OPINION

Time for 'Jurassics' to be given the flick and Australia moved forward

A substantial defeat of the Coalition at the upcoming election is necessary to end the power of the "Jurassics" and allow the development and implementation of sound climate policy.

It would diminish the influence of Abbott, the vengeful climate change-denying Jurassic puppeteer and his disciples, including Dutton, the refugee-demonising Home Affairs Minister, and Craig Kelly.

They are all men who are well past their best-before dates.

Tony Abbott with Cory Bernardi (left) and Scott Morrison in 2010. Photo: Glen McCurtayne

Tony Abbott with Cory Bernardi (left) and Scott Morrison in 2010. Photo: Glen McCurtayne

Could a phoenix arise from the ashes? While moderates such as Frydenberg and Birmingham offer hope, Mr Morrison's flip-flops on climate change and the banking royal commission demonstrate the new emperor has clothes.

Stunts such as bringing a lump of coal into Parliament and his trip to Christmas Island have reduced his credibility.

Cormann and Hunt were diminished by their parts in the assassinations of Turnbull and Bishop.

Send your opinions to letters.editor@canberratimes.com.au

Send your opinions to letters.editor@canberratimes.com.au

Cash is a liability given her performance in relation to the AFP raid while Melissa Price, the Environment Minister, yes there is one apparently, is out of her depth and largely out of sight as well.

This disunity and sheer lack of talent explain Labor's lead in the polls despite being led by Bill Shorten, a man who is notably devoid of charisma.

Shorten, Plibersek, Wong, Bowen, Albanese, Butler, Dreyfus and their colleagues deserve to be given a chance. How could they do worse than the current conflicted rabble?

It would be fitting if Abbott and his fellow Jurassics were to be made extinct by a true climate change event: the 2019 election.

Deserting the ship

Like Defence Minister Christopher Pyne, Defence Industries Minister Steve Ciobo said that he is not leaving the Morrison government because he expects it to be defeated at the May election ("Lucky seven for women in cabinet", March 3, p2).

They are highly unlikely to say otherwise. Mr Pyne and Mr Ciobo join ministers Julie Bishop, Michael Keenan, Kelly O'Dwyer and Nigel Scullion in leaving Mr Morrison short-handed. Minister Craig Laundy is reported to be about to join them.

To cap off the obvious vote of no confidence, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is reportedly considering leaving his highly marginal seat of Dickson and standing in Mr Ciobo's safe seat of Moncrieff.

Looks very much to me like deserting a sinking ship while Captain Morrison desperately rearranges the deck chairs.

Dutton's demonising

At last the media silence on our Home Affairs Minister's dreadful conduct is broken ("Dutton reaches new low', Forum, March 9, p10).

I pass over the article's tabulation of the minister's destruction of his Immigration and later his Border Force workplaces during the years that he spent fighting his own employees in protracted disputes rather than building his portfolios.

I cannot pass over the minister's sickening remark that bringing ill and despairing refugees from Australia's gulag on Manus Island and Nauru to the mainland for medical assistance will deprive Australians of access to health services and medical attention.

We have not heard demonisation like this since the 1930s.

I never thought to hear it from a minister in Australia or in any civilised country.

I have not heard the Prime Minister condemn this barbarity either. Instead we saw him on the jetty at Christmas Island looking wistfully towards Indonesia. The unspoken call "where the bloody hell are ya" is almost audible.

Actions speak louder

So the Prime Minister is adamant that it's "an absolutely Liberal value that you don't push some people down to lift some people up" ("Scott Morrison defends International Women's Day remarks amid criticism", canberratimes.com.au, March 9).

Yet last August a determined yet innumerate cohort of rightist die-hard parliamentary Liberals, including our own Zed Seselja and camp followers like senators Mathias Cormann and Michaelia Cash, sought to heave an unmeritorious Peter Dutton up onto the principal pedestal of the land while trampling down the incumbent.

We also learnt that such behaviour pays dividends as many of these seemingly value-free Liberals subsequently were rewarded by the new prime minister with lucrative ministerial positions.

Like minds

I like the fact I live in a town where Pauline Westwood writes a letter asking, 'how can we believe that our Western civilisation is anything but a curse upon the Indigenous people and the whole environment?' (Letters, March 7).

