Michael Inman (''Reform came without a set agenda'', September 13, p2) informs readers that departing Chief Justice Terry Higgins introduced reforms without a set agenda. Easing up on the definition of ''offensive behaviour'', where police and innocent bystanders must now sanction ''f'' and ''c'' words in public denoting copulation and female genitalia, are down to Higgins' assessment of contemporary community norms. And creative judicial interpretation saw the Human Rights Act employed to undermine traffic infringements legislation designed to protect citizens. Coincidences? Nah!
Patrick Jones, Griffith
I have always admired Chief Justice Higgins as a man of principle and intellect. It was with dismay that I read his claim that ''Judges can't set an agenda, you can't have a reform agenda'' (''Reform came without a set agenda'', September 13, p2). This statement was juxtaposed against his obviously reformist ''achievements'' of changing the standard for offensive behaviour and the application of the Human Rights Act to traffic offences.
This claim of impartiality is an insult to those who have admired his delicate balancing of offenders rights and rehabilitation against the need for strong punishment as it is to his detractors over the years. Be proud of your left leaning legacy, Mr Higgins. To claim anything else suggests that you are less than proud of your administration of the law.
T.J. Farquahar, Ainslie
Simon Corbell stated (Letters, September 14) that the public consultation process related to the solar farm is not yet complete and that he would encourage the residents of Uriarra to engage in the consultation process. The residents of Uriarra have made every effort to talk to the government in a timely manner (i.e. pre-DA application).
So far we have only heard from the minister through the conventional media and Twitter, and now he has blocked one of our residents from his Twitter account. Moreover, the single discussion we've had with the developer, Elementus Energy, was (in his own words) about reducing our perceived concerns about the chosen site. It was in no way about consultation. My question for Minister Corbell is: Where is this consultation process and when did it start?
Simon Moffat, Uriarra
A huge thank you to the (mainly) Weston Creek residents who stopped to speak to Uriarra residents at our information table at Cooleman Court on Saturday. Many of you came to offer support and to sign our petition about the large-scale solar generating plant planned for across the road from our rural village.
Others came to tell us they support solar farms and therefore could not support the protest.
It was particularly heartening to see how many people signed when they saw the photos of the planned site.
The photos show just how much the solar farm will destroy the rural character of the village and how much other land is available.
Uriarra has seen many hardships since it was founded in 1928 but the solar farm threatens to do what bushfires and other adversities could not - destroy the essential nature of this beautiful place.
Judy Middlebrook, Uriarra
Kokoda Track support
Who benefits from tourism on the Kokoda Track?
I bet it's not the descendants of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels we promised to remember and repay for their courage and sacrifice to the original Australians at Kokoda.
PNG needs and deserves a program of support from Australia, particularly medical and educational support. Perhaps we'll run partnerships with PNG community stakeholders; not abandonment, broken promises, bullying and exploitation.
And don't say we can't afford it, please.
Anne O'Grady, Lyons
Fix law degree first
So now the University of Canberra is trading in land (''Our $1b campus: UC eyes investors'', September 13, p1). One hopes that this commercial organisation masquerading as a university is paying local land tax and income tax since its driver is clearly profit, its product cut-price education and now, apparently, land.
Perhaps the university could use some of the 30 pieces of silver to fix up what currently pretends to be a law degree. And employing lawyers would be a good first step.
John Passant, Kambah
Slow bus to ACT
Buried in the detail of ACTION's proposed so called ''improvements'' (''Parliamentary bus services get boost after car park fee rise'', September 13, p1) are some very nasty surprises that promise the exact opposite of the greater speed and directness implied by the article.
Among them is the abolition of Route 80, which is the only route providing a direct service from Narrabundah/Kingston into the Parliamentary Triangle.
Instead of the current fast single-trip journey along Bowen Drive onto King Edward Terrace, passengers will have to endure a scenic tour of Barton which includes changing buses on National Circuit, probably at least doubling journey times.
Narrabundah/Kingston residents travelling to Civic, as well as those travelling from Civic to Fyshwick, will also be worse off. Route 80, via Parkes and Commonwealth Avenue, is by far the fastest route; all others travel a longer and slower route via Barton, Kings Avenue and Russell.
Even the Route 200 Red Rapid limited stops service (incorrectly described on ACTION's website as a replacement for Route 80 even though it already exists and takes a totally different route) takes much longer, based on ACTION's timetables, to travel from the railway station in Kingston to City Bus Interchange.
