Credit:Illustration: Cathy Wilcox
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Parliament must decide if we send our forces
The confluence of a Ukrainian war and a looming federal election may prove too irresistible to Scott Morrison, a man untroubled by principles and the national interest but deeply troubled by the very real prospect of losing his job.
Should he harbour ideas of committing our forces to the conflict in Ukraine, one way outside our sphere of influence, he must debate the notion in Parliament. Such a commitment should not be a “captain’s call” nor even a cabinet decision but be debated by the people’s representatives. Anything else is a massive conflict of interest for cabinet. After all, even Vladimir Putin put his motion for invasion to the Russian parliament, albeit hardly a house of independent thought.
John Gwyther, Coongulla
Broaden the peacekeepers who go to Ukraine
Russia has sent peacekeepers into Ukraine. Fair enough, but if they need peacekeepers, why don’t the United Nations and NATO also help with this? How could Vladimir Putin and Russia object if these organisations did?
Doug Steley, Heyfield
Waiting for the next step: mopping-up operations
Over the years the media have used words like “peacekeeping” as a euphemism for offensive/defensive aggression and violence. After two years of lockdown, when everything was virtual, even the aggression playing out in the Ukraine has an unreal aura. How long will it be until the “mopping-up operations” – a euphemism for “shoot anything that moves”?
Josephine Perry, Morwell
We need to respond to aggression with aggression
Vladimir Putin is starting a war, which means blowing up human beings, irreversibly. Reversible sanctions seem inadequate as a response. Do not “halt” the the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Blow it up.
Ralph Böhmer, St Kilda West
The better way: an intelligent, diplomatic approach
Who are Scott Morrison’s advisors? Is calling Vladimir Putin and Russia “bullies and thugs” really the best we can come up with to help? Where are the people with sophisticated diplomatic skills who can employ some intelligent psychology?
Julie Conquest, Brighton
Be prepared and ready, but let Putin stew
Perhaps the way to treat a bully is to ignore him. All the ordinances should be assembled in or near Ukraine and aircraft carriers moved into the Baltic and the Black seas so that if he invades, they are ready. Sanctions on his goods will only hurt us. Let him stew and not be the talk of the world.
Pamela McMaster, Glen Waverley
The West obsessed – and two giants built up arms
While the West has been gripped by, and agonised over, such pressing issues as identity politics, inclusion and diversity, resilience, bullying and victimhood, Russia and China have been arming to the teeth.
Perhaps they know who they are, and having suffered through many hardships, have the resilience and determination that can only come through endurance. Will the West, so obsessed with crying victim and bullying, resist the force of these two empires?
Susan Caughey, Glen Iris
Listen to what the people of these regions want
One way to solve the problem of Ukraine would be to allow the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to have a vote as to whether or not the inhabitants want an independent state.
Innes Hutchison, Highton
Nothing changes. Our youth will pay the price of war
“Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die. And it is youth who must inherit the tribulation, the sorrow, and the triumphs that are the aftermath of war” (Herbert Hoover, 1944).
Emily Spiller, Harrietville
A second Switzerland
So the threat of war has the stockmarket going ballistic, some of us wanting everyone to be militarily trained and Scott Morrison gripping even more tightly – if that is possible – to the United States’ coat tails.
The government’s “war talk” – first China and now somewhat conveniently Russia – to scare-monger and put important things on the back burner is appalling.
Why is it so hard to imagine a future where, amid ever-mounting discontent around the world, Australia might be positioned as “neutral”, a Switzerland in the Asia Pacific region? Involved in no one else’s wars, exercising sanctions as/when we need to, and trading freely with China, Russia, the US, the EU and everyone else?
Anne Austin, Flinders
Very uneasy allies
Vladimir Putin might justify Russia’s attack on Ukraine on historical grounds, and even to deny its very right to exist.
However, China, its current ally, would not have forgotten that the current borders between Russia and China were forced on it centuries ago when China was not the economic and military powerhouse it is today.
Although both countries settled outstanding border issues in the 1991 Sino-Border agreement, and in 2005 the Sino-Russian Treaty of Friendship confirmed there were no outstanding territorial issues, it needs to be noted that Xi Jinping was not president then. Should China ever feel a need to expand its territory, there are good historical arguments for heading north.
