Bye bye sensitive, quality design
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Bye bye sensitive, quality design

Yes, I am a NIMBY! In My Back Yard in Reid, I do not want a 12-storey apartment block that will permit its residents to peer into our balconies and communal gardens ('Geocon unveils plans for new 520-unit development in the city centre", canberratimes.com.au, August 7).

Argyle Square residents have fought tooth and nail since 2011 for a design for the former Bega Flats site that would integrate both with the heritage qualities of Reid, and with the attractive medium-density complex of Argyle Square's homes.

What do we get? Twelve storeys in glass and concrete.

There is no attempt to relate to the existing housing to the east.

Admittedly, it goes well with the multi-storey car park facing it across Cooyong Street.

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Bye bye sensitive, quality design. Greetings! greedy profiteers.

I leave to the readers' imagination my opinion of the planning professionals, and our elected representatives, who permit such crass intrusions in this part of Canberra.

Twelve-storey buildings in Reid are just as out of place as 23 storeys in Belconnen and six storeys in Curtin. And in Reid we need to protect and even extend its garden suburb character, rather than overshadow it with glass-fronted monoliths.

Elizabeth K. Teather, Argyle Square

Taxi troubles

I've just been listening to an ABC report on Radio National on the taxi industry.

Governments deregulated taxi licences years ago; allowed the price to be bid to a ridiculous level; fiddled while Uber burned the industry and now won't pay compensation commensurate with the value of the licences at the peak of their bubble.

A couple of voices bobbed up briefly to opine that maybe Uber should bear some blame, or that the networks like Cabcharge could have contributed to the mess, but the conclusion was that it's all government's fault.

Governments gave in to calls for deregulation; the market has failed; yet governments are to blame for not keeping their hands off in a hands-on kind of way and guaranteeing private businesses with public funds.

Was there a call to return to regulation?

No. Governments should not rebuild the fence at the top of the cliff; they should stand at the bottom with a first aid kit.

This is right-wing bias of a particularly incoherent kind. Disappointed, ABC.

S. W. Davey, Torrens

SASR concerns

Concerns with the conduct of some in the SASR as outlined by a senior army officer is a symptom of a number of factors.

The first is the government deploying the ADF overseas on unnecessary and never-ending wars.

This is most concerning with small, so- called, elite units like the SASR where it members have been continually rotated to war zones for over two decades.

Something has to give as some go feral just like Colonel Kurtz in the film Apocalypse Now.

The isolation of the SASR away from the rest of the army is a problem as its role is to provide long-range recon to the main force so they need to be accessible to the brigade commanders it supports.

Talk that the SASR will be used in police duties within Australia is undemocratic and dangerous as state police are responsible for policing, including sieges like that at the Lindt cafe in Sydney.

Perhaps the SASR has passed it use-by date as the first unit was set up by the British during WWII in the desert campaign and while physical recon and fighting patrols by the infantry battalions are vital, the army in the 21st century is now aided by aerial recon by satellites and drones and within Australia by local information from citizens in the event of war. New Zealanders proved that after the Rainbow Warrior was bombed by French government special force incompetents, easily capturing two of these terrorists.

Residents of the Falkland Islands helped the British army with information after the invasion by Argentine forces.

Adrian Jackson, Middle Park, Vic

Sanctions a coward's war

The reasons for the US hostility to Iran have nothing to do with nuclear deals or support for terrorism, or danger to the Zionist State, or, as Mr Pompeo says, to make Iran a "normal" nation (as if America is "normal").

The two reasons for the US hostility to Iran are pique and cowardice.

The minor reason is pique. Mr Trump is miffed at Mr Obama's foreign policy success in dealing with Iran. Mr Trump wants to demolish all Mr Obama's achievements.

The major reason is cowardice. Ever since the 1979 popular revolution overthrew the American Iranian client state and the US embassy staff were held hostage, the Americans have had Iran in their crosshairs.

In 2003 somebody said "Anybody can go to Baghdad. Real men go to Tehran."

But [guess] what? The Americans are "afraid to go to Tehran". The Americans are afraid to invade Iran. Sanctions are the coward's war on Iran.

