Credit:Illustration: Jim Pavlidis
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THE AUKUS PACT
We need to protect our future generations
Australia is a sheep, and is being herded down a dark path. As a young person, there are several reasons why I find a news of a nuclear submarine program in Australia concerning. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons was founded in Melbourne in 2007. Further, Australia has always been a country based on diplomacy and initiative, but apparently we are striving for mere power and influence. What are the values that we want to present as nation? Most importantly, this project is dangerous.
Australia is giving other nations another reason to continue to develop their nuclear arsenals, and in doing so has made itself a target. We have lost any sense of moral dignity, and are playing an unwinnable game. There is no question that the situation in the Indo-Pacific is heating up, but this new move is inflammatory and places international stability at greater risk.
We need to think long-term. An inability to plan for the future has led us into a climate crisis, and the same is occurring with nuclear weapons. Nuclear proliferation will become the greatest threat to human existence. We need to consider the values of our country and take some initiative for the greater good of future generations.
Tom Worsteling, Surrey Hills
Why was this decision made without any debate?
I am tired of old, hawkish, white men and the arms industry in my life. Am I expecting too much to ask why this rushed nuclear submarine deal decision was not debated in Federal Parliament?
Margaret Burbidge, Ararat
A dangerous fantasy of being ’Asia’s policeman’
Scott Morrison has gratefully grasped an idea to take Australia’s mind off the COVID-19 debacle. He appears to believe that sharing the expense of patrolling Asia, with the US and UK, with nuclear-powered submarines will do the trick. Take care, Prime Minister. The Australian submarine fleet has been a white elephant since its inception in the ’60s. Asia could well object to our fantasies of being its policeman. Surely the money would be better spent helping vaccinate Asia, as well as reskilling our coal miners and supporting the development of alternative energy sources in Australia.
Mike Francis, Fitzroy
Let’s resolve the tension through diplomacy
It is most concerning that Australia’s response to the alleged threat of China is met with nuclear-powered submarines. No doubt these are astronomically profitable for some transnational US corporations. However, they provide a new existential threat.
How much safer will Australia be because the submarines will have nuclear power? Where are the researched facts about this? What efforts have been made to “skill up” Australia’s MPs with diplomacy skills and soft power? Given the fact that China is refusing to talk with the Morrison government MPs, why are they not first working flat out to build a communication bridge and find a win-win solution to this tension?
Jennifer Gerrand, Carlton North
Fear that nuclear industry will gain a foothold here
Nuclear-powered submarines? The UK and US have massive stockpiles of spent fissile material from energy generation and military sources looking for secure, long-term disposal. I dread Australia becoming the planet’s radioactive waste dump. That the nuclear power industry could now gain a foothold in a nation blessed with limitless (free and clean) photovoltaic and wind capability with ample space for ocean pumped hydro energy storage – that’s scary.
Ronald Elliott, Sandringham
Please, this is not the path to achieve world peace
How much more can the world take of the US, the UK and Australia spreading their message of peace and stability? Maybe we should ask the Iraqis, Libyans, Syrians and Afghans how it has gone so far.
Paula Needham, North Drummond
Wasting more money
The self-styled fiscal masters of the universe are embarking on another escapade. This time it is nuclear submarines. Having signed up to waste billions on conventionally powered submarines for first delivery in 2035, they now intend to buy nuclear submarines for an unspecified price and an unspecified delivery date.
Why be surprised? Having wrecked TAFE and wasted billions on non-VET delivery by shonky operators, they moved on to make large donations to the profit line of local and overseas companies through JobKeeper payments.
Their failure to build legislative protection into these dealings is a dereliction of fiscal duty and lacks the rectitude one would expect of a responsible government. Their credibility as prudent economic managers is at an all-time low.
Peter Crocker, Strathmore
The criticisms are valid
Josh Frydenberg’s defence of Christian Porter is a disgrace. Porter did not, Frydenberg says, use taxpayer funds in his legal case. This is irrelevant. He did not breach relevant rules, says Frydenberg. This is incorrect.
