Exaggeration not necessary to appreciate courage of men

Exaggeration not necessary to appreciate courage of men

In his otherwise cogent article on Australia's role in the establishment of Israel, ("Not quite right brigade", October 16, p14) Tony Walker repeats the nonsense that the charge of the Australian Light Horse at Beersheba was "history's last great cavalry charge".

As the name implies, the Light Horse was not cavalry but mounted infantry.

Both Gullett's official history and Idriess' Desert Column confirm that the Light Horse was neither armed nor trained as cavalry. Furthermore, the charge was but one of many by the Light Horse in the Middle Eastern campaign.

As for it being the "last" — there were numerous cavalry charges (by real cavalry) by both White and Red Armies in the Russian Civil War in southern Russia and Ukraine, as well as in western Siberia in 1918-20. Under Marshals Budyonny and Tukachevskii, the Red Cavalry swept almost to the gates of Warsaw in the Russo-Polish war of 1920. There are also reports of Polish cavalry charges in the opening days of the Second World War in late 1939.

People who repeat this nonsense only demonstrate that they are not well read in the field. As we approach the centenary of the charge on October 31 it should not be necessary to exaggerate to acknowledge the courage of the men and horses who served their country that day.


Stephen Ellis, Weetangera

Ownership key

I read that there are literally tens of thousands of bicycles piled up in streets in Chinese cities.

Security officers lump the abandoned bikes in huge piles to clear passage for cars and pedestrians.

Apparently they are the result of companies flooding the cities with bikes which citizens can use at will for a small fee and leave at their destination, ready for the next customer.

Sadly, the customers don't care where or how they leave the bikes. Sounds like a good idea gone bad.

Ownership makes a consumer more careful with their belongings. A bit like capitalism v communism.

If driverless (ownerless) cars (charging App-based fees for usage) become the norm in Canberra as some suggest, I can foresee the same result. Cars abandoned after use in all sorts of places (maybe even across the tram tracks), ignoring parking regulations, clogging popular car parks and public places.

Government hoists being required to clear passage.

I'll keep my own car (and bike) thanks.

John Mungoven, Stirling

World Cup chance

Despite the denials coming from Doha, there is still a possibility that Qatar could be forced to forgo its rights to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

If this does happen, no doubt there will be a number of nations willing to put their hand up as an alternative host nation for the 2022 event.

Australia should also put its hand up as an alternative host nation.

The federal and state governments should work together as a united force and work with the Football Federation of Australia and help convince FIFA of Australia's ability to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup if Qatar has to give it up.

Australia would have the adequate stadiums needed for the 2022 event and when the new Perth and Townsville stadiums are completed this will further strengthen Australia's ability to host this event.

If FIFA did give Australia the rights to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and if it had to be held in June-July, there will be a need to work with the AFL and NRL about the availability of stadiums and the possibility of making alterations to their 2022 fixture schedules.

Even though FIFA hasn't made any official announcements of a possible relocation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the federal and state governments should start working on this plan now and have an alternative host nation bid ready to convince FIFA that Australia would make a great host nation for this significant international sporting event.

Malcolm Webster, Boronia, Vic

Move on, please

James Allan, of Narrabundah, manages to grab a lot of letters space with his diatribes against traditional Christian beliefs and values.

In his latest rant (Letters, October 14) he admits to having been raised in a Christian environment.

I think we'd worked that out already James.

It seems to me that James feels compelled to keep justifying his rejection of Christianity over and over again.

How many years has it been?

Give us all a break and go and see a spiritual adviser James.

John Popplewell, Hackett

Madmen reign

We have a madman in the White House who I don't trust with his finger on the nuclear button.

We have a madman in North Korea trying to get his finger on a nuclear button. Why is Australia supporting one madman over the other?

Why shouldn't Iran and North Korea seek to get nuclear weapons when one is threatened by Israel and the US and the other by the US.

There are plenty of other unstable governments with access to nuclear weapons.

As long as Iran and North Korea realise they would be subjected to the 1950s MAD (mutual assured destruction) strategy or the more recent NUTS (Nuclear utilisation target selection) if they used their weapons then there is no issue – it would simply be stalemate which has been the case for the last 50 years.

Dave Roberts, Belconnen

$10m non-event

The new race, The Everest, worth $10 million, was a big deal for owners, trainers, jockeys and racing administrators. Betting agencies encouraged me to have a bet. I was more interested in Saturday's racing in Melbourne: races like the Herbert Power, Caulfield Guineas, the Toorak — races with tradition ... something money can't buy.

R.J.Wenholz, Holt

Nothing to see here

The ACT is, fortunately, protected by a pure AFP with "nothing to hide" ("Coe warns of exemptions from anti-corruption commission", CT, October 14, p5). Luke (18:11) writes: "God, I thank you that I am not like other people – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector."

Albert M. White, Queanbeyan, NSW

Music school unrealistic

In the latest copy of Limelight magazine there appears an article written by Vincent Plush about the renaissance of the Canberra School of Music.

A rebirth, it seems, consisting of a new American director who will have no idea of the Australian music scene and three part-time appointments.

Ernest Llewellyn, the school's founder, had a dream of establishing a Julliard-type school based on that New York institute.

The idea would be that students from all around Australia would flock to Canberra.

That, of course, never happened and what was left was a mountain of concrete and glass with cramped teaching rooms and a concert hall with poor acoustics and acres of unused space.

The facts are as follows.

All Australian music institutions have already advertised for students, accepted them and are holding auditions.

A year will pass before Canberra will get a look in, which it won't because no orchestra, no chamber music, no choir.

