Governing for all Australians does not mean circling the wagons and hiding the womenfolk. Contrary to feeble excuses about merit, there are women not in the first Abbott ministry who are far more able than that too-large percentage of male drones who have gained preferment in it.
It would be better not to have the dubious question of male merit proven by fumbles, dropped balls, and bitter experience. Governing for all does not allow anyone to secretly practise a religious prejudice; not even a Jesuit could hope to justify or get away with that casuistry. The PM has said that he would lead a government of no excuses, and yet this looks disappointingly like the first one. I doubt that Malcolm Turnbull would have been so silly.
Roy Darling, Florey
Hypocrisy in the extreme
The suggestion Bronwyn Bishop will bring a sense of dignity to the Parliament as speaker is laughable given her record in past parliamentary committees. And coming from Tony Abbott, who as leader of the opposition continually moved vexatious motions of no-confidence in the government, it is even more incongruous.
Geoff Mander, Hawker
Setting a good example
Well done, Tony Abbott, for opting to bed down at the Federal Police College and forgoing expensive digs in a mansion in the wilds of Yarralumla or, perish the thought, Harcourt Hill!
Well done, also, Julie Bishop, for pulling your departmental bureaucrats into line and requesting cancellation of the first-class flight and over-the-top expensive accommodation they'd arranged for your visit to the UN and the full cast of accompanying players from Foreign Affairs. Laying down guidelines for business-class travel and cheaper accommodation is something that should have happened long before now.
Heather McMillan, Greenway
Single issue parties vital
I was disappointed in Crispin Hull's discussion about people who voted for fringe parties (''Not just fringe parties, it's who votes for them'', Forum, September 14, p2). In my mind, one of the most important virtues of preferential voting is that it is possible to cast a 1 vote for a candidate of a single plank party, eg, Stable Population Party, while still allowing one's vote to count for the preferred candidate among those at all likely to win. In this way, one can flag important issues not high on the agendas of the major parties.
I do, however, agree with Hull's support of optional preferential voting; there were some candidates I did not want to vote for even very far down the preferences.
Vicki Peterson, Kambah
H. Ronald (Letters, September 14) compares Labor voters to yellow dogs and to a former Labor prime minister as a ''graceless tribal warrior'' (Letters, September 13). This is not the language of the small ''l'' liberal with whom social democrats have much in common, sharing support for liberty, equality before the law and community.
It is the language of the capital F Fascist, for whom capital is the king and labour, both in the city and the country, pawns.
It is against this sort of politics that some Labor voters are ''rusted on'' to the party.
And let's not knock ''rusted on'' party supporters of any party. They are the foundation stones of the parties. It is they who ensure that whatever party wins an election there will be an effective opposition to hold the government to account and protect the democratic values of liberty, equality and fraternity.
H. Ronald's language is anathema to those who seek constructive political debate in this country.
Ken Brazel, Weston
H. Ronald (Letters, September 13) is consistent in his denial of reality. If it is not his denial of climate change it is the denial of the Coalition's vituperative behaviour ever since Abbott stabbed Turnbull in the back. Despite H. Ronald's protestations, I suspect that in time Julia Gillard will be seen as a much better PM than most give her credit for, except perhaps at communication. She negotiated a minority government into existence, something completely beyond Abbott's abilities, and she organised the passing of a significant amount of legislation.
Since Abbott took over, the attitude of the Coalition seems to be: If you repeat a lie often enough, it will be believed. This is clearly illustrated by the non-existent ''debt crisis''.
John Laurie, Weston
Change voting system
I support Jennifer Bradley's suggestion (Letters, September 15) that we replace above-the-line voting with optional preferential voting whereby, in a normal half-Senate election, voters need only vote for six candidates, though more if they wish. Perhaps we also need a party to attain a minimum of 4 per cent before its candidate can be elected on preferences, though it may not be necessary if the above system is implemented.
Jenny Goldie, Michelago, NSW
Jobs for Liberal boys
Having seen the reasonable, logical letters in The Canberra Times setting out the administrative and procedural reasons why it was quite OK to remove Steve Bracks as New York consul-general designate I now recant my obviously erroneous view that it was political pettiness, the need to save it so as to reward one of their own, etc. But it's a pity that it's Nick Minchin who's to be appointed. My money was on Andrew Bolt.