Stephen Doyle, Hepburn Springs
Mates shooting the breeze
Prior to the Winter Olympics, there was a meeting between the world’s two most ignoble and anything but loveable leaders: Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping. Naturally their sole topic of conversation was the speed skating, mogul racing and other winter sports. The hell it was.
Venise Alstergren, Toorak
The strong man Putin…
Germany and France have served up Chicken Kiev to Vladimir Putin on a silver salver. Putin, in this artificial crisis of his own making, has accurately gauged the calibre and the lack of resolve of Europe’s top leadership.
Dennis Walker, North Melbourne
…has a steely resolve
As opposed to indulging in chest-beating, inflammatory accusations, denials and denunciations, Vladimir Putin speaks softly and carries a big stick. And where others flail about, he decisively and with chilling effect pursues his agenda.
Deborah Morrison, Malvern East
The PM’s empty promises
Ukrainian people: do not be fooled by Scott Morrison’s declaration of safety and protection for you. He promised the same to Afghans who had worked with our defence forces. Many are still waiting, abandoned to the whims of the Taliban. Morrison’s promises are empty words trying to catch a vote.
Kerry Bergin, Abbotsford
All this chatter from the United States and European Union that “a raft of sanctions” will deter and punish Russia for invading Ukraine is laughable. Vladimir Putin and Russian banks and oligarchs have had months in which to hide, and secretly disperse of, any assets in order to ensure that the sanctions will have no effect whatsoever.
John Quinn, Avoca
Saying whatever it takes
When it comes to government, whatever serves your purposes best is worth it. Responding to the Ukraine invasion, the Prime Minister said that even though our involvement with Ukraine was relatively small, it was important that every nation did its bit.
On the other hand, for years he has said our contribution to carbon emissions is relatively insignificant compared to the big emitters, so our contribution to decarbonising is so insignificant we will not make a difference.
Geoff Cheong, Aspendale Gardens
The tables have turned
Scott Morrison famously waved a chunk of coal in Parliament, saying, “this is coal, don’t be afraid”. Now Mike Cannon-Brookes is saying, “this is the end of coal, Prime Minister, so be very afraid”.
Harry Zable, Campbells Creek
The homeless come last
Re “Andrews pulls social housing tax legislation” (The Age, 24/2). It is a disgrace to see the storm erupting over the government’s plan to charge a measly 1.75per cent developer levy to help fund much needed social housing.
In Europe, such levies are normal. For example, the City of London charges developers 15per cent to pay for “the delivery of infrastructure to support neighbourhood priorities such as social housing”.
Whilst greedy developers cry poor and the clueless opposition attacks the idea, thousands of people are homeless and are waiting up to 20 years for social housing. Is this the heartless society we have become?
Jeff Fiedler, Preston
Why we need the new tax
Shadow treasurer David Davis bemoans the fact that the proposed tax on new, multi-developments will lock struggling families out of the housing market. What about the destitute families and singles who will never be able to save a deposit for a small home. Surely they and the homeless deserve a chance at a home via the $800 million a year the tax will raise for social housing. Aren’t their needs even more acute, Mr Davis?
Lynnette Patullock, Blackburn
Give us a break, Treasurer
I agree with Jennie Irving (Letters, 24/2) about Josh Frydenberg’s wall-to-wall “securing our recovery” posters and billboards in Kooyong. He is obviously feeling quite “insecure” and with another three months of the visual pollution still to go, we Kooyong residents will be in “recovery” when it finally comes down.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn
Deserving of our support
Osman Faruqi makes a compelling case on social justice grounds for pay rises for all of our frontline workers (Opinion, 24/2). I could not agree more with him.
But giving these workers a pay boost also makes good economic sense. The Reserve Bank has made an equally compelling case that wages need to increase for sound macroeconomic reasons. So why not start with some of the workers who deserve a pay increase the most? Which part of this do our politicians (both Liberal and Labor) not understand?
James Tucker, retired economist, Greensborough
A convenient loophole?
I agree with Joy Hayman (Letters, 24/2) that heritage overlay has no meaning. My former cottage, with a heritage overlay, was demolished. The new owner had a permit to do this as the property was unstable.
