It is profoundly disappointing that The Canberra Times would publish such baseless gibberish as Bradley Perrett's column on defence policy ("Labor's security policy is right; its actions haven't always been", canberratimes.com.au, February 18).
Perrett says Labor "hardly took defence seriously" when last in office. Did he forget how my government increased defence spending by one-third pushing it to 1.96 per cent of GDP? The Liberals attacked us, of course, preferring to bang the "debt and deficit" drum than prepare for the future. Subsequent cuts under Gillard were wrong, but real defence spending under our government still remained much higher than it was under Howard.
Perrett also swallows the Liberal myth that my government was "all announcement and no action" on submarines. The truth is Labor inherited six Collins-class submarines, a legacy of Bob Hawke, that were facing retirement and Howard left no plan to replace them. Australia would be left strategically naked.
We took two actions: first, we upgraded the Collins fleet and extended its lifespan. The Collins was a global embarrassment under Howard, but became some of the best conventional subs in the world under Labor.
Second, we launched a steady 23-year plan to design and construct 12 new submarines, starting with a RAND Corporation study of Australia's capability and capacity to get the job done.
More work followed, including discussions with prospective partners. Submarines are easily among the most complex pieces of military equipment; can you imagine the public's rightful outrage if we'd immediately rushed to start cutting steel without doing the groundwork?
If The Canberra Times had checked Perrett's assertions, it would know the Liberals have in fact been the weaker party on these matters at practically every stage over the last two decades.
Last week the Prime Minister and opposition leader attended a service in Darwin to commemorate the bombing of that city in 1942, the first of many air raids on Australia in the war Japan was waging. In 2022 the Prime Minister has put national security on the election agenda. We all might reflect on the similar (so far) political circumstances then compared to today.
In 1942, a disunited conservative Coalition government collapsed and the Parliament voted for Labor and its leader John Curtin to defend Australia in that time of crisis. The debate today is focused on words, not bombs, but history shows that Australia can depend on Labor for its national security.
The saddest thing about the present confrontation of Russia and Ukraine is that it is all much ado about nothing. Putin demands that Ukraine never becomes a member of NATO. He says he feels Russia is threatened.
NATO is a military alliance of 30 countries, including some of the most powerful, formed to counter threats of Russian expansion. No doubt it would work very well for the purpose it was created, responding to Russian aggression, but it is a defensive alliance that could not initiate an invasion.
It is formed from mature nations that could not be bullied into an aggressive act. If, for example, the US President decided that NATO should invade Russia he would have no chance of persuading member nations to participate. Try to imagine Germany, France, Britain, tamely joining in such a stupid, motiveless aggressive venture against a nuclear power.
In fact Putin could safely forget about the weapons pointed at Russia's heart, ignore NATO and get on with organising the proper business of government, which is concerned with the prosperity and welfare of the nation. (Perhaps in his heart Putin knows this, but after the manner of leaders of the past, enjoys his pose as staunch guardian of the nation's security).
Over time the NATO nations would be left with their expensive armies and weaponry feeling more and more foolish.
I've been watching the unfolding crisis on the Ukraine-Russia border with some fascination and quite considerable trepidation.
I would like to air the view that much of what Russia talks about as legitimate concerns, are in fact legitimate concerns given the US's past actions and behaviour, and given recent history. For example, in 2003 the US invaded Iraq: the reasons alleged were fabrications, and the US was after Iraq's oil. The 2003 American joke "how did our oil get under their sand?" was all too perceptive.
And in 1941 the Third Reich invaded the Soviet Union, Soviet oil fields being a primary motive. I expect 2003 is when Putin started rebuilding the Russian defence forces.
I thought training in elite defence academies was supposed to teach high-ranking defence officials how to foresee threats, by amongst other things, allowing them to get "in the skin" of potential opponents, to see the world "behind their eyes".
If the Australian Defence officials didn't point out this historical fact about Russia at around 2003, as a reason why we should go easy rather than blindly rushing in after Uncle Sam, I'd say the students at Duntroon were wasting their time and our money.
As a long time supporter of the ABC I never thought I would see the ABC be so biased as it was on Tuesday morning when an interviewer repeatedly tried to shut down a union delegate as he was explaining the real reason for the buses and trains in NSW not operating. We know that the it was NSW government who shut down the networks, not union action.
