Here I am, again, moaning. There’s so much to whinge about lately … (IMHO)
In all the ‘News’ about Corona Virus, appalling armed forces' behaviour, inexcusable ‘Robodebt’ cruelty and lack of dealing with Climate Change, there’s one other matter about which I am steaming with rage.
I’m complaining about the $80 billion Australia has committed to spend on submarines… soon to be redundant submarines, by the way.
However, the PM claims that they are important for “Australia’s strategic environment”. Hmmm.
The $$$$$$ to be spent on those mythical national security required (?) submerged warships is an abhorrence to me. It is a HUGE amount: an amount (if we genuinely had it) hat could remedy many, if not ALL, of our country’s ills.
Have a think about how current wars are conducted and you will probably notice that submarines play an infinitesimal - or no part at all.
Now it’s all guided missiles and other evil stuff. (Remember WMD?) Weapons that do not require sailors spending weeks underwater in a submarine, chasing, while hiding, from ‘enemies.
And did I mention that the $80 billion submarines were already redundant? Sorry, yes, I did.
They are so out of date that parts of them are suspected of not being able to work as intended anymore – and this is before they have even been built!
And, by the way, technology has progressed so far that submarines will soon not be able to stay undetected under water. What that means is that they are useless as a deterrent or a protection.
Let me say that word again: useless.
Anyway, back to the $80 billion.
That’s $80 BILLION, by the way. Yes, eighty BILLION dollars, not million.
Gee, I wonder what Australia could do with $80 BILLION?
Let’s see…Right now, in Victoria alone, there is a sixteen-year waiting list for public housing. (Thankfully, Victoria is aiming to fix that a little). But you could still be dead waiting to have a roof over your head if you find yourself in dire circumstances.
I’m not good at maths, but even I could manage to work out that even one billion dollars could probably build more than 2 000, that’s two THOUSAND, (genuinely nice) homes. Wouldn’t that be nice? Imagine what TWO billion could build. THREE billion?
THEN…How about that not-very-efficient NDIS, set up to help disabled people? It’s not going very well from all reports, but…but, say it was given a boost of a billion dollars – maybe that would help? How about TWO billion? Immensely helpful.
Maybe if nurses and public health doctors – and the hospitals they work in – were given a multi-billion-dollar boost to maintain the health of our nation, including the ever-needy mental health departments. Just imagine!
I could go on…and on….and on….
In case you’d like to know more, here are some facts:
Defence officials knew Australia's new fleet of attack submarines would cost almost $80 billion as early as 2015, despite publicly stating at the time the estimated price tag was $50 billion. (SMH), (This is for 12 subs…)
More like $225 billion to maintain – some claimed in 2019)
BTW, Construction of these things has yet to be begin…
“Construction of the first Future Submarine was expected to commence in 2022–23 and is scheduled to enter service around 2032–33”
So, we will be waiting at least another 12 years before they are even in the water. A lot can happen in those 12 years.
But wait…a few weeks ago, it was announced that “construction of the submarines was scheduled to begin in 2024”. In FOUR years’ time?
So, they are now a further two years behind schedule.
AND then there’s this…. “The SEA 1000 submarines are predicted to remain in service until the 2070s.”
I doubt if any nation will be using – needing – subs in 50 years’ time, even if we haven’t already obliterated the entire Earth, with the effects of Climate Change.
So…can anyone please tell me what wisdom there is in spending EIGHTY BILLION DOLLARS on such a folly?
IS THERE ANY HOPE OF STOPPING THIS?
I apologise for not remembering where this quote (below) originated, but it is very telling:
“It is hard to believe that a government genuinely committed to defending the nation would sign a contract to buy 12 ludicrously expensive submarines that would not be operational for at least 20 years, with the final submarine not ready for nearly 40 years. The fleet will be obsolete before its delivered.”
For over thirty years, I lived in a house on an acre of land. Stretched across part of the wide back yard was a washing line. At each end of this was a sturdy post that held an adjustable cross bar, from which came two strands of strong (plastic covered) clothesline, each stretching for about fifty metres.
At about midpoint on these lines resided two tall clothes ‘props’ – strong, but lightweight and straight branches from eucalypt trees, culled for the purpose, with forked tops. The purpose being to lift, or prop up, the lines as high as possible, after the washing was securely pegged.
I loved that clothesline.
