Canberra Times Letters to the Editor: School of Music comments strike discordant note

Canberra Times Letters to the Editor: School of Music comments strike discordant note

I read the letter of Murray Khouri (Letters, October17) with a deep sigh of recognition.

If there is a fundamental reason why Australians can't have "nice things", it surely must be our collective lack of ambition.

This surely is no better reflected than in the discourse that typically surrounds the national capital, and above all its School of Music.

It is not appropriate for me to comment on Mr Khouri's gloomy prognoses about the current and future direction of the school, apart from wishing current staff and students all the very best.

However, a few other comments in his letter do deserve a response.


It is simply not true that "Canberra has no ability to attract excellent students from overseas or, for that matter, Australia".

Even the most cursory look at the alumni of the school over the past 50years will put that canard comprehensively to bed.

If he's referring to the city's relative isolation, I would merely note that the comparable isolation of some of the great music schools in the US has never stopped them attracting and nurturing the highest artistic excellence.

Appoint great staff, have a great curriculum, and great students will come. And, lest there be any doubt, Llewellyn Hall has one of the finest acoustics of any in the country.

It was always a pleasure for me to be an auditor, let alone sing and conduct, in it.

Professor Peter Tregear, head of the School of Music, 2012-2015, London

Firm friendship

I refer to Murray Khouri's letter "Music School unrealistic" (Letters, October17).

Mr Khouri seeks to cast doubt on the future of the ANU School of Music based on past decisions, even referencing the construction of the current building as the potential cause for such doubts.

Professor Ken Lampl (head of school) inherited a facility that had been all but lost due to previous decisions at the ANU. However, he did this in the context of a renewed commitment to the future of the school fromthe incoming ANU Vice-Chancellor, Professor BrianSchmidt.

That included substantial incremental funding over the next five years.

Professor Lampl has developed a strategic plan that involves "nurturing outstanding musical talent through the intersection of performance, composition and technology" – as quoted by Mr Khouri.

This intersection forms the core of future music practice regardless of discipline – classical, jazz and popular music. The strategy acknowledges that musicians being educated today face a completely different world of professional life to those who graduated even 20years ago.

The Friends of the School of Music has supported the school for more than 35 years. We are convinced that, with the commitment from Professor Schmidt, the school will rebuild and prosper in coming years under Ken Lampl's leadership.

Tony Henshaw, President of the Friends of the School of Music, Lyneham

Selective statistics

Ken Moorhouse from Wangaratta uses selective statistics (Letters, October17) tho show that PM Turnbull has slipped a little in the polls whereas Bill Shorten rose three points.

Being likewise selective, I might quote that Shorten is stuck on a low 29 per cent approval rating – no change from the 2016 federal election.

And that Shorten is 11points behind Turnbull as preferred prime minister.

All this proves once again "that beauty is in the eye of thebeholder".

Len Goodman, Belconnen

Snail mail

I had a registered letter posted to me from Dubbo, NSW, on Thursday, October5.

I received it here in the ACT on Tuesday, October17.

That's 11 days in total or, not counting weekends – when Australia Post doesn't work – sevendays.

Boy how efficient is that.

I have ridden a pushbike between the ACT and Dubbo and it took me only three days.

Perhaps Australia Post delivers their mail between cities by walking.

Geoff Barker, Flynn

Bet limits

Gaming Technologies Association chief executive Ross Ferrar claims that poker machine limits are unfeasible andunnecessary.

This is not surprising from a lobbyist paid to protect the interests of big business at the expense of our local community. The evidence is unequivocal that bet limits are an important part of the mix in relation to reducing the level of gambling harm.

The current $10 bet limit means that it can cost gamblers more than $1000 an hour to play the pokies.

Lowering bet limits is one of the most effective ways to protect consumers from gambling harm.

The Canberra Gambling Reform Alliance (CGRA) is not convinced that significant modifications to machines would be needed as part of any proposal for the casino to have pokies with a lower bet limit.

The Gaming Technologies Association's claim it cannot afford to modify its machines to enhance consumer safety is a slap in the face of all those who have been harmed by the poker machines in Australia.

The CGRA urges the ACT government to implement the recommendation from the 2010 Productivity Commission Inquiry into gambling to introduce $1 bet limits.

A ReachTEL poll commissioned by Anglicare and CGRA earlier this year found that 78per cent of Canberrans want $1 maximum bets.

Jeremy Halcrow and Rebecca Vassarotti, Canberra Gambling Reform Alliance

Ridiculous criticism

Of course it's a statement of the bleeding obvious, but prolific writer of non sequiturs Gary Wilson should check his own form before accusing others of dealing in the bleeding obvious.

His most recent self-indulgence – ridiculing as academic navel-gazing the Sydney and Melbourne universities' study of benefits payments over generations – shows up a fundamental misunderstanding of important work.

Rather than putting silly questions to talented researchers, he should ask whether what he writes is simply beside the point, or irrelevant too.

Matt Gately, Rivett

Bus service out of action

On Friday, the non-personned ACTION information office in Civic had this helpful notice stuck to the information countertop: "Attention Customers: Welcome to the Transport Canberra self service information centre. For your convenience, please use our iPads and timetables to plan your travel."

The iPad closest to the notice did not respond when touched.

I quickly deduced two other iPads had not been nailed to the counter-top, because they were missing.

I scoured the information office for a copy of the Central Canberra weekday timetable book and a copy of the weekend timetable book. No luck.

I was able to use the ACTION hotline telephone resting at the other end of the counter. I explained the information office was un-personned, I could not get any timetable information by electronic means and I wished to get printed timetables.

