As a long-time resident of this city who likes to walk and cycle around Lake Burley Griffin, I am distressed to learn that an industrial service facility is proposed for the recreation area of Black Mountain Peninsula, a place that has always been a popular family gathering spot.
The lake offers alternative locations where the activity and associated noise would create minimal disturbance.
The western side of Black Mountain peninsula is delightful, being full of waterbirds. This peninsula park is not the right site for a ferry servicing facility that will no doubt be enlarged in the future.
Thanks to the early planners of our city, we have lakeside parks that we must protect for future generations.
Cynthia Breheny, Campbell
Sins of the Church
After listing the sins of the Catholic Church (Letters, October 7), Wayne Stuart said: ''I look forward to the lights coming back on in my church.''
He may have a long wait. It took the Vatican 367 years to apologise for persecuting Galileo for saying the Earth moves around the sun.
In 1954, when I discovered that the church had but one purpose (to perpetuate fear and ignorance), I voted with my feet and left Melbourne's De La Salle College.
What saved my soul were the 2000 acres of sweet liberty I found on the plains of Longerenong Agricultural College. In a sheep husbandry class, I was asked if I thought Elizabeth Macarthur had been given due credit for her part in founding the Australian wool industry. Astonished, I stuttered: ''But, but, sir, you're supposed to tell us our opinions.'' Church power did not die easily.
The sheep husbandry master had been the shot-put champion of Ireland. He also championed women's rights: hence his interest in Elizabeth Macarthur, who had been airbrushed from history. Our English master had won a Golden Gloves boxing championship. He knew every word in Macbeth and could take every part. We got a better education in English than Oxford literature students.
I developed a mother's love for Longerenong: its breadth, depth, characters, diversity - and sweet liberty.
Whither Holy Mother Church? It will reap what it has sown.
Graham Macafee, Latham
I, like Barnaby Joyce, take ''some solace … in a substantial quarterly increase in … Indonesia's'' cattle import quota (''Reviving cattle trade is a step in the right direction'', Times2, October 7, p4).
This increase may indicate a realistic curbing of Indonesia's designs not only on our cattle industry, but also on the vast stations abutting our northern shores.
Personally, I would gain more solace from a big increase in Indonesia's beef import quota.
Gary J. Wilson, Macgregor
It seems unlikely that supporters of the ACT's gay marriage laws who attended a rally in Canberra on October 5 are aware of the legal minefield that might follow the laws' passing.
These concerns were presented by Patrick Parkinson, Professor of Law at the University of Sydney, in The Canberra Times (''Legal pitfalls of gay marriage'', September 21, p9).
Professor Parkinson details the areas where rights may be surrendered and where rights may be subject to legal dispute.
He considers that the ACT bill is ''really a defective and dangerous product''.
Unless the warnings of so eminent an authority can be addressed satisfactorily, it would be quite irresponsible of the ACT government to proceed with this legislation.
Eric French, Higgins
The US does have a degree of ideological intensity that is puzzling to outsiders. Their system is very democratic, which gives rise to some of their problems.
Lesley Russell touched on this in her piece (''Right holds Obama hostage'', October 7, p4). She correctly identifies House Speaker John Boehner as a natural conciliator, and and she identifies some teething issues with Obama's health reforms.
The irony is that when Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden were senators they voted against Republican administration budget and debt measures all the time.
Similarly Democrat obstruction led by then senator Edward Kennedy in 1969 blocked healthcare reform that had been proposed by Republican president Richard Nixon.
M. Gordon, Flynn
Colin Glover (Letters, October 4) suggests that ''presumably the hedge funds reward the superannuation companies for the temporary use of their shares''.
Indeed they do. The hedge funds (and all other short-sellers) pay a fee to the owners of the shares, to ''borrow'' them for a set period. Having borrowed them, the short-seller tries to sell them and induce a drop in that market price.
At some lower market price, the short-seller buys back the shares and delivers them back to the owners from whom he borrowed them, within the agreed borrowing period. The short-seller's profit is the difference between the sale proceeds and the cost of the buyback, less the fee paid to borrow the shares in the first instance.
However, that is also the ''loss'' to the actual owner of the shares - the drop in value of the shareholding, less the borrowing fee paid by the short-seller.
