March 12th 2016

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Several items missing from list of the big spend

CANBERRA OBSERVED Greens back Coalition in Senate voting reform

ENERGY Nuclear reprocessing feasible here: SA inquiry

HISTORY OF TAIWAN Fifty-year journey from poverty to prosperity

SPEECH IN PARLIAMENT Warning: wolves in anti-bullying clothing

EDITORIAL Turnbull ignores three elephants in the room

DOMESTIC AND FAMILY VIOLENCE Family portrait or ideological caricature?

OPINION Goebbels revisited: the attack on Cardinal Pell

FAMILY AND SOCIETY SSCA apologists try to shrug off media furore

EUTHANASIA Legitimate denial of choice at end of life (Part II of two)

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Welcome backdown on vaccinations

ENVIRONMENT Food bowl emptied due to conservationist myopia

MUSIC Much-loved concertos clouded with melancholy

CINEMA Spotlight in the darkness: Spotlight

BOOK REVIEW Governing Middle-earth

BOOK REVIEW A land of contrasts


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News Weekly, March 12, 2016

China and our defence


Australia’s Defence by David Archibald, as reviewed by Hal Colebatch (News Weekly, February 27, 2016), can only be commended for offering solutions to some of Australia’s most pressing problems. The book, however, fundamentally misconstrues several important considerations.

China’s strategies have not changed for millennia. The Chinese strategy is to make incremental advances, not head-on attacks. The South China Sea is ideal for this. They can play off one set of claimants against the others, and set players whom they might consider potential allies, for example Taiwan and the Philippines, against each other. Moreover, Archibald completely ignores the role of the Republic of China on Taiwan, which claims most of the South China Sea islands and occupies some of the larger ones.

The Chinese know they cannot defeat an aircraft carrier battle group of the U.S. Navy. So, their strategy is indirect. By deploying missiles, as we have seen recently, they can threaten, or purport to threaten, the U.S. Navy’s capital ships at little cost. The aim is to make the U.S. hesitant about deploying its capital ships in South East Asian waters.

The way to counter this Chinese strategy is to confront the Chinese at every turn. The Chinese are particularly contemptuous of “paper tigers”.

Regarding conscription, the days when you trained a man for three months then sent him over the top, and five minutes later he is dead, are over. Training an infantryman takes 18 months and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Why train a man until he is combat-ready then discharge him six months later? Australia maintained 20 years of overseas deployments without conscription. We need professional soldiers, not cannon fodder.

I find the proposition that we will have an Asian war within six months extremely dubious. It is not the Chinese way. However, unless the United States changes its tactics, I think it is likely that in 20 years’ time China will control the South China Sea and with it our sea lanes of communication.

Jeffry Babb,
Essendon, Vic.


Be as good as your lyrics, Tim


Singer-songwriter Tim Minchin, the newly ascendant leader of the compulsive haters of Cardinal Pell, wants the Cardinal to kneel before the victims of paedophilia by Catholic Church personnel and wash their feet (The Age, February 26, 2016).

Who does he suggest should perform the same service on behalf of the Boy Scouts, the Salvation Army, the government primary schools, sports coaches, and other groups which attract paedophiles because they provide them with good cover and easy opportunities?

Perhaps he should wash some feet himself in contrition for paedophile singers and songwriters.

Colin Jory (Dr),
Narrabundah, ACT

NB. The above letter was submitted to the Letters Editor, The Age, via the submission box on The Age email site, on Friday February 26, 2016, c. 11:54 pm. The Age declined to publish it.


Thank O’Farrell


All good in Peter Westmore’s “Alcohol studies confirm benefit of earlier nightclub closures” (News Weekly, February 27, 2016), except that the author seems to be attributing the commencement of the lockout/early closing regulations to Premier Mike Baird, when it was actually Barry O’Farrell who took that bold step. Which step, by the way, might have been his own downfall given the pernicious power of the liquor lobby in NSW, if not the whole country.

Rebecca Wright,
Potts Point, NSW

All you need to know about
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TRANSGENDER: one shade of grey, 353pp, $39.99

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