‘Gaskeeper’, renewables vs nuclear and how to fix parliament

Cathy WilcoxCredit:.

To submit a letter to The Age, email [email protected] Please include your home address and telephone number. No attachments, please include your letter in the body of the email.

Nick O’Malley (Comment, 6/6) provides food for thought about the use of nuclear power to solve the energy crisis. There is nothing wrong with informed debate, but nuclear power is starting on a severe handicap when compared to free and infinite renewables. Uranium mining will itself produce massive carbon emissions and is a finite resource. There will be opposition from traditional owners of land rich in uranium. From planning to commissioning of a nuclear plant will take from 10 to 15 years. Communities near a nuclear plant will rightly be concerned about the potential for a nuclear incident similar to Fukushima, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.
Then there is the elephant in the room. How do we safely store the radioactive waste? Advocates for nuclear power will have to address these issues if they are to persuade the public that nuclear energy is the answer to our energy problems.
Graeme Lechte, Brunswick West

The diminishing returns at play
Well said Nick O’Malley. I don’t understand why our more conservative writers and speakers seem enamoured of nuclear power and dismissive of renewables – might it be that when renewables are dominant the ability to aggregate and dominate the energy market will diminish?
Margaret Lothian, Middle Park

Next up, the ‘GasKeeper’ program
In 2006, Western Australian Labor premier John Carpenter introduced the state’s gas reservation policy, which requires gas exporters to set aside 15 per cent of production for local buyers. It will hopefully be Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese who oversees a similar scheme nationally because, as the article ″⁣Scramble to ease gas supply shock″⁣ (6/6) suggests, what other solution to the gas crisis is there? If he had a marketing bent we could probably expect to see the ″⁣GasKeeper″⁣ program announced.
Bill King, Camberwell

The problem is not supply, but exports
Despite the gas industry’s claims that we need more new gas projects to meet domestic demand, it needs to be noted that 72.7 per cent of Australia’s gas is exported overseas, with only 7.4 per cent of our gas used for domestic electricity generation. This highlights that Australia does not have a problem with gas supply; instead, it has a problem with gas exports. With the surge in global prices of coal and gas, we need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and their volatile market prices.
The best way to do this is to ramp up investments in renewable energy and accelerate the electrification of households to get off expensive gas. Coincidentally, not only is the shift from gas good for our wallets; it is great for the climate and our planet, too.
Ching Ang, Magill, SA

When the energy crisis hits home
In relation to your correspondent (Letters, 6/6), my daughter and her partner live in a rental house in Mitcham. As far as I can see nothing has ever been renovated in this house since the owners moved out (to a warm northern state) in terms of energy conservation.
It has very little insulation, high ceilings, a small electric heater in the kitchen, a fireplace in the living room, windows that do not seal properly and no solar panels. Gas is used for cooking, there is no ducted heating. Its nickname is “the ice house”.
Only by judicious use of curtains over doorways to contain heat to one room and wearing lots of extra layers is a semblance of warmth maintained and the electricity bill kept somewhat contained. Why are landlords not held accountable for buildings to be made more energy efficient? My daughter and her partner are unable to get into the housing market and it is they who must pay for the wasteful use of energy by others.
Julie Fall, Warrnambool

FORUM

Nix the Dixers
The new government has the opportunity to increase the accountability and integrity of the parliament. An obvious reform is to stop the “Dorothy Dixers” in question time. Listening to a member read – usually very badly – a question prepared by someone else in order to hear a minister read – again, usually very badly – a prepared answer is an abuse of parliament and a waste of valuable time. Question time should be used to call ministers to account rather than give them opportunities for self-promotion.
Lesley Hardcastle, Ashburton

Homeless come first
Daniel Andrews, priorities please. Forget a grand new art gallery. Provide much more safe, clean accommodation for homeless and other disadvantaged people in our ″⁣great″⁣ city of Melbourne.
Katriona Fahey, Alphington

