Paul Keating has lost the debate on China

While I am generally a fan of Paul Keating, I disagree with his attacks on the PM and his ministers (“Labor MPs blast Keating as out of touch on AUKUS”, March 16). AUKUS was the baby of Scott Morrison in an attempt to gain attention at home and prominence on the world stage. Sadly, Labor appears to have been snookered by this. After the debacle of Australia reneging on the French submarine plan, what choice did the present government of saving face in the international arena? Morrison created this monster that it appears we have to live with. Let’s focus on the positives that Labor has undertaken since coming into office. Cora Ingram, Dulwich Hill

Illustration: Matt Golding

Illustration: Matt Golding

That loud noise I heard must have been the dropping of rose-coloured glasses (“Keating is out of step and now he’s out of line”, March 16). This lady never confused Keating’s smart-mouth with an inspiring reasoned intellect. I will listen and read anything that Penny Wong, Peter Hartcher and Matthew Knott say, while wearing the noise-cancelling headphones for Keating. Helen Lewin, Tumbi Umbi

As a staunch supporter and follower of the great statesman Paul Keating I do not say this lightly. Keating needs to heed the advice he gave to Matthew Knott: “If I were you mate, I’d hide my face and never appear again.” It seems Keating is so out of touch that he cuts off journo’s questions and calls them “idiot” questions. That is the sign of someone who has lost the debate. Roger Hurley, Hunters Hill

Sure, Keating overdid the personal attacks, but I too am unhinged in being unable to comprehend a colossal $360 billion sucked out of a nation’s finances, and like him, I look back in anger at our inability to learn the lessons of history. Peter Farmer, Northbridge

Harsh words for his political colleagues, yet at last, some words of sanity from our ex-PM injected into an increasingly bizarre Australian regional political narrative. We are witnessing daily our efforts of cooperation and interdependence with our neighbours being eroded by an increasingly vocal brinkmanship. This practice is eroding our democratic principles and will lead to war. There is still time to turn this madness around. Sasha Ivanovich, Darlinghurst

Much that I admire Keating’s reforms as the treasurer and as PM, he is out-of-step with today’s geopolitical landscape for Australia. I believe he is wrong on his assessment that China only wants peace with Australia. Maybe he has not read the 14 conditions under which China would love us. Apart from his outdated ideas, his attitude to those that do not think like him are unacceptable. Alfredo Bustos-Ramirez, Mosman

Paul Keating tells us from the podium of the National Press Club that China is just a “lonely state” that would love to have a proper relationship with us. Furthermore, they need us for our iron ore – for industrialisation. For their “wall of steel” maybe. Not exactly friendly then? I would love to borrow Keating’s rose-coloured glasses next time I am feeling blue at the state of the world. Catherine Brookes, Manly

Thank you, Mr Keating. Lots of pepper and no pussyfooting around while introducing valid alternative views of our relationship with China, the USA and the UK. Wendy Lowe, Enmore

Submarine money better spent on more important things

David Livingstone makes some excellent points on subs – cost, obsolescence, ineffectiveness, as well as the safety of our sailors (“We’ve bet everything on subs that will be obsolete by the time they arrive”, March 15). More importantly, where does this dangerous cycle of escalation and provocation end? Not at all well I expect. Instead of spending billions on defences that mainly benefit the military manufacturers, we should be spending our money on the real challenges that face the world – extinctions, climate change, inequality and hunger. Martin Cousins, Lindfield

Illustration: John Shakespeare

Illustration: John Shakespeare

Livingstone asserts military jets can’t venture into contested territory anymore and that this is the future for our nuclear submarines. Later he wants to invest in fighter aircraft instead. He then claims the Chinese are laughing at the US production of manned nuclear submarines, but neglects to mention the Chinese are ramping up and considerably outpacing US production. Taiwan has just extended military conscription from four months to a year. Japan has been remilitarising for the last 10 years having been a pacifist nation since WWII. Paul Davies, Crows Nest