The new director, Kenneth Lampi, wants to "nurture outstanding musical talent through the intersection of performance, composition and technology" – simply empty words which have no practical meaning.

The takeover by the ANU was a disaster, a situation Llewellyn was always frightened of because they wouldn't understand the dynamics of a practical music school.

The money wasted on the pretentious edifice could have been spent on a more modest building and an acceptance that Canberra has no ability to attract excellent students from overseas or, for that matter, Australia.

Murray Khouri, international clarinettist and producer, Sydney and New Zealand

Cannabis-violence link

Illicit drug laws don't criminalise our kids any more than our laws against drunkenness do.

The following shows why laws against the so-called soft drug cannabis are essential. On October 6, 2017, the Science Daily (Science News), sourcing from the University of Montreal, reported:

"A new study on cannabis use that involved 1136 patients (from 18 to 40 years of age) with mental illnesses who had been seen five times during the year after discharge from a psychiatric hospital demonstrates that sustained used of cannabis is associated with an increase in violent behaviour in young people.

"Moreover, the association between persistent cannabis use and violence is stronger than that associated with alcohol or cocaine.

"The research results also suggest that there is no reciprocal relationship, that is, the use of cannabis resulted in future violent behaviour and not the reverse (for example, a violent person might use cannabis following an episode of violent behaviour to reduce their tension), as was suggested by previous studies."

A simple analogy shows what should be the priorities in combating drugs. The first and irreplaceable strategy of fighting bushfires is to reduce their number to nil. But property owners would not replace this fundamental aim of no bushfires in favour of an aim to reduce harm from them – because the latter is after the event. How could we justify an after-the-event policy as the major strategy in combating bushfires.

Colliss Parrett, Drug Advisory Council, Barton

Do things by halves

Most poker machines now print out a bar-coded ticket when you press "collect". This ticket is then inserted in your next machine of choice and it shows you the amount of money you have available.

What is so difficult about making each unit on the ticket valued at half a cent instead of 1 cent. That way an apparent $10 stake would only cost $5 and no changes to the machine would be needed.

George Beaton, Greenway, ACT

Vigilance needed

I refer to Greg Cornwell's letter "Preserving Canberra" (October 14). Back in July 2016 I wrote a letter to The Canberra Times warning Canberrans to be vigilant about the threats to our green spaces. We have not been vigilant enough. If Greg ventured into the Tuggeranong Valley he would be aware developers are already digging up our open spaces.

A V Peterson, Kambah

On the money, betcha

I believe Mr Turnbull's new facial recognition and security laws are less about keeping us safe and more about sourcing the money trail.

All of this is about revenue.

Mr Turnbull will link his security nasties to the taxation and Centrelink computers to gouge more from the poor, the sick and those trying to get an education.

Politicians from every code eventually want a cashless society so the last cent the local plumber makes can be traced back to his credit card that you top up for that leaking tap.

Just a thought.

Ray Armstrong, Tweed Heads South, NSW

Landlord's call on pets

The front page article ("On a tight leash", October 15, p.1) did not include any arguments as to why tenants should be allowed to keep pets against the landlord's wishes except that some pet owners would like such a law.

A similar argument could be made by smokers who want to smoke indoors.

In our case we have a garden visited by numerous birds, including friendly magpies which hop about following us as we work in the garden and some possums which visit us at night.

These visits by native creatures would probably not happen if the tenant of our granny flat kept a dog or a cat.

Landlords should be able to decide if they want to have dogs or cats on the premises.

James Lindsay, Narrabundah


The Canberra Times wants to hear from you in short bursts. Email 50 or fewer words to letters.editor@canberratimes.com.au.


So, James Allan of Narrabundah (Letters, October 14), you're criticising Christians for voting "no". But why only pick on Christians? I challenge you to write another letter to the editor but this time criticising Muslims for their opposition to gay marriage, also on religious grounds. Are you frightened that you would be accused of being intolerant?

Chris Tonkin, Narrabundah


Archbishop Anthony Fisher, the NSW Grand Poobah of story tellers of mythical beings, in his dress and funny hat, tells his tribe: "The state has no business telling us who we should love and how, sexually or otherwise."

Pardon me Mr Fisher, neither do you or your devotees have that right either.

L. Christie, Canberra


Global warming might allow Siberia to grow citrus not potatoes (John Walker, Letters, October 14) but the idea is a bit of a lemon as all their buildings will sink into the melting permafrost and they will have nowhere to live.

Dave Roberts, Belconnen


Before becoming leader of the National Party and Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce used to write a weekly half-page opinion piece for The Canberra Times. I found them to be embarrassing, shambolic, tangential pieces of ill-conceived, incomprehensible drivel. If Barnaby Joyce loses his seat in Parliament I urge The Canberra Times to not publish any more pointless cacography from that man.

Rory McElligott, Nicholls


Turnbull's numbers as preferred PM slipped a little and Bill rose three points. Once again the public is turning against Turnbull. I think it is because of the cost of energy which he wont do anything about.

Ken Morehouse, Wangaratta, Vic


So significant has demand side management been (Letters, Bruce Taggart, October 16) that utilities in California, at least, have provided customers with more energy-efficient appliances either through subsidy or by outright purchase.

Dick Varley, Braidwood, NSW


The "casting couch" attitude in Hollywood has obviously reached the tipping point, creating a picnic for publishers of those magazines that concentrate on what the stars are doing. There 's going to be heightened interest when the first cougar is outed.

Peter Baskett, Murrumbateman, NSW

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