New ambassadors' Sherlock and Moriarty moment

New ambassadors' Sherlock and Moriarty moment

It is to be regretted that the loyal, popular and capable Julie Bishop, is not part of the Morrison ministry and has called it quits. Who would blame her amidst the turmoil and backstabbing of the boys club?

Barnaby Joyce and Tony Abbott have been appointed (if the latter accepts it) "special envoys". The former destined to sink a few beers and have a folksy, sympathetic yarn with the locals of the bush amidst the ruins of drought; the latter, perhaps, to shirt-front the long-running disaster that is Indigenous affairs.

Julie Bishop walks away after her final press conference as a cabinet minister.

Julie Bishop walks away after her final press conference as a cabinet minister.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

In my wild erratic fancy (apologies to Banjo Paterson), I see Barnaby and Tony meeting by chance at the top of some trickling falls in the outback, and, in an uncanny re-enactment of Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty at Reichenbach Fall, act out their animosities one last time, clinging together as they plunge over the falls to the dried up waterhole below. Unfortunately, unlike the fictional duo, a rematch is not possible.

Meanwhile, Senator Zed Seselja, the new Assistant Minister Treasury and Finance, has also anointed himself Guardian of Territorian Disenfranchisement (GOtD). Seselja, elected to represent all ACT residents, not just his religious beliefs, has, because he alone knows best, become our collective conscience.


A Whiddett, Forrest

Zed doing great work

Seems a lot of Labor/Greens voters don't like Zed's position on euthanasia. Well, as none of you seem to be Liberal voters anyway, I don't think he's too worried.

As a cynic, I see it as low-cost palliative care, and I don't want a bar of it.

Often, it's just the kids wanting early access to the estate. If this gets up, the next thing the territories will want is execution of criminals.

Keep up the good work Zed.

John Burns, Hall

Decentralise for profit

Mattias Cormann's assumption of Ministerial responsibility for the Australian Public Service is tipped to maintain the Coalition government's "decentralisation" strategy.

We therefore need a more systematic way of allocating Australian Public Service jobs among various Regional centres that may want them.

I suggest a bidding system would be best.

That way, centres that reckon they can make the most money out of decentralised public servants could bid more, so ensuring that public servants are decentralised in the most profitable way.

G. Soames, Curtin

Sad week for politics

What a sad and sordid political week it's been. Gone forever Senator John McCain, epitome of political honour and integrity.

Gone too from Australian foreign affairs Julie Bishop, a class act widely admired, even by opponents, for her ability, style and decency.

Yet, regrettably, very much politically alive and certainly kicking those three nasty bits of work – Abbott, Abetz and Andrews, the least likely A team of all time – who will presumably resume the assault on their own government and continue to pollute the wider polity.

A sorry week indeed.

Phil Teece, Sunshine Bay, NSW

Little to gain for Libs

Last week's farce has led to the loss of a well-liked and reasonably effective prime minister, to what avail?

The only good thing is that the Liberal replacements are better than the alternative leadership.

The Coalition would now be slaughtered in an election, and Bill Shorten is preferred PM for the first time.

When Parliament resumes perhaps Shorten should have a select dinner at the Ottoman Restaurant with Tony Abbott and several others to thank them for their help. They could drink a toast to Ray Hadley, Alan Jones and the right-wing commentators for their support.

Neville Exon, Chapman

Community fleeced

Indigenous Australians certainly deserve far better and insightful consideration by the new prime minister ("Tony Abbott accepts Indigenous envoy role after Liberal leadership coup",, August 29). Why should any part of our community be dumped, at the prime minister's convenience, with someone whose main claim to fame for far too long has been that of chief trouble-maker?

And who, when prime minister in 2014, informed a large audience at the National Museum of Australia that in his view the most important defining moment in Australian history was the arrival of British colonists in 1788.

Sue Dyer, Downer

With friends like these

I am pleased to hear from our new PM that the government will now be "on my side" when:

· I get ripped off by the banks;

· My kids lose their penalty pay just when they are aspiring and working hard to improve;

· I have medical bills with larger and larger payment gaps;

· My NBN does not deliver what was promised;

· My children and grandchildren want a decent education.

