In television interviews following his resignation from RSPCA ACT, former CEO Michael Linke appeared to claim sole credit for a number of animal welfare achievements in the ACT - high rescue and rehoming rates, banning of fireworks, introduction of microchipping of animals. While RSPCA plays a part in making the ACT's high dog-rehoming rate probably tops in Australia, credit for this achievement is equally shared with a number of other volunteer animal rescue groups in the ACT and region.
Managers of the ACT and Queanbeyan pounds will attest to the fact that they could not achieve their very high dog-rehomings without the dedicated support of volunteer temperament testers and rescuers not connected with RSPCA. So give credit where credit is due, Mr Linke.
Microchipping has been promoted by many groups, not just RSPCA. I respect and value the work of RSPCA but it's only one part of a wider community team working for animal welfare - and hopefully the new CEO will realise the value of publicly recognising that fact.
Wendy Parsons, Wanniassa
With the resignation of ACT CEO Michael Linke, it is an appropriate time for the RSPCA's Australian board to set up a new independent panel to investigate complaints from within or without the organisation.
The current situation whereby the RSPCA investigates itself is inappropriate and compromises its credibility.
Naomi Henry, Bungendore, NSW
France's Tour de Force
I have just returned from a cycling holiday in France. I was amazed at the courtesy I was given by motorists, especially truck drivers and farmers. We were given a wide berth on narrow and busy roads and cars often slowed to walking pace as they overtook us.
Such a contrast to my Canberra experience where I have had people narrowly miss me and utes and trucks purposely swerve towards me or honk and shout at me when I am clearly not in their way.
I asked the French why the drivers were so careful about cyclists, apparently, quite apart from a greater cycling culture, they have incredibly tough rules about accidents with cyclists. There are very tough consequences for any driver who injures cyclists, I gather the driver is always at fault. I believe if we had a tougher stance on bad driving etiquette with regard to cyclists and pedestrians, more people would be inclined to use their legs rather than our planet's precious resources to get to work.
I have also wondered that we would see a vast improvement if we insisted that all drivers pass a cycling proficiency test before getting their licence.
To learn to handle the roads as a vulnerable road user might help drivers to understand the consequences of their cavalier approach to others.
Sita Matthews, Curtin
The article ''Cyclists want onus of proof on drivers'' (October 16, p3) makes for interesting reading. As a walker and motorist, I find myself regularly evading cyclists who decline to dismount and race across pedestrian crossings thus endangering themselves, other pedestrians and providing heart-attack material for motorists trying to drive safely and considerately.
Fine, give them what they want, but at the very least cyclists must be registered so that they too, are identifiable by other road and path users. While I fully support cyclists, the not so few law breakers among them are giving cyclists a bad name and their lack of identification only exacerbates the problem.
David Hall, Kingston
Despite the problems outlined for cyclists in Canberra (''Cyclists want onus of proof on drivers'', October 16, p3), as a returning Canberran after a 25-year absence, most recently riding my bike in the choked inner west of Sydney, riding in Canberra is a sheer delight.
I have my gripe about the ''get off and walk across pedestrian crossings'', but if you stay away from the busier roads, bike riding is a joy.
My experience last year, after riding my bike from Rome to London, especially in Belgium and the Netherlands, is that cars, pedestrians and bikes coalesce successfully, with separate bike paths, educated car drivers, who also own at least one bike, and careful riding when passing pedestrians. For example, I had no problem navigating a crowded mall, road and tramway in Lille, France, without the abuse that can come your way in Sydney. All it takes is commonsense, common courtesy and regard for the safety of all.
Yes, ride to work Canberrans, it is a joy that we should be grateful for, with the bonus of increased physical activity. Pedal Power is a good advocate group working to improve the rights and enjoyment of cyclists.
Geoffrey Ballard, Campbell
Acts of Marriage
Paul Bowler (Letters, October 14) asserts that the power in the Australian constitution to make laws in respect to marriage is ''to the exclusion of the states and territories''.
More than a century's worth of High Court cases say this assertion is simply wrong. It is incorrect to say that the Commonwealth powers in section 51 of the constitution take away the power of states or self-governing territories to make laws. What the constitution does say on the subject, in section 109, is that a Commonwealth law prevails over an inconsistent state law on the same topic.
A High Court case on the ACT's proposed same-sex marriage laws will turn on the question of whether the Commonwealth Marriage Act is ''on the same topic''.
