The dramatic increase in the Defence budget in recent years (from $32.4 billion three years ago to $44.6 billion today ("The defence link to business future", Nicholas Stuart, June 7) is cause for alarm. The focus is on increasing Australia's defence industry and building military exports significantly.
Apart from the dubious morality of supporting production that adds to the world's stock of weapons, there is a lack of transparency about where such exports are going, and so much is shrouded in secrecy. Government assurances that military exports are subject to strict conditions about protecting human rights and avoiding escalating violent conflicts do not meet the standards of accountability expected under our adherence to the Arms Trade Treaty.
Apart from the dubious morality of supporting production that adds to the world's stock of weapons, there is a lack of transparency about where such exports are going.David Purnell, Florey
For example, some countries are withdrawing support for arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition which is using airstrikes that destroy infrastructure and kill civilians indiscriminately in Yemen, at the same time that Australia is continuing sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE without pause.
Our political representatives need to take steps to scrutinise decisions about arms sales more closely and openly.
David Purnell, Florey
So much for consultation
It is unfortunate in the extreme that the approvals process of the National Capital Authority for the expansion of the Canberra War Memorial has been shown to be little more than a rubber stamp.
It is both disingenuous and wasteful to have 600 genuine community contributions to the consultation process and see them all disregarded in preference to the wishes of the pseudo-maudlin desires of the weapons industry.
In sentiment expressed by many of the participants who contributed to this consultation, the war memorials built all around this country, by communities devastated by the stupidity of war, are places of dedication and sacrament, both to those whose lives were wasted and for the families whose structure and continuity was decimated by the loss of life and the wounded, legless, armless and mindless souls who come home to sorrowful receptions.
The NCA has caved in to profiteers and the political desire to turn this country into a weapons manufacturer. We shall all know what to do next time the NCA calls for consultation!
Gerry Gillespie, Queanbeyan
A sad day for democracy
Our "democracy" has just taken another hit, this time in relation to our most important place of commemoration of our war dead. On Monday the National Capital Authority (NCA) approved "early works" at the AWM, giving permission for the Memorial to create a huge hole where Anzac Hall now stands.
The decision was made with the support of just three - three - of the 601 submissions to the NCA. Half of 1 per cent.
The whole "consultation" process has been an absolute disgrace, a sham from start to finish. The AWM has consistently and grossly misrepresented the extent of public support for their proposal, and the NCA is complicit.
And yet the NCA has the gall to talk about its "commitment to community engagement" while trampling on unequivocal community opinion that these changes to the AWM are strongly opposed and will damage our city's unique heritage values.
The NCA chief executive, Sally Barnes, recently told Senate estimates that the NCA's role is "to maintain Canberra as a capital that all Australians can be proud of and that reflects the national value". How can we be proud of a national capital where decisions are made by powerful people behind closed doors, and public opinion is trampled on? It is a sad day for our nation.
Dr Sue Wareham, president of the Medical Association for Prevention of War
Ignoring overwhelming opposition
I was aghast to read that the National Capital Authority ( NCA ) has granted final approval for the expansion to the Australian War Memorial ("War Memorial's $500m expansion gets green light", June 08 ), necessitating the destruction of the 20-year-old Anzac Hall and the removal of 140 mature trees.
As an overwhelming majority of Canberrans were not in favor of the expansion, the government, the NCA and memorial director Matt Anderson should hold their collective heads down in shame for initiating, approving and finally proceeding with this nonsensical, unwarranted and very expensive expansion to the memorial.
The $500 million could have been more productively used elsewhere.
Mario Stivala, Belconnen
Time for Netanyahu to go
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's brazen attempt to disqualify the newly proposed coalition government as being too "left wing", after he himself had attempted to form a governing coalition with the same Arab-Israeli Ra'am party, exposes the greatest act of hypocrisy in the history of Israeli politics ("Netanyahu has unintentionally boosted Palestinian demands for equality", June 7).
In doing so, Netanyahu has not only delegitimised his own chances of forming a governing coalition, but he has inadvertently conferred legitimacy on this new "anti-Netanyahu" coalition.
For 15 years, strong-arm tactics against Palestinian Arabs living in Israel itself, and against those in the occupied territories, has been nothing short of a grab for power at the expense of strangling the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
It is time for Netanyahu to leave office and give both Israelis and Palestinians the chance to build a better future together by first recognising their common dignity under the one God of all Jews, Muslims and Christians.
Reverend Dr Vincent Zankin, Rivett
Funds may be needed for future fix
I refer to a story about pollution on June 3. Minister Berry told us (Belconnen Community Council meeting) that the plume from the corroded Caltex Kippax Petrol underground storage tank was minor. Really? It was 80,000 litres.
I'm sure it is not seen as minor for the residents of the nearby, lower and adjoining complex and shops. Plumes of flammable, mobile hydrocarbons are fickle, and Mother Nature can easily conceal trapped fumes. Will our Green/Labor government give a guarantee, in writing, to local residents and shops, and Kippax Playing Fields users, that there is no danger from the leak?
