Collector: the facts
In ''Locals Line up for shire elections'' (September 7, p6), regarding smaller subdivisions, you quote Upper Lachlan Shire mayor John Shaw as saying ''a study would be needed in Collector first, because water and sewerage infrastructure was already under pressure''.
The fact is Collector has zero water and sewerage infrastructure, nor does it have one centimetre of paved or unpaved footpaths or any kerbing and guttering in the town proper - despite it now being a commuter suburb of Canberra with much new housing development.
Upper Lachlan Council has not kept up with the needs of the Canberra end of the shire, because its council has been dominated by graziers and residents from Crookwell and Gunning who have not had the foresight to look beyond their own localities.
We need councillors who can see that Canberra is the economic powerhouse of the region and increasing subdivision and infrastructure at the Canberra end of the shire will increase their revenue base and be a win-win for everyone.
Frank Ross, Collector, NSW
AusAID welcomes informed debate on the Australian Government's aid program, unfortunately Benjamin Reilly's article ''Australia an aid superpower'' (September 7, p19), is neither informative nor accurate.
His article contains at least five factual errors: 1. There are only two AusAID officials in Washington, compared with 20 working on Defence policy alone.
2. According to the OECD's Development Assistance Committee, AusAID is the 10th largest aid donor in volume in the world, not the seventh.
3. Australia is the 13th largest economy in the world not the 15th, according to the IMF.
4. The $320 million initiative to help stop violence against Pacific Island women is over a 10-year period, not one year as Reilly implies.
5. Reilly is wrong again when he claims there has been no public debate on the growth of the Australian aid program. The Independent Review of Aid Effectiveness commissioned by the federal government in November 2010 undertook a broad range of consultations with all stakeholders in Australia and received more than 300 public submissions.
Peter Baxter, director general, AusAID
Neil James's characteristic tortuous logic (Letters, September 7) again fails to make the elementary distinction between opposing a cause and wishing the best for the individuals who are fighting for it. Most Australians would feel this way about the war in Afghanistan, which takes its place alongside Iraq, Vietnam, Korea, World War I, the Boer War and the Sudan, as ill-advised adventures into which Australian young men and women have been pitched by politicians and generals.
David Stephens, Bruce
I love it when the spokesperson for Australian Defence Association (Letters, September 7) uses terms such as ''perhaps ideological claims about complex and nuanced issues'' and then calls for greater treachery laws. What does this phrase mean?
If we do not agree with the ADA are we opposed to the war in Afghanistan? If so, and given the cost, we may have more members than the ADA. And ''nuanced issues'' , are we believed to be too stupid to understand? But in any event, a question for Mr James: In his former professional opinion, does he believe Afghanistan will not be a failed state 12 months after we depart?
C. J. Johnston, Duffy
M. Gordon (Letters, September 7) is incorrect; the US and its allies unlawfully invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 when the Taliban were the government. The reason for the illegal invasion was to arrest one man, Osama bin Laden.
The CIA Special Operations Group within its Special Activities Division had since August 1998 conducted covert operations in Afghanistan in an attempt to kidnap/assassinate him.
The US several times requested the Afghan government to extradite him to the US. The Taliban government response was to say first you must produce evidence in court to prove your case.
The justification for the overt military invasion in 2001 was the 9/11 incident for which the US directly blamed bin Laden. As there was no direct legal evidence linking him to the 9/11 attack which could be objectively examined in court, the US decided to invade the country to arrest him. The result of this illegal action supported by Australia has been the death of some 35,000 people.
Several previous letters describe the Russian involvement as invasion. This is also incorrect. In November 1979 they were invited in by the then Afghan government to protect infrastructure from attacks by insurgents.
Ironically these mujahedin insurgents had the same jihad religious views of the Taliban and objected to the socialist secular government which was attempting to rid Afghanistan of strict religious constraints.
While I might have personal views concerning the Taliban religious beliefs and the Shia/Sunni conflicts, the fact is we did invade and conduct aggressive war resulting in massive civilian casualties.
Paul Fitzwarryne, Yarralumla
Jim Wallace's clumsy and insensitive remarks should themselves carry a health warning (''Gillard snubs Christian lobby after row'', September 7, p2).
Not only do they reinforce the toxic notion that same-sex attraction is intrinsically wrong and aberrant; but they diminish the beauty and compassion inherent in true Christianity; a practice that most of us can, at best, only aspire to. One can only imagine the pain experienced by a young person whose same-sex attraction, whose very nature is put into question, or even dismissed as immoral, as ''unclean''. No wonder there is drug taking, suicides and other destructive behaviours.
Human sexuality is a complex creature; far more grey than black or white. It is best tended to by gentle, wise and humble hands.
Fr Peter Day, Queanbeyan, NSW