Credit:Illustration: Andrew Dyson
To submit a letter to The Age, email [email protected] Please include your home address and telephone number.
BILLIONAIRES’ SPACE RACE
Let’s call it what it is: pointless and polluting
Jeff Bezos says “you can try to intellectualise it but you really get to understand the fragility of our thin layer of the earth’s fragile atmosphere when you see it with your own eyes”. If we all had to see something to understand it, we would be back in the Stone Age (Flat Earthers excluded?). Thanks, Mr Bezos, for ruining the atmosphere further on your pointless, polluting space tourism. An example of capitalism gone totally wrong.
David Farrands, Box Hill South
Put the money into environmental projects here
The space flight competition between Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson (pictured) and Elon Musk is unfortunate. One of the reasons given for it is that humans will be able to settle on another planet when this one is “screwed up” (or full, I might add). How about these billionaires invest in a future on this planet, including projects to successfully inhabit deserts which cover large areas of it? A setttlement on Mars may not be required.
Jen Gladstones, Heidelberg
Did Branson feel guilt when he looked down at us?
As Richard Branson looked down from the edge of space recently, he would have been able to see the fires raging in California. Perhaps he might have had a pause to reflect on his contribution to global warming through all those Virgin flights that dumped carbon into the atmosphere. He may even have had a guilty feeling about all the money he has squandered chasing his ego-driven, space cowboy dream. It could have been spent planting trees by way of making amends for the damage he has done to this once beautiful planet.
Sid Abraham, Molesworth
When ego overrides all else
Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos could do more for humanity by spending their fortunes here on earth rather than flitting around the edges of space. With such vast fortunes to play with, it is sad that their focus is not on poverty, the plight of millions of refugees and climate change. These issues should be their goals, but ego and the making of money are always the top priority for such men.
Ron Reynolds, Templestowe
Let us nurture and grow this beauty, not destroy it
Michael Hiltzik (Opinion, 10/7) rightly puts paid to any claim by would be billionaire spacefarers that their egotistical flights have any scientific value by stating that Alan Shepard equalled their achievement of sub-orbital space flight 60 years ago. However, he was not the first: Yuri Gagarin far outshone Shepard or Jeff Bezos or Richard Branson or Elon Musk by achieving a full orbital flight several weeks before Shepard’s sub-orbital flight.
I work as a space physicist (currently remotely) at the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt (German Aerospace Center) in Berlin. In the foyer are inscribed Gagarin’s heartfelt words of humility as well as love and deep respect for our beautiful planet uttered during his flight at the height of the Cold War, showing sentiments sorely lacking in any of today’s small ventures: “As I flew around the Earth, I saw how sublime our planet is. Let us nurture and grow this Beauty, rather than destroying her”.
Frau Dr Selene Routley, Blackburn
Floating around, competing with each other forever
How about the billionaires just book a one-way trip to space. They would like it there. No taxes to try to avoid paying. No poor people needing stuff. Just billionaires floating around with each other. Do not come back on our behalf, guys.
Cindy O’Connor, Brunswick
Inflicting more damaging to learn about the damage
Billionaire Jeff Bezos described the earth, from space, as looking “fragile”. How much carbon dioxide did he put into the atmosphere to discover that?
John Heggie, Hastings
Carbon neutral Games
“Fireworks ready as Brisbane 2032 heralds ‘exciting times’ ” (The Age, 21/7). Yay, more pollution. Fireworks add to our global warming with no functional merit.
I am happy for Brisbane that it will host the 2032 Olympic Games but choosing this mode of celebration adds nothing. It simply highlights a disappointing lack of imagination and regard for the biggest issue of our times – climate change. How about aiming for the greater good – contributing to a stable future climate? I would be impressed by aiming to run a carbon neutral Games. We must turn away from fireworks as an outdated symbol of celebration.
Cheryl Jakab, Marysville
Unfair burden on athletes
It was very sad to read the front page headline – “Australia tipped to win most gold medals since 2004” (The Age, 21/7). Let’s not count our medals before events are held. This extra burden on our wonderful athletes is the last thing they need at present. Good luck to each and every one of them as they compete on the world stage.
Pamela Walker, Heidelberg
Why Barnaby will win
Commentators have arguably learnt nothing from the Trump phenomena. There is nothing that Barnaby Joyce can say or do by way of a gaffe that would lose him votes once the majority in the electorate has locked on. Self-determination theory teaches us that a key psychological need is that of belonging to a group and having your world view and sense of competence validated by members of your group.
