Although I am strongly in favour of government getting out of the marriage business (solving same-sex marriage, polygamy, bigamy, etc, in one fell swoop), I think the "Love without marriage" article (January 3, p13) missed one very important point: marriage establishes indubitably the partners are one another's next of kin.
No one wants an argument about who can sign the consent for an operation if one partner is incapacitated. In the worst case, one would hate a dispute over the inheritance. Of course, both of these situations can be resolved by a will and an enduring power of attorney but how many unmarried couples think to do this? And, just in case people think "it couldn't happen to us", I personally know two couples (both under-40) to whom it has.
John Rogers, Cook
Charity letters annoy
I would like to thank Barbara Fisher (Letters, January 3) for writing about the way charities have become so annoying.
Three or four times a week I receive their letters, which I put in the bin. There should be somewhere that we could complain and have them stopped, but I have not been able to find any way, so I am glad someone else is writing about it.
Rosalind Carew, Isaacs
Barbara Fisher (Letters, January 3) outlines her frustrations with annoying charities. I can sympathise and I personally remedied the phone calls at dinner time by selling my house and changing my phone number. Now only a few close friends and relatives have the new number.
The marketing companies making those phone calls and setting up stalls in shopping malls take a fair slice of donations, typically the first contribution and portions of ongoing contributions.
Many people do not realise this. When completing forms, unwitting donators often fail to read the fine print. It is often so fine it requires a magnifying glass and advises that contact details will be shared unless otherwise indicated. Details are then passed on to other charities marketed by the same company or worse still, sold on the open market.
Best thing to do is choose a couple of reputable charities, go to the website and make a donation online. All the money goes to that charity and there is much less chance contact details will be passed on.
The charity industry needs a good overhaul as there are too many dodgy ones, unethical behaviour and much duplication.
Rosemary Dupont, Reid
Prefer paper road maps
Phew! Thank goodness I am in the 6per cent of male drivers who will ask for directions ("Men, women and automobiles", Sunday Focus, January 3, p19), especially when new roads are not shown on my map.
I will back paper maps over GP maps, probably because I learned to read maps in the Scouts and maps were constantly used when I was in the RAAF.
Ken McPhan, Spence
Not so 'green' after all
Jenny Goldie (Letters, January 3) should do research into the real cost of wind as a source of energy, not only in monetary terms but the environmental cost.
The research is vast to show that not only is wind power an expensive (only surviving on subsidies) and inefficient way to produce energy but the environment loses out completely by having these industrial structures in the rural areas where the turbines are killing raptors and all creatures that come close to the blades.
In addition, the materials the turbines are made of are not in any way "green", with tonnes of concrete, steel and rare earth minerals from Mongolia. The new mandate now is to clear forests and kill the birds first before the industrial sites are made.
The turbines are imported from other countries, which in turn creates pollution. New coal-fired power stations are being built to support the wind turbines so that is more expense.
The answer is solar panels on all houses with the support of batteries to store the energy.
Julie Gray, Burra
I agree with Jenny Goldie that our planet will be a better place when clean energy powers the needs of all mankind, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Wind and solar are still a tiny proportion of global power output and it is still highly dependent on subsidies.
Coal-fired power stations still provide some 50per cent of base-load power worldwide and are critical as a backup for unreliable wind and solar output.
Without base-load power from coal, for example, the much vaunted move to renewable power in the ACT would be unworkable.
Indeed, if coal-fired power stations were shut down now there would unimaginable chaos and misery worldwide, not to mention the likely collapse of the global economy. By all means let's work towards a world with zero emissions irrespective of one's view on the risks of global warming, but let's do it sensibly.
If Goldie thinks that the world is about to disintegrate as a result of burning coal, perhaps she might consider campaigning for the widespread use of new generation nuclear power or fracking to release the vast untapped reserves of relatively clean gas.
Consider our youth
We accept brutish behaviour in our sports stars as long as it slithers underneath the protective rock of marketing sponsorship. Only when there is a chance of 'brand' damage to their profits do the sponsors show a concern for the youth who are on the receiving end of the 'role-modelling'.
G.Jones, Araluen, NSW
Stop turning blind eye
Chris Gayle has form. Channel Ten knows it. Cricket Australia knows it. The Melbourne Renegades know it. The journalists know it.
Problem is, he also has form when it comes to helping these stakeholders make money, make entertainment, make headlines ... make runs.
So what to do when such a high profile entertainer is true to form?
What to do with a cricketing mercenary who's immersed in a mercenary culture?
Well, as alluded to above, perhaps we need to concede that Mr Gayle may be receiving mixed (and conflicting) messages from his employers and his fans.
"Chris, we know about your philandering and mercenary ways, but we'll turn a blind eye, even have the odd chuckle, as long as you help us win and create wealth — and don't get caught out."
Might I suggest another type of messaging: "mate, your form around women is really poor; it ain't welcome here — you're dropped."
Peter Day, Queanbeyan
Email: email@example.com. 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.
Keep your letter to 250 words or less. References to Canberra Times reports should include date and page number. Letters may be edited. Provide phone number and full home address (suburb only published).