Forget the red alert, a ‘love offensive’ is the best way to reach China
If Xi Jinping wants Taiwan back in a relationship with China he should start a “love offensive”: genuinely show respect, exchange cultural activities (“Conflict over Taiwan could reach our shores”, March 8). Culturally the people are similar and it would be easy to rebuild the kinship broken by a civil war between two ideologies. The young people of both countries are the future of both countries. Let us all live in peace and cooperation. The human race has enough responsibilities to save the world from destruction, already caused by severe greed and excess. I was born in Ukraine in 1940 and experienced the utter devastation of World War II and the loss of millions of people, all who were sons and daughters, mothers and fathers – the hurt of the people left behind is unfathomable. Valentine Kirychenko, Scotland Island
Instead of “red alert” how about “peace alert”? That’s the “psychological shift” Australia needs to “prepare for its near future” and meet its climate, economic and social challenges. As Lavina Lee says: “Once war breaks out, the world will never be the same”. Let’s hope wisdom and humanity prevail over dubious threats and fearmongering journalism. Margaret Hart, Coogee
The operative word in day two of the series beating up fear of war with China is “could”. It could happen if China attacks Taiwan. It could happen if Australia continues its alliance with the United States. Or it could not. Much better to focus on the case for peace, not war, and address the real existential threat to us all, global warming. Colin Hesse, Marrickville
Young people can’t afford to buy or rent a place to live, the cost of living is soaring, wages can’t keep up, and excess deaths are at an alarming level thanks to COVID. Can things get any worse? It seems they can, according to your team of military experts who say the Chinese are poised to turn us into a car park. Surely, there’s a more positive view from other experts who think the future is a little less frightening. Rob Mills, Riverview
Do your experts really understand the complex array of economic, political and strategic factors that lead to war? This nostalgic “beating war drums” rhetoric does nothing to ensure good regional relations. Perhaps more importantly, it indicates the military establishment’s contempt for Penny Wong’s admirable ambition for Australia to help “responsibly manage the growing strategic competition between the major powers”. Andrew Mack, Surry Hills
If the “red alert” is valid, forget nuclear subs in 30 years, unless you want them placed into the Chinese governments hands on delivery (“Albanese to cement submarines deal”, March 8). Better to place on urgent order a massive number of short and long-range missiles and enough weaponised drones sufficient for at least half a dozen for every Australian. Oh, and a multiplicity of war-hardened Ukraine fighters to go with that order. Paul Gannon, Coopers Shoot
I’m waiting for an updated version of the famous World War II British poster “Keep calm and carry on” to appear on our streets. Or we could recycle the “Be alert but not alarmed” fridge magnets. Joe Collins, Mosman
We no longer need to follow our medieval ways. Why is it that men feel obliged to inflict their often-brutal ways, on others? Today we can use our brains instead; not our brawn. But of more importance today we recognise that our home, our tiny planet, is very fragile and can take little more of our continued abuse that any day can only lead to, and result in, its irreparable damage and destruction. What madness. Peter Foster-Bunch, Avalon Beach
The old have always waved off the young to the fields of battle, yapping on about fighting for their country and defending the values that country holds dear. Yet history proves war brings nothing good, and the relative peace countries like ours have enjoyed for many decades has brought forth advances in human industry we would not have enjoyed otherwise. More importantly our loved ones have not been conscripted to fight a war that initially is viewed as a noble adventure, but quickly evolves into a nightmare. For some, like my father, fighting in the jungles of Borneo and New Guinea, it was too terrible to even talk about. But if this country was invaded, if our wealth and our democratic rights as autonomous individuals were at risk of being taken away, if our lives and the lives of our family were threatened, would we simply submit? Or seek help from a greater power, and engage in a war? Lyndall Nelson, Goulburn
Experts warning about the prospect of war with China have nothing to say about ways to promote peace. Instead of war like calls for investment in biosecurity, cybersecurity and military hardware, peace advocates would plead the benefits of meetings with young Chinese, Australians, Japanese, Indians, Taiwanese about their hopes to live peacefully together. Peace advocacy deals with the violence of climate change and shows little point in being armed to the teeth for war. Making peace with the earth is a key to peace deliberations with any country, so too, the view that security depends on respect for universal human rights not nuclear submarines. Instead of a red alert from military experts, deliberations about peace need to be heard. That is not appeasement. It is a plea for investment in life enhancing ways of exercising power, on the need for imagination about peace, about steps towards survival. Stuart Rees, Founder Director of Sydney Peace Foundation
Interest rates decision to cause untold harm
While the corporate sector gouges to increase profits by increasing prices, the Reserve Bank chooses to make the public carry the burden of reining in inflation with higher interest rates. Meanwhile, wages remain suppressed (“Rate hike inflicts a heavy toll”, March 8).
