Parliamentary Triangle parking fees will hit ACT economy

So, paid parking will begin on July 1 in the Parliamentary Triangle. The ACT government has been lobbying for years to have paid parking introduced at our national institutions, and it appears it has finally succeeded - at a cost of about $55 a week for the average motorist, and with thousands of them being forced to pay for parking while at work.

Has anybody bothered to work out how much money will be taken out of the ACT economy because of this decision? I am guessing it will be hundreds of millions of dollars, money I am guessing that would have been spent in the ACT. Now it will go to the federal government. What a fiasco.

Well done, ACT government, for successfully lobbying to have hundreds of millions of dollars taken out of our local economy for what? Oh I forgot, you thought you were going to get the money collected.

Another great decision by the government that nobody wanted in the first place.

Leo Vukosa, Oxley

Praise for staff in fire

The efforts of ACT government staff following the recent fire in the Sydney Building deserve praise, not criticism (Letters, February 25). The professionalism and dedication shown by the many areas of government that dealt with the incident, and continue to deal with its aftermath, is to be commended.


The rapid response from emergency services to bring the fire under control quickly, and the subsequent efforts of staff from WorkSafe ACT, ACTION, Canberra Connect, Economic Development, Environment and Sustainable Development and ACT Health helped keep the community safe, moving and informed. Most of the businesses in the Sydney Building have been reopened and the efficient way in which this occurred is testament to the hard work undertaken by all of these ACT government agencies.

Staff from the ACT government will continue to provide advice and assistance to affected businesses to help them get back up and running as quickly as possible. Impacted businesses can call the business support hotline on 6207 0165.

I would remind business operators to review their insurance policies to ensure they are adequately covered in the event of unexpected and unfortunate incidents such as this.

Katy Gallagher, ACT Chief Minister

New theory hatched

The Canberra Times has published many letters from Brian Hatch in which he denies the existence of scientific evidence that global warming is occurring, and a couple in which he claims that cheap eggs from caged hens are somehow a great idea, conveniently not mentioning the well-proven torture those hens are known to suffer.

If The Canberra Times decides to continue to publish this writer's letters, the public has a right to know if he is the same Brian Hatch who is on the public payroll, as a senior member (akin to a senior magistrate) of the ACT Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

G. Fitzgerald, Griffith

Tickets over the odds

With the talk of new handling fees for AFL tickets booked online for the MCG (now $2.50) and Etihad (now $7) games, I am surprised that no one has mentioned the charge placed on online purchases of tickets for last weekend's Royal Canberra Show.

With an adult entry fee of $24 at the gate, and wanting to avoid the line-up for entry, it was a bit of a surprise to find that when purchasing a ticket online via Ticketek, I had to kick in an extra $4.42 for the privilege of printing my ticket on my printer.

I understand Ticketek needs to make a couple of dollars, being a business and all, but as the show organisation's resources were not being used in selling me the ticket, why didn't it make its online ticket price $20 (plus Ticketek's fee of $4.42) and make the entry cost at least equitable with the gate price?

Wayne Jones, Chisholm

Condoning vandalism

On the slippery slope of the end justifying the means, former ACT Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur (Letters, February 25) thanks vandals for their attack on the Parkwood chook farm in March 2012.

In my column of March 18 that year I wrote: ''Failure by ACT Greens MLAs Caroline Le Couteur and Shane Rattenbury to immediately and unambiguously condemn the vandalism of the Parkwood egg farm makes them, in my opinion, unfit for re-election.''

Both obfuscated when asked to condemn that attack. Both, as is their right, oppose battery hens, but for politicians to give even tacit support to vandalism or sabotage on this, or indeed any scale, is appalling.

The attack at Parkwood was a criminal act on which Le Couteur ultimately said in March 2012: ''Based on the details coming through, this appears to be a destructive and dangerous incident, which we [the Greens] condemn.''

Yet in her letter of February 25, in which she supports legislation banning cage egg production in the ACT, she said: ''This is the result of a lot of work by a lot of people .. . It's also thanks to the unknown activists who closed down the Parkwood battery cage farm in 2012.''

So the act which she finally condemned in March 2012 as a politician, is now worthy of her thanks.

It seems fair to ask, what other industry or activity opposed by the Greens and their ilk will be targeted by vandals on the principle that the end justifies the means?

Or will the Greens officially dissociate themselves from Le Couteur's apparent support for the deliberate destruction of plant and equipment in a legally operated enterprise?

