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It’s always all or nothing
It is always all or nothing with the Labor Party. It has totally dropped its policy of abolishing franking credits to people who do not pay tax (‘‘‘Retiree tax’ dumped as Albanese eyes election’’, The Age, 2/1).
There was a groundswell at the last election to have a more nuanced approach in that the franking credits could have been capped at say a maximum of $20,000. But no, the gun-shy/policy-shy Labor Party throws out what was in theory a good policy because of this all-or-nothing mindset.
Anthony Albanese is an uninspiring leader who apparently cannot think outside the square and Labor will be locked into opposition for the future until it changes its leadership and policies.
Alan Inchley, Frankston
Here we go again
Scott Morrison has written that it is time for us to sing that we are ‘‘one and free’’ (‘‘Our nation must sing together’’, Comment, The Age, 1/1).
A fine sentiment, but here we go again … this government that has done so much to drive us apart now announcing the smallest possible change in our national anthem with great fanfare.
Is this the best that he can do? Could we please have some concrete action on Indigenous recognition, some concrete action to address climate change, some concrete action to address increasing societal inequality? Real action please, Mr Prime Minister.
Peter Moore, Clifton Hill
Disunity led from the top
Scott Morrison talks about us being ‘‘one’’ nation in our revised national anthem wording but perpetuates state divisions during the pandemic by heaping praise on Liberal states’ pandemic management and offering begrudging reference to Labor states’ management or even actively endorsing vitriol from his Liberal ministers in the middle of a torrid lockdown in Victoria.
The politics of disunity is owned by and led from the very top. What a disservice to the country.
Madeleine Allnutt, Kew
Outdated and costly
New Year’s Eve fireworks displays in Melbourne and Sydney are outdated, unimaginative and costly. We’ve seen it all before – many times – and the ash deposits can’t be good for the Yarra or Sydney Harbour.
It’s time for a more creative approach to New Year’s Eve displays. Let Australia’s brilliant artistic minds come up with something akin to what Edinburgh did for Hogmanay 2020 (the videos are online). This beautiful and moving display skilfully combined poetry, music and technology to convey hope and community cohesion.
Our city leaders should take heed and recognise that fireworks have had their day. It’s time for a different approach that still utilises Melbourne’s CBD and the Harbour Bridge but sends a meaningful and uniquely Australian message.
Tony Heselev, Elwood
An artificial distinction
Over the years there has been a lot of discussion about the nation’s debt and deficit, some of it sensible, some not. John Anderson’s offering (‘‘Anderson warns over debt due to pandemic,’’ The Age, 1/1) to call national debt intergenerational theft is just rubbish.
I bet many Australians are happy to see the COVID spending to keep the country afloat and to see that gran and pop don’t die prematurely.
The comment is especially unthinking where the debt is incurred in building and maintaining infrastructure. People are being born, ageing and dying every day, so it is absurd to talk as if there is a clear distinction between the young and the old in the community.
Anyway, younger Australians enjoy all the infrastructure provided by earlier generations – think of the modern Hume Highway, the Opera House, etc. Is it really too much to expect the ‘‘young’’ to pay for things they will use and enjoy over their lifetimes?
If there is intergenerational theft, it comes in the form of the Coalition government’s totally inadequate climate policies under which there is a risk we will despoil the Earth.
Henry Haszler, Eltham
Lessons to be learnt
In our hurry to discard 2020 it might be prudent to take note of the urgent messages this devastating pandemic has brought to our attention.
Daily, Age letter writers bring these issues to our attention, though not necessarily under the banner of the pandemic.
On Friday (Letters, 1/1), three of our letter writers addressed some of these issues: in ‘‘The population problem’’, Leigh Ackland brings our attention to the issue of overpopulation on our planet; Timothy Phillips in ‘‘It’s close to crunch time’’ brings our attention to the need to listen to science to save our planet, and in ‘‘The climate for the economy’’, Paul Miller brings our attention to a healthy economy being reliant on a healthy planet.
Last year has shown us our planet is not healthy and 2021 should take stock of the pandemic message and not just deliver 2020 into the dustbin of amnesia.
Katherine Malangre, Bayswater North
A good grounding
My prediction is that first year tertiary students will do better than ever in 2021.
Instead of being mollycoddled by the teachers, they will have learnt resilience and self-motivation.
Suzanne Palmer-Holton, Seaford
Watch this film
Here’s an important new year’s resolution for everyone – watch David Attenborough’s inspiring film A Life on Our Planet.
It combines his life-long love of nature with his knowledge of science.
Plus he is optimistic for our planet and life if we act speedily to make these three main changes – end human overpopulation, excessive greenhouse gases and clearing wilderness.
Barbara Fraser, Burwood
Note from the Editor
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.
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