Letters to the Editor

Racing to the bottom



What a great article by Virginia Haussegger ("How the bimbos of Sunrise disgraced feminism", February 15).

Without a doubt these women are bimbos and don't forget the men like Kochie, they are on all commercial TV.

It is a shame that at times the ABC attempts to match commercial TV; it only lowers the standard. Reality TV I believe has won the race to the bottom. The attempts by presenters to be comedians comes across to me as embarrassingly second rate.

Sadly we have come to this low point in media presentation. Why we have to have a gang of women and men dressed in designer cloths, lots of make-up, talking over each other, mostly about nothing.

Yes, Virginia Haussegger I can clearly see why you find it depressing , watching these girly play things nattering and squealing about nothing , rudely over the top of Kristin Davis , who was attempting to present a paper on a very serious issue, "Sexual violence against women and children".

Now that the race to the bottom has been reached, can we ever improve our TV to be a less insulting to our intelligence medium and respects the dignity of women?


Michael Gardiner, Coombs

An idiot call

Note to Sam Armytage: if you insist on behaving like an idiot, it is within rights to call you one. If you are, or ever did consider yourself a feminist, consider yourself on probation for this shameful conduct.

Note to Virginia Haussegger: excellent column. Well done for calling out attackers and detractors of refugee human rights advocates.

Joyce Wu, Lyneham

Toxic, banal culture

Bravo Virginia Haussegger ("How the bimbos of Sunrise disgraced feminism", February 15, Times2, p5). Commercial television provides a mirror image of Hannah Arendt's 20th century iconic revelation, the banality of evil, with the toxic culture of banality.

Ian McFarlane, Wallaga Lake, NSW

Missing the point

I am not sure whether it passed under the radar or over her head but Virginia Hausegger has rather missed the point ("How the bimbos of Sunrise disgraced feminism", Times2, February 15, p5).

The theme was open borders, not feminism. The panel of Sunrise might be a collective feminine equivalent of of right-wing shock jock Alan Jones but their guest, former Sex and the City star Kristin Davis, does have a credibilty gap.

Samantha Armitage's outrageous blond periwig telegraphed the point. Whether as judge or proverbial dumb blond, she was set to take the mickey out of Davis.

The feminist/sexist banner just doesn't work no matter outraged the womansplaining.

Gary J. Wilson, Macgregor

Astonishing reaction

That TV breakfast show Sunrise so ruffled Virginia Haussegger's feathers was intriguing. As someone who idly watched the sketch in question which included actress and refugee activist Kristin Davis, I failed to grasp the sinister implications of the trivia that was on display.

It astonishes me that Haussegger decided to burst into print after a long spell to claim that this pap was an affront to feminism. At the risk of being accused of mansplaining, may I suggest that Haussegger turn her gaze to far more serious threats to her cause.

H.Ronald, Jerrabomberra

Climate dilemma

Australians, sceptical of man-induced climate change, are in a floundering dilemma. If they are right in believing that the industrial population of mankind is not responsible for climate change, then we have a hope of human survival. But if they are right in believing that the climate is changing according to a natural set of astronomic cycles, then we have no hope at all. If climate change is man-made, we do have the hope that civilisation leaders could perhaps come together and end the industrialisation of the world's environment. This would mean we give-up our present economic system.

However, if climate change is an on-going natural event, human beings are, and will be, powerless to stop it. Australia will suffer from sea inundation, raging fires and ice. Agriculture will fail and the biggest health problem to face all Australia will be complete and terminal starvation.

So, let's hope climate change is largely man-made. If not, no socio-economic system, the world has ever known will continue to exist.

Brian Hungerford, Curtin

The facts they forget

Last Saturday, Richard Denniss claimed that if Malcolm Turnbull were serious about his vision for cities, then he would be backing Andrew Barr in this year's ACT election. And in particular, he would be supporting the ACT's light rail, regardless of what policy the ACT Liberals may have.

No, he wouldn't, not if he has a vision for cities which aren't bankrupt. What Denniss, the Greens and other tram fanatics just forget to tell everyone is that the Gungahlin tram thing is wrong at the most basic level, and that all their smug statements about the Gold Coast tram are nothing more than meretricious Howard-style propaganda.

