THE federal government's further increases in defence spending, raising it to $270 billion over the next 10 years ('Defence budget boost includes missiles', Herald 2/7), is of great concern to me. Scott Morrison has painted a future of fear and foreboding in order to justify this large increase in defence expenditure when reality does not support such an assessment. And this level of public expenditure is at the expense of much needed social and public health needs
The suggestion that Australia has to provide "security" over particular areas in our region could arguably mean that the United States has allocated to its deputy sheriff, Australia, more responsibility in this area to assist in the containment of China and denial of access to the area by China which is the primary aim of United States foreign policy.
Projection of military power into the region including deployment of long-range missiles, smacks of ambitions to be a sub-imperial power whilst actually complying with United States foreign policy for maintenance of its presence in the area. This is not a plan to promote Australia's security or peaceful relations with countries in our region but contributes to a more militarised region with the potential for an incident or accident to escalate into large scale military hostilities. Only an independent Australian foreign policy from all big powers will ensure peace, security and sovereignty
Bevan Ramsden, Lambton
Let's just do it for each other
I AM in my 70s and always have been proud to be an Australian citizen. Luckily during my life I was never unemployed, and as a trade unionist I and many of my comrades supported many causes for people less fortunate.
In my opinion this current crisis is showing how the years of the Howard and conservative government industrial relations policy has worked, with Aussies now fighting over toilet paper, essential foods and ignoring the health of others by not getting tested for the virus. Let's unite and get rid of this awful virus and support our underfunded medical services by simply following their guidelines.
Gerry Mohan, Shoal Bay
There's power to expert advice
In my opinion it is generally accepted that Australia's relative success at containing the coronavirus is due to our state and federal governments implementing evidence based health policies.
The same principles can be applied to our current and future energy policies i.e. by listening and acting on scientific evidence.
Economist Ross Garnaut's book Super Power: Australia's low-carbon opportunity supports a transition to zero-emissions electricity with the extensive use of wind and solar power from the best renewable areas.
Long distance high voltage transmission lines need to be added to connect consumers. Reliability can be improved with gas power plants, pumped hydro, batteries, sharing resources and varying demand. Low interest rates also favour investment in renewables over coal fired power stations. Garnaut comments that nuclear power is currently unlikely due to cost. Analysis of the current scientific evidence points strongly to a low emissions future built on Australia's abundant renewable solar and wind power.
Ian Thomas, The Hill
Flood of fixes beyond lockouts
I RESPECT Dr Kypros Kypri's research ('Studies speak for themselves', Herald 3/7) but the anti-alcohol brigade always miss out on several salient facts. First, it's a no-brainer that if you turn a precinct into a ghost town, violence will reduce, as per Kings Cross, where I lived with active involvement in community matters. But it's a matter of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
In fact, before the lockouts violence had already reduced by a similar amount to Newcastle's reduction. Venue owners got organised and were scanning IDs and networking to exclude troublemakers, some of whom ironically came down from Newcastle. And during one of the 'war against bikies' crackdowns the mere visible presence of the riot squad on weekends reduced violence to near zero, even as several large new venues opened, according to Kings Cross police statistics. There are ways of managing violent people without lockouts. In Kings Cross alone about 700 jobs were lost after the lockouts, many of them young people in part-time work. It's a high price to pay.
Michael Gormly, Islington
Enforcement is the answer
THERE is a simple solution to the current controversy surrounding the easing of the lockout laws and that is; providing sufficient resources for enforcement of the rules. I believe anyone that has had a drink in a bar, pub or club will have frequently observed drunks or groups of drunks continue to be served in licensed premises and then sometimes cast out onto the street in a drunken state.
If sufficient resources were available to police the liquor laws during the day, evening and especially late at night, hitting licensees with the fines they deserve for flouting the rules possibly leading to some losing their licences, only then will licensed premises start to be properly policed, which in turn should lead to more civilised behaviour by patrons.
