climate change drought farm

Another week, another trove of hot takes. Over the weekend, Crikey readers took on the call for state action on climate policy (as written by Bernard Keane), reacted to the concept of a Peter Costello-spruiked national fund (also Keane), and responded to the politically motivated removal of Carla McGrath (mentioned in Friday’s Media Files, by Emily Watkins).

On the states’ need to act on climate policy

Peter Logan writes: As a farmer, I’m afraid for our future as we have no climate policy, no drought policy and no energy policy. But we have committed to an emissions reduction of 26% by 2030, across all sectors. Yes, farmers and the transport sector must also reduce emissions by 26% because our Federal government is determined to hold the electricity sector to such a low target. By refusing to govern, this government is setting the country up for disaster that too few of us are willing to contemplate.

Wayne Cusik writes: If I recall correctly, Labor took an emissions intensity scheme to the last election as its official policy. They only considered the NEG because it was the only possible way to have both major parties sign on. The problems with the NEG were many, not the least of which was that many in the Coalition would not sign on. Had Turnbull bothered to properly negotiate with Labor, and relent on details they wanted changed, then he could have probably legislated the package — not enough government MPs would have crossed the floor to oppose it. Now that the NEG is a smouldering wreck, I can’t see why Labor would bother with it in the future.

On Peter Costello’s “national fund” 

Fiona Powell writes: My dad told me the story that when he started work in the 1950s, the government deducted the tax from his wages identifying one amount to go into the consolidated fund and another amount that went into a separate fund that was to pay for pensions. At that time pensions were not means tested. Somewhere along the line the funds were merged on the basis that it would reduce administrative costs (but of course everyone would still get their pensions). Time passed and means testing of pensions was introduced. Ultimately my dad didn’t qualify for a pension and he never tired of telling me how the government ripped him off for all the years he had contributed into the national pension fund. We should never, ever entertain the possibility of letting the government get its hands on that money. Give me an industry super fund any day.

John McCombe: Peter Costello is the most over-rated person in Australian public life, gapping even Martin Ferguson. He was hanger-on and a minor player in student politics as well as the Dollar Sweets dispute, as junior to Alan Greenberg QC. He was the lucky mug Treasurer for a decade as Treasury continually underestimated revenue during a resources boom. He then set about to sabotage future tax revenue with his giant superannuation loophole for people who would never ever be candidates for the Age Pension so that they would save for their own retirement. He repeatedly bottled any leadership challenge to John Howard and when finally presented with the leadership, this time in opposition, he recognised it as the toughest job in politics thus way beyond his over-hyped abilities, and walked away. Unable to win any sort of job in the private sector he finally begged his way into Future Fund chairmanship.

On the Press Council voting out Carla McGrath

Alan Kennedy writes: I joined the AJA, now the MEAA, in 1966 and served in various roles in the union, including federal president. I am a holder of a gold badge presented in recognition of my service to the union. 

I am now resigning from the union following its decision to support the removal of Carla McGrath from the Press Council, a body I served on for nearly 10 years. The appointment of Ms McGrath was initially supported by the MEAA but after the usual bullying bullshit campaign against Ms McGrath led by News Ltd, the MEAA rolled over and joined in.

Ms McGrath’s “crime” was serving on Getup. News Ltd has confected outrage against Getup, because it is effective at campaigning in elections and because it dares to challenge the gospel according to Rupert. Ms McGrath was just one member of the Council and according to News Ltd was ineligible because of her Getup link. Every counselor brings a background that could be construed as a conflict of interest but the diverse views of the counselors dilutes any perceived bias. But not in Ms McGrath’s case it seems. That my union should take part in this bullying, spiteful campaign is disgusting. have tried to contact the union president Marcus Strom but there is just silence. I note many woman members are prominent in #metoo campaigns and violence against women and bullying in the workplace.

But on this they are silent.

This silence is shameful. 

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