America, by spending trillions on weaponry, deprives its citizens of affordable health care and an adequate welfare system. Millions live in poverty in the richest country in the world. It is beyond belief that our political leaders are taking us down the same doomed path. The future looks bleak for the poor among us. Anne Shay, Ballina

Livingstone’s insight regarding “those” submarines should be an essential opening chapter in the Defence White Papers. He’s spot on alluding to the fact these manned submersibles will be as vulnerable as an old mullet up a creek brimming with piranha. Steve Dillon, Thirroul

The new subs might very well be obsolete by the time they arrive (Letters, March 16), but at least they will fit safely under the bridges, unlike other recently purchased water craft. Stephen Driscoll, Castle Hill

To all those complaining about the subs, I’m as progressive as they come, but even I understand that sometimes the tree of freedom has to be watered by the blood of tyrants (of the world). Anything that helps us to do said watering is good. Boris Feigin, Narwee

As an extremely expensive contract should there not have been a “cooling off” period to allow for much more discussion and avoid perhaps another Macron embarrassment and to really defend
the heartbreaking lives of the most vulnerable Australians? Silvia Salisbury, Belmore

I have no idea whether AUKUS is a good idea but I do ask: If all that money was available, why wasn’t some of it spent on public education? Keith Binns, Goulburn

Super’s early release plan a blunder

Governments protect people from themselves by legislating for such things as seatbelts and bike helmets and cigarette smoking and making the environment safe, but the Liberal government allowed them to use their precious superannuation on such vital things as new cars, gambling and other luxuries which must have added to the inflation we are suffering now (“Millions splurged super in lockdown”, March 16). I hope the children of those unsuperannuated people don’t have to spend too much of their own earnings looking after their parents when they retire with limited funds and probably no house. Mary Billing, Allambie Heights

The super release during COVID-19 was wrong on so many counts. It hollowed out the retirement savings of those that will need them most and will never catch up. It prompted uncontrolled and pointless spending. Disgracefully, it was the government conning people into funding their own social welfare when it was government’s responsibility to do look after them. Michael Berg, Randwick

The pro-super lobby of self-interested high-income earners and parasitic super companies will now trumpet the early withdrawal of money by many as evidence that justifies compulsory super because, they will claim, poor people can’t be trusted with their own money (“Stark difference between west and city in rush to withdraw”, March 16). But what it shows is how desperate so many people are because the government forcibly takes their money and gives it to others to make money for themselves. The whole compulsory superannuation scheme benefits high-income earners at the expense of low-income earners and needs massive change. Francesco Gasparre, Kurrajong Heights

It seems that the Morrison government’s superannuation scheme brought out the worst in people rather than the best. Superannuation is money for future needs. I guess the people who “wasted” their super wanted to live for the day. Genevieve Milton, Dulwich Hill

Let’s get this straight. Superannuation is truly only your money when you are able to withdraw it, without any restrictions. This is normally when you retire or when the government gives a free ticket to ride. In the meantime, we are merely members of a super trust fund with a fluctuating paper balance. Michael Blissenden, Dural

“It also shows the people most likely to use it were in some of the most financially disadvantaged parts of the country with the lowest superannuation balances. Expert analysis of the scheme suggested those people have deprived themselves of $120,000 in retirement savings”; so says the research. This is merely the most recent evidence that the late and unlamented Coalition federal government was a huge threat to Australia. Stand by, more evidence is sure to emerge. Ian Lewis, Kentucky

The truly diabolical nature of Scott Morrison’s $38 billion COVID early release scheme is revealed in the words “stimulus program”. How shameful that vulnerable people were allowed to drain their superannuation to gamble and spend unwisely with the clear aim of “stimulating” businesses that were already receiving JobKeeper and which now report soaring corporate profits while wages languish. This shortsighted policy was not only inflationary but showed how little the former government cared for the future of its less wealthy citizens. Alison Stewart, Riverview

As they struggle to retirement, those unfortunate souls who demolished their superannuation should reflect on the economic incompetence of the Coalition government that enabled it. Every voter who then must fund those retirements should also question the Coalition’s blighted claim to superior economic management.

