Cat curfew to save native species: Minister’s plan

I described myself as a “cat person” until I volunteered for WIRES and witnessed the terrible slow painful death from cat bites (“Plibersek wages war on cats as 48 species join risk list”, September 7). Rescued animals need antibiotics within a few hours to prevent septicaemia – blood poisoning. It was a race to collect the animal and get it to a vet, then came the waiting and hoping. Some volunteers refused to take cat attacks as the outcome was usually heartbreaking. Cats can make wonderful companions but they kill native animals at night. Legislation is the only way to stop the backyard carnage. Hats off to Tanya Plibersek. Anne Matheson, Gordon

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek is developing a new plan to tackle feral cats as the list of native wildlife threatened with extinction grows.

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek is developing a new plan to tackle feral cats as the list of native wildlife threatened with extinction grows.Credit: .

Australia has a huge problem with feral animals. Cats, dogs, pigs, horses, donkeys, camels, cane toads, foxes, rabbits and – the most dangerous – the ever-increasing number of people chopping down forests for profit or housing while polluting waterways. But don’t worry, getting people to lock up domestic cats will fix the problem. Graeme Finn, Summer Hill

Lists of species threatened with extinction are not merely academic audits of the status of our planet’s biodiversity. We need to see it as queue where we’re handing out the call numbers and some time along that line our number will also be called out. When the occasional species dies out over millennia, that is evolutionary reconfiguration. When a plethora of life forms ceases to be within our lifetime, that is a dire wake-up call to act now. Steve Dillon, Thirroul

The environment minister’s waging of war on feral cats is crucial. While many owners are responsible for their cats, others have a flawed logic and think their cuddly bundle of joy would never threaten native wildlife. They are sadly delusional. John Cotterill, Kingsford

Plibersek wants to place a curfew on cats, but most councils already have one. She needs to provide a way to police it. My council told me cats are not to be out at night, but that’s all. There is no ranger to make sure this happens. Jenny Greenwood, Hunters Hill

Australians should be appalled at the country’s gold-medal status for the loss of species. Cat and dog owners should be willing to be responsible for their animals and do their utmost to ensure they have no opportunity to injure or kill native wildlife. Genevieve Milton, Dulwich Hill

Plibersek’s desire to “see a feral-cat-free Australia” will never be achieved with hand-delivered baiting, fencing, shooting and euthanising. What is needed is a socially transmittable viral disease like cat distemper from which domestic cats can be protected through vaccination. But this is not going to happen because we love cats more than native wildlife. The government is just posturing, and they know it. Allen Greer, Sydney

Your inflammatory article about cats will inevitably lead to acts of cruelty towards cats because “they’re a menace who deserve it”. Humanity’s rapacious demand for habitat for housing and agriculture, and the damage caused by climate change, far exceed any impact of cats in urban fringes. Paul Gilchrist, Burwood

Thank you, Tanya Plibersek; stick to your plan and do not let it be derailed by the sentimental caterwaulings of the cat people. They can keep their cats – indoors, where these predators belong. Then I won’t let my pet rhinoceros forage in their gardens. So bring on the curfews and other requirements. And thank you also for looking to protect the small-flowered snottygobble – a plant all right-thinking Australians want to see preserved. Geraldine O’Brien, Redfern

Cheap holidays not enough to overlook Qatari problems

Qantas has an existential imperative to try and make a profit while I suspect Qatar Airways, as a state-owned entity of an oil rich emirate controlled by one family has no such trifles to worry about (“Don’t feel too sorry for Qatar Airways”, September 7). They don’t even have to lobby politicians in Doha because politicians aren’t allowed. So are we to overlook the Qatari record of intimate body searches of women, their appalling record of treatment of foreign workers, etc., as long as we can get a cheap ticket to somewhere for the next holiday? Stuart Skevington, Lilyfield

Getting the brush.

