The "pub test" is now a popular term used by our politicians and the present investigation into the behaviour of our Special Forces troops who fought for Australia in far distant lands, should also be put to that test.
For many years our government has sent these, our best troops, to fight in foreign wars exposing them to the harshest of [combat] environments previously unknown to earlier Australian soldiers.
The enemy in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria was hard to distinguish from local civilians and even some coalition "partners" posed deadly and successful threats.
Many of those "special" soldiers have been repeatedly deployed time and time again on what the military quaintly call "tours".
There was no recognised front line and no easily identifiable enemy.
Anyone could well have had deadly intent.
Seeing comrades regularly killed and wounded by an enemy that did not identify himself, who did not follow the rules of war and who committed the most extreme acts of cruelty on captives, must surely have laid the seeds of daily and post-traumatic stress where bursts of anger and mistakes should be understandable.
Now clinical legal minds are investigating how awful it is that some of these brave Australian soldiers possibly committed cruel or unkind acts against innocent civilians suspected of being an enemy or of being in sympathy with them.
Let's use the "pub test" to decide whether they acted unkindly or improperly in what was a time of war.
I will relentlessly continue to support our soldiers who did their best on behalf of all Australians.
If they did, on occasions, act cruelly or unkindly I for one don't give a damn. That's a pub test view shared by my most of my friends and colleagues.
Derek Gough. Lieutenant Colonel (ret), Greenleigh, NSW
Mr Barr, you alarm me: many clubs give great help to non profit bodies like U3A. I teach a U3A class at Raiders Weston in a classroom provided free, for which I sign acknowledgement. Change this and I will be forced every week to reduce our learning time handling money instead of getting on with teaching.
Barrie Smillie, Duffy
So, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull would have China believe that Australia is wedded to an "international order based on the rule of law, where might is not right" ("China not a cold war Russia, Turnbull says in conciliatory speech", canberratimes.com.au, August 8).
Such hypocritical arrogance blatantly ignores Australia's historic behaviour of openly encouraging and supporting economic and military aggression by its patron and "special friend" America against any government, state or people who would dare to pursue self-determination; be it Russia, Syria, Iraq, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, North Korea, Palestine, East Timor or more than 60 other nations over the past century.
China's scepticism about Australia's real intentions are unlikely to abate as long as it interprets its real message as being "do as we say and not as we do".
John Richardson, Wallagoot, NSW
God help us!
Trump wants America to have a military presence in space!
Let's look at America's military history. It was late for World War One (1917) and World War Two (1941).
Korea was a failure. When it got one of its own, Vietnam, it lost that one.
It took on Iraq illegally and Afghanistan, and caused untold misery, loss of life, and ongoing consequences.
What possible good can come of having an American military presence in space?
America has only really been successful, and the world safer, when it was isolationist and its troops were firmly planted on terra firma behind its own borders.
Ian Jannaway, Monash
Ebony Bennett of The Australia Institute is critical of the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) because it places an undue burden on the agriculture sector ("Weak NEG target threat to agriculture", Forum, August 11, p11).
This is because the electricity sector will easily meet the government's arbitrary and low target under the Paris Agreement of a 26per cent reduction in emissions on 2005 levels by 2030.
Given the structure of the NEG, this will, according to Ms Bennett, shift the responsibility for reducing emissions to the agricultural sector, and to livestock businesses in particular.
Livestock numbers, notably cattle, sheep and pigs, would have to be reduced by about 11per cent by 2030.
It has been widely reported that household savings of only $150 a year would be directly attributable to the NEG.
This is despite the Turnbull government having repeatedly claimed a $550 annual saving.
The remaining $400 is mostly, if not entirely, attributable to the Renewable Energy Target.
This is clearly working well but is despised by influential elements in the government – including Tony Abbott – who are against emissions reductions.
