Sean Allan's comment about Slow Road Projects (Letters, August 2) tempts me to make a comparison.
As a result of the difficult month-long trek of hopeful gold seekers and their pack animals over the 175-kilometre, and 660-metre climb to the Klondike gold discovery, it was decided about 1900, to build the White Pass railway from the Alaskan port of Skagway to the settlement at Carcross.
The mammoth task involved the use of 450 tons of dynamite, the building of several long trestle bridges across gorges, and blasting several lengthy tunnels through mountains, and working through several winters when the land is covered by up to six metres of snow.
Despite the extreme difficulties, the job was completed in two years and two months.
By comparison the widening of Gundaroo Drive, Gungahlin, from two lanes to four has been nearly two years since commencement, and to date not a metre is completed. Pathetic!
Michael Adler, Gungahlin
Fewer fun and games
The pallidness of today's ANU Bush Week has been lamented.
Circa 1965, when the then ACT Police was quartered in an old clapboard building on the site of the present Jolimont Centre, two workmen turned up at the station one day, erected a ladder, and commenced to dismantle the large illuminated police sign above the front entrance.
The activity was noticed and a police inspector inquired of the workmen what they were about. They said they were engaged in a safety program to check government signs for faults. Satisfied, the inspector left them to it.
It was Bush Week and a day or so later students sought the ransom of a police officer in exchange for the safe return of the sign. In those less fraught days, when a sense of humour wasn't dissected in search of some hidden malignancy, the police gave up one of their own in exchange for the sign, and, later, even he was released.
A Whiddett, Forrest
Susan Legena is being somewhat one-eyed ('Housework inequality is costing us more than we imagine', canberratimes.com.au, July 31) in concentrating on housework in isolation and cherry picking her sources.
The issue is not domestic work, which usually excludes such things as maintenance, gardening and even wood chopping. The definitive survey is the ABS Time Use survey which, based on diaries, shows that overall men work more hours than women and as not all of it involves sitting behind a typewriter pontificating on gender roles in society, 94 per cent of workplace deaths are male.
Another study, based on the census concluded the laziest men in Australia lived on Barrow Island because none did any housework. Barrow Island is an oil field where, as I know from personal experience, the standard working week is 84 hours, sometimes, with support services provided by camp attendants and cooks. Come on people, wake up at the back!
John Coochey, Chisholm
Tool for imperialism
The knowledge that a short victorious campaign against an innocent Iran will boost Trump's approval ratings and increase the Republican Party's chances for success at the November mid-term election has always been the objective of Washington and their Zionist puppetmaster, Israel.
The fact that little Australia, run by the likes of Turnbull and Bishop in their roles as US/Israel echosounders, will grovel for a place on the battlefield is a clear indication of our feckless politicians being just a tool for American imperialism, yet again. We never learn from history.
Rex Williams, Springwood, NSW
Misinformation on bus
I have some news for Peter Conway which may provide him with some comfort (Letters, August 2).
Alarmed by rumours that my beloved No.7 bus was to be put down, I consulted the Transport Canberra website to find out why, only to discover that these rumours are not entirely accurate. The poor old No.7 does nevertheless seem to have been slated for some radical surgery: a Belconnenectomy, Brucectomy, Lynehamectomy and partial Dicksonectomy; it will have its Ipimas, Torrenses, Eloueras and some of its Doonkunas taken out to be replaced by a Donaldson and a Limestone. It will also have its name changed to 52.
David Wilson, Braddon
Dear John Hewson ('Turnbull knows Shorten has his number', August 2, p.16) I thought you were going to be the next Malcolm Fraser from the Liberal Party rising above partisan politics. Able to speak for all Australians, but no your column shows your true blue colours. Let's continue the kill Bill strategy without any critical thinking of what has the LNP done for Australia in the past five years and what they will do in the future.
This is why Bill Shorten will win the next election, not because of his financial and manpower capacity as you so put it. Bill had a better message to give and he and his team work hard to get it out there. Not because of union funds and Get Up! but because people like myself are happy to support them financially to help them win the next election against this terrible government.