Pay for commute
It is easy to get workers out of work-from-home and back to the workplace: make the commute part of the paid workday. This no doubt will require adjustments by employers to finally address the work-life balance long demanded by their workers.
Graham Eddy, Buxton

The price they paid
When the Menzies government introduced conscription by ballot during the 1960s it had little concern for the welfare of the young men it would force into the army. Menzies was desperate to get into the ″⁣American War″⁣ to fight communists overseas and gain votes at home. There was a massive backlash against conscription, as there was during WWI.
Regrettably, a lot of the anger was directed towards the Australian troops themselves. In 1972, the Whitlam government abolished conscription and called Australian troops home. But for many involved in the war and particularly those forced into uniform the personal damage has remained. Your correspondent (Letters, 4/6) is correct in asserting that conscripts, whether they served in a war zone or not, suffered major disadvantages compared to their peers who were not conscripted. Two years separated from family and friends, loss of employment experience and promotional opportunities, a significantly lower salary and often, the need to make retrospective payments to preserve employment entitlements such as superannuation.
The granting of a Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card to all balloted conscripts would be a small compensation for two lost years.
Geoffrey Allen, Mount Eliza

Think of those in need
What will it take for the policies, procedures and actions of the NDIS and contracted support service providers to humanely address the plight of the 200 Victorians with a disability who are currently ″⁣living″⁣ in hospitals?
Perhaps recognising that these citizens are people with needs and rights rather than insoluble placement problems would be a start. This could be followed by prompt, adequate funding of home-based support and equipment to ameliorate changed needs.
Dr Jane Sullivan,
Kew East

Show the lead, AFL
Dave Barter (Letters, 6/6) highlights a growing public concern that the AFL has chosen to ignore. Gillon McLachlan’s legacy is not going to be how he steered the AFL through two years of the pandemic but how he increased its revenue by taking up huge sponsorships from gambling companies and now crypto currencies.
If parents are concerned as to why children and young adults are engaging in antisocial activities like gambling they need look no further than the example set by the AFL which seems to think it’s OK to advertise gambling as “normal”.
The British Football Association cancelled gambling advertising in 2017 and the English Football League is calling on the government to ban all forms of gambling advertising. Wake up AFL, it’s time to show some leadership.
Nathan Feld, Glen Iris

Beyond control
Why would anyone think that the US will ever control the use of guns?
It seems to me that a country that clings to the right to bear arms, as per its Constitution, is starting from a position almost beyond help. When taken in conjunction with the US’ love of guns and violence as depicted in every movie and TV series it makes, its problems are only magnified.
Added to this is the playing of violent computer games by children who ″⁣shoot to kill″⁣ the ″⁣baddies″⁣ and then see them come back to life the next time they play the game. No wonder they think that shooting won’t do any harm.
And in the midst of all this, the US holds itself up as the world’s ″⁣great protector″⁣ but leaves its own citizens to fend for themselves.
Stan Thomson, Sandringham

Repurpose the elephant
We have homeless people living and dying on the streets, or in dodgy emergency accommodation. Meanwhile, a $558 million quarantine centre sits vacant in Mickleham. Surely it’s time to repurpose the white elephant.
Matt Dunn, Leongatha

From smug to mug
Good advice Patricia Barry (Letters, 4/6) on getting a back-up camping stove. Even with gas appliances, I need one when the power goes off. Some time last year, we experienced an interruption to our electricity supply. It was only then that we realised that both our gas instantaneous hot water service and stove top would also be out of action, as both appliances required electrical power to support their electronic ignition systems. I couldn’t even use a match to light the stove, as its in-built safety system shut off the gas flow when it detected a loss of electrical power. I was smug with gas. But it seems I’m actually a mug with gas.
Gracie Warner, Kooyong

A good move
Suggestions that Tanya Plibersek has been demoted in her move from education to environment and water ministry are completely off the mark. What more important portfolio is there in a government, when the world faces the existential crisis of climate change?
Ms Plibersek will be a strong and vocal voice for the environment and climate change, unlike the previous minister, Sussan Ley, who was nowhere to be seen or heard when important environmental protections needed to be enacted in regard to proposed gas and coal mining projects.
Peter Holmes, Lima East

