There’s little doubt as to why the Minerals Council of Australia (ably assisted by the Coalition and right-wing media) would spruik for nuclear energy in preference to renewable energy (Mike Seccombe, “Nuclear confusion”, August 19-25). Nuclear energy requires the ongoing purchase of uranium from some of the council’s members for the life of the power plants. Who knows what the cost and availability of uranium will be in 10 years’ time, much less in the typical life span of a nuclear power plant of some 60 years? No energy systems that have to buy fuel can be competitive with systems that do not have this expense because their marginal cost of energy production is close to zero. “Free fuel” wind and solar are already “eating the lunch” of nuclear energy and their operating costs will only reduce further as renewable energy systems continue their technological advances.
– John Bushell, Surry Hills, NSW
A question of alliances
The government received support at the ALP national conference on AUKUS, in spite of significant questioning of cost and timing (Chris Wallace, “Three nights in Brisbane”, August 19-25). It would be in our interest to also seek alternatives, such as promoting a peaceful integration of an independent Taiwan province to avoid a war solution and an arms race. A strategic alliance (military and civil) with an Indonesia of almost 300 million people would add to our security. Air force defence with additional northern and western bases, the latest aircraft and additional longer-range missiles might be both cheaper and more effective for defence than decades-away offensive and probably then obsolete submarines. Only Virginia-class submarines are warranted.
– Geoff Henkel, Farrer, ACT
As you point out (Editorial, “Red faces”, August 19-25), neither side of politics can emerge from the cruel and disastrous catastrophe of asylum-seeker policy with any credit. A royal commission might apportion blame but, in the meantime, about 80 asylum seekers are still in Papua New Guinea. These people are still suffering, their lives completely disrupted. They are not criminals. They sought refuge from oppressive regimes. The asylum seekers should be brought to Australia, rehabilitated and allowed to apply for citizenship. This is a shameful episode in our history – one of many – and must be rectified immediately. A royal commission will take inordinate time and it is unlikely the guilty parties will pay any penalty.
– Gael Barrett, North Balwyn, Vic
Sports of all sorts
Usually, we get excited about sports that only a handful of countries play, viz cricket, netball and the rugby codes. Well done, Matildas, because lots of countries play soccer. Making the semifinals wasn’t easy (Martin McKenzie-Murray, “The Matildas’ wonderful ride”, August 19-25). However, let’s have some perspective. The Matildas played seven games for three wins, three losses and a draw. France, the United States and Nigeria went out yet were undefeated. What has happened is the really male-dominated sports finally woke up … AFL, rugby, soccer, cricket. Other sports changed long ago. Women in basketball and hockey – also worldwide sports – have, since the 1980s, been world champions three times and runners-up four times and have won Olympic medals of all colours. Recent suggestions that soccer should get more ignores such history. Those sports that have treated women and men equally for decades are just as deserving of assistance from government resources. Have we forgotten the Sydney Olympics where hockey (men and women) and women in water polo, basketball, softball were all medallists? The Matildas have yet to get to the podium in the most competitive of sports.
– Richard Charlesworth, Nedlands, WA
Santilla Chingaipe’s piece on Wynton Marsalis (“A good fortune”, August 19-25) dwells at length on his attachment to the “rich traditions” of jazz. Yet absent from the analysis is any reference to Marsalis’s well-documented disdain for experimentation or Black radicalism in contemporary music, from his snooty dismissal of the later work of Miles Davis (Marsalis saw him as “like a general who betrayed his country”) to his disturbingly narrow take on rap (which he calls “more damaging than a statue of Robert E. Lee”). The notion of jazz – or any other type of music – as a fixed genre immune to evolution is inherently conservative: Marsalis’s undoubted gifts cannot be detached from the inescapable limits of the classicism he has long championed.
– Dean Biron, Spring Hill, Qld
Definitely a cut-out to treasure from your page. It will travel with me. The exquisite and always superlative poetry of Dorothy Porter (Poetry, “Three poems by Dorothy Porter”, August 19-25).
– Pam Connor, Belconnen, ACT
Three reasons for ‘Yes’
There are three reasons I’ll vote “Yes” at the Voice referendum. From the Uluru Statement from the Heart, I do want to walk with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples towards a better future. Then there is the courage and kindness of Lowitja O’Donoghue. Finally, sickened by Australia’s human rights record both here and in East Timor (Ben Abbatangelo, “Captive audience”, August 12-18). I want to be proud of my country.
– Virginia Ward, Malvern, SA
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on August 26, 2023.
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