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It is difficult to marry Prime Minister Scott Morrison's investment of $150 million in the Australian Space Agency for the development of science and engineering to assist the USA to land astronauts on the moon with his government's continued wilful ignoring of expert climate scientists and their warnings regarding the dire consequences of climate change, which are already being experienced all around the world ("Moon in sights with $12b space deal", The Age, 23/9).
Perhaps he thinks this will help to keep him in Donald Trump's good books.
Here's a thought, Mr Morrison – how about investing that money in the renewable energy industry here so that future generations will be able to live on Earth? We can't all relocate to the moon when this planet becomes uninhabitable.
As many of the signs at the student climate strike last Friday stated: There is no Planet B.
Joy Hayman, Blackburn North
The federal government believes the science from NASA about space exploration but does not believe the science from NASA about climate change?
Malcolm Fraser, Oakleigh South
The Prime Minister's contribution of $150 million to the US space administration's plans for the moon and Mars is a cruel slap in the face to every group in Australian society crying out for government funds to run their programs for the needy.
Such a donation of this huge sum of money says to those people on Newstart you are less worthy. It says to those people waiting on the NDIS, you are less worthy. It says to domestic violence support groups, you are less worthy. It says to mental health support groups, you are less worthy of government funding.
But the government believes that the US space program is more worthy of such funding. How can the Prime Minister possibly justify this obscene and totally inappropriate use of taxpayers' money? A couple of select jobs in the aeronautical industry doesn't cut it.
Nick Toovey, Beaumaris
It never ceases to amaze that successive prime ministers have been able to leave thousands of their fellow Australians to live in abject poverty while having tens of millions of dollars at their disposal for unbudgeted projects whose value to the country is untested.
This time it's the NASA space program.
Loucille McGinley, Brighton East
Perhaps Scott Morrison should spend his $150 million on the homeless in Australia, rather than helping Donald Trump send someone to the moon.
Peter Harney, Delacombe
PM Scott Morrison recently recounted that his favourite dramatic scene in the film Apollo 13 is the hands-on brain-storming and success of NASA engineers to reduce elevated CO2 in the distant disabled Apollo 13 space capsule to save the lives of the trapped astronauts.
It is supremely ironic that Mr Morrison does not see a parallel need for urgent brain-storming and action to lower the CO2 of our space capsule here, Earth.
Keith Mitchelson, St Lucia, Qld
Australia's highly decorated former SAS soldier Ben Roberts-Smith is being investigated by the Australian Federal Police for allegedly kicking a handcuffed Afghan detainee off a cliff in 2012 (The Age, 22/9). [Roberts-Smith vehemently denies the allegations.]
That is as should be. Professional soldiering (as opposed to rogue or mercenary soldiering) is governed by well established rules of engagement to ensure civilised conduct in war and conflict. When a soldier – any soldier – strays from adherence to these established rules, he or she must face appropriate sanctions.
We cannot and must not gloss over allegations of wrongdoing, professional misconduct or criminal conduct. Our reputation and international standing depend on a proper and thorough investigation to give the victims the justice they seek.
It's never too late to do that as the investigation into this 2012 case attests. And our system of governance and accountability should be applauded for it.
Rajend Naidu, Glenfield, NSW
Congratulations to Greg Callaghan ("Are you kidding?", Good Weekend, 21/9) for articulating that it is fine (or, indeed, preferred) for couples to opt out of having children.
There are at least two further reasons why this approach should be strongly considered, encouraged and adopted.
First, the world is overpopulated now. Globally, all countries should seek to have negative population growth to "save the planet" and not continue to rapidly deplete and decimate Earth's natural resources and environment.
Second, too many parents simply do not have or seek to acquire parenting skills, and increasingly in our society (with "double-income necessity", parental absenteeism and personal focus/fulfilment) children are all too often being neglected. To fully appreciate this problem, simply ask most school teachers about the increase in the "parental duties" that they now need to add to their educational duties.
Ian Anderson, Ballarat Central
How ironic, John Anderson (Comment, 21/9 ) wants "a new approach, honestly explaining the true cost of emissions", something he was in a position to achieve as deputy prime minister.
However, this was never a priority for the Howard government. Why do politicians only want honesty, transparency and integrity once they leave politics, is it because they can no longer be held to account?
Russell Kidd, Carnegie
I am well past my years as a student but attended Friday's rally in solidarity.
I was impressed with how well it was organised and conducted, but a few odd phrases from time to time reached my ears, such as giving special mentions to the queer, gay, and mentally unwell attendees. Hearing from Indigenous representatives about their connection to the land and unique concerns about the changing climate was particularly important and poignant, but I fail to see how one's own lifestyle, sexuality or personal affliction bears any relevance to the core fact that we are putting too much carbon into our atmosphere.
Kids, please educate me.
Tim Borchers, Briar Hill
Seared into our memory is the gobsmacked expression of particle physicist Brian Cox after hearing Malcolm Roberts' climate change denial comments on Q&A. Physical oceanographer and climate scientist Matthew England says Roberts has failed to understand high school science. Now we have Law Council of Australia president Arthur Moses saying Roberts' comments on domestic violence are "irresponsible and plain stupid".
Surely there has to be a limit on the degree of stupidity and idiotic time-wasting we are expected to tolerate by MPs, even in a democracy. Surely the time has come for mandatory emotional intelligence tests as a prerequisite for all MPs.
Julie Conquest, Brighton
As one of Australia's top exports is coal, it is no surprise that our politicians have a vested interest in preserving the economy as we know it. And to think that the Labor Party is rethinking its climate change policy to win more votes beggars belief.
