Cancer diagnosis legacy of time in Hiroshima
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Cancer diagnosis legacy of time in Hiroshima

I read with interest the article "Testing fatal legacy of UK atomic tests" (October 20, p27).

When I was a small child I was sent as a dependent of the occupying forces of Japan to an island in the inland sea near Hiroshima.

After a year our family was moved to the township Nijimura some miles out of Hiroshima's ruined city, where we stayed for the duration of my dad's posting.

By then I was six and my two elder sisters, 10 and 14 respectively.

Hiroshima after the atomic bomb hit in 1945.

Hiroshima after the atomic bomb hit in 1945.Credit:AP

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They sometimes caught a bus after school along with other BCOF (British Commonwealth Occupation Force) and American dependents, which took them to the bomb rubble of Hiroshima.

There they would play until the bus brought them home.

My mother said I was too little to catch the bus to Hiroshima.

My elder sister died of lymphoma at the age of 22 and my eldest sister died of multiple cancers at 45.

Her third daughter had been born with a Wilms tumour (cancer on one kidney) but at age three she had the kidney removed and was successfully treated with chemotherapy.

She is now in her 50s and has just had another cancerous tumour removed from her colon.

My niece's second son was born with a defect at birth though I have never really thought to link that.

That is just the history of my family.

There are many other similar histories but we were never encouraged to talk about them or, of course, link them with the American atomic bomb.

I believe many of the young 18-year-old recruits who were sent to Hiroshima to help clear up the rubble suffered the same fate.

A story recently surfaced that a major who had been in Hiroshima died suddenly.

The doctor who signed his death certificate was ordered to change "cause of death – radiation sickness" to "natural causes".

I belong to a now elderly group called the BCOF Kids. We met yearly for a while and now keep together on Facebook.

Perhaps stories of what I've heard described as "The Forgotten War" will die with us.

Jenny Houston, Hawker

Help asylum seekers

Australian politicians, including Morrison, Phelps, Burke, assume if they vote on the close-the-backdoor bill to stop potentially going to NZ asylum-seeker hostages from ever coming to Australia, the problem is solved. What arrogance to overlook the NZ government will not limit the constitutional rights of its citizens to travel where they wish. As if asylum seekers would want to leave progressive, decent NZ for racist, cruel Australia.

The honourable solution is bring them all here, saving them, saving Australia.

Dr Vacy Vlazna, Collaroy, NSW

Pollies need to wake up

Very well done to the Wentworth voters who have spoken.

Are our politicians listening? They only have to get away from their TVs with Sky News and start looking at what is happening, not only on our doorstep with our current drought, but in many poor and rich countries with ever more frequent natural disasters.

Our politicians may also like to look at Monday's paper ("Marchers seek new Brexit vote", October 22, p11) with its photo of about 700,000 people protesting about Britain's impending exit from the EU. The photo is astonishing. This is London in late October.

It shows clear blue skies, people in summer clothing, sunglasses on and eyes shaded against an obvious very bright sun.

The London I grew up in had us in October in winter clothes, with grey skies and daily drizzle. While global warming may be a small bonus to often sun-starved Britain, to those of us in hot and dry countries it's going to prove disastrous in the future.

We want our politicians to offer us strong policies that can meet the Paris agreement to cut carbon emissions. The fighting and dithering needs to stop.

Kerryn Phelps should not only be congratulated on her victory, but also on her dignified campaign, which was without name calling and the running down of her competitors.

A bit more of that from our politicians would also be most welcome.

Elizabeth Chisholm, Red Hill

Omens not good

Bevan Shields points out in his article "Abbott has plenty to fear from this debacle" (October 22, p5) that Tony Abbott holds his seat of Warringah by a margin of 11.1per cent.

This makes his position look vulnerable in the light of his involvement in the departure of Malcolm Turnbull, the 9 per cent swing against Mr Abbott in the 2016 election, and the 19per cent swing (on votes counted to date) against the Liberals in the Wentworth byelection.

Abbott played an important role in the ousting of Malcolm Turnbull, but Peter Dutton played an even more important one – he was the chief architect of the plot.