Oh wait, it was this government that has been standing opposite me all this time, I hope they can take the big step forward and turn around so we are facing the same direction.

Ed Gaykema, Reid

Party hosting a parasite

So (according to certain rather disingenuous persons): there are no factions in the Liberal party, there is no fight for the "soul" of the Liberal party, and we are not witnessing "The Strange Death of Liberal Australia".

Yeah. Right. Well, if the moderates and conservatives and can continue to hold their dysfunctional marriage together, maybe the party will not tear itself in two.

Maybe we the voting public won't realise that this so-called Liberal party is host to a parasite that has compromised the party and its leadership for at least 10 years.

Maybe the true liberals could do without the hard right?

R. Neville, Fraser

Dutton losing touch

When Malcolm Fraser was PM he welcomed South Vietnam boat refugees. Most assimilated within a generation.

The grounded Vietnamese fishing boat off Queensland caught Pete Dutton's border force off guard.

This is probably because he was distracted trying to promote himself as a future PM but he failed there too.

Border Force has failed Queensland.

If Dutton is losing touch with his job, other than ranting about people smugglers, no wonder the PM has broken up his unwieldy department, removing immigration and citizenship.

Where were the air/sea patrols and don't satellites help in border surveillance?

The unpopular Mr Dutton will likely lose his seat at the next election and many in the progressive southern states will be pleased.

A. Jackson, Middle Park, Vic

State of renewables

Thank you for your letter, Rohan Goyne ("Questions on energy costs", Letters, August 29).

The ACT remains on track to achieve 100 per cent renewable electricity supply by 2020.

The costs of this commitment have been modelled and are listed on the Environment Directorate's website: equating to around $2.49 per household each week in 2018-19.

However, the ACT's large-scale renewable electricity contracts have also helped to offset the impact of recent wholesale cost increases.

Most energy analysts agree that the cost of new build renewable electricity is lower than that of a new coal-fired power station, especially after lower fuel costs are factored in. Any national emissions scheme that continues Australia's reliance on coal-fired power will cost electricity consumers more than one based on renewables.

About 75 per cent of the 100per cent renewable electricity target will be achieved through generation secured as part of the government's award-winning reverse auction program for large-scale wind and solar. The remaining 25 per cent will be delivered through GreenPower purchases, rooftop solar generation and the ACT's share of the national Renewable Energy Target.

National Electricity Law requires the ACT to have 99 per cent reliability in our electricity system. Where an outage does occur, it's best to contact your energy retailer directly.

Despite having some of the cheapest electricity in the country, we know that energy bills are hitting hard. That's why the ACT government is helping households and businesses to manage their energy costs through a range of programs and initiatives.

Our Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme is making a big dent in Canberra's energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions.

Since 2013, more than 72,000 Canberra households and businesses – 18,000 of these being low income households and 15,000 rental properties – saved a total of $240 million, including $15 million saved off the lifetime energy bills of low income households.

The federal government's comprehensive failure to manage the transition to a clean energy future makes it even more important that states and territories like the ACT continue to lead the way in climate change action.

Shane Rattenbury, ACT Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability

Time to change music

I frequently walk around Lake Burley Griffin. Have done so for many years.

During my walks I take advantage of the toilet facilities just opposite the Carillon.

As I go about my business, I am entertained by a swinging rendition of Burt Bacharach's "What the World Needs Now Is Love, Sweet Love". It is a very nice song but after having listened to it for many years, perhaps I could suggest to the ACT government's department for elevator music that the time has come to change its tune.

Please give me another song to sing along to.

Anne Willenborg, Royalla, NSW

Cancel light rail

It looks like the federal government has made one right decision this week when insisting that the light rail cross Kings Avenue Bridge.

Our ACT Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris has spit the dummy and threatened to cancel the second stage of light rail.

This would be the only right decision this ACT government has made all year, seeing the voters and ratepayers didn't vote for any of the light rail in the first place.

