LETTERS: 14.4.18

Supertrawler spat
I STAND by all my comments on the issue of national marine protection, and Jane Lovell should drop the party political name-calling and simply check the facts (“Don’t come the raw prawn,” Herald, April 7, 2018).
The Gillard government’s 2012 national network of marine protected areas would be in place now if not for the active vandalism of the Turnbull government.
It has removed more than 50 per cent of the marine sanctuaries under that plan, even though there is no scientific basis for doing so.
If Jane doesn’t think that scale of harm merits the term ‘slashed’ I would suggest she get herself a dictionary.
All the science shows that proper marine protection produces healthier fish stocks for all concerned.
This requires both stock management and zonal protection.
The offshore areas that have lost protection are openly described by some in the fishing industry as ‘prospective’, while it’s acknowledged that only industrial fishing practices (i.e. super-trawlers) are commercially feasible for the task.
While it may be that Seafood Industry Australia is lazily complacent about the risk of super-trawlers and other forms of marine degradation, I know that my community, which includes commercial and recreational fishers, tourism operators, and everyday sea-lovers is supportive of comprehensive, evidence-based marine protection.
Josh Wilson MP
Federal Member for Fremantle

Dutton’s a dud
WITH the news blackout imposed by the government, the terrible policy and treatment of refugees has become far less visible recently.
The major parties are complicit in allowing this outrageously inhumane and repressive situation to have arisen and to endure.
And we, by failing to stand up to this brutality, become part of it.
The inhumanity of these policies was recently confirmed again by home affairs minister Peter Dutton.
He talked about the “persecuted white farmers in South Africa” and that Australia should consider special measures to allow these whites to immigrate to Australia.
Even the right wing South Africans have rejected this caring offer, and prime minister Turnbull and foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop have since retracted the comments by Dutton. But they have failed to censure him or have him similarly retract.
The outrage over the loss of innocence of the Australian cricket team continues to reverberate widely, yet we seem not to be concerned about the moral morass that is our public life, government and corporations, and by implication, each of us.
As Booker prize winner writer Richard Flanagan said at the Melbourne Writer’s Festival in 2016: “There is such a thing as a people’s honour. And when it is lost, the people are lost. That is Australia today. If only out of self-respect, we should never have allowed to happen what has.”
Louis de Villiers

Fremantle spirit of old
I REFER to your front page story “Mark of kindness” (Herald, March 17, 2018).
Being a devout Freo Dockers supporter, it gave me great pleasure to read this article.
The fact that they have become the first Australian sporting team to launch a player-backed charity fund is indeed a ‘feather in their cap’.
I think that they are to be thoroughly congratulated on this very honourable initiative.
It reminded me of my childhood and growing up in East Fremantle (before it became a “desired location”) and the fact that back then, everyone stood together and helped each other out.
That was the Fremantle spirit of old and reading the above mentioned article made me think that maybe it is not dead yet.
So let’s hope that 2018 is a successful year for the Freo Dockers both on and off the field.
Steve Grady
Murray Road, Palmyra

Export scandal
AS yet another live export scandal breaks, with footage showing the agonising death of 2400 sheep on a live export ship headed to Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE, industry spokesmen and their government apologists rush out the usual trite phrases about “one-off” events and warning against “knee-jerk” reactions.
Maybe it’s time for a knee-jerk reaction.
This is the term used by doctors for a test of reflexes that indicate the health or otherwise of the human nervous system.
The live export trade is a profound sickness in our society and ignoring it and hoping yet another incident of hideous cruelty will soon be forgotten just makes the patient, our community, that much sicker.
These thousands of sheep—many already used, abused and unwanted by the wool industry—died from extreme heat, many being unable to reach food and water and suffering behind the bodies of their neighbours, who were left to rot on deck.
The argument that this is acceptable because farmers make money from it does not hold water: people make money from cigarettes and illicit drugs too, but we try to stamp out those evils.
Not only is live export appallingly awful for the victims, it is environmentally devastating.
I authored a study a few years ago which estimated the total CO2 emissions of Australian live exports at approximately 1.8 million tonnes, which puts the live-export industry among the top 40 CO2 emitters in Australia.
Stopping the trade would be equivalent to removing approximately 320,000 cars from Australian roads.
It’s well over time for a knee-jerk reflex that will restore both our moral and environmental health by banning this obscene industry.
Desmond Bellamy
PETA Australia

It’s only a game
WHAT’S your sport, mate?
Q&A on ABC TV this week held a discussion on migrants entering Australia, in which it was concluded that sport is a major factor enabling immigrants to assimilate into Australian culture.
In innumerable cases, this is surely and most beneficially true.
Yet 48 years after having arrived here as an immigrant, I have not the slightest idea why Australian culture is so incredibly imbued by sport.
To give a glaring example: why should a recently confirmed case of cheating in an international cricket match take clear precedence in the press, for weeks on end, over matters of overwhelming historical gravity.
Not least  the never-ending and sickening debacle of live animal export, the dreadfully inhumane treatment of asylum seekers, the Federal Government’s gross and incredibly mistaken lack of interest in environmental protection and the crying problems relating to Aboriginal health, education and opportunities.
C. Dortch
Howard Street, Fremantle
The Ed says: A great question from Charlie and we’d love to hear people’s thoughts on this. 

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