Your report "Ministers talk up links with the US" (canberratimes.com.au, August 13) confirms we have a government that is very laid back about the prospect of Australia supporting further disastrous wars.
Clearly, the ministers concerned are not the ones whose lives, livelihoods and futures are threatened as we do so. Those impacts fall largely on civilians where we fight our wars, while back home our political masters (in this case Treasurer Josh Frydenberg) utter phrases such as "our duty to stand with Washington", which have as much intelligent content as a thought bubble.
Why is it our "duty" to stand with the most militarily aggressive nation on earth? A country with more than 800 military bases scattered around the world, whose military spending and reach dwarfs that of every other nation (including China) and which usurps Australian land as part of its military empire. A country currently itching for a fight with (next on the list) Iran, trashing international law as it does so?
To whom do we owe a "duty" to go along with all this? It seems much more the case that we are simply too cowardly to say no, even to the worst excesses.
The standard pattern has become that a pretext is created for military intervention, our parliament is not consulted about options for dealing with it, chests are thumped, a decision for war is made by a tiny handful, and others are sent off to do the killing and dying in a war that has nothing to do with defending Australia.
Sue Wareham, Medical Association for
the Prevention of War, Canberra
Watch your step
We must feel for the poor guy but how "unusual" is it that a pedestrian is hit by a tram. Given the circumstances it should be of no surprise. According to witnesses he was busy on the phone while crossing the tram line.
It is absolutely ludicrous that some people become totally oblivious and complacent to the surroundings by being deeply engrossed on their phones. This kind of behaviour is dangerous and annoying and should not be overlooked by the lawmakers. it is time governments start reading the lines and consider banning walkers from using their mobiles. Motorists cannot so much look at their phones without being pinched by the police. This form of penalisation should be extended to include careless phone users. The number of people I see glued to their phones during my regular visits to shopping centers is alarming. I had a chuckle recently when I witnessed a woman actually ram the building pillar while busy texting.
It is ludicrous some people become totally oblivious and complacent to their surroundings by being deeply engrossed on their phones.Michael Catanzariti, Florey
Michael Catanzariti, Florey
There's been another of the periodic outbreaks of cyclist vs driver outrage on the letters page. My two cents' worth as a five day a week bike commuter are that the pedestrian crossing rule works pretty well. Drivers are appropriately cautious, most people on bikes slow down to a suitable speed.
Canberra's streets are geared towards cars at the expense of pedestrians and cyclists. Footpaths are shabby, inconsistent, and frequently blocked by thoughtless builders. Bike infrastructure is inconsistent. Making this worse is only going to force more people into cars.
I have little patience for drivers absolving themselves of responsibility for the safety of more vulnerable road users as they pilot their machines around in comfort. Let them look out carefully and take some responsibility from their position of significant privilege.
Charles Gascoigne, Ainslie
I have resolved never to buy "cheap" meat as I consider it could possibly be road kill. I do shop around for "cheaper" meat as it is likely to be more hygienic.
I resent check-outs labelled "15 items or less" and much prefer "15 items or fewer", if they can be found.
There are many more examples to be seen.
This grouch detests the commercial illiterates who are oblivious to elegant English.
Bill Thompson, Scullin
In my childhood, my mother raised pigs. They were delightful and intelligent creatures; always of interest to visitors.
Cruelty to domestic animals can be subject to prosecution. It is time that industrial-scale animal producers are made to comply with these laws. There is no justification for the prosecution of those who expose malpractice that causes animals to suffer.
A well run animal industry has nothing to fear if it invites visitors in. Humane methods would bring good publicity and better sales.
Jack Palmer, Watson
We're getting greedier
July 29 was Earth Overshoot Day. It's important, and it was three days earlier this year than last. The date marks when humanity's annual demand on nature exceeds what Earth's ecosystems can regenerate in that year. With it now being at 29 July, it means humanity is currently using nature 1.75 times faster than our planet's ecosystems can regenerate, equivalent to 1.75 Earths.
Back in the early 1970s, it was late December, or closer to only needing one planet to support our needs.
Clearly, this can't go on. We have to get the date back to December 31. The #MoveTheDate campaign advocates five measures: replacing one third of car kilometres with public transportation; phasing out fossil fuels well before 2050; halving global meat consumption; reforesting 350 million hectares of forest; and reducing the average family size by half-a-child, that is, every second family has on average one child less.
July 29 is the global figure. Were everyone to live as Australians do, the date would be March 31. There is thus a moral obligation for we Australians to go much further in adopting the strategies above.
Jenny Goldie, Cooma, NSW
I read with interest your television guide article extolling the "fresh faces and fresh feel" (TV Guide, August 5, p3) of the new SeaChange which promised that lightning had struck twice.
I was excited at the prospect and set aside the time to watch the new series. I started with a sense of generosity and thought that the show would have to improve from the opening scene.