Dallas Stow, O'Connor
Cold on climate policy
Sydney suffered early September bushfires, its warmest winter and its hottest year in 150 years - all possible signs of climate change (''The right climate for action'', Times2, September 16, p1). Canberra had its warmest winter, its hottest year and hottest early September day. The US had Hurricane Sandy, a record drought in the south, record-breaking tornadoes, a rash of huge forest fires and now record floods in Colorado.
Yet the climate change ''deniers'' still say that the ''pause'' in the rise of global mean surface temperatures over the past 15 years and the ''recovery'' this northern summer of the Arctic sea ice show warming isn't happening.
The ''pause'' in warming, cited as evidence that increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide isn't causing warming after all, is easily explained. Computer modelling of ocean circulation by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (Nature, August 28) shows that the ''pause'' in global warming is largely the result of a cooling phase in the Pacific decadal oscillation, affecting the eastern and north-eastern Pacific. This cooling effect also explains events such as the prolonged drought in the southern US. After the oscillation have been several shorter-term cool La Nina events which have affected Australia.
The area covered by Arctic sea ice did indeed increase after the record low last year but data from the European Space Agency's CryoSat satellite, which measures the thickness of the ice, shows the volume of Arctic sea ice has continued to decline.
Mr Abbott: This is indeed the right climate for action.
Dr Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Maybe Wayne Smith (''The right climate for action'', Times2, September 16, p1) should read what other newspapers are saying. The following link speaks for itself: dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2420783/Global-warming-just-HALF-said-Worlds-climate-scientists-admit-computers-got-effects-greenhouse-gases-wrong.html.
Dr Judy Ryan, Lyons
Pauline Snowie (Letters, September 16) states that we are fortunate to have peacefully changed our government: ''Let us make sure we keep it this way for our children's children and future generations.'' Do people realise that with the world's totally inadequate response to climate change so far, there may well be no future generations? We have peacefully voted in a government that will do nothing about climate change. We are neither smart nor fortunate.
F. A. Chivas, Scullin
Mike Pflanz's article ''Africa population to 'double' within 40 years'' (September 16, p7) is frightening.
The Horn of Africa, which takes in four of the most poverty-stricken nations in Africa, will face a situation where they will survive only by outside aid.
Only 10 per cent of this part of Africa's land is arable. They are treading an unsustainable path.
The situation they will be facing in another 50 years will make a mockery of any humanitarian migration program.
Basically, if they cannot be helped to control their birth rate, the excess population will die of hunger. This is basic Darwinism.
Howard Carew, Isaacs
No more culture shock
It is commendable and important that David Thomas (''Reaping awards among fruits of forest'', September 6, p6) has learnt about many aspects of his culture and wants to share this knowledge with his community. However, I take umbrage at his statement that because of the colour of their skin ''white people'' have less capacity to identify indigenous plants or learn about indigenous culture. These courses are run because nobody has innate knowledge.
Both my parents are Italian migrants - I would never presume that I have the capacity to know more than non-Italians about Italian culture and natural systems just because of my Italian and Mediterranean background and skin colour. As we belong to the one species (Homo sapiens), it is the great number of similarities as humans that bind us. It should not be the minor differences that divide us.
Juliana Lazzari, Narrabundah
Scared for Scotland
The article by Joff Lelliott (''Currency matters as Scotland looks into soul'', Times2, September 16, p5) about the complications of currency ignored the fact that the Bank of Scotland was founded by the same man one year after the Bank of England (1696 and 1695 respectively - 10 years before the union of the parliaments) and, since then, Scotland had its own banking system. There are several Scottish banks (the Royal Bank of Scotland, the British Linen Bank etc) and they all produced their own money (coin and notes), which caused difficulties when naive Scots visited England, only to be told that stores did not accept foreign currency. I cannot imagine what kind of currency Alex Salmond would want if Scotland becomes genuinely independent.
A much greater worry to me is what Scotland would do for an income. All the old 19th-century industries are now extinct and North Sea oil was never a Scottish holding at all and, in any event, will slowly run down in the near future. Tourism? Salmon fishing? Electronic and technological advances? I don't think so.
Marjorie Curtis, Kaleen
Bible must come first
ACT voters are all to blame for allowing their Chief Minister to get this far to act the fool over the meaning of marriage.
