonetheless.
Pip Denton, Kingsville
Australia is the canary in the climate change cage.
Michael Brinkman, Ventnor
The Prime Minister states he will not introduce a carbon tax or shut down traditional industries. That is, coal power will continue.
Lance Cranage, Mount Waverley.
Why is it that when the hard decisions on climate change need to be discussed and made, our politicians keep on saying "now is not the time"? Mother Nature is telling us "now is the time".
Kurt Elder, Port Melbourne
Michael Leunig (Spectrum, 11/1), so, so, so succinct. Just five words and a gum leaf sum up a billion words spoken and written recently.
Joy Middleton, Larpent