Rather than point scoring, how about running the country?
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Rather than point scoring, how about running the country?

The political game playing in Parliament – particularly on the government benches – on the last sitting day of the year was disgraceful. It seemed to be all about point scoring, playing on fear, and games of blind man’s bluff (‘‘Fear and legislation: Morrison’s late escape’’, December 7, p1 and p4).

I’m sure that, like me, the vast majority of voters would much prefer to see the government just get on with its serious responsibility of running the country for the benefit of all Australians – not just its more one-eyed supporters.

The divestment power, which is part of a Coalition strategy to force energy companies to reduce their prices, seems to fly in the face of the Liberal Party’s free market philosophy. The government should allow energy companies to operate and retire their coal-fired power stations as they see fit.

As for the issue of asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island, I’m sure that the majority of voters would like to see an end to their more than five years of suffering. The government claims, as usual, that allowing them to come to Australia for much-needed medical treatment not available on those islands would ‘‘undermine our border protection laws’’.

However, it is my understanding that the primary reason that boat arrivals have virtually ceased is the highly successful, if not entirely moral, boat turn-back policy.

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Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin

Risk not worth taking

Douglas Mackenzie draws attention to the possibility that rising global temperatures risk thawing of the vast areas of land at present permanently frozen in Siberia and Alaska (Letters, December 2), so releasing the methane trapped beneath the icy cover. As the methane, a product of organic breakdown, is a powerful greenhouse gas, the release will tend to cause a further rise in global temperatures, and so a further thawing, more methane, resulting in the worst case scenario a ‘‘runaway’’ sudden temperature increase that we humans could not tolerate.

The methane is there, all right. In a television documentary the geologist Iain Stewart demonstrated its existence by boring a hole through the ice of a Siberian lake. Up came the bubbles of methane, which he set alight by a taper, resulting in a surprisingly large sheet of flame. The only question is, how much? Is there enough to cause only a worsening of global warming, or is there enough to cause such a temperature rise as to cause extinction of life on Earth?

It is alarming that our politicians regard this as a peripheral issue. When the schoolchildren are drawing attention to global warming, the reaction of the Prime Minister is that children should be seen and not heard. Strong action would be indicated on the precautionary principle alone, in case the scientists are right.

Harry Davis, Campbell

Too many cheap shots

Steve Hart’s letter (December 5) signifies the level to which we Australians have sunk in being sucked into ideologically driven, and deeply divisive, populist and partisan politics.

It shows how easily led we can be by cheap politics and constant media commentariat negativity – with an occasional recognition of credit followed by liberal use of the inevitable ‘‘but’’.

Mr Hart blithely accuses PM Morrison of lying because he was a marketer in former life. Not only does he denigrate the office of Prime Minister of my country – but casts a slur on countless thousands of Australians working in the marketing profession.

It was no coincidence that Mr Hart’s letter appeared next to Pope’s now tiresome, but equally denigrating, depiction of our Prime Minister as a clown.

Mr Hart joins a litany of letter writers happy to take cheap shots, yet mostly devoid of facts or evidence of thinking for themselves.

Could it be that we have become so comfortable in our cosy and ‘‘perfect’’ Australia, that whinging has become endemic? Maybe we need to be careful for what we wish for with ideological promises of utopia from our would-be PM. Mr Shorten was a union leader and has promised, if elected, to run Australia as he did his union.

Len Goodman, Belconnen

A sorry history

The recent Medicins Sans Frontieres report on the treatment by Australia of refugee children in Nauru shows that our country has sponsored child abuse for years now, and that those children should be viewed as ‘‘victims of torture’’.

Australia is now recognised internationally as a child abusing country and even Donald Trump has tried to copy us with his appalling treatment of child refugees from Central America.

He actually said to Turnbull that we Australians are worse than him.

It will take many years for us to dispel this embarrassing reputation and the shame we must endure as a consequence.

But the most important issue is immediate.

