In The Canberra Times February 5, Shane Rattenbury asserts, "We're usually a caring community, but our speeding is at odds with this ethos. More than 2800 drivers were booked for speeding in school zones alone last year, putting children and families – some of the most vulnerable in our community – at unacceptable risk."
And later in the article, "We must reduce the number of drivers speeding through school zones."
The reasons for this situation may be many and varied but one reason is that drivers have not registered the fact that they are in a school zone during a period of speed restriction.
The reasons for this also may be many and varied but they all amount to inattention on the part of the driver.
This can be addressed. On a number of occasions I have driven into a school zone in the ACT during the period of speed restriction without being aware that I had. I do not believe that I have done so in NSW. The reason – the flashing lights.
Before the last ACT election, the Canberra Liberals proposed the introduction of such lighting in the ACT but no tram. The coalition government promised the tram but not the lights. Perhaps we cannot have both.
However, is this not in conflict with the Minister's asserted ethos? Surely a trial period using lights outside those schools where speeding through school zones is at the highest levels would reflect the coalition's asserted commitment to protect as MrRattenbury asserts "our most vulnerable community members".
Ken Brazel, Wright
In professing support for Julian Assange and criticising the government for not supporting him more, John Rodriguez (Letters, February 8) missed a few key points.
First, contrary to Mr Rodriguez' assertion, Assange has indeed committed an offence in the UK – and the UK court has recently reaffirmed that he is still liable for arrest for breaching his bail obligations. That is a criminal offence.
It appears that Mr Rodriguez believes that it's reasonable that someone accused of sexual assault need not face those charges if they can simply avoid arrest for long enough. I wonder what the #metoo movement thinks of that as a legitimate strategy?
And in demanding justice for Assange, there was not a word of sympathy from Mr Rodriguez for the women who never got to seek justice in a court, or for those supporters of Assange in the UK who lost hundreds of thousands of pounds when he fled into the embassy – apparently they don't deserve justice and their rights don't count in the world of Assange and his supporters.
Assange deserves no sympathy for this situation which he created and the government's approach (both the Coalition and the previous Labor administrations) has been quite correct.
Kym MacMillan, O'Malley
English land Day?
I support Ian Warden and many others' suggestion to change the date of Australia Day.
Here are some reasons other than the main one that it is (justifiably) offensive to Aboriginal Australians.
It is a recent political invention, only 30 years old. They didn't fight two world wars in support of this day.
No other countries have a national day that marks something as esoteric as people landing somewhere (especially when they were late by 40,000 plus years).
The most common dates celebrated were independence days, significant military victories, or national saints. Come to that, most countries name their days to reflect the meaning of that day – Independence Day, Bastille Day, etc.
Federation Day makes more sense other than January 1 being a holiday already.
But for that reason I'm sure business would support it.
Change the date and if you want to do something on January 26 then at least rename it "English land at Botany Bay (following previous landings of Aborigines, Indonesians, Papua New Guineans, Dutch, etc)" Day.
Andrew Timothy Gibbs, McKellar
Include first peoples
So glad David Nolan (Letters, February 7) had a wonderful day celebrating multiculturalism on Australia Day 2018, as I did.
He is absolutely right to worry about Peter Dutton causing divisiveness.
At the same time, how many of us have included our first Australians in our celebrations?
Susan MacDougall, Scullin
Rubbish plan stinks
Congratulations to Bega, Shoalhaven and other municipal councils for innovation in dealing with putrescible red bin waste.
By contrast, all ACT putrescible waste is to be trucked into Ipswich Street in Fyshwick. For motorists and traders this means an extra daily congestion of 460 truck movements on a street which is the only direct route from Canberra Avenue to the Monaro Highway.
In promotion of the deal the ACT government has sold a 1.209 hectare parcel of public unleased land for a mates rate of $10,000. The waste will then be shuffled on to Tarago to be further shuffled to Woodlawn landfill. The deal delivers Sydney companies a monopoly over all of the household and commercial waste currently dumped at Mugga and will eventuate in the demise of a range of smaller ACT businesses with future increased cost to ratepayers.
