Rob McCasker, Somerton Park, SA
Underground is the long-term solution
Hooray to the Liberal government for promising to allocate funds for an underground rail crossing for Glenferrie Road, Kooyong. I live within metres of the crossing and am constantly concerned when witnessing the frustration of drivers who wait in excess of 20minutes in a queue of traffic as boom gates go up and down again within minutes of successive trains passing through in peak hour.
This frustration extends to those of us trying to exit driveways. The sky rail proposed by the Victorian government for the Tooronga/Toorak Rd crossing is inappropriate for the narrow passage of this rail through residential areas and a proposal incorporating underground rail for both these crossings appears, to an ordinary citizen like me, to be common sense.
I will be voting for underground as a long-term solution.
Jayne Pitard, Kooyong
Commitment puts paid to sky rail
The recent commitment from federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg of funding for the removal of the level crossing at Glenferrie Road in Kooyong will mean the Victorian state government has no reason not to pursue the preferred long-term rail-under-road solution.
Unfortunately the current plan to introduce sky rail at Toorak Road will sterilise underground options for other level crossings and is therefore only a short-term solution with long-term consequences.
We can only hope that the Victorian government will put the people of Victoria first and take up the offer. If not, we will see and feel the legacy of the Toorak Road sky rail every day for generations to come.
Campbell Jaski, Kooyong
What’s driving this process?
There is no transparency to level-crossing removal – who gets «under» or «over» or why.
The state government will not release comparative costings for a rail bridge versus an underpass at Toorak Road. While the Toorak Road crossing was pushed down the priority list and delayed by this government, the goal posts moved from «most dangerous» to «dangerous» crossings, and three crossings were added that weren’t originally named in the top 50 for removal. Read the auditor-general’s report.
Two creeks can be sorted for the North East Link to proceed, but stormwater redirection is a problem for a rail underpass? Now we have a top 75 list, a prioritisation framework and new rules.
Is better transport and traffic movement for all really driving the agenda? And what about the environmental impact of what is planned for those who live in the area? How much more would it cost for rail under?
Removal of rail crossings is essential. Make it rail under for Toorak Road, the same as the successful Burke Road crossing. This solution is a better Melbourne for all.
Wendy Nickson, Kooyong
The deeper bench
Despite being the accidental Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, paradoxically, is blessed by the fact there’s not a single member of his party that looks remotely like prime minister material.
In stark contrast, Bill Shorten has at least five colleagues who look far more prime ministerial – Anthony Albanese, Mark Dreyfus, Penny Wong, Tanya Plibersek, Tony Burke.
John O’Hara, Mount Waverley
Bill Shorten may well miss his Franklin River moment with his stated inaction on the Adani coal mine. If he becomes prime minister, Mr Shorten could administrate through executive powers to stop the mine and other development in the Galilee Basin, like Bob Hawke with the Franklin River in 1983 and the High Court decision in support.
If allowed to flow freely, the mighty Burdekin River would provide a significantly cooling injection of fresh water into the Great Barrier Reef system and this should be considered in efforts to reverse coral bleaching.
Allowing a coal mine and a tailings dam in the Burdekin River headwaters (the Galilee Basin) will endanger this river catchment system and the reef indelibly. The Adani coal mine in this age of global warming is not warranted and cannot be explained.
Do the interests of income generated for the public or private sector possibly warrant an environmental crime of this scale, and permanent impact on the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef?
Donna Saunders, Castlemaine
At a chilly rally …
In Sunday’s biting wind at the Ban Live Export rally in Melbourne, I felt the chill of disappointment.
Disappointment that two Liberal MPs used their deciding votes to thwart a ban last September. Sarah Henderson and Sussan Ley had campaigned passionately against live sheep exports, then suddenly the lure of a junior ministry prompted a change of heart.
Disappointment – no, anger – that Scott Morrison had the gall to manhandle a sheep for a photo-op on Saturday. His government presides over the suffering of thousands of sheep literally cooking to death in their own excrement on heat-stressed voyages. Lastly, I’m disappointed that so many people shrug and say: «All politicians are the same.» There is a clear difference this time: Labor has committed to ending live sheep exports.
