Remote killers moral dilemma
EASILY the most significant story of last week was the exclusive by Steve Evans (The Examiner, December 9) dealing with the Australian Defence Force's planning document Concept For Robotic and Autonomous Systems on future warfare by its three services conducted by, in plain English - robots.
Not far removed from jaw dropping, hobby store appliances, remote killers from the air, land and seas that pose a moral dilemma due to uncertainty about collateral damage to non-combatant humans are now in our presence and headed for an explosive growth rate soon.
Academic experts who are reportedly taxed on ethics have only to consider "area weapons" which explode on cities, towns, villages and open spaces when dropped from the air or fired from a gun or a missile silo and their proven inability to select "exclusive" targets.
But, the most important question raised, and a vital one in the light of what Evans' report revealed, must again bring into sharp focus the ludicrous purchase overcoming decades of French nuclear submarines which have been ordered with diesel engines and the requirement, therefore, to elongate their hulls so fuel tanks can be fitted.
Anti-submarine mine drones must be on the drawing boards of the world now, which after normal development could be prowling off our shores by the time the first sub is ready for its maiden bon voyage and ready to say au revoir to our billions of dollars on what amounts to our greatest military blunder since, well, not to put too fine a point on it, purchase of our current fleet of Collins class underwater boats now facing replacement.
Hands up anyone who knew Boeing was building the Loyal Wingman unmanned fighter jet in Australia and that the RAAF received the first of the procurement in May, 2020?
Also that DefendTex, a company near Melbourne, is making a drone able to take out a target such as a tank, or a car carrying a terrorist?
My thanks go to Evans and his enlightening exclusive and The Examiner for a job well done.
Noel Christensen, Punchbowl.
Marinus wheeling and dealing
FEDERAL government to own 62.5 per cent of Marinus through a special purpose corporate vehicle. Who is going to pay for the infrastructure? Who is going to benefit? The devil is in the detail.
Real devils and other native fauna (and flora) will not do well with the amount of infrastructure required to feed this deal.
Victoria Wilkinson, Grindelwald.
Cashless welfare card debate
BASS Liberal MHR Bridget Archer was correct to criticise the expansion of the cashless debit card trial (The Examiner, December 3). Six parliamentary studies along with multiple independent studies into the card's effectiveness identified the scheme as flawed with data used to justify implementing the scheme at best selectively.
The stigma spoken about in her speech is real with, at times, tragic soul-destroying consequences. Try to comprehend an individual fleeing domestic violence or an older couple organising their intimate affairs over the phone. Most likely to a call centre operator of a publicly listed company accountable to shareholders.
Not an empathetic public servant. Many will give her some credit for airing her views so publicly. After reading the transcript of her speech I am smart enough to realise there were a couple of get out of jail free cards. And one has been used.
Anthony Camino, Youngtown.
Secular democracy rules
MARY T Bates (The Examiner, December 14) needs to be reminded that in Tasmania we live in a secular democracy, not a Christian theocracy, and members of parliament are not elected for them to promote the will of any one religion, but that of all their constituents, which includes those of other faiths, and a growing number of people who do not believe in any gods at all.
Natasha Foster, Dilston.
Prisons column rebuttal
YOUR columnist Zoe Wundenberg believes inmates in NSW prisons should stop working there ("Prison is rarely about time served" (The Examiner, December 10).
She has the right to her opinion, even if others might not agree, but no right to grossly misrepresent what happens in prisons. She is wrong to say prison work doesn't develop skills and enhance self-perception. Tell that to all the inmates who've left prison and got jobs because of the habits and skills and qualifications they learned inside.
She is stigmatising prisoners by massively overstating the prevalence of illiteracy and she's wrong to say we don't address other issues. Inmates receive education and do programs to help with problems such as addiction and violence. This has been occurring for decades and, surprisingly, Ms Wundenberg feels qualified to write about a system of which she knows so little.
Recently the NSW government allocated an additional $330m towards reducing reoffending, through measures including the above and post-release support with accommodation, employment, and mental health. In 2019-20 more than 300,000 hours of education were delivered to inmates in NSW. This support doesn't always work, of course. It requires constant effort, which is why the premier has given Corrective Services NSW a priority of reducing reoffending by 5 per cent by 2023.