Barnaby Joyce’s bizarre renewable energy proposal
, or register or subscribe to save articles for later. Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time. Farmers naturally like the extra revenue derived from lease/rent payments for renewable technology being established in rural area (“Climate wars 2.0”, February 11). Now the so-called champions of the bush, Barnaby Joyce and David Littleproud, want these renewables taken away from rural areas and set up in the cities, using existing infrastructure. This would apparently see city folk, as opposed to country folk, reaping the benefits. This seems a bizarre proposition for Joyce and Littleproud to be championing. Unless of course, this crusade also has something to do with the fact that it is financially advantageous (cheaper) for big investors to use existing city infrastructure. Why would aiding big investors at the sake of farmers interest Joyce and Littleproud, our bush champions? Warren Marks, Hill Top The Joyce is yours. Like many, I have cringed watching the Nationals-led revolt against renewables and wondered what is driving this behaviour. Joyce et al are obviously seeking relevance and trying to keep mining alive. It is the exploitation of people’s fear that is both disappointing and expected. The wellbeing of the whole nation is secondary to personal gain, selfishness, NIMBYism and an ideology of “I don’t care what it is I’m against it”. The divisions in our “lucky country” are getting bigger and more entrenched. I don’t see anyone who can bridge these gaps and pull us out of this ideological quagmire. William Perry, Mount Keira The National Party doesn’t seem to mind the proliferation of mining in rural areas, so what exactly is their point about wind farms (Letters, February 10)? Wind and solar farms have the potential to provide farmers with much-needed supplementary incomes and it seems that only a minority of rural people don’t want them in or next door to their often very considerable “backyards”. Look around, thousands of city dwellers are already sharing the energy load by installing rooftop solar panels. Peter Campbell, Potts Point I want to see fossil fuels replaced by renewables as soon as possible. But I am not totally unsympathetic to those who fear their world is being turned into a giant solar/wind farm. The one thing we never discuss in this debate is consumption. When I was growing up people had few electrical gadgets or devices and many people couldn’t afford a car. Now we can’t live without every conceivable thing that uses energy. We must talk about energy consumption and either reduce it or make it much more efficient. Garry Feeney, Kingsgrove While discredited politicians make distracting noises, the forces of nature are a deafening chorus; such as research reported by CNN showing the North Atlantic Ocean circulation grinding to a halt with disastrous consequences. Joyce and others play attention-seeking games with no apparent understanding of global warming, damaging our belated shift of mindset on climate response at the federal level. We need the Labor government to come out fighting for truth and responsibility, before the conservative press amplifies this noise from the sideshows of Australian politics. Barry Laing, Castle Cove Joyce has inadvertently discovered a source of renewable energy: plant a National Party politician flat on his back on the footpath and it will create a lot of hot air (“Joyce filmed lying on Canberra street”, February 10). Alicia Dawson, Balmain
Had the government simply done the planning properly and communicated it clearly, there would be no fuss and no fight (“Let’s get behind the Powerhouse Museum vision”, February 10).
We should not back the Powerhouse “restoration” museum when there is so little detail published about what is planned, when it is the same people in charge who let the museum run down, and wanted to see it all demolished and when all we know of the plans for the inside are that they will “reinstate the interior volumes of the heritage power station” and “flexible exhibition space”. These sound like weasel words for “rip out everything built inside to make it a museum and leave it empty”. Sensitive repairs and renovations could be done without emptying out the collection. Moving it will cause damage and decreases the chance much loved displays will ever return. The new “museum” in Parramatta can hardly be called such, more of an events and commercial venue than a real museum. We fear the Powerhouse is slated for the same fate. Thomas Walder, Cherrybrook Your editorial urges us to “get behind the Powerhouse Museum’s vision”. What vision? The last plans the public saw involved the demolition of the award-winning Wran extension with a building erected on one of the few areas of public open space in Ultimo. We have had promises galore, but so far no assurances that the remaining fragile exhibits will be kept in place and protected while renovations take place; that, once renovated, it will be operated by professional museum curators as a Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. No-one says the neglected structures need renovating, but those experts who ran the Powerhouse successfully over many years say it can be kept open and renovated in stages, as was the Australian Museum. If the number of people farewelling this beloved institution over the past couple of weekends is anything to go by, displays of Australia’s early innovation and industry continue to be popular, as well as the latest in technology. Let’s see the plans before closing the museum. Elizabeth Elenius, Pyrmont Yes, the Powerhouse desperately needs some TLC but the images of the new refurbishment do not do justice to the iconic Sulman award-winning 1988 structures in their setting. The reduction in audience numbers has a lot to do with a singular focus on contemporary art installations and abandoning family and generalist audiences. The original government architect has offered a more economical approach to refurbishment to international best practice for museum environmental standards. Unfortunately, he continues to be ignored by a board that has no museological experts. Judith Coombes, Lilyfield It is so right to blame powerful oligopolies for price gouging (“Greedy businesses deserve part of blame for cost of living crisis”, February 10). Once upon a time, the government had countervailing institutions in place, the Commonwealth Bank, Qantas, TAA and Medibank, competing with private profit-making firms and keeping them honest. It is time for a return to a modest bit of socialism. Andrew Macintosh, Cromer Ross Gittins nails the seven reasons that businesses deserve part of the blame for the cost of living crisis. With due respect to the guru, I would like to add an eighth. It’s what I think of as “manufactured monopoly”. That is, retail businesses make themselves effective monopolies by ensuring that the same product is not available elsewhere. I first became aware of the practice some years ago when shopping for a mattress. Although there are only a few major mattress manufacturers, the names of the models change between the major retailers meaning that price comparisons are impossible. A major hardware retailer claims to have the lowest prices and it manages this by ensuring it has exclusive rights to many products or at least models. It can then confidently advertise that it will beat a competitor’s price by 10 per cent. This retailing trick effectively turns the retailer into a monopoly and allows it to have a free hand with prices. Colin Grundy, Warrawee