John Scott, Kahibah
Bravo for ending the stigma
PROFESSOR Pat McGorry draws our attention to the depression and suicide epidemic amid the COVID-19 epidemic ('The other curve we must flatten', Herald 4/7).
In our disconnected, urbanised society many of us no longer feel supported and loved by our families or anyone else. The COVID-19 epidemic has accentuated our isolation from our families and society. Many of us have lost our jobs. Consequently we often feel hopeless, lost and depressed.
Human beings are smarter than other animals. We are aware of our own mortality. Most of us put our inevitable deaths out of our minds on a day-to-day basis. We try to live lives that are significant and meaningful to ourselves and to others.
Despite the promises and threats of religion, the lives that we live now, are the only ones of which we can be sure. In an ideal world, each individual would find meaning and hope in life and a justification for continuing to live.
It is important to recognise that depression and suicide within our society are normal. In the past we stigmatised those who had such thoughts and refused to seriously address suicide. Fortunately, this is changing and help is available.
We need more credible, convincing advocates of mental health like Professor McGorry. Their learned voices are voices that must be heard by our politicians, and that will spur our politicians to recognise and fund mental health and suicide prevention programs.
Geoff Black, Caves Beach
Lifeline - 13 11 10
SHARE YOUR OPINION
Email email@example.com or send a text message to 0427 154 176 (include name, suburb). Letters should be fewer than 200 words and Short Takes fewer than 50 words. Correspondence may be edited and reproduced in any form.
STEWART James (Letters, 3/7), what Phil Gardner said is in all probability what all the other clubs are going to do, that is give their loyal supporters that have backed them during the endemic preference ('Eels face lockout for Knights' homecoming', NewcastleHerald 27/6). In some way I guess you will get your way if you are a supporter of another club in this situation.
Bruce Brander, Belmont
STEWART James (Letters, 3/7), surely you're kidding. With limits on crowds, and bearing in mind only 7500 of the Knights 20,000 members will be able to attend; do you really think any of these would be willing to give up their seat to a Parramatta supporter? I'm a Knights member, and I think it's a fat chance that I'd get a ticket to see us play Parramatta on their home ground under current circumstances.
John Atkins, Hamilton South
IN reply to Donna Manning,'s letter on the distribution of taxpayer funds (Letters, 2/7), the way they are carrying on at the moment I personally wouldn't trust either party with the tuck shop takings. I shudder to think what the future of this country would hold if I had my way. I would abolish state governments. Imagine the amount of taxpayer money we would be able to save, and we'd also be able to employ individuals to employ some sensible and logical thinking on how to move this country forward again.
Philip Carter, Metford
I DOUBT that the Newcastle Herald would have contracted John Hewson specifically to attack Scott Morrison in his articles; however, he appears to have added it to his own job description.
David Stuart, Merewether
ANDREW Whitbread-Brown (Letters, 4/7), since when has Cardiff Heights been in Newcastle?
Eddie Boards, Kilaben Bay
TO answer Peter Gogarty's question ('White men it is time to own it and act on it', Opinion, 4/7), I say that I am with him. Australia needs a cultural resolution. Those of us who are white and make and have a home and a well-paid job or a pension need to find the willpower to change attitudes and behaviour to ensure that women and children no longer suffer abuse but are treated always with dignity and respect.
George Garnsey, Morpeth
I ENJOYED a lovely sunny day in the city last Sunday complete with fish 'n chips and a beverage. Promenading east to Queen's Wharf was not a good decision, however, as the toilets were inaccessible. This location is a transport interchange too. City of Newcastle, her Majesty would not be amused; first the tower and now the loo is missing too.
Angela Longworth, Speers Point
FIRST Donald Trump, now Kanye West ('Kanye West' 'running for president', Herald 6/7). From the surreal to the ridiculous. What next, Kim Kardashian?
Kevin White, Muswellbrook
IS closing the NSW-Victoria border from Tuesday night the right move?