Leters to the editor
Anti-wind farm campaigner Tony Hodgson's threats to sue neighbours who host turbines (''Threat of legal action against wind farm hosts'', October 29, p6) are not new. Threats of legal action against prospective wind farmers is emerging as a pattern of behaviour from groups opposed to wind energy. Earlier this year it was reported that Maurice Newman, business advisor to Prime Minister Tony Abbott and board member of Tiger Airlines, issued a similar threat to Crookwell sheep farmer Charlie Prell. In both cases, the legal threats were made in relation to alleged health impacts of wind farms.
There are now 19 reviews by credible health bodies that show wind energy is clean and safe. It's time for anti-wind farm groups to accept this and stop bullying potential turbine hosts - people who are seeking a drought-proof income stream for their farm and act on climate change. It's OK for people to have disagreements about the aesthetics of wind farms. What's unacceptable is bullying behaviour in the form of legal threats. It's divisive and prevents communities from assessing the merits of wind farms.
Leigh Ewbank, Footscray, Vic
NBN hopes dashed
So, the NBN has just updated its rollout maps, removing a large number of Canberra suburbs scheduled for connection in the near future (''Broadband rethink leaves northside in limbo'', October 31, p1). In particular, it has removed suburbs which for the past 12 months have been showing as ''construction completed by February 2014''.
I live in one of those suburbs, and was hoping that I might get a ''proper'' NBN service before the new regime fiddled with it. Removal of my suburb from the maps, and in particular the misleading text accompanying them, means I no longer have false hope. But it also creates another information vacuum.
Last month (after the election) I received a letter from a well known ISP saying that ''You've probably been wondering why there's been so many people in hardhats in your area recently … they're just getting your street ready for the NBN. In fact, they'll be done in around three months, so you'll be able to enjoy superfast NBN awesomeness real soon''. I wish.
Rob Ewin, Campbell
In 1990, Greg Hunt co-wrote a university thesis ''A Tax to Make the Polluter Pay''. His conclusion to the thesis was, ''Ultimately it is by harnessing the natural economic forces which drive society that the pollution tax offers us an opportunity to exert greater control over our environment''. Isn't the carbon tax a pollution tax designed to make the polluter pay? For 30 pieces of silver, ie the post as Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt has abandoned his beliefs as a matter of political expediency. Where are his principles?
Vee Saunders, Weetangera
Has it ever happened that the Coalition has refused to accept large amounts of money from big companies? Why then is it cancelling the carbon price? Is it because the carbon price benefits all Australians, whereas similar sums redirected as political donations can go straight into Coalition coffers where they increase the political power of the Coalition and the big polluters? Scientists keep warning of looming danger but the sheriff just drawls, ''There ain't no climate change in Sleepy Hollow and we don't care anyways.''
Rosemary Walters, Palmerston
Cheesy lunar science
I'd like to add another awful inconvenient truth to the list provided by Brian Hatch (Letters, October 27): the moon is made of green cheese.
Like Mr Hatch I see no need to cite any peer-reviewed research findings in support of this, and I expect everybody to fall at my feet in astonished gratitude now that I have brilliantly exposed the bad science so cynically used to assert that the moon is made of rock. Some scientists make whole careers out of the ''moon is made of rock'' industry - would you really expect them to tell the truth about the true composition of the moon and put themselves out of a job?
Michael Williams, Curtin
Insult to teachers
Christopher Smith's views (Letters, October 31) are incorrect, as well as highly insulting to teachers. Teachers work as hard or harder than anyone in the community with one main focus - the education of our children.
The support teachers get - as shown by Christopher Smith's letter - is sometimes nil. His claim of ''money being siphoned off to teachers' pay and conditions'' is nothing short of fanciful. As is his claim of ''smallest classes, longest holidays, and shortest hours'' so far off the mark it seems almost a waste of time even trying to correct him as he is obviously so misinformed he would be blinded to reality.
People like Christopher Smith have probably never been in a classroom, except to criticise, and so have absolutely no idea of the dedication and long hours teachers work.
Geoff Barker, Flynn
Fight for passports
The editorial, ''Carr's last throw likely to miss mark (Times2, October 29, p2), debunked Bob Carr's call to bar the return of Australian citizens fighting in Syria. But the ABC reported on October 28 that ''Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says he expects there would be bipartisan support for any move to block Australians who have been fighting in Syria from returning to this country.''
The Crown has ceded its prerogative, of absolute discretion over passport issuance. That is, a passport is now a right of citizens, not a privilege, as previously. The Australian Passports Act 2005 states, ''an Australian citizen is entitled to be issued an Australian passport''.