Joan Reilly, Surrey Hills
… I was heartened by this
At the Melbourne rally against live export, I was heartened to see the number of people who braved the cold and drizzle, and to see all age groups strongly represented.
It is also heartening that Labor has made the commitment to end long-haul sheep export, along with many independents and other parties who have not only listened to voters but have come to understand just how cruel, abusive and unnecessary the trade is.
As well, it was heartening to hear people in cars honking in support, and several of the police saying «thank you» to attendees.
Shirley Bethune, Donvale
They weren’t so great
It is puzzling why political commentators (Peter Hartcher, for example, The Age, 27/4) praise the economic policies of the Hawke-Keating government. These policies led directly to the recession of the early 1990s. It was Hawke and Keating who began deregulating the economy for corporate interests; selling off or downsizing publicly owned enterprises, services and institutions; and holding back wage growth for lower/middle income employees. John Howard and various state premiers continued this process … resulting in the inequality we have today.
We’ve got Hawke and Keating to thank for starting this nation down the neo-Liberal economic road, which ends up with a few big winners and a hell of a lot of people worse off than they should be.
Bill O’Connor, Beechworth
What Morrison really means
«Bill Shorten … thinks your money is better off in his pocket than it is in yours,» Scott Morrison says. Let’s be clear about what he means.
The Coalition thinks you should be paying for public services, not the government. It wants you to pay for healthcare, for schools, for early childhood education, for solar panels on your roof because it won’t invest in renewable energy, for your cars because it won’t invest in trains.
This is cost-shifting on a massive scale – fine for people like the PM with six-figure salaries, multiple houses, negative gearing and tax cuts of thousands of dollars to come from a re-elected Liberal government. They can buy their way through most of what life throws at them. For the average Australian it will be a nightmare of declining services and rising private costs.
This is the Coalition’s vision for Australia in the 21st century: keep your money if you’ve got it, and sink or swim.
Nic Barnard, Fitzroy North
It’s in the cards
When it comes to policy, the contest between the two major party leaders is not unlike a game of poker. Bill Shorten has a full house in his hand but seems hesitant on how best to play his cards. In contrast, Scott Morrison has just a pair of knaves but is very good at bluffing.
Tim Winter, Vermont South
A void needs filling
The truckload of stories, letters and social media comment about inappropriate booing during the medal presentation at the end of the traditional Anzac Day AFL game at the MCG between Collingwood and Essendon seems to have missed or under-rated a key point.
The five minutes after a close, tight, emotional game in front of nearly 100,000 people can be a
short but highly pressure-charged period.
For years the AFL had at least a partial solution to this via the calming, genuine, knowledgeable voice of Craig Willis, which is why he was known as the Voice of Football. Craig’s soothing words would resonate and penetrate around the crowded MCG at the game’s end in just the right tone.
The emotion after a tough, close footy game can be very high when losing fans feel spent and disappointed. They might also be realistically or unrealistically upset at many things: the mistakes and skill errors by their own team, by umpiring decisions they consider wrong or questionable, the list is long.
The AFL needs a strategic, subtle soothing plan in place to close out the big feature games. After all, for 26 weeks of the year Aussie rules is the biggest gathering of Australians across the country.
Chris Lewis, Fremantle
The other cheer squad
Some of us remember when footy umpires wore white (complete neutrality?) and players were reminded, «The man in white is always right.» There was even a cheeky group of fans (uni students?) who occasionally turned up at the MCG as the Umpires’ Cheer Squad – also dressed in white, they had white floggers and banners reading things like «Good decision, Ump!»
They copped a lot of flak from both sides, of course, but crowd heckling was gentler and funnier then. More sporting. Those were the days …
John Boyce, Richmond
Switch from ducks to deer
Can we train up bloodthirsty native duck hunters and deploy them to help cull the feral deer in the Yarra Valley? This would solve three problems: protecting our vulnerable and defenceless bird life, mitigating the environmental and economic deer issue and satisfying the bloodlust of recreational hunters.
