Understanding our place in a very complex world

Understanding our place in a very complex world

November 12, 2021

Credit:Illustration: Andrew Dyson

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PAUL KEATING AND CHINA

Understanding our place in a very complex world

It was refreshing to hear Paul Keating at the National Press Club: someone with deep knowledge and understanding not only of China’s economics and history, but also philosophy, rise above the biased and sometimes hysterical assertions often made. His intelligent, lucid analysis of our deteriorating relationship with China (due to our current abysmal lack of diplomatic skills) shows a failure to understand that China’s foreign policy is not focused on the Pacific but to its west and in protecting its coastline.

Moreover there is our denial of our geography, a denial for which future generations will pay a price as China moves to becoming the world’s biggest economy. And not just with China but also with France, a not insignificant Pacific power.

Keating does not let the Labor Party off either. It is disheartening to see Anthony Albanese flaccidly falling into line. This where Labor could stand out and make a difference to intelligent debate. We should have more such talks with those who have a deep knowledge of subjects important to our understanding of an increasingly complex world and our place in it. Three-word phrases and slogans and predictable cliches add nothing to public debates and indeed to our democracy.
Maria Millers, Emerald

Freedom-loving countries must support Taiwan

I have always been a big Paul Keating fan. However, his statement that defending Taiwan is not in Australia’s interest hit a raw nerve. Why would you not want to assist in any way possible a democratic country that wishes to maintain its way of life without being threatened by an external force?

Taiwan has a right to its existence and China has bullied countries such as Australia to not recognise it or face economic sanctions that has left Taiwan unrecognised by a substantial number of countries. It deserves the support of all freedom-loving countries and even that great orator, Paul Keating.
Alan Inchley, Frankston

A cynical approach to what is important

Taiwan is not a vital Australian interest? Neither was Poland in 1939. How shameful to vent such cynical and parochial sentiments the day before Remembrance Day, Paul Keating.
Chris Lloyd, Melbourne

We should embrace opportunities in our region

Paul Keating is the man who repositioned us away from seeking our security via Britain and the United States in the 1990s and forged economic co-operation with the great and emerging powers in our geographical part of the world.

We are not a European outpost as we were in the early 1900s. We are, in fact, perfectly placed geographically to trade with Indonesia, China and other growing economies on our doorstep. It seems it is purely our old Anglo arrogance and ignorance of Asian cultures that prevent us from embracing the many opportunities staring us in the face.

The “hawks” have had their say and control for years now. It is our grandchildren who may well rue our myopic attitude towards these mighty south-eastern Asian nations, vital for our ongoing growth and prosperity. Paul Keating, a great leader of the past and a great visionary for the future.
Maurie Johns, Mount Eliza

Talking of human rights, let’s consider the US

Paul Keating has an intellect the size of a whale. James Paterson’s article criticising him (Opinion, 12/11) was laughable in every aspect. China’s human rights issues pale compared to that of the US – think gun control, the treatment of black lives, indigenous peoples. Think Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Think the Kennedy brothers, John Lennon and Martin Luther King.
Geoff Warren, Anglesea

Clarifying that Keating’s focus is on China

When Paul Keating says “Australia and Asia this” and “Australia and Asia that”, why doesn’t he just say what he means? Australian and China.

Russell Brims, Bentleigh East

THE FORUM

The Aussie bludger way

Jeez, what’s going on? The Americans have just had one of the biggest debuts on the stock exchange with their weekend whiz, electric four-wheel drive Rivian. Joe Biden and Xi Jinping have rolled up their sleeves to tackle getting emissions down by 2030 (The Age, 12/11). And we hand in the same piece of homework we submitted at the Paris COP25. The “Australian way” looks like the bludger who is just going to have another smoke before getting on with it.
Allan Dowsett, Preston

Still waiting for an ICAC

We have all watched our Prime Minister’s unedifying struggle to fit his frame under Jim Pavlidis’ limbo staff (Letters, 12/11), now being held by China and the United States. No wonder a serious result with promised federal legislation concerning an integrity commission has not yet emerged from the Canberra womb, when various state models are proving a little too hot to handle.
Neil Wilkinson, Mont Albert

Listen to the people

Scott Morrison says Australians have had enough of governments telling them what to do. One needs to look no further than the Coalition’s pathetic response to the climate crisis to see that he and his government have had enough of Australians telling them what to do.
Jan Simpson, Kennington

Farewell to a true legend

What a beautiful and emotional farewell to Bert Newton. The traditional Catholic Requiem Mass was moving and the hymns were beautifully sung. Rest in peace, Bert.
Mary Fenelon, Doncaster East

Why can’t we walk in?

The Royal Children’s Hospital refused to do a COVID-19 test on my daughter yesterday morning as we had presented on foot, and not in a car. Last time we presented it was walk-in only, now it is car-only. Oh well, she has very mild symptoms and is very unlikely to actually have COVID-19, so no big deal.
Sanjiv Karunajeewa, Parkville

Why our unis matter

Well said, Kylie Marty (Letters, 12/11) on the importance of universities. Furthermore, where did the scientists who invented the technologies required to develop the COVID-19 vaccines study? I bet they studied at a university.
Kate McCaig, Surrey Hills

Poor public policy …

Victoria’s new pandemic management bill will displace authority held by the Chief Health Officer (CHO), an impartial public position requiring medical qualifications, and transfers it to politicians. Although the Premier will be required to consult the CHO before declaring a pandemic, it is well understood that public officials are dispensable when they do not comply with desired outcomes.

