Circus Maximus revealed as an uncivil war unfolds

Illustration: Cathy Wilcox

Illustration: Cathy WilcoxCredit:

Is this the best that the leader of the free world can do ("President an agent of chaos in dire debate", October 1)? We had a sleazy conman against a bumbling geriatric. What hope has America of having a viable presidency? God help us. Derrick Mason, Boorowa

Under the constant barrage from Trump, Biden dispelled one myth: he is not demented. George Fishman, Vaucluse

Some commentators have been critical of Biden for referring to the current Oval Office occupant as a clown. What else could the man say? Clowns are scary, and that descriptor was entirely apt. Poor, poor America. Bill Young, Killcare Heights

The outcome of the debate was conclusive. Moderator Chris Wallace demonstrated clearly he is the best candidate. David Grover, Chatswood

US citizens were not the only losers in the debacle that was the presidential debate. The world's people were also losers. Trump showed why people recognise him as a danger to stability and decency worldwide. John Cotterill, Kingsford

Illustration: Matt Golding

Illustration: Matt GoldingCredit:

Cancel the debates from now on and allow each to put their views and ideas forward alone. Max Press, North Sydney

None of the reports I've seen have focused on the arguments made in the debate except the white supremacists comment ("Trump taunts Biden in wild debate", October 1). Not surprising, given that the Republicans don't have any platform, other than Trump. Is this exactly what Trump wanted? David Rush, Lawson

What debate? We are witnessing the demise of a super-power. Lyle Keats, Miranda

I don't think Rome's decline was nearly as spectacular as where the USA is headed. Tim Schroder, Gordon

Biden v Trump: the American uncivil war. The carefully crafted system of democracy pioneered by the ancient Athenians 25 centuries ago has morphed into the Circus Maximus. Doug Walker, Baulkham Hills

Biden and Harris's persistent message to the American people should be that if you are one of the many poor, unemployed and racially abused Americans that also lack affordable healthcare "in the world's greatest democracy", you must all rise up come election day and tell Trump "you're fired". Alan Edwards, Roseville

One day we will have a republic. But the Trump-Biden debate gives us reason to hasten slowly. With all its faults, our present system is unlikely to leave us with a head of state as worrying as both candidates are. There is no assurance that a republic would not. Greg McCarry, Epping

I am more one for cryptic crosswords than conspiracies, but if you Google anagrams of the two words "covfefe" and "COVID", you get ''coiffed'', ''devoice'', ''ecocide'' and, finally, ''effed''. James Wall, Sutton Forest

Summing up the post-debate commentary: Make. America. Again. Peter Rylands, Braidwood

Narrabri gas field will be fought to the bitter end

The community of Gloucester is in no doubt as to the devastation being felt in Narrabri and other communities in the north-west NSW (''Giant gasfield another step closer'', October 1). For the Independent Planning Commission to have ignored the overwhelming Australia-wide community rejection and scientific reasoning as to why this ill-fated CSG disaster should not go ahead just reinforces that government and industry bed-hop all the way to the bank.

It took 12 years to rid our beautiful valley and Manning catchment of AGL’s $1.2 billion disaster of a CSG-well gasfield; the destruction to our community, the terrible social impacts and loss of trust in government and industry was profound. We fought back, as Narrabri and all who support them will. Greed and belligerence dominate the fossil fuel industry. Climate action and environmental justice drives the communities who will save and care for their places. Julie Lyford, Gloucester

Why must gas extraction be expanded to such an enormous degree when it is so dangerous on many levels? Putting the integrity of the groundwater system in peril in this area is an important reason why this project cannot proceed. Once the groundwater is polluted – or worse, gone – the desertification of Australia will be accelerated. Judith Rostron, Killarney Heights

Most people cannot imagine the huge toll this decision has on farmers and those who fear the pollution and many dangers of mining coal seam gas in our rich Narrabri farmlands and diversely rich Pilliga forest. Santos will extract and poison massive amounts of precious water so vital for the foods we all need, leaving untold amounts of dangerous toxic salt waste and add to the problems of our ailing Murray-Darling river system – and much more.

