Letters to the Editor

Canberra Times letters: becoming modern, vibrant city? Outrage!

I am shocked. Shocked, I tell you, at the latest outrage to befall Canberra. I'm talking about the proposed seven-storey development in Forrest that the Canberra Times exposed on March 15.

Only last month there were plans to turn Curtin shops into Las Vegas, with a six-storey glittery skyscraper destroying every vestige of community life.

And apartments. In Curtin! I shudder to think what is next: outdoor dining, active transport, broadband?

What are these evil developers trying to do – turn Canberra into a thriving, cosmopolitan, national capital?

It is bad enough we are having a modern light rail system built to meet our future needs, but now they want to impose six- and seven-storey monoliths on us.

What we need is a Residents Action Group on every corner, manning the barricades against making Canberra tall, wide, and architecturally interesting.


If we don't make a stand now, who knows what will be developed in Canberra: the Hanging Gardens of Bonython, the Leaning Tower of Pearce, the Colossus of Reid, or the Great Pyramid of Gilmore?

I only hope my cats and grandcats never live to see the day when Canberra is ruined by becoming a medium-density, contemporary, much envied and vibrant city.

Simon Tatz, Curtin

Misquoting Griffin

Once we had planners of renown who designed into the Griffin city framework, respecting the work of planning experts who gave us our beautiful lake and landscaped city.

Now Canberra is shaped by developers who hijack city planning, lobby politicians and where possible give their proposals the "Griffin" imprimatur. Penleigh Boyd (letters, March 16) pointed out how the Light Rail works has misappropriated Griffin's name in its hoarding presumably to justify the light rail's location along Northbourne Avenue.

However inappropriate the naming in the hoarding is, it is not as damaging as the West Basin so called "Griffin Legacy" building estate proposal that will obliterate the community parkland designed by the Griffins.

But the suggestion by Boyd for the NCA to counsel the ACT Government on misquoting Griffin is questionable when the NCA continually uses Griffin-green-stamping propaganda to justify the building estate subdivision over West Basin's lakeside parkland.

Juliet Ramsay, Burra, NSW

Banking setback

On March 17 the St. George branch at Erindale was due to close. I along with many others received a letter to this effect recently.

It stated that following a detailed review they have decided that St. George at Tuggeranong is better equipped to help customers in the ACT.

It is an insult to one's intelligence to imply customers will be better off under the new arrangements.

Doing business with the bank will not change but getting to the point of service will be a lot more inconvenient.

The letter also stated that they would love to hear from us. I rang the number and was given the usual dialogue: "please leave a message, we will get back to you". When nobody got back to us we went to see the bank manager at Tuggeranong and discussed it with her.

She was courteous but could do nothing.

There are a number of elderly people living in this suburb who regularly use this bank so going to Tuggeranong will be a major setback for them.

If anyone from the St. George Bank ACT would like to contact me I would be only too pleased to discuss this matter with them.

Pauline Vincent, Wanniassa

Forgiveness lacking

I thank Fr Robert Wilson (letters, March 16) for his invitation to me to examine New Testament passages such as Mark 9: 42.

I accepted his invitation and found there are several passages in the gospels all confirming what he says: that God is a very strict judge and will severely punish those who do not listen to Him and do as He says.

I make no secret that l am anti-abortion but l am also very much pro-choice. Women who have abortions usually do not do it without a lot of soul searching and incredible anxiety, often bought on by the fact they know that they will be condemned by a church they have often grown up in and told by its hierarchy it was an accepting society.

But no they, are condemned both privately and publicly.

Could I invite Fr Wilson to read New Testament passages such as Matthew 11: 28-30 where Jesus says, "Come to me, all of you who are burdened and l will give you rest.

"Take my yoke for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

That is true healing, forgiveness, comfort and peace.

It is a pity the judgmental hierarchy in the churches didn't let this part of Christ in its veins a bit more, rather than spend most of their time critically judging people.

Geoff Barker, Flynn

Line of the century

I never comment on letters to the editor but I must congratulate A. Whiddett of Yarralumla (Letters, March 14) for the line of this century so far.

I believe his warning ("tongue in cheek remark follows") should be printed as the bold headline for the "To the Point" column every day.

Political correctness has destroyed public humour to the stage that a laugh from a letter is a rarity.

Michael F Buggy, Torrens

Hearing message

Christine Sams' positive review of the ABC's current affairs program The Link (The Guide, March 6, p.16) was confirmed by Friday night's presentation (March 10).

The show provides a diverse range of community views.

Particularly adventurous in the current climate was the interview with three young seminarians soon to be ordained to the Catholic priesthood.

At present Catholics may need encouragement having been betrayed by the deplorable activities of many whom they formerly respected.

The news that others are responding to the call to love and service gives confidence that the Church's true message is being heard with its attendant benefit to society.

Eric French, Higgins

Shorten missed the mark

I am very angry at the comments made by Bill Shorten in response to the answers Sally McManus gave to Leigh Sales (on the ABC) on Wednesday evening.

Sally is absolutely correct. Nobody has to put up with bad laws in Australia or anywhere else. It is protests that bring injustice to the minds of politicians and the conscience of ordinary people. To make changes we need strong public condemnation plus strong politicians prepared to make the changes.

Where would women be if we didn't have the feminists of the first and second wave?

Where would Indigenous Australians be without all of their civil protests? Where would Australian workers be?

Australian Unions do have to tell all Australia the ABCC, Workchoices and now Workchoices Light (aka Fair Work) are a very serious problem.

Bill, before you become PM  develop some integrity, principles and a spine.

