Canberra Times Letters to the Editor: Sorry Minister, but your priorities for roads are simply your failings

Canberra Times Letters to the Editor: Sorry Minister, but your priorities for roads are simply your failings

Canberrans seem to rank at or near the top of just about every comparative study of desirable attributes when pitted against the residents of Australia's other regions and cities: educational attainment, average household income, life expectancy and lack of religiosity to name but a few.

The ever-expanding body of evidence confirming what most of us already know is such that becoming lost in one's own reflection is a very real danger.

How appropriate then for Shane Rattenbury ("Canberra is a city that speeds", February 5) to keep us from floating away by alerting us to two things: his contentious assertion we're a bunch of lawless hooligans when it comes to obeying speed limits, and by merely speaking at all his subtle but far less ambiguous reminder we are the worst governed out of any of Australia's states or territories.

I'm sorry Mr Rattenbury, but when two-thirds of a population as well-credentialed as this one admit to breaking a law, you don't have a crime wave, you have inappropriate laws.

Whichever way you spin it, the unnecessarily low speed zones, the pattern of enforcement that prioritises revenue raising ahead of safety, and the reluctance to address the real causes of injuries and fatalities on our roads are a damning indictment of your failings. The only thing you seem to have gotten right is the title of your "philosophy": Vision Zero.


James Allan, Narrabundah

Well done driver

I wish to commend the quick reactions of an ACTION bus driver who most probably saved a speeding car driver from grievous harm on the morning of Thursday, February 1 opposite the Taylor Primary School in Kambah.

The 8.42am bus from Tuggeranong to Woden was nearing the traffic island in front of the school, when the driver noticed the speeding car overtaking it. There was hardly time to brake. However, the mere act of taking his foot off the accelerator to apply the brakes slowed down the bus, enough to provide the fraction of a second to allow the car to whiz through the narrowing gap between the bus and the traffic island with its thick metal bar and sign.

The car sped on its way, the driver probably oblivious to the danger he had placed himself and others in; the bus passengers unperceptive of a disaster averted by the quick reactions of their driver who prevented what would have probably been another very bad accident on Canberra's roads.

Panduka Senanayake

​Kambah Rude bike riders

I want to complain about the number of cyclists who don't signal their approach while riding their bikes at considerable speed along shared bike paths.

I was a recent visitor to Canberra and while strolling along the paths around Lake Burley Griffin I and my wife were disturbed by the complete lack of concern for pedestrians of all ages by cyclists of all ages along the shared paths. It is not difficult to ring your bell when approaching a pedestrian from behind.

I am not knocking cyclists and I myself am a keen bike rider but this lack of courtesy by cyclists in Canberra I can say is the worst I have come across in any capital city of Australia and certainly spoiled what was an otherwise pleasant visit to your city, which I have visited on numerous occasions and look forward to returning to in the future.

It really is a bad look for Canberra and other cyclists who do the right thing.

Mark Ryan, Katherine South, NT

Sixty is enough

It is inconceivable that in our safety conscious era any individual regardless of occupation or recreation should be operating a vehicle (including bicycles) for more than 60 hours per week. I call on Andrew Barr to limit road users to 60 hours per week maximum, on the paved infrastructure.

Matt Ford, Crookwell, NSW

Off track

Regarding the proposal to send light rail drivers overseas to learn to drive a tram, the average ratepayer would be torn between laughter and tears. The Royal Australian Air Force has an expectation that a trainee pilot would take only six hours flying with an instructor before he goes solo.

For an experienced car driver to pick up the knack of driving a tram would be approximately an hour.

It would seem commonsense to send one of the 16 to Sydney to take whatever tram driving course they have there and return to Canberra and share the knowledge with the other prospective drivers.

Light rail is a silly idea, which is getting sillier as it progresses.

With self-driving cars on the way there will come a time when tram drivers will be only on the tram in case of a malfunction.

Howard Carew, Isaacs

Wrong call

Your article "Canberra's south still on hold for NBN" (February 7), which referenced a speech by local MHR Gai Brodtmann to the House of Representatives, was misleading when it came to the timing of the NBN rollout, especially in relation to Greenway in Tuggeranong. While the NBN rollout map shows the Tuggeranong town centre — which is in Greenway — as not presently being connected to the NBN, those parts of Greenway north of Soward Way are already connected to the NBN, with an FTTN service having been available for nearly six months.

