queensland adani protest rally anti-protest laws
(Image: AAP/DARREN ENGLAND)

In a bumper edition of Crikey Commentsreaders reached out to remind us that Australian governments are letting us down from north to south. First there’s the increasingly rapid return of draconian Queensland, and the federal government’s blind pursuit of America’s agenda in the Middle East. Elsewhere, Crikey got a missive from Tasmania’s complex renewable energy battlefield, and an institutional response to Bernard Keane on universities’ dependence on foreign students.

On Queensland’s protest laws

Donald Latter writes: It is, of course, an absolute disgrace that new anti-protest laws should be introduced by this servile Queensland government. It hasn’t got the guts to look the truth of the climate crisis in the face, but would rather spew out a pack of lies in a desperate attempt to garner votes from ignoramuses whose only source of information about the climate crisis is from Murdoch’s rag The Courier-Mail. The same motive is behind Labor’s pathetic eulogising of coal mining. It appals me that the future of my children’s generation is in the hands of these morons.

On war in the Middle East 

John Richardson writes: As a staunch defender of the so-called “rules-based international order”, I would have thought that any involvement that Australia might seek to play in keeping the Strait of Hormuz open, while helping to “reduce regional tensions”, would have been best served by us participating in an Iranian-led coalition. Claims by our happy-clapper-in-chief that Australia’s participation was aimed at combating Iran’s actions simply ignores Iran’s rights under international law to defend its territorial waters and sovereignty, while also conveniently ignoring the ongoing acts of naked aggression perpetrated against that country by the US, in the form of illegal economic sanctions. Further, suggestions by our minister for defence that Iran had “retaliated” to the unilateral withdrawal of the US from the nuclear treaty by “resuming uranium enrichment” not only act to mislead the Australian people but also demonstrate the willingness of the Australian government (supported by an equally obsequious opposition) to accept the role of duplicitous lap-dog in response to the shrill demands from the wretched lunatics on the Potomac.

On Tasmanian renewables protest

Ben Marshall, president, Nietta Action Group writes: Guy Rundle doesn’t know the half of it. Many of us locals along the still-secret 170 kilometre transmission line route — all of us pro-renewables — have been fighting UPC Renewable’s project since we found out about it a few months ago. At first we were devastated about the damage the 60 metre swathe and 55 metre towers would do to farms, forest, tourist icons and landholder value. So far, so NIMBY, right? Wrong. The transmission line devastates nine square kilometres of Tassie, in perpetuity; UPC gets the cheapest, quickest connection to the grid and profits, and locals pay in lost land value, amenity and ecosystems that we and the tiny but crucial tourist industry depend upon. Then we found out farmers were being threatened with forced acquisitions; the first used by state governments on behalf of a private company. Various groups formed to protest. We were derided by shock jocks and the two major parties, who never bothered to even listen to us. Local businesses, farms and landholders don’t exist as “stakeholders”, and we know for a fact that companies like UPC tick the box of “community consultation” with no intention of bending to it. Without a plan to accommodate best practice and community benefits, community loses and foreign investors take their profits off-shore. It’s not just the poor bloody birds on Robbins Island getting screwed.

On the foreign student industry

Tania Rhodes-Taylor, vice-principal (External Relations), University of Sydney writes: We’re proud of our international students, and believe they serve a key role in Australia’s foreign policy agenda. It’s important that all our students live, work and study with people from across the globe, as when they leave campus they will need to work with people from across different countries and cultures. Our English language proficiency standards are among the highest university entry standards in Australia, and all our international students — including those that undertake the University of Sydney Foundation Program — have the same academic entry requirement: ATAR and equivalent admissions scores.

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 if you would like to be considered for publication.

Peter Fray

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