The attacks on Porter are the result, Frydenberg says, of vicious personal smears by Labor. No, they are cogent and serious criticisms made also by Malcolm Turnbull and the chief executive of Transparency International Australia. Frydenberg’s comments betray a lack of ethical (or common) sense. They are the comments one would expect from a cynical Liberal Party hack.
Brian Nelson, Fitzroy
Surely it’s obvious
Scott Morrison has requested advice over whether Christian Porter breached ministerial standards by accepting payments through a blind trust (The Age, 16/9). Why can’t he figure that out for himself?
Carole Meade, Kyneton
A foregone conclusion
The Prime Minister has asked his department to look into Christian Porter’s blind trust. What’s the betting it will either say that there is nothing wrong? Or perhaps the matter will just drag on and on on until the election is called, making the investigation redundant.
Noel Turnbull, Port Melbourne
Give one, give all
Dear all, I have just opened a blind trust. I promise every donor that they will not be granted any special favours whatsoever. Please contribute generously.
Jerry Koliha, South Melbourne
Ban all discrimination
What great news that the Andrews government will introduce legislation that will ban religious schools from sacking or refusing to employ teachers because of their sexuality or gender identity (The Age, 16/9). Such actions are unfair and discriminatory. When, however, will Victoria’s Education Department stop getting rid of older, experienced teachers under cover of the “excess process”? That too is unfair and discriminatory.
Judith Crotty, Dandenong North
Enshrined in law
Victorians are free to believe whatever they choose, religious or otherwise, but may not lawfully translate those beliefs into actions that harm or discriminate against others as defined by community expectations enshrined in law. This applies equally to employment in schools or vaccination requirements. In the current debates, Daniel Andrews has right on his side.
Alastair Pritchard, Templestowe
Not all religious schools are alike. I know of many leading Catholic schools, for example, where gay teachers are employed without any fuss or issue. It is the outer-suburban and regional evangelical schools that have been the source of the problem.
The schools affiliated to the Australian Association of Christian Schools are the hardliners whose guiding article of faith is that “the (Bible) scriptures are God’s infallible and inerrant revelation to man…and the authoritative guide for all life and conduct”.
Such fundamentalism is inimical to modern democratic and indeed, mainstream Christian values, as was illustrated in the case of Israel Folau. No taxpayer-funded organisation should be exempt from the anti-discrimination laws that the rest of society observes.
Patrice McCarthy, Bendigo
Cheaper, more sensible
I am a former registered nurse and have a son who is a builder. Tim Pallas acknowledges the industry is in a precarious position as these essential workers contribute to the spread of COVID-19 due to the nature of their work and the unavoidable travel involved. He apparently considers this can be managed by sending teams of officials to crack down on compliance with public health rules at worksites (The Age, 14/9).
Would it not make more sense to instead utilise 50 nurses, including retired ones like myself, who would happily volunteer services for no pay, to attend these sites and vaccinate the workers? Surely this is a more expedient and sensible manner of dealing with this issue than wasting time and money playing “spot the non compliant”.
Christine Harris, Mordialloc
Power of the unions
The “we are all in this together” message has a nice ring to it as the citizens of Victoria try to cope with lockdown restrictions. In practice, we are not at all in this together. This is evidenced by the construction industry being allowed to operate, and be a hive of COVID-19 infections, while other industries remain shut, children cannot go to school and families are isolated from each other.
Is the construction industry seemingly favoured because Daniel Andrews is beholden to the unions? Or because he needs to continue his dream of leaving a legacy of buildings, re-routed railway crossings, etc across Victoria? Probably both.
Barbara Stewart, Beaumaris
Towards full vaccination
It is encouraging to read that major corporations including Telstra, Qantas, and SPC are leading the way in mandating employee vaccinations (The Age, 16/9). Can the leader of the security guards – “Vaccine hesitancy a cloud over major events calendar” (The Age, 16/9) – get on board too?
Felicity Browne, Kooyong
Bring the stranded home
I am pleased the Victorian Ombudsman, Deborah Glass, will look into the issue of the interstate travel permit system (The Age, 16/9). When the border to NSW was closed, that state’s COVID-19 numbers were rising quickly and we had to deal with an outbreak caused by removalists from NSW. It was understandable, at that time, to take this action.