The Gold Coast tram line serves a city which is twice the size of Canberra, and which runs through that city's commercial heart. It also actually forms the heart of that city's transport system, replacing former bus routes instead of existing beside them, and it has buses from outer areas feeding passengers into it.

The proper Canberra equivalent of this would be a tram line on the trunk bus route between the interchanges of Civic and Woden, with future extensions to the interchanges at Belconnen and Tuggeranong.

G. T. Agnew, Coopers Plains

Ready to scream

As a life long supporter of left wing political parties and public transport, I am puzzled by the invective aimed at me because I happen to think that the proposed light rail is a stupid idea. I would much rather see the vast amount of money that is going to be spent on 12 kms of light rail being used to improve the current public transport service, including a bus lane on Northbourne Avenue.

The next time I see a self-satisfied letter to the editor from someone who has just ridden in an excellent light rail system in a European city (incidentally with a population density of around 10 times Canberra's) arguing for the same thing in Canberra, I think I will scream.

Keith Pantlin Downer

Time ACT government got its act together and tidied up Canberra

We have lived in Canberra for over 55 years and this is the most unkempt Canberra has looked in that time.

We do not know which way members of the Legislative Assembly travel to Civic but if any travel Athllon Drive they must surely notice the state of the grass which has been mown only twice since August.

This government, which I think is the most inept since the beginning of self government in the ACT, appears to be not interested in keeping Canberra looking like the nation's capital – a city that the residents and visitors should be proud of – but trying to justify burdening our children and grandchildren with a light rail system which the majority of taxpayers do not want.

Mr Corbell says that his party took the proposal for light rail to the last election. However he also should be aware that his party did not receive a mandate for light rail as we are sure the Liberal Party received more votes overall than Labor and that Mr Corbell was one of the last members elected.

Why doesn't this government listen to the people for a change and defer proceeding with light rail until after the election in October and clean up the current untidy state of Canberra?

R.Wright, Greenway

Listen to aid experts

The publication of the Australian aid stakeholder survey paints a worrying picture for the state of Australian aid as a whole ("Helping poor people in developing countries less important for Australia aid: ANU survey," February 11).

It worries me greatly how Australia's generosity has slipped in recent years. Apart from significant aid cuts to the level of just 0.25per cent of GDP, the report also surveys NGOs and aid sector worker satisfaction with Australia's foreign aid objectives. These are the individuals and organisations who are on the front line in the fight against global poverty, health epidemics and other substantial challenges. And yet, with all their experience and understanding, only 26 per cent are "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with government aid objectives, and over 50per cent are dissatisfied.

This is a clear message that the government's desire to use aid for diplomatic leverage cannot be the priority of our aid budget, especially with the instability of governments and the assistance required to meet basic needs in countries across the Asia-Pacific region.

For the sake of those who need our aid most, like those who cannot even access basic health and education resources, the government should listen more closely to the experts when allocating our Australian aid.

Robert Cook, Acton

Activist monarch

C J Johnston (Letters, February 16) correctly challenges the monarchist view that the queen's independent constitutional powers are defunct and unusable. But if monarchists really believe this claim, what is their rationale for retaining the monarchy if it is merely a cipher for the elected government? If our Constitution no longer operates as it is written, let us reform it so that it aligns with contemporary democratic best practice. The truth is that if a future activist monarch were sufficiently unwise to use his Constitutional powers independently it would take a very gymnastic High Court to overrule him. And those powers include the power to disallow legislation enabling the referendum to remove his powers.

Mike Hutchinson, Reid

Wisdom questioned

The Four Corners program, Dying to Dance, Monday, February 15, while on one hand made viewers decidedly more aware of the dangers of the use of drugs, but on the other hand could also contribute to an increase in the use of the same drugs, having had explained in great detail how simple it is to both buy and use the deadly tablets and how to avoid police detection.

One has to question, therefore, if the apparent close association of the interviewer with the well hyped-up users during the making of this program was wise, such anonymous but willing participants clearly evident as totally self-centred and irresponsible with their self-harming actions seemingly of little consequence, certainly to them.

