THERE are more than 80,000 men and women of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) who put on our nation’s uniform and are prepared to place themselves in harm’s way to help others who can’t necessarily help themselves. On a recent visit to troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, I had the opportunity to talk to hundreds of ADF personnel involved in training and advising local security forces.
I met some of Australia’s finest young men and women, pulled together from every corner of the country and united with a great sense of patriotism and purpose to their lives. On every occasion, I passed on one message from the Australian people: ‘thank you for your service’.
It’s a simple phrase but it can mean a lot when you are spending months away from your loved ones; working in 50 degree heat; concerned for your personal safety; and removed from the simple pleasures of Australian life. As Australians, we don’t tend to go for the bravado of our American friends and the intensely patriotic recognition of their troops. Caring for our veterans and their families is the best way to honour the service and sacrifice of all those men and women who have served our nation in uniform over the past century. It is also the best way to ensure that their legacy endures and is never forgotten. But perhaps we need to put aside some of our normally reserved Australian nature and publicly recognise our Navy, Army and Airforce personnel and their families beyond ANZAC Day.
A simple message of ‘thank you for your service’ each time you meet someone in a military uniform is a good start.
Darren Chester, Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans’ Affairs
GIVE THEM A FRESH START
WHAT has happened to the great Australian tradition of giving people a fair go? I am alarmed at the vitriol mainly on social media regarding Scott Morrison becoming Prime Minister. I am alarmed at the vitriol mainly on social media regarding Scott Morrison becoming PM. Most political commentators are predicting that the Federal Government will be different with the new PM, so why isn’t he and the new ministry being given a fair go?
We are the only country that hasn’t gone into recession in recent years, for which the federal government can take credit. It’s not as if Labor has such a great record in government either, because they usually overspend and send us into deficit. And we haven’t as yet got out of the last economic mess that the previous Labor government created. On top of all that, we will be having a federal election anyway within a short 8 months, when our democratic process will determine which party will govern for the next three years.
Bob Geoghegan, East Maitland
A NEW CHECK AND BALANCE
IDENTIFYING sociopaths psychologically and physically is now very precisely defined. Psychologically a sociopath is totally incapable of experiencing empathy or compassion. They are unable to view other human beings as anything other than objects in the world to be used and manipulated to further their own egocentric goals and objectives.
Physically the MRI of the brain of all sociopaths reveals the inherited genetic cause of their unique psychology. Their amygdala (the origin of human emotions) is severely distorted. Only criminal psychopaths also exhibit this malformation. The main difference between a sociopath and a psychopath is that the sociopath has learned how to control and eliminate any impulse to employ physical violence. Instead they employ deviousness and clever backstabbing to achieve their desired ends.
So, for better governments run by people who are actually capable of caring about the future well-being of the people they have been elected to serve, I believe it should be a requirement of anyone nominating for an elective office or being selected to be a government minister to undergo an MRI scan; and if the scan reveals that the individual is a sociopath their nomination be rejected.
Just imagine it – living under a government that actually cares about us and the area that they were elected to govern.
Norton Jacobi, Redhead
THE BANKS ARE STRAINING
NOW look what those unthinking obstructionists in the Senate, who forced the Turnbull/ Morrison governments to shelve legislation gifting billions of dollars to the banks, have brought about: the need for banks to increase the rates on variable loans possibly, just to survive in this world of deregulation driven competition.
Is there any better example of why the Coalition was so intent upon ramming through taxpayer assistance than this evidently forced decision to raise interest rates?
No doubt that populist politician Bill Shorten will be coming out with statements condemning the banks but, seriously, the signs have been there for years of how tough the banks have been doing it. They have been forced to reduce the number of tellers in some operations and, in others, to close branches entirely. They have introduced computer banking and ATMs outside of what is left of their real estate, doing so possibly more in order to encourage those customers over 80 to become familiar with new technology than to improve their bottom lines. Yet what do they get in return? A heartless and non-thinking Senate which has denied the banks collectively, the traditional Aussie fair go!”
Barry Swan, Balgownie
A QUESTION OF PARKING
GIVEN the enormous parking pressures for residents and workers caused by the CBD tram construction, and much of it likely to be permanent and given that Newcastle council's paid and timed parking regime is between 9am and 5pm, can chief executive Jeremy Bath explain why council infringement officers in the middle of winter were prowling around, booking vehicles before dawn and well after dark?
Keith Parsons, Newcastle
MANNING CASE A SYMPTOM
DON’T be fooled by the government's reasoning for not allowing Chelsea Manning to speak in Australia ('She poses no threat': Chelsea Manning tour promoters ask for discretion’, SMH 30/8). I think this is just the Liberal party line of kowtowing to America to prevent the public being made aware of embarrassing and shameful acts carried out by the American administration. They have form in this type of cover-up, as proved by John Howard taking our country to war on a false premise.
Allan Earl, Thornton
LETTER OF THE WEEK
THE pen goes to John Undery, of Kotara South, for his letter regarding the Liberal spill. The pen is in the mail.
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