Monetary policy is too broad and clumsy an instrument to deal with the economic issues that have emerged this century. Governments need to develop more effectively targeted policies to fight the causes of inflation today. The massive profit taking now evident has to be addressed.
During the depths of COVID-19 we were constantly reminded that we’re all in this together. “We” includes big business and “this” is the economy. Big business needs to share the load of fighting inflation with the rest of the community to avoid having persistently high-interest rates push Australia into a deep recession, as has happened before. Glenn Johnson, Leura
As widely predicted, Philip Lowe has raised interest rates again. We sold an investment property because rising rates made it untenable to retain it. No doubt many investors, whose properties provide the bulk of rental stock, will do the same. Ours was bought by an owner-occupier, forcing the tenants to find alternative accommodation in a tight rental market. Lowe’s actions will cause untold harm to single parents, families on low incomes and others whose lives don’t even come into the consciousness of our well-earning, expensive watch-wearing RBA governor. Malcolm McEwen, North Turramurra
It seems inevitable that the official rate rise will be passed on to struggling families. Now would be a perfect time for the big banks to find their social conscience and really make a difference to the lives of so many homeowners, that were welcomed with open arms when cash was freely available. Take a stand, absorb the cost and show the entire community that the customer comes first. Michael Blissenden, Dural
The current rate increases are financially prudent. If consumers thought that interest rates would never rise above zero, then they have a lot to learn about debt financing of their “living for now lifestyle”. A modest first three bed house has now become a mansion with the consequent attached mortgage. People need to take greater responsibility for their insatiable appetite for the “look at what I’ve got” type of consumerism based on the “buy now pay later” financial revolution.
Bruce Clydsdale, Bathurst
In the interest rate fallout, there will be an attempt to blame the Albanese government. However, there are three factors contributing which they had no control over and which are not being called out. First the irresponsible forecast of no rate rises till 2024, then the very rapid rate rises. Both are down to the Reserve Bank. But, the third is the result of the former Coalition government giving in to banker mates. After the scandals of the Banking Royal Commission, lending regulations were tightened. The former government relaxed these rules and as a result many people are now facing a massive debt they should not have been able to take on. Jock Webb, Narromine
Every month economists seize on the latest statement from the RBA. They proceed to pore over it like the priests in some ancient pagan religion seeking to know what the entrails reveal. Parsing every communiqué, seeing doom and gloom on every hand. How will the market react? What do the auguries predict? A lot of solemn prognostications about the future, but not particularly enlightening. Margaret Johnston, Paddington
Public servants over pollies
If Dominic Perrottet and Chris Minns think the answer to NSW’s challenges is to further gut the public service of senior staff, then neither is worthy of being premier after the next election (“Perrottet matches Labor’s promise to slash senior public servant pay”, smh.com.au, March 7).
In Perrottet’s case, one must ask what the Liberal government has been doing for the last 12 years if he now feels that 15 per cent of senior public servants can be made redundant, and his treasurer believes that 20 per cent of all NSW public servants can be made redundant.
In Minns’ case, who does he think will provides the services that NSW requires, and lead and manage the provision of those services, after reducing senior public service positions by a further 15 per cent?
