Whether they be in Hong Kong or on Australian university campuses, there are tell-tale signs for which side of the argument demonstrators are supporting.
Pro-democracy demonstrators, even those in Australia, criticising China's suppression of democratic freedoms may wear masks to hide their identity. They fear reprisals for themselves or their families because of the stance they take.
In contrast, pro-China demonstrators are happy to be identified. They are not afraid of television cameras or the possibility of their photograph appearing on social media. For them the potential consequences are positive, including the social credits they accumulate from the Chinese Communist Party.
Unquestioning loyalty, reflecting rigid educational messages and state-controlled media, brings rewards.
Even international businesses operating in China feel compelled to penalise individual employees who dare express critical opinions of the Chinese government. Businesses which fail to control their employee can be subjected to highly critical Chinese state media coverage and arbitrary restrictions on their operations.
A policy of appeasement can only provide short-term relief from pain.
Harry Samios, O'Connor
Re Simon Cowan's article "ALP should embrace meritocracy" (October 14, p14).
He said the ALP needs to embrace meritocracy while, at the same time, creating a "robust safety net" that encourages participation in the modern economy.
Cowan couches cold, hard, Ayn Rand-influenced thinking in the language of allowing "just reward" for success.
The subtext is the poor deserve what they get. What Cowan and other Tory fellow-travellers forget is the great redistributive project of wealth creation since 1945 has not been about dividing the pie more thinly so each gets a narrow slice, using his reductionist reading of Marx.
It has been about growing the wealth of society while ensuring those with access to the most resources don't take an increasingly bigger slice. "Free choice" is not a choice if no opportunity exists: progressive politics is about ensuring access to education, health and a safe workplace is available to all members of society. It is also about controlling the worst excesses of capitalism.
A "meritocracy" is, in itself, a worthy idea. But history has shown us the natural state of capitalism is the monopoly. While class warriors like Cowan and the CIS seem content to point backwards at Marx, and by implication Lenin and the Soviet Union, progressive politics - not "the Left" - is looking to a time where free choice is available to all, not just those who by accident, birth or fortune, establish themselves at the top.
Dougal Robertson, Aranda
So that's why
The 12 subs are "meant to buy deterrence" writes Nicholas Stuart ("The not-so-stealthy submarines set to torpedo the budget," October 13, p20). At least that's a clearer view of their purpose than I've seen from any official source.
The best security excuse for them I'd seen previously, also unofficial, was to go close offshore of our largest putative foe to gather intelligence.
Otherwise they are for buying South Australian votes and inflating Russell Hill egos. Now that Christopher Pyne is out, can't they just be sunk without trace?
Lawry Herron, O'Connor
Nicholas Stuart's article ("The not-so-stealthy submarines set to torpedo the budget", October 13, p20) should have been on the front page.
His exposé of the government's unbelievable decision to purchase a dozen submarines that will be obsolete prior to their commissioning requires answers from the Defence Department. The public need to know the truth. Why has the Opposition not been demanding answers on our behalf?
Murray Upton, Belconnen
What a contest
I have my bag of popcorn at hand watching the epic battle of the big banks vs the federal government. In the blue corner, Josh Frydenberg is telling everyone to shop around; knowing that all the evidence shows that they don't bother, and doing very little else to actually make things better for borrowers. The recently leaked talking points show just how pitiful their attempt at an inquiry is.
In the "back in the black" corner, the big banks; the ones still announcing record profits and that only this week complained that they might lose their AA credit rating if they were forced to give people a fair deal.
They didn't seem that concerned about losing their good credit ratings when being shown to be actively laundering money for criminals, billing dead people, signing disabled people up for life insurance they can't use, or the host of other things the Hayne Royal Commission brought to light.
And it's hardly been six months since the commission's findings were put on a pedestal by the federal government, as if it hadn't strenuously resisted having to investigate the banking and finance industry for years.
It's like watching Angus Taylor facing off against the power industry: all bluff and bluster when it comes to promises to keep prices down, but very little actual punishment or regulation on the ground to back it up.
Paul Wayper, Cook
How dare you?
Steve Evans ("Have no faith in St Greta's Crusade", Forum, October 12, p31), how dare you?
How dare you condemn Greta Thunberg's methods of putting across her concern about climate change which affects the future of all life on Earth when you claim to be concerned too?
Apparently "people's prosperity" counts for more than the possible extinction of homo sapiens. You call her "just a 16-year-old girl" although it appears she has studied the issues in depth and is well informed.
You claim she has "no scientific or economic expertise".
