The minister for defence industry, Melissa Price, recently advised: "To effectively address skilling and workforce challenges, it is crucial that we attract young people to this growing sector."
Organisations that recognise the importance of investing in young people early in their career - filling a pipeline with talent - will be strongly positioned to prosper in the future". It's good advice the government could heed.
The article "Wasteful military spend risks security" (Canberra Times, May 26, p1) reviews an ASPI brief in which Dr Hellyer suggests contractors could cost well over twice the average cost of Defence public servants.
This was evident in a 2017 ABC article "Million-dollar naval architects helping build Australia's future submarines", which revealed those costs were three times the salary of equivalent APS employees. Yet devolving core APS functions to the private sector continues unchecked.
In 2011 the 'Rizzo Review' recommended to "Rebuild Navy Engineering Capability" after years of capability erosion.
A decade on, Navy's remaining APS engineering workforce continues to be targeted for downgrading as senior specialists are assigned to management positions without replacement and talented younger Navy APS engineers are forced to turn to industry to advance their careers.
With "contractor" staff now 40 per cent of the size of the entire Defence APS, often in specialist engineering and project management roles and on short-term contracts, I wonder how specialist knowledge can be built or retained by Defence?
The government appears to prefer a gig economy workforce, but are they willing to accept the consequences?
Martin Grimm, Red Hill
Words can be weapons
On June 4 you reported on remarks by federal Education Minister Alan Tudge that "woke" universities might suffer new legislative requirements if they do not follow the a government's 'core value" on freedom of speech.
Jenna Price in her article in the same edition provides a good criticism of the government's approach. But I was disappointed the Times article did not explain the term 'woke' is defined as, "aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)" in the Merriam Webster dictionary.
Of course the term 'woke ' is being weaponised by the right and we are more likely to see it being used as a stick with which to beat people who aspire to such values, often wielded by those who don't recognise how un-woke they are, or are proud of the fact.
Rod Holesgrove, Crace
In a city that prides itself by encouraging its residents to save energy by reducing the unnecessary use of fossil fuels, why are south Canberra recipients of the AstraZeneca vaccine being made to travel to Calvary Hospital on the north side to get their second jab?
It seemed to be OK to have both the Pfizer and the AstraZeneca vaccines available at the surge facility in Garran for the first jab, why not for the second AstraZeneca jab? I suggest it's because it's easier for the government. One location, one vaccine. It certainly is not easier for "southsiders" who will have to drive their vehicles, alternatively taking a number of buses, all (well most) using fossil fuels, to get to the vaccination centre. So much for a government encouraging us to save on the necessary use of fossil fuels.
David Young, Phillip
More people not the answer
The opinion article by Professor John Quiggin ("Lower birthrates may just be the tonic we need", CT, June 1) should be mandatory reading for all policymakers determined to add more young people to our population.
Many do so because of the 20th century accepted wisdom that evermore young people (aged 15-64) can offset the costs of an ageing of the population.
As Quiggin eloquently points out, however, that concept is now outdated, particularly with the shift from blue collar to white collar workers who need to be educated for longer but can work for longer.
We are now in the 21st century where the typical person will spend about half their life in the working-age population (aged 25-70) and the other half evenly divided between education and retirement.
This is affordable for countries such as ours.
On the other hand, more children means far more money for the education budget and the benefits won't be with us until the second half of the century.
Quiggin rightly notes "a lower birthrate is having an unambiguously beneficial impact on the size of the world's population.
The world is already overcrowded, and the growing population is straining the capacity of the planet".
I wish there were more economists out there who had that understanding.
Jenny Goldie, Cooma
Memorial's climate impact
Please AWM protect our environment!
I am not writing as a former curator at the Australian War Memorial, nor in my current role fostering cultural heritage management best practice, but in my concern about the AWM adding unnecessarily to climate change by demolishing Anzac Hall.
Yes, Anzac Hall is a magnificent, as well as costing millions of dollars to construct a mere 20 years ago. Such unnecessary demolition of economic resources is widely denigrated and combated internationally.
It is however, also widely understood that the squandering of building materials, that in manufacture have already added to global warming, only to add more building materials to repeat that impact, is unfathomable. Surely we can do better here in Canberra?
The option for the AWM is to increase visits to the AWM collection held at Mitchell, and retain Anzac Hall.
Marilyn Truscott, Waramanga
Bungles will roll on
You would think one of the benefits of having an ad man as prime minister would be the implementation of an informative, well-targeted, public awareness campaign for the COVID-19 vaccination rollout - wrong.
We now find ourselves in the situation where we are dealing with a more infectious version of the virus to which one jab of the AstraZeneca vaccine is only 30 per cent effective. Morrison had three jobs over the last 12 months: the rollout of a national Covid vaccine; protect our elderly in nursing homes under his responsibility; and to provide adequate quarantine facilities for Australians returning from overseas. He has bungled all three.