Kenneth Griffiths, O'Connor

Saudi Arabia worse

I was interested to see the stock photo of the anti-American mural in Tehran in The Canberra Times ("EU sees writing on the wall", August 8, p11).

I'm not sure whether publishing this "scary" image is part of the anti-Iranian rhetoric that is always prevalent.

The mural, of course, has been around for decades and goes back to the Iranian revolution of 1979.

When I was in Tehran in 2014 it seemed the mural was more of a tourist attraction than anything else.

Certainly the Iranian government is autocratic and a move to a proper democracy in this ancient country would be wonderful, but sanctions don't always have a good track record.

As well I am always bemused about the American campaigns against Iran, while they cosy up to Saudi Arabia, which is much worse on human rights and is currently leading the merciless bombing campaign in Yemen.

Rod Holesgrove, O'Connor

Climate change inaction

Your editorial "A drought we knew was coming" (August 6, p16) reminds me of the 2009 film The Age of Stupid in which Pete Postlethwaite plays a man living alone in the devastated world of 2055, watching archival footage from the earlier 2000s and asking, "Why didn't we stop climate change when we had the chance?"

The film catalogues the droughts, megafires, heat waves and other dysfunctional symptoms as the years roll on.

Of course, the solutions require much more than the solar panel revolution.

While societies keep building more and more airports, and increasing numbers of people pursue international aviation travel for "last chance" tourism (consider the Great Barrier Reef for those living in the northern hemisphere), the deeply embedded growth mantra is barely touched.

Murray May, Cook

Unfortunate timing as Perron's assisted dying talk cancelled

Marshall Perron, the former chief minister of the Northern Territory was to have delivered an important talk at the National Press Club on Wednesday, August 8.

His talk was going to be about the overriding of the Northern Territory legislation on assisted dying in 1997 by the federal government.

The Federal Parliament passed the "Andrews bill" that year, which ruled that the Northern Territory and the ACT could not legislate on this matter.

I was looking forward to hearing Mr Perron on this topic because, of course, there is now a private member's bill being debated in the Senate next week that will seek to override the 1997 bill.

This would restore the capacity of the two territories to consider legislation on a matter that has already been approved in 14 jurisdictions around the world and recently in Victoria. The Northern Territory was in 1997 leading the world with its legislation.

I was told at the last minute that Mr Perron's talk had been cancelled because there was insufficient audience expected to hear it.

This staggered me because I would have thought that the media would be very interested to hear from Mr Perron at this crucial time.

Were other competing pressures being applied to the National Press Club on this matter?

Could it be that our federal politicians do not want to face the notion that territorians should have the same democratic entitlements as people living in the six states to legislate on assisted dying?

Bob Douglas, Bruce

Ineptitude or malice?

We were shocked this week to receive notice that the cost of insurance of our house will increase by 250 per cent if we want coverage for storm damage, flood or storm surge. With the February downpour still fresh in our minds the risk of water damage from storms is one we want covered.

If we are inclined to feel sorry for ourselves, pity help those in flood zones or looking to insure their beachside house vulnerable to coastal erosion or flooding from storm surge. How many coastal property owners will be rushing to put their house on the market because they can't afford to insure it?

The insurance industry at least is alive to the increased risks of climate change even if the Commonwealth isn't.

The ironies of the juxtaposition of this news with other current issues is bittersweet.

There is the managing director of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation admitting that the $443 million that the government is giving it to save the reef will be pointless if climate change is not slowed.

Being interpreted, this means the reef will be destroyed if the government allows Adani to develop the world's biggest coal mine. And the same government has the means to prosecute citizens with sabotage if they seek to block that mine going ahead.

And this is happening while the Commonwealth is twisting the arms of the states to adopt its NEG, which is designed to halt renewable energy investment until 2030. Is this ineptitude or malice?

Bill Bush, Turner

Development worry

I write in reference to "Revamped [Curtin shops] retail plan back on table" (canberratimes.com.au, August 8).

There has been no consultation with the community on the revised plans, despite the claims of the developer.

There has been only one information meeting with the architects and developer team, six months ago in February.

This was about a preliminary redesign, for a very small invited group of four people, before the revised draft master plan was released.

