Does Tony Abbott truly believe that "our challenge is to try and ensure that the unthinkable remains unlikely" by him going to Taiwan and loudly beating the drums of war ("Abbott calls for solidarity with Taiwan", canberratimes.com.au, October 8)?
Last month General John E. Hyten, vice chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned: "Our goal should be to never go to war with China, to never go to war with Russia. Because that day is a horrible day for the planet, and a horrible day for our countries".
Given that General Hyten was previously the head of US Strategic Command, which is responsible for the command and control of America's nuclear forces, he speaks with the highest authority on the likely outcome of a war over Taiwan.
This is not a war we can render "unthinkable" by simply being prepared to fight, but by seeking a diplomatic solution to avoid what could become an unconscionable act of global suicide.
Reverend Dr Vincent Zankin, Rivett
Abbott's stance dangerous
Tony Abbott's recent anti-China statements made in Taipei were ridiculous and could cause great harm to Australia. The PM almost certainly endorsed Abbott's unacceptable behaviour. All Australian politicians should criticise these men for their unacceptable behaviour.
Taiwan is politically part of China. The US clearly agrees. Currently it officially accepts the "One China" policy (albeit with fingers crossed behind its back).
The threat of war between China and its secessionist province only exists because the US has openly promised that it will militarily assist Taiwan should China attempt to resume control over the province. If the US publicly withdrew that promise, the politicians governing Taiwan would permit a peaceful transition of power; to do otherwise would be an act of suicide.
To help avoid war, which could become global, Australia should publicly encourage the US to cease its 70-year long abuse of China, including interference in China's internal affairs; especially with military support for the Taiwanese.
Should the US refuse to do so, Australia should cease to be an ally of the US as the alliance would be a danger rather than a protection.
Bob Salmond, Melba
Voice of reason
Thank you T J Warner-Budd (Letters, October 12) for giving a voice to forward thinking Canberrans who are also heartily sick of the light-rail whingers who can't seem to understand that high density housing and an alternative and viable means of transport across Canberra on those housing and workplace corridors is the way of the future for a rapidly growing population.
Like climate change, sustainable transport infrastructure, planning and building have to be addressed before they become insurmountable problems in the near future with too many cars, too few parking spaces and roads, and no viable alternative means of transport.
Liz Walter, Duffy
On the other hand
Give us $1 billion and we will give Canberra a gold-plated bus service a transport official said in 2013.
But the $1 billion was spent on a tramway from Gungahlin to Civic, leaving much of Canberra with fragmented and inadequate public transport. That project was not supported by any independent economic or transport study.
With the same disregard for a sound business case, at probably $2 billion, the ACT government will build the tramway to Woden, almost doubling travel times between those centres.
In 2006, the ACT government set a target of increasing public transport patronage from eight per cent to 12 per cent. Patronage scarcely moved, then, with the pandemic, it pranged and will take years (if ever) to recover.
But the tramway will be extended, largely to assuage the Greens, though the project fails any objective environmental analysis.
The project is going ahead, based on what the ACT auditor-general has shown to be an inadequate business case, approved by cabinet in September last year.
This reflects poorly on the business acumen of our city's rulers while marking the opposition of Canberra Liberals as at best insipid.
Graham Downie, O'Connor
The general, highly-vaccinated population of the ACT, must be greatly puzzled by many elements of Chief Minister Barr's opening-up plan.
Sectors involving large staffs and high through-traffic including casinos can open up at the end of the week.
Others with small (if any) staff and low-through traffic cannot.
This latter group, primarily small shop keepers in retail, has been most impacted by the lockdown. It would be far easier to control numbers entering a small shop than to be checking vaccination status (a minor problem in this jurisdiction).
Moreover, households are open to restricted numbers, that number growing with the opening up.
The roadmap is illogical, inequitable, and not closely tuned in to the general public's fundamental needs and preferences.
Gwenda Matthews, Kingston
The real issue
Yes, Zed Seselja is out of step on assisted dying but, since the Libs need only about one-third of the vote to win a Senate seat here, we will probably fail to do anything about him at the ballot-box.
The bigger problem is the federal government whose Attorney-General, Michaela Cash, has confirmed there are no plans to overturn the Andrews Bill and restore territorians' power to legislate on voluntary assisted dying.
Does Australia, as a whole, give a toss about that?
Frank Marris, Forrest
Rich and renewable
Poor old Charles just doesn't get it. I gather he believes that running his Aston Martin on renewable fuel (distilled white wine and cheese by-products) he is helping to save the planet ... "Oh, I say, fill'er up with one of your better chardonnays please. And, do put a dozen bottles in the boot in case I run short on the way out to Cornwall. There's a good chap".
