Letters to the Editor

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The large bonuses paid to employees of the Future Fund Management Agency (''Ex-mandarin criticises huge bonuses in 'beauty contest''', June 19, p1) gives rise to the question as to how these bonuses were funded. If funded out of their budget allocation, then the then Treasurer should explain why these extreme payments were made. If funded from the Future Fund, the board should explain to the owners of the fund, the public, the basis for employing money from the fund.

The legality of the excuse offered to date - ''it relied on performance pay to attract appropriately skilled and experienced employees'' - is questionable; bonus payments are supposed to be for performance above and beyond that required by their duty statements and the performance in meeting these duties.

Ed Dobson, Hughes

 

'No' to 9 minutes

So Commonwealth Public Service workers are being asked to work longer for the same pay. Effectively an extra week for no extra pay (''Nine minutes extra a day: PS stoush looms'', June 19, p1). If the Labor Party is true to its working-class and socialist roots they will oppose this.

Two sayings come to mind, ''not an hour on the day, not a penny off the pay'' and ''workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains''. It's a pity that Labor is a party full of pseudo intellectuals educated at university and not, as its founding fathers envisaged it, a place where the working class can find representation.

Ian Jannaway, Monash

The current APS bargaining round is a bit like a hiker (APS employees) bargaining with a hungry grizzly bear (Abetz and the federal government) with only his daypack and his lunch.

J. Coleman, Chisholm

 

Sobering thoughts

Your editorial ''Here's to a beer with Brahms and Liszt'' (Times2, June 18, p2) assumes the worst of those of us unhappy with the idea of moving the Wig and Pen into Llewellyn Hall. Yet, regular visitors to ANU will know, unless they have a permit to use one of the multistorey parking stations, that parking on campus is hard to find at the best of times.

Disabled drivers like myself have learnt that we have to get there early if we are to have a chance of using one of the few disabled parking bays. We also know that turning the hall into a lively hub is likely to make matters worse and we have no reason to believe that ANU will do anything to stop this.

Barry HindessReid

 

Cruel Australia

I appreciated reading Bruce Kennedy's succinct letter (June 18) on understated and easily overlooked item ''Babies sent offshore'' (June 16, p4). Why is there not community outrage about such totally inappropriate treatment of such vulnerable people who are in our care?

Inverbrackie, in the Adelaide Hills, is bitterly cold on winter nights. For the parents to have to waken and dress their infants, as well as prepare themselves for such a journey in the middle of the night, it must have been a nightmare. Did the guards just arrive without warning and order them to prepare to leave at once? Why did it have to be 3am? Were the families warned earlier so that they could prepare themselves and their meagre belongings? Did they have access to appropriate interpreters to let them know what was happening?

Perhaps we should just be grateful that we even got to hear of the incident, which was clearly an ''operational matter''.

I am in despair for our country and its refugee policies.

Sue Jones, Lyons

 

Out of control

John Warhurst has written a good article on major inquiries into aspects of Australian life by royal commissions (''Official inquiries shine light on the dark side of human nature'', canberratimes.com.au, June 19). He is right to say that very few reports join the dots between the inquiries.

It's a shame his article did not cover the Australian public's misplaced trust in tax-funded bureaucracies.

Harvard University legal historian Harold Berman wrote in his book Law and Revolution that bureaucratic administrative law is the greatest single threat to the Western legal tradition.

His thesis is that the Western legal system is the result of six revolutions (1) Papal; (2) Reformation; (3) English; (4) American; (5) French; and (6) Russian.

There is now a seventh: administrative law. It is universal. Administrative law is written by the executive and enforced by nearly autonomous bodies and agencies.

Administrative law judges, judicial officers and bureaucrats (ICAC, ACCC, ASADA, EPA, royal commissions, etc,) operate under the Napoleonic code: guilty until proven innocent at your own expense.

The constitution has been superseded by administrative law. The bureaucracies make the rules, not Parliament. All over the world bureaucracies have expanded their control over individuals, corporations and private institutions. Almost nobody understands this.

We have surrendered control over our legal system to administrative law judges and salaried bureaucrats. The state wins. Lawyers win. Bureaucrats win. State-accredited victimologies win. The rest of us lose.

Victor Diskordia, McKellar

 

Stop roo slaughter

The vandalism at the Farrer Parks and Conservation depot (''Vandals vent their anger on ACT depot over kangaroo cull'', June 18, p1) was shocking. The culling of 1606 kangaroos in the ACT also reported in the article is equally shocking, in fact more so as it involves flesh-and-blood creatures. This is not a one-off cull. It happens all around Australia.

As the number of dams increase, making water more available to the kangaroos, conditions improve, their populations expand. The cull rate in the ACT is greater than 1606 when we consider that female kangaroos carry young. The killing of animals for gain, whales by the Japanese, sharks in WA because they affect tourism, the live animal trade, intensive animal husbandry for increased profit, all cause suffering to animals and continue, despite protest.

