World-class mining a rich part of Australia’s prosperity

In talking down the world-class innovative Australian mining industry, Harold Mitchell (‘‘Modern business brains need to replace old digger brawn’’, canberratimes.com.au, September 7) undercuts his own contention that you should ‘‘concentrate on what you are good at’’ to excel.

Australians interested in our future jobs and prosperity deserve better than a high-profile commentator denigrating one industry in an attempt to talk up another.

Our chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel said recently that ‘‘in schools, in universities, in media outlets and in every corporate boardroom, we need to bust once and for all the myth that mining is dumb luck, not serious smarts’’.

Australia is a recognised global leader in mining and we are so much more prosperous because of it.

While mining might not be as visible in Sydney and Melbourne, it is a big part of modern life in the cities as well as employing many people in our regional communities and supporting local businesses and community facilities.

Mining has always been a big part of Australia’s story, and is already a world leader in using innovation and highly-skilled professionals to produce the materials used in modern technologies such as electronics, renewable energy systems and electric vehicles.

Mining is also one of the biggest employers of engineers, environmental scientists, geophysicists and mathematicians and is proudly the biggest private sector employer of Indigenous Australians. It’s a high-technology industry that supports a sophisticated mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector supporting jobs from manufacturing drilling rigs and conveyor belts to mine design software and data analytics.

All Australians have an interest in the future prosperity of our mining industry. We should celebrate this story.

Tania Constable, CEO, Minerals Council of Australia, Canberra

Time for a new PM

Two weeks of Scott Morrison as PM is quite enough. It’s time to call an election Mr Morrison, you were not elected as the PM of Australia, you were elected by your colleagues after a bitter few days of infighting, and here you are victorious by fair means or foul.

Thus far you have made statements that have alienated quite a few of us even though you say you will govern for all of us. The hatred for the union movement is alive and well as it is for the LBGTQ children in our society. Your hypocrisy is telling.

Many people in Australia are more concerned as to whether they will put food on the table or whether they will pay to keep warm. Most people want to know if their children will have a good education or if they will be able to get decent healthcare and you are worried about teacher whisperers.

Your uniform of pale blue shirt, baseball cap and beige chinos is also telling, trying to be one of us but failing miserably, just a daggy dad or as you yourself said a muppet as you described your colleagues.

A leopard cannot change its spots no matter how much you try: you were a failed immigration minister, a failed treasurer and you will be a failure as PM.

Your government has done so little it’s hard to find anything positive to say. Call an election. We can’t afford another six months of this government.

Jan Gulliver, Lyneham

People losing trust

The huge swing against the Liberal Party seen in Saturday’s (September 8) byelection in Wagga Wagga has sent a clear message that voters have lost trust in governments, both state and federal (‘‘Berejiklian vowing to rebuild trust in Liberals’’, September 10, p4).

Ms Berejiklian said that Wagga Wagga voters were ‘‘angry and disappointed’’ with their previous state government representative, Daryl Maguire, who admitted to discussing kickbacks, and were frustrated by the leadership antics of the federal Liberal Party.

Many voters throughout the country are probably also angry and frustrated at the dumping by the federal government of the National Energy Guarantee to ignore emissions and concentrate solely on power prices.

Josh Frydenberg, who designed and campaigned strongly for the NEG, told the ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday (September 9) that he is disappointed at its dumping. Jennifer Westacott, CEO of the Business Council of Australia, and other business leaders are also disappointed and frustrated, because the decision leaves a policy vacuum. Unless the Morrison government gets its act together it is all but certain to lose the next federal election.

Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin

Appealing to wealthy

When Scott Morrison vows to ‘‘protect religious freedom’’ he flags support for generously funding religious schools. This is consistent with his political appeal to a wealthy, conservative constituency.
But here’s the catch. Most parents send their children to private schools, not for religious beliefs, but simply because they expect their dollars will buy more discipline and pastoral care. This may indeed be so, because private schools, unlike government schools, can evict disruptive students.

Generously funded, they can also afford the staff and equipment denied to state schools. This is pure financial discrimination against Australia’s children, who all deserve the best possible education.

