Weigh up the cost before you take to the sky again

The Age is trialling new cartoonists for our Monday editorial cartoon. Today’s cartoon is by Megan Herbert, cartoonist, illustrator and children’s book writer based on the Mornington Peninsula. Credit:

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Weigh up the cost before you take to the sky again
As we emerge from lockdown, there is an obvious joy in resuming long missed activities. Among these is the opportunity to travel. However the other global crisis needs to be kept in mind.

It’s heartening to see that airlines are looking to become carbon free, but as your article “Airlines taxiing for carbon-free flight” (Business, 23/10) highlights, significant solutions are probably decades away. During the five years leading up to 2020, emissions from flights rose by 23 per cent.

While systemic government action is needed to combat rising emissions, almost the single biggest action individuals can take is to limit flying. The emissions saved by forgoing one long-haul flight drastically outweigh those saved by recycling, eating less meat and driving an electric vehicle. When contemplating that overseas holiday, please weigh up your short-term pleasure against the future of our children and grandchildren.
Peter Cook, Essendon

My battery has this covered
Perhaps the Minister for Resources needs to learn what his government’s mantra of “technology – not taxes” can actually mean in practical terms.

Of course my solar panel does not work when the sun goes down (to state the bleeding obvious) – but as I write this at 10.30pm after a less-than-sunny October day, my 10 kWh battery is at 67 per cent and is feeding to both the house and the grid. Most mornings we still have more than 20 per cent left in the battery – my latest monthly power bill went from $327.23 (36.24 kWh from the network) for the same time last year to $8.47 (4.63 kWh from the network) after we put our solar system in.

I run power-hungry devices such as my lathe, milling machine and compressor during the day (as well as computers, washing machine, dishwasher, electric kettle and other household appliances) – so the switch to solar and a battery was a no-brainer.

As part of our retailer’s “virtual power plant” we are also contributing to a system that can help to relieve load issues.
David Price, Malvern East

The regions are on board with this
It’s totally disingenuous for the hardliners in the National Party to paint net zero as a regional-versus-city issue.

Regional voters are just as keen to see action on climate change as those in the cities, a fact borne out in a recent MyGov poll.

In my region, coastal flooding, bushfires and native animal extinction are threats that continue to grow in this ever-changing environment. Stop the grandstanding, Barnaby, Bridget and Matt.

When that bastion of conservatism, the National Farmers Federation, has an opposing view, you’ve truly lost the argument.
Matt Dunn, Leongatha

Concerted campaign damaged more than our climate
Lisa Visentin’s article (“Glasgow on the list when News Corp boss met PM”, The Age, 23/10) raises the question of whether readers and viewers of that organisation’s media outlets have been “informed” about global warming or just been fed a predetermined editorial “stance” bolstered by cherry-picked commentary.

Denying readers and viewers access to critical factual information about global warming has been bad enough. But the damaging impact of that organisation’s extended and vehement misreporting has been compounded by its impact on our political system.

By explicitly and implicitly campaigning against carbon emissions control policies, this organisation has helped keep climate change denier parties and politicians in office, while our window for effective action has steadily shrunk.

Now, virtually simultaneously, that organisation’s editors and Scott Morrison have instantly transformed from emissions control action opponents to proponents. Will the consumers of New Corp media be as flexible in changing their opinions and values as the editors and the Prime Minister?
Bill King, Camberwell


AFL should take a stand
I agree with Easton Wood’s stand on the growing normalisation of television advertising for betting (“Wood’s plea: ‘Pull finger out’ on bet ads”, Sport, 24/10).

This generation does not need to be bombarded with these advertisements for betting on sport, which seem to be on all channels at any random times.

Wood is worried that this generation “thinks that’s the way to enjoy the game”.

The AFL should be the first to take a stand and move away from TV ads for betting, which are damaging our youth, and use other forms of sponsorships for its revenue.
Wendy Poulier, Ferntree Gully

It’s time to move on
It is time for the grand prix to move to another Australian city.

It is a noisy and disruptive event that does nothing of value to the Victorian economy. Paid attendance figures are artificially bloated and the true costs are hidden using the usual “commercial in confidence” ruse.

