There is no place for politics in Ashes celebrations

Dear sir, on behalf of all Australians who are for a constitutional monarchy, I have to protest about Tony Abbott going to the celebration of the Ashes triumph.

This was a national event if ever there was one. We're told that we need the representative of foreign monarchy to give these occasions the grace and dignity they deserve. We're also told that someone chosen by ourselves will always be nothing but a politician, and that politicians will only ever pollute and pervert such occasions by grabbing all the glory for themselves.

So why was a politician allowed anywhere near this happy national event? Why do monarchists themselves never protest when it happens? Is Abbott going to apologise for the hypocrisy of what he did?

Or will he try to outdo Howard in screaming that we have to stick to our second-hand monarchy, while shoving the monarch's representative into the shadows?

G.T.W. Agnew,

Coopers Plains, Qld

Extreme tactics

Jenna Price might want to hope that no one takes up her suggestion to send sanitary products with red markings to the office of Immigration Minister Scott Morrison (''Monthly reminder could help end humiliation'', Times2, January 7, p5).

This action is no different to that of the man who was charged in June with using a postal service to cause menace for sending packages containing a (harmless) white powder to members of the ACT Legislative Assembly.

Price's article is evidence that some associated with or influenced by the ''Destroy the Joint'' movement could be stupid enough to send used sanitary products, something that authorities seeing red will need to allow for.

Price admits that used sanitary products pose a health risk.

She presents no evidence that Morrison will not act to correct this deplorable situation without the menace that she and her organisation are inciting.

John Bromhead, Rivett

Positive impact

Any event that attracts the numbers Summernats does will bring some people the community would rather went elsewhere.

That said, I wonder if the positive economic impact on Canberra and district is fully appreciated and what economically viable alternative might be suggested for this time of year?

Perhaps the event could be likened to cicadas: it's noisy and occasionally annoying but it's over quickly and it reminds us of summer.

No, I do not own a street car and I'm yet to attend the festival.

David Grierson, Ngunnawal

Young voice pleases

Congratulations for publishing Brandon Jack's piece, ''Moral sense being skewed by a violent culture'' (Times2, January 7, p5).

It was good a young person was given the opportunity to have their thoughts articulated in such a forum.

It should also provide some comfort and remind many older members of the community, who are bewildered by what appears to be growing acts of random and premeditated violence, that there are many terrific young people in our midst who are also aghast and searching for answers.

Importantly, they are thinking about the solutions.

As Jack's article points out, external influences beyond just good parenting and families shape culture and individual behaviour more than ever.

Developing the cultural and moral boundaries many (probably most) are seeking is a very big task but one that should not be seen as insurmountable lest we have lost.

It is a task that must be shared by all: no exceptions.

John Miller, Campbell

Bradfield just did his job

I expected some hyperbole from Professor Frank Zumbo about high-speed rail below the header ''Air-rail links not pie in the sky'' (Times2, January 7, p1).

The second sentence was: ''Not since Dr J.J.C. Bradfield gave us the Sydney Harbour Bridge have we had a truly visionary transport planner.''

Admittedly, some sources describe him as the ''father of the bridge''. But ''visionary'' is a bit much.

Bradfield was a public servant who produced, as directed, and with staff, plans using designs already implemented overseas.

He was chief engineer for metropolitan railway construction in the NSW Public Works Department.

In 1915, he submitted a report to electrify the suburban railways and build a city underground railway and the bridge.

He finished a draft design by 1916, essentially a copy of New York's Hell Gate Bridge, which was completed the same year.

The construction of Hell Gate began in 1912 after some years of planning.

By 1913, Harold Bell Lasseter, of Lasseter's Reef fame, who had returned five years earlier from New York State, had already submitted a design for an arch bridge over Sydney Harbour.

To whom it was submitted is not recorded in the Australian Dictionary of Biography entry by Gerald Walsh, previously of the Australian Defence Force Academy.

Zumbo, having mentioned Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane, concentrated on high-speed rail to the proposed Sydney airport at Badgerys Creek.

How a metropolitan high-speed-rail system could develop into an interstate freight-handling system is left as a mere acorn of a vision.

Gary J. Wilson, MacGregor