Your suggestions for how the LNP could win the next election will fall on deaf ears as it is not in their DNA to focus on health, education, training and higher wages for the working man. Show yourself to be a true spokesman for all Australians, Mr Hewson, not just those who vote LNP.
Jan Gulliver, Lyneham
Chris Bell (Letters, August 1) thinks that the ABC is a balanced media. Why is it then, that they chose not to report on recent attacks and threats on a female teacher by Muslim students at a school in Sydney's south west. They also chose not report on the 70 or so child brides being groomed by Muslim men in Australia.
Yet when a white, Christian, Anglo man is allegedly involved in a crime he is all over their current affairs program and news. Another example is Donald Trump, who has done much of what he set out to do in his election promises, unemployment in America is down, the economy is up, peace talks with North Korea and he is putting the people in his country first, yet I haven't seen one program on the ABC that mentions him or his deeds in a positive light. Obama achieved none of this in eight years as president yet never a bad word about him on the ABC.
Who could forget the time a viewer tweeted something derogatory about Tony Abbott on Q&A's Twitter feed, but it was let go and not censored, when it was clearly inappropriate. Even host Tony Jones shows his bias.
I look forward to seeing Labor member Emma Husar for all the hideous things she has done all over the news and current affairs programs much the same way the ABC denigrated Barnaby Joyce. Somehow I don't think I will.
Ian Pilsner, Weston
Weasel words and sneakiness warning over 'redevelopment'
I have just read the latest entry to the "West Basin news" section of the ACT government's City Renewal Authority's website.
The NCA has given permission for the ACT government to begin lake bed testing as a precursor to its reclamation of 2.8 hectares of Lake Burley Griffin for "redevelopment". That is almost seven acres of lake infill. The item contains just the kind of weasel words and sneakiness I have come to expect from the Andrew Barr government. There is absolutely no mention of the plans to build high-rise apartment blocks in West Basin and on the reclaimed land. Apartments destined for the wealthy and for foreign investors, and a visual blight on our beautiful and unique lake foreshore.
In the article, according to City Renewal Authority chief executive Malcolm Snow, "the redevelopment of West Basin into a more people-friendly area is a key objective for the City Renewal Authority".
But with high-rise apartments there, I suspect the "objective" may end up being people-friendly for the select few. Lake Burley Griffin is a national heritage asset. It belongs to the public, to all Australians. It should not be treated as a real estate opportunity for Andrew Barr.
Valita Muldins, O'Connor
Freedom of speech
Some people who claim to support freedom of speech have a list of things other people shouldn't be allowed to say. Really then, they only support other people's right to say things they agree with.
When reading Ian Pearson's letter (Letters, August 2) endorsing Nikki Savva's criticism of the ACT government's push to repeal the Kevin Andrews' anti-euthanasia law, I wondered if it was a version of something similar. Does Mr Pearson support self-government for the ACT but only if we aren't allowed to pass laws he doesn't agree with?
Greg Pinder, Charnwood
Lowdown on words
Clementine Ford ("The fashion world says pubic hair is back", canberratimes.com.au, August 2) says that "travestical" is "not a 'real word' but a good one nonetheless".
I disagree that it is not now a real word. Travesty (related incidentally to transvestite) was originally an adjective, but now that it is a noun, Clementine has as much right as anyone to coin a related adjective – especially one that follows a normal pattern of adjective creation (as does majestic from majesty, or fantastic(al) from fantasy).
Michael McCarthy, Deakin
If Dutton or Cormann were to become PM, one would have to think of emigrating, but unfortunately I am too old and too decrepit to re-emigrate back to Europe, so it would have to be just to Labor (ouch, not much better than the present lot!).
Dutton and his views sometimes surpass One Nation or worse. As for Cormann, trivial and totally unimportant it may be, but although I am a fluent German speaker, it makes me cringe to imagine anyone representing this country with that accent. (Just aesthetics, not politics, ethics or "anti-multiculture").
