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Letters to the editor: Refugee deal is a sell-out

I refer to David Wroe's article ("Donald Trump tells Malcolm Turnbull he will honour the deal to resettle refugees from Nauru and Manus Island", canberratimes.com.au, January 29).

If this is the case, Trump will have assisted Australia in extricating itself from a humanitarian quagmire of our own making.

Having already made clear its expectations of deference and subservience from the community of nations, the Trump administration may be expected to call for Australia's co-operation on future occasions.

Such co-operation may not always be in Australia's interests, but such requests may now be very difficult to decline.

Can Australia henceforth be anything other than America's lapdog?

Peter Grabosky, Forrest

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One of the most repugnant acts of the repugnant President Trump is to prioritise refugees according to their religion: Christians will go the front of the queue, Muslims to the rear.

This goes against all the fundamental tenets of civilised behaviour and against the teachings of Jesus Christ who told the story of the Good Samaritan.

People in need should be assisted regardless of their colour, sex, race, or religion.

The leaders of France, Italy, Germany, Great Britain, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden all swiftly registered their protests to Trump's decree.

Silence from our Prime Minister.

By his silence, Malcolm Turnbull apparently accepts Trump's decision. Does that mean that Turnbull believes Australians who practise Islam are less equal than Australian Christians?

Mike Reddy, Curtin

Have we as a nation finally lost all our marbles, or all our pride, or both? Foreign Minister Julie Bishop calls on US President Trump to increase its engagement with Asia, and "support Asia's own peace"? ("Plea for Trump to stay with Asia", canberratimes.com.au, January 27).

The minister's comments reflect long-term and worsening fawning towards the US, and are breathtaking for the sheer idiocy of looking to a nation led by Donald Trump for our security.

Perhaps she hasn't noticed that the US tends to bring war, not peace, wherever it goes, and Trump has promised to ramp up the US military beyond its current global pre-eminence.

At a time when most of the world is recoiling in disbelief at the horror of what the new president seems set to unleash, for Australia we can't get enough. It would be nice to see some standards other than the capacity to exert brute force.

On January 26 the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists reset the hands of its Doomsday Clock from 3 to 2 minutes to midnight, in recognition of humanity's two most pressing existential threats: nuclear weapons and climate change.

Sue Wareham, president, Medical Association for Prevention of War, Cook

In retaliation for Trump's torpedoing of the TPP and based on the same logic he plans to restrict entry of prescribed nationalities to the US, our government should immediately impose similar restrictions, if not a total bar, on the arrival of US citizens into Australia on the basis they are likely to be carrying concealed weapons, intend lynching anyone not 100 per cent Aryan, and refuse to eat Vegemite.

John Murray, Fadden

Those who want to get into the US can meet the challenge of wall in many ways: Tunnel under it, go around by sea, go over it by air or other means or blow it up.

Desperate people are prepared to do desperate things.

Glenys Hammer, Narrabundah

What makes a racist?

Am I a racist? In general I am inspired by many ethnic and cultural groups that live in Australia and in other parts of the world.

I admire Sikhs for their hard work and honesty. I admire the way most Asian cultures are family oriented and how they care for their elderly. I admire the can- do attitude of south-east Asians.

I believe the soft-spoken Cambodians, Burmese or Laotians could give other cultures a lesson in politeness and respect for others.

I don't like going to America. Tipping annoys me and makes me frustrated with the American political system.

I don't respect Indians who wear the blue colours of the Brahmin caste.

It reveals a cultural arrogance towards those beneath them in the discriminatory caste system of India.

I have studied the Koran. I am afraid of any legal system that allows honour killings and requires the testimony of two women to equal the testimony of one man.

I am polite to everyone and I wish everyone equally well.

However, because I tell other people that I am anti or fearful of certain ideologies and cultural practices, I am called a racist.

Am I really a racist?

Robert Edwards, Hughes

PMs missing in action

Jack Waterford says he has observed 11 prime ministers over 50 years ("Turnbull weakest prime minister since McMahon", January 28).

We have had 13 prime ministers in that period. Which two did Jack not think worth observing?

Michael McCarthy, Deakin

Tick for Centrelink

Recently I had to notify Centrelink of a very distressing change in my circumstances that affected my entitlements.

The officer who spoke to me (very promptly) could not have been more sensitive, patient and helpful, and I am most grateful.

I can make no comment about the workings of a large and complex department but one client to one officer would like to give credit when it's due.

Richard Johnson, Ainslie

Inoperative Black Mountain BBQs spoil picnics on Australia Day

It was disappointing to discover, on the one day of the year when many families take the opportunity to have a picnic on Australia Day, that at one of our most popular locations at Black Mountain Peninsula most of the ACT government-maintained BBQs were not working.

After some searching we managed to find one that worked out of eight and found ourselves patiently queueing with many others to eventually cook our meat.

It is a shame our government representatives can't attend to managing basic community facilities such as barbecues in our parks.

It would leave us all with more positive impressions of our elected officials if our municipal services were run more smoothly.

Nick Allan, Palmerston

City in state of neglect

Derek Wrigley is spot-on with his criticism of ACT government redevelopment of our beautiful city (Letters, January28).

This one-eyed focus is accompanied by a neglect of existing infrastructure. Walking from the carillon under Kings Avenue Bridge into Grevillea Park, managed by the ACT government, is like moving from a first-world country to a third-world country.

Thistles line the rock wall of East Basin, blackberry bushes flourish, tree suckers mingle with long grass.

It is obviously a long time since this area saw any TLC.

We should probably be thankful the Commonwealth government still provides enough funding to maintain the Parliamentary Triangle.