Jane Timbrell, Reid

Vaccine research

I have cerebral palsy, and it is vitally important that for any medical issue parents always do their own research.

With the greatest of respect to the authors of the pro-vaccine letters lately, many years back we actually knew a boy who was born normal but became disabled within hours of a vaccine.

This is why parents must be allowed to do their own research. Which the pro-vaccine people should not fear if they have the facts.

Also people need to learn the skill of evaluating the validity of information. My own conventional GP did not give me all

 the vaccines because of my disability.

Andrew Short, O'Connor

Childhood lost

Six-year-old Yousra is the same age as the war in Syria. All she has known is war and when my Red Cross colleagues met her, she was playing hopscotch among the bombed-out buildings of Aleppo.

War cannot kill the imagination of a child. But it's depriving millions of children like Yousra of a childhood.

This week marks an unfortunate anniversary whereby the people of Syria have now endured an armed conflict that's lasted longer than World War II. Imagine what it's like for Yousra and her friends to live through 2190 days of war.

All kids deserve a childhood and a chance for a bright future. We can all do something to make that possible, whether it's giving to the Syria appeal or just being kind to those who have fled the war.

Syria is now everyone's crisis and every one of us can help. Find out how at

Peter Walton, Director International, Australian Red Cross, Carlton Vic

ATO mischief

Chris Jordan, Commissioner of Taxation, says "we are seeing groundless mischief-making ahead of the greater good" (March 15, p.7).

He thinks concern about providing a private polling firm with names, email addresses, work locations, and position categories for every ATO worker is "mischief making". There's a "legitimate" reason for giving out the information, to get a workplace deal agreed.

So the worker bargaining representatives – including three main unions – have the same justification for being given the same information as the management polling agent.

Is Jordan offering that information to them, too?

Jordan was widely quoted recently as saying that ending work at 4.51 didn't pass the "pub test". Of course, he knows that ATO workers are found any time from at least 7am to 7pm, and ATO sites have a range of operating times commonly including 8am to 6pm. The closing time he notes is only the reference time for the hours around which flexible work time operates (for those who are not too senior to get flexibility).

I'd call Jordan's slurs "groundless mischief-making ahead of the greater good".

Christopher Hood, Queanbeyan

Drawn to freedom

How sad is it that, in what turned out to be the last years of his life, the great Bill Leak had to face serious and disruptive threats to his life from Islamists.

In order to lessen the threat from Islamo-Fascists and other enemies of freedom I would urge all newspapers and other media outlets to commit to joining in solidarity with every journal or journalist who, like Bill Leak, falls foul of these tyrants. I do not mean just supportive words I mean re-publication.

If all round the free world tens of thousands of newspapers and other media outlets commit to republishing the cartoons or articles, the enemies of freedom fail.

During the dark days of World War II Winston Churchill told the Nazis "Do your worst and we shall do our best".

This is the attitude all who believe in freedom must adopt.

Dr Bill Anderson, Surrey Hills, Vic

Seeing the light

Don't expect any sympathy from residents of Chifley, Mark Pepper, "Lights no answer" (letters, March 14).

Since the suburbs in Tuggeranong were built and exacerbated by the opening of the freeway, egress from Chifley had been very difficult until the lights were installed on Melrose.

The lights on Hindmarsh will be equally welcome.

Edith Jensen, Chifley

No appetite for vegans

Wednesday's article "ACT leads as Australia goes cashless" March 15, p.5) claims changing to electronic transactions is "faster, more secure, better for the environment and vegan friendly". I know increasing the happiness of vegans is what we should be striving for each day but I can't do it. They eat my food's food. I don't appreciate that.

Tyler Durtan, Aranda



Snowy phase 2 is about to start. A dam here, a tunnel there. All ready costed at $2 billion and servicing 500,000 homes.

Why do I have a vision, as he hands it to the minister, of Sir Humphrey surreptitiously sticking a 2016 date sticker over the 1982 dated 800-page proposal for an expanded Snowy Scheme.

Roy Bray, Flynn

With the Tantangra Dam apparently a centrepiece of the Turnbull government's Snowy Hydro 2.0 plans, surely it is time for an excellent bitumen road from Canberra to Adaminaby to ensure this plan work will work?

Kai Ianssen,  Green Point, NSW

The  Snowy Hydro is primarily a water management scheme suited to generating power regularly for an hour or so on most days at peak demand time. It is much less suited to back-up in the case of the prolonged failure of large scale renewable resources.

John L Smith, Farrer 


From the Philippines to Egypt and to Azerbaijan, countries that once were pro-American have suffered betrayal and turned away from Washington. So should Australia, now just another US whipping boy. The US is not a reliable or respected partner any more.

Rex Williams, Ainslie


Robyn Lewis (Letters, March 16) says the Battle of Fromelles is "not recognised". The names of the Australian dead are recorded at the Australian War Memorial, a cemetery for more recently found Australian dead from the battle was constructed in 2009-2010 and the battle was described in the official war histories.

Peter Moran, Watson


I was a little depressed by Vince Patulny's letter (letters, March 13). When writers appeal for change, they also need to contact the person they're calling on, or someone else who has influence or authority.  Letters aren't necessarily just a boost to the ego though. Readers get thinking and may  take up the cause.

Jane Craig, Holt


I'll go further than John Warhurst's push for job-sharing by MPs ("Making Parliament work", March 16, Page 16). How about we outsource their jobs to India? Everyone else's job seems to be lately. The bonus might be that the Indians run our country better than those self-interested dolts on capital hill.

Gerry Murphy, Braddon

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