Rex Williams, Ainslie

Please explain

Our political decisions are strongly influenced by the four big banks, three mining companies and Woolworths, Coles and Telstra, claims Labor senator Sam Dastyari.

Could The Canberra Times please ask the leaders of these companies to explain why they are encouraging the "world's greatest minister", Greg Hunt, to do little about climate change even though that choice is already costing much more than moving to renewable energy and energy conservation.

How much research have the companies done prior to pressuring our government behind the scenes? Let's bring those decision-making processes into the open and meet our secret leaders. And are those companies willing to compensate families and businesses for the damage in the huge fires currently ravaging Tasmania, given that climate change is intensifying weather events?

Rosemary Walters, Palmerston

Sly statistic to stop any changes to GST

One in five households with a top 10per cent income (greater than $200,000 a year) live "paycheque to paycheque" ("Wealthy believe they are battlers", February 15 p3).

The highest pension for a couple is about $35,000 a year.

With a GST on everything, the wealthy with the income of $200,000 would pay $20,000 GST while the pensioner would pay $3500. That is quite progressive.

The rich probably enjoy an eye fillet at $60 per kilo or lobster tails at $65 per kilo.

The pensioner has to make do with bass fillet or a beef burger at $5.50 per kilo. If GST was applied to fresh food the former would pay about $6 GST for that kilo while the latter 55¢. Again very progressive.

The fact is that the well off do not want an increase in GST nor a broader application of GST. The argument that the poor pay a greater percentage of income for things, therefore regressive, is just a sly statistic to stop changes to the GST.

John Simsons, Holt

Change won't hurt

Scott Morrison's claim that "mums and dads" will be adversely affected by changes to negative gearing has now been taken up by the Property Council of Australia ("Mums and Dads could be the big losers", February 15).

The council claims that the prevalence of negatively geared homes is in the outer suburbs of Sydney and regional towns.

That may be so, but it doesn't mean the investor landlords live in those suburbs. The council also claims many people who negatively gear have incomes below $80,000, but omits to clarify whether that is gross income or net income.

There is nothing to scare the average mums and dads about by changing the current policy to concentrate investment in new housing in future; they can continue with their investments in existing housing and enjoy the tax concessions, or they can invest in the future in new housing and enjoy the concessions.

Bill Bowron, Farrer



The message of the editorial of February 15 ("Commercial benefits won't flow without commitment to long-term research") was spot on, but it erred in calling important breakthroughs such as wireless internet technology "accidental" discoveries. Far from being accidental, such advances are inevitable spin-offs of the new knowledge created by fundamental scientific research.

Ed Highley Kambah


Nuclear waste is the ultimate pollutant. Nobody knows how to safely store it – you can't "dispose" of it because it lasts thousands of years. The idea of storing nuclear waste in order to make a profit today while exposing future generations to birth defects and mutations caused by leaking radiation is abhorrent.

Bruce A. Peterson, Kambah


Mr Barr is going to announce cuts to concessions in the June budget (p1, February 16). Now I know how he is going to help pay for the white elephant of light rail.

Richard Greene, Curtin


David Smith (Letters, February 15) draws heavily on the specious in his futile attempt to counter the demolition by C.J.Johnston of Smith's tedious argument that the Governor-General is Australia's head of state. He claims Section 59 of the constitution is otiose because it has never been used – spare me.

T. J. Marks, Holt


Zealots demanding a ban on greyhound racing in Canberra should think again. History tells us that banning things we don't approve of rarely eliminates them; think alcohol, prostitution, abortions, drugs. Usually, the outlawed activity carries on underground with no regulation at all.

Phil Teece, Sunshine Bay, NSW


It is good to see Amanda Vanstone continues to support Malcolm Turnbull, despite his recent minor wobbles. One hopes the Prime Minister remembers this when further rounds of appointments are to be made.

H. Simon, Watson


For the last few years, the housing market has been dominated by foreign buyers. As a result, it has witnessed unprecedented price riseS and additional price burden for first-home buyers. Labor's negative gearing reform, if implemented, will be a welcome relief for thousands of first-home buyers.

Sankar Kumar Chatterjee, Evatt

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