Letters to
the editor

AUKUS not in our interests

Thanks for your excellent editorial (“Losing to win”, September 18-24) on the nuclear submarines matter, and for including Hugh White’s sensible piece (“From the submarine to the ridiculous”, September 18-24). Although I don’t absolutely agree with all the points White makes, his main point that this is a stupid idea is spot on. Have we learnt nothing from the debacle of the Afghanistan war? If a war against China follows all this sabre-rattling, there would be no winning it. Even without a war, this heads us in completely the wrong direction in terms of other neighbourhood relations and could encourage an escalation of militarism in our region. David Vine’s book, The United States of War, tells us that since independence from Britain, the US has been free of war for only 11 years. They go to war in their own interests anywhere and everywhere, with disastrous results. We must not follow blindly ever again. In our relative democracy, we have the chance to overturn bad decisions. This could happen, with effort and some difficulty, if the Labor party could be persuaded to withdraw their conditional support. It’s such a long-term project – without bipartisan support, it will fail.

– Jo Vallentine, Coolbellup, WA

Regional alliances disturbed

The Morrison government’s decision to invest in nuclear submarines was kept secret, not just from France but also from Australians. It adds weight to the New York Times’ claim “Australia may well be the world’s most secretive democracy”. It is also a dumb decision, immediately alienating New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the European Union. But most seriously it is a dangerous decision that in Hugh White’s words “drags us closer to the front line of a war”. In a pathetic justification, Scott Morrison claims the submarines will “make the region safer”. Instead of visionary, capable leaders, we have failed adman Morrison and hawkish ex cop Peter Dutton further deepening our dependence on the US and moving us closer to war. The only moral war the Morrison government should be fighting is the war against climate change.

– Ray Peck, Hawthorn, Vic

Locked into suffering

The article by Sarah Price on Imasi Yousef causes one to despair about the actions of the Australian government (“ ‘I am talking to walls’ ”, September 18-24). Surely imprisoned refugees should be among the first to be vaccinated. Where is the duty of care? This man, through no fault of his own, is stateless. We can offer him shelter, citizenship and a life of freedom. Instead he is imprisoned for years and now placed in isolation at great risk to his physical and mental health. He has committed no offence but has suffered greatly. He must be released, fully compensated and provided with any care he needs.

– Gael Barrett, North Balwyn, Vic

ALP needs to back EVs again

John Hewson (“Driving backwards from zero”, September 18-24) has, as sensibly as anyone, outlined the shortcomings of the Morrison government’s lack of policy on energy and the road to zero carbon emissions. He quotes Morrison’s now famous line that Bill Shorten’s policy on electric vehicles would “end the weekend”. No one, then, thought how efficiently Morrison himself would end the weekend through poorly planned vaccinations. Through haranguing from Morrison and after losing the election, Labor dropped that policy and several others. Labor should re-establish its commitment to taxing the wealthy, promoting EVs, investing in renewable energy and phasing out fossil fuels. In short, a Shorten platform for the future. Labor lost the last election to an ex-marketing expert because it thought that the bleedin’ obvious does not need to be explained to the bleedin’ undereducated. Pick up the slack, Labor; spell it out this next time.

– Steve Hall, Cooroy, Qld


Thank you, Naomi Stead, for your enlightening piece on the Upfield railway line development and the new Coburg station (“Overpass of distinction”, September 18-24). The article analysed so well the design concepts of the new station and reviewed the issues surrounding the removal of railway crossings in other locations and included the challenges associated with urban design, engineering and community controversy. The Saturday Paper educates readers in the major political, social and cultural issues of the day. Professor Stead’s contributions are highlights. She contributes to the development of architectural and aesthetic literacy in accessible and exciting ways.

– Lesley Hardcastle, Ashburton, Vic

A master of ceremony

What a delight to be reacquainted with grandmaster David Smerdon, albeit indirectly via Martin McKenzie-Murray’s Sport profile: “The right moves” (September 11-17) and “Beyond the norms” (September 18-24). At a social event of my sons’ school chess club in Brisbane, David agreed to play a “simul” against more than 30 experienced players. After defeating the majority of players and aware of the time constraints, David offered many opponents a draw, which they gleefully accepted – a draw against a grandmaster! Your profile has rekindled my personal memories of this charming, confident, gracious and centred young man. Thank you.

– Justin O’Hagan, Eumundi, Qld

Letters are welcome: [email protected]
Please include your full name and address and a daytime telephone number. Letters may be edited for length and content, and may be published in print and online. Letters should not exceed 150 words.

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on September 25, 2021.

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