We got to know Bernard Collaery in the early 1980s when each of us had children at Red Hill Primary School and were active in its Parents and Citizens association. We are disturbed and angry about the effects the prosecution by the Australian government is having on him and his family. He is an outstanding citizen of the ACT and a person of exceptional integrity and courage, who has made valuable contributions to our community.
That he is subjected to criminal charges arising from his representation of Witness K is a matter of shame for all Australians.
It is nearly four years since charges were laid. Delays in proceedings have arisen from the determination of the government to have evidence against him heard in secret. Despite several attempts by the Attorney General, the courts have not given approval for such hearings. This issue was set out in the article "High Court probes case against Collaery" (April 14, p2).
It outlined a complex series of court hearings regarding the issue of the secret evidence; with three High Court judges questioning the Attorney-General's application. One of the judges described it as "fragmentation of criminal proceedings at its worst".
In the final weeks of the Morrison government this web of legal complexity continues to hang over Bernard Collaery. It has gone on for too long. We hope that the government that is formed after the election will bring it to a swift and just conclusion.
I read with interest Dr Michelle Freeman's claims that there was "no academic consensus" among forest and fire scientists (Letters, April 25).
I accept that scientific theory is the contestation of ideas and where the dominant theory is supported by a body of repeatedly confirmed facts that lead to a well-substantiated explanation of an aspect of the natural world. I've read Professor Lindenmayer's work in detail (for over 30 years) but not the other unnamed paper that claims to refute his findings. Professor Lindenmayer's work is supported by decades of published peer reviewed research and yes, a body of repeatedly confirmed facts.
Can the same be said of this unnamed paper? Is there really "no academic consensus" or is Dr Freeman, the Vice President of Forestry Australia, the professional association for foresters in Australia, using the tactics of tobacco and fossil fuel groups to sow doubt?
If better questions foster more useful answers, we could all invest the time to work through to the best questions before we work through to the best answers.
The run-up to any election brings plenty of answers from all sides of politics. Mix in a handful of quasi-security issues and the answers become louder and less flexible. The problem is, of course, that we don't just need answers; we need to know what the questions were. And we need to work from the best questions.
For example, If the question was "How do we deal with China?", would not a better question be "How do we ensure Australia's prosperity as the world economy shifts from USA-dominated to China-dominated?". Different questions with very different answers.
In this election season we could begin by asking our leaders to enlighten us about the questions they asked themselves in order to arrive at their answers. Let us judge them on their capacity to develop better questions.
So for starters, Mr Dutton, if "prepare for war" is your answer, what was the question?
Scott Morrison's "iron clad guarantee" for no new taxes during the next term of government is grossly and knowingly misleading. While it recently reduced tax for higher income earners the Morrison government has also removed the existing lower and middle income tax offsets from 1 July, 2022 and has factored this change into its recent budget.
For many of us on modest incomes, this means an effective increase in income tax of up to $1080 next financial year. Morrison's new promises on tax do not reverse this decision.
Labor should ensure that this deceptive sleight-of-hand is widely publicised. Otherwise, should it win government, Labor is likely to be blamed for the increased tax burden on working families.
When reading the April 25 editorial "We must remember horrors of war on Anzac Day" I was saddened that the Editor has been so misled by US propaganda. The last paragraph included: "... the militarisation of China, with its influence spreading nearer to our shores ... ". A reality check is required.
This year the US will spend about three times as much on offence (not defence) as China does on defence, even though its population is only a quarter that of China. China will spend about 10 times as much on defence as Australia, but has a population about 60 times greater. Major European countries (Germany, UK, France) each spend about one fifth as much as China, but their populations are only about one twentieth that of China. Clearly, China's militarisation is exceptionally low.
Many Australians foolishly believe that China is aggressive, but that a peaceful US will protect us. Yet it is the US which has dragged Australia into many wars (including Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq) while China has been busy at home dramatically improving the welfare of its people.
Chinese influence (except through trade) is also exceptionally low; indeed, it is extremely strange that China, with the world's largest population and second largest GDP, does not exert far more influence. Probably due to racism, Australia stupidly thinks it has a right to influence non-white nations in the south-west Pacific, but that the very much larger China, which is also a west-Pacific nation, does not.
