Go for low carbon
THE MERE fact an expert economist can be talking of Australia's slipping into recession because of a slowdown in the mining boom (''Warning on threat of recession'', August 18, p10) says a lot about the endemic short-term thinking in business and government circles.
As Emeritus Professor Stillwell implies in the same article, this is when we should be (and should have been) positioning ourselves to take advantage of the transition to a low-carbon-emissions, renewable-energy economy.
Ironically, it seems to be China, our main market for coal and iron ore, that is leading the way in this.
Professor Stillwell refers to the carbon tax as being a better policy instrument to tackle emissions than an emissions trading scheme. This is the view of many other eminent economists, and is the strategy advocated by Exxon-Mobil, the world's largest extractor of oil and gas. This is because a carbon tax is simple, predictable and has a direct effect on carbon emissions, as we have seen in Australia over the past three years or so.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Surgery notice needed
I WAS really pleased to read about the different things Dr Brown is doing to make the elective surgery waiting lists better at Canberra Hospital (Sunday, August 18). But she could really improve things by getting her staff to ring or write to patients to tell them they need to come to the hospital for elective surgery before the surgery is due to happen. This improvement could happen instead of ringing patients at the time they should be in surgery. I am a 16-year-old girl who gets horrid tonsillitis and have missed heaps of school and work this year waiting for my turn for elective surgery. Last Tuesday my mum had a call from the surgical unit at Canberra Hospital asking why I hadn't turned up for surgery. The reason was we did not know about it until the surgical unit called.
When my mum called the administration the next day, they said I needed to wait again for a spot to come up - at some stage next year. This is so wrong that I have to wait and probably miss more school and work (not to mention feel really sick) because the Canberra Hospital staff can't do their job.
Rebecca Low, Kambah
Waiting for the wish list
I WELCOME your editorial's clear identification of the issue, ''We are yet to see fully costed policies … to deal with the biggest looming threat … a potentially stalling economy'' (August 18, p14).
Policy is distinct from budget or costings. Treasury's PEFO (Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook), despite the department's history of miscalculations, is as good a guess as any against which to prioritise policy outcomes in dollar terms.
In our potentially stalling economy, at the mercy of a volatile global economy, the numbers in such a budget plan will probably be of little relevance. The issue will be how much money is left over for the wish list.
Gary J. Wilson, MacGregor
Cars kill wildlife too
LOIS Katz (Letters, Sunday, August 18) writes in favour of cat curfews because cats threaten wildlife. Like me, she is probably also distressed to see copious roadkill on country roads, affecting mainly nocturnal native animals. Therefore would she also advocate a curfew on all cars, roadtrains and buses on country roads?
Jan Johnston, Curtin
Contracts are for keeping
I NOTICED in Sunday's Canberra Times the Raiders have some players who wish to leave the club. I have some sympathy granting a release on compassionate grounds, as with Milford, but a player who only renewed his contract in recent weeks now wants a release with two seasons to run! Does Ferguson have no respect for a contract? This decision should not be left for the Raiders to decide, but the NRL should step in and advise Ferguson (and his manager ) that if it is his desire to walk out on a contract for no valid reason, the ARL will deregister him for the term of his remaining contract (2014-2015 seasons).
Sure he may head off overseas for a while, but what club would want such a player? He has a lot of ability, but his greatest capacity is to demoralise his team! There are some great players in the Raiders and good talent coming through, but they should not be influenced by some misguided fool!
Rod Frazer, Garran
Back the body beautiful
I FULLY agree with Olympia Nelson (''Why must girls feel bad posting sexy photos online?'', August 22, p5) that there is too much moral panic about sexting. Most of it comes from envy and intellectual snobbery about the body, and needs to be confronted. Are strippers and porn stars lesser persons than politicians, academics and public servants because they work primarily with their bodies rather than with a small part of their brain?
Michael McCarthy, Deakin
Target corporate bludgers
CRISPIN Hull's article (Work crumbling to bits and pieces, Opinion, August 24) brought to mind JK Galbraith's saying: ''The price of private affluence is public squalor.'' As Hull's ''corporate bludgers'' get richer on the so-called efficiencies of reducing the full-time workforce, society as a whole gets worse off.
Jenny Goldie, Michelago, NSW
Beware the tax collectors
ON SEPTEMBER 8, the Coalition may well be in government. But Australia will have a disability insurance scheme, affordable paid parental leave, more funding for schools, a properly funded health system, an established scheme to reduce carbon emissions and the strong economy that withstood the GFC.
These are all achievements of the Labor government.
For the next three years, the Coalition will collect revenue. And like the Howard government, it will do little else. More fool Australia if it elects these tax collectors on September 7.
Mark Slater, Melba
We're being dudded
WHOEVER wins the second ACT Senate seat, the Territory will still be dudded. Why? Because if you believe in a fair voting system, the primary issue is not who occupies the second ACT Senate seat but why there isn't a third or even a fourth spot. When the High Court ruled on the validity of the law creating Territory senators, the majority judges held that all Territorians ought to have the same democratic rights as other Australians. One of those principles is that all votes should be of equal value. If full equality is not possible, then at least there should be practical parity.
Territorians first got to elect their own senators in 1975, when there were 115,000 electors on the ACT roll. That figure has now increased to just under 270,000 - with Queensland, the biggest percentage increase in any state or territory. Each state, even Tasmania with just 365,000 electors, has 12 senators, partly through a constitutional guarantee. Each state had its Senate numbers increased from 10 to 12 from 1984. The number of Territory senators remained at two apiece.
The House of Representatives is little better. Each of the two ACT electorates, Fraser and Canberra, has a third more voters enrolled than the next-largest House of Representatives seat. On average, our votes are each a third to a half less valuable than those cast anywhere else in Australia. We are even worse off than residents of Darwin and Alice Springs. That's because, putting it kindly and oversimplifying a bit, the NT benefits from a purpose-built Howard government law designed to prop up representation in the House of Reps. No such protection for Canberra though. So much for the principles of fair representation.
Bob Bennett, Gowrie