The collective ACT administration and its petty-minded ministers show their cocky ignorance of the existing equality under Australian law of same-gender relationships.
The declared action proposed shows absolutely no respect for the value of family and is an insult to clear the Christian biblical basis of marriage in my country. I protest against the ACT government.
Do ACT residents think there are no dire consequences if they don't rise up and throw out such an evil ACT government stance for social engineering?
Cooma North, NSW
Rejuvenation lies with cable car, rail upgrade
I enjoyed reading Manny Notaras' article ''You can't beat a renewed heart'' (Forum, September 14, p3). I agree with him that the CBD - including Parliamentary Triangle areas - needs attention.
I would also like to put up two suggestions of my own. First, that a cable car be constructed from the Ainslie Avenue exit of the Canberra Centre up Ainslie Avenue and then on to Mount Ainslie. For tourists and locals alike it would be a tremendous asset. Second, the construction of a ''Canberra Eye''' similar in size to the London Eye. Our Eye could be built in Commonwealth Park to provide a magnificent vista of the lake and the various national buildings. It would be a tremendous asset.
In respect of Manny's championing of high-speed rail and its putative city station, I feel he is wrong. The high-speed rail ideas are all pie-in-the-sky. To tunnel under Mount Ainslie is just not financially viable.
What we have always needed for Canberra is a faster train to Sydney. The competing jurisdictions that have bedevilled this country have ensured that no appropriate funding will ever be forthcoming to upgrade the Canberra-Sydney railway. It could have been done years ago if the respective governments had had the political will. Electrification to Goulburn and Canberra, with the remediation of transitions along the line, would easily bring Canberra to within a two-hour rail journey to Sydney at a third of the cost of a high-speed train.
As well, the improved line would also be compatible for freight services. That being done would then have justified an extension to the Canberra Airport. The airport then could have been connected to the CBD by light rail. This is what other world cities do.
There needs to be more discussion on the subject.
Kevin Connor, Kaleen
Party vote no test
Beryl Richards (Letters, September 13) is surely being mischievous when she identifies the poor primary vote for the Voluntary Euthanasia Party as evidence of lack of support among voters. Beryl may recall that in my letter, I referred to ''informed adults'' … the type of people who wouldn't vote for a one-policy party however sensible that one policy might be.
Jevon Kinder, Murrumbateman, NSW
TO THE POINT
Tony Abbott's ministry is not so much back to the future, but rather future to the back.
Peter Eddington, Carwoola, NSW
A minister for sport but no minister for science. Good to see we've got our priorities right. (Where's the sarcasm emoticon when you need it?)
Kylie Evans, Murrumbateman, NSW
A MAN'S WORLD
It would appear that broadcaster Alan Jones' comments of August 2012, that women are ''destroying the joint'', have had an impact on the Coalition who can only manage to place one woman in the new ministry. Perhaps Tony Abbott's use of his daughters during the election campaign was to show that women should be kept in their proper place, i.e. as an adjunct to a man.
Barbara Godfrey, Lyneham
Tony Abbott says he doesn't have a problem with women. His cheerleaders rubbish anyone who asserts otherwise. After all, he married one and has three daughters (don't we all know).
Julie Bishop is now the final piece of contrary evidence. Like the naked emperor, the fictional ''new'' Abbott will soon be revealed as a fairytale.
Mark Slater, Melba
I hope it did not escape the notice of the media (or Tony Abbott) that at Tuesday morning's press conference concerning the shootings in Washington there were five speakers: the mayor, two chiefs of police, the person leading the FBI investigation and a representative from Congress. Four of these people were women.
J.E. Smith, Nicholls
I note Tony Abbott's daughters will remain living in his home until they are safely married.
The reasons are a matter of indifference to me. I will, however, be interested to know where ''home'' will be, especially after The Lodge is decontaminated and refurbished.
If ''home'' proves to be taxpayer-provided or subsidised, will they (as this taxpayer and presumably countless others did) pay board, and to whom?
Forbes Creek, NSW
BILLY GOATS HUFF
It seems that Craig Bulloch (''Making time for the kids always pays off'', September 14, p1) is suffering from a case of moral schizophrenia. Having brought newly born kids inside near the fire, bottle-fed them and declared his love for them, the ''gentle farmer'' then declares that he will kill them in his own abattoir.
Mike O'Shaughnessy, Spence
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