What did Santos do to get the nod? It now has permission to pollute with an outdated industry that belongs in the last century, and will never be able to live up to the promises of cheap energy and bountiful jobs. Keelah Lam, Fairlight

Federal and state governments have pushed for this decision in favour of Santos. I am outraged by the lack of care shown for our inland river systems, the Great Artesian Basin, our communities and the wildlife we want protected. This decision is not the end of the story. Elisabeth Dark, Annandale

Do we need to educate the IPC on the definition of the word "independent"? Or would it be more sensible to rename the commission the NSW Fossil Fuel Planning Commission? Margaret Grove, Abbotsford

Manufacturing is our weakness, not our strength

"We make things in Australia. We do it well. And we need to keep making things in Australia," says Scott Morrison ("Blueprint to rebuild nation's industries", October 1). Is he for real? Sydney's new light rail and metro trains built in Spain and India. NSW inter-city trains, built in South Korea. Submarines built in France. In 2014 the then defence minister said, "I wouldn't trust them [the Australian Submarine Corporation] to build a canoe." What's changed between then and now? There's nothing like a recession to show how flimsy our economy really is. Benjamin Rushton, Birchgrove

The government's plan, announced by the PM, to boost the manufacturing sector is welcome news. But can we be assured that the initial grants to be awarded to local companies in the "manufacturing modernisation" stage will be given fairly, rather than being handed out to Coalition-supporting companies? After the sports rorts scandal I am sceptical this may turn out to be a political donation competition. Sandra Burke, North Sydney

Given the major difficulties the Coalition encountered when distributing the sports grants, can the Commonwealth Auditor-General's office be beefed up significantly so it has the capacity to monitor closely the massive grants schemes that look like soaking up most of the $1.5 billion assigned for the manufacturing initiative? Sue Dyer, Downer (ACT)

Morrison is correct about Australia making things. We make up things. We make promises we don't keep. We make mistakes. And we make lamingtons. Tony Doyle, Fairy Meadow

Port in a storm

The Prime Minister's comments and others who are critical of the port dispute disrupting our trade are absolutely correct – it is very wrong at this time ("No medical shortages from port union action", October 1). What is also wrong is to blame one side for the action. A dispute is between two parties and both sides need to be held to account for any disruption that occurs. Why doesn't the PM blame Patrick as well as the union, or better still, let them sort it out? Howard Clark, Ryde

The Maritime Union has a long and embarrassing history of being shamelessly self serving without consideration for the welfare of the broader community it serves. Wharfies earn on average more than $150,000 annually. This is a staggering amount considering it is not essential to be an astrophysicist to do the job. The union's national secretary said the "public will be left in no doubt which party is responsible for escalating this unnecessary conflict". He is quite right. John Whiteing, Willoughby

Stem the tide

Macquarie University is reported to be considering cutting courses in STEM degrees and majors for financial reasons ( "Macquarie uni poised to slash courses", October 1). If this occurs and spreads to other universities we will very rapidly cease to be the lucky country. Now, more than ever, we need to be educating our best and brightest students in the technologies of the future. Stephanie Edwards, Roseville

Just Jacqui

The Tasmanian independent Senator reminds us how a healthy democracy operates ("Lambie opposes funding changes", October 1). Undoubtedly the government will cajole other crossbenchers to gain the numbers needed to pass its funding reforms of universities.