Sydney too expensive

As a business owner I am amazed at the lack of criticism of the Perrottet government by other business owners (“Perrottet and Minns are very hard to split, so policies and vision must make the difference”, March 16). This Liberal government has been in power over 12 years and over that time NSW has had payroll tax, electricity charges, workers comp and tolls doubled in price compared to the other states. It is becoming too expensive to have a base in Sydney. Are they anti-business? On a trip to Brisbane recently I travelled on their toll roads which are a third of the price of Sydney but six lanes either way. How can the owner of their toll roads do this but leave us in Sydney with 2 lanes?

Kalyn Ponga knocked out, Newcastle v Wests TigersFox Sports

The price Ponga pays

Andrew Johns’ opinion piece on the career problems of Kalyn Ponga’s repeated concussions demonstrates a naive medical knowledge or a cavalier attitude to player recovery (“Knight duty: Newcastle must have a plan to protect Ponga”, March 15).

In his playing days, Johns suffered from head injuries a number of times and he has conceded that his own health problems may be related to the long-term impacts of concussion. Johns also knows that in this elite contact sport you can’t just move deep in defence to avoid the possibility of head jarring clashes. Ponga is Newcastle’s best player, but what is the price of his long-term health? Tim Jurd, Hurlstone Park

Noisy suburbia

I hope the residents and business owners of Enmore and surrounding suburbs have industrial earplugs for the late-night noise, a responsive local police brigade to quell alcohol-fuelled altercations, and mops and buckets ready to clean up the next morning’s ‘aftermath’ from doorways, laneways and front gardens (“Special night-time zone to become permanent despite residents’ concerns”, March 16).

Kings Cross somehow survived 15 years of being a night-time “war zone” (former PM Malcolm Turnbull’s exact words) with nightly violence, multiple deaths and hospitalisations directly attributable to the late-night grog economy, and it took pretty drastic measures (the lockouts) to pull it back from the brink. Today it’s a civilised, welcoming, fun, tolerant, out-there community – as it always should have been – and hardly anyone wants to return to the bad old days. If Enmore wants to be the new Cross, they’re welcome to it, and they have my sympathy. Patrick McGrath, Potts Point

It’s not autumn – yet

Why do we in Australia assume that each season starts on the first day of a month: first of March, June, September, December?

The seasons are astronomical events. A lot of countries follow the astronomical season convention, meaning their seasons start between the 20th and 23rd of September, March, June and December. Why not in Australia? People are asking why it’s so hot in autumn. Because it’s not autumn until next week, March 21. Bruno Lima, Turramurra

Oscar winner will still be Everywhere All At Once in 50 years

I’m 66 and reckon will become a cult and still be watched in 50 years time just like (Letters, March 16). I thought Jamie Lee Curtis was hilarious and thoroughly deserving of her Oscar. Sue Wilson, Freshwater

As an 80-year-old with a lifelong passion for movies of all genres (except horror), and for all ages, I’d like to buy into the debate about this year’s Oscar’s Best Picture winner, . I went to see it with great expectations on the basis of its fascinating premise, only to find out that that turned out to be the germ of an imaginative idea that went wildly off-piste with idiotic consequences. Anne Ring, Coogee

? I found the trailer unwatchable, so didn’t bother with it. John Campbell, South Golden Beach

Rainbow question

Curious that rainbows are deemed to be so inappropriate and such a threat at ACU (“Remove rainbow flags: uni”, March 16). If all of creation is created by God, doesn’t that include rainbows?Megan Brock, Summer Hill

The digital view

Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on
I’m a GP. Lasso’s comments to his therapist are where the comedy stops
From Mac_the_Dog: ″⁣The whole point of the interaction between Ted and Dr Sharon was to show, that despite Ted being the show’s hero, Ted was being an idiot. Where everyone else was accepting of the value of Dr Sharon, Ted couldn’t see it. I don’t think the program could have placed a higher value on Dr Sharon or how supportive we should be of mental health professionals.″⁣

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