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Energy crisis the legacy of the Coalition’s fossil fools


Credit:Illustration: Cathy Wilcox

The Coalition promised its “gas-led recovery” would lead to lower energy prices (“Cold snap fires new fear over gas price”, June 2). What has our millions of dollars of subsidies to the sector gained us? Graeme Finn, Summer Hill

Humanity certainly does not require another nuclear power plant. We are already gifted with the largest nuclear power plant in the solar system. It is a star called the sun and it supplies daily and forever enough energy to supply the Earth’s needs several times over. Long may it shine. Cornelius van der Weyden, Balmain East

In dinosaur years, it was only yesterday Malcolm Turnbull and his then energy minister Josh Frydenberg ridiculed Jay Weatherill for transitioning South Australia to renewable energy. It now has the cheapest and most reliable energy in Australia. Scott Morrison and Angus Taylor boasted energy prices would always be cheaper under the Coalition, allowing contracts to multinationals to exploit our vast resources for their corporate profit to export our gas, now leaving Australia facing a domestic crisis. At every opportunity leading up to the 2025 election, voters must be reminded of this Coalition legacy. Howard Charles, Annandale

We are now facing an energy price crisis which has one upside – there never was a greater incentive to reduce electricity and gas consumption by every possible affordable means. At the low-cost end, there are low-energy LED light bulbs, draught excluders for doors, thicker curtains, woolly jumpers and blankets. More costly but extremely effective are double-glazed windows, magnetic induction cooktops, solar hot water systems and rooftop photovoltaic cells. Unfortunately, battery storage is still expensive, but a storage heater can be charged using solar electricity during the day and the heat discharged at night. Geoff Harding, Chatswood


Credit:Matt Golding

Perhaps we could reconsider reversing gas pricing? We could stop sending gas overseas at giveaway prices and prioritise Australian citizens/consumers at more reasonable rates. Nino Pol, Randwick

Our new government has barely been sworn in and they face the same problems as the previous government. Gas and electricity prices soar just when we need energy the most. Do they subsidise and increase the debt they have criticised, or do they ignore the people who voted them into power or let them freeze? Oh, how easy the next job always looks until you get there. Our new incumbents should remember to ask two critical questions before they make decisions. Does it make sense, and is it a good deal for Australia? D’Arcy Hardy, North Turramurra

The Coalition wasted 10 years. If Scott Morrison had held up a photo of the sun and announced that we don’t need to be afraid of this, by now we would have an energy market dominated by renewables. Electric and hydrogen cars and trucks would dominate our roads. And miners would have productive jobs as tradies and farmers. Instead, my region of limitless sunshine is powered by diesel generators. David Neilson, Araluen (NT)

There’s no such thing as a single-use plastic bag

For those concerned about the ban on plastic bags in which to carry essential purchases (Letters, June 2), providing your own bags of any composition is the obvious solution. Reusable bags are available everywhere, and who doesn’t have bags of them? Indeed, there is really no such thing as a single-use plastic bag. I’ve been washing and reusing them for 50 years. My grandchildren are fifth-generation plastic bag washers. We would be happy to provide instructions. Meredith Williams, Northmead

For years, we have been using and reusing our “singlet” plastic bags sensibly for plants I grow and sell at markets. Most people reuse these bags. So they are not single use. Now I can return them to supermarkets (who have banned them) for recycling. Then buy a plastic bag or 10 made in Germany, then either return it for recycling or recycle it in my yellow bin. Now I have a couple of kilos of singlet bags that have been used once or twice that I intended to recycle at my market stall that will have to be dumped at my local supermarket. The only difference is that I now have to buy the bags to then recycle or dump them. The only winner is the bloke in Germany who sells us the more fancy plastic bag. Bryan Ellis, Umina Beach

As someone who now uses newspaper to wrap waste which can’t be composted, I ask how we dispose of leftover unused “green” bags. Can these be recycled by dumping into bins provided by supermarkets? They can’t be given away – the idea being to keep them out of the mountains of plastic waste polluting our oceans. Also, using newspaper is problematic, as cutting down trees is also an environmental crime. It’s a conundrum. Wendy Crew, Lane Cove North

The government has estimated that more than 2.7 billion plastic items end up in waterways across NSW alone each year. Of course, banning them is an important step towards keeping animals in the ocean safe, but even more important than the composition of our shopping bags is what’s in them.
Eating fish does far more harm to our oceans than carrying them home in a plastic bag. Abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear – otherwise known as “ghost gear” – is a problem that spells catastrophe for marine life. So while many people are stocking up on cloth shopping bags, those who fish (or eat fish) need to re-examine their personal choices too. Desmond Bellamy, Special Projects Coordinator, PETA Australia

PR can dismantle barrel forever

Your editorial addresses a major electoral system problem (“How to throw pork-barrelling on the scrap heap”, June 2). The easiest way to that is to introduce proportional representation, because it is based on multi-member electoral districts. Pork-barrelling is simply not doable and it does not happen in the 90 countries that use PR. But this is not the only advantage. PR results in a co-operative political culture instead of the combative, adversarial system that creates two opposing parties. Klaas Woldring, Pearl Beach