I also like the fact Cormac Cullinan has written about the rights of nature in his book, Wild Law and that in 2009 Australia held its first conference on this subject, asserting "the law needs to transition from an exclusive focus on human beings and recognise that we exist as a part of a broader earth community".

I am also delighted to discover there is an Australian Earth Laws Alliance which is inspired by First Nation peoples and challenges the idea nature is property!

There is even a group called the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change that speaks of our planet as though it is a living organism.

Pauline Westwood, you and I are not alone.

Let's hope the political party which promises to implement the proposals in the 'Uluru statement' wins the next election!

Privacy threat

I read the article "Coalition accused of pork-barrelling" (March 10, p6).

What concerned me most was that the government may have breached the Privacy Act 1988 by (from the report) apparently providing the details of successful grant applicants in marginal seats to unelected members of their party (National and Liberal) who are their endorsed candidates.

Having successfully applied for Commonwealth grants in the past I'm unfamiliar with any part of a grants process where the applicant would consent to share information with unsolicited third parties such as unelected members of a political party.

I understand the desperation of the current government to use any aspect of being in power but that should not include non-compliance with a fundamental piece of legislation such as the Privacy Act.

The Australian Privacy Commissioner should initiate an investigation of the potentially hundreds of breaches of the act on the basis of this article alone.

True moment to savour

The Canberra Capitals so richly deserve the accolades for being named ACT 2019 Citizens of the Year for becoming a shining example of women's sport.

To complement this achievement, I would like to draw attention to another group of women who this weekend in Canberra are celebrating the 20th anniversary of one of Australia's greatest-ever moments for women in sport.

In 1999 a team of teenagers, all18 or under, scored a stunning victory in the WNBL grand final at the AIS indoor stadium basketball court. These young girls were brought to the AIS on residential scholarship by coach Phil Brown and his recruiting staff.

In one of the world's top adult female competitions, these wonderful teenage athletes pulled off what many, including myself, still consider to be the greatest-ever achievement in Aussie domestic team sport, whether male or female.

That night on the AIS court when Lauren, Penny, Belinda, Suzi, Desi, Dee and their teenage teammates were etching themselves indelibly into our rich sporting history, a giant step was taken for Australian women.

Their achievement showed young girls the possibilities, the way forward, not only in sport, but in life.

It is a golden memory, never to be forgotten by all those of us who were privileged to be there that night at the AIS.

Happy International Women's Day to a group of truly inspirational young women.

Lethal approach

It is hardly surprising that Brett McNamara, who has fiercely defended the indefensible annual slaughter of kangaroos in the ACT, should now be advocating a similar slaughter of horses in ACT and NSW.

Does he not realise that by advocating lethal control of horses he is guaranteeing a permanent presence of large numbers of wild horses in our mountains?

Like kangaroos, horses breed only one young a year but, unlike kangaroos, who lose most of their joeys to fox predation (foxes having replaced dingoes as their primary predator), most wild horses in Australia have no predators. Consequently, their populations recover from either natural or anthropogenic crashes much more quickly than kangaroos.

Since killing the entire population of Southern Alps brumbies is impossible because so many of them are impossible to find, there will always be enough survivors to fully replenish the population in just a few years.

Anyone who wants the horses gone, or the horses protected from cruelty, or both, would not advocate lethal control, they would advocate fertility control.

Incidentally, the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act 2018 does not, as the article asserts, 'prohibit culling'.

It does not mention 'non-lethal management', or relocation'. It does nothing at all except delay the problem till after the NSW election.

Speed limit confusion

In pre-metric days, there were two speed limits – 35 miles per hour in built-up areas and 60miles per hour on main roads outside built-up areas. There was no particular speed limit for rural areas, just what was safe for the conditions.

The introduction of metric measures in 1972 converted these speed limits to 60 km/h for built-up areas and 100 km/h on main roads outside built-up areas.

Today, in the ACT, we have 10,20, 40, 50 and 60 km/h in urban areas with 70, 80 and 90km/h on main roads.

Highway speeds can be 100 or 110 km/h. That is a total of 10different speed limits.

