Transport claims need verifiable proof
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Transport claims need verifiable proof

Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris and Transport Canberra director-general Duncan Edghill have been claiming that "more than 55 per cent of Canberrans will live within walking distance of a Rapid bus or light rail stop under the newly proposed bus network".

My experience as a geospatial analyst and economic modeller leaves me questioning the accuracy of this claim.

Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris.

Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris. Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

I combined ABS census data, the Geocoded National Address File with the newly proposed Rapid network routes and bus stop locations. I can't determine how anything like 55 per cent of Canberra residents can possibly live within walking distance to one of the newly proposed Rapid route stops.

Just a few examples highlight that: only 2 per cent of Kambah's 15,000 residents will live near a Rapid stop and not a single Hawker, Chisholm or Gilmore resident will live within the commonly accepted "400-metre standard walking distance" of a Rapid bus stop.

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Even a cursory glance of the proposed Rapid bus map provided online, will highlight many more suburbs and areas throughout Canberra where residents and workers will not be able to walk to a Rapid bus stop.

If the ACT government want the trust and support of the Canberra public for the new bus route proposal, they need to provide the information behind their assumptions in an easy to understand, interactive map and data format on their Canberra Transport web page.

Let's improve and properly fund Canberra public transport through evidence-based analysis, not via unsupported claims from government officials or stakeholders with vested interests.

Brendan Halloran, Wanniassa

P-plate plan draconian

As it appears the ACT P-plate curfew is still a possibility, it would be nice to have some assurances from the Greens' minister Shane Rattenbury about the statistics he is using to justify this draconian proposal.

Every death on Canberra roads is a tragedy, and a young death doubly so, but I think a curfew being able to prevent any more deaths is debatable.

Firstly, have P-plate deaths, where the P-plater is not at fault been removed from the statistics?

Anyone can be unlucky enough to be in a accident with a bad older driver. It seems unfair to penalise the young for older drivers' mistakes. Secondly, has the sex ratio in the accidents been examined?

Young women, I think will be especially disempowered by this proposed legislation, and forced into cars and putting their faith in others, when they could be driving themselves, safely and soberly home.

I don't think any young good driver should be discriminated against, but it would be especially unfair, if young women are under-represented in the statistics anyway.

I hope the minister will at least delay this proposed legislation and take it to the voters at the next election. Then young people will be able to have their say at the ballot box, and the Greens I believe strongly support this.

Judith Deland-Morton, Canberra

No cause for complaint

Peter Neil Wilson (Letters, August 27) and other landlords, have no cause for complaint [about rates and land taxes].

The information Mr Wilson provided indicates he is receiving over $14,000 cash a year and is likely receiving around $5000 in capital gain. This amounts to over half a minimum wage flowing to Mr Wilson and he is free to spend his time in alternative pursuits. Further, if his earlier purchase was funded by a mortgage, his tenant may have paid most of it off, while handing him the benefits of negative gearing.

Another correspondent, Heather O'Connor, made similar protests, but her data also shows she is receiving wealth after tax that also compares favourably with minimum wages and award rates.

While I noted Mark Anderson's claim of being "gouged", when we look at the facts, it seems to me that tenants are the ones being truly gouged.

If the private market is unwilling to provide housing within reasonable arrangements beneficial to all, then the ACT government must build the necessary stock.

Christopher Warren, Aranda

Republic not beyond us

J. Adamson (Letters, August 27) is right in saying we need have no fear that Australian politicians have the capacity to run an Australian republic, provided they can keep their act together.

Australia already is a republic in all but name.

One of our eminent jurists describes it as the "crowned republic".

Our constitution based as it is, to a significant extent on the US and Swiss constitutions already contains the essential ingredients of a republic.

By and large our politicians seem to be coping.

The Queen remains our head of state but neither she nor her home government has any constitutional influence over our federal government. It remains for us to sort out who should be our head of state as a republic and what his/her role should be, as well as some other aspects but none that would be beyond the capability of us all.

For those of us who were born to King, Queen, Empire and country and have served them all, it must be unimaginable to contemplate otherwise.

B. L. West, Deakin

Third option best

Civic-Woden light rail (if it happens) should be neither via Commonwealth Avenue and across the parliamentary zone (the ACT government's preference, objected to by the National Capital Authority), nor via Constitution and Kings avenues (preference and objection reversed).