If the wealth that is poured into private schools supported state secular schools there would be no need for concerned parents to search around for a better school environment. There would be ample funding for excellence for all.

We live in a secular state and yet religious bias pervades our government.

Churches are the places for religious education, not schools.

Glenda Naughten, Farrer

Will Pocock apologise?

Now David Pocock understands how frustrating it is to have someone illegally prevent him doing his job (‘‘Hooper wants crackdown on neck rolls after Pocock injury’’, September 8, p.98) will he apologise to the workers at the Maules Creek mine?

Stephen Jones, Bonython

Send Zed to Bean

The people of Canberra should encourage Zed Seselja to run for the Liberals in Bean.

This way, we can finally get rid of Zed from the political landscape.

Keith Croker, Kambah

Wrong about probe

First Scott Morrison decries the need for a royal commission into the banking sector as ‘‘populist whinge’’.

Now he’s going on about ‘‘gender whisperers’’. The royal commission has shown multiple times over how badly it was needed and yet he still refuses to admit he shouldn’t have opposed it for as long as he did.

Jacob Demopoulos, Leopold

Wires crossed on cull

Neville Exon (Letters, September 9) gets his wires crossed when he argues that the kangaroo cull is justified on the basis that so many roos are getting killed on the roads for several reasons.

Firstly, I suggest that far fewer roos are killed on ACT roads than are killed in the cull. And, while I agree that being hit by a car is an unpleasant way to die, so too is lingering on for several hours after being shot by a marksman. The rangers go through the parks in the morning to despatch those that remain. I doubt that the roos killed in that way have had a fun night and I do not believe the government’s claims that almost all of them are killed instantly by one shot.

Secondly, the cull is only in the nature parks and I would suggest that most of the roos killed come from other areas. As for the drought, the cull goes ahead irrespective of the weather. It happened in 2016, a very wet year with good feed in the nature parks. Parks ACT cannot, in any case, know in advance what the weather will be like and how good or bad the feed will be in any one year.

In 2008 and 2009, after years of drought, kangaroos were skin and bone and it would have been humane to have shot them. But the roos are in good condition this year, in spite of the drought and it is now spring with new growth coming.

Stan Marks, Hawker

No excuses please

N. Exon’s letter (Letters, September 9) requires some corrections.

Nixon asserts that kangaroo numbers are increasing during a drought when food is short. This is, of course, biologically impossible. Kangaroo numbers always crash during a drought, not so much due to starvation as due to cessation of breeding.

I am prepared to accept that what Nixon really meant was that we are seeing more kangaroos right now, as remnants of the crashed populations move into the suburbs seeking food and water. He suggests that kangaroos numbers in our region are beyond our carrying capacity.

Nothing could be less likely, especially given the CSIRO Plant Industry findings that the kangaroo population on Canberra Reserve is beneficial to the vegetation.

The suggestion that ‘‘skilled’’ shooters kill less horribly than cars is disingenuous given the numbers shot by so-called ‘‘skilled’’ shooters that do not die instantly. It is disingenuous to suggest the shooters leave fewer joeys orphaned, given the evidence from ACAT 2104, supported by the evidence of our own eyes every culling season.

It is disingenuous to suggest shooting is an alternative to car collisions since there is never more risk of Canberrans hitting panicked, fleeing kangaroos than when people are shooting at them.

Obviously protecting these survivors from all three threats, shooting, cars, and hunger, is the responsibility of all Canberrans, and we need people to take on that responsibility, not make excuses for inexcusable government actions.

Frankie Seymour, Queanbeyan

Range of choices needed

P. O’Keeffe (Letters, September 10) is right about the importance of improving aged care, palliative care, pain management and nursing practices. We’ve heard horrendous anecdotes of treatment of people under those conditions, particularly in nursing homes – an unequal balance of power between carers and patients.

A range of end-of-life choices should be available to everyone, including those who pain relief doesn’t help, or are terminally ill and don’t want a long, boring protracted death that causes mental and physical distress.

Doctor-assisted-dying should be included in the options. Intentional killing without consent is quite different and never acceptable.

This is not about local city government powers, it’s about territory powers and human rights.