The public deserves to hear both sides of the story without biased reporting and interviewing pandering to politicians. So far, we have relied on the ABC for balanced reporting. But, we can no longer believe what they say if this is a sign of things to come. I am appalled.
A rare positive from the COVID pandemic, Clive Palmer did not speak at the National Press Club.
He is apparently suffering from COVID-like symptoms, which is concerning as he is unvaccinated since he claims he doesn't need the vaccine.
He and everyone should get triple vaccinated as the disease doesn't distinguish between political affiliations.
Keep well Clive, the newspapers need the money from your ugly black and yellow ads and we all need newspapers to give us honest political reporting.
On Monday, February 21, Australia opened its borders to overseas visitors who have had two doses of COVID-19 vaccine. A booster is not a requirement for those visitors from that date.
Obviously a significant number of arrivals without the booster will present an added risk to Australians who have complied with ATAGI's strong recommendation to have it. The last thing we want is another Ruby Princess. If events follow their natural course, a spike in COVID-19 related illnesses is likely.
My view is based on ATAGI's latest recommendation that all individuals 16 and over should receive a booster from three months after their second dose which will help attain and maintain the government's latest definition of what constitutes "up to date" vaccination status.
I agree with Mr Hanvin of Page (Letters, February 21) who wrote that whilst the ACT government promotes public transport they have made its use more difficult for our elderly over the last few years. Like Mr Hanvin, my elderly grandmother lost her local Wanniassa bus stop and is required to walk a kilometre to her nearest bus service. That has effectively stopped her going out.
My father-in-law, who is living at the Gardens@Fadden, also lost the bus stop right out the front. I believe the transport minister removed over 700 bus stops across Canberra a few years back. Many of these stops and routes serviced aged residents, community services and support housing.
Public Transport should service all Canberrans within reason, not just select Canberrans.
It's wonderful to have a beautiful memorial to victims of child sexual abuse in Canberra ("Glass archway to remember victims", Feb 16, p5). However the Acton Peninsula southern shoreline siting is worrying. Not only is it low-lying, cold, and possibly flood prone, but also quite remote, and on the cul-de-sac service road of the National Museum, sending (unintended) messages of embarrassment and relegation.
Better to look at the more elevated, populated, visible, and sunny western end of the northern shore of the peninsula, or maybe Lennox Gardens.
The Manchurian Candidate is a satire - hence lost on all sides today. The plot pivots on the extreme anti-communists being KGB agents. So, if life continues to imitate art, Morrison is the Manchurian candidate.
Lidar is a method for determining the distance and direction of a remote object. It is much more accurate than radar which is used for the same purpose. A laser beam is used rather than a radio wave. Is it possible that we have a Defence Minister who doesn't know that?
Vlad the Peacemaker says parts of Ukraine would be better off if they had stronger links with Russia. He is aiding the process with military support. The west strongly disapproves. Given the complexities of Ukrainian history can we be certain the west is supporting the good guys?
If Luhansk and Donetsk are the home of Russian speakers who feel they have more in common with Russia than with Ukraine, and if these territories lie east of the St Petersburg-Rostov on Don line that Russia has historically regarded as its non-negotiable western border, why shouldn't they become part of Russia if they want to?
I watched the Four Corners report about the wild brumbies. So it is not us humans ruining the planet, but a small bunch of wild horses. No wonder people don't react to the threat of World War III starting in Ukraine because the Russians and the Americans cannot talk to each other.
Douglas Mackenzie asks about KPIs for the Minister for Aged Care Services (Letters, February 19). His real performance measure is that, if called upon, he would vote for the retention of Morrison as leader of the Liberal Party in the House of Representatives, and thus as the PM.
I agree with Felicity Chivas (Letters, February 21) on mispronunciation and add that some TV presenters talk among themselves (not very clearly) forgetting there are viewers with hearing problems. They should be mindful of this fact.
Will the fountain at the front of the High Court remain silent for the next 15 years and counting (as has been the case with the Federation Centenary Fountains in the front of the Old Parliament House)?
Progressive political activists have introduced beneficial social reforms over the decades. But they are now leading us down a divisive, subjective, dogmatic, and nit-picking cul-de-sac. "Progressive" no longer generally means progress.
Every time the PM appears on the electronic media I reach for the mute button to avoid his meaningless prognostications.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.