Light the bonfires
The Queen herself has said that it is up to the Australian people to decide whether we are to become a republic. On May 21, we elected a government committed to the establishment of a democratic republic in the great southern land. The people have spoken.
It is time to light the bonfires on the hill.
Brian Sanaghan, West Preston

Protect one and all
With the grim announcement of 6469 COVID deaths in Australia this year, just as we head into a winter full of COVID, flu, respiratory syncytial virus and other seasonal viruses, governments need to consider providing free n95/P2 masks to protect those at risk.
We need equity of protection – not everyone can afford high-quality masks, but everyone should have access to the protection they provide. Masks for winter will save lives.
Suzanne Jennings, Kew East

Generational change
In the light of the massive Platinum Jubilee celebrations, it is easy to forget that it was only 25 years ago that the popularity of the British monarchy had reached its nadir. In August 1997 Princess Diana was killed after a car crash in a Parisian tunnel trying to escape the paparazzi. The Queen’s deafening silence in response to the event which paralysed Britain and beyond was widely and loudly criticised. She seemed reluctant to come to London to face the mourning music. Finally, she returned to find the palace surrounded by a moat of flowers hundreds of metres thick for Diana. How things have changed. The palace PR machine all deserve knighthoods.
Nick Toovey, Beaumaris

God save us from her
More than 65 per cent of Australians are of non-Anglo background with not much “affection” for the Queen and no interest in this 95-year-old lady or her meaningless utterances. Please save us from any more of the Queen’s news.
Bill Mathew, Parkville

Steady with the pageantry
Just think what good the money spent on the Platinum Jubilee celebrations could have done if used wisely. I am not a republican, but surely more restraint would have been admirable.
Doris LeRoy, Altona

Where’s the integrity?
The news that the Andrews government has abandoned plans to introduce the youth justice legislation for fear of a political backlash shows that politics always wins. How we long for the day when ″⁣right″⁣ wins because it is right and for no other reasons. Is it too much to ask for integrity to occasionally win the day?
Graeme Riviere,
Warranwood

Not an easy road
With interest rates on the rise because of escalating inflationary pressures and a massive budget deficit the superior economic managers in the Coalition certainly haven’t left things easy for Albanese.
Phil Alexander, Eltham

Dash it all, please explain
Would you please explain your policy on hyphenation. My reading flow is always interrupted as I try to make sense of it. Thank you.
Elizabeth Chipman, Seaford

AND ANOTHER THING

Shadow ministry
Peter Dutton’s frontbench looks interesting and will be a good opposition. It is good to see how many women are there.
Diana Goetz, Mornington

Looking at the shadow ministry, is it what you know, who you know, or what you know about who you know that counts most in retaining a position?
Gary Sayer, Warrnambool

Peter Dutton says that the opposition has a great depth of talent in its ranks. The obvious question is, why didn’t they use this talent when they were in government?
Ross Hudson, Mount Martha

After playing games for a year, Alex Hawke, missing out on a frontbench position, has finally snookered himself.
Joan Segrave, Healesville

The concert
Perhaps the platinum concert will guide the way to light shows replacing environmentally unfriendly firework displays.
Rob Hocart, Tyabb

Now I understand why the Queen didn’t go.
Richard Sykes, Bell Park

I would (AD BREAK) have enjoyed The Party (AD BREAK) at the Palace telecast more (AD Break) if there weren’t (AD BREAK) so many ad breaks.
Ron Mather, Melbourne

Furthermore
The PM is managing the wrong crisis. It is not a climate crisis but the energy crisis that’s the real issue. Time to remove the ideology blinkers and face reality.
Martin Newington, Aspendale

Does the National Rifle Association allow their good-guy members to carry loaded guns into their conventions? If not, then why not?
Michael Brinkman, Ventnor

Finally
Maybe Prince Louis was just representing the thoughts of republicans during the weekend’s royal pageantry.
David Brophy, Beaumaris

Most Viewed in National

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article