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Yet again we are blindly following the United States

A distraction from the issues that really matter

There is nothing like a shiny, new international alliance to divert the Australian public’s attention from the government’s failure in the management of domestic matters. Matters such as climate change, violence against women, Indigenous issues, the bumbling rollout of vaccines or political scandals are swept off the front pages by one announcement. Additionally, I am not sure whose decision it was to give our potential “enemies” 20years notice. One can only hope that, whoever they are, their memories are as faulty as our allies are for names.
Cheryl Day, Beaumaris

The world’s steady path to mass destruction

Bows and arrows, muskets, cannon, long-range missiles, atom bombs and now nuclear subs? They are dead before they hit the water. The US itself has pointed the way forward: in April, it fired a long-range test missile from an unmanned warship. The next step in the progress towards mass destruction will be millions of unmanned robots manufactured by the US and China and their various acolytes – an odd kind of Mexican stand off. And so the world will end, not with a bang but a whimper, as all resources are used up. Cheers.
Harvey Mitchell, Castlemaine

This is an important community announcement

Attention. This is your captain speaking. Change direction now. Ditch the French contract and kiss goodbye to $2.4billion in sunk costs and compensation (The Age, 17/9). Say hello to AUKUS and new subs in 20 years. Signed: That Man from Down Under. (That’s enough blind trust for this week.)
Jeanette McArthur, Hawthorn

What we should be spending all this money on

We were told we could not increase welfare payments and emergency relief because future generations would be paying into eternity. What will these submarines cost my grandchildren, and will they take delivery in their lifetime (presuming climate change has not wiped Australia off the map by then)?
Andrew Moloney, Frankston


The danger is very real

A ship arrives in port. An accident or fire breaks out. The entire city must be evacuated immediately. It sounds ridiculous but with visiting nuclear-powered vessels, this is reality. Their safety containment is not that of land-based reactors, and all visited ports become nuclear targets.
While the risk may be small, the consequences are too great. Compounded by bellicose, political posturing and language in a world that has rarely, if ever before, needed a more secure future, belligerence has no place.

If our Prime Minister is serious about this not emboldening the nuclear weapons industry (it does, inherently, via its fuel and infrastructure), he must sign and ratify the Treaty for the Prohibition of (all) Nuclear Weapons – now.
Adam Dempsey, Coburg North

The rumble is building

Don’t we admire the “forever partnership” being forged between our smitten leaders promoting the AUKUS pac? Oh, I am really feeling so much safer than I was a few days ago, knowing Australia is investing in nuclear-powered submarines. But wait, somehow, I hear a bit of drum beat, a rumble increasing in intensity. What on earth is it? No, not war but the next federal election.
Kristina Hoel-Turner, Diamond Creek

A meeting of true minds

So the three leaders sit down in Cornwall and consider their problems. “I don’t like China,” says Joe. “We haven’t beaten the French since Agincourt,” says Boris. “I don’t really like the Greens, but I think I have a solution,” says Scott. The perfect solution?
David Stewart, Cape Woolamai

Covering the subs’ cost

These new, shiny submarines are expensive. I hope it is not intended to cut into other vital areas of expenditure such as health, education, aged care, the National Disability Insurance Scheme etc to pay for them. An easy way to fund them with little pain to the average Aussie would be by cancellation of franking credits. The submarines would be paid off in no time.
Judy Kevill, Ringwood

The same route again?

If the new submarines will not arrive until “as late as 2040”, and the justification is the need to counter the threat perceived from China, surely this time scale is unacceptable.

Are we again, as we so often do, going to meddle with a workable design and insist on some local production with the attendant delays and cost blowouts? Why not buy them “ready to go” from shipyards already set up in the US or UK at a fixed price? They will be cheaper and we will receive them more quickly although at some lost opportunity cost to the South Australia shipyard.
Stuart Gregory, Brunswick

More details, PM

The Prime Minister could have outlined two major issues when explaining the cancellation of the contract with France. What is the projected delivery date now, compared to when the contract was signed? Similarly, how does the current cost estimate compare to the original? If both are substantially different, then we citizens could better judge the fairness of this major decision by our government.
Geoff Oliver, East Malvern

It’s time to go, Mr Porter

Christian Porter’s latest faux pas in accepting huge contributions from a blind trust to fund his legal costs is a gift to the Prime Minister. Use it, Scott Morrison: sack Porter from the ministry.
Edna Russell, Ocean Grove

Doing the right thing …

Am I alone in feeling a sense of trepidation and confusion (The Age, 17/9)? After so many months of deprivation of liberty and abiding as best I could with the exhortations to comply, it was some comfort to know it was being backed up by some enforcement policies.