As Ms Bennett writes, a properly designed NEG with strong and realistic targets for electricity costs and reliability, and for emissions, would represent a win for both electricity consumers and the farming sector.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
So the Turnbull government will apparently pick "winners" and underwrite the funding of a coal-fired power station, to gain the support of the extremists in the party room.
This with our money!
The whole electricity prices fiasco has originated because of privatisation of the electricity system which is in reality a natural monopoly which should never have been privatised.
The government could solve the rising prices problem by instituting price controls and by implementing an immediate and urgent transition plan to build battery and pumped hydro storage along with large-scale solar and wind systems.
It makes sense that if you don't have to feed in fuel to a power system it will bring prices down.
The sun and wind are free, unlike coal.
In the future we'll have a power system where costs are mainly maintenance and distribution and renewables construction to meet power needs.
This future is something to applaud.
It contributes to ameliorating climate change as well as avoiding the un-costed environmental devastation and well-documented adverse health impacts of the use of coal.
Kathryn Kelly, Chifley
Doug Hurst (Letters, August 12) shows us why it is so easy to misunderstand climate change; just believe the lies that are told by dedicated deniers.
Doug says that there is a "total lack of correlation between CO2 levels and temperature in the geological record and in recent times".
That is very clearly false. Seven hundred million years ago CO2 levels fell dramatically as ocean life burgeoned, leading to the time known as "snowball Earth", ice to the equator.
Four hundred million years later great forests drew down CO2, eventually turning them to coal, and the Earth again was plunged into glaciation.
Volcanoes put the CO2 back, the temperature rose, Jurassic plants thrived feeding huge dinosaurs. Then the pattern repeated, plants turned to coal, CO2 fell and the temperature fell too, until 55 million years ago when a very sudden explosion of CO2 and methane interrupted, raising global temperature by about 6°C.
That was a short-lived event, maybe lasting 200,000 years, after which the temperature and CO2 declined gradually until about 10 million years ago when north polar ice started to form.
Atmospheric CO2 correlates strongly with global temperature. There is partial truth in Doug's statement if he is referring to the Ice Ages. These were the result of small changes in Earth's orbit influencing the extent of northern hemisphere snow cover: more snow means more of the sun's heat reflected and causes cooling leading into an Ice Age. Change the orbit a bit the other way, more northern summer sun – interglacial.
Only three things cause profound climate change: 1) changes to Earth's reflectivity — the Ice Ages; 2) changes to the Sun's intensity —not detected in the last few million years; 3) changes to the Earth's atmosphere, its CO2 greenhouse gas content.
That caused most of the climate changes of the geological past, and is clearly causing this century's rising temperatures because we know the other two possible drivers did not change.
Tony Eggleton, emeritus professor, Research School of Earth Sciences, ANU
I am saddened to hear of the suffering endured by detainees on Manus and Nauru whose medical issues have been ignored.
The coroner's report on the death on Manus of Hamid Kehazaei, which was preventable and was the result of systemic failures in the provision of health care to refugees and asylum seekers on Manus, makes shocking reading.
Since then two men with serious medical issues (impending blindness and a serious broken leg) are only very belatedly being brought to Australia for treatment after intense pressure by doctors and politicians.
Now a sick baby has been evacuated from Nauru to Sydney for urgent medical treatment; the government again refused the request for medical transfer, but was overruled by the Federal Court. How is it that doctors' medical expertise can be over-ruled by bureaucrats?
This shocking state of affairs should be headline news.
Why is it that politicians aren't asking questions in Parliament about what can only be described as abuse by the Department of Home Affairs?
Clare Conway, Ainslie
To reduce the incidence of tailgating, perhaps the government could paint chevrons 40 metres apart on some major ACT roads. I recently noticed signs on some motorways in England advising motorists to keep two chevrons between them and the vehicle in front. This seems far more helpful and explicit than signs just warning not to tailgate.
Felicity Chivas, Scullin
If you want to send your child to a private school it is not up to the rest of the taxpaying public to pay extra to support your decision.