As noted, the whole exercise is a gamble. Perhaps the ''action'' should be regulated by the NSW authority which oversees casinos, bookies and pokies, rather than by ASIC!
Paul E. Bowler, Holder
Celebrating glory of war 100 years on is paying a big price
Ross McMullin's piece (''Grand days of hope and glory,'' October 7, p6) suggests that our attitudes towards the centenary of World War I should be rather more muted than the combination of weepy piety and muscular patriotism which we are being urged to adopt by the various centenary promoters around the country, led by the Anzac Centenary Advisory Board and the Department of Veterans' Affairs. The years 1914-18 were the most destructive in Australia's history and any amount of jingoistic ''commemoration'' cannot hide that. It is not too late for the new federal government to reduce or redirect the proposed centenary expenditure of $140 million (far more, in absolute terms and per capita than Britain is spending).
David Stephens, secretary, Honest History, Bruce
Re: ''Museum role force for good'', October 5, Forum, p3. Your writer is dead wrong. The AWM is not a force for good, it is a force for forgetting.
An institution that ignores the brutal 140-year war against the Aboriginal owners of this continent needs to take a look at itself and its role in the nation.
As for Dr Nelson and the ''soul of the nation'', he and the rest of the Queen of Australia's subjects need to read Forgotten War by Henry Reynolds. Far from being the soul of the nation, the Australian War Memorial is a grotesquerie of propaganda that ignores the unresolved issues of sovereignty, control of land, reparations and compensation. In 1913, when the war ships sailed into Sydney, Aborigines were still being hunted and shot down in their homelands. When the Diggers went ashore at Gallipoli, Aborigines were still being hunted and shot down in their homelands.
Until the true history of this continent is addressed, John Bull martial celebrations should be cancelled.
Kenneth Griffiths, O'Connor
Australian War Memorial director Dr Brendan Nelson says that no government has ever taken the decision to send Australian troops to war lightly (''Museum role a force for good'', October 5). I'm not sure how he would classify prime minister Howard's decision to send Australians to Iraq in 2003 without the approval of Parliament, against the advice of very many senior, respected and knowledgeable Australians, and in defiance of the wishes and wisdom of a large section of the Australian population. The decision appeared to have been taken with appalling lack of consideration of all the likely disastrous long-term consequences, which were known at the time.
Australia urgently needs a change of government war powers so that never again can a prime minister send the country to war with such cursory attention to critical issues. An examination of the deeply flawed process by which Australians were sent to Iraq would be a start. Otherwise Dr Nelson can count on building new galleries for every war our ally gets itself into.
Dr Sue Wareham, Cook
Climate cause and effect
The article by the Environment Minister Greg Hunt ( ''Why direct action is better'', Times2, October 4, p4) contains clear distortions. He states: ''Because of the carbon tax, Australia's domestic emissions go up, not down …''
The phrase ''because of'' implies a cause/effect relationship. The truth is, if emissions were to go up between 2010 and 2020 as predicted, it would be by a lesser amount than they would have without carbon pricing. He has been publicly corrected on this before. The statement is intended to deceive. Mr Hunt criticises the possible result that Australian polluters would have to buy emission allocations/permits from abroad to make up for the domestic shortfall. To combat global warming, the important thing is to reduce worldwide emissions. International trade in allocations is a market mechanism to achieve this in the most economically efficient manner.
Putting a price on the emission of greenhouse gases is, in accordance with the well-established principle, ''The Polluter Pays''. This says the most efficient way to reduce pollution is to make the polluter pay - to compensate for the damage caused, or cost of remediation. The external environmental cost becomes internalised as a cost of production. Under Mr Hunt's ''Direct Action Policy'' this approach is reversed. The government, ultimately the taxpayer, will pay polluters to stop polluting.
Paul McMahon, Isaacs
I suspect that Will Steffen and many, if not all, members of the Climate Council have read the latest IPCC report rather more thoroughly than has Brian Hatch (Letters, October 7).
Unlike Brian, they will know that ''no warming for at least 15 years'' is actually an apparent slow down in the rate, not a cessation, of warming. They know, too, that the observations are of average surface air temperatures - that is, of the air that surrounds us and that we breathe. They will also know that main reasons for the apparent slow-down in warming are: First, a huge area, or areas, of cold surface water in the eastern Pacific, a result of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, has been cooling the (surface) air flowing over it.