Voters in Dutton's Queensland seat of Dickson, on the northern outskirts of Brisbane, may not feel the same way about Turnbull's political demise as those in Wentworth.

However, given the margin of only 1.6 per cent by which Mr Dutton holds the seat and the chaotic state of the Morrison government, his position looks extremely vulnerable.

I don't think a huge number of people would be unhappy to witness Dutton's defeat.

Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin

On wrong track

Scott Morrison must have thought the storm in Sydney on Saturday was divine intervention, allowing him to slip away from the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games at the Opera House and hold the hand of his, losing, candidate in the after-election wake in Wentworth.

This clearly indicates that Morrison is a political animal and not Prime Minister material, if he puts political priorities ahead of his public duty and leaves me wondering, how much of the delayed start to the ceremony was related to the rainstorm and how much to the "political" storm?

Penny Bowen, Chisholm

Need for accountability

Last week we heard the Sri Lankan student arrested for supposedly planning "acts of terrorism" had been released and all charges dropped. In these cases when someone is arrested, whether guilty or not, the police and the politicians are out there telling how good our system of stopping terrorist acts is and how great the police/intelligence community is.

Sadly, just like when they arrested Dr M. Haneef, our police, intelligence and political community, has egg all over their faces. When asked [during the press conference] if they were going to apologise to the gentleman the two police and officials refused to say yes or no.

It is time for those who conducted the investigation to be held accountable.

Roger Laws, Bonython

Don't ignore compost

How is it possible that the ACT can be discussing incinerating compostable organic materials when the ACT has some of the poorest, and most damaged soils in the region. ("For energy make an offer about refuse", October 20, p.20).

A cheap incinerator is at least $200 million to build with additional and inflating costs of at least $200 per tonne for up to 25 years.

Current compost firms in the ACT could be contracted to collect source-separated organic waste, turn in into quality compost and distribute it for free to farmers in the ACT for less than the cost of disposal to landfill. What is going on in the waste and recycling policy space?

The things that burn in incinerators are up to 70 per cent of our waste stream, they are organic in origin and all can be either composted or recycled.

What is missing is a simple system to achieve source-separation. Incineration is lazy, causes dangerous air pollution, destroys both resources and jobs, has poor climate change outcomes and is outrageously expensive.

The reason why waste companies with incinerators turn up in Australia is they have been forced out of Europe and other parts of the world — the US has not built a new incinerator for 20 years.

As can be seen by the level of the debate, Australians are ignorant of these facts.

Servants of the public need to be alert to slick waste salesman and consultants whose allegiances are ruled by expedience and income.

Gerry Gillespie, Zero Waste

International Trust, Queanbeyan

Drone disturbance

Project Wing is a US company affiliated with Google conducting a drone delivery trial to homes in Bonython.

We are greatly disturbed that a drone trial that is so outrageously loud and invasive of our peace, privacy, wellbeing and basic human rights has been allowed – indeed invited and promoted by Mick Gentleman – without any proper community consultation.

We view it as an insult to our intelligence and consider it to be the height of rudeness, arrogance and ignorance on his and the ACT government's part.

We are deeply disturbed that our safety has been put at risk, our beautiful birdlife has been so frightened it has flown away and that some people's serious medical conditions have been exacerbated/compromised by this ill-considered, self-serving drone trial.

We are also deeply disturbed that there is no government agency responsible for regulating the noise of these drones.

Robyn McIntyre, Bonython

Good quality checks

For decades building inspections were conducted by government inspectors.

It ensured a generally excellent quality of finished product, from foundations to roof capping.

Building trades unions benefited from the unionised/inspector workforce.

Occasional and necessary co-operation with the inspectors' union helped with unsafe and poor quality building practices (including the asbestos product installation battles of 1980s).

Mr Peter O'Dea, and others, take your bows.

The inspectors were "on the beat" daily.

"Stop work" notices were issued prudently.

Negotiation and co-operation were the preferred modes of enforcement.

They were men (yes, in those days) of integrity.

I had the honour to work for their union in the early 1980s.

An example of public sector compliance staff.

All grounded on the building design and integrity.

Government engineers, architects, surveyors, technicians and former builders.