Sandra Fordyce-Voorham, Black Rock
First the brumbies …
With more than 1 million feral deer in Victoria alone , («Deer invasion wreaking havoc on prime wine country», 29/4) it is about time the state and federal ministers for the environment took some positive action to eliminate the problem.
Now that the brumbies in the Snowy River have been given heritage status, how long before we see the same treatment given to pigs, foxes, goats and camels. Maybe it’s time for the heritage cane toad.
Greg Thomas, Annandale, NSW
Which real Scott Morrison?
In her regular diatribe against Bill Shorten, Amanda Vanstone claims «One of Morrison’s greatest attributes is that he makes no pretence at being anything but what he is.»
So what is that – shearer, agricultural worker, sportsman, etc, etc? Anything but a prime minister it would seem. The alacrity with which he accepted Clive Palmer’s offer of a preference deal perhaps reveals what he really is, a man who will make deals with anyone in a desperate bid to retain the prime ministership of our country.
Perhaps electors should consider that what Scott Morrison is is a man not to be trusted.
Doris LeRoy, Altona
Vanstone on repeat
Can someone at The Age tell Amanda Vanstone her obsession with Bill Shorten has gone beyond the pale. She’s like a musician with one song in her repertoire. I know I’ve stopped listening (and reading) I’m sure there are many ex-politicians out there, of both persuasions, who could offer a more balanced view of the current state of play.
Hans Pieterse, Narre Warren North
Sally Adness (Letters, 29/4), I appreciate your reflection on the experience of rock climbing in the Grampians. I live near a beautiful reserve, with a creek running through. It is a regular morning walk of mine where I can reflect on the beauty of the bush.
Unfortunately, as more people use this sanctuary, new tracks open up the bush. A plastic swing for children has been sensitively attached to a tea-tree, the space beneath devoid of vegetation due to the tramping of feet. The beauty of this reserve is being domesticated. I hope this will not happen to the wilderness of the Grampians, or is my hope too late?
Jane Washington, Frankston South
A two-way street
In the Education section of The Age, «Open Season» (29/4) highlights the important issues that parents should consider when choosing a school for their child.
Could I humbly suggest they also consider what positive attributes their family and child will bring to the classroom learning environment and the school community.
Julienne Gleeson, Malvern
AND ANOTHER THING
Truth in advertising
It says something about the state of the nation and politics when AEC advertisements tell us how to check information sources so we’re not taken in by falsehoods.
Margaret Callinan, Balwyn
Sorry, Mr Howard, but calling Mr Shorten dishonest is a bit rich – or have you forgotten «children overboard»? I certainly have not.
Dermot Mcintosh, Bacchus Marsh
I’ve made up my mind already. Can the politicians now shut up for the next few weeks?
Jan Newmarch, Oakleigh
I next expect Scott Morrison to promise every Australian household a set of steak knives.
Marie Hodgens, Burwood
Well said Jaroslaw Kotiw, (Letters 29/4), I grimace whenever I see Scott Morrison’s «good bloke» act, or Bill Shorten’s rehearsed «stately persona»: no more scripts, we deserve better.
Mary Cole, Richmond
It’s time Amanda Vanstone spent some of her hard-earned parliamentary pension and purchased a new voodoo doll of Bill Shorten. Her old one must be falling apart from too many pinholes.
Les Anderson, Woodend
Amanda Vanstone has remarkable insight: Everything the Liberals do is good, everything Labor does is bad. Simple.
Lance Cranage, Mount Waverley
Some climate-change deniers like to call those who believe the irrefutable evidence of its existence names like «warmists». My name for them is «Chamberlains». As in Neville.
John Rawson, Mernda
One way to ensure Essendon supporters are better behaved in the future would be to threaten to replace Essendon with another team in the following year’s Anzac Day match. That should get the supporters’ attention.
Garry Meller, Bentleigh