Well, I suggest you read the findings of Dr Andrew Glikson of the Climate Change Institute who describes the current situation of the environment in these terms: "This is a calamity in a geological dimension, threatening nature and civilization".
I am just an old woman but I am committed to supporting those who have the welfare of humanity at heart, no matter what their age.
Wisdom and leadership are not the prerogative of any age or either sex. We must all change our life style and accept the necessity of giving up breeding cattle and other animals for milk and meat, using petrol in private cars where public transport is available, the unlimited use of water and electricity, and the use of energy to manufacture non-essential goods.
Worldwide human solidarity is essential in these challenging times so let us all unite in the attempt to preserve life on Earth.
Mary Samara-Wickrama, Weston
The climate change cult preaching hatred, disruption, civil disobedience, terrifying children with psychological brain washing, and causing stress and panic is mental and physical abuse.
Offenders should be charged by authorities. Their violence, contempt-of-court, displays of disrespect and hatred to fellow citizens and police with incitement to commit terror and fear among children and the public must render them liable to be charged under numerous acts.
There are thousands of recorded major climatic events on record and these fanatics think its new. The great drought, and subsequent global famine between 1875 and 1878, ravaged India, China and parts of Africa and South America (Maya) and killed between 19 million and 50 million people.
During the Australian Federation Drought of 1895 to 1903 nearly half the nation's livestock died. Australia experienced 27 drought years between 1788 and 1860, and at least 10 major droughts between 1860 and 2000.
G J May, Forestdale, Qld
D Fallow (Letters, October 12) places far too much emphasis on mankind for Australia's recent climate change.
The current drought is caused by two natural and recurrent phenomena; the cooling of the Indian Ocean and a marked periodic change in the stratopause and mesosphere above the South Pole. It is not the result of a man-made change in the global climate.
A similar natural change has been the massive increase of 120 metres in sea height over the past 10,000 years which resulted in Australia and New Guinea becoming separated. In contrast 75,000 years before mankind came to Australia, sea levels were eight metres lower than today.
Yes mankind, due to its massive increase in population, is having an impact.
However put it in perspective, along with the need for developing countries to industrialize to improve the wellbeing of their population.
Paul Fitzwarryne, Yarralumla
To the point
SO SORRY DAVE
"I'm always cynical of large donations by mega wealthy people" says Dave Roberts. Sorry to hear that Dave. Perhaps if you'd had a Canberra Grammar education you'd be more positive and understand why people make such donations. Clue: it isn't about tax offsets.
John Howarth, Weston
WHICH IS IT?
Roger Dace (Letters, October 17) are the children promoting action on climate change and environmental protection " frightened children" as you contend or are they raised to be conscientious children?
Rajend Naidu, Glenfield, NSW
BANNER FREE AWM
How good has the Australian War Memorial looked these last few weeks without banners draped on the front of it. Sadly, they are back. Do we really think this is an appropriate way to treat such an iconic building let alone our national war memorial?
Stewart Mitchell, Campbell
Lee Welling's thoughts on the pulling out of troops by Trump ("Ask the mums", Letters, October 16) could be seen as suggesting military strategy should take into consideration the views of the mothers of soldiers. If this was common practice I would imagine we would be all speaking Japanese by now.
Philip Clark, Isaacs
POPE SCORES AGAIN
Where were you when the balloon went up (Pope's cartoon, October 16)?
Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW
Terry Snow is perfectly entitled to donate $20 million to Canberra Grammar School. But is it right that such large donations should be tax-deductible, thereby costing taxpayers a few million dollars in the process?
Hugh Smith, Deakin
DON'T VERBAL ME
Look again Marilyn Shepherd (Letters, October 14). I did not suggest our women and children in Syrian camps are criminals and should be in jail. Christmas Island is available to offer sanctuary. Our citizens in Syria are in fear for their lives. They are living in tents and winter is coming on. Just get them out.
Auriel Barlow, Dickson
I recently underwent surgery at Canberra Hospital as a public patient. I would like to thank all of the staff involved in my care, which was at all times courteous and professional. I am sure my quick recovery was due in large part to the excellent care and treatment I received.
Nick Duggan, Scullin
BET EACH WAY
So our illustrious leader Andrew Barr wants to demolish Civic Pool to make way for a football stadium one day, the next day he wants it to score brownie points with the Muslim community by segregating people by gender in its use. Go figure.
Ian Pilsner, Weston
Are US journalists keeping track of the profitability of the investment portfolios of President Donald Trump and his family. Given his history of personal greed I am sure he can't resist taking advantage of the stock market volatility he creates daily.
Dr Kristine Klugman, Fisher
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