Yes it’s hot, but experience nature if you want to save it

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Credit: Illustration: Matt Golding

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I encourage Wendy Syfret, (“Turning up the heat on summer feelings”, 5/12) and other parents of young children, to spend as much time as possible outdoors, in nature, with them. And go to climate rallies, including the ones Tim Winton might have meant with his exhortation to start “breaking some shit” (“Author Tim Winton lashes oil and gas industry’s ‘crime against humanity’,” 22/11).
It is important that our children know the feel of grass, a running creek, cool and warm breezes, and birdsong, and that their family loved them enough to show up and demand their protection.
Lesley Walker, Northcote

Immediate steps
Climate impacts are here now. Communities need to be made aware of the risks through hazard risks mapping of areas exposed to climate disasters as suggested by Natural Hazards Research Australia and Suncorp (“Calls intensify to move people living in flood, fire-prone areas”, 2/12).
Every step we take to help communities prepare for now unavoidable climate impacts secures a safer future and builds resilience, protecting people and country.
Vicky Ellmore, Hurstbridge

First priorities
According to the most recent Resolve poll, some voters have swung to the Liberal Party purportedly in response to a perceived sense of threat to their security both physical and economic (“Voters backing Dutton on security”, 5/12). They have been misled.
In its report, Climate Security Upfront, the Australian Security Leaders Climate Group led by retired Admiral Chris Barrie stated, “Climate risk must be the first priority for the government, whether from security, emissions-reduction policy, budget priority or international relationship perspectives.” At present Labor’s policies and initiatives to reduce domestic CO2 emissions, while still not in keeping with the science, are measurably better than the Coalition’s who distract with the nuclear option.
The government, in alliance with the progressives on the crossbench, needs to set the political agenda and not be caught responding to the populist “otherings” of the Coalition.
Jennifer Smithers, Ashburton

Nuclear ambitions
Those who trumpet French President Emmanuel Macron’s call to nuclearise the world often fail to mention the fact that the French government through its 100 per cent owned EDF Energy company is the largest builder of nuclear power plants in the world. They are currently building the Hinkley Point C power plant in England (with cost overruns of $5 billion plus at this stage). They have also built identical plants in Finland and China (the latter had troubles that stalled the building for 12 months) that had huge overruns in costs too.
Bear in mind the comments that Naoto Kan, the prime minister of Japan made at the time of the Fukushima disaster that nuclear power will never be an entirely safe option. EDF Energy has been a huge drag on French taxpayers, something with which Australians have some experience of with the cancelled French submarine contract.
Rob Park, Surrey Hills

Compulsory viewing
My wife and I have been watching the latest of David Attenborough’s truly amazing nature programs Planet Earth III. This should be compulsory viewing to all those climate sceptics around the world, to show them what could be lost in the natural world to future generations if continuing climate changes keep happening. Also the powers that be in all heavy industrialised nations and governments worldwide should see this program and rather than say they will do something in the future, actually start doing something in the present because the future might be too late.
Alan Leitch, Austins Ferry, Tas


Dealing with hostility
It’s unfortunate that Jacinta Nampijinpa Price did not have the courage of her convictions on the matter of the referendum, as she refused many interviews (“Price rejected 52 requests to speak on ABC about Voice”, 5/12). Nor apparently did others from the No campaign. She says she was afraid of a hostile interviewer.
First Nations people could give some tips on dealing with hostility, which they have experienced since settlement. To a much lesser extent, supporters of the Yes campaign experienced high levels of hostility too.
Jan Marshall, Brighton

Rightly rejected
One can only commend Senator Jacinta Price for her many rejections for interviews with journalists from the ABC. Even though our national carrier is supposed to be apolitical, Price has learnt the organisation is “anything but”.
Barrie Dempster, Balwyn

Favoured networks
Jacinta Price rejected 52 interview requests with the ABC leading up to the Voice to Parliament referendum, saying interviewers on ABC programs were “hostile” towards her. Another view is that the ABC interviewers wouldn’t give her a soft interview when compared to how she was questioned by interviewers on her favoured networks.
Garry Meller, Bentleigh