Severe environmental, urban-design, symmetry, and heritage damage would occur in both scenarios.

That leaves Griffin's missing third central lake crossing – a beautiful low-level, curving bridge (maybe with an opening section), springing from lower south-west Acton Peninsula (not off the point, so as to preserve its important land form), avoiding the yacht course, and preserving the visual dominance, (and traffic capacity) of Commonwealth Avenue Bridge.

Jack Kershaw, Kambah

Truth will win out

There is an anonymous quote that "A good lawyer makes you believe the truth but a great lawyer makes you believe in the lie".

It has stayed anonymous so that the original wit can't be sued for telling the truth.

Not that long ago a lawyer, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani added another dimension with "Truth isn't truth".

This is confusing until it is seen in the light, or maybe shadow, of modern English where news becomes fake news, lies become misspeaks, and negatives become double negatives.

Tell the truth – it's simpler and can't be challenged.

Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill, Vic

Just a little list of note

After the carnage of yet another Australian political coup, it's time we compiled a list of top 10 Aussie songs that can be played at a weekend barbecue, post our next PM coup.

Based on the last decade it will be around two years from now. Here are my songs to remember last week:

10. The Real Thing (Russell Morris) – for Malcolm.

9. What About Me (Moving Pictures) – for Julia.

8. Friday on my Mind (the Easy Beats) – for MPs having to rebook their flights out of Canberra.

7. Reckless (don't be so) Australian Crawl – for Peter.

6. Never Tear us Apart (INXS) – the Liberal Party.

5. Help is on its Way (Little River Band) – ScoMo.

4. Red Right Hand (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds) – Alan or Ray.

3. Horror Movie (Skyhooks) – all of last week.

2. Most People I Know Think That I Am Crazy (Billy Thorpe) – Tony Abbott.

1. Am I Ever Gonna see Your Face Again? (The Angels) – Tony Abbott.

For the No 1, I envisage a video of Tony Abbott riding off into the sunset across the Nullarbor, with a rousing rendition of the Aussie pub refrain to the chorus of this song – if you don't know the words, simply Google the title.

And just one more: "Love is in the Air" (JP Young) – as ScoMo walks down the aisle holding Josh's hand.

Chris Mobbs, Hackett

A pox on them all

Scott Morrison, a failed treasurer, has surpassed himself, as PM, by appointing two innumerate incompetents as his finance ministers. Mathias Cormann demonstrated his total inability to calculate a majority, and, had he not betrayed Malcolm Turnbull, might have been able to keep him on as PM with a vote of 44-41.

The hapless, over-zealous Zed Seselja, having demonstrated to ACT citizens that he could not vote in their interests, but favoured instead his own selfish beliefs, has now revealed to the nation that he is so hopeless a "numbers man" that he couldn't count to 43.

Shame, or better a pox, on them all.

Lawson Lobb, Kingston.

Another Seselja flaw

Your correspondents ("Seselja out of line", Letters, August 28 ) convincingly portray two recent examples of Senator Seselja's deliberately acting contrary to the wishes and interests of ACT electors.

However, there is yet another instance of how far away the senator stands from contemporary standards of civilised and compassionate government. This is his vocal opposition to the ACT law protecting women seeking an abortion in Civic from harassment by religiously motivated bullies.

Chris Smith, Kingston

Vote below the line

The headline "Seselja out of line" (Letters, August 28) has hit it in one.

The "un-representative swill" (Paul Keating) are at it again. Alas, both Zed and Katy, "when and not if" she gets back in (based on previous Senate voting patterns in the ACT) have set themselves up with a job for life.

The only way to stop this rot is to vote below the line and get rid of the "party" push for above-the-line voting to elect the ACT senators.

It worked for Senator Lisa Singh in Tasmania last election (2016) where she was put into an unwinnable position on the ALP Senate ticket.

It could happen here if these nominees keep taking the attitude that they are guaranteed a Senate seat in the ACT and do not listen to their constituents.

Warwick Priestley, Amaroo

Zed's got to go

It is fervently to be hoped that enough Liberal voters will be sufficiently outraged at last week's parliamentary Liberal Party coup d'etat to vote against Senator Seselja in the 2019 federal election.