Struan Robertson, Wanniassa
Go Andrew Leigh
The revelation the Morrison government paid $13.8 billion of taxpayers' funds to profit-making businesses in the first six months of its JobKeeper scheme ("Treasury admits profiting firms took billions in JobKeeper", October 12, p5) is yet more evidence of the incompetence of this government.
Dr Andrew Leigh's comment: "Even now, the Morrison government is fighting to keep secret the names of big (multinational) firms that got JobKeeper" and boosted their profits is another demonstration of Prime Minister Morrison's obsessive secrecy.
He should know that, in politics secrets have a nasty habit of leaking out.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Steady on Bradley
More than a whiff of agenda accompanies Bradley Perrett's articles on China in The Canberra Times.
Rather than explain why there are ideological differences or contextualising China's achievements, Mr Perrett instead bows to the Judith Nelson Institute to deliver an anti-China dialogue based on fear and mistrust.
Like Mr Perrett, I too spent more than 16 years working in China. In that time I have visited most of the 23 provinces and autonomous zones. I have been unencumbered by agenda or sponsors, allowing me to see and understand a China very different to the picture he paints.
Ross Goddard, Forrest
French ambassador Thebault's "attitude imperiéuse" brings to mind a story told by expat fighter pilot (and former Canberra resident), the late Air Commodore James Coward, who after losing a leg during the Battle of Britain, became Churchill's aide.
Having been put out when Churchill (lunching) did not immediately take his call, de Gaulle told Churchill that the French regarded him as the second Joan of Arc.
Relating the conversation to his lunch party, Churchill announced, "I had to remind him, we burnt the first one".
Ian Pearson, Barton
The French connection
It seems to me we should not lose too much sleep over the French sub farce. The French are not the best allies to have; after all there was an incident regarding The Rainbow Warrior I recall.
They had to be helped out in World War I, they surrendered in World War II and the unoccupied half of the country openly collaborated with the Germans. They then got beaten in the battle with the Viet Minh at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, ending their Vietnamese hegemony.
To make matters worse they align themselves with Germany to become the European superpowers, surely a match made in hell.
No, let's leave the French alone.
Ian Jannaway, Monash
TO THE POINT
MAKE A SPLASH
Why is the ACT so out of sync with NSW on COVID-19 restrictions? Both the indoor and outdoor pools in Queanbeyan are open to fully vaccinated customers. Canberra should be doing the same. Pools here could reopen for lane swimmers and aerobics classes this week with minimal risk of COVID-19 transmission. We would all welcome some consistency on this.
C Williams, Forrest
The peons across the border may enter the ACT to contribute to its economy but the lords of the ACT manor may not cross the border to contribute to the villages.
Peter Duffy, Burra
NOT A GOOD IDEA
Jorge Gapella (Letters, October 8) suggests requiring unvaccinated people to wear a bright tag indicating their status. The last time a government forced an unfavoured group to display identifying marks didn't end well for anyone.
Stephen Jones, Bonython
HE CAN'T REFUSE
A memo to the French ambassador: As the Godfather said "it's not personal, it's strictly business".
Peter Brittliff, Kambah
A FINE PRECEDENT
As the ideal for a Commonwealth anti-corruption body, why does the government not duplicate the powers of its Australian Building and Construction Commission? Or is sauce for the goose not sauce for the gander?
Humphrey McQueen, Griffith
THE FINE SOCIETY
Canberra is becoming like Singapore; "the fine society". You're fined for everything.
Ed Highley, Kambah
STAGE TWO ESSENTIAL
While some delays might be appropriate due to the pandemic, to not build the second stage of the light rail, to Woden would be a massive vote of no-confidence in Canberra. Future generations of southsiders would be the ones to lose out if it doesn't go ahead.
Danny Corvini, Deakin
BOXING'S HEALTH RISK
With all the concern surrounding head injuries and sportspeople how can the ABC promote the sport of boxing where the sole object is to give your opponent concussion?
Colin Enright, Rosedale, NSW
BAN THE BLOOD SPORT
Monday's media was full of reports about a heavyweight match between two dinosaurs trying to smash each other senseless.
At a time when most sports are doing their best to reduce brain injuries to their players, the media continues to promote boxing.
It's time to ban boxing unless the so-called sport finds a way to eradicate brain injuries .
Murray Williamson, Weetangera
A very big thank you to all concerned in producing the best Floriade display ever.
We have enjoyed the suburban floral displays very much.
To come upon the fantastic display in Commonwealth Park was such a treat. No jostling crowds. Just a few families gathered for picnics looking at the beautiful flowers.