Trevor Mobbs, Richardson
On gay marriage Baden Williams (Letters, October 14), assumes that all members of the gay community are not members of Christian churches. This is not true, and many are active members of church communities. As Christians they will wish to have make their vows of marriage before God. Whilst marriage is not available for the gay population in Australia, it is occurring in other places in the world, and taking place in Christian churches. Two church communities, that I am aware of, where gay marriages are allowed, are the Episcopal National Cathedral in Washington, US, and St Andrews on the Terrace in Wellington, New Zealand. I would believe there are many more.
As yet, the law has not been changed in Australia, but I have no doubt that church marriages of same sex couples will occur in the church buildings of progressive Christian communities, once this occurs.
Piers Booth, Farrer
Enough is enough, time to stop politicians behaving badly
So , another politician is accused of rorting the system (''Abbott unmoved as expense scandal widens'', October 17, p1). Don Randall, the member for Canning in Western Australia travels to Cairns at public expense on ''electoral business''. Shortly after, he advises that he has bought an investment property there. Nevertheless, perhaps a couple of his constituents are ''grey nomads'' and he went to Cairns to chat with them. But I think not.
He like others, also purchases books at public expense. However these are cook books, guides to Broadway musicals and children's books. While we should not judge the intellect of politicians, do his official duties really require books of this nature? Further, in some instances Randall has bought more than one copy of the same book.
I assume he is not giving them away unaccounted for as this could be construed as vote buying and I believe this is illegal.
Finally, he travels from Perth to Melbourne, with a relative, at public expense of course, to attend a sitting of Parliament. It is Canberra's 100th birthday and not all are aware that Parliament House is in Canberra. This is the sort of nonsense occurring unabated in Parliament. I assume the government has asked the federal police to investigate - or must I do so?
C.J. Johnston, Duffy
Senate bullyboy tactics
I'm concerned the Prime Minister does not fully understand that ''his'' mandate is in the the House of Representatives ''only'' and not for both houses of Parliament. The people of Australia did not give him a mandate in the Senate. The Liberal Party only has a mandate to put forward legislation to the house for the house to vote on. The legislation then progresses to the Senate where the Liberal Party does not have a mandate now or in future (2014) when the Senate changes.
Until the Senate refuses supply, Mr Abbott has ''no'' moral right to dissolve both houses of Parliament. Why? Because the Australian people's elected (mandated) representatives in the Senate choose to exercise their moral right and responsibility to review all legislation presented to them, to review and vote on as they see fit.
In short Mr Abbott has no moral right to call for a double dissolution of Parliament just because he cannot get his own way. He needs to learn how to negotiate and stop being a bully.
Paul Canny, Macarthur
Now Rudd's in firing line
What is wrong with the ALP? Kevin Rudd was stabbed in the back as PM, but he stood down gracefully. When he made an unsuccessful bid to regain the leadership, unprecedented vituperation was heaped on him but he maintained a dignified silence.
Earlier this year he was criticised for not re-contesting the leadership - again, he kept silent. Then the ALP ousted Julia Gillard and drafted in Rudd. It was impossible, given the circumstances, for him to win the election but he saved the party from a wipeout. Does he get gratitude from colleagues? Well, hardly.
For no discernible reason, Roxon and Co now engage in character assassination. Apart from anything else, the call for him to quit Parliament - when he has just been re-elected - is an insult to the voters of his constituency. No one is suggesting that Rudd is perfect but nothing can justify these smear tactics.
Should he resign? Perhaps, but from the ALP not the Parliament.
Alvin Hopper, Dickson
Factions still rule
The moves to democratise the ALP, heal its wounds and unite all its members behind a new leader have really worked out well, haven't they. Long live the factions!
Dick Parker, Page
Mateship alive and well
I reckon the best job going must be that of ''factional warlords'' or ''numbers men'' in the Labor Party.
Candidates are not required to show any signs of charisma or even good sense and indeed being singularly colourless and unimpressive seems to be part of the job description.
Not a bad gig though - they seem to be able to dictate to governments and can pretty much pick whatever jobs they want for themselves and their mates. One can only imagine they operate the same way J. Edgar Hoover did - get dirt on everyone and keep them in your debt.
Jennifer Saunders, Canberra City
No one's driving the future
Ford is going and GMH workers are throwing away pay and conditions so they can compete with foreign companies who pay their workers a pittance or have the advantage of being able to manufacture on a large scale.