It causes feelings of despair and helplessness to those who wish heartily that it would cease. Letters to politicians do not achieve cessation of these cruel practices, the live-animal trade justified so casually in economic terms.

It would be more humane to ''process'' beef here and ship it frozen. The photo of the kangaroo taken at dawn on a frosty Namadgi morning (June 18, p11), by contrast, is beautiful.

It's a great pity that wildlife pays the price for our capital in the bush. Far better had Melbourne remained the seat of government. Beautiful Canberra for the capital was a bad call, sadly, for its wildlife.

Kathie Nelson, Tuross Head, NSW

 

Cull is necessary

Congratulations to Daniel Iglesias for his well-written, non-emotive article concerning the kangaroo cull (''Responsible roo cull essential for ecological balance'', Times2, June 19, p5). What Mr Iglesias says makes complete sense - it is man who has created this problem so it is up to man to provide the cure. Could we now have an equally non-emotive, fact-driven reply from the so-called animal liberationists. I also notice a comment from Frankie Seymour (Letters, June 19) damning the cull. Perhaps she can provide scientifically based reasoning why kangaroos should not be culled and what other species are, or are not, affected by the cull.

I also find it quite disturbing that no one from the so-called animal liberation organisations have condemned the senseless vandalism to public property.

K. Keevers

 

Passenger count

Kevin Cox (Letters, June 15) argues for light rail. But if he is going to argue pros and cons, he needs to make sure the pros for light rail are the opposite of the cons of buses.

How can he argue that the buses are more expensive because of the number of trips without passengers or insufficient passengers to be efficient, and thus imply they are too big for the passenger volumes, then in the next paragraph state the light rail will benefit because it can carry more passengers. Surely that will mean it will spend even more time than the buses do underused and inefficient. I agree Canberra needs a better public transport system, but light rail is not the answer and arguments like Kevin's are not helping either way.

Steven Elliott, Wanniassa

 

Missing the bus

Predictably the ACT Liberals have added their own scary set of figures to the ''no light rail'' chorus. But they're still having a bet each way. Yes, they say, a growing Canberra will need light rail - but not just yet. Like climate change, we'll worry about it tomorrow. Meanwhile, let's have more buses and more tarmac.

I wonder whether the protests are really driven less by economics than by the inherent fear of the new, the unfamiliar, the visionary. Walter Burley Griffin, who built tramlines into Canberra's design, was frustrated and ultimately defeated by that fear when the city was young. The fear persists. We've never had trams before, so why now? They will change the look of Canberra, its dynamic, its traffic, its property values, its very lifestyle. We'll drive less and ride more.

And yet, once light rail is here, we'll turn around and extol it with pride as an integral part of our futuristic city. We will be able to look down on Sydney, which is having to rebuild the tram network it so short-sightedly scrapped decades ago.

Significantly, the Majura Parkway project, about the same length as the light rail line and which may, in the end, cost almost as much, has attracted little criticism. Yet it will produce no revenue. It will cost more to maintain.

It paves over the countryside and adds to emissions. Just the same, roads, trucks and cars are familiar things, and we accept roadworks and their huge costs without demur.

The Liberals fear that light rail will eat into passenger statistics on the buses. That's the point, isn't it?

Ray Edmondson, Kambah

To the point

NINE-MINUTE WONDER

So the government wants the public service to work an extra nine minutes per day. As a public servant I'm happy to do this as long as Mr Abbott promises to work nine minutes less per day.

David Doepel, Chapman

IT'S A BLUE, BLUE WORLD

Remember when Queensland dominated State of Origin? Neither do I.

Tony Judge, Belconnen

My grandson was born on the morning of Origin I. Thus, he has only ever experienced NSW Origin dominance.

Bob Hall, Kambah

Just what game was played at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday night? By one measure the final score was 1 (one try)-0 (no tries) which sounds like the result of a soccer game.

Ken McPhan, Spence

WHISTLEBLOWER JACKSON

I would not normally wish harm on anyone but I make an exception for HSU whistleblower Kathy Jackson. Hopefully the biblical saying those who live by the sword die by the sword will apply to her.

D.J. Fraser, Mudgeeraba, Qld

LINK TO KILLERS OFFENSIVE

I do not have children, but I used to be a child, and I find Colliss Parrett's clumsy comparison of children with convicted murderers (Letters, June 18) extremely offensive. Juxtaposing his letter with others about child sexual abuse in a school with a surfeit of religious instruction highlights the absurdity.

Peter Marshall, Captains Flat, NSW

OVERPOPULATION-AWARE

Good to see Bindi Irwin, 15, being concerned about human overpopulation and its effect on wildlife (''Bob Irwin will skip granddaughter Bindi Irwin's sweet 16'', canberratimes.com.au, June 18). She displays more wisdom than many twice her age.

Jenny Goldie, Michelago, NSW

 

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