Letters to the Editor


IN RELATION to the article published in last Sunday's edition under the headline, ''Facing deportation, distraught embassy maid claims, 'I was starved, then sacked''' and ''Sacked maid takes on Peru's embassy'', I would like to emphasise that, on October 11, I informed Ms Paz Mori of my decision to fire her.

There were a number of allegations about Ms Paz Mori's conduct that I carefully considered before deciding to fire her. Ms Paz Mori acted unprofessionally, did not respect property and proved herself to be untrustworthy and out of keeping with the conduct expected of embassy staff, leaving me no choice other than dismiss her.

In Peru, domestic workers are protected under a special law. She has enjoyed all the benefits she is entitled to, including health insurance, therefore all outstanding payments for her services are ready to be collected since last October. At the residence, everyone has the same meals without any discrimination whatsoever.

Hence, claims and complaints filed by Ms Paz Mori are utterly false and unfounded and I regret The Canberra Times presenting her on the front page of the newspaper as a victim with statements which have not been properly tested nor verified.

If my decision to fire her was incorrect, I am by all means accountable to the relevant Peruvian authorities for breach of law.

Luis Quesada, Ambassador of Peru


Cars are the solution

READING Jack Waterford's amusing article suggesting that redundant skilled car workers get jobs taking in each other's washing or equivalent work, I can't help wondering whether it would be better if we got them to make cars.

Australians are great innovators, and the production line might soon be producing cheap, economical, reliable cars built to Australian specifications to suit Australian conditions.

Perhaps the government could offer a great deal to the existing skilled workers, or does that sound too socialist these days?

Harry Davis, Braddon


End ABC bias

ANNABEL Crabb mocks conservative columnist Piers Akerman for his put-down of the ABC character Peppa Pig (Canberra Times, December 15). Fair enough, but Crabb avoids the real criticisms that Akerman and others have in relation to the increasingly obvious political bias of the ABC.

Over the years the ABC has indeed criticised both Coalition and Labor governments, but not from the centre of politics, rather from a position to the left of both. The chairman of the ABC board, Jim Spigelman, came close to admitting some journalistic bias in the ABC at his press club address last week and one solution was the unconvincing announcement of plans to conduct internal audits to test bias.

I challenge the ABC to explain to the taxpayer why, with the exception of Amanda Vanstone on the aptly named Radio National program Counterpoint, there are no conservative presenters on the ABC. If it wasn't so important it would be high farce.

H. Ronald, Jerrabomberra


Sex in the real world

JENNA Price (''Peeling back the layers, sexist ads don't work'', Times2, December 20) makes two claims: sexist ads dehumanise women and sex won't sell an ethical product.

Let's say a shampoo ad features a young starlet who dazzles men with a slow-motion sway of her sparkling hair. Is the ad sexist? Does it dehumanise viewers?

Price's second claim has similar problems. What is an ethical product? Diet Coke? Faux fur? Judging by her focus on PETA, I suspect she means a political cause favoured by the viewer.

I know of a cause that enjoys considerable media success by selling with sex. I refer to FEMEN, born in Putin's Russia, whose semi-nude advocates appear with slogans painted on their bodies decrying manifestations of female oppression.

Price and her academic sources are promulgating laws that may appear sound on paper, but they evaporate when tested against the real world.

Peter Robinson, Ainslie


Environmental banditry

THE Abbott government will continue to contribute to a future dystopia if it continues with its dysfunctional environmental policies. (Letters, p2, December 19). One wonders how the government's decisions on the environment can possibly be justified except on narrow ideological grounds.

The impending destruction of forests and coastlines not only puts this society at risk but also the habitats of species that depend on an uncontaminated natural environment. Let's put a stop to all this before it can go any further.

David Pfanner, Hughes,


Fire up, Ms Gallagher

CHIEF Minister Katy Gallagher defended the 18-month delay in publishing the Queensland University report on the Mitchell chemical fire by saying that it was not tabled in cabinet until a couple of months ago (why?) and the government had sought advice on the report from its agencies. Ignoring the time taken to publish the independent report, what contrary comments were received from its agencies (and their rationale) and what recommendations of the independent report, and those received from the government agencies, are to be implemented?

Open government!

Ed Dobson, Hughes


It's pudding me off

I CONGRATULATE you for your timely and very informative article (''Budget elixir for a healthy economy'', December 21, Forum 1) by Jack Waterford. I agree with his comment about the stimulus packages like ''school hall'' and ''pink batts'' programs to feed money into the economy.

Jack is right when he says that ''Hockey is significantly over-egging the pudding''. It appears to me that Hockey is over-egging the pudding with some rotten eggs.

Sankar Kumar Chatterjee, Evatt


A cyclist's lament

I WOULD like to express my concern about the increased aggression towards cyclists in Canberra. I have been commuting by bicycle for the past 25 years in Canberra and Melbourne and have noticed a noticeable increase in aggression towards cyclists in recent years.

Tonight I returned from a night celebrating our children's graduation from year 6 with a fellow parent which involved us cycling from Hackett to Civic. In the 15-minute cycle we endured three separate incidents of abuse. I have been hit four times by cars while riding my bike, and a family member was killed by a car while riding in a bike lane. When is the government going to take some serious measures to ensure that cyclists can safely use the roads?

Kirsten Miller, Ainslie


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