I'll tell your cabinet who Matt Kean is, Prime Minister ("PM slaps down Kean on cabinet comment", January 21). He's a bloke who could visit a bushfire area and have people wanting to shake his hand. - Andrew Smith, Lane Cove
The federal government frequently states the need for the states to be proactive on the subject, working together with Canberra. The PM states that his cabinet doesn't even know who the NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean is. The PM's comments show the utter lack of joint efforts on the matter of climate change. - Harry Mansson, Avalon
I find myself in agreement with the Prime Minister and cabinet, "Who is Matt Kean?" However, I do know he has said some sensible things about climate change and, rather than belittling him, in a very un-Christian way, the Prime Minister should applaud him for speaking his mind. - Gordon Lambert, Kiama Downs
The Morrison government sounds anything but united on climate change and Morrison himself now appears rattled. His extraordinary attack on Matt Kean is not a good look for a PM under siege, and predictably backfired badly.
The challenges to his Clayton's climate policy will only increase and the longer he defends his stance, the more damage he will inflict on himself and his party.
This is what happens when you try to defend the indefensible. However, all the kerfuffle is certainly raising the hopes of Labor supporters. - Graham Lum, North Rocks
What a ridiculous and puerile rebuke from Scott Morrison. The Prime Minister not only claimed that Kean didn't know what he was talking about but that the members of federal cabinet wouldn't know who Matt Kean was. Ouch! The sort of statement you expect from cranky children, not the PM. - Anthony Baker, Oatley
The PM claims most of the Cabinet would not know who Minister Kean is. What a sad admission that Cabinet would have such little regard for the environment and climate change that they are not engaged with him. Given the fact that NSW is by population the largest state, pity the smaller states, and, indeed, all of us. - Ian Kerr, Galston
Scott Morrison's attack on Matt Kean serves only to show that it is Morrison who is out of step with the NSW community. Residents of NSW, especially those in fire ravaged areas of the state, are clamouring for decisive action on climate change. Morrison needs to listen. - Janet Castle, Asquith
Dear Prime Minister, we know who Matt Kean is. A quick check of neighbours and local friends revealed they know who he is, too. Indeed, those we know in other NSW communities had no difficulty in identifying Matt. So if you or any of your cabinet or backbench have trouble understanding who Mr Kean is or what he stands for, please don't hesitate to contact me. Hes is, of course, the only Coalition politician who seems to grasp what's going on here. - Tracey Meredith-Marx, Wentworth Falls
Fossil-fuel dinosaurs don't deserve any help
The report "Climate crisis to put heat on RBA" (January 21) makes it clear that intervention by the Reserve Bank - for example, by buying stranded assets such as coal mines and fossil-fuel power stations - as urged by the International Monetary Fund, may be necessary to stave off global financial breakdown.
It should not have to come to this. If investors in coal mines and fossil-fuel driven power plants had done their market research properly, they would see that the way of the future lies in renewable energy, not in fossil fuels, and would direct their investments accordingly.
The report also notes that "almost twice as many local executives view climate change as society's biggest issue compared to their international peers". Kevin Rudd ("The great moral challenge of our generation") may well have been right after all. - Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin (ACT)
Why on Earth should we spend public money buying coal mines and power stations? These companies should diversify into renewables if they wish to stay viable; if they won’t, let them die. We have subsidised their pollution “externalities” for generations, and it’s high time we stopped. - - Richard Murnane, Hornsby
What is stopping our transition from our reliance on coal to the clean energy future we need is the link between fossil fuel businesses and government. - Angela Michaelis, Balmain
Responsible businesses have been factoring climate change into their plans for years. Why should the RBA bail out the irresponsible companies that have invested in the coal industry? Coal mines and coal-fired power stations should be acquired by government at a price that reflects their value (after externalities and rehabilitation costs have been deducted) – probably zero.
Compensation should be restricted to the individuals adversely affected by the closure of the coal industry. It should be in the form of generous Newstart, retraining and relocation allowances. The $US29 billion ($42 billion) in annual subsidies paid to the fossil fuel industry (according to IMF Working Paper No 19/89) could be redirected to pay such compensation and to kick-start renewable energy industries.