On warm windy days, washing would be fluttering, horizontal, flat out, quickly drying. Conversely, on rainy days, clothing would flap around furiously, only to eventually settle down and dry nicely – and so fresh and clean - once the rain stopped. Items left out overnight during a frosty winter would be rigid in the morning and almost in danger of breaking at a touch if you were not careful.
During many days, kookaburras came to perch, and laugh, on the clothesline end posts.
Now, that was a clothesline! As I said, I loved it!
I have decided that I could never live in a house or apartment that did not have an outdoor clothesline. The benefits of outdoor washing lines are many: Perhaps number one should be the saving on power needed to artificially dry clothes, and that is true. But, I also love the way, no matter what else you have to do, you need to find time to go outside in the fresh air and undertake and action that requires very little brain power and just a little exercise. Just to enjoy the air, reach up from basket, peg, to line until all is swinging in the (hopeful!) breeze,
In summertime, the dried washing can be brought inside whenever you have the chance to once more step outside into the fresh air. There you can stand, mind emptied of worries, unpegging, and folding beautiful fresh clothes, sheets and towels.
Sure, if you’re working an eight-hour job, a midday check of the washing might be well-nigh impossible, but, lucky you if you can have any bring-in-the-washing time at lunchtime.
Smell the cotton and linen. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can give that sunshiny smell to fresh washing, other that sunshine and fresh air.
I cringe at the thought of one day having to downsize to apartment living and have to transfer items from a washing machine straight to an electric dryer. I cannot even contemplate such a thought.
It’s 9.30 pm and my husband is outside, in the dark - a bright beam from his hand-held torch shining in front of him. Neighbours probably wonder what this man is doing at around the same time, every night. ‘Is his wife nervous and needs assuring that there are no criminals or strange animals out in the yard?’
No. He’s looking for cane toads.
Before we left Victoria to come and live on the south east coast of Queensland, we knew about the dreaded cane toad and how it was wreaking havoc with our wild life; killing much of anything that tried to eat it and eating things that were needed by our native species. We read about its poison gland and saw pictures of it in all its ugliness.
We read about how colonies of this awful pest were marching forever westwards, and reports were telling that it had reached the magnificent and precious Kakadu National Park.*
We had visited Kakadu a few years earlier. We had clambered up the steep escarpments and admired and swooned over the views and the bird life.
The thought that cane toads could be infiltrating this beautiful part if Australia was almost too hard to bear.
We decided that, when we became Queenslanders, we would join what we imagined would be hundreds of Queenslanders joined in their efforts to eradicate this awful menace.
After settling into our Gold Coast home, we brought up the subject of the cane toad, only to be met with strange looks and a sort of ‘who cares?’ attitude.
‘There aren’t many around here’, said some.
‘You occasionally see a squashed one on the road, but that’s about all’.
Why would there be cane toad bodies, squashed on the road, if there weren’t many around?
They must come out at night was the answer.
‘Do you ever look outside, after dark?’ I asked.
‘Nah, there aren’t any here.’
So, that’s when my husband started his nightly rambles by torchlight.
The result? Cane toads – big ones, small ones, middle-sized ones – cane toads in our suburban Gold Coast yard.
As he finds them, he gathers them up (carefully) into plastic bags,
Then, what does he do with them? You may well ask.
The plastic bags containing toads go into the fridge, where the toads go into a sort of hibernating sleep.
Once they are well asleep (usually the next day) they are transferred to the freezer, where the tranquil sleep turns into something more than a doze - and they slip into a painless death.
And, then what?
Well, when the human food in the freezer seems to be in danger of being crowded out by frozen cane toads it’s time to deliver the frozen catch.
There’s a not-for profit organisation called, “Watergum” – where a dedicated group of volunteers “help the community engage in real, on-ground work to restore, maintain& protect the natural environment”.….There’s lots they do
And one of their tasks is…
“The Cane Toad Challenge - a revolutionary new method of cane toad control that uses the toad’s own toxins against them. Lures made from toxic cane toad glands tempt tadpoles into traps that can catch upwards of 4000 in one go”.
So, that's where we take them.
Thank you, Watergum !
At least we have found one group of Queenslanders doing their bit to help rid us of the cane toad.
BUT….My question to other Queenslanders - and Northern Territorians is:
Why isn’t EVERYONE out and about EVERY night trying to rid us of this bloody toad?
There’s only so much one old bloke and a torch can do!
*……….Biodiversity in Kakadu National Park has been "decimated" by cane toads in recent years, with some species disappearing from sight altogether, according to one of the NT's leading toad experts. (ABC Feb, 2019)
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.