Roberts more danger than fool

James Burke writes: Re. “Maiden Malcolm Roberts runs with anti-Semitic myths” (yesterday). Thanks Bernard Keane, for focusing on the anti-Semitic overtones of Senator Malcolm Roberts’ conspiracy theories. A notable feature of recent political commentary has been the downplaying of fascist infiltration of mainstream politics, even when it presents a political or journalistic opportunity. For example, Nick McKim’s social media stunt, which you featured on Tuesday, turned Roberts’ conspiracy theories into a joke by referring to the Illuminati. Roberts’ actual talk of “cabals” of “international banking families” is more sinister than hilarious.

This stuff would not have been tolerated in the late 20th century. Now it’s mainstream, with much of the media and the Coalition backbenches promoting ideas and language previously restricted to the extremist fringe. Andrew Bolt attacks Roberts’ conspiracy theorising, but it’s not far removed from the theory of a “climate change hoax” designed by an international cabal of scientists.

Labor and the Greens seem incapable of comprehending let alone criticising this development, just as they ignored Tony Abbott’s sucking up to Japanese ultra-nationalism. (When he buttered up Shinzo Abe by praising the courage of the midget submariners who blew up a hospital ship in Sydney Harbour, I found myself wishing Bruce Ruxton was still around. A sign that things are seriously awry.)

The dangers of SUVs

Valerie Craig writes: Re. “Your SUV is killing people and making roads more dangerous ” (yesterday). I agree with Jason Murphy that SUVs inhibit the drivers of sedan cars from seeing traffic conditions ahead and in an emergency this could lead to many cars being involved in a “nose to tail” collision.  If I’m behind an SUV, I reduce speed in order to obtain some view of the road ahead and to give me emergency stopping room, and that’s when a vehicle from the next lane moves in front of me. Often that vehicle is yet another SUV. I’ve decided that my only option is to buy a prime mover so that I can see what’s ahead!

Tim Stephens writes: These ridiculous tanks are a menace on the roads, a financial drain on their silly owners and environmental disaster areas for the planet. While increases in fuel efficiencies make them seem as they don’t use a lot of fuel, a quick comparison with a smaller vehicle soon shows how hungry they really are. Back in the 70’s we use to laugh at the huge lumbering ‘Yank Tanks’ that the American’s drove, but at least they were only paying a few cents for a gallon of ‘gas’. What excuse do Australians have for buying them…none. It is all driven (excuse the pun) by very clever marketing. Car manufacturers and oil companies love em!

The best solution is to expand the current road weight tax to slug people who must have them and use that money to reduce the sales tax on small fuel efficient cars. The planet will thank us, the congestion on the roads will be reduced and we will have cleaner air and smaller cars will be even cheaper.

Peter Fray

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