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Canberra Times Letters to the Editor: Parkland sacrificed for elite

Published: November 16 2017 - 12:00AM

Comments in the letter by Murray Upton (Letters, November14) reflect the anguish and anger many feel about the West Basin and City to the Lake proposal. The forthcoming stage of the work — the infill of two hectares of lake bed is, according to the City Renewal Authority, still on the works plan to commence next year.

This stage alone is detrimental in taking the nation's lake bed area, reducing the size of the basin and damaging the naturalistic lake edge.

It will give the basin an edging of a ubiquitous concrete promenade, and the lake infill will cover the existing little beaches and wooden jetty while its retaining wall will cause increased wave action.

The proposed expanded foreshore area is part of the planned wedging tactic.

The first step, Point Park, now named the Henry Rolland Park, is an expensive development that will provide an attractive landscape setting for the forthcoming apartments.

The next step is to proceed with the lake bed infill for an expanded central foreshore area and then, when it suits the government, sell off the remaining Acton Park, including some of the foreshore for private apartments.

The bridging of Parkes Way remains a future black hole. It appears the light rail is causing a rethink and the City Renewal Authority may well be working on a review of the West Basin master plan, but when is it going to involve community groups?

The West Basin project is not for housing the needy, it will leave a distasteful legacy from a Labor-Greens government – of privatising public parkland for elite vista-blocking apartments.

Juliet Ramsay, Burra, NSW

Nodding off

I was nodding when I read Susan MacDougall's remark about politicians on TV having people nodding in the background (Letters, November14).

In Parliament, the designated nodder is typically a female MP from a marginal seat, assigned the role to put them "in shot" as a way of elevating their profile.

Sports journalism is another domain infested with nonsense nodding. Interviewers are evidently coached to nod furiously at regular intervals, regardless of whether the player's responses really warrant such exuberance.

A stint with their local amateur dramatic society might help. I was once interviewed by a current affairs show as a victim of a minor privacy breach. At the conclusion, the cameraman said: "Okay, let's do some nodders." He then filmed her nodding in various ways, to be spliced in should the interview go to air (I gather, though, that I lacked the hysterical outrage they were looking for.)

Ian Douglas, Jerrabomberra, NSW

Public kept waiting

I have just received a pleasant but concerning phone call from a worker in the Transport  Canberra and City Services Directorate telling me that the long-awaited Waste Feasibility Study is finished and in the hands of the minister, but that it will not be made public until an unspecified time next year.

I also learnt that it was quite a "hefty" and complex document with far-reaching "waste to energy" implications.

Given that the EIS for the proposed CRS incinerator at Fyshwick will be out before Christmas, is it any wonder that community groups become cross and even a tiny bit aggressive when they are denied access to such an important document until many months later?

Community groups need equal access to key documents in order to read and reflect on them.

Margaret Roberts, Narrabundah

Bring in Bishop

It is much more than "interesting" that Julie Bishop has a 40 to 27 advantage over M.Turnbull. And it is a lead that virtually makes it essential that the change takes place virtually immediately, with the absolutely minimum delay possible.

Otherwise, why bother having a poll?

Considering the massively advertised "Turnbull must go" comments we have been reading and hearing in recent times, clearly it would be beneficial for Australia and Australians that it happen ASAP! If there is anyone other than Julie Bishop in line, who could it be?

So far, nothing in our media to give a "likely" answer.

Geoff Cass, Tewantin, Qld

Causes of affluenza

Ross Gittins ("Enough of the stuff",, November15), in his discussion of Richard Denniss' recent book about affluenza, concludes that reform of the tax system could help to change our cultural dependence on "stuff".

Perhaps, but I think the problem is far deeper than the tax system and that we must urgently craft a completely new economic narrative to deal with inequality and environmental damage.

The new approach needs to challenge the assumptions of an unconstrained free-market economy and place sustainability and universal human wellbeing at its heart.

Bob Douglas, Bruce

Office of profit

Chris Warren (Letters, November15) suggests that section 44 would disqualify a Commonwealth superannuant or other pensioner from being chosen as a member of Parliament because it prevents a person who has an "office of profit under the Crown" from being so chosen.

An office involves substantial obligations as well as benefits, being defined as a "position with duties attached to it, place of authority or trust or service, especially of public kind".

Michael McCarthy, Deakin

Obeid-ent Keneally?

Voters might wonder if Kristina Keneally is still Obeid-ent to the NSW Labor Right faction.

Thos Puckett, Ashgrove, Qld

Faux religious freedom concern an excuse to discriminate despite vote

Australia has accepted marriage equality. Now for the faux concern for "religious freedom" as a cloak for continuing bigotry, homophobia and discrimination.

What specific freedoms do religions want? The freedom to discriminate on the grounds of innate sexuality?

Let us recall that when Australia was voting to include our Indigenous population in the census, American religions were still opposing inter-racial marriage on supposed "religious" grounds.

We should no more allow those who chose a religious lifestyle – or indeed, anyone – to discriminate on the grounds of their imaginary friends' supposed antediluvian views about sexuality than we would on the grounds of race.

But, if we are to weaken in the face of religious bigotry, let us at least ban those who will not accept marriage equality from conducting any marriages for the purposes of civil law. Let them pray and bless to their credulist hearts' content – but to obtain the civil law benefits of legal marriage their happy couples should also need a non-discriminatory civil marriage celebrant.

Mike Hutchinson, Reid

Howard's mess

Cast your mind back to 2003, there was no barrier to same sex couples marrying, there was no need to worry about protecting religious organisation from being able to spew their vile at and about gay men and women, cake shops were able to do as they wished, the churches could and did refuse to marry same-sex couples without fear of retribution.

