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Getting loved ones to visit must be a priority


Your columnist fails to mention any views of the Australian defense establishment that in all likelihood support the AUKUS treaty, especially since it is more than just a submarine deal. It is a tripartite security agreement with Australia’s closest allies. Judging by the bipartisan response from congressional leaders in the US, as well as in countries like Japan and India, the prime minister is now at the center of the world stage on international security issues. That is far from being “everything at sea”. Riley Brown, Bondi Beach

One wonders what some of the serious minds within DFAT think of this. Have you ever been asked? Morrison has pointedly told the civil service that he and his henchmen do the thinking and that the service only does it. If this is an example of this idea, we are in trouble. Has anyone pointed out to our Prime Minister that it might only be useful for a small nation to have three of the permanent members of the UN Security Council as friends and even allies? But since Morrison is never entirely sure whether he likes international norms or prefers goofy populism, such subtleties could pass him by.
Tony Sullivan Adamstown Heights

Morrison is deaf. George Megalogenis writes of this “diplomatic mistake in addressing the world with his partisan domestic voice,” but even at home we flinched when Morrison adopted that evocative tone and tried to paint the French as “hurt” and “disappointed” rather than whether a language would be suitable for a kindergarten dispute would have only roughly recognized the enormity of the offense. Try “outraged” and “offended”. Margaret Johnston, Paddington

Australia is a world leader in climate change, says US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is considered the most powerful woman in US political history September). Was that part of the submarine deal with our “colleague Down Under”?Anne Wagstaff, Oatley

Too many are not doing their job

It is telling where we have come when the IMF proposes that the regulator must restrict lending in order to cool the real estate market (“Act now to cool house market, warns IMF,” 25-26 September).

But that is not the regulator’s job. Their role is to reduce the risks lenders face from improper lending, rather than to achieve economic policies that should be made by others. You should be concerned about the risks of the bladder bursting and not try to keep the bladder from inflating. This restricts legitimate borrowers. All because others have refused to do their jobs through decades of tax reform. David Rush, Lawson

I have a question. An inflated housing market locks an entire generation out of home ownership. There is no investment in research and development, and 17,000 scientists and academics – who are denied JobKeeper – have lost their jobs during the pandemic. Young people get into debt with HECS before they even realize they will never own a home. We are not prepared for climate change and not ready to engage in a new world economy with clean technologies. Who was in charge while all of this was happening? Is it market failure, bureaucratic incompetence, political negligence, or all of these? Ask for a young friend.

Andrea Wilson, Greenwich

A seat at the table

After retiring almost 11 years ago, I turned to continuing education and completed the corporate directors course to broaden my understanding of good governance and hopefully prepare for a future role at the boardroom table (“The Network Effect,” September 25-26). The former chairman of the ACCC is probably right in his assessment when he says: “Board members often look for a name”. Perhaps now is the time to give prospective directors the opportunity to serve on a board of directors under the direction of a more experienced member. Just as we strive to achieve diversity on boards through gender mixing, boards of directors should also be aware of the need to help shape the quality of those who ultimately receive a board position. I may not be a name, but my role on the board of a small nonprofit community allows me to make a difference. Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook

Burning anger

Politicians shudder to hear a former senior official publish a book (Former NSW Fire Chief Refuses to Downplay the Effects of Climate Change, September 25-26). Bushfire fighter Greg Mullins attempted to warn the federal and state governments in early 2019 that adequate preparations should be made to counter a terrible summer and arranged for a group of 22 former emergency medical services officers to request a meeting with the prime minister to discuss escalating climate change to discuss risks. When the fire season started as predicted in early 2019, NSW Deputy Prime Minister Barilaro said anyone who spoke about climate change during a bushfire crisis was a “damn shame” and the prime minister refused to meet fire chiefs. Mullins’ Book of Firestorm may prove to be just that for politicians still grappling with climate change. James Moore, Kogarah

Lights out

Resource Secretary Keith Pitt is mistaken in his optimism about future coal exports for the Australian economy (“Black Hole: Smart Money Says The Time For Coal Is Up”, September 25-26). Coal is an obsolete energy source and a global pollutant. It is no longer viable, either domestically or for export. China’s recent decision to stop funding overseas coal-fired power plants is an example of the global shift away from coal. Research has shown that the transition to renewable energies will have significant economic benefits in the long term. Our politicians must take a strong and clear stance on reducing emissions for the good of all Australians and the planet. This also includes phasing out coal. Anne O’Hara, Wanniassa (ACT)

Do not fry it small

What a shame the charming and iconic fish-and-chip shop in Palm Beach was bulldozed to be replaced by a three-story monstrosity; the planned new building will fit in completely with the character of the surroundings (“Hopes will be dashed when the crunch time for the beloved Chippy comes”, September 25-26). If the Northern Beaches Mayor and Secretary of Planning are sincere in their comments on the demolition of this icon, they should shoulder their arms and stop the proposed new development and ensure that the old Chippy is replaced with a building that captures the village-like feel of Palm Beach restores. Frank Werbekopf, Mona Vale

Reduced value

On behalf of the international Khmer students and Cambodian student associations in Victoria, NSW, Queensland and Canberra, we would like to express our deep disappointment at an article you published that is misleading and biased (“Foreign interference from Cambodia? Yes, and that is what I’m going to tell the Australian MPs ”13 September). The article is negatively impacting our Cambodian-Australian community and especially new students who have just received their visas and are planning to come to Australia in the near future. Students are portrayed in a degrading light and their worth as Cambodian academics for Australia is diminished. We have never received an order, threat or compulsion to take part in political functions as stated in the article. In addition, we were not bribed or incentivized with illegal behavior or threats. The availability of student unions, independent of parties and on a voluntary basis, has helped many students find a range of student support options, such as: Sannvirek Ou, Melbourne, President of the Cambodians of the Victoria Student Association

Give punt advertising the boot

Rightly so, Tim Costello (“Sportsbet advertising bill revives call to the terminal”, September 25-26). Australia should ban gambling advertising altogether, and the sooner the better. That the top group in the online betting industry can call themselves Responsible Wagering Australia is a classic sick joke. Col Shephard, Yamba

Bad nose

Despite my two years of voluntary service in a special unit in 1966-67, I am neither particularly chauvinistic nor blindly patriotic (letters from September 25-26). But I find it insulting to see the Prime Minister use our national flag as a face mask to contain his nasal exudate and potentially viral breath. My friends in the UK, Europe, the US and Canada are amazed at what they see as desecration at worst, and inappropriate patriotism at best. Did Samuel Johnson describe it as the villain’s last refuge? Adrian Bell, Davistown

Our daily dose

It is all very good for NSW Health to have a day off from the 11am press conference. The Prime Minister and others in her department should note that there are many in lockdown and isolation who are counting on a daily personal update of care and concern to get them through. The vaccinations and declining COVID-91 cases may be a “delight” for the health department, but the rest of us just want to be remembered. Mary Julian, Glebe

The digital view

Online comment on one of the stories that got the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
Ministers are aiming for 90 percent vaccination coverage to lift restrictions on unvaccinated vaccinations
from Terry McGee: Finally some common sense creeps into this conversation. All the talk by Premier et al. I was concerned about the opening of 70 percent or more. Just focus on pissing people off and bring the wind of FOMO to the anti-vaxers and wellbeing. And make sure that the mechanisms for vaccination records work before we need them, not after. After all of this, we want to move forward with confidence, not fear.

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