Victorians in NSW were warned to return but this was not always possible. The border closure occurred on July 9. No one really expected it to last this long. There is something fundamentally wrong when you deny a Victorian the right to return home. Impose restrictions such as hotel quarantine, but do not leave people stranded. Daniel Andrews has indicated he will have more to say about how he plans to get these people home. I hope this will be sooner rather than later.
Fanny Hoffman, Ormond
Open up for the elderly
I am double vaxxed. My 95-year-old mother, who is in nursing home care, is also double vaxxed. I have not seen her for seven weeks. That is seven weeks lost, and seven weeks for care to wax and wane.
When one family member got in to feed my mother, she was discovered with bits of newspaper around her. The staff advised that this was how they occupied her: getting her to tear up newspaper. That is one example of a “therapeutic intervention” for a 95-year-old lady.
Open up a little and spare families the long-term cost of dealing with complicated grief. Open up a little so loved ones can once again address issues of poor care which can occur when there is no oversight by families.
Patricia Hunter, Ocean Grove
How Cormann’s changed
So the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, under its Secretary-General Mathias Cormann, is urging substantial tax overhauls and more explicit budget repair commitments from the federal government (The Age, 15/9). Is this the same man who was Australia’s finance minister for five years?|
Joe Wilder, Caulfield North
Why is this acceptable?
Peter FitzSimons in his latest jingoistic rant – “Still they sanctify the monster Breaker Morant – and insult the true heroes” (The Age, 14/9) – resorts to racism to denigrate the English. His use of the term “Pommy bastards” is offensive, but he knows he can get away with it because the English are the only remaining ethnic group in Australia against whom it is still acceptable to make such racially insulting remarks.
Greg Hardy, Ferntree Gully
A party of Trumps?
The ALP’s preselection rules may be in need of a reshuffle but the suggestion by Alice Dawkins (Opinion, 16/9) that the party adopt a US-style of primary elections is definitely not a trump card. If recent US experience is anything to go by, popular preselection by a very small and highly partisan section of the electorate is likely to stack the party with a deck full of jokers.
Peter Rushen, Carnegie
Just once, sing the words
Each year at the ALF grand final players and coaches standing motionless like Easter Island moai, while completely ignoring our national anthem is a poor look for Australia. Perhaps they could use some of their week leading up to the match to learn the words to it. Or the AFL could simply delete this farce from the schedule of events (it is not an Australian representative match and thus does not “deserve” the national anthem) and get on with the match that players are focused on.
John Schlank, Geelong West
I hope the nuclear submarine deal does not indicate that Angus Taylor is going to announce a great technology leap backwards to nuclear to meet Australia’s climate carbon goals.
Graeme Martin, Alphington
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding
ScoMo, friends remember your name. NZ stood up to the US, so can we. Don’t put our cities at risk.
Sharyn Bhalla, Ferntree Gully
What are the odds on a khaki election very soon?
Les Anderson, Woodend
What happened to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty?
Marg D’Arcy, Rye
When China charges dock fees at the Port of Darwin, everyone’s a winner.
Paul Custance, Highett
The AUKUS treaty: two bullies and an easily led hanger-on in the form of our big-noting PM.
Geoff Phillips, Wonga Park
Can somebody tell the PM it’s nuclear, not “nucular”. His news announcement was embarrassing.
Mary Antonello, Macleod
Nuclear subs. Wow. I guess Morrison will tout this is as positive action on climate change.
Barry O’Neill, Menzies Creek
There’s no such thing as a free lunch. What favours do his benefactors expect in return?
John Patterson, Williamstown
Justice is blind, unless you’re an ex-AG with a blind trust.
Steve Dixon, North Melbourne
Didn’t Porter listen when his mother told him never to accept gifts from strangers?
Julie Hopper, St Helena
Headline: “Porter carrying excess baggage trips and falls.“
Mike Jolley, Torquay
Does Porter have to pay tax on the income donated to pay his legal fees?
Anne Wood, Birregurra
Pull the other leg, Christian.
Ian Maddison, Parkdale
A letter, published yesterday, should have read:
Lara Blamey, that’s the problem with fatuous terms like “common sense” (15/9). There’s yours, there’s mine, and we each mean something different.
Jan Lacey, North Melbourne
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