Abolishing the fastest, most direct, single trip routes and forcing passengers onto slower, multi-trip routes is an improvement to the service? Of course not.
Back to the drawing board please, ACTION.
Terry George, Kingston
Ban Ki-moon condemns Syria: Russia plays duplicitous game
The strongly critical comments by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons should be welcomed.
Chemical weapons use is banned by international treaty and is considered a crime even in war.
Regrettably Russia's proposals for international control over the hundreds of tonnes of Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles merely provide protection for the Assad regime's crimes. Worse, Russia (Syria's ally) appears bent on playing a duplicitous game disputing everything, making it completely ineffective.
The last leader to use chemical weapons was Saddam Hussein, and he was eventually held to account for using these weapons both against Iran and his own people. One day Assad may also be brought to account.
M. Gordon, Flynn
In defence of Bryce
I regard Nicholas Stuart's call for Quentin Bryce's immediate resignation as Governor-General as a scurrilous attempt to besmirch the position of governor-general generally, and of Her Excellency in particular (''Shorten's goal poses conflict of interest for Bryce'', Forum, September 14, p7).
In case he hasn't noticed, Mr Shorten is: (1) vying for the position of leading the opposition, (2) the Governor-General's son-in-law and (3) not necessarily assured of an easy road to leadership.
Additionally, Ms Bryce is a professional woman who did not achieve high office by being a gossiper within her family or outside it.
It is a slur on the Governor-General that Mr Stuart knows she can't defend because of her position. Is this another misogynistic attack on a woman in high office?
I am a republican who is a huge fan of the way Ms Bryce has gone about her duties as Governor-General. She has embraced all aspects of society, especially the downtrodden. She is a fabulous role model and a person in whom all Australians can be proud.
To think for one minute that Her Excellency would reveal secrets of state with an up-and-rising politician while he or she is changing grandchildren's nappies is an insult.
Anne Cahill Lambert, Lyneham
Finally Nicholas Stuart has reached the bottom of the heap normally occupied by the Sydney radio shock-jocks with his outrageous comments on the Governor-General.
He has impugned the reputation and integrity of one of Australia's greatest governors-general in his article about alleged conflict of interest. He obviously applied his own lack of ethical standards to make his claims and he should now do the honourable thing by apologising and resigning his role as a ''Canberra writer''.
Rob Elder, Flynn
Order in the house
In reply to Roseanne Byrne's rant (Letters, September 13), I would have thought that the costs to the taxpayer for Tony Abbott to reside in his own home in Sydney while The Lodge is renovated would be cheaper than Kevin Rudd's expenses for living in the Hyatt instead of his $2 million-plus home in Yarralumla. I'm sure Tony's wife Maggie will provide bed and board more cheaply than any hotel in Canberra.
As for a ''hostile Senate'', be careful what you wish for, Roseanne.
Leslie Barnard, Latham
The end is not nigh
Marion Barker (Letters, September 14) and Mike Kelly have much in common. Barker believes that floods, fires and famine will be our generation's legacy now that we have an Abbott-led government. Kelly is a little less dramatic, merely proclaiming to his electorate before the election that Eden-Monaro would become a wasteland should we vote for the Coalition. Heady stuff.
For the sake of their terrified children, perhaps someone should take these unhappy, deluded souls aside and calm their fears with the reassurance that Australia could shut down tomorrow and there would be no measurable difference in global temperatures. Oh, and it might be helpful to remind them that the IPCC has confirmed that there has been no increase in global temperatures for almost two decades.
H. Ronald, Jerrabomberra, NSW
Marion Barker has managed to get just the right amount of doom and gloom, old-time religious retribution (we done it and must suffer) and guilt in her letter without any evidence to support her case.
Her faith is commendable, though misplaced, and belongs in religion, not science. Her letter is just plain baseless scaremongering.
The mild weather late this winter should be enjoyed, not used as proof of climate Armageddon - absolute foolishness.
Stating that the climate tax would prevent global warming shows a naivety that is truly astounding.
A little research will show her that the claimed man-made global warming and its claimed effects are just a fantasy.
Oh, and by the way, the recent bushfires near Sydney did have a contribution from man: it appears that some resulted from burning off and some were lit by firebugs. There, you needn't worry.