B Moore, Kingston
Abuse of process
R.R. Temple (Letters, February 7) is right to complain about the clear abuse of Master Plans here.
Sadly, they're not strictly part of the Territory Plan. Consultant planners seem to be heavily involved. In some cases, their firms grew out of former government employment, and some are actually connected with real estate businesses.
On behalf of clients, they seem to regularly put forward highly inflated development proposals for sites on or just outside the land covered by the Master Plans, blatantly bludging off, and insulting the hard work that government planners and the community put into them. Some such proposals may have constructive merit, most don't.
Sadly, in many cases our neo-conservative Treasury encourages acceptance of these nefarious proposals, simply for the relatively trifling "betterment" monies.
It favours "land economics" over planning. That insults the local community, and irresponsibly overlooks the important urban, architectural, landscape, and environmental design principles, as well as the social imperatives, that informed the Master Plan. That's unprofessional and uncivilised.
Jack Kershaw, Kambah
Please explain, Qantas
Am I right to assume that Qantas fly Canberra-Melbourne every morning at about 6.30? Itseems the exception is our F1race day booked on Sunday March 25. Our flight has been cancelled and rescheduled to arrive three hours 20 minutes later. No explanation given.
B. Falconer, Gordon
Musk inspiring, pity we can't do it
I found it inspiring and uplifting to watch the recent launch of Elon Musk's big Falcon 9 rocket, which carried one of his electric cars to a Mars orbit.
When will they launch into space the last petrol-powered car I wondered?
I would like to be as inspired and uplifted by seeing an Australian Space Agency launch an Australian-made car on an Australian-made rocket, but currently there is no Australian car manufacturer, and the Australian Space Agency remains only an idea.
I do hope to live long enough to see both mature and develop the capacity to achieve great things, even if car launches are not on their immediate agenda.
Garry P Dalrymple, Earlwood, NSW
No need for MPs to go to court
Judy Bamberger asks how we can improve section 44 citizenship tests to avoid the trauma faced by MPs with less orthodox backgrounds (Letters, February 9).
Our politicians can change how the system works today. Section 47 of the constitution allows the Parliament to set any means it likes to resolve disputed eligibility. There is no obligation for the High Court to be involved at all.
A simple bipartisan agreement could be reached to amend the Electoral Act 1918 to prevent spurious referrals, allow for statutory declarations, and provide clear instructions on the appropriate interpretation of section 44. The UK has significantly altered citizenship entitlements no less than 15 times since 1948. The current system is yet to prevent a single treasonous act.
How can we claim a fair go when people are literally being judged by who their parents were?
Kim Fischer, Florey
All grown up now
The time comes for people to grow up.
It is very sad when a child is abandoned by his/her mother. This said, Susan Lamb is no longer a six-year-old and should grow up and stop acting like a six-year-old.
As she still holds a British passport, I agree with the threat from Christopher Pyne to refer her to the High Court – Bill Shorten won't!
Anne Prendergast, Reid
Duty of disclosure
Barnaby Joyce misses the point about his responsibilities as an elected MP. He owes his electors a duty of disclosure about certain aspects of his private life, as do all high profile public figures today: actors, athletes, media personalities, and politicians.
So New England voters should be appalled that he recently stood for a by-election, but deliberately kept secret his affair with his former staffer! They had a right to know this, but this does not necessarily equate to a right to pass judgment on him.
Trevor Wilson, Chifley
Measure of morality
Without commenting specifically on the recent behaviour of Barnaby Joyce (who has always publicly displayed his lack of morality by his support for live exports), politicians' behaviour in their private lives can tell us something about their morality, and the public has a right to know how moral their representatives are.
If I saw my mechanic having an affair behind his wife's back I would cease trusting him with my car, as I would fear he would install dodgy parts behind my back.
