student climate change protest sydney rally scott morrison
Students rally in Sydney against climate inaction (Image: AAP/Dan Himbrechts)

Readers took their time to rip into two particularly pressing issues over the weekend. The first was the government railing against Australian students walking out of classrooms to participate in climate protests. The second was on the government’s attempt to exempt themselves from their own anti-encryption policy (which readers found to be a troubling double standard, to say the least). Elsewhere, we received responses to our latest Crikey Deep Dive series, questioning the role of the ABC.

On students’ right to protest climate inaction

Klewso writes: These poor beknighted, selfish, brainwashed children — leading the way, only interested in looking after the world we’re going to leave them as a result of our political decisions? Why can’t they be more constructive and rally for Adani or something that turns a profit for donors? 

Dog’s Breakfast writes: Mature adults in the classrooms, petulant children in the parliament. Generational change can’t come soon enough. Viva la revolution.

Richard Shortt writes: If any group in society is entitled to stand up and demand action on the issue of climate change, it’s kids. They inherit the result of our generation’s actions. If we get it wrong (and I tend to think we are getting it wrong) they inherit challenges beyond many we have ever faced. Go for it’s kids. Demand serious thought, serious policy and serious acknowledgement of your right to demand!

On the government’s encryption double standards

zut alors writes: How many of our federal MPs are IT savvy? One suspects the majority of the older MPs are capable of doing a Google search and sending an email (possibly even with an attachment) but, as to bringing expertise to this proposed legislation, a seven year old would likely run rings around them. Politicians cannot possibly grasp the broad ramifications of this encryption malware technology which — like releasing a genie from the bottle — cannot be undone. Until recently a significant percentage of federal MPs were sufficiently thick not to know their own nationality — now this naive gaggle dares to play with fire by interfering with our last vestiges of privacy. Keep their mitts off the matches.

AR writes: The journos shouldn’t be too cute decrying the pollies exempting themselves from this latest power grab. I doubt that many here have forgotten that they soon shut up about the original metadata legislation that began this blindfolded race to the cliff edge when promised exemption for the sacred Fourth Estate. Wasn’t true, and neither will the pollies really be exempt — spooks are spooks and are a law unto themselves. They already have the means — give them legal cover and it’s goodnight.

On the ABC and climate change

Andrew Glikson, Earth and paleoclimate scientist, writes: For a public broadcaster repeatedly declaring, in the course of their programs, that they are “the most trusted news source” the following raises eyebrows:

  • Rarely are ABC reports of extreme weather events, such as cyclones and wildfires, accompanied with indications of the scientific consensus regarding the inherent relationships between these events and global warming.
  • The ABC News program Matter of Fact claims to give “Australian audiences the essential context they need to separate facts from fiction on the important issues of the day”. As far as I’m aware, this program features a paucity of science-based facts. In particular, this relates to warnings by climate and health scientists regarding the extreme shift in the state of the atmosphere-ocean system, threatening to render large parts of the Earth uninhabitable, flood delta and low river valleys and lead to a collapse of the marine food chain.
  • The ABC Insiders program claimed to be “Australia’s flagship political discussion”, but often contains only minor news items of little consequence for the survival of future generations and nature.
  • An open letter to the Prime Minister signed by 200 scientists and communicated to the ABC has been ignored, despite reminders.

Send your comments, corrections, clarifications and cock-ups to [email protected]. We reserve the right to edit comments for length and clarity. Please include your full name.

Peter Fray

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