If China attacks no amount of spending will save us

Nation states predominantly go to war for economic reasons and the likelihood of China seeking to take over the rich mineral resources of Australia to ensure continuity of material supply presents a compelling argument (“Red alert: War risk exposed”, March 7). Iron ore, coal, gas are all in abundance in Australia and they are necessary assets to the economic survival of China.
Whatever we may do in terms of building up a defence force will never be accomplished soon enough and we will never afford to accumulate a sufficient arsenal of weapons to achieve a defendable Australia against a protagonist such as China. The only way through this quagmire is communication and the establishment and promotion of equal benefits for the parties involved. Short of that Australia will effectively be run by China in the future. Chris Rivers, Port Macquarie

Illustration: John Shakespeare

Illustration: John ShakespeareCredit:

There are two immediate problems that need to be overcome. One is the commitment of our resources to the submarine deal, a deal which cannot contribute to our security and represents the colonial client thinking of the previous government. The other problem is that we need a parliamentary opposition that is intellectually and politically capable of being part of national leadership. That is not currently the case. I am not particularly referring to Peter Dutton. At present, with too few honourable exceptions, the Opposition appears to be an unthinking rabble unable to grasp the issues of our time. This has to change if we are to be strong in the face of inevitable adversity. Tom Mangan, Woy Woy Bay

Your article propagates the view war with China is inevitable. Where is the alternative? Do we really want to be drawn into a war with China? Do we want to be party to yet another Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan fighting wars in which there is no direct conflict with Australia? Wouldn’t the effort over the next three years be better spent disengaging ourselves from the US war machine and establish ourselves as a strong, neutral Pacific power? Mark Tietjen, Redfern

Rather than asking ourselves are we ready for imminent war with China, the bleeding obvious answer to which is we would never be ready to face that unstoppable behemoth, shouldn’t we be asking ourselves why do we continue to ally ourselves with China’s greatest provocateur, the USA? Surely, this is principal reason why China arms itself, establishes a modest array of bases in its own region, and prepares itself for the day when the US oversteps the mark and foolishly invades China?

History is on the side of China as a country with no record of external aggression; not so with the US, whose egregious record of external aggression, in which Australia has been a willing, sycophantic participant, is a deplorable legacy consequently leaving us with big fat targets on our back and forehead. Fred Jansohn, Rose Bay

Your front page article is alarming and not surprising. Five experts from the defence area say we will be involved in a war with China within three years. Their answer is to spend billions more money on defence weapons, biosecurity, and cybersecurity. Really? If China decides to attack us no amount of spending will save us, they will win. It is as simple as that. A country of over 1 billion people will always win against a country of 30 million. So let’s turn down the outrage and speak more. Negotiate more. Which is exactly what Senator Penny Wong appears to be doing. Janine Burdeu, Mona Vale


You claim to be concerned about the most pressing national security challenges facing Australia. Three years from now, China, the US, Australia and the rest of the world will be totally pre-occupied with addressing the ravages of unchecked climate change, a far greater national and human security threat to us all than conventional geo-politics. Ian Dunlop, Gordon

“Decades of tranquillity” an aberration? Gosh, I must have missed those. By my reckoning there has been a war every decade since I was born, the year after China’s Communist Revolution, and Australia has been involved in all of them. Gayle Davies, North Sydney

It is difficult not to avoid a whiff of hysteria in your coverage of China’s military intentions. One thing is highly likely: should we be attacked by China our cities would be reduced to rubble in a matter of days if not hours. Is it not preferable to concentrate our thinking on the avoidance of war? Even if that means re-evaluating our relationship with the USA. Peter Thomas, Rose Bay

Deaths in custody highlight desperate need for reform

Six generations of our family have lived in this magnificent Clarence River Valley. We have a sense of belonging. How trivial is our claim to “belonging” compared to that of the Bundjalung, Gumbaynggirr and Yaegl people who have lived here for hundreds of generations and thousands of years.

Like everywhere else in Australia, their story since the arrival of white people is an unhappy one. It tells of dispossession, disease, starvation, rape, murder, massacre, child kidnapping, and incarceration carried out often with government approval and sometimes government instigation. The Black Wars ended with victory to the white people on horseback, armed with guns, over barefoot Indigenous people armed with spears and boomerangs. Aboriginal people were totally dispossessed.

