Letters to the Editor
I could not believe my eyes when I saw the headline ''Climate change fanning fires'' (October 25, p1).
Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is shying away from any such firm association. Bushfires can occur at any season, as a perusal of your own newspaper's headlines would demonstrate. I
t seems that the climate alarmists, and Al Gore, have not bothered to check the data on record (by this I mean written, historical records, not just the internet, although that can be a valuable resource for information if used judiciously).
It is, of course, much more trouble to go to a library, or a newspaper morgue, to check out the facts, but that really must be done, even by Al Gore and the Climate Council.
Marjorie Curtis, Kaleen
While politicians and bureaucrats busied themselves pointing the finger of responsibility for the bushfire crisis in NSW, they still managed to find time to issue warnings to those citizens who have lost everything in the devastation that they must use protective measures against asbestos when picking through the charred remains of their lives ('Big-bang theory behind army's starting of fire', canberratimes.com.au, October 25).
And while psychiatrists argue that 12-year-old children facing court for deliberately lighting fires really don't understand the implications of their actions and therefore can't be held responsible, other bureaucrats appear to explain that negligent behaviour on the part of trained adult military personnel, which caused some of the worst fires, is excusable because ''it wasn't deliberate''.
Meanwhile, another commentator argues that if it is good enough for an ordinary citizen to be held accountable where their negligence causes their neighbour's house to burn down, then the Commonwealth should likewise be held accountable for the negligence of military personnel.
Seems somewhat ironic that in prosecuting children, and excusing the negligence of adults, we all wind up paying the price.
John Richardson, Wallagoot, NSW
While so many Canberrans are concerned over man-made climate change, here are some facts for consideration. Antarctic sea ice is greater now than at any time since satellite records began in 1978.
Arctic sea ice is currently 60 per cent greater than the same time last year. Europe and North America have had the coldest start to winter in decades, with snowfalls in Germany the heaviest since records began 200 years ago. And Canberra is at least 4 to 5 degrees warmer than 300 years ago when snow gums dominated this area.
What awful inconvenient truths.
Brian Hatch, Red Hill
As a teacher of primary school children, it is my job to teach children to research the facts and check their sources. As the editor of a major newspaper, it is your professional obligation to set an example and do the same. There is plenty of factual information regarding climate change from an array of excellent sources.
Please stop publishing letters or comments from readers (or politicians) who deny climate change. You have a duty to educate, not manipulate, and to inform, not misinform, our community.
Heather Ross, Farrer
Too much opinion
Nicholas Stuart (''Labor still not listening and is on the road to nowhere'', Times2, October 22, p5) says that Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard were both ''crass, grasping little people who put their own political longevity ahead of national issues like fighting climate change'' and ''Rudd's popularity collapsed when he refused to fight for an ETS; Gillard only adopted one as part of a deal to obtain office''.
In the interest of balance, Mr Stuart will no doubt tell us what he thinks of Tony Abbott and the Liberals in this area. Mr Stuart's column is starting to remind me of those of David Barnett.
Roger Terry, Kingston
Israel's real objective
Alan Shroot (Letters, October 24), in attacking Princeton University's Richard Falk, chooses to play the man and ignore Falk's substantive point - that Israel's occupation of Palestinian land is held by virtually every country, including Australia and the USA, and the International Court of Justice, to be in clear violation of international law. As Falk rightly says, Israel's expanding settlements amount to a de facto annexation.
Shroot repeats the oft-made claim that Palestinians have ''spurned'' three Israeli offers of peace. What he fails to do is outline in detail the nature of those offers because he knows that on close examination they cannot pass any reasonable test of equity or justice. Why would they, when Israel's real objective - far from any two state ''solution'' - is the ultimate acquisition of all Palestinian land and the establishment of a ''Jewish State'' from the Jordan to the Mediterranean?
Kevin Bray, Belconnen
Get light rail right
A lot has been written about the need and desirability for Canberra to have a light rail network. I have no objections to such a scheme as long as it achieves the following fundamental aims: affordable fares; frequent and reliable service; and, importantly, faster than what is available now.
If the proposed light rail is faster than a car or a bus over the same route then, and only then, I would argue, we should build it as it would t represent a worthwhile investment and be attractive to potential commuters. Anything less would make the light rail a gigantic white elephant.
What worries me is that so far we haven't seen anything in the comments from those responsible that the primary objective of the light rail project would be to provide faster public travel than is currently available? A light rail using and/or mixing with the same transport corridors as cars and buses would simply add to the congestion.