Minister, cancel the bloody thing and spend the $1.3 billion to $1.6 billion on our health and education and if there is any left over you could clean up our parks and streets.

Errol Good, Macgregor

Threats ring hollow

So, the Barr government has threatened to pull the plug on Stage 2 of light rail.

Who exactly is Mr Barr threatening – the federal Parliament or Canberran taxpayers?

So, the Rattenbury/Barr government is baulking at the potential cost of Stage 2 over Kings Ave bridge, with its much reduced patronage.

Rightfully so, but it is still prepared to stick we long-suffering taxpayers with a debt for Stage 2 over Commonwealth Avenue bridge of from $3 billion to $3.7 billion, based on its own build estimate of $1.3 billion to $1.6 billion. For 20 years of operations, that translates into $25 to $31 for each of 6 million passengers per annum (based on government estimates).

M. Flint Co-ordinator, Smart Canberra Transport

Consider carbon cost

While considering the likely cost of Stage 2 of Canberra's light rail, it would also be appropriate to consider the consequences for the environment.

Its construction would involve the use of a large quantity of concrete.

As part of the case for Stage 1, it was claimed that it would produce no greenhouse gases.

Maybe it will not produce much greenhouse gas during its operation, but it was always clear that the construction phase would produce a lot of carbon dioxide.

Various sources have estimated that concrete contributes between 5 per cent and 8 per cent of the total amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere worldwide each year.

No estimates of the carbon dioxide produced during the construction of Stage 1 have as yet been released, but now that the construction is well advanced, it should be possible to find out how much carbon dioxide has already been produced.

Using that figure as a starting point you could produce an estimate of the amount of carbon dioxide likely to be produced during the construction of Stage 2.

Annette Barbetti, Kaleen

Project already a failure

When will the ACT government realise that the Stage 2 Light Rail is already without a doubt a failure.

Just do the right thing and stop it.

Jenny Lee, Braddon

Train ticket unaffordable

I, like other ACT residents received their rates notice this week.

After I picked myself up off the floor I realised that I would not have enough income left to purchase a ticket on the tram.

John Galvin, Weston



Illegal immigrants: if you are young, female, European, connected to the football elite, can speak English and can look after rich people's kids, come on down. If you are fleeing from a war-torn country, political persecution, trying to save your own kids but haven't donated to the Liberal Party and aren't European, you can rot on a Pacific island until the end of time. Advance Australia Fair.

S. Gerrard, Dunlop


Singly, au pair, or au trio, ScoMo, Dut and Joshy lack brio.

Annie Lang, Kambah


Nice for Mr Dutton to show some humanity for someone with visa issues but I can't help wondering if he would have done the same if the au pair had brown skin and was from, say, Myanmar.

Bruno Yvanovich, Canberra


Is the new prime ministership a mirage and the real one in waiting is Tony Abbott? Making him an envoy doesn't solve Tony Abbott's penchant for seeking to destabilise the workings of the government and resurrect his prime ministerial desire, through shock jocks, and other forums.

Thomas Natera, Ngunnawal


When the right-wing nutters of the Liberal Party finish destroying it, they can form a Democratic Liberal Party. Bob Santamaria would be cheering them on from the grave.

Maria Greene, Curtin


It is obvious, as evidenced by the numerous letters to the editor, that our Senator Zed is not representing the desires of the vast majority of ACT residents whom he is supposed to represent.

If the Liberals put Zed up for re-election, then it is incumbent on us all 'to put Zed last' so that he will not be re-elected.

John Widdup, Lyneham


Julie Bishop will be remembered only as the latest in a long line of unimaginative foreign ministers determined to adhere to the failing US empire, regardless of the frightening cost to Australia.

Rex Williams, Springwood, NSW


I thought the "good character" requirement for entry into Australia had been embarrassed out of existence by Dick Cheney's tour here in 2007. Chelsea Manning would also not cause a motorcade security-created Sydney traffic meltdown.

Alex Mattea, Kingston


I too am curious about the fate of the bonking ban, Melina Smith (Letters, August 30).

N. Ellis, Belconnen

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