Far from independent
Karen Middleton’s well-researched article (“Australia’s big spending on war machines”, June 19-25) raises the important issues of Australia developing and expanding the “sovereign capability” of the Australian Defence Force and a corresponding “large sovereign Australian defence industry and skilled workforce”. Unfortunately the article reveals details that show we are far from having such a genuinely independent defence structure. Dire problems, such as prolonged delays in the delivery and operational status of new submarines from France and new frigates from Britain, as well as ongoing repair problems with the United States-supplied MRH-90 helicopter fleet, illustrate this reality. Hugh White explores the idea that Australia is far from having a truly indigenous “broader political” defence policy framework that is “independently” focused and not in lock step with the expanding US global military posture. Of greater concern is that our federal politicians, backed with daily warnings from selected think tanks and academics, are promoting the claim that the security environment in our region could evolve into a “hot conflict” in less than 10 years. The public is entitled to be more informed of this worrying disconnect.
– Brian Boyd, Carlton, Vic
The sheer incompetence of our naval procurement process in breathtaking. Every aspect of planning and delivery is bedevilled with problems. We have never been able to fully crew our six Collins-class vessels. They are noisy and unreliable. Even when upgraded, it will be like moving from a Model T Ford to a Model A Ford when our potential enemies are driving sophisticated limousines. By 2035 China will have a huge fleet of nuclear-powered submarines with advanced technology beyond our current comprehension. The umpteen billions squandered on our Attack-class submarines could provide real benefits if spent on social services, health, schools and support for the disabled and elderly.
– Peter Barry, Marysville, Vic
Asylum-seeking and politics
“This is not normal” by Behrouz Boochani (June 19-25) could not be a more truthful indictment of Australia’s policies towards people rightly seeking asylum. Yes, imprisoning refugees is the norm and is to our shame forever. The treatment of the Murugappan family defies any understanding of what it is to seek asylum, to seek a safe haven. Equally alarming is that the family have been so welcomed in a small Australian town, and shown to be model citizens, yet live with great uncertainty regarding their future. What is encouraging is that so many Australians are supporting this family. But whatever decision the government makes for their future won’t be out of any obligation we have to anyone seeking asylum, it will be a political decision. On this World Refugee Day (June 20) both Liberal and Labor governments have much of which to be ashamed.
– Judith Morrison, Mount Waverley, Vic
I am reminded so vividly today why I love The Saturday Paper. Thank you for publishing “This is not normal” by Behrouz Boochani and congratulations to Behrouz for crafting such a compelling article about the Australian government’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. This says it all and is an important reminder of the “ big picture” as many of us are currently so focused on the Murugappan family. As a refugee activist for many years, I am overcome with emotion that he can tell the sorry story of our “normalising” of cruel policies so clearly. Would that it were compulsory reading for all our politicians.
– Margaret Edwards, Berwick, Vic
Witness K wrongly tried
Last week’s editorial (“Guilty of bravery”, June 19-25) succinctly expressed the moral and the brave are once again at the mercy of a criminal government. Witness K’s plea of “Guilty, your honour”, spoken with concealed identity, in open court, is a travesty of justice. Australia’s illegal bugging of our poorer neighbour for corporate greed is an international crime. It’s obvious who should be on trial.
– Carmelo Bazzano, Epping, Vic
How does a landscape artist who died in 1901 aged 89 profoundly influence a 29-year-old author, activist and legal advocate at this particular point in time? (Maddee Clark, “The Influence”, June 19-25). Bri Lee’s connection to Eugene von Guérard’s paintings and his philosophy of life has shaped her perspective and provided a valuable affirmation for the way she lives her own life. Lee has delved deeply into von Guérard’s persona and has found not only (some) answers to questions but strengthened her ability to ask her own questions.
– Pam Connor, Mollymook Beach, NSW
The Quiz, June 19-25, Question 7: Which three US states have just four letters in their name? Compiler Cindy MacDonald, Alaska has only four letters also!
– Dr Patrick Tuohey, Kew, Vic
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on June 26, 2021.
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