Relative threat
About 40 per cent of prisoners return to prison within two years, Australian Productivity Commission figures show. In its approach to laws for immigration detainees (“Freed violent sex offender gets indecent assault charge”, 5/12) the opposition is depicting non-citizens as being more likely to be dangerous reoffenders because three of the 148 recently released detainees were again arrested (one for cannabis possession).
Is Opposition Leader Peter Dutton seriously suggesting ministers should resign because offenders who have served their time are being freed to continue their lives? Or are we to believe that non-citizens are somehow more of a threat to Australians and should be permanently detained? Dutton, a former copper, should try to see this matter more humanely and rationally.
Ray Brindle, Burwood

Courage of convictions
In 2018 Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert was convicted of spying in Iran and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment. In November 2020 she was released and returned to Australia after serving 804 days of her sentence.
The federal government is currently introducing legislation that allows judges to detain someone on the basis of a foreign conviction so that they can re-imprison asylum seekers who were in indefinite detention. If the government is going to jail asylum seekers on the basis of sometimes dubious foreign convictions why wouldn’t this principle also apply to all Australians convicted overseas? If foreign convictions are used to put someone behind bars, should Moore-Gilbert’s Iranian conviction stand and she be re-imprisoned and serve out what’s left of her sentence?
Peter Martina, Warrnambool

Policy on the run
The Mornington Peninsula Shire Council’s failure to inform residents and ratepayers about the introduction of paid parking at Flinders Pier (“Pay to play on peninsula as beach parking fees tested”, 5/12) is a serious oversight.
Furthermore, council’s pricing regime based on city beaches in highly populated areas, suggests that policy is being made on the run. While accepting that council needs extra revenue, little or no thought has been given to older beachgoers who may not use phone apps that are now required to park at the Flinders Pier; the cost of beach parking for low-income families enjoying a day out; and the economic impact on small businesses in Flinders as visitors pivot to those beaches on the peninsula that offer free parking.
And while passive users of the foreshore now need to pay, owners of boats and jet skis are still entitled to park for free on the Flinders foreshore under Victoria’s Better Boating policy that exempts vehicles with trailers at all public boat ramps across the state. Mornington Peninsula Shire Council does many things well but the idea of paid parking at Flinders Pier is not one of them.
Charles Reis, chairperson, Save Flinders Pier Campaign

Royalty payments
As subjects of King Charles III we now need to pay to visit Mornington Peninsula beaches, so we should apply the same “user pays” principle to fund the royal visit … say $35 for a glimpse of the King, $15 for a glimpse of the Queen? Consultants can (for a large fee) advise the market rate for a handshake, a chat or an arvo cuppa and cakes.
The visit also provides the opportunity to market test the King’s personal loyalty to his subjects, so he should be given the opportunity to publicly bid sponsorship for the King Charles III Melbourne Cup or King Charles III AFL grand final.
Ian Gould, Muckleford

Market dominance
The upcoming parliamentary inquiry into price gouging by the major supermarkets (“Minister has a bone to pick with supermarkets”, 5/12), would do well to look at the whole chain of production of farm goods. A prime example of unfair pricing has been the recent price of lamb which has “gone through the floor”, the farmers are struggling to make a living, yet we have seen relatively minor savings of this product in the supermarket.
There are many different methods of price gouging and the dominance of supermarkets over primary producers is one of them.
Phil Mackenzie, Eaglemont

City’s lungs
Golf courses, both public and private, provide green spaces/parklands throughout cities – they provide “breathing spaces” for citizens, and refuges for birdlife in particular. As Melbourne grows, the demand for recreational parkland will intensify. The loss of open green space to new housing and development should be seen as a calamity – the process is irreversible and a demerit to Melbourne’s claim as a highly liveable city.
The previous golf course, Eastern, in Doncaster has gone; the old Kingswood golf course in Dingley Village is under threat of housing development, and now the former Yarra Valley Country Club is in the firing line (“Pleas for a ruling on ex-golf club project”, 5/12). If the solution to a lack of housing is to infill parklands with new houses then we have seriously got it wrong.
James Reiss, Abbotsford