This was reported in the Curtin Residents Association newsletter, but there was no further information from the developer and no consultation with the Curtin community. The developer also claims that the proposal complies with the draft revised master plan.

This is incorrect, both in the broad view and in detail. That master plan is not yet final, and there is no public description of what the building height constraints will be.

Even in the publicly available revised draft for comments, the area by the square is limited to just one storey, but the five-storey block in this proposal overlaps into this area by three metres. This is a significant encroachment, considering its effect on increasing shadowing of the square.

The redevelopment proposal must wait for the master plan to be legislated — and then any development must comply with the building heights and shadowing limits that aim to keep the sunshine in the square for public to enjoy.

Chris Johnson, Curtin Residents Association, Curtin

AFL rules must change

I have been a fan (and sometime player) of AFL since the 1950s and I never ever thought I would see the need for a sin bin/send off rule change.

But the increasing incidence of cynically intentional and violent foul play leads me to advocate for such a rule change before the spirit of the game is lost forever.

I would also suggest that sin binning/sending off offences might extend to include repeated "professional" fouls as well as excessively violent or rough play.

I strongly suspect that it would not take many periods of playing with less than 18 players to see thuggery and "pushing" the rules to start disappearing from the game.

Hasten the day I say, but I don't hold much hope that the present AFL leadership will have the courage even to open the debate, much less implement such a change to the rules.

To those who will say "garn it's a man's game" I would ask what they think about rugby and rugby league which both use such rules?

D. J. Taylor, Kambah

Code disparities

It is fascinating, if not utterly confusing, to observe the different standards of conduct expected in different codes of sport and by criminal law itself.

Steve Smith and David Warner have been given one-year bans from cricket for their role in scratching a ball with sandpaper during a Test in South Africa.

The player who did the scratching, Cameron Bancroft, was banned for nine months.

On the other hand, West Coast AFL star Andrew Gaff was only slapped with an eight-match ban by the AFL tribunal for breaking Fremantle midfielder Andrew Brayshaw's jaw and dislodging three teeth.

Section 281 of the Criminal Code Compilation Act 1913(WA) sets out an offence that states that "if a person unlawfully assaults another who dies as a direct or indirect result of the assault, the person is guilty of a crime and is liable to imprisonment for 10 years".

Luckily for Gaff, Brayshaw did not die.

But was he criminally liable in any case for unlawfully assaulting another?

What would the police have done if the same act occurred off the field?

Adrian van Leest, Campbell

TO THE POINT

DUMB, LAZY, OR INATTENTIVE?

Bill Shorten didn't know about Emma Husar. Malcolm Turnbull didn't know about Barnaby Joyce. Josh Frydenburg says that the NEG will cut electricity prices by $500.

Do they think we are dumb, lazy, or just inattentive.

David Clark, Scullin

RESPECT FOR GODS

J Halgren (Letters, August 6) complains of disrespect for his or her ageless and immortal God, who created our universe. Does he or she respect the thousands of other gods, some of whom also created one or more universes? Admittedly, many of them may have died in the last few thousand years, but some, such as the Hindu gods, are still alive and kicking. Surely, even those who have recently passed away deserve our respect, as they lived productive lives for at least 13.8 billion years.

Mike Dallwitz, Giralang

SPONSOR BOYCOTT

I will be boycotting all the sponsors affiliated with Sky News as a result of the "sloppy incident" with Blair Cottrell. I'm embarrassed that a second generation migrant in the CEO Angelos Frangopoulos would allow Neo-Nazi views to exist on his network.

Melina Smith, Brighton, Vic

BIG NEG PROBLEM

Your NEG editorial (August 9, p.14) seems to uncritically accept the line that the NEG is a workable compromise that can be improved later. A big problem is the current government refuses to amend impediments to improvement by later federal governments.

Peter Campbell, Cook

Email: letters.editor@canberratimes.c om.au. Send from the message field, not as an attached file. Fax: 6280 2282. Mail: Letters to the Editor, The Canberra Times, PO Box 7155, Canberra Mail Centre, ACT 2610.

Keep your letter to 250 or fewer words. References to Canberra Times reports should include date and page number. Letters may be edited. Provide phone number and full home address (suburb only published).

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