Graham Downie, O'Connor

In support of SES

The headline ''Who will you call? Maybe not the SES'' (Letters, February 24) takes Lesley Fisk's comments out of context, is misleading and suggests that the ACTSES may not be fulfilling its responsibilities.

As Ms Fisk has indicated, there are examples of storm damage where the ACTSES has no role to play. However if there is a risk to safety, potential for further property damage or access is restricted, then ACTSES volunteers are available to assist the community.

SES volunteers are trained to assess storm damage, taking into consideration a range of factors including those examples mentioned above. I strongly recommend residents call 132 500 first, so that together we can determine whether you require ACTSES assistance.

Tracey Allen, acting chief officer, ACT State Emergency Service

Both sides culpable in political bastardry on asylum seekers

Both sides of politics should hang their heads in shame over asylum-seeker policy. Right from the days of Kim Beazley (with the possible exception of Kevin Rudd in his early days), the ALP has tried to play both sides of the fence here. At least the Coalition has been upfront in its bastardry. At the moment, the only choice is between the bastard and the bigger bastard.

Those with a conscience on both sides of politics need to come out from behind the curtain of fear, political expediency, loyalty to their party and a selfish concern for their own political futures above any moral compass. Come out. Make a stand. Cross the floor.

Say it publicly: ''Enough is enough, and I will no longer be a puppet for brutality.''

Adam Black, Eden Hills, SA

Myopic view of issues

Someone should pay for cataract surgery for H. Ronald (Letters, February 26) so he can see the difference between the deaths at sea and the murder of a man, and the injuries suffered by some 70 other refugees, while under the (alleged) care and protection of the Australian government. A case of chalk and cheese.

There was no riot as such and the events need no further determination. From eyewitness accounts, the dead and injured were attacked, within the camp perimeter, by employees of G4S, the PNG police and locals. As with all Ronald's correspondence, he again demonstrates his unfamiliarity with truth and reality in a childishly petulant and typically shameful display of base partisan politics trumping principle.

Paul McElligott, Aranda

It's quite common, particularly in playground ''debates'', for someone who is stung by something they find difficult to refute to resort to name-calling - hence H. Ronald's reference to ''dimwits'' and more in relation to Jenna Price's piece on the Manus debacle. Perhaps H. Ronald should direct his concerns to the political actions that allow such odious comparisons to be drawn.

Brian Smith, Conder

Abbott move will backfire

Professor George Williams (''Releasing cabinet documents has a long-term price'', Times 2, February 25, p4) offers a powerful critique of the federal government's decision to make available cabinet papers of the previous government to the ''pink batts'' royal commission.

Unquestionably, the roof insulation policy of the Rudd government, well intentioned though it might have been, was rushed and poorly executed. That four people died while installing roof insulation was a tragedy. Responsibility must be borne not only by the federal government but also by state authorities and roof insulation contractors.

What is extraordinary, however, is the astonishing naivety of the Abbott government in seeking to pursue his predecessors on this matter and overturn 113 years of convention. Has anyone in the Prime Minister's office considered that the decision to hold the royal commission and release the Rudd cabinet papers to the commissioner could come back to haunt his own government in the foreseeable future and his successors? As Professor Williams points out, the decision has the potential in years to come of allowing a future non-Coalition government to draw on the precedent and cynically seek to inflict damage on those of Mr Abbott's side of politics.

Perhaps a partial solution to address the precedent set by the Abbott government is for there to be legislated protection for cabinet papers for a designated period of at least a generation.

Jonathan Hayes, Hughes

PM owes Garrett apology

An array of independent reviews and inquests, state and federal, has not advanced Tony Abbott's allegations that federal Labor politicians are to blame for four deaths because of subsidies for roof insulation, according to an editorial in The Canberra Times (''An indulgence we can ill afford'', Times2, February 24, p2''). Abbott even accused then minister Peter Garrett of having blood on his hands.

In the absence of any substantiation, the media, including the usually balanced ABC, should stop referring to it as a ''botched'' scheme. And Abbott, instead of going on another fishing expedition with a royal commission at public expense, should apologise to Peter Garrett.

Bruce Porter, Palmerston

Hockey out of step

''Hockey in ambitious gambit for 3% growth aiming high'' ( February 24, p2). Ambitious - for what purpose? Yes, 3 per cent can be achieved. All that is needed is to increase population growth sufficiently - above the present rate of 1.8 per cent (currently 400,000-plus a year, another Adelaide every three years). The increase will require a higher immigration component than it presently does (60 per cent of the growth).