The orders which can be put in place by the Health Minister are not limited to those outlined in the bill and allow the introduction of measures that have not undergone public scrutiny. Much has been learnt by the government in managing the pandemic, including its own mistakes with hotel quarantine. The purpose of this bill lacks convincing argument justifying the transfer of powers to politicians and needs to be considered not only in terms of a backlash to mistakes but as a long-term, measured response to public policy.
Liz Burton, Camberwell

… and also confusing

I have heard a lot about the new pandemic management bill but I, for one, do not fully understand what it will mean if we are struck down by another pandemic. All I hear is opposition from the Liberal Party, lawyers and shock jocks but I have heard little from our health professionals. What is their opinion as they are the ones who will be working on the front line, not lawyers or politicians?
Ross Beale, Moonee Ponds

Always truthful? Really?

The Prime Minister claims he has never told a lie in public life. Amazing. He has even convinced himself. No wonder he always looks so smug and confident. Unfortunately he will probably be rewarded at the polls for that.
Dean Virgin, Strathmore

Mothers always know

Does Scott Morrison think that if he keeps repeating his lies it becomes impossible for him to back down? It reminds me of when, as a child, you kept denying a wrongdoing to your mother even though she was holding the wooden spoon.
Julie Carrick, Leopold

Confronting the demon

I commend Joe Williams for his well-written article (Opinion, 10/11) on the difficulties we face, as a society, in our relationship with alcohol. As a mental health advocate, he made a courageous stance when he refused to take part, with a beer company, in a radio segment about mental health. It would have been extremely counterproductive.

For me, his article highlighted how the use and abuse of alcohol seeps into many aspects of life. For decades researchers on alcohol abuse have urged governments to curtail advertising and accessibility. That has not happened, so the alcohol industry has increased its influence and reached more people from many walks of life, often with detrimental effects for physical and mental health.

As Joe pointed out, too often alcohol gets in the way of facing up to mental health problems. Alcohol, drug and mental health services need to collaborate. They can do this without people who profit from sales of the stuff.
Carmel Alakus, West Brunswick

No can-do businesses

Scott Morrison’s sense of irony must be in full cry with his choice of a slogan for the election he has not yet called. “Can-do capitalism” is anything but the experience of most taxpayers, since during the pandemic we have subsidised the massive profits of many which describe themselves as “self-made men”. “Can-do” only seems to apply when there is no cost to their profit margins. For anything else (like climate change), it is someone else’s fault and responsibility.
David Baxter, Mornington

Our right to more choice

Annika Smethurst (Opinion, 12/11) is spot on about the two-party system. As long as the two major parties keep forcing us to choose between them, we will never have grown-up politicians. The time has come for some New Zealand-style proportional representation that gives many more people their choice. Otherwise we will forever be stuck with the vacuous, dangerous, unrepresentative swill of student politics that we have now.
Gareth Moorhead, Ivanhoe

Try free membership

Annika Smethurst says, “Taxpayers rightly profess themselves shocked and appalled by allegations their hard-earned cash is funding the factional work of political parties”. She may be right, but the argument that it is because it is “taxpayers’ money” that is being used seems rather specious to me. Every politician is paid by the taxpayer – how else could it work? Every time the Prime Minister open his mouth, he is spruiking his party’s politics. What else would he do?

Taxpayer-funded political staffers do political work. What else would they do? It does not matter whether they work in a minister’s office or an electorate office. Also, those in electorate offices are not public servants. They are employed by the successful candidate. If branch stacking is really the big problem in our democracy, then legislate that party membership be free.
Paul Kennelly, Caulfield North

In support of our Jeremy

In reply to Anne Lacey’s comment about our loveable Jeremy in Zits (Letters, 19/11). He is delightfully humorous and has the ability to give us an insight into the weird antics of the modern youth; long live Jeremy.
Naomi Barnett, Carnegie

How to sell the towers

We now have the answer to the question no one ever asked. Replicate the old Gas and Fuel towers further east towards the MCG and increase their number. Hang a bit of greenery on the outside, then the public will love them and that will shut up anyone who disagrees.Pure marketing genius.
Shane Gunn, Heathcote Junction

AND ANOTHER THING

Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

Politics

Can-do capitalism: you do the work while the government takes the credit.
Jan Newmarch, Oakleigh

Can-do capitalism, a great philosophy. It really works for aged care and affordable housing.
Joan Creati, Belmont

Re “red shirts” (12/11). Thanks for continuing to expose the contempt politicians have for the electorate.
David Cayzer, Clifton Hill

Didn’t can-do capitalism get us into this mess?
Bob Zaner, Leopold

Give me Keating any day, a deep thinker with a superb intellect, not a three-word-slogan conman.
Cynthia Humphreys, Toorak

Environment

Carbon capture will never work. Just a licence to illegally dump waste.
Paul Gearing, Moonee Ponds

That’s no back flip. It’s a U-turn to collect votes that have been flying out the window.
Arthur Pritchard, Ascot Vale

Thank you, Penny Garnett (11/11), for drawing attention to the seemingly forbidden word. Population.
Geraldine O’Sullivan, Hawthorn

The world is entering the fray, calling for Morrison to heed the 2050 objective. Will the listening begin at last?
Ian McKail, Cheltenham

Can we expect hundreds of millions of dollars worth of recharging stations in marginal conservative seats?
Stuart Gluth, Northcote

All I want for my Christmas long weekend is a charging station at my commuter car park.
Luise Mock, Tawonga South

Furthermore

Bert Newton: We’ve lost more than a legend, we’ve lost a rare professional (and a gentleman).
Ross Barker, Lakes Entrance

I’m sure the “court” of public opinion will condemn DA for his quick crossword (12/11). Get a grip, David.
David Watson, West Footscray

Our forebears gifted us beautiful, low-level parklands around the MCG. Question: How much money will we accept to destroy it (10/11)?
Harry Prosser, Berwick

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