The only surprise Australia's security agencies might harbour as to the current expressions of concern relating to the reported intervention of China into the political sphere is that it has been made public by responsible people rather than left shrouded under the classifications of AUSTEO or Top Secret.
Over the past decade there have been numerous revelations of politicians and other persons of commercial or social influence having been induced to spruik the China cause as being intrinsically benevolent to Australia's trading, and hence fiscal, position globally; that its military expansion is for defensive purposes only; and that its well documented suppression of minority, i.e., non-communist, groupings is, if not fake news, an internal matter of no concern to outsiders.
Yet over the same period there has been viable evidence of mounting Chinese intervention into political, academic and student institutions in addition to major commercial, financial and real estate ventures, each on its own superficially benign, but in toto constituting a potential capacity to modulate public policy. Taking universities as one example, does anyone believe the presence, in 2017 figures, of 1.4 million Chinese students contributing $32 billion in higher education fees, does not hold some sway over vice-chancellors and treasurers in formulating content, standards, behaviour and student ethics?
Even now, years following the suspension of the Cold War, United States security agencies remain alert as to how many "sleepers" may exist within the 600,000 residents of Russian extraction in New York alone. If merely 0.5 per cent volunteer or are coerced to meet a hostile demand from Moscow, that forms a phalanx in excess of 3,000 moles antipathetic to Washington's interests.
If this were to be translated to Australian figures where the 2016 census revealed 1,213,903 people of Chinese ancestry, we would have to cope with the surveillance of more than 30,000 with but 0.25 per cent of sympathisers should the hopefully unlikely event occur.
Parallel to these issues must be our migration policies that have resulted in the proportion of Asian-born arrivals rising, on 2016 figures, to 40 per cent, up from 24 per cent just 15 years earlier. Politicians of different hues boast of this "success" but it rests concomitant with the decrease of (white) European-born migrants from 52 per to 34 per cent over the same period, suggesting preference for a racial reversal policy.
While the madding crowd of lotus-eating diplomatic and political correctness advocates might crow about such a result and how they can now access chop suey, pho, lemon grass and laksa in each shopping centre, there will be little future relationship to Australia's communal life as it is presently lived unless our leaders reconsider what constitutes a truly sustainable migration policy acceptable to the silent majority.
John Murray, Fadden
Don't blame boomers
The baby boomers are said by some to be responsible for all of the ills of the world.
Such criticism should be tempered as not all power rests with those born between 1946 and 1964. The likes of Rupert Murdoch. Alan Jones and John Howard are part of what is called somewhat incongruously the "silent generation". Scott Morrison, Josh Frydenberg and the current CEO's of Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank are Gen Xers.
Most real power rests with a wealthy elite, often members of exclusive clubs in Sydney and Melbourne, who pass the baton of privilege from one generation to the next.Mike Quirk, Garran
Power rests with a wealthy elite, often members of exclusive clubs, who pass privilege from one generation to the next.
Mike Quirk, Garran
What an adventure
The sheer nerve of the "Government's big call overhaul" (canberratimes.com.au, November 25) to improve the bureaucracy's development of evidence-based policy is breathtaking.
Since 2013 the Coalition seems to have steadfastly ignored compelling evidence in its decisions on energy, climate, indigenous affairs, banking regulation, aged care, welfare debt recovery, open competition for government expenditure, freedom of information and secular education.
It started with axing the (carbon) tax and still appears as readiness to manufacture clean hydrogen from dirty coal power. Why bother trying "to lift the quality of advice the government is receiving"?
John Young, Curtin
More Moore needed
We see in Michael Moore's award winning documentary Fahrenheit 11/9 a classic case of a political leader underestimating the intelligence of the people and paying the price for it.
That's what president Barack Obama did back in 2016 when he went to Flint and pretended to take a sip of the water which the people there claimed was lead contaminated and had caused death and disease.
The claim was verified by medical experts. With his stunt Obama sided with the corrupt, right wing State governor and discounted the plight of the people protesting the quality of their drinking water.
He added insult to injury.
Subsequently many who voted for him abandoned the Democrats. That's why Trump is today the President of America.
And, that's a case of going from the frying pan into the fire!
Rajend Naidu, Sydney, NSW
Who does this trial serve?
In 2004 Australia's spying agency ASIS illegally bugged the East Timor Government to undermine its negotiating position in relation to the Timor Sea boundary with Australia.
Last week saw the umteenth directions hearing in the ACT Supreme Court to sort out the rules for the prosecution of Canberra lawyer Bernard Collaery for revealing this espionage.
There will no doubt be many more delays and hearings before these rules are sorted out.
This case is starting to take on the character of Charles Dickens's novel Bleak House in which the legal case Jarndyce V Jarndyce goes on forever.