The Better Regulation Minister has fed the $200,000 fine directly into government environment groups. Perhaps the fine should have been placed in a Trust account to be used, if needed, for future "cleaning-up" purposes or used to support flood risk mitigation work, recommended to EPSDD, by expert, hydrological consultants in 2015.
Unfortunately, we don't seem to have learnt much from a similar, but fatal leak, from an underground petrol storage tank in Civic in the late 1970s.
P. R. Temple, Macquarie
A curious view of China
Bob Salmond is a frequent contributor and defender of Communist China, but his most recent letter (June 6) is one of his most one-sided and myopic.
His claim that the US "immorally" intervened in the Korean "civil war" totally ignores the fact that North Korea invaded South Korea without provocation, and then the United Nations intervened to defend an independent country - the US did provide the bulk of the forces, but along with 22 other nations, including countries like India, Turkey and Sweden (countries not usually considered a "US vassal").
Finally, his suggestion that claims of human rights abuses in Hong Kong and Xinjian are false is just laughable, as his rejection of Chinese responsibility for the COVID pandemic. It's hardly surprising that the people of Taiwan are fearful of falling under the draconian dictatorship of the CCP.
Kym MacMillan, O'Malley
Family's appalling treatment
The Biloela family have been locked up longer than most World War II prisoners of war. They have been treated like the worst enemy combatants and now need very special care. I hope the Prime Minister has just a little of the goodwill of the Good Samaritan.
Howard Styles, Yarralumla
Labor's leadership troubles
Nicholas Stuart's analysis of Labor's chances in our eventual federal election is thought-provoking ("Desperately papering over the cracks in Labor's election strategy", June 6). He lists three basic essentials for Labor: a charismatic leader; a unified party with no cross currents like Joel Fitzgibbon; and dynamic policies especially re climate, energy, and plan for a fair decarbonising transition with new jobs for displaced workers.
Labor has time to deal fully with improving the last two but changing to a more dynamic leadership may just be too problematic. Albanese projects trust and honesty but he should mention less about his early life and concentrate on becoming louder, more confident and in tune with world progress.
Barbara Fraser, Burwood VIC
TO THE POINT
SEEMS RIGHT TO ME
Unlike Don Sephton (Letters, June 7) I think the Weather Bureau's forecast of "high chance of showers" was accurate. It rained an hour later.
Eric French, Holt
When is a poplar tree a polar tree? And when is an observatory a conservatory? Both were differences between photo captions and text in two articles on June 7. And these weren't the only errors upsetting the pedantic reader. Mind you, we all need something to whinge about in retirement.
Dallas Stow, O'Connor
A NO-GOOD WAR
Roger Terry (Letters, June 8) seemingly thinks Australia has an obligation to keep a "presence" in Afghanistan, as if it will quell internal warring. Unfortunately we achieved little by following America into another country and expecting to impose our sense of justice in a foreign land. The US negotiated directly with the Taliban leaders (some who spent many years illegally imprisoned by the "invaders"). Which side has more blood on their hands? Look at the statistics and ask yourselves what good has come out of our war.
G. Gillespie, Scullin
AWOKEN TO WOKE
Rod Holesgrove (Letters June 8) offers the Merriam Webster dictionary meaning of woke. I like the term Woke1A, to acknowledge the BBC's seminal work W1A. A masterpiece supporting one conservative commentator's alternate interpretation: "a snowflake generation of insufferable idiots with the coping skills of overtired toddlers".
How lucky am I to have an exquisite, joyful and inescapable word association with "Woke/Awoken": The Children's Bach sheet music of Wachet Auf - when the Sleepers Awake and the (plague) dead shall rise up to join the living.
Ronald Elliott, Sandringham, VIC
CAN'T BE TOO CAREFUL
An additional pandemic caution: beware the infectious laugh.
M. F. Horton, Adelaide, SA
SHOW SOME COMPASSION
I wish to express my outrage at the way the Morrison government has handled Tharnicaa and her family. Can they please show some compassion and allow this family to return to Biloela?
Katherine McCarthy, Deakin
A SIMPLE QUESTION
For all those who are asking that special consideration be given to the Biloela family, a simple question. The next boat with illegal immigrants arrives with a family including a pregnant mother - are they also a special case?
Roger Dace, Reid
'KNOWING' AND 'UNKNOWING'
It strains credibility that Morrison's reach extends to "knowing" an ABC investigative report is being subjected to editorial review, yet he, and his cabal of advisers, blithely claim not to "know" what's happening in their own office (ABC rejects pulling story on PM's link to QAnon theory, June 8, p5)!
Albert M. White, Queanbeyan
NO SAVING WITH GAS
Paul O'Connor is out of date if he thinks there is money to be saved by sticking with gas (Letters, June 9). For a start, he is paying for two networks. He can check the numbers at maketheswitch.org.au
Peter Campbell, Cook
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