Monday, July 8, 2013

Scrutiny needed of Doyle's Queen Vic proposals

Those who read Saturday's coverage in The Age of Lord Mayor Robert Doyle's proposals to revamp Queen Victoria Market might be interested in my response in today's letters in the paper:

We are entitled to scepticism of Lord Mayor Robert Doyle's grand plans to revamp the Queen Vic Market. Coming hot on the heels of Doyle exempting himself from a Council planning decision due to developer support for his re-election campaign, any Queen Vic proposal from the Lord Mayor should be subject to the closest scrutiny.

In what appears to be a top-down process in developing the proposal, we need to ask who stands to gain, and that includes if it's any of the big developers who bankrolled some candidates in the City of Melbourne Council elections.

I agree with Shane Green that any plan for change should seek the engagement of the market stall holders, who you report as refusing to participate in a Council promotional video due to their uncertainty about the detail of the proposal. It would also be a great idea to ask the ordinary people who visit the market, the observers of the worn steps and history of the place of which Green thoughtfully writes.

Doyle has a track-record of objecting to the occupation of public spaces by ordinary people, including the disadvantaged - witness his strident opposition to Occupy Melbourne and his ham-fisted anti-begging proposals. He ought not to arrogantly occupy the debate over this city's history, its future directions, and its identity.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

An open letter to The Age on "financial terrorism"

Dear Mr Holden,

As bushfires rage around Australia, let me suggest an alternative to yesterday's editorial, shriekingly headlined, "Sharemarket damaged by financial terrorism".

You might have instead considered "Climate damaged by carbon terrorism" - it gets you much closer to the truth.

A vastly larger group of "shareholders" is hurt by the exploitation of fossil fuels and routinely deceived by lies and misinformation denying the impacts of the resulting carbon emissions - including more frequent and severe bushfires.

That tragic fraud affects the global population, far beyond those affected by market changes following a media release purporting to announce ANZ's withdrawal of funds from a coal project.

Jonathan Moylan's corrective activism certainly has The Age fired up. More urgently, the reckless pursuit of fossil fuels such as coal is, quite literally, setting the world on fire. Where's your moral outrage at that?


Darren Lewin-Hill

P.S. Your editorial follows recent excellent coverage by Tom Arup of projected increased insurance costs for State assets in Victoria based on climate change and resulting bushfires.

Earlier this week, Peter Hannam reported that money for bushfire research is running out. In his piece today on Meekatharra, he quotes Dr David Jones, head of climate analysis at the Bureau of Meteorology, regarding new record temperatures set for Australia in the present heatwave.

In terms of climate change trends, the rising mean temperatures provide a clearer "finger-print", not to mention the rate and scale of the new records being set, Dr Jones said.

Unfortunately, as "A Nation Burns" - in the words of yesterday's page one headline - your editorial tips the "balance" of your coverage towards a perspective that values the market over damage to the climate, and those who live with the impacts of climate change - or die from them.