Unless Australia stops acting so stupidly, its ridiculous fears might become reality.
So, Scott Morrison flew to Darwin and played two-up. No doubt his ability to spin came in handy. Not only is he clocking up carbon emissions flying all over the country for his electioneering, but he's also giving away taxpayer money to the fossil fuel industry - up to $130 million to gas giants Inpex, Santos and Darwin LNG.
This is against the wishes of most Australians and is also against the scientific advice of the IPCC and the International Energy Agency to achieve net zero by 2050.
Australia has never had a Prime Minister so willing to ignore science and thumb his nose at international advice. For the sake of future generations, I hope the Morrison government has only another four weeks to run.
Our Defence Minister has been really stressing the security threat we now face from China. Can someone remind me who was in government when Darwin Harbour was sold to Chinese interests and when the Australia/China Tree Trade Agreement was negotiated?
I'm not saying I'm complacent or happy about what's happened over the last few years with Australia/Chinese relationships but I think Minister Dutton has his longer term ambitions at front of mind.
This election campaign is about the nastiest and dirtiest I have witnessed in many years.
One major party has been guilty of character assassination for months now and is continuing through the campaign. It is bad enough for political leaders to pursue this negative activity (they know no better) but, just what does it say about the character of the target audience - those people eager to hear it and willing to believe it? As a reader are you one of such low character yourself?
While Australia and the US cry foul over the China-Solomons agreement they ignore the real victims in this mess. That is the people of the Solomons who, if China's conduct elsewhere is anything to go by, are at risk of losing control of their own country.
Their leader has a lot to answer for.
Peter Dutton keeps opening his mouth and letting thought bubbles out. The big questions are does he actually believe the war-mongering drivel that he emits or does he think making sabre rattling noises will get some more votes going the Coalition way so that the incompetent Morrison Coalition government gets re-elected?
Then he can execute his schemes to connive and manipulate it into being a Dutton Coalition government.
Peter Dutton as PM and Barnaby Joyce as Deputy PM. What a brains trust of rational thought that would be, the cognitively challenged leading the morally bankrupt. Now that is something to actually lose sleep over.
Herman van de Brug (Letters, April 25) believes that a leader with a union background would be better at handling minority governments. He quoted the Gillard government as an example. As Gillard and her government turned out to be an absolute disaster it only reinforces the case against such governments.
It is charming to see Israel and their Arab partners closing ranks against Iran. Pity the poor Palestinians who are terrorists to the Israelis and "Shia deviationists" to the (Sunni) Arabs.
"Putin". To paraphrase FDR: "A name that will live in infamy". The man is beyond redemption. The Russian ambassador should consider whether he wants to join Vlad and Joe Stalin as a fellow-traveller in sanctioning the slaughter of innocents. It's not too late for him to save his soul and defect.
Ian Warden's comment ("Our Grizzly Election and the Daggers", canberratimes.com.au, April 23) "all men of a certain age once in a while leave the house wearing their trousers the wrong way round" reminded me of a past Liberal PM who lost his trousers in a seedy American hotel.
Ronald Elliott and Kym MacMillan (Letters, April 23) raise challenging points on climate and the environment. Those who will suffer will not be the Greens and the women "voices for" candidates and supporters but the middle class and the poor.
Australia has a lot to learn from China in regards to how to direct its foreign aid in the Pacific. Perhaps we could have curtailed Chinese influence in Solomon Islands if we were prepared to offer bigger bribes.
China's apparent largesse in our region resurrects that old geography question of "Where is the capital of the Solomons"? The answer is "in a Swiss bank account". Don't laugh, it is likely true.
Morrison and the LNP are promising magic faerie dust economics. More spending and less taxes. What magic formula does the LNP have for our economy? Borrowing and debt.
Could someone who knows about such things please advise how the new spelling of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv is meant to be pronounced in English? Some news presenters pronounce it "Keev" while others pronounce it "Kee-iv".
Medicine costs may become an election issue because profit-motivated vested interests, conveniently suppress questioning the greater good issues, which would instead focus on why people are subject to so many lifestyle related - and largely preventable - maladies.
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