Climate change is real and time is running out. No wonder many people of child-bearing age are rethinking having children.
It was heartening to see that millions of people from across the world have protested and will continue to do so until real action is taken. The Paris Agreement states that to contain global warming to 1.5-2 degrees, we need to bring net global carbon emissions to zero by 2050.
Act now before it is too late.
Jane Desailly, Brunswick
You are right, Noel Butterfield (Letters, 23/9), in hoping for an Australian leader who is a statesman.
What we have at the moment is a Prime Minister who is a combination of Steven Bradbury (with apologies to the Olympian) and an advertising salesman. Australia has not had a prime minister of the qualities you, and many others, are looking for since Gough Whitlam and to an extent Bob Hawke and Paul Keating. Sadly it looks like Australians will have to wait a while for your wish to come true.
Tony Healy, Balwyn North
Until now George Pell has instructed his lawyers to do whatever possible to destroy the credibility of the complainant. However, in his application for special leave to appeal he would have us believe he now accepts the credibility of the complainant.
Whether or not this cynical manoeuvre secures his freedom, hehas destroyed any residual credibility he might still have. He should now do the right thing by everybody including himself and his church by resigning every office he holds.
Mark Porter, New Lambton, NSW
Regardless of the legitimacy or otherwise of the climate change cause, aspects of the children's demonstration bear disconcerting resemblances to orchestrated groupthink.
There's the powerful wave of mass emotion harnessed to a cause – that climate change exists, is largely human-made and therefore humans have the power to slow, or even halt it. There's the common enemy to be feared and opposed: climate change itself, its deniers, responsible powers and authorities who won't or don't act.
There's religious-like fervour and adoration towards the proffered means of salvation – the actions the demonstrators believe should be taken, and those who speak about such action. And there's the hyper-excited, near-hysterical euphoria of many children interviewed, alongside the emotional distress of others at perceptions of imminent doom – of the planet and their futures.
A further aspect is the inevitable come-down from the emotive, adrenalin-charged, heady highs experienced and enjoyed by the young participants. Such highs with their exciting sense of power and agency are addictive, but not necessarily the stuff of everyday life. Parents and other responsible adults: there may be a crash, be ready.
Deborah Morrison, Malvern East
I can think of a very good reason to "castigate" Scott Morrison on his visit to the USA (Letters, 23/9).
At a time of climate crisis, when world leaders are meeting at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, not only does our Prime Minister happen to be in the same country, but the same city, and yet doesn't even bother to attend. Apparently attending the opening of a factory in Ohio is more important.
Oh for a real leader.
Geoff Collis, Eltham
There are so many things wrong with the Morrison love-fest trip to meet Donald Trump.
From the Australian side, what is deeply concerning is the reported desire of the Prime Minister to have Hillsong pastor Brian Houston attend state events, not just the state dinner. So much for being a secular and inclusive nation.
Australia is supposed to have no state church and when Morrison as the nation's Prime Minister invites one church leader and no other, he violates that clear separation and sends a very different message to any other faith or non-faith in Australia.
Ramesh Rajan, Canterbury
Because of our assets, my wife and I receive no age pension income but have concession cards. We own our own home and a rental property in Sandringham, and each has a large share portfolio and also receive allocated pensions from our invested capital.
We opened letters yesterday from the ATO advising we had received a franking credit of $3212(my wife) and a "meagre" $1155 to me. When I equate this with the increase needed to make the Newstart allowance viable, I feel incredibly guilty.
If the government can afford to dispense this largesse to tens of thousands of the un-needy, then also pay realistic social welfare allowances. If not, remove this completely gratuitous payout to those to whom, financially, it is the icing on the cake – no, the cherry on the icing on the cake – and divert it to the needy.
Name and address withheld
How old fashioned of Michael O'Brien and our coal-hugging Prime Minister. By suggesting that the school kids should have stayed in school rather than demonstrate to protect their future, they are implying that "children should be seen and not heard".
I sincerely hope that these old-fashioned guys are still in their respective parliaments when all those thousands of kids vote.
John Cain, McCrae
The latest government review of family law, headed by Kevin Andrews with Pauline Hanson as deputy chair, is straight out of Yes Minister, where Sir Humphrey says: "Never have an inquiry, minister, unless you know the result in advance".
Ron Hayton, Beaumaris
"Man of titanium"? Thanks to Donald Trump, I'll never be able to trust my artificial knee again.
Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale
Scott Morrison can put $150 million towards the US space program, but cannot find it within himself to provide Newstart recipients with an increase in payments.
Scott Ramsay, Strathdale
Seriously Scott Morrison, you are giving $150 million of taxpayers' money towards this US cause but not a cent towards the unemployed back in Australia, this beggars belief.
Doug Springall, Yarragon
So we're off to the moon with NASA. But how come our politicians take so little heed of the US government space agency's overwhelming evidence of the imminent threat posed by climate change to the planet we live on?
Bernd Rieve, Brighton
I wonder for how many naysayers, it's all right for people to have a day off this Friday for a football match, and in November for a horse race; but not to take time out to elevate awareness of a serious issue confronting all life on this planet?
Indra Liepins, Glenroy
I'd hate to think that kids who want to stay at school so that they may become engineers or scientists with a real chance at addressing world issues could be bullied into protesting rather than learning.
Allan Bartlett, Berwick
At the 2019 federal election, voters revealed their preference for franking credits, negative gearing and tax cuts over effective action to combat climate change: Unfortunately, neither franking credits, investment properties, nor tax cuts will be of any help on a dead planet.
Rod Williams, Surrey Hills
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