From our readers: Labor needs the right leaders

Dec 18, 2021
Labor leader Anthony Albanese
Appointing Tanya Plibersek as deputy leader would improve Anthony Albanese's chances at the election. (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

In letters to the editor: the case for Tanya Plibersek as Labor deputy leader, the dishonesty of our Parliament, and the climate crisis.

This week, it was our political stories that fired up readers enough to write in. Stephanie Dowrick’s call for Tanya Plibersek to replace Richard Marles as deputy Labor leader was roundly supported. Everald Compton’s lament about the quality of our current crop of politicians also prompted letters, as did Peter Sainsbury’s weekly wrap of the latest environmental news.

We welcome your responses to our articles. To submit a letter to the editor, please email us at, including your full name and town or suburb, and the article to which you are responding. Letters should be no longer than 200 words, and may be edited for clarity, style and length.

The right leaders — Stephanie Dowrick

Labor and independents can end a political reign of error

Who among us has never sighed with wistful amusement at the thought of becoming a national legend? Of being gratefully remembered for our nobility and extraordinary self-sacrifice for the greater good? Well, it seems that just such a legacy is being offered right now to Richard Marles — on a platter. Stephanie Dowrick has pointed out that if Tanya Plibersek were to become deputy leader of the Labor Party, her popularity and high approval would very likely tip the scales at the upcoming election. And much good would ensue for the whole country. A decision to step down in favour of his rival would be horrendously painful for Marles — but what a legacy he’d win! Rather than vanishing into obscurity, he’d leap into the light. His name would become a national byword for generosity and self-sacrifice for the good of the nation … perhaps for generations to come! — Frances Letters, Armidale, NSW

The mind boggles at how the Labor Party keeps shooting itself in the foot over the past decade by choosing the wrong leaders, courtesy of its self-serving internal power factions. Labor lost an “unlosable” election to Scott Morrison with a leader the electorate just couldn’t trust — the one and only Bill Shorten. Labor would have breezed in if it had Tanya Plibersek as leader then — intelligent, trusted and respected by both sides of the political spectrum. And now, as the 2022 election looms, Labor has a charisma-less leader and an uninspiring deputy to front its campaign with a “small-target” strategy which is leaving the electorate to wonder what the hell Labor really stands for. Many could not agree more with the writer that Albanese’s chances of success would at least be boosted immeasurably by replacing his current deputy with Tanya Plibersek. It would of course have been preferable if she had been their leader but it’s too late for that. The coming election will indeed be crucial for this country. The country has been ill-served by self-serving leaders for over a decade — it’s time for change. — Tony Kok, Castle Hill, NSW

A miasma of dishonesty — Everald Compton

Our shocking Parliament: only one-third of federal MPs deserve any respect

A great observation by Compton on the descent of Australian politics into the “miasma of dishonesty” it currently operates in. To briefly corroborate his comments, I once picked up a federal lower house member in my taxi. I didn’t recognise this Member but began a spirited conversation revolving around tax havens and political duplicity in fostering tax evasion. This parliamentarian’s last words to me were: “They’re [federal politicians] all criminals and I ought to know because I work with them!” I realised who this person was at that point, and we both laughed. This person is one of the “honest ones” referred to by Compton. I hope this person is re-elected; we need more members with integrity who actually represent ordinary Australians rather than “special interests”. — Rob Harwood, West Hobart, Tasmania

Climate emergency — Peter Sainsbury

Sunday environmental round up

Peter Sainsbury urges Australia to “stop producing fossil fuels and develop credible climate plans’, and he is “extremely pessimistic about the world avoiding catastrophic global warming”. The terribly worrying facts are that the Fossil Fueled 5 (FF5) (UK, USA, Canada, Norway and Australia) are not only continuing to mine and export fossil fuels, they are mostly increasing them. This completely negates the 1.5 degree Celsius world temperature increase limit. But despite all COP26’s impassioned pressure, the FF5 refused to change. In Australia’s case, our brightest hope is for electing a new, climate science enlightened government early next year. Our example might then influence the others to do likewise especially if the world’s fossil fuel market declines in favour of cheaper clean energy. The Australian Energy Market Operator has now also just come to the rescue, modelling that most coal can be replaced by renewables. The world’s billionaires especially should donate more to the UN Green Climate Fund to speed such reforms in poorer countries. Climate change itself is worsening and many humans and wild creatures like Florida’s manatees are starving to death. As Sainsbury fears, the world is at a critical point between death and life, and we must take emergency action now. — Barbara Fraser, Burwood, Victoria

Peter Sainsbury highlights some significant facts that we Australians should be aware of. First, despite ‘pledging’ to achieve net-zero by 2050, our Coalition federal government plans to expand production of coal (by 4 per cent), oil (by 32 per cent), and gas (by 12 per cent) over the next decade. Second, Australia scored zero for climate policy in the recent Climate Change Performance Index. These statistics demonstrate just how detached the Morrison government is from the reality of the scale and urgency of the climate crisis. As a wealthy nation who has high historical emissions, Australia has a moral obligation to be a leader in the global transition toward a more prosperous renewable energy future. Instead, we are stuck in an unenviable rut. Local and state governments are acting but the federal situation is significantly impeding progress. We simply must vote for candidates who stand for climate action in the 2022 federal election. — Amy Hiller, Kew, Victoria

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