The massacres ceased but instead there is an obscene rate of incarceration of First Australians in our jails leading to a disgraceful number of deaths in custody (“Act now on enduring disgrace of Indigenous deaths in custody”, March 7).

Now First Australians are asking for a Voice to parliament so that their needs and suggestions may be properly considered giving them some justice, opportunity, peace and recognition of Country. Perhaps too, if the referendum on the Voice is passed, Australians generally may reach truth, understanding and wisdom. One can hope. Barbara Fahey, Grafton

Senator Pat Dodson

Senator Pat DodsonCredit:Rhett Wyman

Dodson’s compelling statement on the unacceptable situation of Aboriginal imprisonment and deaths in custody is hard to ignore. But to my mind it also provides a comprehensive answer to the issue of having an Aboriginal Voice to parliament. That is the “Voice” – why do we need more?

What exists in parliament in Pat Dodson, Linda Burney, and other Indigenous people, is built-in voices which cannot be ignored. My proposal is that if there is any constitutional adjustment to be made to accommodate the interests of Indigenous Australians, is that we have one Senate seat per state reserved for a person selected by a registered Indigenous electorate, which means that forever after we have voices like that of Pat Dodson enshrined in our parliamentary system, put in place without fuss or bother, and with an abundance of good will. Malcolm Brown, Ermington

Who knew that prisoners were denied Medicare (“Medicare behind bars could save lives”, March 7). Surely this is against their basic human rights. Commonwealth and state governments must co-operate and immediately provide it. Dodson’s plea should not be “a voice in the wilderness”. Jennifer Fergus, Croydon (ACT)

Denying those in custodial settings access to the MBS and PBS is unacceptable, as is the failure to fully implement the findings of the 1991 royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody. We are collectively responsible for this.

With the focus firmly on reconciliation and constitutional recognition of First Nations peoples, it is the ideal time to get behind Dodson’s demand for action on Aboriginal deaths in custody. It is also an opportunity for the opposition to cease their mindless negativity and take their responsibilities seriously. Ending their senseless opposition to the Voice and supporting Dodson’s campaign would be a good start. Graham Lum, North Rocks

Do voters buy new car or keep a bomb?

The upcoming NSW election really is a choice between keeping the old car and the ongoing cost of more spare parts and much needed repairs or going for a new model that offers a brighter, fresh ride without all the kilometres on the speedo (“‘Microcosm of NSW’ holds clues to success – or defeat – at the election”, March 7). Remember if you keep the old car you get all the baggage in the boot and all that privatisation strapped to the roof racks. Barry Ffrench, Cronulla

Dominic Perrottet and Chris Minns are gearing up for the NSW election on March 25.

Dominic Perrottet and Chris Minns are gearing up for the NSW election on March 25.Credit:Jamie Brown

There is a simple strategy for your correspondent and all those who do not live in marginal electorates (Letters, March 7). Vote against the sitting member until you do. Jock Brodie, Port Macquarie

As someone in another safe Liberal seat, I can empathise with your correspondent in Lane Cove.
I’m also reminded of the saying that there is one thing you should never allow a politician to do: rely on your vote. Richard Murnane, Hornsby

Your correspondent complains about living in Lane Cove and being neglected by both Liberals and Labor. From what I know of Lane Cove over the years, he has little to complain about. Comfy and secure in a delightful part of Sydney, what more could he need? Terry Biggenden, Artarmon

I have never had marginal seat envy, unlike the letter-writer from Lane Cove, and I am repeatedly annoyed at the “what’s in it for me” position which is reinforced by politicians and the media. I am of the firm opinion that people should vote for the common good, especially those of us in positions of privilege (have a home, a good job, good education etc). If this happened, we may have seen more action on tax reform, climate change, extinctions, and spending on public health, housing, transport and education rather than pork-barrelled away on car parks and rifle ranges. Marie Healy, Hurlstone Park

Abortion dilemma

There are gynaecologists and trainee doctors working in the public hospital system who may be sympathetic to women seeking abortion services (“Women still denied public care three years after abortion bill”, March 7). While the procedure is relatively simple for early pregnancies, it is not pleasant and hence the reluctance for some doctors, even those with the skill to do so, to routinely perform the procedure. Therein lies the nub of the problem for women seeking abortions in public hospital. Thiam Ang, Beecroft