Your op-ed says Donald Trump’s support is rising among well-educated Republicans driven by self-interest (“Why ‘rational’ voters can redeliver Trump to power”, February 10). So Trump’s cheaper petrol “trumps” his many transgressions? Like his 91 felony charges, his proven attempt to overturn a democratic election, his corruption, his use of government office for personal financial benefit, his conflicts of interest, cronyism and patronage, his stacking of the Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs Wade, removing the rights of women? His sexism, racism and xenophobia? One would think that a rational person, however conservative, might consider all aspects and conclude that another Trump presidency is a dangerous prospect. Alison Stewart, Riverview I don’t know that Joe Biden’s opponents will gain much traction from deriding his memory and age. At the time he was giving the interviews to the investigation who elicited the damning comment, he was probably the same age that Trump is now. Then you have the number of times during his ongoing legal trials that Trump has suffered numerous lapses of memory as to where he was or what he said at certain times. Brian Collins, Cronulla Joe Biden says his memory is fine: he cannot remember the last time his memory failed him. Ed Gaykema, Kiama How can this possibly be? The US is a country of 350 million people, yet it has such a paucity of choice in the current presidential race. Just two candidates: one a fabulist without peer and the other a decent man sadly exhibiting frailty. The US a “leader of the free world”? I think not. Maureen Moss, Beecroft Biden, although not perfect, would be much more preferable in the White House than Trump. If the Democrats who are concerned about the ageist flak he’s getting are looking for an electable substitute candidate, they could do a lot worse than Australia’s current US ambassador, Caroline Kennedy. Previously the US ambassador to Japan, she has a laudable range of qualifications and past occupations. Most of her professional life has been in “law, politics, education reform, and charitable work. She has also acted as a spokesperson for her family’s legacy, especially that of her father, and co-authored two books with Ellen Alderman on civil liberties”. Anne Ring, Coogee
Australia’s education sector, ranked as the country’s third-largest export earner, generates about $25 billion annually through the attendance of foreign students in our universities and colleges (“International students turned away in thousands”, February 10). While the substantial reduction in student immigration may have repercussions on this revenue stream, there is clear potential for a positive outcome in terms of improved housing affordability. Although student accommodation may not be the primary focus for most owner-occupiers in the property market, a decline in demand in this sector is expected to have a cascading effect, leading to a reduction in rents. In light of this, in addition to curtailing student visas, it is crucial that the government prioritise the entry of skilled workers capable of addressing the shortage in our building trades. This strategic shift is preferable over admitting wealthy immigrants, whose presence may further contribute to escalating property prices. John Kempler, Rose Bay Our Sri Lankan friend paid $659 for a Subclass 500 Student Visa application mid last year and was declined in two days without cause. She had already spent a fortune on medical examination and health insurance. Did the Department of Home Affairs refund the Student Visa Application Charge of $659.10? No. Surely we should do this for refused applicants? Julius Grafton, Birchgrove Finnair is reported to have invited passengers to weigh themselves before boarding, in order to have a better idea of the weights carried in the aircraft (“European airline asks passengers to weigh themselves before boarding”, February 10). This is a common practice used for small planes. When I visited Elcho island recently, the pilot stood beside the plane, with a set of scales and a clipboard, and recorded each passenger’s weight before we could board. We had to have our hand luggage, and water bottle, on the scales with us so he knew exactly what weight he would have on board. On one flight we all had to empty our water bottles, or choose to leave them behind, as we were collectively quite close to the weight limit. Such is life. Mia David, Wollongong
Former premier Dominic Perrottet is talking about negative gearing (Letters, February 10). Could he be making a run for federal parliament soon? Neil Donovan, Beecroft Julia Baird is right: while King Charles’ condition is something for him and his family to deal with, secrets about our human condition serve to “irrationally” hide the very struggles that are common to us all (“Charles cannot be our pin-up for pain,” February 10). Unfortunately, our love of idolising people in the spotlight is to blame for the modern tendency not “to see them as human” and to look to them (royals, celebrities, etc) for some kind of perverse “permission” to be open with our own health issues. Kerrie Wehbe, Blacktown Baird argued that details of King Charles’s cancer should be kept private, then went on to list the possible types of cancer. So much for respecting the royals’ privacy. For her information, even early-stage bladder cancer can come back after successful treatment requiring lifelong surveillance, so it’s more than a nuisance. Having disclosed that he had cancer, it made no sense for Charles to keep the type of cancer secret. He could have avoided the ongoing speculation and discussion. Graham Lum, North Rocks
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