Canberra Times Letters to the Editor: Gold at end of the rainbow
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Canberra Times Letters to the Editor: Gold at end of the rainbow

The marriage equality debate grinds on, but the reality of the substance at its heart barely gets a mention.

When the High Court decided that the postal vote was legal. Legal not ethical. I was shocked and, strangely, afraid.

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At first, I thought I should stand up and be more bold and open. Perhaps fly a flag in front of our house. But I was afraid. I sat and pondered.

I am the chair of the ACT government's LGBTIQ advisory council. I am 61 years old and a former senior executive, now retired. I was afraid.

I talked with Meg, to whom I was once married for a few days (another High Court story) and we agreed that if we were worried. How bad is it for young people? And trans people? Our rainbow flag flies high at the front of our house.

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We recently had a moment where one of the benefits of marriage were stark.

We were at Fearless Comedy, the fundraiser for the Domestic Violence Crisis Service at the Canberra theatre. Meg experienced a reaction to a drug, prescribed that day by her GP.

She collapsed during a performance. The theatre staff and the paramedics were caring and professional.

But I had to justify myself: "I'm her partner"; I have this information.

Although staff were great, it was hard, having to insert myself into the discussion, while supporting my partner of 25 years. Much harder than it needed to be.

I am a feminist who has experienced the value of symbolism. I do want to be married to Meg. I am an active member of the community, doing what I can to build an inclusive and caring Canberra. I deserve respect and equality.

Anne-Marie Delahunt, Hackett

Blind faith

During an interview with Leigh Sales on 7.30 on the ABC on September 13, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, a well-known climate science sceptic, used the terms "church" and "religion".

It was an apparent effort to denigrate Labor and Greens support for renewable energy as an irrational faith that is not sufficiently open-minded to accept "new information".

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the Pope suggested that those who deny climate change should go to the scientists and ask them. He then proceeded to quote a passage from the Old Testament: "Man is stupid, a stubborn, blind man."

Although the Deputy Prime Minister is a Roman Catholic, the Pope's Old Testament reference seems particularly relevant to him.

Given that no one has ever been able to produce a shred of rational evidence to support the existence of a supernatural being (God), Christianity, like all other religions, is a wholly faith-based belief system. Despite an abundance of comparatively recent, science-based information indicating that same-sex attraction is hard-wired and, therefore, a completely normal form of human sexual orientation that is not amenable to change, many Christians seem unwilling to open their minds to that new information and, instead, cling onto the biblical view that denigrates homosexuality as a sinful life-style choice that can be "cured".

The Pope's Old Testament reference seems to be just as relevant to homophobia, whether inspired by religious belief, or otherwise.

Bruce Taggart, Aranda

None of my business

I received the "Your Marriage Law Postal Survey" in the mail this morning and I was annoyed. What business of mine is it if a loving, committed couple wish to marry?

If they happen to be two men or two women the question still applies. I believe that if two people who sincerely love each other and wish to spend the rest of their lives together, should be allowed to marry.

I have friends who have gay sons and a cousin who has a lesbian daughter. These gay and lesbian people have all had a university education, they work in positions of responsibility, they are good neighbours, and they pay their taxes.

Their taxes, and my taxes, are paying for the survey that arrived in my box this morning.

The "nasty ads" have already started on TV. Why? because the people we elected to represent us in Parliament were too cowardly to vote according to their conscience.

I will be voting "yes" because I believe that two loving and committed people should be allowed to marry.

I met my husband at a tennis club when I was 18. We married when I was 21. We were married for 52 years, had three children, and I have seven grandchildren. My husband died five years ago.

I cannot imagine a situation where a government or a church would have informed us, in 1960, that we could not marry.

Lola de Mar, Fairbairn

Reasons to believe

I never agreed with the attorney-general of Whitlam's government's so-called Family law Reforms, that is, the no-fault in divorce.

There are always reasons for couples and parents to divorce and the reasons can have repercussions on the children.

For example, a history of negligence, irresponsibility, violence, abuse, drugs, can carry on into custody.

Awarding joint custody without any of these reasons for divorce being revealed is potentially very dangerous for children.

P. A. Upward, O'Connor

Preserve us from shockers

No wonder the shock jocks and commercial media want to emasculate the ABC. They would then have a free rein in foisting their own bias and fake news on us.

What really angers me is this so-called "Liberal" government has never tried to stop the blatant promotion of themselves by News Corp et al.

If the ABC didn't exist we would be "Trumped" like America.

Sandra von Sneidern, Mongarlowe, NSW

Let the games begin

The media laws fix is in. Let's watch as the game of musical chairs begins. Over to you, Lachlan.

M. Moore, Bonython

Planning in the capital

Canberra was once exemplar of the best of urban planning, but lobbying by property development and positioning their key players onto the decision-making boards has seen Canberra's planning over the last decade ignore protection of our city's national assets and national heritage.

Public concern on city planning is a constant topic in the Canberra Times letters pages.

The approach to central Canberra's heritage as "a legislative burden" by the Chief Minister and Mick Gentleman has led to Lake Burley Griffin and its landscape being listed in an international Heritage at Risk Report by ICOMOS, an organisation that advises UNESCO.

We should be celebrating our heritage rather than carrying this disgrace.

The West Basin City to the Lake proposal is the key cause of the heritage threat.

If linking the City to the Lake is the catalyst for the West Basin development, why are there no agreed plans for that linking?