Pay gap for some

There’s no gender pay gap in the care sector, Jessica Irvine (“The conversation to spice up IWD”, March 7). We’re all paid rubbish. None of us have the leisure time to attend International Women’s Day events either. I’m reliably informed it’s a similar situation in retail sales, hospitality, cleaning and home-making work. Just saying. Jack Robertson, Birchgrove

I am all for eliminating the gender pay gap. Pay men less. Steve McCann, Lane Cove

Super spurious debate

By 2055, 10 per cent of superannuants might be impacted by the new superannuation tax (“One in 10 to be affected by new super rules by 2055”, March 7). Let’s pass over the fact that this is 10 election cycles, so electorally a lot can happen between now and then. More significantly by 2055 we will be fully feeling the economic impact of climate change and anyone who thinks our superannuation will continue increasing is living in a dream. Climate change will have a far higher and longer-term impact on our economy than our three years of COVID. Neil Ormerod, Kingsgrove


People are concerned today that by 2055 as many as 10 per cent of people will be affected by the government’s proposal to raise the concessional tax rate on superannuation fund contributions and earnings. How shortsighted. The real concern should be that those charged with governing today are unwilling to act to ensure that public subsidies for retirement dignity do not continue to be given to those who do not need support for their retirement at the expense of others.

It is a truly sad, galling, that those now in power do not have the gumption to make the changes in superannuation policy needed to address its inequities, to pursue the public interest. Ross Drynan, Lindfield

Broken tax

Previous governments have given wealthy investors tax breaks on housing in the theory that it would increase the supply of houses (Letters, March 7). It has distorted the market and made it even harder for young families to buy their first home. Having now forced many to rent, young families are at the mercy of investors whose only motivation is to lower their tax and increase their wealth. Negative gearing is just one of many legal ways of reducing tax available to the wealthy at the expense of the less well off. Greg Marshall, Bonny Hills

Take (Aussie) pride

Timid, selfish, and mean-spirited? Yes, we are (Letters, March 7). When it comes to progress in Australia, we can’t wait to default to our trademark “iffiness”. It’s a colonial streak that reveals we are forever cautious to upset our jailers. We are strangled by our own obedience to our cultural systems: cringe, tall poppy, silence. Always best to stay quiet, and leave ourselves out of standing up for ourselves. If Australia wants to move from its global self-absence to proud-presence, we have to start believing we are worth standing on our own two feet, and showing more nous, and real cultural citizenship towards our creative-commerce autonomy. It’s time for Australia to wake-up and choose pride over shameful self-exile. Andrew Barnum, Meroo Meadow

Scorcher’s silver lining

It was so hot on Monday that by the time I finished hanging out the washing the first items were dry and ready to come off the line (“Dozens of fires burn on hottest day in 2 years”, March 7). Michael Deeth, Como West

An extended summer: Sydney had its hottest day in two years this week.

An extended summer: Sydney had its hottest day in two years this week.Credit:Flavio Brancaleone

RBA’s Vietnam

The RBA’s continuing rate rises reminds me of a quote from a US paper during the Vietnam war: “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.” (“RBA’s grim outlook: Rates to keep rising”, March 7).
Stephen Rayner, Westleigh

Weird words

Correspondence regarding “weird” words could go on for days (Letters, March 7). In order to bring this subject to a timely close, I herewith submit a sockdolager. Alicia Dawson, Balmain

Irresistible offer

If Harry and Meghan are not going to the coronation can we, the Tuckers, have their tickets (“Harry and Meghan invited to coronation”, March 7)? Me and the old man are free on May 6, and although we’re republicans, we could add a bit of colonial class to the event. Happy to accept business class airfares and modest accommodation, so do keep us in mind. Can bring some wattle for the decorations if you like. Nola Tucker, Kiama

The digital view

Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
Latham doubles down: One Nation to run in twice as many seats in NSW election
From Alex: “Latham and Hanson are Australia’s two longest-serving political failures, a case of lack of intellect and ability surviving on electoral funding with zero tangible output or active representation of anyone but themselves.”

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Justin Scacco

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