Your editorial implies that electoral pork-barrelling actually persuades sufficient numbers of voters in targeted seats to suddenly support the money-giver. It’d be nice if politicians gave us a little credit for being above that kind of blatant bribery. Any last-minute election largesse, especially from a government on the skids, I treat with suspicion, cynicism and a form of gratitude that inclines me to reward the other side, just to be perverse. I suspect I’m by no means the only one, and we all know that everything has an eventual cost. Forget the Romans’ “bread and circuses” and remember the Greeks’ Trojan horse. Adrian Connelly, Springwood

Kenneth Clark once famously said that whereas he could not define civilisation, he thought he could recognise it. Similarly, most voters might not be able to define pork-barrelling in its many manifestations, but they showed they can recognise it by consigning the Coalition to the opposition benches. To minimise the rot, a stronger ICAC such as that Helen Haines has proposed is certainly needed. It might not be the perfect solution as Barry Ferguson cogently argues (″⁣New corruption body won’t stop the rorts″⁣, June 2) but, if allied to a disinterested public service which eschews partisan politics and acts with regard to national wellbeing, it will be a considerable improvement.
Ron Sinclair, Windradyne

Off the rails

In the hype about infrastructure spending from the NSW state government, I can’t recall any mention of anything west of the Blue Mountains (“Perrottet’s $600m light rail pledge”, June 2). Well, allegedly some new XPT replacements have been ordered, but will they work? For decades, successive state governments have dismantled and destroyed NSW’s extensive rail network. Freight now speeds around the state on increasingly heavy trucks collapsing roads under their weight. Passenger rail services exist, but they are hopeless. So many buses where there used to be trains. Limited timetables. The XPT trains are an archaic disgrace in operation and presentation. More people need to travel to Sydney – for example, for medical services – thanks to the enduring neglect of the regions. However, it’s time-consuming and inefficient due to inadequate timetabling of services. Think what real fast train services to major centres (Bathurst, Armidale, Dubbo, Wagga, etc) and reopening of closed lines (eg, to Cowra) could do for services and facilities out here. Peter Thompson, Grenfell

What jubilee?

To become a permanent member of the ACT Teaching Service, I was required to swear an oath of allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia. When I expressed my surprise and said that there was no such requirement to teach in England, where the monarch resided, the public servant replied flatly: “Just read it. There’s no one here and I’m not listening.” Forty or so years later, this retired servant of the Queen of Australia observes a distinct absence of local jubilee jollity. If, as a few would have us believe, the monarch offers an essential stability above the fray of politics, where are the ceremonies to celebrate this, and where are the spontaneous street and fancy dress parties? Could it be that this cultural indifference underlines the fact that we believe in ruling ourselves? John Oakley, Wollongong

School inequality

The gap between most and least disadvantaged students is hardly surprising (“Gap widening for poorest students”, June 2). COVID isolation revealed the extent of the digital divide as well as the importance of face-to-face teaching for many students. As with so many of the current challenges facing the NSW government, this is about investing in our schools now for the future benefit of our students. Philip Cooney, Wentworth Falls

The original Gonski report’s objective was to design an equitable school funding system, one that ensures that differences in educational outcomes are not the result of differences in wealth, income, power or possessions. After nine years of conservative government, we face the reality that 80 per cent of the federal education budget goes to non-government schools that only enrol about 33 per cent of students. Forget blaming the kids, teachers and parents of the public system and start with the inequity in funding that Gonski recognised 10 years ago. John Black, Anna Bay

Lost voice

Ray Warren was the best rugby league caller of them all (“Rugby League loses its voice”, June 2). His ability to let the pictures do the talking was illustrated during a Manly game when Noel “Crusher” Cleal was barraging his way through one would-be tackler after another. Warren paused for a moment before simply adding, “look at this big man”. Rabs, we will miss you. Ian Fowler, Asquith

Ray Warren might be “the voice” of TV rugby league but to me the booming voice of Darryl Eastlake was the voice of State of Origin. Pasquale Vartuli, Wahroonga

Calling the tune

With the mention of restaurant noise (Letters, June 2), it reminds me of an occasion where my husband politely asked the waitress if the music could be turned down as the volume stopped any conversation between us. The waitress returned and apologetically told us she was not allowed to turn it down – the music had to be that loud so the chef and kitchen staff could still hear it. Joy Paterson, Mount Annan

Cure for GP shortage

Your correspondent (Letters, June 2) listed several ways to save our much needed GPs from extinction. Perhaps their huge HECS debt could be waived if they were prepared to come to rural areas for at least five years? Robyn Lewis, Raglan

With the shortage of GPs, we could revert to leeches. After all, with all the rain that we have had, there is no shortage of them. Graham Jarvis, Epping

The wave now arriving

I agree that the view from Circular Quay station is world-class (Letters, June 2). But even more spectacular is the ocean view from Bombo railway station, one stop north of Kiama – possibly the only surf beach in the world with a railway station. John Swanton, Coogee

The digital view
Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on
Albanese has big portfolios to decide and no shortage of experienced ministers
From Bernie de Vries: ″⁣It doesn’t need to be us or them. The best way to protect Australian interests is to have the best possible relationships with other countries in the Pacific rather than obsessing about their relationships with third parties. Wong is building these ‘best possible relationships’.″⁣