Traffic light priority for light rail, at busy intersections, would be just a nuisance for all. Let's also not get fooled by rosy consultants' projections of likely passenger numbers (''Metro to crunch light rail numbers'', October 23, p6).
Any proposed route should be independent of intersections and traffic lights. Where necessary, the rail track (or the car traffic) should go underground or above ground and passengers wishing to get on or off shouldn't have to navigate traffic lights and/or have to cross busy roads.
It is a challenge and it might cost a few dollars more, but anything less would be a waste of time and money and an insult to our ingenuity and capacity to build a light rail network that we can all be proud off.
O. Stuart, Narrabundah
Doctrine of love lost as PM rushes to block gay marriage
The Bishop of Rome is clearly more Christian and less bigoted than his fellow Jesuit and acolyte, our Prime Minister, who with indecent haste and great public expense is planning to challenge in the High Court of Australia the ACT's plan to legalise gay marriage (''New marriage battle begins'', Forum, October 22, p4).
When asked for his views on gay marriage, the Pope replied ''Who am I to judge?'' It is clear from the New Testament the over-riding message of Jesus was love - an emotion and commitment which is clearly apparent in gay couples towards each other and their children (if any). In contrast, heterosexual couples have a divorce rate of 50 per cent, often leaving children in emotional disarray.
It is sad that political and church ideologies have the power and influence to negate the main message of Christianity, which is relevant to people of all religions or none.
Bryan Furnass, Hughes
Less than one week after the Legislative Assembly passed marriage equality legislation, a second set of amendments now seems to be required. This demonstrates once again the lack of research undertaken by the members and their staff to ensure concrete passage of the bill. It epitomises the overall attitude of the ALP to the knee-jerk response to minority segments of the electorate for political populism. Who really minds if the gay population wishes to get married?
Not many, provided it is not a church wedding as the Book of Common Prayer in the C of E faith is quite categorical as to what marriage is, and no doubt the Catholics have the same view. Sad that we have such a lax government.
N. Bailey, Nicholls
Advocates of same-sex marriage will not thank the ACT government for turning the issue into a grubby political ploy. To table the issue, soon after a Liberal federal government was elected, can only be viewed as ''a piece of protest legislation'' and to have talks ''with constitutional law experts and advocates - who want further amendments to minimise the risk it will be deemed invalid'' (''Gallagher ready for the next move on same-sex marriage'', October 25, p6) after it was passed, rather than before, reinforces this view.
Ed Dobson, Hughes
A load of rubbish
I commend Virginia Berger (Letters, October 22) on her self-appointed task of collecting rubbish from Bowen Park, but please bear in mind that the responsibility of litter disposal is upon all.
That is to say ''you bring litter, then you take it home to dispose of it, as it is yours''.
If you continue to pick up other people's litter, they will just drop it on the ground, knowing you will clean up after them. I spent six weeks travelling in Ireland and visited all 32 counties and guess what? There were no rubbish bins provided and they were very clean towns. People were trained to take their rubbish home to dispose of properly. If you see someone littering, report them, but do not pick up after them.You are not fixing the problem.
Wal Glennon, Duffy
In the feature article ''Cider on the rise'' (Food and Wine Supplement, October 23, p3) it is stated that former journalist and journalism academic Ron Miller took up brewing cider because he was looking for something ''more unique''. What I think he was looking for was something ''different'', as I'm sure Ron, given his journalism background, would agree. Uniqueness has no degree, unlike Ron, and brewing cider could not be considered unique.
I read on, expectantly, and there it was, a little over halfway down the last column on page 4 - ''pear cider''!
The fermented brew made from pears is called ''perry'' and has been for hundreds of years. Large commercial brewers, for reasons best known to themselves and their advertising agencies, have adopted this abomination of a descriptor.
Craft brewers of the traditional stuff should bring a class action against the marketers of the falsely-labelled commercial product.
What a morning! Two of my pet hates in the one article. It's enough to drive a man to drink. Perry, of course.
Dick Parker, Page
Get real in Senate
Dr Mike Kelly has made it clear (''Kelly to face female opposition in push for vacant seat'', October 24, p4) that he aims to use this casual vacancy merely as a prop for his House of Representatives ambitions. According to the article, he will establish an office in Queanbeyan from where he could campaign in his former seat of Eden-Monaro. He also has made it clear that he has no intention of serving out the full six-year term, and would in fact stand for the Reps seat in just three years.
