Australia a puny partner in this unequal subs deal

Illustration:Cathy Wilcox

Illustration:Cathy Wilcox

The Prime Minister is all revved up about the nuclear-powered submarine deal with the US and the UK (“Australia to build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines under historic new military alliance”,,September 16). We will be full of upbeat talk about alliances and best friends forever with these two countries. France and the $90 billion submarine contract is scuttled,with all the diplomatic,jobs and financial fallout from that disastrous agreement yet to be revealed. Let’s not kid ourselves that this trilateral agreement is one of equal partners. Australia’s geography in the Indo-Pacific and compliant political leaders are two assets the US can add to its defence capabilities. At the same time,our leaders can feel a little bit safer under the US wing and less worried about working out how to keep our huge coastline secure. All this is done without mentioning the elephant in the room.Anne Skates,Culburra Beach

The nuclear subs announcement by the PM is a bad idea from a tired government that can’t even organise a proper vaccine distribution to keep its citizens safe. They prefer to put a target on our back heralding the introduction of nuclear subs,aligning us firmly with the US and UK against China. Why poke the Chinese bear even more than they already have with bad,bumbling diplomacy?

This is a purely political decision which I hope comes to nought. We should be loosely aligned with the US,act as a mediator between China and the US and stop flexing our puny muscles. After all we only have 25 million people in a vast country in the South Pacific region at the mercy of climate catastrophes. We need to become more independent and remember our history.Sherry Stumm,Rainbow Flat

The proposed defence arrangements with the US and Britain is a very positive move that will be of significant benefit now and for the future of the country. However,what is also needed is vastly improved negotiation arrangements to those agreed to in the past. There must be financial penalties for non-achievement of agreed performance indicators regarding construction,various military equipment components,communications and the like,along with timeframes for delivery. Agreements with past equipment purchases,such as the F35 aircraft,were pathetic and allowed the escalation in price and delivery times without penalty.Keith Askew,Hornsby Heights

We have an opportunity to carve a manufacturing future in electrical battery development and production through defence spending and the Coalition wants us to go backwards. If another Trump-like fool emerges,we face ruin. Labor must say no to this foolery.Martin Bell,Balgowlah

Illustration:Matt Golding

Illustration:Matt Golding

This defence pact will do nothing to dim the widely held view that Australia is a “fawning acolyte” of the US,as expressed by Paul Keating (Letters,September 16). Devoid of any ability to think about our economic wellbeing and security with any shading,Morrison has now recklessly created a 21st century version of “All the way with LBJ”!Ross Butler,Rodd Point

We have sent a clear message to the world that Australia is a good,old,white Anglo buddy. No doubt our neighbours will take note of how we see ourselves.Cavan Hogue,Haymarket

Thank you Boris Johnson,and thank you that other person,says Joe Biden. Does anyone feel a slight sense of insignificance?Pam Hawkins,Lakemba

PM must force Porter to reveal his benefactors

There is no need for Scott Morrison to seek advice on Christian Porter’s blind trust (“Checks and balances:PM asks if Porter’s blind trust violated ministerial standards”,September 15). He should give Porter the choice of revealing the amount he received and the details of the trust or leave the ministry. Good leadership demands nothing more,nothing less.Tony Re,Georges Hall

The need to seek advice on Porter’s donation highlights Morrison’s lack of judgment. He shouldn’t need someone else to tell him it’s wrong and is totally unacceptable for a Member of Parliament,let alone a cabinet minister. Porter should be sacked for accepting it.David Clark,Avalon

While it is,of course,important to know who paid money into the blind trust for Porter’s legal fees,it is absolutely necessary to know what they might want in return for doing so. Quid pro quo comes to mind.Merilyn McClung,Forestville

The PM is seeking advice from his department on Porter’s blind trust. Going on recent history,that shouldn’t take more than a few months.John Payne,Kelso

Please can Porter’s unidentified friend also pay off my mortgage? Unlike the honourable Member for Pearce,I can guarantee that the donor would receive precious little in return,other than effusive thanks.Jo Rainbow,Orange

“In Australia,people need to say who they are and who funds them. It’s simple and it’s only fair,” says NSW Liberal senator Andrew Bragg in response to independents running for government (“Grassroots anger in Liberal heartland”,September 15). Perhaps you could start with your own party,for example Christian Porter?Liz White,Abbotsford

As Niki Savva suggests,the Morrison government should be concerned about the probable influence of independents in the next election. It would appear that they will seek,probably find and then fill the void of the sensible centre,unaccountably neglected by the major parties. It would be ironic indeed if independents,by espousing progressive yet sensible policies could hold the balance of power in a future government. Anthony Albanese should be an interested observer since this could be Labor’s best chance to achieve government,albeit a minority one.Max Redmayne,Drummoyne

Working in the office isn’t all bad

It is true that COVID-19 has changed the way we work and that working from home has proven more efficient for many and has the added benefit of more family time (“Pandemic set to kill off the daily commute”,September 16). But if this is the future,then I despair for our young people. The ability to learn is seriously hampered by the lack of social interaction and casual mentoring that occurs in an office environment. Everything is formalised when working remotely and the ability to learn from your peers and managers through less formal means is compromised. We are social beings,we can’t isolate at home and not interact with people at least some of the time. Social interaction is how you learn,start relationships and celebrate achievements. Working remotely inhibits all of these things.
Peter Sutherland,Castle Hill

