Federal Politics


GetUp candidate has snowflake's chance of ACT seat

I would counsel former director of GetUp! Simon Sheikh from getting too excited about the prospect of knocking off Senator Gary Humphries (''Sheikh anointed to snatch ACT Senate seat'', December 7, p7).

There are three certainties in life: death; taxes; and that the major parties will each win one Senate seat in the ACT. Winning endorsement as ACT Senate candidate for either the ALP or LNP is as good as winning the lottery.

Gary Humphries sat quietly during the Howard years while the Prime Minister spurned the Lodge to live by the sea at Kirribilli House.

He uttered not a whimper when ACT legislation was overturned. And yet the Canberra voters, like lemmings, voted him back faithfully every three years.

Gary or his opposite number, Kate Lundy, could both be found naked and drunk in a Northbourne Avenue gutter and would still be returned by the rusted-on supporters of their party. There will only ever be a real contest when the ACT gets a third Senate seat. This is never likely to happen as the present arrangement suits both the major parties nicely.

Mike Reddy, Lyons


Ever since the 2004 federal elections, the Greens, and before them the Democrats, claim they could defeat the incumbent Liberal senator in the ACT, and we see it again with the pre-selection of Simon Sheikh.

However, even a cursory examination of recent federal election results demonstrates this to be unlikely.

In the 2010 poll for the Senate, Labor polled 7000 fewer votes than their combined House of Representative total, while the Greens received 9600 more votes. In 2007, Labor's Senate vote was down more than 22,000 on its combined lower house vote, with the Greens up by almost 19,000.

In 2004, Labor's Senate vote was almost 18,000 less and the Greens more than 12,000 greater than their respective combined House of Representatives vote.

At the same time, the Liberal's Senate vote was just over 1400 less than in the Reps in 2010 but respectively more than 2700 and 6500 above their combined lower house vote in 2007 and 2004, and at no time did their primary vote in the Senate fall below 33 per cent.

If you follow this to its logical conclusion, the Senate seat that would most likely be lost to the Greens is Labor's, as to expect a significant number of those who vote Liberal in the Reps, to then vote Green in the Senate, defies credulity.

It is far more likely, as demonstrated above, that ''strategic'' voting Labor supporters change their Senate vote to Green, resulting in the Labor vote being reduced to below the necessary numbers for a quota.

Those thinking of voting ''strategically'' to defeat Gary Humphries should seriously consider the possible unintended consequences of their actions.

Ian De Landelles, Hawker

Evidence is clear

Greg Jackson (Letters, December 6) justifies his position by giving some general notions of how sound and EMF travel and how he feels these do not explain human illness around wind farms. He appears to belong to an isolated group of ''illuminated'' scientists who trust no one, and believe no one, and thus until he examines the evidence for himself, he makes his contempt for the work of others amply evident. I thus challenge him to examine the evidence.

The closest evidence exists somewhere out at Lake George. There is more out at Gunning and Crookwell.

It would be interesting if he could explain why the stories from individuals are rather consistent. The complaints are simple: Noise nuisance and sleep deprivation; waking up in an anxious state, with severe palpitations regardless of perceived noise; ear, sinus and frontal head pressure sensations; vertigo and dizziness.

George Papadopoulos, Yass

No gift of energy

William Gray (Letters, December 6) suggests the NSW government improperly ''gave'' Infigen Energy tens of millions of dollars to supposedly power Sydney's desalination plant. More fair-minded people would simply call this a government purchasing a service, in this case electricity. Infigen Energy was not ''given'' anything; the Capital Wind Farm simply won a competitive tender to supply pollution-free electricity to the desalination plant.

Mr Gray's last statement that coal-fired power plants run at the same level regardless of wind output is also incorrect. The Australian Energy Market Operator released a report conclusively showing that South Australia's greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation have declined by 27 per cent over the past five years as coal and gas-fired generation decreased in favour of wind energy - which now supplies more than 25 per cent of South Australia's power.

Jonathan Upson, Infigen Energy

Cross at road plans

Aikman Drive in Belconnen is possibly the most disjointed road in Canberra, and is about to get worse, as lights will soon be installed at the pedestrian crossing. Although Aikman Drive is only about 1.4 kilometres long from Ginninderra Drive to Eastern Valley Way, traffic suffers from three sets of traffic lights, two T-intersections and one pedestrian crossing.

Despite the recent extension of Aikman Drive to Eastern Valley Way to include a set of pedestrian lights either side of its intersection with Emu Bank Road, the plan is now to install lights at the pedestrian crossing this financial year. This pedestrian crossing is 150 metres from the pedestrian lights at Emu Bank Road and 100 metres from a pedestrian underpass. The cost to ratepayers of similar lights (Burgmann College, Gungahlin) was reported to be about $50,000.

