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Letters to the Editor

Quentin Bryce display sexist

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Quentin Bryce was respected and admired during her tenure as Australia's 25th and first female governor-general.

Her personal accomplishments and public service have been an inspiration to us all, but particularly to Australian women. Yet she is represented in the Museum of Australian Democracy (Old Parliament House) through the display of a very fetching yellow dress. While the dress displays her stylish and colourful taste in clothes, its display is a crass and sexist representation of a woman who held such high public office. 

How can women have any hope for the future if one of our cultural institutions cannot get past what women wore while in political office. Tony Abbott, arguably Australia's worst prime minister, is represented by a bicycle made especially for him. Perhaps the museum could reconsider and in the pursuit of equity, display the ex-PM's skimpy swimming costume.

Patrick O'Hara, Issacs

Killing cycle to continue

Philip Barnaart (Canberra Times, January 24) cites Macquarie Island as an example of a success story in exterminating fast-breeding species. In my letter (CT January 17), I noted that extermination of fast-breeding species is well-known to be impossible. I should have made it clear that I meant impossible (short of nuking the whole place) in normal, complex, continental ecosystems such as Australia, Europe, Africa, Asia, North and South America.

It is possible to exterminate even fast-breeding species in a relatively small area that is geographically isolated with a simple and highly volatile ecosystem, such as an offshore island. Local extinctions on offshore islands happen routinely from natural causes, without any help from humans. Species are wiped out by a bad winter or a high tide, new species arrive by sea and air to fill the empty niches and are then themselves wiped out. The original species gradually return, gets wiped out again and is replaced again. Offshore islands are utterly useless as models for ecological processes anywhere else in the world.

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 Indeed, Macquarie Island is a showcase for how massacres of introduced species can cause ecological disasters.

When cats were eradicated there, the rat and rabbit populations exploded with devastating impacts on vegetation and nesting seabirds. Since then the rats and rabbits have been systematically exterminated — but rats will return there eventually, the same way they got there in the first place (off ships). And the cycle of cruel massacre will no doubt start again.

Frankie Seymour, Queanbeyan

Must focus on whole city

For well over a decade The Canberra Times has reported on closures to Lake Tuggeranong due to another algae outbreak or pollution issue. Despite this, ACT Labor has continued to ignore the issue and instead has started another round of public consultations.

In 2007, the federal government gave $10.2million dollars for the "Integrated Urban Waterways Project". A large part of this funding was to help resolve Lake Tuggeranong's problems caused by stormwater runoff from Kambah and Wanniassa. 

However, in July 2012 Andrew Barr decided to stop the work in Tuggeranong and he redirected $8.5million to stormwater reticulation in his own inner north backyard. This decision ensured the pollution and bad smells of Lake Tuggeranong would continue for many years to come. 

What really concerns me, however, is the consistent pattern of Andrew Barr and Shane Rattenbury spending taxpayers' dollars on their own Molonglo electorate at the expense of Canberra's increasingly struggling outer suburbs. 

It is time for ACT politicians to cease their focus on the areas of Canberra that are best for their re-election and start to govern for Canberra as a whole.

Brendan Halloran, Wanniassa

Wrong use of word

Sports misreporting has shifted from tennis and "grand slams" to cricket, with inaccuracy in both the headline and story ("Pandey shines as India deny Australia whitewash in series", Canberra Sunday Times, January 24, p40).  "White-wash" is a simile for a "cover-up", arising from the traditional method of covering over dirty walls using a lime-based mixture called "whitewash". Winning a series unbeaten is a "clean-sweep".

 "Whitewash" could, on the other hand, be used to describe attempts to hide the match-fixing in tennis.

Eric Hunter, Cook

Need money for tram

Tony Trobe ("Will driverless cars kill light rail?", CT, January 24) tells us we are each represented by 7000square metres of bitumen. But his statistics of 2869kilometres of road for 400,000 denizens imply something more like 70square metres. 

Thank goodness! Otherwise I could not afford a new tram set to play with as well.

Tony Corkhill, Kambah

DA access was questioned

In a letter to the editor (Sunday CT, January 24), RI Boxall is incorrect in admonishing the Belconnen Community Council as being an apologist for the ACT government. Not a single member of the public contacted us about DAs no longer being notified in The Canberra Times.

Prior to last Sunday's article being printed, the committee had already decided to ask the ACT government questions about alternative access methods for people who did not have smart devices or an internet connection. We also asked EPD to reconsider the decision at a meeting with senior EPD officials during the week.

Unfortunately the Canberra Times article did not refer to the BCC decision to communicate with ACTPLA on this topic.

We are always supportive of new methods the public can use to access government information such as development applications, particularly as smartphones and other technologies become ubiquitous, but are mindful that some people do not have that access.

Damien Haas, acting chair, Belconnen Community Council

Funding off-track

When a farmer gets himself elected to the local shire council and the road soon gets bitumen up to his farm gate, we do not tend to think of that as being corrupt use of power.  Instead we tend to forgive it and say: "the road needed sealing anyway and it did not cost much", or "it is just a fair reward for his/her voluntary service to council".

These might be our reactions.  But $783 million for a tram?  What should we think?

R J (Bob) Nairn, Hawker

Email: letters.editor@canberratimes.com.au. Send from the message field, not as an attached file. Fax: 6280 2282. Mail: Letters to the Editor, The Canberra Times, PO Box 7155, Canberra Mail Centre, ACT 2610.

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