Then along comes Howard, unilaterally amends the Marriage Act to define marriage as "voluntarily entered-into union of a man and a woman to exclusion of all others".

Roll on to 2017, Howard's unilateral decision in 2004 has now cost the taxpayer $122 million, been the cause spreading fear and uninformed vitriol against gay people, brought out the worst of the conservative side of politics and despite the will of the people  has shown the conservatives in Parliament will do all in their power to delay, obstruct and generally try to ignore the will of the people.

I have heard a lot of unbelievable garbage advanced by the extreme right in this debate, including leaders of churches, but up there with the most outrageous and idiotic statement must be that of the Tasmanian luminary Eric Abetz when he proffered that schools would be forced to teach homosexuality. Please Tasmania keep him quiet.

L. Christie, Canberra

Service boycott

It appears that the conservative faction within the government will not be happy with a "yes" vote.

They have now put an emphasis on protecting those bakers, butchers, florists and others who will find it against their conscience to service gay weddings.

Where are these people – I have not seen one letter or interview with anyone in the service industry who has come out (pun intended).

I think when it gets down to it they will find the colour of the money for gay weddings will be as acceptable as that for heterosexual weddings.

If such protective legislation passes, I hope that I will be able to identify those businesses who use it to avoid providing their services to gay couples so I, too, can exercise my conscience to boycott their services.

W. Taylor, Hawker

Will of the people

The SSM 'vote' has come out and overall the results for the eligible voters were approximately 48.972 per cent "yes", 30.528 per cent "no" and 20.5 per cent didn't vote – didn't have a viewpoint or were to lazy to vote.

What a waste of $122 million for a simple issue.

Prime Minister Turnbull is apparently 100 per cent in support of the people's wishes.

The chances of it going through Parliament swiftly and without some nasty discussions is about 0 per cent.

The likelihood of a law that makes everyone happy is an unknown although I am sure that it won't be near 100 per cent.

It's time for Australia and even Tony Abbott to accept the people's wishes.

It seems that much of the discussion was about where you could buy a cake.

Cakes are a triviality in life even if one stopped Hewson's attempt to be PM.

Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill, Vic

Po-faced pieties

I have just heard Senator Matt Canavan mouthing sanctimonious po-faced pieties on Radio National apparently condemning a looming restriction of religious freedom when the planned bill to allow same-sex marriage goes through.

Could some kind person please gently take the senator's hand and explain that a church marriage is generally regarded as a sacrament by many Christian churches but eating the wedding cake afterwards has as much to do with religion as loud vocal support of your local football team.

Football enthusiasts will doubtless disagree.

Bill Deane, Chapman

Not a matter of letters

Hugh Smith (Letters, November 14) suggests that businesses be allowed to use TMO (Traditional Marriages Only) in their advertising to avoid potential humiliation of same-sex couples. Discrimination it seems is now acceptable as long as it is done politely. May I suggest a few other acronyms that these business might also like to use. NIM (No Interracial Marriages), MOM (Muslim Only Marriages), VOMITS (Virgin Only Marriages In Traditional Style).

Phil Crawford, Hackett

Right-wing cynicism

With all the obsession of right-wingers in the government to protect freedoms of religion and speech, you'd think they would be clamouring for a formal Bill of Rights where those things and others could be legally protected for everyone, forever.

But their espousal is cynical and relative, not absolute; it extends only so far as shoring up the freedoms for themselves and their supporters, specifically those to discriminate and to insult, and certainly not everybody else's.

I certainly haven't seen them rushing to support Bob Brown or the Lock the Gate protesters, defending the construction of mosques or, say, to abolish defamation law. Their shallow and partisan posturing deserves contempt.

David Jenkins, Casey



Now that the public has voted convincingly upon same-sex marriage can we have a plebiscite or referendum upon the equally important level of immigration and on euthanasia? Issues upon which people have equally strong views but our elected representatives are reluctant to address.

Greg Cornwell, Yarralumla


No homosexuals, Jews, Muslims, Asians or blacks allowed. That is the "freedom" the reactionaries want.

John Passant, Kambah


As with the Apology, there are rare moments when empathic understanding and heartfelt fairness triumph.

The result of the same-sex marriage survey is such a moment. For how much longer will the arrogant losers in the political class attempt to delay the enactment of this clear expression of democratic will?

Dennis Hale, Beecroft, NSW


Matt Gately (Letters, November 13) writes that the obvious solution to our constitutional citizenship fiasco is to elect only indigenous politicians.

Sadly, many Australians identifying as indigenous will also have some non-indigenous ancestry and so may also be dual citizens who are unqualified to sit in Parliament.

Greg Pinder, Charnwood


$122,000,000 of public money = more than 40,000 hip replacements = approximately 25,000 heart bypass operations, including rehab = one spineless political party.

Paul Sweeney, Seaford Rise, SA


Bravo to Minister Andrew Constance for showing the other states that NSW does have a touch of what Australia used to have in spades; good old tongue-in-cheek larrikinism! London to a brick this ferry will carry more passengers  than  the others combined.

Bob Tyghe, Black Head, NSW


M. Flint (Letters, November 13) is paying a lot for his grid power. $365.00 per kWh? ACTEW charged me 21.7¢. With an electric vehicle rated at 50kW one kWh would last 1.2 min. A range of 10,000km? Hardly, he'd be lucky to make it round the block.

Alan Lay, O'Connor


Rohan Goyne (Letters, November 15) calls for names for the light rail. The Rattenbury Rattler is one name that springs  to mind, followed by Barr's Behemoth or perhaps Barr's Blunder-bus.

Roger Quarterman, Campbell

Email: 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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