Robyn Coghlan, Hawker

Beware rough paths

Phillip Harris (Letters, January 25) is right. I challenge Minister Fitzharris to find 50metres (or even 25metres) of unbroken, unlifted pavement along the well-used community path between Narrabundah College and Griffith Ovals (next to Manuka).

Instead of relying on complaints lodged by the general public, the ACT government needs to take a systematic approach to maintaining community paths.

We already have ready-made surveillance vehicles: posties' bikes. The government could also require builders to lodge a bond and a photograph of the state of the adjacent pavement before they start a major project, with the bond to be forfeited if the pavement is left damaged.

In response to increasing obesity and climate change, the government is encouraging Canberrans to take public transport, walk or cycle, so it is vital that our community paths are quickly brought up to scratch — even more so with our ageing population.

G. M. King, Narrabundah

Bogongs off-colour

Patricia Watson (Letters, January 26) makes reference, among other things, to graffiti and street art. I am reminded of the big yellow steel sculpture on Drakeford Drive made to represent a swarm of Bogong moths.

My problem is that Bogong moths are not gaudy yellow. They are a soft brown-grey colour. The sculpture really does look the way those moths do when they swarm in large numbers, but the colour is wrong.

There are other sculptures in the area of sheep and other animals that are just galvanised steel and they are very effective.

Could not the yellow moths have their colour a bit more toned down?

Stewart Bath, Isabella Plains

Water charge facts

The Superannuated Commonwealth Officer's Association appears to be another organisation that misunderstands or misrepresents the new water charging regime proposed for the ACT ("Retirees call for wider concessions", January 21, p. 13) in terms of its impact on gardening activities.

As previously reported in The Canberra Times, the proposed charges will increase the fixed connection cost and reduce the variable cost of measured water usage.

While this may negatively impact some retirees overall, it will not be a disincentive to water gardens, but rather the opposite.

Helmut Simon, Watson

Listen to the experts

Why doesn't the current ACT government listen to the likes of Derek F. Wrigley (Letters, January 28) plus other well-credentialled town-planners, landscape designers — Jack Kershaw and John Gray spring to mind — instead of placing the future development of Canberra in the grubby hands of single-minded developers?

On the subject of planning around the lake shore of West Basin (I think) Derek's idea of the extension of Commonwealth Park right around to the National Museum (is a good one).

Perhaps this could also incorporate Floriade in the future. His idea seems to me to be of more merit than some grandiose developer's dream of high-rise dominating the wonderful view to the Bindabellas.

Patricia Watson, Red Hill

Housing solution

There could be a resurgence in the traditional boarding house, according to Michael Gorey's report, ("More people living together would relieve Australian housing shortage", Canberratimes.com.au, January 24).

The chief executive of Flatmates.com au "estimates there are more than 10 million empty rooms across Australia".

Taxation is the biggest obstruction to this. The increase to land taxes or rates for the sake of one or two tenants, coupled with changes to insurance, convenience, privacy, income tax and loss of pension prohibits this simple solution.

The few who offer this service are forced to enter the black economy.

Gary J. Wilson, Macgregor

Literary overkill

I fear that Paul McGeough's time at the Front of the resistance against President Trump has taken a toll. I realise that "no pasaran" and the wearing of the "marianne", at the same time, can unhinge anyone, particularly given the mass shootings, torture and terror invoked by Trump666 and his Deplorables, against the Pure and Progressive, but even such a mighty, pen-equipped warrior as Paul needs rest.

Withdraw him from the Front, people. His insights are becoming a little wearing, a little overblown. The mass killings and other horrors of the Trump Reich can wait for a fresher partisan to report. A luta continua!

Neil Watson, Chifley

TO THE POINT

SHAMEFUL, TURNBULL

The deal done by Turnbull to dump refugees permanently in the US brings shame upon all Australians.

This is the persecution of victims taken to the extreme. These people came to us for help.

It is the direct equivalent of imprisoning the victims of domestic violence.

Gerry Gillespie, Queanbeyan

Jack Waterford ("Leader paralysis", Forum, January 28, p1) says Turnbull "has joined Billy McMahon as the weakest prime minister in our history". Fair go Jack. At least with Billy we knew beforehand he would be hopeless.

Eric Hunter, Cook

GOOD RIDDANCE, TPP

Like most of us I am aghast at the prospect of four years of President Trump. Yet we should be grateful to him for one thing: the axing of the TPP. Now we are spared the loss of sovereignty it threatened.

Jack Monaghan, Lyneham

IT'S MULTICULTURALISM

No, Peter Robinson (letters, January 27), the poster did not promote Islamic fundamentalism. It promoted multiculturalism.

Anne Willenborg, Royalla, NSW

I find it strange Peter Robinson refers to the delightful billboard of the hijab-wearing girls as "controversial". In rural Queensland it might be. MrRobinson should remember we live in 21st century Canberra.

John Mason, Latham

CLASH OF DATES

John Goss (letters, January 26 ) raises a good point but needs to look at next year's calendar to see the error in the practical side of his plan. The last Friday in January 2018 is the 26th.

Jevon Kinder, Murrumbateman

OFF THE RAILS

$600,000 a year, a furnished apartment, return airfare to Sydney each month, expenses such as parking and mileage for the light rail project director. I hope the poor bugger won't be out of pocket.

Peter Dahler, Calwell

WRONG TARGETS

Donald Trump claims to be making America safer by keeping out refugees. America would be far safer by reducing access to guns rather than targeting the victims of ill-conceived American foreign policy.

Mike Quirk, Wanniassa

EXIT'S OVER THERE

Andrew Barr, take your billboard and go to Queanbeyan if you don't mind. Not in the ACT.

D. Perry, Amaroo

Email: letters.editor@canberratimes.com.au. 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.

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