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I disagree with Doug Lorimer, who asks "Should we oppose fusion technology?" (Feb. 19) He claims two things which I find unbelievable: that we could increase energy production between 300 and 700 times the present level without adversely affecting the planet's heat balance; secondly that Deuterium-Tritium fusion has been achieved.

On the second point, such a fact would be as newsworthy in scientific circles as a manned Mars landing. It hasn't been on "Quantum" (ABC TV) or "The Science Show" (Radio National). I suggest that it would be controversial to even claim that fusion had been demonstrated to be feasible.

As far as increasing energy production goes, look at the enormous global effects of the El Niño current, where there is only a few degrees of temperature increase in the oceans.

The whole concept of creating temperatures — at tens of thousands of places over the face of the earth — equal to those at the centre of a star like our Sun: it is too stupid and bizarre to accept. We get sunlight distributed freely to all.

Somebody should introduce the old concept of appropriate technology to Doug Lorimer.
David R. Hughes
Ballarat Vic


Lt. Gen. A.E. Percival ("Fall of Singapore") did serve in the field. As Major Percival (1919-1921) he led, in the field, the Essex Regiment against Tom Barry's West Cork IRA Flying Column. Though outnumbered, ex-British Army Barry's 142 strong column, with short range ambushes, inflicted many casualties on the Essex, the Black and Tans, and the Auxiliaries. Major Percival captured Tom Barry, disguised as a medical student. After questioning Barry himself, he said "This could not be Barry", and let him go. Major Percival had his own special method of forceful interrogation. He would tear the penises of Irish prisoners to pieces, with hand pliers. The book "Guerilla Days in Ireland" by Tom Barry, is relevant.
Denis Kevans
Wentworth Falls NSW

Civil liberties

Since the East Timor tragedy the conservative side of politics, and I like to include key government members there, is telling us that countries such as Indonesia should not be judged according to Western standards. Quite true, yet when it comes to basic human rights a line must be drawn because they are universal. No country should be excused for murder, torture, racism or sexism. That leads to Salman Rushdie, and I think the Iranian leadership needs to be condemned for the death sentence.

"Religious fanaticism is the most dangerous form of insanity" and it applies on a cross cultural level. A new world order which ignores the goal of achieving basic civil liberties globally will always remain hollow.
Michael Rose-Schwab
Rapid Creek NT

Senator Tate

The Federal Labor Party Executive should not overturn the decision of the Tasmanian branch of the ALP to relegate Senator Tate to fourth Senate ticket.

Senator Tate has been described, amongst other things, as being of upright and impeccable character.

In the field of human rights the upright Senator Tate

  • has consistently opposed the rights of women to abortion on demand;

  • has sponsored the most draconian gun laws, thereby depriving ordinary citizens of the right to defend themselves in a violent society;

  • determinedly tried to remove the rights of citizens to access X-rated videos;

  • failed to overturn, and still fails to overturn, the amendment to the Northern Territory Police Administration Act which provides for indefinite imprisonment without charge or court appearance, in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Schedule 2, Article 9).

If, instead, the Federal Labor Party relegated Senator Loosley to the bottom of the New South Wales Senate ticket, they might gain in popularity.
C.M. Friel
Alawa NT

DSS/Police harassment

According to a news item on Radio National the Department of Social Security and the police are working together to harass demonstrators at the Aidex exhibition.

By taking time off from the often hopeless task of job hunting these young people have forfeited their right to the dole!

Will the police report to the DSS other examples of people wasting time by exercising their constitutional democratic rights such as voting or electioneering?

In conclusion I must mention that as a tax payer I prefer tax money to be spent supporting protesters against the armament industry than in giving military aid to the Indonesian colonial power which uses arms to deny freedom to E. Timor and W. Papua. And also gives military aid to the Philippines whose strategy of low intensity conflict kills more civilians than rebels fighting against an unjust system.
J.E. Downie
Erskineville NSW

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