If politicians have affairs behind their spouse's backs how do we know they will not accept, behind our backs, backhanders from wealthy individuals or other countries in return for making decisions that are not in our best interests?
Nancy Tidfy, Chisholm
Honesty and integrity lacking
Surely the problem with Mr Joyce is the display of his lack of integrity.
He did not step down from being Deputy Prime Minister when he knew very well that he had a New Zealand father.
Instead he made of big show of visiting the grave of his Australian grandmother.
That was dishonest.
Broken marriages happen, but please! Instead of publicly humiliating your family, finish your marriage with respect, decency and honour before you start a new relationship.
Rosey Stanier, Torrens
Flirting with death
Ken Helm, I agree with you in regards to mirrorless bikes, and to Douglas Mackenzie, if you all have mirrors on your bikes, if you value your life, then why don't you move over to a safer side when you see impending danger to you via your mirrors?
I also am a cyclist, only on footpaths andcycle tracks, where they all should be.
I value my life and motor vehicles are too scary for me to be on the road with them, and as for early morning joggers in dark clothing running/walking on roads, when a safe footpath is available, these idiots are flirting with death.
And don't get me started on joggers running with their dogs down the middle of so-called "safe middle sections of road" at 6.30 in morning with no hi-vis or lights is beyond me.
Registration and licensing for cyclists would be a boom for the ACT government coffers, but alas, our so-called leader will nothave a Barr of it, it's called getting the votes.
Wal Glennon, Duffy
Roof-top solar the way to go
The report "Landmark rooftops seen as solar powerhouse for homes" (CT, February 8, p9) discusses the potential for rooftop solar panels to provide cheap, greenhouse gas-free energy for Canberra's CBD, saving businesses in the area up to $14 million a year.
The ACT Climate Change Minister makes the sensible observation that there is a large amount of roof area in Canberra on which to install solar panels rather than taking up scarce land area with solar farms. It would be very interesting to know the total amount of roof area suitable for solar panels to be found on government-owned buildings.
We could probably make a big hole in our requirement for power from the grid with that area of panels alone, not to mention the potentially huge – and growing – area of domestic roofs.
Another benefit of roof-top solar panels is that, in intercepting solar radiation, they keep the building beneath them cooler and reduce the amount of heat that it can re-radiate into the environment.
Depending on the roof-space insulation, they may also keep the building itself a little cooler.
Solar panels are definitely the way of the future for Canberra.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Thanks to John Sandilands' nature- inspired response to Barnaby's baby business (Letters, February 9), I have learnt about the Aussie saying "giving the ferret a run". A truly "rural and regional" reference.
Sue Dyer, Downer
TO THE POINT
NO END TO THE UGLY?
In order to rush through contracts for a Southside tram before the next election, the ACT government will have to find a route across the lake. So why stop at West Basin? Why not fill in the entire lake so the tram can cross easily? Imagine how many more ugly, multistorey units developers could build.
Maria Greene, Curtin
DRAIN OF DELIGHTS
On a recent visit to Canberra I was so delighted by a stormwater capture pond I felt I should write about it. Verdant sedges and rushes, I could identify; Lomandra, Gahnia and Schoenoplectus abound, a turtle with large shell produced a muddy jet stream of incredible geometry. Scores of fish fingerlings frolicked close to a clear sunny waters edge, fancied by aquatic fowl.
A squadron of dragonflies joined the fun and on land I spied busy bees about a flowering Callistemon. A moving scene at what was previously a concrete drain.
Matt Ford, Crookwell, NSW
MATTERS MORE PRESSING
The Turnbull government would appear to have decided the sewer is the place to conduct business if the unedifying example we were shown over ongoing dual citizenship on Wednesday. One could be forgiven for thinking there are more pressing problems that need urgent attention. However that would appear to be wrong.
D. J. Fraser, Currumbin
MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE
So Dutton suggests Brandis thought he was "the smartest person in the room". Well, if you were in a room with potatohead, you'd naturally think that.
Nick Payne, Griffith
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