This pedestrian crossing has always been dangerous as it is difficult for drivers to detect pedestrians and cyclists. It is also disruptive and unnecessary, problems which will get worse when Aikman Drive is upgraded to four lanes.

Instead of wasting ratepayers' money on lights, this pedestrian crossing should be removed and redirected to the crossings at Emu Bank Road.

Bruce Porter, Palmerston

Ponting's pay day

After 17 years of first-class cricket, Ricky Ponting has retired. And so he should. After all, during his career he amassed some 51,390 runs from 1168 innings in 864 matches. Of those matches, 168 were Tests in which he scored 13,378 from 287 innings at an average of 51.85. Wow!

Another aspect of Ponting's career might well be considered. It was reported recently that in this last year he received an income of just on $4 million. From that it could be roughly calculated his income from over the past 17 years of his first-class career would have totalled a conservative $20 million.

For the statistically minded cricket enthusiasts out there, that would mean for every run made he received $389 or for every match played $23,148 was paid to him. Taken on his 1168 innings he was paid $17,123 each time he walked to the crease. Additionally he was provided with airfares, accommodation and meals around the world. Not bad for an average bloke hailing from the back-blocks of Tasmania. How the game and the times they are a-changing!

P. M. Button, Cook

Get the grown-ups

Craig Emerson stutters out a song about the carbon tax that was so bad it went viral on the net. Wayne Swan confides, without blushing, that he is inspired by Bruce Springsteen, a wealthy rocker who has made a living singing about how tough life is. Craig Thomson makes up stories that would stretch Walter Mitty.

Ageing Peter Slipper appears to live the life of a schoolie in Bali and still wants to be taken seriously. Bob Brown delivers a speech to his fellow ''earthians'' while completely sober. Now our Prime Minister delivers a puerile spoof in her characteristic wooden style about the end of the world that is so bizarre I am sure we will see it again in the forthcoming election campaign. Isn't it time the adults had a turn?

H. Ronald, Jerrabomberra, NSW

Creative kneeling

Ian Warden (''Soft landing for the kneedy'', December 6) pays a warm tribute to the marvellous display of kneelers in St Paul's Anglican Church in Manuka.

He describes the craftworks as ''portraying all things bright and beautiful that, Christians believe, the Lord God crafted in His very busy week reported in the book of Genesis''.

Without wishing to quibble, I would point out that while some sincere Christians believe in Creation over a literal six-day period followed by a day of rest, most Christians these days accept a scientific world view. This means that God, as Creator, brought the universe into being out of nothingness about 14 billion years ago, and made it precisely tuned for life. They affirm that the process of evolution and natural selection permitted the development of biological diversity over a very long period, and all to the glory of the Creator God.

The rich diversity of kneelers in St Paul's reflects that reality.

Robert Willson, Deakin 

Global threat grows

I heard on the ABC news last week there is more evidence of the polar ice caps melting, and that it is predicted by scientists that without radical action in six years, conditions on earth will be unrecognisable. The newsreader quickly moved on to another item. I could find nothing in The Canberra Times about global warming that day.

In times of war or during emergencies when our culture and way of life are threatened, the media is at the forefront in informing and mobilising the pubic to take action.

Is global warming not as great a threat as Hitler was? Will it not cause hardship akin to wartime deprivation? Is it not at least as important as a virus that attacks horses?

Why aren't photos of the ice caps receding and the permafrost melting - releasing yet more carbon dioxide as it is exposed to the atmosphere - being published every day?

Donna Stewart, Reid

Backing Palestinian rights dangerous radicalism in some eyes

Watch it, Rick Kuhn (''Israeli apartheid left intact'', Forum, December 1, p7). You've apparently offended every ''Israel-can-do-no-wrong'' luvvie and heavy between Chifley and South Melbourne (Letters, December 7) and you're liable to be hauled before a magistrate on a Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 before you can say ''Two state solution''.

And if the Feds don't get you, judging by past experience you can bet your mortgage those clever people in the ACT Human Rights Commission, which was established to both protect our freedom of speech and our right not to be offended will; even King Solomon would have trouble sorting that one out and will doubtless be asking Attorney-General Simon Corbell if the ACT's laws governing causing offence can be tightened.

Bill Deane, Chapman

Allon Lee, from the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, rages against Rick Kuhn's description of Israeli apartheid (Letters, December 7), finishing with the bizarre statement that ''Kuhn can dream all he wants of a global Marxist utopia but his desire to legitimise this morally and historically bankrupt ideology with fabrications and misrepresentations is pathetic''.

