Wearing of masks
I am astounded by the number of people who cannot see the benefit in getting back to the basics in fighting this COVID pandemic by simply wearing a mask, all the time, and washing or sanitising your hands regularly. It worked so well when we had no vaccinations and no boosters and now, just because we think we are protected, we are ditching this proven form of protection.
I beg all those who walk about in public to put on a mask (properly) in the hope of turning this pandemic around, at least in Tamworth. Whether inside or out, a mask is by far the best protection method we can take to avoid contracting or spreading COVID. If we all participate then we will benefit by health, by a more buoyant economy, by greater employment, and we might even get this 50th festival happening.
John Fuller, Tamworth
Joyce must be challenged
It's a pity that the Climate 200 and "Voices for" movements do not appear to have a candidate in New England ("Here's who's challenging Joyce so far at the federal election", 12/1).
Barnaby Joyce is the number one obstacle to climate progress in this country and he deserves to be challenged at the ballot box on his beliefs and policies. As last election's runner-up candidate, Adam Blakester, makes clear, the cost of standing is a major obstacle. However, in the forthcoming election, for the first time, Clive Palmer's money is being challenged by Climate 200's fundraising to support independent candidates who "stand for cleaning up politics and following the science on climate change." Young voters of New England deserve the opportunity to vote for a like-minded candidate who shares their concerns about climate change, promotes sustainable agriculture and carbon farming, and is not primarily focused on mining coal and gas as Joyce is.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn
Time to get our priorities right
Novak Djokovic is out of detention after - how many days? Three? Four? His mother is reported to have said that this amounted to torture. Other men being held in the same hotel have been in detention for nine years. The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre estimates that there are 33 people, refugees and asylum seekers, who are being held in the Park Hotel, where Novak Djokovic stayed.
Among them are cousins Mehdi Ali and Adnan Choopani who arrived in Australia from Iran seeking sanctuary when they were 15 and 16. In Iran, they faced systemic oppression as members of the Arab minority group Ahwazi. Mehdi and Adnan showed initiative and enterprise, exactly the qualities we want and need in new settlers, by getting themselves out of danger and across thousands of kilometres to seek a safer future. They are now aged 23 and 24, and starting their 10th year in detention.
Behrouz Boochani, the Kurdish journalist who wrote his multi-award-winning book No Friend But The Mountains while in detention on Manus Island, escaped to New Zealand and is now an associate professor and commentator on refugee issues, recognised with a number of prestigious awards for his work. How many Behrouzes are we holding in limbo, depriving the world of their much-needed skills and experience?
The Australian Human Rights Commission says that hotels are not suitable places of detention because of their lack of dedicated facilities and access to outdoor areas. The Department of Home Affairs replies that hotels are used only for short periods, for detainees in transit. I suspect that Mehdi and Adnan would like to know how long can a short period be, and where they are in transit to.
The 33 men in detention in the Park Hotel are each costing us around $458,000 dollars a year. That amounts to $14.7 million, or enough to pay the salaries of 183 nurses for one year. Time to get our priorities straight, Australia. We can do better than this.
Margaret Hurle, Manilla
Governments are in the past
To say that I was heartened to read Julian Cribb's opinion piece in Friday's paper is to imply that it is somehow a happy or hopeful piece, and it is not. But I was heartened, heartened to read something that many of us have thought, but which I had never read so eloquently before. "You can't halt widlfires by printing money, ... you can't subsidise the sea so it stops rising". Politicians are woefully and wilfully unprepared for the types of challenges that we are now facing; existential crises that affect the biosphere, the economic sphere, and the political sphere all at once.
The disaster of Climate Change is so closely linked to the tragedy of global poverty that they cannot be solved or mitigated in isolation. Yet governments are still in the past when it comes to "solutions", relying on tax breaks, encouraging individualised action, inciting class division, and perpetuating the status quo instead of revolutionising themselves in order to serve us. They hope to keep us so distracted by the circus that we don't see the collapsing Earth around us. Yet every burnt koala, every story of climate refugees, every report of rampant capitalism overthrowing good sense and human compassion reminds us that we do not have time for governments to filibuster and delay. We barely have time for action. And we must act now to preserve all life, especially our own.
Alice Milson, Calala
Off in different directions
Recent reports are indicating that net zero greenhouse gas emissions can be achieved by 2050, but that massive funding will be required to reach that result. Why then is our Federal Coalition Government providing huge sums of money to assist the natural gas industry? Natural gas is a greenhouse gas! The following comments add to the funding confusion.
Expert opinion states that methane is the main component in natural gas and that methane is about 80 times more powerful in relation to warming the atmosphere of the earth than carbon dioxide - over a 20 year period. Concentrations in the atmosphere of methane have more than doubled since the Industrial revolution. The growth rate of methane in the atmosphere now being more than double the average annual growth rate of the last 17 years. It that the Coalition Government is heading in a direction that is most unlikely to bring about net zero greenhouse emissions by 2050.
An extremely important question now emerges given the fact that the Federal Coalition has two partners that often follow different pathways, particularly in relation to climate related matters including the continuing use of fossil fuels gas, coal and oil, will it ever be possible to reach a net zero greenhouse emissions result if the present seemingly incompatible partnership arrangements continue.
Brian Measday, Myrtle Bank, SA