Penleigh Boyd (Letters, October 12) suggests the government buy Ford and GMH plants on behalf of taxpayers who have previously subsidised them, and that the government manufacture Australian vehicles made to run on Australian-sourced fuels such as LPG, NG and battery-solar. Boyd also suggests we reintroduce tariffs on imported vehicles.
These are excellent ideas and unlike the government-made lemons of the totalitarian USSR, our living in a democracy would ensure that any car made by the Australian government would be well-made, reliable and not subject to planned obsolescence or the spare parts and servicing scams that exist today. To not do so would be political suicide.
Alas, this is unlikely to occur despite the fact that the failure of free market ideology within the past 30-plus years, which has virtually eliminated Australian manufacturing, stares us in the face.
In order for us to adopt the sort of sensible approach suggested by Boyd, economists and politicians would have to admit they got it badly wrong and most are far too egotistical to do so.
Paul Remington, Gordon
Wall of flats to hinder public access to lake
From the article ''Tuggeranong growth push'' (October 15, p1) the ACT government apparently intends to impose Kingston Foreshore-style ''walls of flats'' along the shores of Lake Tuggeranong. That will reduce the general public's opportunity for water views and legible access to the lake shores. In the plan, elevated lakeside residents will closely overlook public users of the foreshores, causing mutual ''domain-ownership'' tensions. The planned layout needs more streets at right angles to the shoreline, connecting to esplanade carriageways adjoining lakeside parklands.
That would open up more vistas of the lake from the ''inland'' areas, and create more discernible public access to the shores, with significantly reduced overlooking. The article also referred to the related issue of sluggish Lake Tuggeranong's water quality. ''Environmental'' measures may not work.
As well as improved pollutant traps, the beneficial periodic flushing of the lake could be achieved without significant water loss, by pumping water (using newly developed [in China], highly efficient solar-powered pumps) from the Murrumbidgee River via an existing available route, to multiple attractive aerating standpipes (fountains) in the lake, from where the pumped water would flow thorough it, past its weir, down remnant Tuggeranong Creek and back into the Murrumbidgee.
Lake Burley Griffin's water quality could be similarly improved using the new pipeline from the Murrumbidgee to Googong Dam.
Jack Kershaw, Kambah
TO THE POINT
Just as I suspected: the ''avenue of trees'' gifted to Queanbeyan for its 175th anniversary by the ACT government will not extend across the border into NSW, let alone into Queanbeyan. (''Neighbours put down deep roots of friendship'', October 16, p7). Thanks for nothing, ACT. May we have our sundial back, please?
B.J. Millar, Queanbeyan West, NSW
AND SO IT BECAME
Poor old T.J. Marks (Letters, October 16) is obviously still smarting over the dismissal of his incompetent mates in the ALP. His claim that Labor, the Greens and the independents won the 2010 election is the same fiction as the so-called list of Labor achievements. Tony Abbott was quite within his rights to ignore this motley crew. Abbott, on the other hand, did win the 2013 election.
Mark Sproat, Barton
I refer to Marilyn Shepherd's letter (October 11) suggesting racism on my part and ask her in turn what she has against people from Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Laos, Burma and many other countries that are over-represented in UN refugee camps in Malaysia.
Ric Hingee, Duffy
IF THE MITRE FITS
The Prime Minister has called on Labor to ''repent'' for the (assumed) sin of placing a price on carbon. Is he confused as to whether he is the Prime Minister or the Archbishop?
Kevin Frawley, Hughes
In reply to Peter Hyland (Letters, October 17), U3A runs wonderful helpful courses in computer, iPad and iPhone use. I can recommend them.
Deidre Woodger, Weston
JACKSON TOLD US SO
HSU whistleblower Kathy Jackson deserves an apology from almost every media organisation. All have gone to some trouble to paint her in a bad light. Her actions, at some cost to her personally, today have a victory while she reminds us all of the outstanding Labor Party cases yet to appear, such as Wollongong Council, Julia Gillard/AWU and Craig Thomson and Eddie Obeid.
Rex Williams, Ainslie
CROSSING THE LINE
A push to allow cyclists to ride across pedestrian crossings instead of dismounting (''Cyclists want onus of proof on drivers'', October 16, p5) is not only stupid but suicidal. At crossings with lights, OK, but elsewhere Pedal Power should see their Lycra-clad members coming out of nowhere at 30km/h plus and steaming across crossings as though they are on sacred ground. Their claim is nonsense.
Patrick Ryan, Turner
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