By adhering to the Joyce camp, voters in New England are gratifying these needs, and to step away from him would be in effect to turn against themselves. Joyce is no Trump and his battling farmer schtick, with its particular New England resonances, does not translate at a national level, but his future in his electorate is assured.
Patrick Hockey, Clunes
Double dress standard
How ridiculously sexist that Norway’s beach handball team has been fined €1500 ($2047) for wearing “improper clothing”, that is, bike shorts instead of bikini bottoms (The Age, 21/7). Meanwhile the men are required to wear shorts. Not a budgie smuggler in sight.
Kristen Doell, Altona
Would losing the casino…
So according to counsel assisting the royal commission into Crown, Adrian Finanzio, the public has lost confidence in Crown as a fit and proper person to hold a licence (The Age, 21/7). Some of us had no faith in a casino from the beginning. And, just maybe, some of us would rather no casino at all.
Anne Rogan, Greensborough
…be such a tragedy?
We hear that Crown employs 12,000 people, but how many of those are employed in the gaming section? How many are employed in administration, the hotel, various bars and entertainment venues? If Crown lost its licence, and converted its gaming areas to hotel rooms and kept its entertainment venues, would its staff numbers drop significantly?
Crown’s loss as a gaming venue, and a cash cow for the government, would easily be absorbed by Victoria’s economy. Conversely, its loss of its dubious activities, uncovered by inquiries in three states, would not be missed by law-abiding Australians. It is time for its licence to be revoked, Australia-wide.
John Pinniger, Fairfield
Julie Szego (Opinion, 21/7), you made my day. We are in a world where thousands die every day from COVID-19, unprecedented floods are destroying parts of Europe, ice is melting in the Arctic and fires are wreaking havoc in North America. And we are expected to be worried to the point of absurdity about including new identities like aromantics and demisexuals in the established and respected LGBTIQ community. Szego’s column is both hilarious and quite serious.
Annette Madden, Highett
The very ad we need
I watched the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s advertisement about vaccination and started to tear up. Why? I think it was the hidden stress of lockdown, the connection of others in the same situation and relief of the stated common sense. It hit all the important points with humour and pizzazz. Thank you, MSO, for your heartfelt contribution.
Jane Cheong, Aspendale Gardens
Public taking control
I have heard of small government, but this is ridiculous. The Victorian arts community producing its own public health advertisement? Soon Canberra will not have anything to do. Now there’s an idea.
Anne Carroll, Brighton East
An average of fewer than 20 daily COVID-19 cases during the lockdown coupled with no deaths and minimal hospital admissions is hardly evidence of a super-spreading pandemic. Lockdown measures from the government are completely disproportionate and risk averse.
Martin Newington, Aspendale
No jab, no attendance
Can we hope that the government, however slowly, is arriving at the conclusion that it is necessary to close down large events where COVID-19 is enabled to run riot? It is not rocket science to realise that as soon as another football match takes place, outbreaks follow.
We will get our lives back again, but not until all those who attend these events are vaccinated. Vaccination certificates must also be mandated to allow people to mix in such numbers.
Annie Young, Junortoun
Regarding how to respond to the various Delta strain outbreaks. All our political leaders claim they are following the best health advice. Why then do Victoria and New South Wales adopt different approaches? Are they receiving different health advice ? Or is it about politics after all?
William Peacock, North Caulfield
Cold, dark, locked down
I am an elderly citizen living in an apartment. In the midst of lockdown, I have received a notice advising me that the electricity will be turned off from 9am this Friday for work on a power pole. This will mean no heating or lighting in the apartment all day. Surely this is inhumane and should not be allowed to proceed, especially when we are restricted in our movements and cannot go out. Why can’t this work wait until after the lockdown?
Rosemary Syme, Malvern
The great UK experiment
Re Britain’s “Freedom Day” (World, 21/7). As about half of we Australians settle into lockdown, I want to thank Britain for giving us and the world a large-scale, live experiment in the effect of opening up on the virus spread.