Second, an unusually persistent series of La Nina events (cool ocean surface currents in the south-western Pacific) have also cooled the air flowing over them.
Third, ash and aerosols from several volcanic eruptions, including those of Eyafjalljokull in Iceland have blocked some solar radiation.
Finally, the Argo data (argo.ucsd.edu) referred to by Mr Hatch actually show a continued warming trend in ocean waters down to 700 metres.
An article by Balmaseda, Trenberth and Kallen (Geophysical Research Letters, May, 2013) shows that global warming has actually accelerated over the past 15 years, because about 90 per cent of warming takes place in the oceans, and 30 per cent of that occurs below 700 metres.
Dr Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Too many weddings, not enough funerals
It's fascinating how life sometimes imitates, and then reverses, art. In the past week we've learnt about three weddings, attended variously by the Prime Minister, the Attorney-General, the Foreign Minister, and the Agriculture Minister. Work-related travel expenses were claimed, some of which have now been repaid. But, in a twist of the film plot, no (political) funeral has been added to the script. The Communications Minister has explained there's a ''degree of ambiguity in the rules'' concerning when work-related travel expenses can legitimately be claimed.
Perhaps there was ambiguity as well concerning how appropriate it was to accept free travel to attend the wedding in India, from a person with major business interests in Australia. Move along, nothing to see here. Look, there's Elvis!
Paul McMahon, Isaacs
In other circumstances the actions of Messrs Abbott, Brandis and Joyce in claiming parliamentary travel entitlements would be amusing. But it is not. Their claims of genuine error or misunderstanding of entitlements ring hollow in the context of their confected and cowardly outrage under cover of parliamentary privilege over the allegations against Messrs Slipper and Thomson. Their mendacity at claiming error or misunderstanding having been found out while denying the same claim to Slipper and Thomson, is the ultimate reflection of the arrogance already apparent in the new government. Will Abbott, Brandis and Joyce be subject to the same legal action as Slipper and Thomson? Or will they, as the holders of a God-given right to rule, be able to claim a different morality?
James Grenfell, Spence
I congratulate you for your editorial, ''Time to rein in political rorts'' on October 7. I have a suggestion. Any politician found guilty of rorting taxpayers' money should be fined 10 times the amount rorted, with a condemnation from the Governor-General.
Sankar Kumar Chatterjee, Evatt
TO THE POINT
The Fleet Review Spectacular on Saturday on the ABC was a swindle. I expected an expansion of the glimpse of the fleet seen on the news, 8000 sailors of umpteen ships sailing into Sydney Harbour. Instead, we got 45 minutes of fireworks, sending billions of taxpayers' money up in smoke.
Dennis Palmer, Deakin
NO WIN NO FEE
Would Mr Corbell be so confident with the same-sex marriage bill if he were paying the legal fees for the coming challenge from the federal government, which says he is wrong?
Rex Williams, Ainslie
Nice sentiments from Jack Waterford. Very politically correct. But abuse works. I expect my representatives to achieve power, not ponce about flapping their hands and acting polite; they'll end up like Kevin.
S. W. Davey, Torrens
Jan Gulliver is mistaken when she says I missed her point about her letter of October 3. I was responding to her comment that Mr Abbott is fair game because he wears a ''skimpy bathing costume and Lycra in public'', not her comment on Pope's cartoon.
Jane Craig, Holt
AND THE MUSIC?
What constitutes a music review? Friday's Times2 article was purportedly about the band Haim. I learnt nothing about their style of music or background. But I learnt they are sisters and have lovely hair.
B. Carlin, Macgregor
Coalition MPs and senators from tiny parties should ask themselves a question: If you worked for a typical boss, would you be reimbursed to attend a wedding? No? Well, stop ripping us off!
Byron Kaufman, Dickson
I think taxpayers received a bargain in only having to pay $1095 for Tony Abbott to attend Sophie Mirabella's wedding, although he did take seven years to repay the money. Most people I know would have demanded a much heftier fee to attend any event involving Ms Mirabella.
John Davenport, Farrer
While the old program may be a shorter, more efficient word, so presumably was ''helth'', the preferred spelling for his department by the health minister, Doug Everingham, in 1972-75. My spellcheck is objecting to it, and so too did the Style Manual, but the simplified spelling was used within the department, I believe.
Jill Greenwell, Ainslie