However, regardless of what unfolds, Senator Lambie has demonstrated increasingly rare qualities in a politician; honesty and integrity. Demanding those qualities are exercised by her Canberra colleagues in their policy negotiations is equally commendable. Cleveland Rose, Dee Why

Tax cut fallacy

Jessica Irvine avoids mentioning that people earning less than $50,000 pa will get a paltry amount extra each week to spend ("Tax cuts make sense, practically", October 1). The commentary has suggested it will barely be enough for a cup of coffee. As many others have asked, would we not get more spending by keeping JobSeeker at the COVID level, or better? Or increasing pensions? Or ensuring no fees for state schools, and your first degree or certification free? People struggling to afford the basics in life are hardly going to stimulate the economy with the piddling amount they will get. Peter Thompson, Killara

I would be quite happy to receive a tax cut so I can buy a big new TV as long as I was confident that people in aged care are all living with dignity, every person with a mental health problem had access to adequate and timely treatment, every person who is unemployed has enough money to afford the basics of life and maintain their self-respect, every child had equality in education and when homelessness and poverty are virtually non-existent in our society.

Rather than seeing the proposed tax cuts as some sort of economic tool for good, I view them as bordering on the obscene. Whatever way you look at it the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Phil Peak, Dubbo

This government still characterises the unemployed as lazy, drug-taking young people who have to be "incentivised" to get a job ("Mums and older women become the new face of unemployment", October 1). Of course the answer to unemployment is jobs, but until the government can guarantee a secure job for all unemployed, they need to give the unemployed a damn sight more respect, and maintain the current JobSeeker rate. Sandra Pertot, Diamond Beach

ABC deserves more

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher says he's disappointed ABC staff voted not to defer the 2 per cent pay rise that had previously been confirmed as part of their Enterprise Agreement ("ABC staff vote against pay rise freeze", October 1). He feels it would have been a "fine gesture of solidarity" with their colleagues in the commercial media.

The Minister conveniently overlooks two pertinent facts. Most pay rates for equivalent work in the commercial sector are higher than current ABC salaries, and, the so-called "independent" media spend much of their time attacking the ABC and its staff. David Salter, Hunters Hill

Forward thinking

As daylight saving arrives this weekend, these inconvenient facts might pre-empt the whingers who want to turn the clock back instead of forward. Without daylight saving in operation on the summer solstice, first light would be at 4.08am – great for broken sleep. For all of February and March, the sun would set before 7pm – so much for enjoying a long summer's evening after work.
Civilised countries enjoy daylight saving, and thankfully sensible states and territories in Australia do so too. Norman Monshall, Allambie Heights

Numbers too big to ignore

Vale Helen Reddy. We all heard her roar. Vicky Marquis, Glebe

Reddy’s iconic I Am Woman is indeed a unifying anthem for women. As a teenager in the seventies in the school hall, the students stood as one, belting out this song at the close of assemblies. Our principal made a powerful decision, as our voices would also have been heard by the neighbouring boys’ school. Sharon McGuinness, Thirroul

The year 1974. The place St George Girls High School. The title of my drama club students’ revue I Am Woman ... Thank you, Helen. Lyn Langtry, East Ryde

Following the opening of the Opera House in 1973, they presented a series of Sunday concerts of popular performers not normally associated with opera. Reddy headlined at one and brought the house down with her magnificent anthem. It was my first experience at the new Opera House and what a privilege it was. Max Redmayne, Russell Lea

I am proud to have been one of the delegates who belted out I Am Woman when Jennie George was elected the first female president of the ACTU in 1995. Thanks for a great anthem, Helen. Lynne Poleson, Kingsford

Football news:

Gnabry contracted the coronavirus. Bayern play Atletico tomorrow
Fati is the first in the history of the Champions League to score 2 goals under the age of 18
Messi scored in the 16th consecutive Champions League season and repeated Giggs' record
Bruno did not score a PSG penalty at the first attempt, but the referee asked for an Interruption due to Navas' exit from the goal line
Koeman is the fifth coach to manage 6 teams in the Champions League
Messi is playing his 17th season in the Champions League for Barcelona. This is a club record
Pirlo is the 3rd coach in the history of Juve to win a debut away match in the Champions League, after Capello and Lippi