The transition to a low-carbon economy is inevitable. The question is how we manage it. Do we follow the suggestions from the Greens (now being considered by Labor) and make it an orderly, well-managed process, or do we follow Coalition policy until the change is forced on us, with mass unemployment, major economic disruption and irresponsible companies calling for government bailouts? - George Rosier, Carlingford
Celebrate birth of a modern nation
While January 26 is clearly an important anniversary in Australian history (and for many, a very sad one) it is an inappropriate date to celebrate the birth of the nation (Letters, January 21). Not only is it an insult to first Australians to celebrate the dispossession of their ancestors, and generations of discrimination and denial of culture, but it has nothing to do with the modern nation of Australia. It was the foundation of an “off-shore detention centre” called New South Wales, for England and under English military control. - Al Svirskis, Mount Druitt
Regarding the debate about the best date for Australia Day celebrations, I propose that from next year onwards it be celebrated on whatever day we manage to put these damn fires out this year. A mid-July date is currently firming as the favourite. - Stephen Driscoll, Castle Hill
Republic is a distraction
If the ALP ever wants to return to government they need to ditch distracting symbols such as the republic ("'We should seize the Megxit moment’: Ed Husic renews Australia republic call", smh.com.au, January 21). A majority of Australians are much more concerned with important economic issues such as jobs, wages growth and the cost of housing. If the backbencher wishes to keep his name in the public eye he should focus on matters that are significant rather than “that old chestnut”. - Riley Brown, Bondi Beach
It was great to watch a first round women’s’ match at the Australian Open with no loud grunting, throwing of racquets, swearing and all the other bratty activities that a lot of male and female players do. The game between Ash Barty of Australia and Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine was a delight to watch. Some spectators hope for distractions that some players provide, however, most want to see a great game by great players without the theatrics. On top of its being a great game to watch, Ash won after losing the first set, showing what a fighter she is. This match is a must see for all junior players on how to play the game without being a brat. - Alan Leitch, Austins Ferry (Tas)
Faster on foot
I caught a new tram just before Christmas ("Pressure on drivers to fix flaws: union", January 21). After a delayed and crowded tram did finally turn up, progress down George Street was risibly slow. Next time I will walk. I have visited many cites with trams, none of which have been 67 metres long. Single trams equals shorter stop times. I do not accept any of the reasons justifying the excessive length. The real reason is to halve the number of drivers and reduce operating costs. - Jim Russell, Balmain
Testing the friendship
Anyone with eyes half open knows that small businesses are ailing in rural NSW, even the larger towns: empty shop fronts, extended “sales” signs, closing-down sales, give-away bargains and more. ("Economic effect of bushfires runs deep", January 21). In the wake of this shocking summer, especially, many people have little to spend and no appetite to do so. The federal government’s belated cash splash will help but its obtuse obsession with a surplus, blame-the-victim attitude to Newstart and the needy, and failure to grasp that extreme climate impacts are so costly are all hampering the small businesses which ritually support the Coalition. = Ron Sinclair, Bathurst
Beliefs dim star
Margaret Court is having it both ways with her request that her homophobic beliefs should be separated from her tennis achievements ("It's not a lot, but it's good. Court details tribute plan", January 21). No one would care what an obscure Perth minister says about homosexuality had she not been a world renowned grand slam champion. Doesn't she know, "With great power comes great responsibility"? She claims no one has yet come up to her in the street to say, "I hate you". Well, Margaret, we don't hate you. We only pity the person who spends her day obsessing about other people's consensual sex lives - Han Yang, North Turramurra
Margaret Court has claimed that people have thanked her "for being my voice" after the expression of her homophobic views. She obviously believes that is an indication of public support for her attitude. Or perhaps it’s just that there are also people with the same bigoted views as herself. Which is not something to be particularly proud of. - Derrick Mason, Boorowa
Your country needs you
En-route to a recent wedding, we chose to visit towns in drought-affected central NSW and areas in Victoria affected by the bushfires. We were welcomed by delightful B&B hosts, enjoyed delicious meals and excellent coffee, purchased a range of items not available at home and explored fascinating museums and street art. It was a wonderful trip.
Forget Hawaii or other overseas destinations – there is plenty to see and do here. Especially now, when so many businesses directly and indirectly are affected by the bushfires and drought are suffering. One shopkeeper told us her takings were down 80 per cent, and a B&B host had all her January bookings cancelled. This flows on to local businesses supplying everything from food and wine to paper bags and cleaning products. I congratulate campaigns such as Empty Esky ("A diet of fundraising goodwill", January 21) and hope others take the time to visit some of the many destinations in our country areas. - Anne Kirman, Kellyville
Jana strides on
What an extraordinary 37 years Jana Pittman has had ("Pittman begins life as a doctor", January 21). Twice world champion in the 400m hurdles. Four Olympic Games (three summer and one winter) and two gold medals in the Commonwealth Games. She has now swapped her spikes for a stethoscope and has started as a doctor at Blacktown Hospital. What a journey. Congratulations, Jana. - Helen Simpson, Curl Curl
ABC lesson for PM
When will Scott Morrison refund the ABC some of the money he took off the broadcaster for political reasons? He needs to demonstrate his admiration at the way ABC kept the nation fully informed about the bushfire crisis. He's throwing money around for other just causes, why not the ABC? - Vincent Matthews, Warriewood
Voice from above
Any coincidence that both Canberra and much of the Shire bore the brunt of the extreme weather front ("Lightning strikes tourists as storms roll through parched state", January 21)? Mysterious ways indeed. - Lee-Ann Groblicka, Turramurra
The Sutherland district is battered by hail. Isn’t that where our climate-change-denying Prime Minister lives? Canberra gets the worst hailstorm ever. Isn’t that where our climate-change-denying Prime Minister cloaks himself in his political bubble? - Brian Roach, Whitebridge
Sense not so common
“ … we do not need regulation to protect ourselves from ourselves … allow and encourage people to develop and use common sense and to take personal responsibility for their decisions and actions.” (Letters, January 21) Good luck with that! - Alynn Pratt, Killara
End our suffering
They should "move the Senate to Batemans Bay to help the region's bushfire recovery"? (Letters, January 21)? Surely we've suffered enough? - Terry McGee, Malua Bay
School's out, for ever
My wife and I tried all the suggested steps to ease the back-to-school blues (“Simple steps to beat back-to-school blues”, January 21), but the only thing that worked for us was to retire from teaching. - Peter Miniutti, Ashbury