I read the relaxed limitations (with respect to gatherings of those who are fully vaccinated or not) will be dependent on individuals “doing the right thing” and that policing will “not be heavy handed”. Good luck with that, and my heart goes out to the hospital staff trying to cope with the consequences.
Ian Reddoch, North Carlton

… sure, that will work

Great news. Melburnians will be given the freedom to meet outdoors in groups of five, from two households, if they are fully vaccinated. However, given the increase in non-compliance with any COVID-19 rules, no matter how strict or otherwise, how will authorities ensure that such groups are vaccinated, and from only one or two households? Roving compliance squads? That will go down well.
Susan Caughey, Glen Iris

Cry our nurses a river

Just a heads-up for the construction workers who protested the state government’s tearoom ban by setting up tables and chairs, and sitting down for lunch, in a CBD intersection yesterday: nurses have been having their breaks in corridors, their cars and nearby parks since last year’s lockdowns. It just makes sense.
Janine Perks, Footscray

Live with it, fellows

The construction workers who protested in the city had a cheek. They have been privileged to work above others but many have refused to follow health guidelines and hence helped to spread COVID-19.

I, like many of us, see them daily on walks past building sites exhibiting typical male self-entitlement. The government has been far too slow in reining in their dangerous behaviour. Suck it up, boys. You brought it on yourselves.
Chris Sitka, Northcote

Listen to our voices

While I do not endorse the protesters who thereby risk further lockdown extensions, I believe the right to express one’s views is fundamental to a democracy. Yet the COVID-safe alternative of writing to your MP or paper is next to futile. I have written to many MPs and received one response, one “form letter” reply, three “auto-replies” and the rest – nothing. And Parliament is denied the chance to sit.
Laurie David, Camberwell

No service for fees

Many of us are paying shockingly high bills for heating, lighting, data, updated computer equipment etc, as a result of being locked down. We are also paying taxes, charges and levies to governments and utility providers for services and facilities we cannot use – land tax on properties we are forbidden to visit, registration and insurance on vehicles gathering dust, health insurance for non-urgent medical services etc.

Do we receive any credits, rebates or refunds for these taxes and charges we have paid but for which we have now received no value for two-thirds of a year? These windfall fees for no service are being quietly pocketed by the recipients with no acknowledgment of these gains. This is no more legitimate than companies inflating their profits with windfall JobKeeper receipts, and should receive similar scrutiny.
Ramon Grant, Strathmore

Forging a bold, new path

What a wonderful story – “Canva to put billions into philanthropy” (Business, 16/9). Not only are these young people entrepreneurial, creative and hard working, but they have a social conscience.
Led by the Baby Boomers, greed and self interest have been dominant forces in the post-war years; the rights of the individual have too often overridden community and public interests.

For years I have longed to hear a business reject the proposition that its primary focus is to make profits for shareholders whatever the social cost. Let us hope these young entrepreneurs prosper, for in doing so their employees, the community (and maybe their shareholders) will reap the rewards.
Tim Winter, Vermont South

Oh, to chat together

Kate Halfpenny (Opinion, 13/9) tells us 53per cent of respondents in a survey reported having trouble sparking a conversation as the pandemic has gone on. It has pulverised the art of conversation, she says, and because we all have this ghastly shared experience, there’s no point in talking about it.

I would love to have a conversation with my husband, about anything at all really, but his badly affected memory due to declining dementia leaves us with no choice – he does not remember from minute to minute. Hence, our once lively conversations are no longer.
Jan Courtin, Albert Park


Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

Nuclear subs

Does the public have any say in the PM’s radioactive rabbit out of a hat?
Anthony Ash, Lilydale

Mr Dutton, stop rattling the sabre.
Margaret McLaren, McKinnon

For added security, why not build those subs in the Port of Darwin?
Max Nankervis, Middle Park

Three old, white men beating their chests and getting back to business, deciding who should rule the waves.
Fay Maglen, Abbotsford

The drums of war are coming closer. Coincidentally, so is an election.
Wendy Logan, Croydon North

It looks like we’ve traded climate change for submarines.
Richard Leeder, Trentham

Hey, Joe, it’s totally OK. We’d also love to forget who he is.
Bernadette Briglia, Red Hill South

How do you say sacre bleu in Mandarin?
Ed Veber, Malvern East

Xi won’t forgive our yellowcake submarines.
Martin de Boerr, Coburg

The breach of the French submarine contract puts paid to any trade deals with the EU.
Rob Park, Surrey Hills

Why not buy the subs ready-made from US? It might be quicker and cheaper.
Penny Garnett, Castlemaine

ScoMo’s Maralinga moment. And Albo thinks it’s OK?
Geoff Hart, Greensborough


Thanks, Dan. I’m so excited I can have a picnic. More importantly, when can the double vaccinated play golf?
Margaret Randall, Richmond

What’s the difference between a blind trust and crowd funding?
Bruce Clark, Box Hill South

ScoMo could ask Louise Milligan and the ABC to look into who’s behind the blind trust.
Paul Gooley, Ringwood East

Carlton should find a coach who’s keen rather than begging those who aren’t particularly interested.
Merryn Boan, Brighton

Chris Uhlmann, I’d put my money on Paul Keating any day.
Betty Rudin, Wandin North

The Age’s editor, Gay Alcorn, writes an exclusive newsletter for subscribers on the week’s most important stories and issues. Sign up here to receive it every Friday.

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