Going back since Howard through Liberal and Labor governments, all made the logically and morally invalid argument to us saying we need to save children from drowning at sea by instead torturing children in Nauru.

MSF was kicked out of Nauru. Why? Because they said so then but thankfully now have finally exposed our national shame in a report.

Good on Kerryn Phelps for having the nous to make her move and take this issue on. She deserves our wholehearted support.

David McCarthy, Wallaroo, NSW

Resist theme park

Recent letters and coverage in The Canberra Times suggest that current plans for the development of the Australian War Memorial run close to the wind of glorifying war: talk of ‘‘glorious warriors’’ and show-casing the technology of the war materiel industry.

It is unworthy of those who may be heading in such a direction to trade off Australians’ high regard for the memorial and the solemn tradition established by Bean, Treloar and all those who held true to Bean’s universal sentiment ‘‘Here is their Spirit, in the heart of the land they loved ...’’

This led to the establishment of the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier in 1993, the subsequent engagement of Australian youth dating from this period and the reason the memorial is held in such profound regard.

Any move to transform AWM into a theme park for defence industry technology is to be resisted by those who espouse the long-held command that the only names appearing in the AWM should be those whose names are commemorated by the nation they loved on the Honour Roll.

Liam Hanna, AWM assistant director 1991 to 97, Glenelg, SA

Trump outclassed

It was fascinating to watch Trump at George Bush’s funeral. Not only was he overshadowed by his immediate predecessor, he also had to listen to others eulogise a man who was everything he was not and nothing that he could ever be.

N. Ellis, Belconnen

Will this work ever finish?

I live no more than five metres from Northbourne Avenue and would like to vent over the tram works, which seem to have been going on forever.

Each morning I walk out our front door and expect to see something resembling the Taj Mahal considering the amount of noise and activity heard throughout the night but alas, it has all looked the same for the past couple of years.

It’s a good thing these people overseeing the tram works weren’t contracted to build this city back in approximately 1913 or we might still be waiting to start moving in.

On one of the many noise-addled nights, at approximately 2am, the noise level was recorded by my iPhone app at 103 decibels (cutting into steel and concrete plus the use of jackhammers).

In desperation to get sleep in order to work that same day I called the police thinking they would be able to put an end to this at this time of the night/morning.

After explaining the situation they told me there was nothing the police could do as the tram workers had a permit.

I called Metro and somehow tracked down a very lovely and sympathetic communications person.

He told me I was the only person to complain from that night of 103 decibels.

Seriously?! This same Metro person has ensured I receive daily updates on the works, for my information and to pass on to other residents within my townhouse complex ‘‘as a warning to batten down the hatches etc’’ (my words not his).

There has been no acknowledgement from the ACT government, at any stage, of the impact on residents and/or acknowledgement of our rights to peace and good quality of life.

I would also like to know why roadworks and lane closures are normal practice morning and afternoon during peak hour. Why can’t the roadworks be put on hold during these times?

A trip that would normally take no longer than 10-15 minutes from where I live can take up to 40 minutes. Traffic is at a standstill for most of the trip. The people of Canberra, who mostly didn’t want this tram in the first place, endure. We need to find our voice and learn to speak up, although a little too late now.

Angela Walker, Canberra

Tree felling dissonance

The dim-wittedness of our urban parks people sometimes amazes me. This week two heavy trucks descended on Gossan Hill, Bruce, an area already ravaged and eroded following ‘‘controlled burns’’ in the last couple of years, and proceeded to chop down green trees, push dead trees (habitat for gang-gangs) into untidy piles, and otherwise make an unholy mess of things. Our hill now looks like a moonscape.

Yet the same crew left untouched a large tree fallen across a subsidiary fire trail. And at the front of our home, on government land, stands a eucalypt, described as ‘‘dangerous’’ by our arborist over two years ago, reported to the same urban parks blokes and duly marked with a yellow blaze. The tree is still there, although the blaze is washing off.