Meta Sterns, Yarralumla
Technique at fault
Ian Pilsner (Letters, July 28) asserts that, "... even ex-ABC employees state that the ABC has gone way too far to the Left". Furthermore, Mr Pilsner strays further into dogmatism with, "... many more people than myself (feel the same way about the ABC)". If he believes I am one of those unnamed ex-ABC employees, he has badly miscast me. I have never said or implied, even remotely, that ABC on-air staff have moved "way too far to the Left". My repeated concerns have been about the falling professional standards of most ABC journalists which, specifically, are centred around their interviewing techniques. Political interviews, in particular, fail generally to elicit any real new information, yet allow politicians to effortlessly and endlessly simply repeat their daily mantras.
The reasoning behind the current interviewing approach is historical and complex – too much so to detail here, but it is based on a completely mistaken belief that politicians, regardless of their party, will still be forced to slip-up even though questions are now totally predictable and break the key rules of good interviewing.
These undesirable outcomes are not caused by any deliberate ABC political bias, but a lack of professional rigour on the part of our ABC current affairs "celebrities" and their producers.
This is the issue that needs to be addressed by ABC management, rather than subjective perceptions about "left-wing" bias.
Eric Hunter, Cook
Big lie of the old mantra
Possibly the most disturbing thing about the dismissal of Angela Williamson by Cricket Australia was not that it was done for expressing legitimate political opinions in a private context, which governments and such employers seems to think they can do with impunity these days, but rather the Tasmanian government's direct and complicit involvement in the affair.
First a paid government staffer trolled Ms Williamson, but far worse was the government subsequently passing on her confidential and (intimately) private health details to her employer for base political purposes. This demonstrates the big lie of the old "if you've done nothing wrong, you've got nothing to hide" mantra that's trotted out by bullying governments and their authoritarian-minded cheer squads every time they want to undermine civil liberties.
Governments, particularly Coalition ones, have shown they will use any means to stifle criticism by threatening, sacking or even jailing people for their legitimate non-violent views or actions, and will enlist eager-to-please officials to do their work. Just look at the federal government's appalling anti-charities legislation or the NSW and Tasmanian government laws criminalising peaceful political protest. It's no better than the bad old days of the wicked Special Branch.
How did we let the bullies regain such control?
David Jenkins, Casey
Carving up history
Many Canberra legal practitioners will not be aware of the intention to demolish the interior of the old court rooms in the existing Supreme Court building. The building itself is being retained with heritage status, and with the shell of courtrooms One and Two, but the stately old timber adorning the courtrooms is to be removed, and the timber cut up for furniture.
It is rather tragic that none are to be retained in their original form — not even Courtroom One, which has seen probably thousands of new practitioners take their oaths and affirmations for admission to the legal profession.
That room could be, and should be, kept in its existing form as a reminder of the history of the rule of law and justice in the ACT. The darkness of its wooden panelling and its 1960s design would provide a stark contrast to the daylight that is to flood our new courtrooms.
Chris Donohue, Reid
TO THE POINT
IN THE RIGHT SPIRIT
I've just been listening to Rachael Kohn's The Spirit of Things on ABC radio. She interviewed Greg Sheridan on his new book, and on his Catholic faith. I hope Warwick Davis of Isaacs caught it, but if he didn't he can access the program at any time he's free to listen. That's service.
S. W. Davey, Torrens
What a farce in Victoria with the Department of Health and Human Services telling staff they must address colleagues by the pronouns of them and they to avoid gender bias.
Why don't these lazy oafs simply learn people's names and refer to everyone accordingly.
Mark Sproat, Lyons
A rumour doing the rounds in the gutter is Peter Dutton could end up getting the keys to The Lodge at the next election. The very thought of him being re-elected has me figuring out how I can be taken in by our neighbours across the ditch.
One can only hope there are enough voters in his electorate to put an end to his reign of terror.
D. J. Fraser, Currumbin, Qld
SOCIAL JUSTICE DISCONNECT
In her bid to be selected as a Labor Party candidate in the seat of Canberra, Alicia Payne is reported as writing in an email to some Labor members that she is "driven by a commitment to social justice".
Yet, the Labor Party is complicit in the imprisonment in off-shore detention without trial of hundreds of asylum seekers contrary to the United Nations policy on refugees. Where's her "social justice "in that ?
Mary Samara-Wickrama, Weston
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org om.au. 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 or fewer words. 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).