Letters to the Editor


THE Canberra Times article, ''Film lifts lid on spy history'' (April 6, p8) is hardly surprising to some Croatians, who were familiar with UDBA's activities in Australia since 1967, when Bill Snedden invited Tito to visit Australia. Subsequently, Tito delegated his PM, Dzemal Bijedic to visit here in 1973.

UDBA (Yugoslav state security) immediately organised the plot to kill Bijedic during his two-day visit to Canberra. It engaged a Croatian war criminal living in Melbourne, whose dark past was revealed by Mark Aarons in his book War Criminals Welcome. Luckily, ASIO was able to prevent it. Unfortunately, UDBA wasn't satisfied.

In 1977, Dzemal and Razija Bijedic were killed under suspicious circumstances near Sarajevo airport. Their mysterious deaths are still a state secret in BiH today.

To understand the complexity in the Balkans, manipulated by a shadow elite in England since 1918, one needs to read a modern historical novel, The Balkans Conspiracy, by Vladimir Orsag and published by Fontaine Publishing Group, in September.

Vladimir Orsag, Florey,


Change needed at AFP

JACK Waterford's article on the AFP and FOI (CT, April 5) reveals how poorly led this organisation is. AFP leadership is not held in high regard and has led to the AFP becoming an inwards looking and unresponsive organisation.

This should cease and we should be picking a leader from the ranks of high-performing military officers with operational experience, as occurred with Major General Ron Grey in the 1980s.

Peter Harris, Evatt


Trainers need training

IT WAS no surprise to read that a third of fitness centres did not medically screen members. The blame for such low rates of medical screening can be put down to the lack of education and training that staff working in these centres have gained when completing courses from the Fitness Industry Training Package.

In Victoria, for example, the Baillieu Liberal government reduced VET funding, mostly in the TAFE system, by $300 million. As a result, more than 2000 TAFE jobs were lost and hundreds of courses were slashed.

As a result there was a proliferation of private training providers.

There was little monitoring of the quality of education, training and assessment provided by these businesses and companies and fitness courses became ''soft options'' for people wanting to take advantage of the government-subsidised training dollars.

Most of the private providers were offering cheap qualifications in short time periods or courses were fast-tracked. A traditional certificate III in fitness course would take a minimum of one term (nine weeks) to complete and should include on-the-job training.

Many of these courses are delivered in as little as two weeks, with a large online component with no on-the-job training or experience. Hardly suitable training for staff who may be dealing with people who have a range of medical conditions.

We are lucky in the ACT because we have the Fitness Industry Code of Practice, which is enforced by the ACT government.

As an employee, employer and educator of exercise professionals in the fitness industry for more than 25 years, I have seen many changes, but the one with the biggest impact has been the decrease in education quality of exercise professionals. Consumers should always check the qualifications and experience of personal trainers before they hand over their money.

Margaret Stamatis, Curtin.


Search tactics a mystery

QUESTIONS abound in the MHG370 disaster. One big one at the moment is why the search for the black box has been carried out by primitive hydrophones either dunked into the water from a Chinese dinghy or towed behind an Australian ship, when the world's most sophisticated underwater acoustic gear is right at hand.

The British nuclear submarine Tireless has been in the area since April 1. Submarines are crammed with listening gear and highly trained operators who can separate all the underwater noise, such as whale communication. (Whales can send pulses at the black box pinger frequency.)

Only now is the Tireless heading into the search zone. It has been in the Southern Indian Ocean for a week and a half and can travel 1400 kilometres a day submerged.

In the 10 days it has been in the area it could have covered the distance between Perth and Buenos Aires, crossing the Indian and South Atlantic oceans.

The sub certainly had plenty to time to arrive, but hasn't been utilised. One can only wonder why not.

Norman K. Sanders, Ocean Shores, NSW


End Catholic cash splash

I WONDER if our Prime Minister will be strong enough to put an end to bleeding taxpayers to support a cashed-up Catholic tax-exempt institution crying over its schools.

Sydney's Catholic archdiocese recently revealed it had assets worth more than $1 billion, and it's a good guess the other states are also in a strong position.

It's not out of the question they could be collectively worth $6 billion. The Catholics of this country receive more funding than the state of Western Australia.

This obscene cash-splash, vote-buying exercise has to end and we must ensure there is greater separation between church and state.

It's time church funding was severely pruned, the Vatican's interests given transparency, and behind-the-scenes unelected figures retired.

What's wrong with selling unimportant assets to create operating capital?

Diversification gentlemen, diversification!

John Lawrence, Belconnen

Give us access to royals

THE enormous number of entries to the ballot to see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Canberra shows that the royal family can expect a warm and enthusiastic welcome in the Queen's capital city.

The Australian Monarchist League (ACT & District Branch) calls on the federal and territory governments to ensure that all Canberrans who wish to see the royals have opportunities to do so.

Clearly, with only 2 per cent of ballot applicants being successful, the two balloted official events will not be sufficient for this. The governments must facilitate the public welcoming the Cambridges to Canberra, including by providing timely information about where, when and how this can be done.

The Australian Monarchist League encourages all Canberrans to take the opportunity to see William, Kate and George, the future of our monarchy, when they visit us on April 24 and 25. For the latest information on the visit, including where and when to see the royal family, visit royalvisit.com.au.

Matthew R. Sait, chairman, ACT & District Branch, Australian Monarchist League



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