Additionally, why is it that parents of today are convinced that their children can't possibly walk from one stop to another at a bus interchange? From the age of seven (in the 1980s) I was either walking to school or using public transport, why is it that kids of today are supposed to be incapable?
I suspect it's the media constantly selling a narrative of fear that encourages these parents to think their little darlings couldn't possibly navigate changing buses or having to (shock horror) wait in a public bus interchange for a few minutes.
If valid, their contention that children having to change buses at the interchange is a safety risk then surely that is an issue that needs to be dealt with by urgently improving security and supervision at those interchanges for all users rather than spending millions on special services for a few. The ACT taxpayer should not have been being stung to provide special transport services to a group who has decided that the public school system is not good enough for their little darlings.
There is far too much pandering to a group of parents who have decided religious brainwashing is more important than any other aspect of their child's education.
If people want to indoctrinate their child with the Goat-Herder's Guide to The Universe (aka the Bible) that's their (misguided) choice. The government has no business supporting them in any way.
Anthony V. Adams, Reid
I must be missing the flood of letters in support of the new bus network.
Transport Canberra has stated that the changes including deleting school services were based in part on feedback to them, so I would have expected a deluge of letters congratulating Transport Canberra for delivering what everybody wanted.
The lack of such letters suggests the feedback may have been from phantom bus users. The changes are needed to remove as many buses as possible from Northbourne to make the tram appear viable.
Rohan Goyne, Evatt
Who thought up the ACT Container Deposit Scheme that requires one to "Place your eligible containers into translucent plastic bags"? I thought the ACT government was trying to discourage the use of plastic bags!
Dick Roe, Cook
Sadly I've seen the very ugly side of Golden Dawn in Greece's parliament where a member of the Neo-Nazi party spat and assaulted a female journalist in an on-air interview. Some Sky News presenters are putting their own safety at risk dealing with extremists who are unpredictable in their behaviour. The CEO of Sky News needs to comprehend the consequences of his actions not his own greedy agenda.
Pamela Papadopoulos, South Yarra, Vic
IF A TREE FALLS ...
Space warfare is presumably silent.
Rod Matthews, Melbourne, Vic
THE PERILS OF SPOTLIGHT
The crash and burn of Emma Husar makes you wonder how many of her colleagues would be left standing if they were all subject to the same flame-thrower intensity she experienced. Which makes you think, why would anyone in their right mind take the chance to be slowly cooked by many of their colleagues who thank their lucky stars have been able to keep their skeletons well hidden.
D. J. Fraser, Currumbin, Qld
The new AFL 666 ground positions proposal is surely the work of the Devil (Revelations 13:18).
Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill, Vic
THIEVING AND THIEVING
Steal a few hundred from Centrelink and you end up in jail. Steal a few billion whilst running a bank and or a super fund and you end up with obscene salaries and bonuses. Why is it so?
The stability of our financial system depends upon CEOs and senior managers having the capacity to fleece the public, launder money and engage in other forms of criminality.
Jon Jovanovic, Lenah Valley, Tas
SHOW OF COURAGE
New Zealand's Ms Ardern has the courage to ban overseas speculators from buying homes. Mr Turnbull does not have the guts to even increase our GST.
Mokhles K. Sidden, Strathfield, NSW
RESPECT FOR GODS
With all due respect to Mike Dallwitz ("Respect for Gods", Letters, August 11) my reply to his questions would be: a) no; b) they didn't; c) they are spirits and not human and therefore cannot die; d) none of them have done anything truly helpful to humankind so are unproductive and e) the alleged 13.8 billion years figure is a figment of human imagination.
J. Halgren, Latham
LET'S GO THE WHOLE HOG
The suggestion that our local socialist Assembly-dominated legislature becomes gender neutral and refer to MLAs as Member X or Member Y does not go far enough. Why not the politically correct whole way and call everybody Comrade?
Greg Cornwell, Yarralumla
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