Every Canberran over 50 knows that Rick Kuhn has been a prominent communist. But I had to go back and re-read Kuhn's article because I couldn't for the life of me remember Kuhn mentioning, even once, anything to do with either Marxism, communism, socialism or utopias. And, sure enough, it is not there - not a word of it! So, far from Kuhn fabricating anything it is Allon Lee who is making things up. It is wonderfully ironic that AIJAC, which seeks to spread multiculturalism to every nation on earth except for Israel, would accuse any one of spreading a global ideology especially when Marxism and bolshevism have historically been mostly of Jewish inspiration. But what would motivate AIJAC to make such accusations against Kuhn? Obviously Jewish apostates like Kuhn represent a particularly potent threat to Zionist disinformation. Allon Lee's outburst reveals a visceral hatred for such apostasy - one which shows us that in the ideological utopia of AIJAC any calls for racial equality and fair treatment of Palestinians is equated with dangerous radicalism.

Chris Williams, Griffith

Redrawing the map

David Pope's editorial cartoon (December 6, p16) is once again sadly, tragically (and one-sidedly) brilliant. However, I would have drawn it slightly differently to illustrate Israel's recent, unilateral manipulation of ''facts on the ground''. I would draw East Jerusalem in the centre, and in the six points, I would put: Giv'at Ze'ev (187 new housing units), Ramat Shlomo (1700), Gilo (800), Givat Hamatos (300+), E1 (3000), and money pouring in from the US, Europe, and Australia.

I would draw dejected, hopeless Palestinians to the left labelled Gaza, and to the right labelled West Bank, with no access to each other.

And to be fair, I should include a few rockets and mortars from Gaza aimed helter-skelter.

It's time we say NO to Israel's continued strangulation of Jerusalem, destruction of Palestinian land and homes, and decimation of Palestinian hopes - diplomatically, financially, and every non-violent way we can!

Judy Bamberger, O'Connor

No-one listening

In response to the article ''Construction chaos leaves truce in ruins'' (December 7, p4), I believe we are losing sight of the main issue, workplace safety!

The CFMEU is committed to ensuring, one simple message, when you go to work, you have the ''right'' to return home. Employers are ignoring the evidence in front of them, that we are experiencing an unacceptable number of accidents and fatalities. This is due to pressure, progress and the employers' ability to negate safety. How many more fatalities is the construction industry willing to accept before the government has to intervene?

Master Builders Association chief executive John Miller needs to accept responsibility for his actions, and more importantly his claims.

John Dunmore, Dickson


Strange things in naval case

I'm not sure I agree with Timothy Walsh (Letters, December 5) about how navy personnel should be treated following the theft of weapons from the patrol base in Darwin. On the other hand, the treatment by the court of the one civilian so far alleged to have been involved, by receiving the weapons, seems to have been peculiar. When the person, apparently a New Zealand national, appeared in court on December 4 he was given bail. Strange things happen at sea and, apparently, in Darwin.

E.L. Fisher, Kambah

Real rejecter was Sharon

Ric Hingee (Letters, December 5) is correct in claiming the Palestinians rejected Israel's peace offer at Camp David in July 2000 but he forgets they accepted an improved offer in December 2000 as a basis for further negotiations. These negotiations took place at Taba, Egypt in January 2001 and the Israelis and Palestinians made great progress and came close to an agreement. However, Israeli elections saw Ehud Barak replaced by Ariel Sharon, who rejected all the progress made at Taba.

Paul Dixon, Fraser

Less chat about the team

Does anyone else think that our cricket selectors talk too much? Time was when the selectors (perennially Sir Donald Bradman, Jack Ryder and Dudley Seddon) handed down their team and that was that. Sir Donald did not feel the need to justify the list, as John Inverarity does today at length, let alone bag some members of the team (Hilfenhaus) or psychoanalyse others (Hughes). The selection process was as opaque and mysterious as the doings of the Menzies cabinet.

David Stephens, Bruce

Amaroo could have evolved

As a young boy in Sydney I recall that ''Emohruo'' was a not uncommon house name. In 1960 I was working on a property west of Bourke which was also named Emohruo. The new owners, not liking the name but not wanting to cause confusion with a different name, changed it to ''Emaroo''. The same may have happened with Amaroo.

Tim Hoskins, Karabar, NSW

No demand for power push

Only a few months ago the newspapers reported energy producers were in a fiscal downward spiral because energy consumption had decreased. Partly to blame was our use of energy-efficient appliances and the introduction of solar panels on houses. Why then has the price of electricity increased so much? You would think that if there is an oversupply that the price would come down. Also, why is the government pushing smart meters to measure our usage when we are obviously acting very responsibly?

Judy Ryan, Lyons

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