Ms Brodtmann may wish to consider correcting the record of her speech.

Don Sephton, Greenway

Not inconsistent

Philip Benwell's enthusiasm for the monarchy (Letters, February 7) misrepresents the facts.

There is no inconsistency between Kim Beazley's wise support for an Australian republic and his mooted appointment as governor of Western Australia. Yes, the state governor's appointment is formally rubber-stamped by the absentee monarch. But the WA constitution nowhere requires the Governor to "give and abide by a loyal oath of allegiance to the Queen". While the WA constitution does require an oath of elected representatives (but not the governor), it now sensibly allows that oath to be directed only towards service to the people of WA and to exclude even token allegiance to the democratically irrelevant monarch. I suppose Mr Beazley could choose to swear allegiance to the Queen, as he was previously constitutionally forced to do as a federal minister. I would be disappointed in him if he did so.

Mike Hutchinson, Reid

Vindictive PM

How vindictive and hypocritical of the British legal system to keep denying Julian Assange the justice and freedom he is entitled to. Not only did he not commit any crime in England, but he has already paid a higher price than the average sentence served to a proven offender charged with, for example, manslaughter. Meanwhile, it would appear that our government, led by Malcolm Turnbull, the Prime Minister of the best and fairest country in the world, is doing nothing to defend one of its citizens in distress overseas.

John Rodriguez, Florey

Arms exports attacked

It is with great dismay we heard the announcement by the federal government of the Defence Export Strategy, a decision to make Australia a major arms exporter. It is deplorable Australia will contribute to the deaths, injury and suffering of innocent people caused in warfare. Do we really want to be responsible for increasing the number of homeless refugees in the world from the current 65 million? The armaments industry is about warfare, death and profits to line the pockets of wealthy armament manufacturers. There is no benevolence, morality or decency in this industry.

The justification for this atrocity is that it will create jobs, but at what cost. Australia can do so much better than this. We could invest in jobs in the renewable energy sector to export affordable energy technology to the poorest people of the world who have no electricity and thereby improve the lives of millions.

We could invest in jobs in biomedical and medical engineering and improving the lives of further millions, particularly those who've already suffered horrific injuries through war. Investment in jobs in the agricultural sector could help millions of starving people by developing crops that will grow and feed them in difficult soil and climates. All these jobs would be creating products and technologies that could be exported to help our fellow humans, rather than kill them. We appeal to fellow Australians with a conscience to speak to their federal parliamentarians and let them know what a despicable idea this is.

Michelle and Joe McGinness, Chisholm

Avoid 'rat race'

Lisa Forward wrote (Letters, February 5) "Australia can't manufacture cars but can make arms. Why?" We can make cars, of course, it's just that our erstwhile manufacturers got out of the business because they couldn't compete economically with makers in other countries. Will our nascent "masters of war" be able to match the big guns in the international arms market? I doubt it. More to the point, why would any civilised nation want to join that rat race?

Ed Highley, Kambah

Disappointing review

Catriona Jackson reviewed Podilato restaurant, Mantra Macarthur Hotel in Good Foodon February 6 ("Service the standout at hotel eatery", p3) and gave it 12.5/20. One assumes most readers wouldn't bother to read the review thinking "I certainly won't visit this restaurant". I did read the review. There was not one negative comment. How can Catriona give these reviews without explanations. What happened to the list of figures explaining how she came by the total? Disappointing, Catriona. Restaurants are all battling to get customers these days – surely a fair rating would be better. (I assure you that I don't know the owners or have anything to do with this business).

Susan Brown, Kaleen

Fair share of tax

I found it difficult to believe federal Labor would adopt an "anti-business, anti-free enterprise approach ... calculated and indeed designed (is there a difference?) to destroy thousands of jobs, thousands of opportunities", as Malcolm Turnbull has alleged ("PM targets Labor 'turn to the left"', February 6, p4). Why would a political party that was founded to represent workers (as opposed to employers) deliberately set out to destroy their jobs and aspirations?

It's much more likely about making business pay its fair share of tax.

On a different note, I hope that Greens leader Richard di Natale is right about Labor adopting a formal stance opposing the Adani coal mine. However, I am concerned the Coalition will find a way around the anti-mine views of the majority of people, the increasingly evident economic unviability of the mine and Adani's being unable to secure financial backing, as mooted in the report "Obscure agency in $3.8b arms deal" (February 5, p4).

Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin

Whose head?

The PM thunders yet again ("Turnbull promises firm action over cabinet papers", February 5, p5) and promises that "heads must roll." He was just as firm in his condemnation of Penny Wong as minister in charge when security documents surfaced last week. The minister in charge of PM & C is ... err ... Mr Turnbull. Whose head will go in the tumbril, Malcolm?

Bob Gardiner, Isabella Plains

Negative polls

The Liberals had to put up with 30-odd negative opinion polls before they replaced Tony Abbott with Malcolm Turnbull. Under Malcolm Turnbull's leadership the Liberals have also been embracing negative opinion polls which given a chance will soon cross 30. A disadvantage to the Liberals is that there are not many multimillion-dollar donors at their disposal.

Sankar Kumar Chatterjee, Evatt

Misleading presentation

Why do Canberra Times journalists allow themselves to be manipulated by special interest groups and their associates in the way they present stories?

The headline "Citizen's jury flawed: report" (February 6, p1) and the indication on the front page that the report was written by ANU Associate Professor Dr Ron Levy gave the impression this was an independent academic evaluation of the citizens' jury with regard to Compulsory Third Party Insurance. Only when one gets to p6 does one find "Dr Levy's research was prompted by the ACT Law Society, which has launched a media blitz against changing the insurance scheme".

The content of the story was interesting, but the presentation of the story was misleading.

John Goss, Kaleen

Term is not 'just right'

The misuse of the term "Goldilocks" ("Turnbull after Goldilocks", Forum, February 4) says it all about modern discussion. The moderate middle ground should more properly be labelled "Baby Bear" but hey, Goldilocks sounds better and is easier for targets to identify with. But it contains a value judgement, that "just enough" is associated with pretty little girls while "too much" or "too little" are bestial attributes.

You might think moderation is so often the best choice that it may as well be regarded as the only proper choice.

Try telling the Coalition that when it comes to wealth, moderation is the blonde, blue-eyed choice. They are the hand puppets of Papa Bear.

S W Davey, Torrens



I don't know where Ken Helm (To the Point, February7) has been seeing all these mirrorless bikes. I have a rear-view mirror on my bike, and every cyclist who I know has one or even two of them. We would feel vulnerable – almost naked – without them.

Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin


What is Jan Gulliver (Letters, February7) expecting when she turns off 666. Has she ever listened to the AM program during the morning show. Keep up the good work, Dan, and keep giving us alternative views.

Brian Hale, Wanniassa


What Jan Gulliver says (Letters, February7). I no longer listen to 666.

Maureen Cummuskey, Hackett


I'm not sure that Josh Frydenberg's comment that Tony Burke is "seeking to muddy the waters to obscure the fact that Labor is crabwalking back from its support for the Adani mine" is actually a mixed metaphor, as Fergus Hunter suggests ("Politics Live: Turnbull takes on tax cuts, faces questions over banks,", February7).

After all, crabs can and do walk in muddy waters.

Michael McCarthy, Deakin


I wish someone would point out to Malcolm Turnbull that real leaders don't resort to pointing their fingers at their opponents. It is a sign of weakness and insecurity.

Winston Churchill, who is well established as a great leader, would never have wagged his cigar at anyone.

Audrey Guy, Ngunnawal


Recent Afghanistan deaths of innocents confirms we have learned nothing about our US alliance in the past 45 years.

It just another dirty Vietnam and once again we lose.

G.Gillespie, Queanbeyan


The Canberra Liberals intention to "push the envelope" reminds me of the saying that it doesn't matter how hard you push the envelope, it a always remains stationery.

Brian Smith, Conder


The front page "Forced discharge" (February 4) report of two ADFA cadets forced out after coming out contained a contentious point. The full story (pp4-5) told of, "there being a policy in place to prevent abuse and bullying of transgender officers."

One wonders if this means that abuse and bullying of transgender NCOs and other ranks remains acceptable.

Gary J. Wilson, Macgregor


By publically stating that federal public servants should be sacked over the issue, Malcolm Turnbull has effectively pre-empted any impartial Australian Public Service code of conduct inquiry, and thereby polluted the process in a clumsy attempt to appease our intelligence partners.

Pete Rainbird, Figtree

Email: 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 words or less. 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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