Letter to the editor
I have a simple question for our Prime Minister. Can he guarantee that the frighteningly early bushfire season has nothing to do with climate change? Can he do so unequivocally and without qualification? If he can't, why does he have so little concern for future generations, a lack reflected so clearly in his reluctance to take action on climate change which is anything other than mere window dressing?
Peter Dark, Queanbeyan, NSW
It's October and Sydney is already ringed by fires. Hey, let's get rid of the carbon price, sit back and watch firefighters jump higher and run faster. I can't see any problem with that. Maybe our PM will dress up as a fireman again. Makes for great TV!
Rosemary Walters, Palmerston
Stop the rorting
I have contempt for certain members of the Federal Parliament who make doubtful claims for so-called ''expenses''. It's outrageous that some fail to redress what most reasonable people would say is a rort. One member who said Tasmania was a leech on the mammary of Australia seems to have taken a trip at taxpayers' expense to buy an investment property. Others have attended weddings and billed travel to us. At the next election I hope all of us remember these MPs and senators who abuse their expenses and ask for our vote. And yes, I have a contempt for these rorters. Does this qualify me to be brought before the Australian Parliament for my contempt of certain politicians and face a possible prison sentence?
Byron Kaufman, Dickson
For a man who would like Australians to think he held the highest moral values, we find the leader of the country is not in a position to take the high moral ground and sort out the rorting of entitlements because he has been one of the main players putting his hand in the public purse. Any credibility the man had must be questioned, together with his suitability to lead the country.
D.J. Fraser, Mudgeeraba, Qld
David Biles (Letters, October 15) is right when he says the increase in imprisonment is ''startling and a matter for serious concern'' . But of greatest concern is that the only solution being considered by our ACT government is to expand the jail - a failed solution that deals only with the symptoms, not the cause.
In a similar way the Queensland government is dealing only with the symptoms by arresting and jailing so-called ''outlaw criminal bikie gangs''. The root cause of the bikie problem and the overfilled jails is intimately linked with the war on drugs, that is, drug prohibition. Prohibition has created a hugely profitable black market that has attracted many dealers (not only bikies) and has made criminals out of any who dare use those drugs. Tougher drug laws, which all Australian governments have introduced, have made no difference to drug supply or use, but have filled prisons.
Some 70 per cent of the prison population is there for drug-related causes and/or drug dependency.
A revision of the prohibition drug laws would be a better solution. One that is a better answer to addiction than jail, and one that undercuts the black market to take the profit out, thus putting traffickers and dealers out of business. That would be a significant budgetary saving for the ACT and other governments. And it would ensure that David Biles' wish came true: that we not return to transporting our prisoners.
B. McConnell, president, Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform, Higgins
As a long-time resident of Canberra who likes to walk and cycle around Lake Burley Griffin, I am distressed to learn that an industrial service facility is proposed for the parkland recreation area of Black Mountain Peninsula, a place that has always been a popular family gathering spot.
The lake shore offers alternative locations away from intensive recreational use for such a facility where the activity and associated noise would create minimal disturbance.
The western side of Black Mountain Peninsula is a delightful landscape, full of water birds. This park is not the right site for a ferry facility that will no doubt be enlarged in the future.
Thanks to the early planners of our city, we have lakeside parks that we must protect for the enjoyment of future generations.
Cynthia Breheny, Campbell
I write re correspondence concerning the proposed slipway on Lake Burley Griffin, in particular from Philip Winkworth (Letters, October 11).
In his position as director of rowing at Radford College, which he failed to disclose in any of his letters, Mr Winkworth has been personally briefed by senior Land Development Agency staff and advised that it was the National Capital Authority that raised several issues of concern regarding the inappropriateness of the Yarramundi Reach for the proposed slipway, and not the LDA.
Mr Winkworth is also well aware that a large number of sites were originally considered for the slipway and after extensive community consultations, including with the Lake Users Group that represents the interests of all lake users including the rowing clubs, it was agreed that the Black Mountain Peninsula was the most appropriate site for this facility so vital to the safe operation of commercial craft on the lake.
David Dawes, chief executive, Land Development Agency
Full marks to Peter Kramaric (Letters, October 14) who nailed the ''looney left'' and other Labor supporters for their tiresome and inane bleatings.
Those Labor supporters who are penning clap-trap criticism of Tony Abbott are still mired in their own shame about Labor's disgraceful performance over the past six years. Such criticisms about inter alia minor travel expense claims simply pale into insignificance when compared to the proven corrupt activities of unions and Labor ministers across Australia.
Since the Coalition took office, confidence has emerged in the business community; this will assist in its goal of putting our economy back on track. The new government is displaying a far more mature and discerning approach to discharging its responsibilities; it has a positive vision for sustainable growth and development in the national interest.