J. McKerral, Batemans Bay, NSW
The outpouring of sour grapes from your correspondents since the election of the Coalition government has been shameful, and the nasty, spiteful nature of the letters is unprecedented. Now we have Marion Barker saying that the bushfires in NSW are divine retribution for electing a climate sceptic, and she is upset that Tony Abbott's house wasn't burnt down in the fires. What can you say about that?
When the Howard government was defeated in 2007, the right took it on the chin with grace and dignity. When the boot is on the other foot, all we can hear from the left is bile and hatred.
It is time to bring this undignified and ugly display to an end once and for all. The Labor/Greens era is finished.
Get over it and move on.
John Moulis, Pearce
Lack of funds means not enough police
No, Mr Corbell, the lack of policing in Civic (''Civic needs more police, chiefs warned, September 14, p1) is not an ''operational issue'' - it is that the government is reducing funding to an already under-resourced function and no amount of ''operational restructuring'' will solve what is simply and unavoidably insufficient resources.
Your government is not paying the AFP sufficient money to adequately perform its role and it is your fault that policing is inadequate. Your government complains (possibly rightly) about the lack of safety in the building industry, yet you are the cause of police officers working in extremely unsafe situations. Why the double standards? Are people in the building industry somehow more valuable than police officers?
The AFP management should refuse to put their staff in dangerous scenarios, and refuse to direct patrols into areas where those patrols cannot be performed reasonably safely. If the AFP management continue to send out under-resourced patrols then, like managers in corporations, those AFP managers should be held culpable in the event of injury or death of not only those police but the civilians who could not be protected due to that under-resourcing.
No amount of ''restructuring'' or ''cross-training'' will compensate when there just aren't sufficient staff hours available.
Instead of car chases that frequently result in injury and death, we should have sufficient police to trap the perpetrators before they can crash. Similarly for other offences, we should have sufficient police to make the probability of being apprehended high enough that the crime is ultimately unsuccessful and so unprofitable.
That way, we will have a far safer environment.
John Evans, Macgregor
Fears of city growth
In his thoughtful piece about the challenges facing our CBD ('You can't beat a renewed heart'', Forum, September 14, p3), Manny Notaras notes that growth rates of 0.7 to 1 per cent - quite a lot, one might observe, below our current rate - would deliver a population in our region of between 1.4 million and 1.9 million people within 100 years.
Glad I won't be aroundto queue up with my bucket for the weekly water ration.
G. Jones, Torrens
TO THE POINT
The notion that Bronwyn Bishop will restore parliamentary dignity as speaker is laughably absurd. What's next, Tony? Barnaby Joyce for governor-general?
Ian McFarlane, Wallaga Lake, NSW
For reasons which are beyond me, Thos Puckett (Letters, September 14) starts a letter about the ALP leadership selection by referring to Senator Conroy as ''Australia's best-known £10 Pom''. Apart from being deliberately offensive, Puckett is wrong - surely Tony Abbott is Australia's best-known £10 Pom.
Roger Terry, Kingston
MONEY MAKES IT HAPPEN
The reason, Chris Mobbs (Letters, September 13), why Indonesia seems to be doing ''precious little'' about the immoral, if not illegal, practice of overloading fishing boats with asylum seekers is very simple.
In fact, it's one word: corruption.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
PUT ALL TO THE VOTE
With the new system of electing a new leader of the federal Labor Party involving party members as well as the executive, why not extend it to portfolio positions as well as that of the leadership? This would allow critics such as Senator Stephen Conroy to learn just how much their contributions are valued by the membership.
Greg Simmons, Lyons
AND ANOTHER THING
Welcome home, Ricky Stuart. Now, if only Malcolm Turnbull would take over the leadership of the ALP, I would be a very happy girl.
Anne Willenborg, Royalla, NSW
NOT WORTH THE PAPER
When is a contract not a contract? When it is signed by a NRL player or coach.
Graeme Rankin, Holder
LESSON IS LEARNT
I have voted Labor since 1958. But in the three years leading up to the 2013 election, the parliamentary Labor Party made itself one not worth voting for. So I didn't. And since it looks like we are going to have a leader drawn from, and a caucus comprised of, the same sad collection as we had before, I doubt I will vote for them next time either.
Leon Webcke, Gordon
GIVE THEM A NUDGE
Will Syria's application to join the chemical weapons convention inspire the remaining dilatory nations to sign the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and the Non-Proliferation Treaty, or should President Obama nudge these laggards with the threat of cruise missiles?
Dr John Doherty, Vienna, Austria
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