Henry Haszler, Eltham
Questions of ’honesty’
According to Justice Elizabeth Fullerton, it is “fundamental to our system of government” that ministers of the Crown always act “conscientiously and honestly in the public interest” – “Ex-Labor ministers face jail over coal deal” (The Age, 20/7). Are commonwealth ministers who allocate grants shortly prior to an election, by reference to possible electoral advantage in marginal seats, acting conscientiously and honestly in the public interest? If not, will the Attorney-General act to uphold the law?
David Levin, Clifton Hill
Desperately seeking ICAC
Governance experts say Australia is on a corruption “slippery slope” and it could not be more plain to see. The question is, will the public accept it? It seems no amount of letters to newspapers will dissuade government from corrupt policies aimed at winning elections.
I worry that our Prime Minister is expanding the office through the sheer weight of what he is able to get away with. Similarly, the expectations of government are being lowered with every scandal that fails to elicit a proportionate response.
Australia’s famously laid-back attitude does not serve us well in governance. We have been far more lucky than vigilant. Now our luck is running out – we need a federal ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) with teeth and it is not in the current government’s interests to legislate it.
Michael Puck, Maffra
Where’s ALP’s blueprint?
A succession of cabinet ministers have been wheeled out for media commitments and each one just deepens the quagmire of evasion of responsibility for proper governance. And still the ALP seems not to have grasped the immediacy of the need for it to put before the electorate the blueprint for its ICAC. Does it have one?
Christopher Monie, Wendouree
EVs, not more ’monsters’
Ross Gittins talks about “those appalling SUVs” (Opinion, 21/7). Hear, hear. In a normal-sized car, driving behind an SUV means your view of the road ahead is blocked so you cannot see the traffic conditions. This is irritating because you cannot plan your driving. In car parks, if you have to squeeze in between two of the monsters, you then struggle to open the door of your own car.
Why do people want SUVs in the city? Well, I am told “we’ve got the children and often their friends. Also, we get a better view of the traffic.” (Thank you very much.)
What happened to the station wagon, a roomy vehicle of normal height? I hope that the new electric vehicles will be priced and taxed in such a way as to discourage people from buying SUVs.
Elizabeth Sprigg, Glen Iris
Every little bit counts
I cannot wait to get my hands on a VoltsWagon to do my bit for climate change.
Robin Jensen, Castlemaine
Surely a true Aussie
Quade Cooper has put his body on the line for Australia in 70 rugby tests as a Wallaby but has had his application for citizenship refused four times. Could the federal bureaucrats have made an exception to the current rules for such exceptional service to Australia?
Mark Toner, Brighton
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding
Surely it’s now time for Barnaby Joyce to self isolate, permanently.
John Bye, Elwood
Following on from revelations in Ms Represented (ABC TV, 20/7): 0.05 to drive, 0.05 to govern the country.
Mary Baldwin, Bairnsdale
Solve poverty, unemployment and social disadvantage by introducing a universal basic income.
Terry Malone, Warburton
If recent polls are correct, the best Morrison can hope for is that voters have short memories.
Annie Wilson, Inverloch
Get Sammy J or Jimmy Rees (Giggle) to do a vaccine campaign to add humour and capture a wide group of vaccine hesitators.
Janette Greenshields, Drouin
Farmer Dan has done well (lately) at keeping his flock safe, but his sheep are rapidly losing condition.
Pete Sands, Monbulk
Batten down the hatches. The Tokyo Games + UK “freedom” celebrations + Australia’s vaccine chaos = the perfect storm.
Roger Green, Ferntree Gully
Olympic torch or poisoned chalice?
Roderick Carmichael, St Kilda
Teachers are essential workers. Those under 40, in all educational settings, should be vaccinated.
Marie Douglas, Camberwell
Thankfully SA has learnt from other states and locked down. Here’s hoping it eradicates Delta over the seven-day period.
Marsha Merory, Ivanhoe
Travel restrictions should be eased for the fully vaccinated.
Bill Burns, Bendigo
No mass gatherings until 80per cent of the adult population is fully vaccinated.
Sharon Hendon, Glen Iris
Congratulations to The Age for its “Schools That Excel” stories. Keep it up.
Ivan Gaal, Fitzroy North
″Unfit″ (21/7) – such an innocuous word for Crown’s really bad behaviour.
Jenny Bone, Surrey Hills
The Age’s editor, Gay Alcorn, writes an exclusive newsletter for subscribers on the week’s most important stories and issues. Sign up here to receive it every Friday.
Most Viewed in National
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article