South Building, Civic Square, was the epicentre of a well-run government oversight of building quality.

Christopher Ryan, Watson

Industry sprawl

It is about time the government reviewed the system of various companies operating in the building industry – how they breed like mosquitoes to leech on various building projects and then go underground without any trace, only to resurface assuming different names to take on more work.

A case in point.

We bought our retirement home about two years ago.

The house was only 12 years old and we hoped to live in it in peace.

Last year, during the months of stormy weather and heavy rain, we noticed the rain water gushing over the gutters at the front porch creating a real scare for us to live.

Our Strata insurance company didn't want to have a bar of it.

Several roof repairers were contacted and their comments, after inspection, "the roof may collapse one day", "design fault", "dodgy workmanship", "may cost you an arm and a leg", "contact the builder" and so forth.

We tried to trace the original builder using all avenues.

Alas, they had disappeared in the thin air, leaving us to fix the roof at our cost and pain.

Nizam Yoosuf, Gungahlin

Interpretation outrage

The thing spin doctors everywhere have in common is the belief that people are idiots and can be sold any damage control.

Having decided that further denials of their murder of Jamal Khashoggi were futile, given the brutal event was all but available as a broadcast, the Saudi authorities have most cleverly given an inch and reinvented the situation as a fistfight, a bit like the saloon brawls in spaghetti westerns.

Sure, unusual in being a little one-sided with a twenty-against-one mismatch, and inexplicably involving finger amputations and other torture before dismemberment and probable sluicing down an insinkerator, but otherwise a fair and square knuckledust, probably after some understandable difference of opinion.

[All of this] leaving the assassination team obviously in need of a good scolding for not standing their moral ground and resisting provocation into anger.

And for not abiding by the strict humane boundaries traditionally imposed by Saudi leaders.

Which shows there's always a reasonable interpretation for any outrage.

Even if it insults its intended audience even more than all initial denial.

Alex Mattea, Kingston

TO THE POINT

A PORTENT STORM

At noon on Saturday, the day of the Wentworth byelection, a sudden storm, with hail and thunder, swept Parliament House. Flocks of birds rose, squawking their alarm, into the darkening air. The streets emptied.

Primed by an acclaimed performance earlier in the week of Julius Caesar by Bell Shakespeare, we sought meaning in these portents.

Was this the end of the beginning for Scott Morrison and company or the beginning of the end?

That same evening we would know.

David Teather, Civic Square

WATCHING WARRINGAH

One down [in] Wentworth. One to go [in] Warringah.

Jeff Hart, Kingston

POETRY IN MOTION

The folk at Wentworth have declared that Peter Dutton

Has pushed their government eject Button

The voters angered with a thunderous shudder

Inflamed by the Coalition's addiction to the public purses' udder

At risk of being banished

The wilderness will leave the Coalition famished

As the Earth glows with Heat

Abbott and Co. stand to be Un- Seat

The Coalition's Worth

Has sunk deeply South

No way is Minor Joyce

Ever a sound Choice

Joseph Ting, Carina Qld

NOT HUNG PARLIAMENT

There's often talk of a parliament being hung, but it's never actually been done.

M. F. Horton, Adelaide, SA

DEFINE DEMOCRACY

Australian democracy really warrants redefinition. Kerryn Phelps ran second in the Wentworth race but wore the gold medal. I lament not that the Liberal Party lost. It campaigned determinedly to do so. It's just that the system made its duplicity easier and has little to do with the will of the people, even in candidate selection.

G. Wilson, Macgregor

NO PLEASURE IN DEBACLE

Who takes any joy from the Wentworth result? What a mess whatever your politics.

Linus Cole, Palmerston

SHARMA'S SNAPPY SLOGAN

Did Liberal candidate Dave Sharma lose because he lacked a snappy campaign slogan like "Make Wentworth Great Again"?

T. Puckett, Ashgrove, Qld

BULLYING A BAD IDEA

After hearing Scott Morrison on Saturday night I can tell him that he will get nowhere speaking to the Australian electorate in the same bullying manner as Alan Jones.

I would love to know where the bright sparks are now who thought it a good idea to get rid of Malcolm.

Gail McAlpine, Griffith

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