12 bigger issues than gay change and climate marriage
Today The Punch team has each selected two issues which get us hot under the collar, and which we feel deserve more airplay.
What are your thoughts on the issues we’ve chosen? And what other issues do you think we should all be talking about?
The Murray River…
While Tim Flannery is warning about increased gang violence in Western Sydney because of global warming, a long-term, sustainable solution for the health of the Murray/Darling is still a long way off. The river communities are understandably nervous, but if drastic measures are not taken now, eventually there will be no river communities.
Every now and then, a carload of teenagers slams into a tree and the incident is rightly portrayed as a tragic loss of life. The greater tragedy is the carloads to come. Someone, somehow, has to stop young drivers behaving like lunatics. Insurance companies are severe on drivers under 25. Their premiums are often double that of older drivers. Maybe the penalties should be twice as hard for under-25s too. Maybe they should automatically lose their license for five years if they speed or drive dangerously. And if that means they can’t go to work, boo-hoo. There are plenty of sensible young people who’ll take over their jobs.
Coal seam gas and regional Australia
Approximately 7000 people walked through the streets of the northern NSW town of Lismore this weekend to protest against the growing influence of the coal seam gas industry in NSW. They are representative of hundreds of other rural communities across Australia and their message is clear: communities don’t want it. Where are the results of the parliamentary inquiry into this industry? These should be released before the government supports any further growth in this industry.
Prince’s so-called “Greatest Hits” tour
Our spies, who may or may not be our editor-in-chief David Penberthy, tell us that Prince should be charged with false advertising for a “greatest hits” show which didn’t include hits like “1999” or “Little Red Corvette”. What, so fans were supposed to party like it’s 2012?
The ageing population…
This Federal Budget took some more baby steps towards planning for the looming generation of retirees our population will struggle to support. But this unsexiest of issues is too often placed in the too hard basket. The structural and societal changes needed to address this issue are enormous, however, ignoring them is not the way to deal with it.
We keep talking about saving the world by pricing tiny molecules of carbon, and all the while the sea turtles keep getting strangled by floating plastic bags. SA and the ACT have banned plastic bags. When are the rest of us going to get on board? Even those envirovandals, the Americans, have mostly banned them. How many movies have you seen where Matt Damon or whoever brings home the shopping in a BROWN PAPER BAG? And by the way, where is there ALWAYS a baguette sticking out of the brown paper bag?
Domestic violence is the most unreported of all crimes in Australia. It affects people from all walks of life. For this reason it has an overwhelmingly negative impact - from the safety of kids to the health of our communities. In short, everyone. So why does it seem like we only focus on this issue one day a year when it’s White Ribbon Day. Let’s do more.
The AFL slide tackle rule
Before the season, the AFL sent a video memo to clubs instructing them as to changes in the slide tackle rule. That attempt to make sense of a confusing thing has only made confusion of what should be a sensible thing. Click this link to learn more, but the bottom line is, sliding in to get the ball or tackle an opponent must be discouraged and the penalties must be uniform. And this is an issue we should all be ranting about like lunatics.
A vaccine for HIV
It’s the virus that has killed hundreds of thousands of mostly young men over 30 years. It’s also the virus that not one person has successfully mounted an immune response to. Vaccine research has been a disappointment, Discover Magazine reports. While antiretroviral drugs that stave off the illness (but don’t cure it) after better than ever, a vaccine would save tens of thousands. It took 47 years for the world to get a polio vaccine. Let’s hope it won’t take us a further 17 years.
Save the Reef’s whales (and the Reef!)
More and more east Australian humpback whales are breeding in Queensland waters. More and more mineral-hauling cargo liners are steaming through Queensland waters. Put the two together and what do you get? Road. Kill. Three thousand mollusc- and 215 bird- species are also dependent on the reef for survival, and more industrial vessels are set to plough past their homes. Humans are also dependent on the region for tourism. UNESCO is mulling over whether urban and industrial expansion will endanger the Great Barrier Reef’s World Heritage status. They’ll decide in the next few weeks. If they revoke it, it won’t help us and it won’t help Spongebob or his whale friends.
China, India, Islam and cultural relativism
We know that China and India are the big economic powerhouses of the future – and we will come to rely on our trade with them. And we know that there are big shifts happening in much of the Muslim world. We have to face up to how we deal with human rights issues and morality in general when dealing with different cultures. Is there a universal idea of good and bad, and how we treat our fellow humans?
In day-to-day life, a good sleep is one of the best things you can have. We get overwhelmed with all sorts of health messages about our weight and diet and alcohol intake, but seriously, a good night’s sleep is the key to health AND happiness. All those celebrated insomniacs? Deeply unhappy control freaks. Sleep makes everyone better people.
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