Niall Clugston writes: Re. Yesterday’s Editorial. Your editorial makes a lot of a single spelling mistake in China’s People’s Daily.

It really illustrates an hysterical Australian nationalism, which oscillates between feeling “really, really important” and contemplating “irrelevance”. In fact, Australia is a middle ranking world power, which is important for China as a source of minerals and for the USA as a military base, particularly for signals intelligence. Most countries in the world are far less significant than Australia, but that’s not good enough for Australians because they are predominantly white English-speakers.

Your conclusion that “the old adage still applies when it comes to both the world’s superpowers: it’s clear we need them much more than they need us” is nonsense. Without being an idiot patriot, Australia has abundant resources, a buoyant economy, and a stable politics. The country faces no military threats and would be harder to invade than Russia. Where’s the need?

Finally, what makes China a superpower? After all, the pride of their fleet is a second hand aircraft carrier, Varyag, which has been rusting in a Ukrainian port since the collapse of the USSR. Some threat. The only war the Chinese have won in modern times was the civil war, and that was against themselves!

Peter Wesley-Smith writes: Phil Huzzard (yesterday, comments) complains when Bernard Keane refers to POTUS as “Our imperial overlord” and Australia as “one of his most loyal vassal states”. The US is certainly an empire and Australia is a reliably loyal ally. Can anyone ever imagine Australian pollies, other than Bob Brown and his greenies, failing to tug the forelock whenever The Chief is in town? Our defence philosophy is to do whatever the Americans want us to do, in the hope that we’ll be defended by US forces if the need arises. Keane’s terminology sounds about right to me.

The US maintains the greatest military empire in history, it invades lesser states, it overturns foreign governments, it tortures and kidnaps and murders people (both American citizens and damn foreigners) wherever they are in the world, it routinely defies international law, it aspires to “full-spectrum dominance”, all in the interests of American capitalism … yet Huzzard describes the US as “the most benign superpower in history”!

John Hale writes: With respect, please ask your contributors NOT to refer to the USA as “America”. Pointing out the obvious, America’s a great big continent of many countries of which the United States is one. Thank you.

Climate change and property prices:

James Burke writes: Re. “Why our property markets are guaranteed to recover” (yesterday, item 12). So Michael Yardney says of global warming that he’s “heard more convincing arguments against this than I have heard for it”. Oh yeah? Which ones?

Yardney might have read 200 emails to Crikey by Tamas Calderwood, but that’s quantity, not quality. Let us know when the glaciers start growing back, Professor Pangloss.

Anyway, shouldn’t a self-declared “wealth creation expert” have more pressing concerns than giving advice on population policy to Crikey readers? Maybe he could use some of his untold billions to help save the European economy and prevent that global depression he’s so anxious about.

The first bloke:

Justin Templer writes: Re. “Richard Farmer’s chunky bits” (yesterday, item 11).  If I’m looking for an answer as to why I migrated to Australia then your comment on the First Bloke walking home (midst Obama security) says it all: “Is there another major country in the world where a prime ministerial spouse would just trot off home all alone in such as cheerful and unpretentious fashion. I’m getting to like the bloke!”

I like the bloke, I like the country.  Thanks for having me.

Same-s-x marriage:

David Wootton writes: Re. “Richard Farmer’s chunky bits” (Wednesday, item 11). Dear Julia, as our leader, can I please ask you to lead, and consider the following: We have a distinct and legal separation of church and state. If the Church opposes certain marriages, then that is fine. Let them only sanction marriages that produce children and do not end in divorce. Let the state sanction marriage between two loving people for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, in heteros-xuality and homos-xuality.

Your personal feelings on the history and importance of marriage are irrelevant, in fact you don’t seem to understand it either (but at least you have that choice – good for you). The role of Prime Minister is to lead our country to a better place, the people support it, so give them (us) something back.

You wish for a conscience vote, so show us your real conscience. Would appreciate some real leadership, it’s been a while love.

Best wishes to you and Tim,


Paul Johanson writes: Re. “Rundle in Athens: jugglers on the street, PM trying to keep skittles in the air” (Wednesday, item 2). Greatly enjoying your lively coverage of the debt crisis in Europe. So can someone answer me this simple question: never mind who lent them all this money, what did they do with it all? I’ll bet nothing productive!

It must take real work or decades of extraordinary fiscal incompetence to spend that kind of money. So, where did it all go?