A helpful man was sorry I had been inconvenienced, he believed there was some sort of shortage of the new timetable books, he could possibly send them out to me at some point when they came in, but he thought I could possibly get copies of them from the convenience store diagonally across the street.

The woman I approached there looked fatigued when I asked. "They're not here and we haven't received them. I don't know why they keep telling people this," she said.

I'll go out on a limb at this point and raise the distinct possibility the new tram service is getting all the government's attention to the considerable detriment of our much-loved bus service.

V. R. Condon, Narrabundah

Truth on power

The ACT Labor/Greens government tirelessly spruiks progress it is making towards achieving 100 per cent electricity supply from renewable sources.

Superficially, this is a commendable policy. But little is said by the Chief Minister or the main spokesperson, Shane Rattenbury, about steps to ensure security of supply, or the costs implied by this energy model.

The ACT community is looking for these issues to be publicly explained, to reassure ourselves this is not just another ideology-driven initiative.

Keith Croker, Kambah

Wires crossed on NBN

I note that complaints to the telecommunication ombudsman regarding the NBN increased by more than 100 per cent in 12 months.

I recently received correspondence from three providers, Telstra, TPG and iiNet about their respective offers, but nothing from NBN Co about the imminent change in Evatt, which I understand is December 29.

I have consulted the NBN website for information, which advised to consult providers about the relevant capacities of their respective modems and interoperability with our existing wireless devices such as laptops etc.

I contacted iiNet and Telstra via phone about the capacity of their respective modems to project a wireless network, which I currently have with my ADSL throughout my two-story dwelling.

Neither could provide a complete answer and indeed a visit to the Telstra shop resulted in being shown a digital image of a single-storey house with the basic modem.

The suggestion was maybe the next level of modem may be required to continue to provide what I currently enjoy with ADSL.

Then there was a conservation about private and business e-mail addresses, which may need to change if another provider was chosen; also there would be additional costs of informing people about the changes.

I have not yet got on to speeds or the compatibility of Telstra TV with my existing Foxtel connection, which is via satellite.

Hardly a seamless introduction; rather an accident waiting to happen.

I suppose I can always complain to the TO downstream.

Rohan Goyne, Evatt

Supporting arguments

The suggestion of "leave religion out of it" devalues the arguments on same-sex marriage and Victoria's voluntary assisted dying.

A decision made by a person should be based on what they think is right, which is influenced by many factors including religion, culture and upbringing, and it must be the whole person who makes the decision.

A decision that cannot stand up to examination from all sides is not going to fully supported.

However, after that, the same-sex marriage decision is obvious – people have the right to love and marry whoever they love.

Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill, Vic

Too great a sin

I am aware of rumours that the NRL is considering lifting the mandatory 10 minutes in the sin-bin for throwing punches during a game, in certain circumstances. What circumstances?

The sin-bin was introduced several years ago to deal with trivial and/or relatively minor breaches of the rules.

But it was never intended, nor should it ever be seen as relevant or appropriate, for physical violence, which, to me, includes punching.

My advice would be to remove the "punching/leads to sin-bin" rule completely, and allow officials to assess each instance of punching on its merits, the same as other instances of foul play.

Andrew Rowe, Florey

Animal attraction

James Lindsay (Letters, October 17) is incorrect regarding tenants keeping pets.

We also live in Narrabundah, have several hens, a dog, two cats, a rabbit and a productive garden that possums love to visit, along with a wide range of birdlife and the occasional kangaroo. Pets do not seem to be a deterrent.

Lyn Hearle, Narrabundah


The Canberra Times wants to hear from you in short bursts. Email 50 or fewer words to


The fact that PM Turnbull would scrap renewable energy subsidies – with all that we know about the dire consequences of our addiction to fossil fuels and their enormous subsidies, all-time-high temperature recordings and "natural" disasters becoming almost commonplace – beggars belief. Leaders are meant to lead on the big issues, not grovel at the bottom of the popularity barrel.

Dr Sue Wareham, Cook


The NEG? That would be short for negligent. Right?

Peter Edsor, Bungendore, NSW


So the Turnbull Government is going to let burn more coal to generate electricity without considering the harmful effects of coal mining and coal burning to human health and the environment. The only excuse is steady energy supply to avoid blackouts. Would it not be better to generate electricity using our own uranium? It would be pollution free also.

Sankar Kumar Chatterjee, Evatt


A quote from my solar panel installer, "saving the planet is easy, it's the politicians that are making it difficult".

Matt Ford, Crookwell


The PM promises that energy costs will go down by two dollars a week under the Coalition's plan. Pull the other one, Malcolm.

I was reminded of a small headline that appeared long ago in The Canberra Times that laughably suggested that "property rates may fall" as a result of self-government.

Rates and utility costs only ever move in one direction and it ain't down!

Steve Ellis, Hackett


To appease the likes of Messrs Abbott, Murdoch and Jones (Alan) and the troglodytes in the National Party, Malcolm Turnbull now has a dirty, rather than a clean, energy target.

Dan Buchler, Waramanga


While I hadn't actually picked Tony Abbott as amongst the Knitting Nannas, he must be "Plain one Purl One-ing" with the best of them as Prime Minister Tumbril carts the Clean Energy Target to the guillotine!

Ann Darbyshire, Gunning, NSW


We have just witnessed the political gelding of out Prime Minister. Everybody knows who wielded the knife. Welcome to the horse and buggy energy policy.

Welcome to the inevitable change of government.

Jon Jovanovic, Lenah Valley, Tas

Most Viewed in National