This is a far cry from the embarrassing pie-shop management style of the former Labor government. Through sheer incompetence and acts of self-interest, the unions and the Labor government appeared to be determined to bankrupt the country.
While the previous government's legacies are not easily identified, it will be remembered for achieving a monstrous and record national debt.
How refreshing it is to see real hope of improved productivity and workplace relations. The Australian public saw the light by installing a new government.
It was a revelation to hear Tony Abbott state on election night: ''Australia is now open for business.''
Noel R. Smith, Canberra City
Stacks of evidence
S. R. Taylor (Letters, October 16) uses a narrow definition of hay. From a botanical point of view, oats, wheat and rye are all grasses. Dictionaries define hay as grasses and other plants such as clover cut for fodder, without specifying how the grass was cut.
I was raised on a farm in the West Australian wheat belt. We made haystacks of oaten hay and, in some years, wheaten hay, with rye hay as the top layer (rye keeps out moisture better). I googled ''oaten hay'' and ''wheaten hay'' and found more than half a million entries for the first and more than 200,000 for the second. For example, the West Australian Department of Agriculture writes about ''oaten hay''. Since I had never heard anyone talk about an ''oat stack'' in Australia, or in my travels in Canada, Britain and the US, I googled that, too, and found that it appears to be used in New Zealand for haystacks of oaten hay. However, in Australia we call them haystacks.
Annette Barbetti, Kaleen
I was very disappointed to see The Canberra Times devote two-thirds of a page to the misleading writing of Malcolm King (''Population alarmists disregard human feelings'', Times2, October 11, p5).
King has a serial history of attempting to create the impression that Australian organisations concerned with issues surrounding population growth are inspired by the Nazis or are somehow responsible for family planning policies adopted in India or China. One of his favourite tactics is to misname these organisations.
In his recent article he described a ''Fenner anti-population conference'' that does not exist. He appears to have been referring to the recent and very successful Fenner Conference on Population, Resources & Climate Change: Implications for Australia's Near Future.
This conference included former governor-general Major-General Michael Jeffery speaking in his official role as Advocate for Soil Health and federal member for Wills Kelvin Thomson commenting on how Australia's very high rate of immigration (far and away the highest for any developed nation) is congesting our roads, clogging our health systems and excluding our youth from taking their first steps onto the employment ladder.
Ian Dunlop, former CEO at the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and numerous leading Australian academics described the desperate need for Australia to drastically reduce carbon emissions and end habitat destruction - something impossible to do while population is increasing.
The conference was funded by the Australian Academy of Sciences and had nothing whatsoever to do with invoking ''the concept of lebensraum'' or ''creating a form of totalitarianism based on nature worship over individual rights''. In his previous diatribes, PR consultant King has stated that ''the 'fallacy of generalisation' so beloved of media commentators … is the enemy of truth'' and yet that is exactly what he has engaged in. To balance King's latest misleading contribution, The Canberra Times should devote at least two-thirds of a page to comments on the Fenner conference from people who, like myself, actually attended it.
Kensington Park, SA
To the point
CHECK THE OTHERS
In the interests of a complete picture, can the media investigate the expenses claimed of the other two leaders, Bill Shorten and Christine Milne? The rot starts at the top.
Julie Kidd, Bonner
Do some MPs ever open their pay packet?
Tony May, Pearce
Would the honest politician stand up now, please.
B.J.Millar, Queanbeyan West, NSW
So a 26-storey tumescence, standing proud and erect, will soon rise skyward in Belconnen. I wonder what the gender balance of the planners and architects might be – isn’t it a shame that Dr Freud isn’t around to comment.
Steve Ellis, Hackett
FORGOTTEN HAY DAYS
Referring to S.R.Taylor’s letter (Letters, October 16) has he never heard of wheaten hay, barley hay, lucerne hay, meadow hay etc, as well as oaten hay .
From an old bush bankie.
Ken Wood, Holt
PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB
Though old now, I remember how hard it was to find a quiet place to study when I was at university. Don’t kick those young students – with their laptops – out of the wonderful Dickson and other ACT libraries early just to save a dollar (‘‘Libraries shut earlier to save cash’’, October 17, p2). Bad economics!
Alan Thornhill, Ainslie
ROXON’S GOT A HIDE
In relation to former MP Nicola Roxon’s call for Kevin Rudd to quit Parliament, Ms Roxon might want to consider whether someone who had decided to stop taking the heat would necessarily be well placed to advise someone else to get out of the kitchen (with apologies to Harry S. Truman).
D. McNeill, Rivett
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