Getting the brush.Credit: Matt Golding

Which is also why we don’t really care about the child who makes our clothes, the farmer who grows our food, or the person who delivers our pizza. We just want cheaper things. David Rush, Lawson

If you flood a market, which it seems Qatar is proposing, consumers may see an initial price drop, but it is possible the bottom falls out of that market, people’s jobs are lost, and business investment could be delayed or sidelined completely. If there is a race to the bottom on prices, history shows that no one wins and a gradual approach to introducing extra product into a market should be the preferred option, with a more beneficial outcome for both consumers and suppliers. Chris Gresham, Upper Lansdowne

Transport Minister Catherine King says her decision to refuse Qatar’s bid to fly an extra 21 flights a week into Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane is in the national interest. Mercantilism – the interest of sellers over buyers – is not in the national interest. Mercantilism is the political and economic philosophy that says “I can use political power to get into your wallet”. The time has come to think through the political, economic and moral implications of the term, “national interest”. Victor Diskordia, Dickson (ACT)

In my view, the forced strip searching of a group of Australian women at Doha airport is a legitimate issue to take into account in assessing Qatar’s request for more flights to Australia (“King contradicts herself over Qatar flights, now says strip-searches a ‘factor”’,, September 9). Sandra Pertot, Diamond Beach

How many of us are prepared to undergo forced invasive strip searches in order to gain cheaper airfares? Do we think that it’s OK as long as it happens to other people, including five Australian citizens, as long as it’s not us? If not, then let’s support the minister’s decision to refuse Qatar Airways bid for increased access to the Australian market. Maree Faulkner, North Sydney

Joyce’s folly


The observation of your correspondent that Alan Joyce is required to put his shareholders’ benefit above those of his customers is questionable (Letters, September 7). To put it simply, Qantas customers will simply use another airline if they continue to be so ill-treated. A rapidly declining customer base does not benefit shareholders. Brian Kidd, Mt Waverley (Vic)

When I hear the strains of I Still Call Australia Home I think of Qantas as it once was – a company proud of its safety record and excellent service. My husband worked for 29 years as a simulator instructor, training pilots, knowing the travelling public was in safe hands. My hope is that Qantas’s reputation can be restored once more. Josephine Piper, Miranda

The multi-million bonuses Joyce will receive make those four Cartier watches (total value $20,000) handed out by Christine Holgate to Australia Post executives look positively mean. Maureen Lysaght, Terrey Hills

It’s time, for teamwork

The PM might not have the presidential presence of a Menzies, Whitlam or Hawke but he competently manages a team of articulate ministers whom he trusts to improve the nation (“Limelight waning on leading lad”, September 7). Under Anthony Albanese, progress has been made in healthcare issues like chemists’ prescriptions and elevating the work of GPs, in disabled care under the astute stewardship of Bill Shorten, on climate change, on supporting public schools and universities, and more. It is the sort of admirable, progressive cabinet government people prefer to presidential-style pre-eminence. His “ensemble” act stands in stark contrast to the divisive politicking of a nitpicking Dutton opposition. Ron Sinclair, Windradyne

Shaun Carney is being overly optimistic suggesting that the Albanese government will fare better in polling if it presents “as an ensemble piece and not a star vehicle”. An overall discernible weakness in the government’s ministry is a lack of potent personality and compelling oratory, and that includes Tony Burke and Jim Chalmers who Carney hails as “strong advocates”.
Carney rightly identifies the PM as having “serious limitations as a campaigner”, a shortcoming of which Anthony Albanese is no doubt aware, hence his attempt to maintain the “small target” strategy he employed in opposition and leading up to last year’s election.
No amount of “whole-of-government effort” will have any impact in improving the government’s status unless it is accompanied by strong, definitive action that will be meaningful to those who voted the ALP into power. Ross Butler, Rodd Point

Lyon king

Hats off to Brendan Lyon, who exposed a serious NSW budget flaw that cost him $2 million and his KPMG-partner post (“Speaking out cost whistle-blower $2m”, September 7). He is a public hero. As whistle-blowing takes immense personal courage and sacrifice, the government needs to step up and introduce more effective whistle-blower protection laws to protect rare, upstanding individuals such as him. Steve Ngeow, Chatswood