In framing his new ministry, Prime Minister Morrison apparently subscribes to the old Mafia slogan: "Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer."

So the senator has kept his place in the ministry. It beggars belief that Tony Abbott and his clique, including Senator Seselja, will now acquiesce to PM Morrison's ascendancy.

After Turnbull toppled him, Abbott publicly declared "there will be no sniping". He has now declared the discord is over.

As if ... Dutton has had a few feathers plucked but retains Home Affairs yet the best foreign minister the Liberals have produced in decades is now on the backbench, prior to following Malcolm Turnbull out the door.

Well done, Senator Seselja, you certainly represent the ACT in the Senate: party-room coup plotting; voting against the ACT government having the same legislative powers as the states; opposing same-sex marriage; opposing moves to limit zealots haranguing women attending abortion clinics and counselling and so on.

Rod Olsen, Flynn

LNP civil war simmers

I do so love it when those who support the LNP bring up the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd era of the ALP as Dr Bill Anderson's letter (Letters, August 28).

Old news Dr Anderson, it's called deflection, something conservatives are good at.

The political civil war in the LNP is current and has been bubbling away since Mr Turnbull took the leadership from Tony Abbott.

Tony Abbott, like Kevin Rudd, is a mean-spirited man and hasn't finished yet.

The takedown of Malcolm Turnbull was quite extraordinary and will hopefully ensure the LNP will be in the political wilderness for 10 years.

The current opposition is extremely stable and has been for five years. It is ready and very able to be in charge of our country.

Jan Gulliver, Lyneham

It's back to the '50s

Prime Minister Morrison says he wants Tony Abbott to be "special envoy" to Indigenous Australians.

After invasion, colonisation, genocidal practices (including massacres and removal of children) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples now face Nigel Scullion and Tony Abbott looking after their best interests.

The change of Liberal leadership has certainly delivered "generational change" — back to the 1950s generation.

Simon Tatz, Elsternwick, Vic

TO THE POINT

SAME OLD SAME OLD

"I stood on a hill and I saw the Old approaching, but it came as the New.

"It hobbled up on new crutches which no one had ever seen before

and stank of new smells of decay which no one had ever smelt before." Bertolt Brecht (1939) from Parade of the Old New.

Steve Thomas, Yarralumla

CERTAIN SYNERGY

Peter Dutton is the Minister for Home Affairs and home au pairs. How do you get a job like that?

Peter Harris, Belconnen

FAUSTIAN PACT

Malcolm Turnbull signed a Faustian pact with the conservatives when he became PM on their terms, and they came for payment.

Mark Westcott, Farrer

PRAYING AND PREYING

Until praying Liberals oust the cuckoo from their nest, instinct compels the preying Abbott to destroy all leadership rivals.

Don Burns, Mawson

MISCHIEF AHEAD?

Now that Malcolm Turnbull has left the building, is the bonking ban lifted?

Will those rent-seekers who promote personal "freedom" and liberty in Parliament get up to some mischief?

Melina Smith, Brighton

A MATTER OF STABILITY

Re the stability problem. Has anybody in the Liberal National Party tried turning the power off and back on again?

Chris Emery, Reid

NOT LOOKING GOOD

I trust both Peter Dutton and Tony Abbott are acutely aware of the fate that Dante Alighieri reserved for Brutus and Cassius.

Luca Biason, Latham

TWIN ILLS

Just how many Australian employers underpay their staff and/or gouge their customers?

Rod Matthews, Melbourne, Vic

DEMOCRACY DENIAL

Australia in the '60s sent troops to Vietnam in democracy's name. Now, 17 Vietnamese turn up on our front door and our democracy is no longer available.

Ben Morris, Wollongong, NSW

TRAM IMPASSE

It would appear that the Rattenbury/Barr government have reached an impasse re the south-bound tramway. They can always blame the federal government for forcing them to abandon an electoral promise those in the south don't want fulfilled and most Canberrans cannot afford.

W. J. Berntsson, Kambah

WRONG OR RIGHT?

Your prolific and erudite contributor, Douglas Mackenzie, (Letters, August 29) said Kevin Rudd was right. Surely he must be wrong.

M. Moore, Bonython

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