However, I would imagine many cottages would be extremely unstable because of their age and lack of proper construction. This can be used as a loophole to demolish them, even those with heritage overlays. I felt devastated when I saw a vacant block of land instead of my beautiful, former 140-year-old cottage.
Mary Fenelon, Doncaster East
Phonics plus real texts
Dr Miram Faine – “Take balanced approach” (Letters, 24/2) – is right. In 1980, as a newly graduated specialist educator, I began teaching a class of grade 3 students who had failed to acquire even the most basic reading skills. Each student came to me with a decidedly negative attitude to schooling, and reading in particular.
But by using a “balanced approach” to teaching reading (ie, phonic skills plus immersion in real texts), I found that within a short time each student had begun to thrive, and more importantly, display a real love of reading.
I was not the only teacher who was following this approach, with success. So why on earth is the debate about the teaching of reading still raging?
Ken Fisher, Warragul
They’re our club’s colours
Clive Palmer has spent more than $31million on political advertising and he rides on the back of the Tigers’ “yellow and black” trademark. Come on, Richmond Football Club president Peggy O’Neal, put your foot down and stop the rip-off.
Eric Kopp, Flinders
Our articulate treasure
What a joy to hear Professor Brett Sutton on the ABC on Wednesday morning. Not only is he an erudite, authoritative doctor, but the interview was smooth flowing, no hesitancies and not punctuated as most interviews are with the ubiquitous “you know”, “kind of” or “I guess” which seem to form the platform for most radio interviews these days. It was short, to the point and informative. Long may he be our Chief Health Officer.
Helen Webster, Eaglemont
The cruel mask mandate
I urge the Victorian government to follow through with proper co-ordination with the NSW government and scrap the mask mandate for years 3 to 6 children at school. It is simply cruel to force this mandate on our young children who have suffered so much in the last two years.
There is ample medical evidence that this mandate does not make sense. On the contrary, it punishes children who need our full support as normal, face-to-face schooling has recommenced.
|Thilo Troschke, Blackburn
Why kids need masks
Your correspondent raises the question about why we should continue to require masks for children (Letters, 23/2). This fails to recognise that children have little or no idea of social distancing and, if infected, will bring the virus home (it is not only children who have no idea about social distancing. Adults are guilty of it too).
David Price, Malvern East
Follow Sydney all the way
Since Daniel Andrews wants Melbourne to be aligned with Sydney in its public health measures, could he please arrange for Melbourne to have Sydney’s climate?
Anita White, Kew
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding
Soon many young men and women will have to die because one old man in Moscow cannot deal with the dying of his light.
Paul Johnson, Clifton Hill
Re Joan Smith’s suggestion that we all have defence training (24/2). Dad’s (and Mum’s) army to the rescue.
Bill Pimm, Mentone
When will the Russian leadership accept the fact that no sovereign country desires to live under its rules?
Ivan Gaal, Fitzroy North
Vlad would like you all to know that he finds your tough talk and sanctions quite annoying.
John Walsh, Watsonia
I’m betting Volodymyr Zelensky finds being Ukraine President much harder than his previous job as a comedian.
Jessie Mackenzie, Brunswick
Henceforth Putin shall be known as Vlad the Invader.
Bob Greaves, Mount Eliza
Those who imagine Russian resolve will crumble in the face of sanctions should study the history of World War II.
Peter Bennett, Clifton Hill
Putin should have a heart, stop the war, and speed the surrogate babies (24/2) and their parents on their way home.
Barbara Fraser, Burwood
In the run up to the election, “hunger for war” appears to be consuming the Coalition.
Gerry O’Reilly, Camberwell
Why is our cricket tour to Pakistan going ahead when its spin coach can’t get a visa because he’s an Indian national (23/2)?
David Jones, Essendon
Morrison says that we stand up to bullies – so the NSW Liberals did.
Joan Segrave, Healesville
Jane Caro’s run at a NSW Senate seat (24/2) is another gust of fresh air destined to blow the cobwebs from our Parliament.
John Mosig, Kew
Now can Patrick Dangerfield (22/2) save Geelong from a football tragedy?
Bryan Fraser, St Kilda
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