No doubt he will blame someone else for these failures as the secretary of health Brendan Murphy found out this week when he made the statement "this is not a race".
Morrison's modus operandi is to spin, obfuscate, then blame-shift, a pattern we have observed since he got the job. But the mob will work him out.
Let's hope it is not too late because I'm not sure Australia can withstand another three years of this.
R F Bollen, Torrens
Public money, private good
In his response to my letter, Alan Williams (Letters, June 2) waxes lyrical about the privately-owned National Zoo and Aquarium and says it receives no financial assistance from government.
While it may be a splendid Canberra attraction, I understand it has received financial assistance from government, for example from the federal government support package, the COVID-19 Relief Recovery Fund.
Government assistance provided to privately-owned companies that call themselves "national" diffuses funding available for deserving "real" national institutions, such as the National Library, National Gallery and National Museum.
These worthy national institutions, established through federal legislation to enhance and project the Australian identity, continue to be significantly underfunded in the budget. In the past they have particularly been negatively impacted by the Department of Finance's spurious efficiency dividend every financial year.
Michael Lucas, Conder
Electric cars no panacea
A recent article in The Conversation ("Don't forget the need for electric buses in the push for electric cars", June 4) is important reading for all concerned with our transport future.
A main message is the lack of wisdom in believing changing to electric cars will fix everything. Cars will continue to clog the roads and toxic pollution from the wear of tyres and brake pads will persist.
A well-thought-out network of electric bus routes, with efficient and effective passenger pick-ups, is undoubtedly the way to go.
Individuals, experts and organisations have been advocating for this for many years, but have received no positive response from governments. We can no longer ignore this pressing issue.
Sandy Paine, Griffith
PM's wrong way
The PM's 'Sinatra way' ("Climate our way: Morrison", CT, June 4) is a recipe for failure unless it accommodates the way key trading partners want to deal with global climate change. The European Union's carbon tariff on imports from countries without a carbon price is a reminder that we must work together not fly solo.
Jim Allen, Panorama, SA
To the point
Having fallen to the ground at Mawson, help came pronto.Thank you to all who assisted me, plus the staff of the nearby pharmacy who offered care. You were all wonderful. Thank you and may God bless you all.
Fran Ryan, Duffy
EXTENSION NOT SUPPORTED
What arrogance from the AWM director ("War memorial director 'confident' of expansion approval", Canberra Times, June 4, p12). Despite overwhelming opposition among public submissions to the NCA, and the abject failure of the AWM itself to test public support for its proposed built form (as opposed to its mission and function), the AWM assumes (regrettably, perhaps correctly) that the NCA will simply be a cipher for the promoters of the expensive extravagant vanity project. Prudent financial management anyone?
Mike Hutchinson, Reid
NOT SO FREE SPEECH
Education Minister Alan Tudge is apparently disappointed in those universities that haven't yet signed up to the model code on freedom of speech recommended by former High Court Chief Justice Robert French ("Federal threat to 'woke' universities", Canberra Times, June 4, p12). If only his government was itself committed to freedom of speech. Instead, its decision to defend the sacking of public servant Michaela Banerji for expressing her opinions says that it doesn't really consider it a core value. The decision of the current High Court in Ms Banerji's case suggests it doesn't think freedom of speech is that important, either.
Greg Pinder, Charnwood
DON'T IGNORE PAST
RE Harley Dennett's article "Peter Dutton's war crimes meddling risks truth telling: researcher" (June 4). Apparently concerned about a forthcoming book on alleged war crimes by defence force personnel, the minister for defence has suggested men and women of the ADF should not "be distracted by things that have happened in the past." Perhaps the minister should be reminded of Spanish philosopher Santayana's advice that "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it".
Peter Grabosky, Forrest
FASTER NOT ALWAYS BETTER
RE Luddites, Ron Chapman (Letters, June 4) presents a mixed bag of what he considers progressive. I agree with some of his points, but things like "electro-magnetic transportation" suggest he is clinging to the idea 'faster is always better'. What we urgently need is to all slow down.
Murray May, Cook
NOT SO IMMODEST
Amazing what some can read into the letter. Mario Stivala doesn't know me from Adam yet an inadvertent slip in sentence construction and suddenly he's convinced I'm an immodest person (Letters, June 2). Need he say more? Yes! Try focusing on the need for climate action by 2050 or sooner instead of looking for "gotchas" in a letter on that subject.
Keith Hill, Nindigully, Qld
The Weather Bureau's forecast for Canberra issued at 4.45am on Thursday read: Very high chance of showers, most likely during this afternoon and evening. It started raining around 5.30am, less than an hour after the forecast was issued. How did they get their forecast so wrong?