This is just plain wrong, and would show that the ALP and Dr Kelly have no interest in the voters of NSW and their representation in the Senate, but are just using Senate positions for their own personal ambitions and political manoeuvring. If Dr Kelly's plan works, this Senate seat would be occupied by four different people in just over five years - not even a full six-year Senate term.
Surely it's not too much to expect that Labor can find a candidate who is willing to commit himself/herself to the role as it is intended (to represent the people of the state).
And perhaps Dr Kelly might consider campaigning in his own time, at his own expense and not while as a paid state representative in the Senate.
Kym MacMillan, O'Malley
Any plans, Barnaby?
Barnaby Joyce, we are all getting sick and tired of you telling us what Labor did wrong (''On balance, a reality check on spending is past due'', October 24, p4).
When are you going to start telling us what you plan to do?
John Rodriguez, Florey
For stadium, think outside the square
Chris Dutton's article (''Stadium backer found at last'', Sport, October 24, p32) on a possible rectangular stadium on the Civic Pool site concerns me. Yes, Canberra will need a stadium seating 30,000 to 40,000 with a retractable roof, but it should not be rectangular. The proposed stadium should cater for a range of sports - cricket, AFL, rugby league, union and football and maximise its use. A rectangular stadium means the popular ''national'' sports of cricket and AFL will be denied access to a state of the art facility. The ACT government cannot afford to significantly upgrade Manuka Oval and build a stadium.
To be honest, it is an embarrassment to attend big sporting events at Manuka Oval where seating, toilet amenities and catering facilities are inadequate.
We need to learn from the lessons when Canberra Stadium was changed from an oval to rectangle in the late 1990s for the Olympic soccer tournament.
As a result, it is now rarely used in summer. Interestingly, Melbourne's Docklands Stadium with its retractable roof hosts all major codes including cricket, football and rugby, as well as concerts and it's located in the heart of the city with excellent transport. This is the model that Canberra needs.
Greg Blood, Florey
In no one we trust
Allegations by Amnesty International that the US drone attacks are unlawful will no doubt draw the standard American response: the attacks are making the US safer (''US drones operate beyond the law'', October 23, p8).
The truth is America trusts no one. Perhaps Germany and the other EU nations should be relieved that, to date, America's National Security Agency has only engaged in phone and internet surveillance of their leaders and citizens (''Merkel phone tap hits trade talks'' October 25, p10).
Sam Nona, Burradoo, NSW
TO THE POINT
CHIEF SCIENTIST ABBOTT
Having confirmed that climate change is real (and not ''crap'') and having assured us that the current set of bushfires in NSW ''… are not a function of climate change, they are just a function of life in Australia,'' (Fairfax Radio, replayed on ABC Radio National Breakfast) perhaps chief scientist Tony Abbott could now enlighten us on exactly how we will experience climate change.
Geoff Mander, Hawker
I am not surprised about Tony Abbott's support for Don Randall, his West Australian Liberal Party colleague, in regard to his taxpayer-funded trip. This is support Abbott has to give to Randall, otherwise he himself will be judged otherwise for his own act.
Sankar Kumar Chatterjee, Evatt
To all investors hurting from the shrinking mining sector returns, relief is at hand. Quick, lucrative returns can be had by selling repeated (doomed) tomato seedlings in Canberra from August onward to keen but foolish TV gardeners.
Linus Cole, Palmerston
IN DEFENCE OF DEFENCE
As an ex-member of the Defence Force (24 years in the RAN), I'm sick to death of hearing that ''Defence culture'' is the cause of the anti-social behaviour of some yobbos who slip through Defence's personnel selection processes. These people have been in Defence no more than a dog-watch (i.e., a very short time). It is society that has formed their behaviour and standards. Stop blaming Defence!
B.J. Millar, Queanbeyan West, NSW
LOVE KEY TO MARRIAGE
All of Friday's letters regarding same-sex marriage seem to overlook one very important thing. Sexual attraction and the wish to have children are important factors in people's desire to be married, but the primary and principal reason for two people to want to marry is their love for each other.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
MAKE THEM PAY COSTS
Canberra City Council (aka the ACT Legislative Assembly) has made yet another attempt at legislating well above its station in life and introduced same-sex ''marriage'' - the third such attempt. If it is overturned by the Federal Parliament, or the High Court, all costs associated with this insanity, and otherwise borne by ACT ratepayers, should be docked from the pay of those MLAs who supported the legislation. We could call it ''under-performance pay''.
J. Coleman, Chisholm
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