This can be most confusing for people driving in an unfamiliar neighbourhood. Missing one speed sign while watching for traffic and pedestrians can result in unintentionally exceeding the change in posted speed limit.

The ACT government in its Integrated Transport Strategy is now considering introducing a 40 km/h speed limit on unposted roads in the suburbs. This will just add to the confusion and irritation as some drivers will simply play it safe by driving at 40 km/h on all roads regardless of the actual speed limit.

The question is whether this speed change will result in fewer accidents by encouraging those who speed regardless of limits to actually drive more slowly.

Maybe it is designed to make cyclists feel safer or is it just another revenue raiser?

Plenty to drone about

Well the Chief Minister has spoken: " ... there is as much prospect in stopping drones ... as there is stopping the sun rising each day." (ABC News Website, March 9).

So much for the ongoing Legislative Assembly Inquiry, or any independent assessment of the Bonython trial. But why? The benefit to the end user? The slightly quicker (well possibly) delivery of burritos and toothpaste is basically trivial.

It won't save lives, or do something actually socially valuable. And for every burrito delivered, the drone will fly over, say, 40 other households, who cop all the negatives: noise, dead birdlife and loss of privacy.

Not a great deal of net benefit it seems to me.

What arrangement has the ACT government put in place to protect the privacy of non-users? The drones can capture data on the households they fly over. Are there laws on what happens to that data; how's it stored, who looks at it?

The ACT has some of the worst education and health outcomes in Australia, the jail is a mess, as is compliance with building regs, and there's been a major increase in public debt under this government.

I would have thought the Chief Minister had more important things to worry about.

We prefer the quiet

Project Wing want us all to be drawn into their narrative about delivery drones.

Oh, it's just new technology and in time people will get used to the noise. Hey, we are really listening to community concerns and making our drones quieter and more "pleasing".

Give me a break. Wing are not hearing what residents in Bonython and across Canberra have to say, which is: We don't need your invasive visual and sound pollution.

We love our quiet city just the way it is.

TO THE POINT

CITY SUFFERING

If, as Andrew Barr claims, the ACT government has a "very robust balance sheet" ("Labor defends promise for light rail without business case", canberratimes.com.au, March 13), then how come our public infrastructure is in such a parlous Third World state? Bill Shorten would be better advised to allocate $200 million to bringing our national capital back from its embarrassingly deteriorated condition.

Robyn Coghlan, Hawker

RED FLAG ISSUE

I don't understand why it is possible to drive a light rail vehicle through a red light. This is 2019. How can a brand new vehicle, running on brand new tracks, with a brand new, and purpose-built signalling system, allow itself to be driven through a red light?

Paul Pentony, Hackett

PAYING ATTENTION KEY

B. Peterson (Letters, March 13) suggests the tram should sound a horn when approaching intersections. I suggest people with eyes and ears pay attention to what is going on around them. Lets hope we, the ratepayers, are not compelled to compensate anyone who has been foolish enough to walk in front of a moving tram.

Nick Corby, Hawker

'THOUGHT POLICE' BUSY

Re the support for the balloon ban. The "thought police" are out in force.

B. Peterson, Kambah

STOP INTERFERING

Australia is a federation, not a centralised dictatorship based in Canberra. If one state wants to build a coal-powered electricity plant and another state does not, then so be it. Canberra's main function, as detailed in the constitution, is defence, external affairs, and trade. The Commonwealth should also butt out of other state areas such as education and health.

Adrian Jackson, Middle Park, Vic

RETHINK ON PELL?

Are you still standing by your reference to the cardinal Mr Howard?

Linus Cole, Palmerston

LUNACY WIDESPREAD

Excellent commentary from Tony Wright on the Country Party. ("Barnaby v Whatsisname: a short history of lunacy in the Country Party", canberratimes.com.au, March 12).

However the Country/National Party does not have a monopoly on lunacy.

The ALP had Mark Latham and the Liberals still have Tony Abbott.

Robyn Lewis, Raglan, NSW

WHO'S GOT PM'S COAL?

Does anyone know the whereabouts of that famous lump of coal that ScoMo proudly brandished in Parliament?

Could Barnaby be babysitting it?

John Davenport, Farrer

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