Second that emotion

Things have reached a bitter stage in this country when illustrious professor Marcia Langton is reduced to tears as she pleaded for the modest Voice proposal in the face of polls suggesting the vote is lost (“Langton makes emotional plea to voters”, September 7). Andrew Macintosh, Cromer

Price isn’t right

Coles tells us that overcharging for items advertised as “on special” was no more than a “ticketing error” (“Coles blames ‘ticketing error’ for overpriced special offers”, September 7). Not so long ago they offered a similarly straight-faced explanation for underpaying workers. Noting who always benefits, Coles seems to be invoking TV artist Bob Ross, who often said there are no mistakes, just “happy little accidents”. Colin Stokes, Camperdown.

For some time now supermarkets have been selling very small eggs in cartons marked “extra large”. The only thing extra large is the price. If it’s a “ticketing error”, who’s checking? Kathleen Hollins, Northmead

Burning out

I don’t want my taxpayer’s money to subsidise the burning of fossil fuels (Letters, September 7). For the sake of my grandchildren, I would rather see Eraring closed and put up with rationing my access to electricity. George Carrard, Oatley

I have solar panels but simply cannot afford a storage battery, never mind the fact it would take me several years to “break even”. How many batteries could be bought or subsidised for the $2 billion cost of keeping Eraring power station online by significantly reducing demand at night? Jane Stranger, Erskineville

If Australia experiences a summer anything like the rest of the world, I doubt many will be concentrating on the cost of “unreliable supply” of planet-destroying fossil fuels.
Although the point seems slow to register for some, humanity’s rapid transition to non-fossil fuels is not optional – we either change or have change rapidly forced upon us through increasingly extreme weather events, food crises and species extinction, up to and including those supposedly at the top of the food chain.
Only the wilfully ignorant, and those in the fossil fuel industry paid to lie to them, delude themselves that our only future is no more CO₂-emitting energy sources, so let’s not waste any more energy on hoping to wake those who are only pretending to be asleep. Chris Roylance, Paddington (QLD)

Working on new song

Pete Seeger, please come back to write and sing I’ve Been Working on the Metro (with $2000 a day in there somewhere). It will totally transform I’ve Been Working on the Railroad (“$2000 a day for working on Metro”, September 7). Geoffrey Williamson, Woollahra

Signature wishes

For centuries the interaction of justices of the peace with people has been at the heart of the social fabric of communities (“Ink signatures soon a thing of the past”, September 7). The role of the modern JP had its origins as far back as 1195, and Richard the Lionheart and I as one am grateful for the honour of serving communities across three jurisdictions since 1970. Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook

This change shows we’re moving with the times. Having to get a document witnessed can really be a pain. Now we just need a similar solution for all those other times when a document has to be formally signed. David Rush, Lawson

Of mice and music

The recent advocates for musical education in primary schools may have inadvertently forgotten the dismal, caterwauling dissonance of 30 or so small, recorder-playing children bravely but inaccurately trying to ascend the mellifluous heights of Three Blind Mice (Letters, September 7). It was little surprise that this was an outdoor activity under a shady tree at maximal distance from any other school activity. The recorder itself can be a delightful musical playpen; however, where two or more are gathered, there lies the locale of musical desolation. I still have my recorder lurking in the shadows and it gets to see the light of day usually when there are no other humans within stone-throwing distance. Brian Byrne, Flinders

Notional anthem

Your correspondent is looking for a suitable anthem for the No campaign (Letters, September 7). I suggest the Groucho Marx classic Whatever It Is, I’m Against It, from the 1932 film Horse Feathers.
Jeff Birse, Northmead

Well said, Clay O’Brien. I assume Peter Dutton’s backing band would be called the Negatives. Jeff Apter, Keiraville

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Justin Scaccy

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