That makes cancellation a bit more murky than previously but does not preclude it.
There are a spate of mechanisms including trial and sentencing in absentia to discourage those who flout our law about involvement in foreign wars.
Gary J. Wilson, Macgregor
Residents still waiting
Residents of Giralang are well and truly fed up with the carry-on over the absence of shops in their suburb. Every time a solution seems possible, the self interests of non-residents take over and the loss of amenity to the residents directly affected counts for little as the retailers in Belconnen seek to stop the replacement of the existing, now derelict, shopping precinct.
The fact that planning approval is only for the replacement of the physical facilities that might be built in the suburb, and not for who might subsequently lease the retail space, is lost in the public debate. Hopefully it will not be lost on the courts or the minister - neither has any basis on which to allocate, or withhold, tenancies in the new shopping centre.
If IGA or other non-Woolworths retailers do not want competition, they could make offers at the market rate to secure the lease, rather than complain about being hard done by. The residents simply wish to have the same amenity as is taken for granted in the adjoining areas, and we believe the government has a responsibility to ensure that happens for the residents. And after nine years of waiting, we would be pleased if it was sooner than later.
Bill Burmester, Giralang Residents Action Group
I wonder if the Community and Public Sector Union were not located in the Parliamentary Triangle if they would be so keen on free park and ride services there (''Union in push for free parks and rides'', October 30, p1).
One of the reasons I left the CPSU was their support of Parliamentary Triangle free parking, which serves a small number of the union membership. The other reasons I cancelled my membership were the re-joining of the CPSU as a member of the Labor Party after the 2007 election and the parachuting of former CPSU national secretary Stephen Jones into a safe Labor seat (Throsby). All self-serving actions.
Rupert Johns, O'Connor
A study too far
The ACT government's draft ''City''and ''City to the Lake'' plans have been released for public comment. Both include major new road arrangements. Many agree that those plans still aren't right.
A lot of expensive road and traffic studies for the subject areas have been undertaken over the past 20 years and yet tenders are now being called for yet another one. Feasibility study of what? Surely the traffic arrangements in the draft plans are ''feasible'', otherwise, why release them? Are the traffic engineers trying to take over?
They gave us the problems we're now trying to fix, like the divisive Parkes Way, confusing City Hill cloverleaf junctions, bridging over London Circuit at Commonwealth Avenue, isolating the hilltop park with traffic on Vernon Circle, etc.
The old adage ''roads first, then buildings'' is unsuitable for these precincts. As with Parliament House, (workable) roads must fit in with the buildings, and the road arrangement needn't be Griffin's.
Now that ideas and components are being crystallised, effectively into a design brief, the next step for the optimum result must be a worldwide competition for the whole City Hill-West Basin precinct and environs.
Entries would be required to have expert input covering all aspects, including national and civic significance, urban design, architecture, landscaping, environmental matters, public transport and, of course, roads.
Jack Kershaw, Kambah
Roads ACT has admitted to making mistakes in Spofforth Street, Holt, with the placement of 13 speed humps.
A friend, and fellow Holt resident, said anyone can make mistakes but it takes character to correct the mistakes.
Unfortunately, Roads ACT has shown no such character because it refuses to correct its mistakes and is proposing to compound them in other Holt streets, contrary to majority wishes. The arrogance and contempt for the majority view is astounding!
Phillip Harris, Holt
The spying game
The concession from the US to restrain its spying activities need not concern Australia (''White House to restrain spying'' Oct 30, p8). Indeed, it seems to be taken for granted that the citizens of the English speaking countries - namely Australia, Britain, New Zealand and Canada - are of no concern to the US spying apparatus.
I wonder, however, if those of us who are citizens of these countries, though born in another country, are also exempt from this snooping game. Or would one sleep more soundly if one were to return to the old fashioned letter writing as a means of communication.
Sam Nona, Burradoo, NSW
Asylum seeker debate
If we stick to the wording of Article 31 of the UN Protocol on Refugees (Mark Hartmann, Letters, October 23.) the pivotal phrase is: "coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened''. The operative word is "directly".
Any illegal arrivals from Malaysia or Indonesia are clearly travellers targeting Australia as their final destination, prepared to pay the people smuggling industry to enable them to jump the long immigration queue. Many have paid with their lives.
The emotive "asylum seeker" status is extinguished immediately the person escapes oppression and menace by landing on another shore.
As for forbidding penalties to refugees, the protocol is silent about the penalty to the unwilling host country: bed and board, medical services, interpreters, custodial staff, etc about $1000 a week per head for the duration of their incarceration, often needlessly prolonged by deliberate destruction of personal documentation.
