Letters to the Editor
Bushfires again. How about swapping a couple of Joint Strike Fighters for four 747 fire bombers?
Paul Kringas, Giralang
SURELY parents think through just what they are getting when they send their children to religious schools? They are purchasing not just networks but supposedly better-behaved students and a ''better education'' (actually shown not to be true). But they are also buying into value sets that are rarely accepted in this day and age.
Compassion, empathy, charity and group cohesion are all well and good, but if it comes with narrow-minded approaches to difference and sexuality, particularly as these are not a matter of choice, then parents need to be much more thoughtful about what they really want for their children.
I was educated privately and it seems that nothing much has really changed in private schools in the 40-plus years since. I would rather see my young relatives educated in a system that sees their glorious differences celebrated, than have them coerced into aligning with values from a few thousand years ago.
Roseanne Byrne, Jerrabomberra, NSW.
Leave Diggers alone
THE Prime Minister sees the proposed Arlington-imitating national cemetery for ''significant ex-soldiers'' as a way of commemorating the Anzac centenary (''Abbott flags Arlington-style national war cemetery for ACT,'' October 19, p1).
At last count, the government was committed to spending $144.5 million on the centenary. Surely it is time to call a halt.
As for the proposal, one can imagine the soldiers concerned, resting beneath the green fields of France or the rocky slopes of Gallipoli, muttering, in the style of the time: ''For gawd's sake, cobbers, leave us alone!''
David Stephens, Bruce
HAVING just been to Arlington National War Cemetery in Washington, I can understand the importance of such sites for those who have served their countries. But Australia already has its National War Memorial - a wonderful institution.
What Canberra as the national capital lacks is a National Natural History Museum that maintains significant collections and displays related to Australia's unique natural environment, which is under huge stress from climate change. Washington and New York have such institutions, and Victoria, capital of British Columbia, has a museum the equal of Canberra's National Museum. A National Natural History Museum in Canberra would be a wonderful accomplishment for Mr Abbott.
Rod Holesgrove, O'Connor
Fraught with hazard
HAILING as they do from that venerable seat of learning, ANU (''This house has a can-do attitude,'' October 13, p7), prospective builders demonstrate questionable arithmetic skills.
Sometimes the ends may be rationalised to justify the means, but expending $17,000 to provide a donation of $1000 to the Parkinson's Shake It Up Foundation Australia seems counter-intuitive.
Although describing themselves as ''young, active and healthy'', hoeing, wilfully, into 10,200 cans of VB over 2½ years exposes these modern-day warriors to cirrhosis, brain damage, digestive problems, nerve degeneration, pancreatitis and much more, beyond mere (reversible) ''pudginess''. Long-term risks are significantly more profound, and include early-onset dementia.
Breweries just can't buy this form of endorsement and will take comfort in knowing their product is being consumed, in large quantities, by a younger cohort of potential addicts.
While the cause nominated by these young men appears noble, their chosen pathway is unduly fraught with hazard - personal and societal - so providing a podium from which to boast is questionable.
Albert M. White, Queanbeyan, NSW
Leader of the dance pack
RUTH OSBORNE is fast becoming one of Canberra's treasures. As artistic director and leading choreographer for the current QL2 Dance performance Leader of the Pack, not to mention the many other performances that she has choreographed with distinction over the years, Ruth has transformed young lives and nurtured Australia's future dance professionals.
Her active community engagement in this way is making a positive difference to the lives of young people, whether they continue in dance or take their passion to other fields.
John Milne, Chapman
Rowers not consulted
IT IS pleasing to see Land Development Agency chief executive David Dawes has at last joined the debate about the proposal for a slipway on Black Mountain Peninsula.
Decisions made about this proposal will significantly impact upon how our lakeside parks are managed and how Canberra will look in another 100 years.
Now that we have his attention, perhaps Mr Dawes could read the planning documents commissioned by his organisation and then show us where the planners consulted with the three rowing clubs during the site selection process.
Having spoken to the planners already, I can tell him that no such consultation took place.
How, then, does he claim extensive community consultation?
As I said, the process was flawed and the conclusions are suspect.
Surely we can expect more rigour in the planning and management of our environment?
This issue is too important to be managed badly.
If Black Mountain Peninsula really is the best site on the lake for this industrial facility, then surely it is capable of standing on its merits rather than relying on incomplete analyses and questionable attention to detail?
Philip Winkworth, Campbell
Price rises inevitable
WHO pays the carbon tax? It certainly isn't the ordinary taxpayer. It is not a tax; it is a trading price.
Tony Abbott is trying to con Australians into thinking they are the ones who pay it. The ones who pay it directly are the heavy polluters, then they pass the cost on to us.
If they abolish the tax, the polluters will find another excuse to raise their prices. We can't win.
Phylli Ives, Torrens
WATCHING news reports on the NSW bushfires is heartbreaking, but even more so when you consider how much safer these communities used to be when, in the past, we conducted fuel-reduction burns in the cooler months. Such commonsense environment management saved many lives in the past, but now we are experiencing much hotter fires fuelled by tinder-dry ground litter that is allowed to build up.
The heat generated by the litter on the bush floor is intense and causes firestorms so fierce that buildings literally explode, giving residents little chance to resist.
It's time to return to sensible management of our environment.
Bill Dobell, Sebastopol, Vic
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