SP HEALY: Lonely Planet recently chose Adelaide as one of the world’s top 10 cities to visit in 2014. Next to the words of praise on their website announcement a single photograph is displayed as evidence of our city’s charms. It shows the beautiful northern facade of Parliament House. Incredibly, it appears that our State Government intends to destroy that view of its own splendid Kapunda marble structure completed during the Great Depression. Very soon it may disappear entirely behind a multi-storey building placed closely in front. Remarkably few South Australians are aware of this.
Lonely Planet notes that “2014 beckons big changes for the city’s heart”. Indeed. When the SA Bicentenary is celebrated in 2036, I wonder what our future parliamentarians will see from their elegant northern balcony?
Will there be a vibrant “Parliament Square” full of proud citizens sharing a drink and conversation in a shaded, pleasant open space? Will some of them have enjoyed a recent performance in an award-winning Festival Concert Hall balanced perfectly between the Festival Theatre and the square itself? Or will our future politicians instead be peering straight into the neighbouring windows of a 20-year-old office building and cursing us for wrecking the very things that Lonely Planet so clearly valued?
MARK COLEMAN: I just finished reading a US stockbroker’s analysis of the US auto industry. The US makes about 16 million cars a year, and imports another 4 million. Of the total 20 million total units, about 4 million are exported/re-exported to Canada, Mexico and elsewhere. In the GM section, there was no mention at all of Holden or Australia. Sad fact – on the global corporate scale, we are irrelevant; this is news to no-one.
I’d offer a few observations that we logically should expect to see a decline in new car sales (often used as an economic indicator):
- Australian cars and motorcycles are ridiculously expensive by international standards. In an age of internet price transparency, we are increasingly aware of this, and are refusing to stretch already tight budgets by changing cars as often as we’d like.
- Cars are better designed and built, with more technology. People are driving shorter distances, and increasingly using cheap flights for interstate leisure travel, so cars wear out slower. In short, cars are lasting longer.
- Governments are actively discouraging us from driving – they tell us that speed is inherently dangerous, impose large fines for any traffic offences, and deliberately make parking more expensive. In this environment, is it any wonder that demand for motoring goods and services is in decline?
The next time anyone complains that our vehicle manufacturing is in decline, and blames government policy, hopefully they will recognise that it’s not for lack of taxpayer support – we’re already doing that directly, by bearing the current excessive costs of motoring.
MICHAEL LARDELLI: Your article taken from The Conversation, Freezing out the facts (7 January 2014), rightly decries the behaviour of The Australian newspaper in promoting climate change denial. But InDaily and other mainstream media also unwittingly do the same every day through their promotion of economic growth.
Growth in consumption of material goods and activity multiplied by growth in population size makes up the economic growth that drives increased energy use. On a world-wide basis, fossil fuels provide 80% of that energy. The scale of our energy use is now so vast that simply supplanting it with alternative sources of energy – not to mention increasing our economic activity – would require many decades of massive investment in alternative energy infrastructure. So promoting economic and population growth is, by default, to promote increased fossil fuel use, CO2 emissions and global warming.
For example, in the same edition of InDaily, the article Tolls: the game no-one wants to play told us: “If we want to grow, we want to have first class infrastructure and someone has to pay for it.” The unspoken (ideological) assumption is that we actually want more roads to accommodate more vehicles that will produce more CO2 emissions. If the mainstream media does not question the ideological demand for consumption/population growth then it is implicitly supporting global warming.
MICHAEL SCHILLING: InDaily is to be congratulated for seeking the recent in-depth interview with the Premier (Home grants still on the table: Weatherill, 6 January 2014). And Premier Weatherill is to be applauded for openly stating his views on the State’s economy and the management required, something the Opposition still has to do. For instance Mr Weatherill acknowledged that revenue had fallen to the lowest level as a proportion of the economy since 2002, giving him a stark choice. He said and I quote:
“You’re faced with two options; you chase down your revenue with spending cuts or you dramatically increase other sources of revenue (taxation).”
“We’ve chosen to do neither.
“We’re comfortable carrying the consequent level of debt.
“The AAA credit rating went as a result of that choice.”
As a concerned citizen I must admit that these statements alarm me. In essence, adopting this course of action is likely to take this State nowhere, something we simply cannot afford. The State’s languishing economy needs shaping to give us a better future. Unfortunately, nothing in Premier Weatherill’s comments gives me any substance and hope that we will climb out of the current doldrums. But fortunately, it is still time for government to regroup its thoughts on this before the election. For the sake of this State, I do hope that happens.
Send us letters via email to email@example.com, including your full name, or join the conversation on Facebook. The editor reserves the right to edit letters.
Make your contribution to independent news
A donation of any size to InDaily goes directly to helping our journalists uncover the facts. South Australia needs more than one voice to guide it forward, and we’d truly appreciate your contribution. Please click below to donate to InDaily.