Federal Politics


Stay broadsheet

Your existing iPod app is great and I'm sure your new iPad app will be similarly stunning - but please don't follow the other states and territory by going tabloid with your newspaper. The Canberra Times broadsheet was one of the reasons I migrated here from South Australia last year. The depth and diversity of reporting your broadsheet format allows sets the ACT ahead of the rest. Just perfect for the nation's capital, especially when backed up with an awesome bureau at Parliament House. Overseas visitors to Canberra will rightly cringe if the only papers they can find on the shelf are The Australian plus a bunch of tabloids.

Tim Laris, Lyneham

Abolish marriage

The solution to the gay marriage question is for the federal government to abolish all marriage. Couples of any persuasion wanting to be joined would appear before a civil authority and sign an appropriately worded ''contract of union''. This contract would include the necessary clauses for such a contract, escape clauses and any extra clauses they would like.

If a couple wishes to have the blessings of their god on their union they can arrange a ceremony with their church, but said ceremony would have no standing in law.

No more marriages - problem solved.

Roger Smith, Scullin


Pharmacy woes

Richard Denniss (''Pharmacist's special case'', Forum, June 9, p7) highlighted how the people of Hackett are being denied a pharmacy because of the location rule which prevents a new pharmacy being established within 1.5 kilometres of an existing pharmacy. The Hackett pharmacy falls short of this rule by a mere 135 metres because of the decision on where to locate the Hackett and Watson shopping centres made by the federal government in the late 1950s or early 1960s.

The people of Hackett petitioned the Minister for Health and Aging with more than 1500 signatures (overwhelming support from a suburb with little more than 3000 residents) because it was obvious that the operation of the rule had produced an unintended and unjust result. The minister's response was that the residents of Hackett could catch a bus to one of the many nearby pharmacies. What has happened to this government that it is okay to tell the aged, frail and less mobile residents of Hackett to get on a bus which is likely to result in a long and uncomfortable round trip?

Greg Haughey, chairman, Hackett Community Association Committee

Population growth

Thank goodness there are at least some voices still out there such as Kelvin Thomson and Crispin Hull speaking up about population growth. Real estate prices may go up, but that's artificial wealth, and the important indicators go down.

For a Canberra example we need only look at the Gunghalin Drive Extension.

It gouged a scar across remnant bushland. It gouged a rift between the pro and anti lobbies in our community. And it gouged a $200 million hole in our budget.

All this because we needed to build Gunghalin to accommodate a burgeoning population. I watch with despair as our city sinks further each day beneath towering concrete, and it seems every intersection is being dug up for ever more cars. I'm seeing the Canberra I once knew being replaced by yet another anonymous crowded city. There is no known system in nature that permits endless growth within finite resources, and yet this is the magic pudding fantasy we pursue.

Rod Taylor, Giralang

Indonesian law

Umar Patek, who partook in the Bali bombing and who was recently found guilty of mass murder (''Damning verdict: Bali sentence sparks anger'', June 23, p15), received a sentence of 20 years.

Schapelle Corby also received 20 years for smuggling marijuana into Bali.

Indonesia does not have to say a thing about the sameness of the sentencing. If they are telling us they have absolute contempt for Australians and they do not want our tourist dollar, I've got the message.

Paul Remington, Gordon

Isn't it about time the gutless pollies (from both sides) took a really hard, no-holds-barred stand about Indonesia? Not only are they letting boats sail away with no intention of stopping them, but now their legal punishment system is a bigger joke. The Bali bomber gets 20 years for murdering 202 innocent people, the same sentence as Schapelle Corby gets for bringing four kilograms of marijuana into the country. There were other countries that lost their citizens, but Australia lost by far the most, and it seems if Australia is involved, Indonesia couldn't care less.

Dave Long, Chapman.

Raiders changes

As long-time Canberra Raiders supporters, we agree with the statement by general manager of Canberra Milk Garry Sykes (''Canb-error disappoints sponsors'', June 24. p61) that changes must be made at the club before there is any further sponsorship. This could also be the case for many fans, who are unlikely to renew membership for next season if the current situation persists.

''Fortress Canberra'', once a daunting road-trip for rival NRL teams, is now no more challenging than a bye with a guaranteed two points for visiting teams.

Home-ground attendance for Canberra is the lowest in the league, surely a reflection of the team's abysmal form.

Changes need to be made now, giving the team something to build on for next season and beyond.

Tony Pelling and Barbara Trewin, Nicholls