Promoting speed in petrol-driven vehicles is exactly the wrong message for these fraught times. If the event moves to Sydney, the vast majority of Victorians would be indifferent or give a sigh of relief.
It does nothing positive to promote Melbourne as a tourist destination. It certainly does not “put us on the map” as is so often touted.
Peter Barry, Melbourne

Selective concern
I find it surprising how many people expressing concern about the COVID vaccines also have tattoos. Scientific research has shown the potential toxic effects of tattoo ink. In the US, tattoo ink is almost completely unregulated and manufacturers aren’t required to disclose what they put into the inks. Australia does not manufacture tattoo ink.

And in Europe, dozens of tattoo inks have reportedly been withdrawn from markets in the past few years because they have included excessive amounts of arsenic, lead, copper, nickel and cobalt. It seems such people are very selective about what substances they are happy to have in their bodies.
Elizabeth Minter, West End, Qld

A case in point
Ross Gittins offers a useful summary of how the Morrison government manages to combine profligacy and underfunding (“Morrison’s budget report card: could do a hell of a lot better”, Business, 23/10). Despite their reputation as the party of sound finances, analysis has long shown the Liberals are poor economic managers.

Gittins misses one important area that makes his case better than any – public and private school funding. We even have a standard to measure this against, the Schooling Resource Standard, which is the amount a school needs for 80 per cent of its students to reach NAPLAN standards.

Independent and Catholic sectors are already close to this level and in every state will exceed it next year. Public schools – with the vast majority of disadvantaged students with higher learning needs – will under current agreements reach just 95 per cent … in 2029.

Public school funding is shared by the Commonwealth and the states, but the Morrison government has capped its contributions while funnelling extra billions to private schools to sweeten the new structure.

Education Minister Alan Tudge boasts his government is spending more than ever on schools. It’s not going where it’s needed – and that is a national scandal.
Nic Barnard, Fitzroy North

It amounts to nothing
During the past four years we have had the Panama Papers, the Paradise Papers and, more recently, the Pandora Papers.

Sadly all the exacting investigative journalism that went into three releases has and will amount to zilch, as those who have been exposed to taking advantage of the enticing gaps in the international tax structure are the only ones who can close the gaps.

So, clearly nothing will change and those who take advantage of the gaps will just be deemed to following the law. It basically means that the releases have had no impact at all.
Rob Park, Surrey Hills

How can they do this?
The Australian Medical Association’s code of ethics requires doctors to “provide care impartially and without discrimination on the basis of age …. creed, religion, ethnic origin, gender … sexual orientation … social standing or any other similar criteria”.

So why is any doctor allowed to discriminate against a woman who wishes to terminate a pregnancy? Surely by refusing to provide the appropriate referral, prescription or other medical care, they have failed to be impartial and instead have actively discriminated against their patient (“Abortion counselling surge”, The Age, 22/10).

If the AMA is unwilling to allow their Victorian branch to even appear to “suggest COVID deniers and anti-vaxxers should be denied medical treatment” because it breaches their code of ethics (“Doctors will still treat the unvaccinated”, The Age, 23/10), why has it allowed some doctors to actively discriminate against women who attempt to exercise their legal right to choose whether or not to terminate their pregnancy.

his is not merely a matter of words, but illegal actions that actively do harm to female patients.
Anne Rutland, Brunswick West

It’s not how he looked to us
We were very disappointed to read Kate Halfpenny’s assessment of Premier Daniel Andrews at the daily COVID press conferences as an “angry dad” who “lectured and hectored” (“Release is a bittersweet thing”, Comment, 23/10).

We have always found Mr Andrews’ presentations to be very informative, patient and encouraging. He has fully explained on a daily basis the need for restrictions and for Victorians to get vaccinated. He has always been respectful of questions, and invites the journalists in attendance to exhaust all of their queries.