David Stephens, Bruce

Thanks to hospital staff ...

Hospitals are at times criticised unduly. While chief financial officers must be nearly bald from tearing their hair out trying to balance tight budgets, hospital staff keep working away, often under trying circumstances and many demonstrating exemplary conduct.

A recent stint at Calvary public hospital illustrated this clearly to me. I spent time in ED, MAPU, ICU and Ward 4E. Dr Ginn and his team, Dr Tung and nurses Sherin and Annie in ICU, and Dr Hii and nurses John and Vijay in Ward 4E all went well beyond the call of duty, greatly facilitating my recovery. Through your columns I thank them most sincerely.

Moreover, the food was wholesome and nutritious. While some people in Ward 4E complained about the level of care and the food, we Canberrans really have nothing to complain about.

Herman van de Brug, Kaleen

... and, again, thank you

Recently, I suffered a medical incident on the street in Braddon. Whilst this was distressing, what came after was an example of why I love Canberra.

Passers-by, including a young doctor, rushed to my aid and supported me until an ambulance arrived. The ambulance officers were caring, thorough and professional as they took me to Canberra Hospital.

Once there, I was assessed and cared for in the acute section of the Emergency Department by doctors, nurses and allied health professionals in a most caring and professional manner. I was released from hospital the next day.

We often hear criticism around our health care in Canberra. My experience of this episode and on other occasions was one of admiration for all those who cared for me from the street in Braddon until my discharge from hospital.

Thank you to you all.

C. Dwyer, Ainslie

Give us back our peace

We, the Bonython Against Drones community group, have recently written to CASA asking for the drone delivery trial to be immediately stopped. We have pointed out that the trial has been a failure in terms of community assent, and any technical information to be gleaned from the trial must surely be now known.

The daily whine of overhead drones delivering to a few and greatly annoying the majority must stop.

CASA has been dismissive, on the one hand indicating that it agreed and facilitated and on the other hand endeavouring to deny any responsibility.

And despite Project Wing continuing to assert that only a few residents object, we have over 300 members in our group, collected a petition presented to the Legislative Assembly with over 1000 signatures and our petition doorknockers reported that the opposition to the drones was as high as 80 per cent of residents. Please, give us our quiet suburb back.

Send these drones back to the US!

Nev Sheather, Bonython

Growth not good

The December 6 editorial ‘‘Canberra’s future needs to be planned’’ was something of a ‘‘no brainer’’ that counselled the need for planning as the city grows to an estimated 589,000 by 2041. But the growth itself was not questioned.

Why? Canberra’s growth is almost entirely artificial, driven primarily by overseas migration. Turn this particular tap off, or reduce the flow, and, in an instant, the huge infrastructure burden to which the editorial refers disappears.

It is tiresome to repeat, but, if the ‘‘growthists’’ are going to plug their growth forever vision – and force this down our collective throat – they must explain how, precisely, it works. I have yet to fathom the virtue of perpetual growth (we will not stop at 581,000 ... and consider the environmental impact of this growth while Sydney and Melbourne do the same). On the other hand, the negative consequences are abundantly clear. Time to put Liberal and Labor out to pasture.

G. Clews, Kambah, ACT

Meter error magnified

At the Tuesday oldies tennis morning a lady told me her normal electricity account is $200 or less.
She received an account for $625.

She travelled to the Fyshwick shopfront with all her previous bills to discuss this.

The result is that her meter was read again. The $625 was reduced to less than $150 with a note on the account ‘‘meter reading error’’ plus a $35 fee for the second reading of the meter.

She then complains about being charged to fix their error and this is corrected.

There are two takeouts from this event. Why is the billing system so poorly designed that a 300 per cent jump is not red flagged and fixed internally without alarming the customer.

Also, how could the system possibly allow billing of the second meter reading in these circumstances?

Gilbert Hughes, Weetangera

Email: letters.editor@canberratimes.com.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).

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