That's why we have to shut down the boats and the people smuggling industry and that's why it is often cheaper to fly the rejects back to their reformed countries of origin. More power to Scott Morrison's elbow!
Colin P Glover, Canberra City.
I am amazed and disappointed at reports that Labor is considering accepting Tony Abbott's abolition of the carbon tax.
If Labor wants a backflip on something, they should do so on asylum seeker policy, and offer Abbott a regional policy by having a regional conference of all interested countries, eg, New Zealand, Malaysia and Indonesia. The current policy of both parties is a national disgrace, an un-Christian - from so-called Christians - response to poor, helpless people seeking refuge from the aftermath of illegal war and thuggish regimes such as in Sri Lanka.
Stan Cronin, Watson
Sectarian nonsense has no place at Cove
Thanks again for a reasoned and detached commentary of the issue of how to acknowledge the ''Unknown Soldier'' at the Australian War Memorial with the time-honoured ''Known unto God'' (''Murmurs at the War Memorial'', Times2, October 30, p2, and ''In God we must, claims War Memorial Council'', October 30, p5). In more than 20 war-grave sites in several continents I've seen the sentiment, sadly, but prolifically. Now, I can't quite put my finger on who was pushing for the alteration but it was block-headed..
Meanwhile, three weeks ago on my second visit to the graves of Australians at Anzac Cove, one third of who were British born, it was my privilege to explore the magnificent museum built by Turkish authorities on the spot where we should have been fighting our enemy more than 98 years ago. That it was a cock-up is well enough known and this new museum's interpretation offered a superb assessment of what it was all about - except for about 30 seconds at the end of a sound and light presentation where local scholarship viewed the Gallipoli campaign as one between the Christian West and Islam. It was not.
Turkey had become too chummy with Germany, which was on the make, and was inconveniently in the way of ''our'' side reaching Russian Black Sea territory. The aim was to supply that technologically and constitutionally backward nation with new accoutrements of war so that Eastern European soldiers, rather than our own, could do more of the dying.
So, a request from this inconsequential Australian to His Excellency the Turkish ambassador. Please use appropriate leverage to have the sectarian nonsense excised from what is otherwise an excellent device for comprehending the ramifications of Gallipoli.
Patrick Jones, Griffith
TO THE POINT
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NO COMP AFTER ROMP
So, six years after sustaining injuries in a ‘‘vigorous sex session’’, a Canberra public servant has been told by the High Court that she is not entitled to compensation from her employer (‘‘Public servant loses sex injury compo claim’’, The Canberra Times, October 31). Talk about a long time coming.
John Richardson, Wallagoot, NSW
SIGNS OF POOR SIGNAGE
I am appalled by the poor signage at Canberra Airport. I travel extensively, and the signage here would have to be the worst I have experienced anywhere in the world.
I regularly assist lost newcomers at this airport.
I hope that this situation is temporary as part of the construction process, but I fear that new travellers will continue to suffer from the abysmal standard of signage at this airport.
Greg Butler, Yass
NO RESPONSE FROM PM
I have found since the election that if you email Tony Abbott or Barnaby Joyce, you will receive neither an acknowledgment nor a reply to your email. Should we not be so presumptuous by going straight to the top, but rather with deference approach the elusive Senator Seselja with our concerns? If we are polite, he may be willing to intercede on our behalf.
John Davenport, Farrer
CROWS CRY CORRUPT
I do not know whether this is specific to Campbell, but the very vocal magpies in our neighbourhood keep crying ‘‘Corrupt! Corrupt!’’
Hans Kuhn, Campbell
SECURITY NET FOILED
If the article ‘‘Hackers ‘stole data from US agencies’’’ (October 30, p8) is correct, it would indicate levels of unbelievable incompetence on the part of ‘‘security’’ departments, continuing to consume unlimited billions in pursuit of trawling every bit of global electronic traffic, ‘‘without authorisation’’, with reiterated, unproven, reassurances of terrorist plots foiled!
Albert M. White, Queanbeyan
HOW ALP IS (R)EVOLVING
The new reformed ALP in action. A party hack – Bob Carr – exits and the administrative committee of the corrupt NSW ALP chooses – wait for it – a party hack to fill the vacancy of the man who told voters he would serve a full term. The more things supposedly change the more they stay the same?
Thos Puckett, Ashgrove, Qld
A BIG CLAP FOR THE NSA
US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is giving new meaning to ‘‘going like the clappers’’.
Chris Klootwijk, Macarthur
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