Keeping people alive against their will after their ‘‘God’s appointed time on earth’’ is not compassionate. It results in trips to Switzerland for help or suicide at home, not necessarily painless unless they have the knowledge and means to do it effectively.

Susan MacDougall, Scullin

Thank you for caring

There is a risk that so many good people who care for the elderly will be looked on with suspicion because of the criminal abhorrent actions of the odd bad penny.

Like many ordinary Australians I have had family for whom I have done the utmost to care for at home. There comes a time when it is just not practical to give 24-hour care, nursing, medical and personal hygiene for a family member.

At that point we, all people, of all races, sexes and religions have to consider alternatives.

I was with my aged mother on Friday, she still has all her marbles but is physically dependent, when her aged home staff were cheerfully caring for those needs.

After they had left, and so in their absence, my mother said, ‘‘They are always nice to me like that. Not just them, but everyone of them. They were not being so nice just because you were here.’’

So. To all those aged and other carers who do such jobs cheerfully. Thank you. I took the opportunity later that day to point that out to the management.

John Bolton, Gawler, SA

Williams out of line

If any apologies are to be handed out after the US Open women’s final they should be coming from Serena Williams – to Naomi Osaka and Carlos Ramos.

Williams’ petulant, spoilt brat performance ruined Osaka’s milestone grand slam win and did her no credit at all.

Similarly, her chastisement of the chair umpire for daring to remind her of the rules of the game would’ve resulted in a red card send-off in many other sports.

Williams seems to think that having a daughter, a fact we are continually reminded of, somehow entitles her to special treatment.

Well Serena, plenty of female sportswomen have given birth and returned to their sports without all the singing and dancing, racquet-smashing dummy spits.

Good on you but get over it.

And pulling the ‘‘sexism’’ card was nothing more than a cheap and churlish attempt to try to win the argument.

I thought you were better than that.

S. Gerrard, Dunlop

TO THE POINT

CAREFUL, SERENA

Serena Williams complained that she was not being treated the same as a man would be. She was right about that.

Instead of being penalised a point and then a game, she should have been disqualified and ordered off the court. Just as John McEnroe was at the Australian Open in 1990.

G Agnew, Coopers Plains, Qld

NOT ALONE ON NEW BABY

Last year Serena Williams had a baby. So did millions of other women.

Roger Quarterman, Campbell

MR FLUFFY IRONY

It’s ironic the ACT government says owners of Mr Fluffy homes who did not submit to the ‘‘compulsory’’ acquisition scheme have not complied with mandatory ‘‘asbestos management plan’’ at their own cost, when it has the audacity to sell so called remediated blocks at auction with no guarantee that the blocks are clear of asbestos contamination.

Peter Toscan, Amaroo

GETTING IN FIRST

Twitter, Facebook and Google are becoming arbitrary censors to pre-empt government regulation.

Rod Matthews, Fairfield,Vic

JOB REVERSAL

On reading (‘‘Luxury of an au pair also sound financial sense’’, September 9, p23) and all the other articles referring to the controversy surrounding au pairs in the media lately, I keep thinking, wouldn’t this be a different argument and perhaps, world, if young men were routinely employed in such positions?

Margaret Burns, Yarralumla

ARTS FORGOTTEN

Why is there no Minister for the Arts in the Morrison government?
A Coalition government was the first to appoint one in 1971.
Morrison has left a sizeable part of the community in the lurch.

Ann Smith, Canberra

TROUBLE AHEAD?

Trump, Abbott and Dutton may meet ‘‘the untoward fate which so often attends . . . philosophers who follow out a train of reasoning to its logical conclusion, and attempt perfectly consistent conduct in a world made up so largely of compromise.’’ (Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd.)

Michael McCarthy, Deakin

POWER IMBALANCE

Scott Morrison’s decision to drop the NEG indicates real power rests with Tony Abbott. This means we can expect no effective action in relation to climate change, housing affordability, growing inequality, energy prices and the development of a fair and inclusive Australia.

Mike Quirk, Garran

NOT LOOKING GOOD

Welcome back to the monkey house. What a week this is going to be in Parliament.

M. Moore, Bonython

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