We believe that the Premier, supported by his ministers and health officials, has played a big part in Victorians holding together through a very difficult period.
Andrew and Marie Trembath, Blackburn

Don’t take this for granted
Following the revelation that the Morrison government prevented crossbench members from voting remotely to support the Speaker’s recommendation to refer Christian Porter’s secret donations towards his legal costs for closer examination, combined with the shutting down of debate and the breach of a 120-year-old convention, Australians could be forgiven for thinking ours is more like a dictatorship than a parliamentary democracy.

After the scenes in Washington on January 6, we should be very concerned at these attacks on democratic process by a government that appears to be falling apart.

As US voters discovered, the freedom that is founded on democratic institutions should not be taken for granted.
Hans Paas, Castlemaine

Strength and dignity
Thank you, Michelle Skewes, for the bravery you have shown in telling your story (“How Michelle saved her own life”, Insight, 23/10).

I hope knowing your abuser will be in prison for years to come brings you peace and a sense of closure.

May your community and loved ones surround you and your children, hold you up and hail your strength and resilience after what you’ve been through and the dignity you’ve shown while bringing this person to justice.
Amber McQueen, Brunswick East

Businesses need to …
On Friday, my husband went to the barber, and when he got home I asked how the vaccination verification process went. I was very angry to be told they didn’t check and he was too uncomfortable to raise the issue.

If businesses don’t want to comply, then they need to put up a sign informing customers. These businesses are not respecting my right to choose which places I feel are safe enough to attend.
Anne Maki, Alphington

… declare their policy
Your correspondent (“Sorry, you’re unwelcome”, Letters, 23/10), commenting on cafe owners turning away undocumented potential customers, asks if there is more sensible solution to this.

Yes there is: get vaccinated, carry and willingly show your certificate, and the embarrassment to the cafe owner disappears.
Jan Newmarch, Oakleigh

Free these people
As many of us luxuriate in regained freedoms to dine out, greet friends and enjoy gatherings of relatives please give some thought to the refugees who are gaining nothing but further detention.

There is talk of attracting migrants to fill labour shortages. How about releasing and employing refugees who have languished in various places of internment for up to eight years?

These people deserve permanent visas and, where necessary, rehabilitation, to resume lives tragically abused by our government.

Let us make amends for all our past cruelties.
Gael Barrett, Balwyn North

Flexibility’s flip side
The job “flexibility” reforms associated particularly with John Howard gave the gains to the employer, notably in job insecurity and diminished wage bargaining rights for employees.

Following COVID and the work-from-home experiment, a mini-revolt looms, with employees able to point to an apparent maintenance of productivity accompanied by benefits including getting back the often huge amounts of time normally lost in travel to and from the workplace.

“Flexibility” may suddenly look less attractive to the bosses. It seems to be true after all that what goes round come round.
Tony Haydon, Springvale


Climate change
Barnaby Joyce is playing Atlas and holding everything up.
Peter Johns, Sorrento


Once again the Nationals’ tail is wagging the Liberal dog. The Coalition is just a business arrangement, not a government.
Peter Ramadge, Newport

On global climate action Australia behaves like that stingy guy in the bar who obsessively avoids his turn to shout.
Dennis Richards, Cockatoo

Scott Morrison has his consonants confused: It’s carbon capture, not carbon rapture.
Vivienne Martin, Coburg

Sussan Ley left one threatened species off her list – a politician with courage, compassion and integrity (“At-risk species strategy ‘shameful’”, The Age, 23/10).
Jenny Bone, Surrey Hills

What we need is political will. What we get is political won’t.
Chris Young, Surrey Hills

The “privileges committee”. Rather aptly named.
Gary Sayer, Warrnambool

The best news since the COVID pandemic started (“Nats may quit cabinet if net zero deal fails”, The Age, 23/10).
Les Aisen, Elsternwick

Why should I conscientiously wear my mask on a suburban bush track where I meet no one, when foolish people are mask-less, cheek-by-jowl in Chapel Street ?
Marjorie Humm, Croydon North

Will those who can’t make up their mind about getting “the jab” be given a ″⁣vacillation certificate″⁣?
Kester Baines, Belmont

The corner that anti-vaxxers are painting themselves into is rapidly getting smaller and smaller.
Jon Smith, Leongatha

Rodney Syme, a visionary Australian. RIP
Innes Hutchison, Highton

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