Intelligent design
If planning regulations (or lack thereof) are to ride roughshod over local councils and residents to squeeze in thousands of people into existing suburbs, we are going to lose most of our gardens and trees. This is the last thing we need if we are to become resilient in the face of climate change. We need intelligent designs to ensure that our cities do not become unliveable, and developers, as a rule, do not look at the bigger picture when profits are at risk. Unsustainable population growth is destroying the environment we need to enhance and sustain our wellbeing, as well as dismantling our democratic processes.
Jennie Epstein, Little River

Too many males
While it’s always interesting to hear of books that might be good reading, Jason Steger’s list of recommended books (“Read your way through Christmas”, Age, 5/12) is unbalanced. Of his 13 titles, twice as many are by male authors as by females, despite the fact that more books published are written by women, and women outnumber men as both readers and buyers of books.
Freya Headlam, Glen Waverley

Defence let down
Re: Peter Hartcher’s column (“Chinese subplot spells danger”, 5/12), there is clear evidence that China is a threat to world peace and that Australian governments aren’t prepared to invest in the security of our country. The current government has underspent on defence in the last 12 months by nearly $1 billion, cancelled significant defence projects from satellite systems to armoured personnel carriers, regurgitated the previous government’s announcements as if they were its own, etc. In the government’s own words this is “Australia’s most challenging strategic environment since World War II”. But the reality is the government is doing nothing about it but making motherhood statements.
Shawn French, Greensborough

In the pink
Looking up at the pink star festive decorations in the city yesterday, I wondered if I was in Barbie land. Christmas green and red out, happy holidays in a Pinkdom in?
Glenda Johnston, Queenscliff

Sensible switch
For me, the list of associations with the colour bright red includes: China, Republicans, MAGA, war, warning, prohibition, danger, anger, violence, blood, Coca-Cola, Christmas … The CBD decorators did well to remove Christmas from that list and on to a list including softer concepts such as romance, childhood nostalgia, femininity, health awareness, art deco and flowers. If we must keep Christmas at all, let’s keep it pink.
Ralph Böhmer, St Kilda West

Just call it a day
Test Cricket is as Australian as cold beer and corned beef sandwiches. Both are delights that make summer days watching the cricket memorable and beautiful. Thankfully, these days of Test cricket will be enhanced by the imminent retirement of a cricketer who was the architect of Sandpaper Gate. With him gone, the game will again be wholesome, exciting, and played by people who will rely on guile and skill to win.
Andrew Dowling, Torquay


Credit: Illustration: Matt Golding

The Coalition wants released detainees to do the time before they do the crime.
Bryan Fraser, St Kilda West

So a Senate report wants to teach students how to behave? Here’s an idea! How about setting an example in parliament.
Helen Cole, Glen Waverley

Royal visit
How bizarre that it is headline news that our head of state is going to visit Australia.
Gretel Lamont, Aireys Inlet

King Charles is coming, everyone look busy.
Paul Custance, Highett

The report on the royal visit started “Charles to pay …” I bet he doesn’t.
Adrian Tabor, Point Lonsdale

If we can cancel the Commonwealth Games for financial reasons, then surely we will be able to cancel Charles and Camilla’s visit for the same reason.
Mary Fenelon, Doncaster East

Charles and Camilla’s visit will test the pull of a monarchy without “riz!”
Joan Segrave, Healesville

The parliamentary inquiry into pig welfare reminded me of the old saying regarding bacon and eggs: All in a day’s work for the chook; a lifetime commitment for the pig.
Bruce Crowe, Sunbury

Yes, the big supermarkets should freeze the price of ham, great idea from Senator Murray Watt. Sure to be a big help with Christmas costs. And maybe mince pies too. And bread, and milk, and dishwashing liquid, and cat food, and a few other things?
Tim Durbridge, Brunswick

On the front page of The Age, a great news story (“Message of love as long-lost baby photos find a way home”, 5/12) of baby photos being given to their rightful owners.
Mary Cole, Richmond

Ham will return to your correspondent’s Christmas table when “more humane stunning methods are employed” (Letters, 5/12). How’s this for a suggestion? Go vegetarian.
Linda Fisher, Malvern East

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