In order to save NSW money, perhaps they should implement an alternative policy – reduce the number of NSW politicians and political staffers by 15 per cent every election cycle. All in the interests of “efficiency”, of course. Peter Cuk, St Ives
Farmers for Climate Action have highlighted a major flaw in the proposed model for carbon offsets potential for major polluters (“Farmers push back against unlimited carbon offsets”, March 8). First, the prevention of the removal of productive farmland for tree planting is a no-brainer. Secondly, there needs to be an absolute cap on polluters’ carbon emissions at their current levels, so that they cannot keep increasing emissions by gathering more carbon offsets. To keep them honest, that cap should decrease at the same 4.9 per cent per annum rate as the total (emissions less offsets) amount must decrease, and so force emissions reduction at the polluting source and start eliminating the problem. Senator David Pocock has rightly highlighted the unreliability of the accounting and monitoring of tree-planting offsets schemes, so the opportunities for their abuse need stringent containment. Alan Carruthers, Artarmon
Room for Macca’s
The alleged “hipster” outrage over the proposed 24-hr McDonald’s is an interesting contrast to the organised community campaign to close down The Great Club, a music venue with a 11pm curfew on live performances (“Plan for 24-hour Macca’s in Marrickville causes outrage”, March 7). The Great Club is based at the old Greek Macedonian Club and one could argue the original locals, largely multicultural, ran with the idea of a noisy community venue which brought the community together. The Great Club is doing that well, albeit with newer noise limitations. Perhaps the newly arrived demographic likes the revised Marrickville in theory only. Please – no live music and now no new fast-food joints. Not saying I support McDonald’s, but this fabled suburb seems to have too many wanting an early silent night – preferably after not having eaten a burger and fries. Kate Wilson, Dulwich Hill
Your correspondent is right: it is wonderful to imagine that voters would elect people who cared about the social good, but unfortunately the sheep follow the party or loudest voice (Letters, March 8). The best example is the USA when Trump, Murdoch and the NRA seem to be the best they have to offer, and never a thought for the common good. The party gets richer, the rich get richer, and the rest of us get promises. Robert Antill, Lake Conjola
Luke Keary’s support of an independent doctor to assess possible concussion during a game has the very best interest of the players at its core (“Keary backs NRL bunker doctor to protect players”, March 8). Those who oppose making the game safer include many who previously bemoaned the banning of the lethal shoulder charge. John Cotterill, Kingsford
The clubs’ industry “is shocked to learn” that money laundering is happening in clubs (“Leagues clubs have a radical plan to stop criminals playing the pokies”, March 8). Given that everyone and their dog has seen money laundering going on in clubs, the rest of us are shocked to learn that they are shocked to learn. Tony Mitchell, Hillsdale
It seems strange and unsettling that Indonesia is excluded in the proposed Pacific worker visa lottery (“Liberals oppose Pacific worker visa lottery”, March 8). Although technically not a Pacific nation, it is a country on our doorstep and extremely important to us in so many ways, whose friendship we need to cultivate and hold dear, offering any opportunities to further ties that we can. Judy Finch, Taree
I appreciate your correspondent’s suggestion that Indigenous representatives in parliament should be enough to do the job, but experience tells us that they inevitably get entangled in party politics, and recent events should be enough warning (Letters, March 8). The Advisory Voice to parliament is an independent consensus arrived at by 250 Indigenous representatives from across Australia. It came at the invitation of the Turnbull government which wanted to know how First Australians might be best represented in the Constitution.
The present government has accepted that request as an election priority, reversing Turnbull’s peremptory rejection in 2017, and we should honour it. If further evidence is wanted, I suggest a reading of the recent address by former High Court Chief Justice Robert French (not exactly a radical). He sets out, in clear and comprehensive terms, why the Voice is both the legal and morally right thing to do. French concludes: “It is low risk for a high return. The high return is found in the act of recognition, historical fairness and practical benefit to law-makers, governments, the Australian people and Australia’s First Peoples. It does not rest upon race.” For once, let’s learn and apply some “historical fairness”. Eric Hunter, Cook (ACT)
The more things change
I am astonished to hear after all these years that we are still having these discussions (“Spare us the cupcake, women want equal pay for equal work”, March 8).
I was a young female government high school teacher in 1958 when I discovered that a male friend, with whom I had just graduated, was earning considerably more than me. To add insult to injury I had received higher grades at graduation. After more than 60 years isn’t it time to address this aberration? Susie Klein, Bellevue Hill
How great to learn about Mina Wylie, an outstanding athlete who broke barriers over a century ago and whose records almost disappeared (“Archiving swimmer left history in her wake”, March 8). Her-story has now become history, thanks to her own initiative and a bit of luck. The sepia photograph captures the power of the woman, who now qualifies as feminist icon and archivist. Happy International Women’s Day, Mina, and all those wonderful women who came before us. Lorraine Hickey, Green Point
Glut of resources
Thumbs up to your correspondent (Letters, March 8) for reminding us of the speed and efficiency of our rich natural resources; sun and fresh air. During recent scorching hot days, thousands sought relief in the cool provided by air-conditioning units as their weekly wash pounded in around in imported clothes dryers. When will we ever learn? Leone Toker, Port Macquarie
The digital view
Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
Young people can relax about student loans, there’s a fate worse than debt
From Rory Ross: ″Tax breaks for the rich and debt for our underpaid carers. We lack empathy in our thirst for money. When the Libs were last elected, it was franking credits not climate that the Boomers were more concerned about. What a legacy we are creating.″
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https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/forget-the-red-alert-a-love-offensive-is-the-best-way-to-reach-china-20230307-p5cq3u.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national_nsw Forget the red alert, a ‘love offensive’ is the best way to reach China