Where is the formal agreement for the ACT to take the two hectares of West Basin's lake waters to add land for elite apartments.

The $38 million to be spent on infilling the lake and constructing a promenade will wedge the city into accepting a forthcoming apartment estate that will block significant vistas and create extensive cold winter shadows across the new foreshore.

West Basin's Acton Park should continue as a park for the people with engaging community events.

Can, or will, the new City Renewal Authority redress Canberra's last decade of woeful planning or will it push ahead with the current planning mess?

Juliet Ramsay, Burra, NSW

It's a gas, gas, gas

For those to whom it must represent the zenith of their year and make life suddenly rather interesting, the Summernats solstice festival is already looming. Its delightful effluvia are now clogging unsuspecting ears and nostrils, as residential areas are selected for burnout and power-slide practices.

A note to hapless residents: unless you can provide full details down to the driver's dietary preferences, it's of no avail to report these activities to the delegated powers in hope that any deterrence or preventive measures be enforced.

Luca Biason, Latham

Online's net result

The recently announced closure of Myer Belconnen and the loss of 60 to 70 jobs in the local economy must surely be ringing a bell for those who choose to shop online.

Why use the internet to buy something you can't see, touch or try on?

OK, you might save some time but the ever-increasing number of unworn garments and other unused items for sale at op shops tells us that online buying isn't all that smart and may not be cheaper.

Sure, you might get it cheaper but won't you pay more tax to fund the Centrelink benefits paid to those you put out of work plus what you pay to eventually get the garment or other item you really want, from a shop? Think about it.

John Coleman, Monash

In mysterious ways

I sympathise with Valerie Baxter in her dismay at changes to the bus routes through Narrabundah.

However, the situation is not quite as bleak as she depicts it. Though Action has not bothered to publicise the fact, it will still be possible to catch a bus in Kootara Crescent and end up in the city.

But you will have to catch it on the other side of the road and it will be the number 4 bus, which will take you to the City via Red Hill.

I only discovered this in a long phone conversation with an Action officer.

This will leave commuters from Narrabundah to Russell, and to places on Constitution Avenue like the CIT, in the lurch as the new number 4 will no longer go that way – it will go over Commonwealth Avenue bridge.

Just why Action has remained so silent about this isa mystery.

Howard Silcock, Narrabundah

Your rights in peril

On August 22, 2017, the Labor Party announced they would lead a review into the rights of Canberrans claiming compensation for injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents.

This step, if implemented, could result in changes to the current CTP scheme, resulting in lower compensation for innocent road users.

Canberrans, your rights to damages for pain and suffering, loss of income, medical expenses and domestic care and assistance could be unjustly eroded. The government proposes to establish a "citizens' jury" as a model for adopting changes to the CTP scheme. This plan could work if truly transparent and fair, but the Barr government's plan is to select a jury, excluding those with experience in CTP; second, to appoint a facilitator; and, last but by no means least, is for them to control the decision on information provided.

The Barr government is all about overlooking the rights of Canberrans and putting injured innocent victims on the same level as the perpetrator.

Receiving compensation is to help pay for treatment for injuries suffered, pain, trauma, medical expenses and if applicable loss of earnings post settlement.

Dorothy Kish, Bruce

Cross about crossing

Every early evening I take my life into my hands crossing Giles Street, Kingston, while walking my dog, albeit in a 40km/h zone.

If the authorities are too lazy to police the 40km/h zone between Howitt and Kennedy streets and enforce the law, which raises questions about its recent introduction in the first place, perhaps they could get off their backsides, buy a few tins of white paint and create a zebra crossing between Howitt (where the 40km/h zone starts) and Jardine streets.

D. N. Callaghan, Kingston

Digging for donations

Our tax dollars will be needed to subsidise AGL if the Liddell mine is to be kept open.

Will a substantial quantity of those dollars be subsequently donated to the Coalition to help them win the next election?

Is it possible that those donations would be larger than if a renewable energy company and battery company were subsidised to modernise our energy system?

Rosemary Walters, Palmerston

To the point

DON'T FENCE ME IN

Mr Turnbull, tear down this wall.

John Passant, Kambah

TERRORISTS THE VICTORS

Regarding the various coverage of the Parliament House fence: Terrorists win. (If you're the correct age, please read the above in the ominous Counter-Strike voice).

Christopher Budd, Turner

THE LADY IN CHAINS

Aung San Suu Kyi is a prisoner of her own image.

John Wanless, Hughes

SECRET MAY BE OUTED

I suspect when our very new plebiscite survey is hacked the identifying bar codes and numbers on the experimental ballot paper could be very embarrassing to our fearless leaders if their very public views on marriage do not match their not-so-secret marks on the ballot paper.

In the past all ballot papers had just boxes for the voter's blunt pencil marks but could never identify the voters and their choices.

Howard Styles, Kingston

COMPASSION OF PETER

Re Fr Peter Day's letter (Letters, September 15). I'm an atheist, but if I ever choose to rejoin the flock I'll be heading straight over the border to Peter's church in Queanbeyan. Given the closed and often hypocritical views of his "superiors" Fr Peter demonstrates that wisdom and compassion are often inversely proportional to one's position in the hierarchy.

John Galvin, Weston

CAPITALISM IN A COFFIN

Myer Belconnen is soon to be no more! Another nail in the coffin of capitalism in our socialist north.

H. Large, Wanniassa

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