It will also need funding - estimated at about $200,000 per person. However, Hockey has made dire warnings about the need to tighten budgets: science, education, health, human services, and infrastructure generally, have been nipped in the bud by his frosty deliveries; though the last is currently being massaged, with kind words at least.

Where will the extra moolah come from, other than by degrading lifestyles and the environments upon which they depend? But we have been told he is going to improve the lot of ordinary Australians from their previous woes. Either he suffers from cognitive dissonance, is telling porkies, or is sniffing funny flowers up the garden path.

Colin Samundsett, Farrer

Gittins' view tainted

Ross Gittins (''Pollies race to the bottom,'' Times2, February 26, p4) whinges about Australians having to pay the world price for gas even though we have always had to pay the world price for oil, even when we had some self sufficiency. True to his subjective principles, he also enjoys the corrupted world price for food at the expense of Australian farmers and his own country.

Christopher Smith, Braddon

Too little research into wind farms

The headline ''Wind farms receive a report of good health'' (February 25, p6) about the NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) review of wind farms and health is a bit rich. Professor Warwick Anderson, chief executive of NHMRC, in fact said that: ''The existing body of evidence relating to wind farms and health remains small and mostly of poor quality and further high-quality research is needed.'' This is in keeping with the Senate Inquiry on wind farms in 2011, which called for adequately resourced research on wind farms and health.

There are thousands of anecdotal reports worldwide on problems associated with wind farms and health. And hundreds of groups worldwide dedicated to resisting them. One finds no such thing with solar panels and solar energy. Why? Because wind farms have real problems, for which the gold-standard research has mostly not yet been done.

Murray May, Cook

Don't fund willow war

The clean-up of our polluted waters is good news (''$85m to clean our polluted waters'', February 26, p1). Not so good is RiverSmart's intention to waste money renewing the war on willow trees. Riverine gallery forests of willows are the only nutrient buffer between eroding lands and waterways in large parts of the region. These forests sequester carbon and trap vast quantities of nutrient-rich sediment.

The troublesomeness of ''leaf-leaving willows'' is a furphy. Deciduous trees withdraw nutrients from their leaves before they drop them in autumn. The leaf drop is mainly carbon, a useful food source for invertebrates at the bottom of the lake's food chain.

Perhaps a little of the $85 million could be spent on assessing the environmental impact of the previous willow destruction before this fad be further funded.

Peter Marshall, Braidwood, NSW



Don't blink, Senator Stephen Conroy, you are on the money. The military has been politicised by a government that has no qualms about pandering to the red-neck vote running the agenda. And the Coalition is more than happy to pander to this low-life even if it does mean abusing our military.

D. J. Fraser, Mudgeeraba, Qld

Lieutenant-General Angus Campbell (''Asylum seekers on 'journey to nowhere''', February 26, p5), under the Abbott government, is acting similarly to Admiral Chris Barrie during the Howard era - toeing the government line. I wonder when the Australian Defence Forces became a political organisation? I am ashamed to call myself a retired naval officer.

Dr Zak Rahmani, Melba

No doubt Angus Campbell is just following orders.

John Passant, Kambah

Senator Stephen Conroy's contrived sneer - protected, of course, by privilege - at Lieutenant-General Angus Campbell is typical of the cocksuredness of the ill-stocked mind of many politicians. But what must have seemed so hairy-chested an attack in its planning proved instead to be an act of self-gratification more Onan than Conan.

W.A. Reid, Ngunnawal


At last, good news from the Vatican: George Pell is to be removed from Australia.

Jack Palmer, Watson


Which is worse? A government program to better insulate a million Australian homes in which four installers die or a government program to keep asylum seekers out of Australia in which one is murdered in the camp the Australian government provides? Does it take a royal commission to give us the answer?

Tim Terrell, Farrer


If you're an assembly line worker in the auto industry, the age of entitlement is over. If you're a farmer in a National Party electorate, the cheque is in the mail.

Thos Puckett, Ashgrove, Qld


Harry Evans' various antagonists have yet to explain away the problem that references in our constitution to the Queen are to Queen Victoria and her heirs and successors in the sovereignty of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and a polity consisting of only England, Wales and Northern Ireland doesn't answer that description.

Frank Marris, Forrest

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