The benefits of working from home far exceed the savings in commuting costs and every employer should do their utmost to encourage this. Fewer vehicles on the roads leads to improved air quality in cities,lower greenhouse gas emissions,fewer accidents,and less driver stress due to traffic gridlock and bad behaviour. Public buses will more likely run on time and taxi journeys should be more efficient with consequent cheaper fares. Many families will realise a second car is unnecessary resulting in significant savings. Hopefully,state governments will see the writing on the wall and reduce spending on roads and tunnels and concentrate more on improved public transport and bicycle lanes. We could be entering a golden age of city living.Geoff Harding,Chatswood

Regrets for Redfern

It is very concerning to hear that cases are increasing in high-rise public housing towers in Redfern (“COVID cases rise in Sydney LGAs with the lowest vaccination rates”,September 16). I cut my general practice teeth more than 20 years ago at Poet’s Corner,a melting pot of working class and unemployed,of many cultures and issues including chronic illness,drug and alcohol problems. It is nonetheless a supportive community that is used to facing adversity. When I started working in the area,I could refer people to South Sydney Hospital for a range of medical and health services,and out-patient clinics at the big hospitals were reliable and accessible. Community nursing and aged care services were run locally so that GPs and other frontline staff could communicate and work as a team. Over the last 21 years these services have been variously closed,underfunded,understaffed,transferred to the community sector,or increasingly bureaucratised. The Redfern and Waterloo communities,much like those in my home suburb in an LGA of concern,are not only facing this pandemic at a time when access to affordable and timely medical and mental health care is increasingly difficult,and often impossible,they are dealing with the threat of increasing development and loss of their long-term homes at the hands of the NSW government.Marie Healy,Redfern

Students will lose

Both the NSW government and the Teachers Federation are wrong in their opening exchanges over the looming industrial action by teachers in NSW (“Teachers to take stand over stagnant pay”,September 16). The government has foolishly claimed that productivity increases must be negotiated before any above-par salary increases can be paid. The Department of Education has,by stealth,already extracted that productivity. Teachers are working much harder and are far more productive than they were 10 years ago. The Department has also failed to provide teachers and schools with the quality tools to manage their workload.

The Federation has erred in making this a money issue. It ought to campaign for better quality administration of workloads and quality of systems to deliver teacher effort into pedagogy rather than allow increases in administrative workloads. The real losers will be students,who suffer the incompetence of bureaucracy and the wearying of teachers whose blood can no longer be drained from the stone.Michael Voorbij,Tenambit

Don’t vacillate,vaccinate

Nursing home occupants,in particular,deserve the comfort and safety of knowing their carers have done the right thing,and been vaccinated,for the greater good (“Non-vaxed aged-care staff are just selfish”,September 16). Medical reasons not to vaccinate,validated in writing by their GPs,are supported by the sensible majority. But to choose not to in the throes of a pandemic,with mass vaccination as the only way out of this,is illogical,inane and selfish in the extreme. I can’t help but wonder how many of them have benefitted from childhood vaccinations?Kay Buckeridge,Mosman

Church must be saved

The Wentworth Memorial Church,designed by Don Gazzard,was built in honour of those who died in World War II and is a masterpiece of Sydney mid-century architecture (“Church earmarked for conversion fails to sell at auction”,September 16). It is time for the NSW government to step in and rescue this property of statewide importance and vest it in the control of Sydney Living Museums. It could then become a secular celebration venue for people from anywhere in the state.Scott Brandon Smith,Bowral

A message for Craig

Lawyers for the TGA have written to Craig Kelly over his ridiculous claims,specifically the ones about vaccination dangers (“MPs urge crackdown on fake social media accounts,misleading election ads”,September 16). I hope they didn’t send the communication via text message,though he seems to prefer those. I am sure when the final curtain is drawn on his political career,next year,the people of Hughes will send him a message he cannot block.Geoff Nilon,Mascot

Quade’s in

Correspondents’ umbrage at Quade Cooper being granted Australian citizenship reeks of tall poppy syndrome (Letters,September 16). He has legally lived in Australia as a New Zealand citizen for 20 years and now wants to officially become an Aussie. To compare this with the appalling refusal of the Murugappan family’s application for refugee asylum is cherry-picking unrelated facts to support a position.Stephen Kirk,Blackbutt

Cracker cartoon

Is Cathy Wilcox out to stop letter writers from pointing out the failings of our federal government (editorial cartoon,September 16)? Once again,spot on about the inadequacies of the federal government and spoiling my chance of getting a letter published.Ken Pares,Forster

If a picture says a thousand words,Thursday’s wonderful Wilcox cartoon is worth a double page spread of letters on why we can’t trust the government. Fair go Cathy,leave us a few scraps.Phil Bradshaw,Naremburn

Moving moment

Lockdown sometimes brings the loveliest of moments. While visiting my husband’s grave this week on the anniversary of his death I met the wife of the man whose grave lies next to my husband’s. She told me that she and her family knew her husband would be looked after because he lay next to a “doctor”. Hearing he was a nuclear physicist did nothing to dissuade her. An unlikely meeting of warmth and comfort shared by two strangers.Elizabeth Maher, Bangor

Here’s a question

Why,in recent times,have journalists’ questions improved so much? Almost everyone that is interviewed these days prefaces their answer,or evasion,with “that’s a really good question”. Why,as the old professor used to say,is it so?Frank Trent,Mudgee

The digital view

Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on
Religious schools in Victoria to lose the right to sack LGBTQ staff
From Stal:“That’s a good move! Time to stop religion discriminating and it should stay out of peoples private lives.”

To submit a letter toThe Sydney Morning Herald,email Click here for tips on how to submit letters.

Most Viewed in National