The Collaery case is even worse, in that the Commonwealth Attorney General is seeking to hold much of the trial in secret.
It is of course likely that after the trial, whatever the outcome, there will be further appeals maybe going up to the High Court.
Little wonder that the previous Attorney General did not proceed with this matter since it will go on forever at a substantial cost to both the Crown and the defendant.
Other than to destroy Collaery's legal practice, it is hard to discern what the point of this prosecution is if all it does, after each reported court hearing, is to remind our near neighbours that Australia practices diplomatic skullduggery under the guise of foreign aid.
Derk Swieringa, Reid
It won't happen here
So Chinese genetic researcher He Jiankui has quietly disappeared into what may be a secret government trial process. Who knows what is happening?
Well, that's what happens in China. Good thing it won't happen here.
Oh wait, it just did. In Australia, we're seeing a conjunction of trends sliding towards tyranny. While the government shuts down access to its own dealings, it pries ever more into our personal lives. Since 9-11 there's been a constant flow of laws intruding into our privacy, supposedly in the name of security.
"Metadata retention" means that all my contacts, including that I've just emailed The Canberra Times is now recorded.
Democracy is a treasure that must be nurtured, and in our complacency, we risk losing it.
A R Taylor, Giralang
A political mystery
I agree about Angus Taylor, and/or his staffer's inept references to Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore's travel spend. I can understand the opposition asking probing questions. But, it seems Labor has not learnt from its election disaster or Australian's declining trust in politics.
Labor has shown little interest in issues of national importance such as the drought, climate change, bushfires, national security, international infiltration, or bank scandals during question time over the last two weeks.
The shadow attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, asked the NSW Police to institute an inquiry into Angus Taylor. Then the opposition leader asked the PM why he hadn't stood Taylor down because he is the subject of an opposition-instigated police investigation?
The PM said he needed to understand the facts before deciding if any action is necessary.
Then the opposition leader calls the PM out for not jumping to the opposition's tune. Now the spotlight is on the PM as the opposition seizes the moral high ground. Meanwhile the whole saga makes wonderful headlines.
It does divert attention from Labor's damning internal election performance report and negate their promises to heed the public's message about being fed up with political games.
Len Goodman, Belconnen
TO THE POINT
After the revelations this week that Angus Taylor got a doctored document and quoted it as fact without anyone checking it, one hopes that he's not also relying on his emissions data and power costs from documents he claims to have downloaded from the City of Sydney website.
Paul Wayper, Cook
SCOMO GOES JOH
"Got a problem? Give the police commissioner a call". Who does Scott Morrison think he is, Joh Bjelke-Petersen?
Peter Crossing, Glengowrie, SA
WE MAKE OUR OWN LUCK
So "Bad luck may have wiped out the neanderthals" (canberratimes.com.au, November 28). What is likely to do in homo sapiens (the wise man)? Our stupidity in not acting on climate change with the diligence the climate emergency demanded?
Rajend Naidu, Glenfield, NSW
GOOD JOB PAULINE
Thanks to Pauline Hanson for joining that wonderful band of independents to vote "no" on Thursday. You did your best to ensure parliamentary integrity by rejecting the ridiculous, ideologically driven, Coalition bill to destroy the integrity of our industrial relations system and punish innocent, hard working Australians. If you continue such principled action my faith in our democracy may even be restored.
Pauline Westwood, Dickson
BAN THE MAN
I note that Ron Holesgrove (letters, November 28) doesn't know why it's windy in Gungahlin. I think letters like his should be banned. It's obviously climate change.
Brian Hale, Wanniassa
CLIVE NAILED IT
My very favourite Clive James phrase was his description of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his bodybuilding days as "a condom stuffed full of walnuts". Priceless!
Peter Waterhouse, Cragieburn, Vic
If, as is apparently the case, it is easy to get drugs into the AMC simply by tossing them over the fence, that clearly indicates that the design and or operation of perimeter security is inadequate. Simple.
Roger Quarterman, Campbell
GOOD OLD DAYS
Remember those years under the stewardship of PM John Howard who advised that he would not tolerate ministerial indiscretions, no matter how minor? Seven ministers were sent packing in his first year, with two more to follow later. Is tolerance more prevalent under PM Morrison?
Greg Simmons, Lyons
WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE
How would this play out? "Chief, I'm only one fire fighter. What difference will it make if I go home and leave all the work to the rest of the team? After all, that's what Australia is doing with the fight on climate change."
Rosemary Walters, Palmerston
STALINIST SECRET STATE
It's really, really disturbing that in the best traditions of Stalinist Russia a person was charged, tried and imprisoned in secret by this government. What's equally disturbing is that we don't know how many more such prisoners are hidden away in jails across the country. And yet this government has the gall to castigate China for secret prisons.
Dallas Stow, O'Connor
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