That was the one in which a far from competent, and totally self absorbed, Laura Gibson is effectively expelled from her African Aid position. I thought I should persist and see how it developed. But in the end I just turned it off.
I analysed later why was I so disappointed. Granted it is pitched at a new and younger audience who have the more admirable lines and characters. But why did it gnaw at it me so badly?
Then it struck me. It was because Sigrid Thornton's character was so diminished; she was a caricature of her younger self. The intelligence and strength of character of the previous series' Laura Gibson was gone. She was now no longer admirable. Why did this show have to diminish an icon of Australian television and portray an older woman so poorly? Shame on Nine!
James Hassall, Garran
Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama rightly objects to Australia's use of emissions credits, chiefly from the Tokyo Protocol, in meeting its Paris Agreement emissions reduction target ("Australia's emissions a key issue as Pacific forum kicks off", August 13, p9). He also noted that Australia's continued use of coal is incompatible with the objective of zero emissions by 2050.
The use of emissions credits is to my mind little better than cheating, and would be at the expense of low-lying Pacific island nations such as Tuvalu, which would lose major areas of land in the Morrison government's 'do nothing' emissions scenario.
Australia's stubborn persistence with coal, primarily at the behest of the Morrison government, poses not only a threat to Pacific islands, but also flies in the face of economic reality. Renewable energy, chiefly solar and wind, with battery storage, is rapidly overtaking coal-derived energy - if it hasn't already done so. In particular, solar panels and storage batteries, such as South Australia's Tesla "big battery", are becoming increasingly efficient and cost effective.
Australia would be doing the Pacific islands, and itself, a huge favour if were to wean itself off coal, yesterday's fuel, and on to renewable energy.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Go the Greens
Judging by some of the throwaway lines from people writing letters to the editor over the last month or so, The Greens seem to be a party some people love to hate, including Doug Hurst (Letters, August 13).
I wonder if any of these writers have ever looked up the Greens' website and read their policies.
It seems not, because if they did they'd find a wide range of sensible, intelligent policies promoting fairness and sustainability which, shock and horror, they might even agree with.
L. Bentley, Braddon
Pots and kettles
The ACT Liberals want new laws to make Canberrans clean up their acts. ("Liberals' clean-up act", August 14, p1). Could this be the pot calling out the kettle?
N Ellis, Belconnen
I have always thought Margaret Thatcher's maxim that "eventually, socialists always run out of other people's money" could not be improved on. Something to live and govern by. But Scott Morrison's "unfunded empathy" may have equalled it.
Christopher Smith, Braddon
It's a good thing it was everyday people in the street who first got to the mentally ill, knife-wielding, man in the Sydney City CBD, and deftly subdued him, and not our well-trained, protocols-following police. He almost certainly owes his life to that.
Alex Mattea, Sydney, NSW
For the good of the mentally ill among us perhaps the police could be issued with milk crates and chairs instead of tasers and guns the next time they arrest a knife-wielding crazy person.
George Beaton, Greenway
A POOR DECISION
Presumably the High Court decision that a government employee cannot express a private, but contrary, opinion to the government policy means no government employee can belong to any political party or attend any political event. What a way to dismiss those who can lead to better policies.
Tom Brimson, Dunlop
A week after ACT Parks and Conservation boasted it had successfully killed a record 4,035 eastern grey kangaroos, including in Majura, because they were eating all the green stuff, we learn of the pressing need to hazard reduction burn the same area ("Unseasonal start to local fire warnings", August 3, p2). No doubt the ACT government has a very plausible explanation. But will we believe them?
Philip Machin, Wamboin, NSW
LEAD BY EXAMPLE
So Scott Morrison has ruled out a raise to the Newstart benefit. What about ruling out a raise to the entitlements of the federal politicians for the next 10 years?
Sankar Kumar Chatterjee, Evatt
ZIP IT PLEASE
Hate speech by politicians, whether they be leaders of countries or senators who arrive in parliament by accident, gives oxygen to those who share their racist views. Until these politicians recognise and acknowledge this mass murders such as the most recent in the US and that which took place in Christchurch will continue to happen.
Catherine Moore, Braidwood, NSW
THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS
All our thoughts and prayers go to the victims of the mass shootings in the USA. That's all they're going to get. The NRA has too much to lose to let anyone actually put through any gun control legislation. Sorry people, but thoughts and prayers are all the NRA will let you have.
Paul Wayper, Cook
The government has graciously changed the maximum deeming rate for pensioner investments from 3.25 per cent to 3 per cent. Pensions are reduced by 50 per cent of what is deemed to be earned by investments. To recoup the loss an investment with an annual minimum return of 3 per cent and paying interest at least monthly is required. Where can I find a term deposit that meets these requirements?
Alan Blake, Duffy
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