Write on: Letters to the editor


Australian GHG pollution: wrong direction

In November 2007, the Australian Labor Government was elected in part on the promise to "tackle climate change". Unfortunately, nearly two-and-a-half years later and despite the global economic downturn, Australia's domestic plus exported greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution in the last complete financial year of the Labor Government (2009-2010) is on track to be more than 5% bigger than that in the last complete financial year of the previous Liberal-National Party Coalition Government (2006-2007).

In short, a fall in domestic GHG pollution associated with the global economic downturn has been more than compensated for by a huge increase in Australia's exported GHG pollution through increased coal and Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) exports.

Australia, a world leader in annual per capita greenhouse gas pollution, is still heading in the wrong direction and increasing GHG pollution.

There must be a safe and sustainable existence for all peoples and all species on our warming-threatened planet and, according to many top scientists, this requires a rapid reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration to about 300 parts per million (ppm) from the present, already damaging, 390ppm.

Dr Gideon Polya,
Macleod, Victoria

Genuine refugee numbers will grow

The reality of the refugee influx is that it will grow in numbers, possibly rapidly, and that Australia has an international obligation to accommodate and assist those who are genuine refugees. The task of the ALP is not to appear to discourage refugees from coming, other than assisting dispute settlement in countries in turmoil, but to prepare the population for much larger numbers of political refugees.

The authorised number of refugees may have to be adjusted downwards so that we can all agree on a percentage of the total intake of migrants, like, say 10%, but preparations must begin on the mainland: adequate reception centres, checks, accommodation, English lessons, employment opportunities.

Teach the citizens that this is what must be expected in today's international climate, instead of incurring a "lite Howard" badge on refugee policy and accusations that the delayed processing for those from Iraq and Afghanistan is an election ploy.

Most boat people are genuine refugees. These are people determined not to return to their home countries. They are highly motivated migrants. The record shows it. This country can accommodate motivated people without any real problems apart from an initially negative attitude of a small minority.

Discouraging such people to come here gives Australia a bad name. We have been there and we don't want to be there again.

Klaas Woldring,
Pearl Beach, NSW