The Australian College of Nursing is pleased to see the ACT government taking steps to protect our nurses and midwives with the release last week of its Nurses and Midwives Towards a Safer Culture — The First Step Strategy.
Unfortunately, violence against healthcare workers is all too common and not restricted to one hospital or state.
The World Health Organisation found up to 38 per cent of health workers suffer physical violence at some point in their careers.
For the nursing profession this number is much higher. It is estimated that between 80per cent and 95 per cent of nurses face repeated episodes of aggression each year.
Research suggests nurses are one of the most at risk occupational groups.
It is hard to believe that the very people who care for us when we are most vulnerable face potential injury every time they go to work and more is not being done to protect them.
Governments, health managers and our justice system must adopt a zero-tolerance approach to violence against healthcare workers.
Healthcare workers are saving the lives of Australians and should never have their own lives and wellbeing threatened simply because they have pursued this noble calling.
Australian College of Nursing CEO, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward, Deakin
Poor planning by Barr
Your editorial ("The ACT is in the slow lane to transport reform", canberratimes.com.au, December 20) is correct in suggesting the Barr government is engaging in some long-term development and planning.
The quality of the planning, however, is poor.
Where, for example, are the assessments demonstrating:
(a) Light rail is the best option for inter-town public transport?
(b) The urban renewal benefits of light rail are superior to those associated with a busway?
(c) Kowen has greater environmental and infrastructure costs than the preferred greenfields development options to the west of the city?
And (d) The 70 per cent infill policy is superior to alternative infill shares of say 50 or 60 per cent?
Also absent is a plan indicating the infrastructure required to accommodate the projected growth, its cost and where and when it is to occur.
Sadly the Barr government has not been prepared to undertake the assessments necessary to ensure the future development of Canberra is on a sound footing. It is unlikely the needs of the community will be met in the most socially, economically, financially and environmentally responsible manner.
The good news is the government has the time to undertake the assessments to demonstrate it is not an incompetent administration. Please put some substance behind the rhetoric.
Mike Quirk, Garran
Labor may move on G-G
One of the few positive aspects of retired General David Hurley's sudden appointment as the next governor-general is that it will, yet again, be a constant reminder of the extremely close links between the monarchy and the military.
We note direct election of the head of state for the Republic of Ireland has produced not one militarily aligned president thus far with no adverse effects apparent.
The announcement was made by PM Morrison despite Bill Shorten's request to delay the appointment. He did this knowing full well that then PM Rudd extended Quentin Bryce's term beyond the 2013 election. This action enabled Tony Abbott to recommend present incumbent Peter Cosgrove, another retired army man complete with newly minted knighthood.
Given the new appointment has no bipartisan agreement — Morrison appears to have consulted only himself — and the next G-G will not be sworn in until after the election, it also offers the tantalising prospect of a new Labor PM advising the Queen to rescind Morrison's recommendation and replace it with a nominee of his own choice. By doing so, the ALP would signal that it means business by quickly and spectacularly bursting the Sydney bubble so well described by John Warhurst ("Morrison's narrow view of the world — guided by traditional values — set to be tested", December 20, p18-19). The anticipated outrage would only last for a few days before finding a new object of its desire.
Sarah Brasch, Women for an Australian Republic, Weston
Hurley 'only' choice?
I am amazed that General David Hurley was the Prime Minister's "only choice" for governor-general.
His appointment is the third Anglo-Saxon male from the military in a 20-year period.
The governor-general appointments in Canada over the last 20 years reflect far greater diversity in choice. They are Adrienne Clarkson, female journalist, whose family escaped from Hong Kong to Canada in 1944; Michaelle Jean, female journalist who came to Canada from Haiti; David Johnston, Anglo-Saxon male academic and university president; and currently Julie Payette, female astronaut and engineer, French Canadian (and single mum of a teenager).
Perhaps the Prime Minister should get out more or consult with those who do.
Elspeth Humphries, Yarralumla
The CSIRO and BoM have released their State of the Climate 2018 report, which shows alarming changes to the climatic conditions around Australia.
Since 1910 both our land and ocean temperatures have increased by 1 degree, rainfall and stream-flow have decreased across southern Australia, sea levels have risen, the ocean has acidified and the fire season has lengthened.
This is because atmospheric carbon dioxide was 405ppm in 2017, an increase of 46 per cent from the level of 278ppm in 1750.
For the past 2000 years, CO2 has been about 280ppm. Other greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide, methane and synthetic gases have also increased, and when the impact all the greenhouse gases are converted to an equivalent of CO2, then the CO2e reached 501.5ppm in 2017.
If we'd held a plebiscite in 1970, a time when environmental awareness was on the rise, and asked the question 'should we make the above changes to the chemical composition of our atmosphere which will cause the above changes to our climate', the answer would have been: "are you mad?"
But, here we are, in 2018, and these changes have been made without our consent.
The report predicts more extremely hot days, a higher bushfire risk, more extreme storms, further decreasing rainfall, higher sea levels, more marine heatwaves resulting in coral bleaching. This is complete madness.
Stuart Walkley, Lyneham
Stand up, be counted
Re: "ACTPLA took no notice of panel's advice" (December 17, p2), the "panel" is the National Capital Design Review Panel (Interim), which is jointly chaired by the ACT government architect and the chief
planner of the National Capital Authority (NCA) and contains other eminent design professionals.
It was set up to encourage high-quality design of significant development projects in areas of special national concern under the National Capital Plan, in this case the Manuka Circle-Canberra Avenue precinct.
The ACT Planning and Land Authority (ACTPLA)'s Notice of Decision (October 10, 2018) on the Liangis hotel development application makes no reference to the recommendation of the panel (March 7, 2018), despite the Development Control Plan for Manuka Circle stating: "Redevelopment proposals must be considered by a joint NCA/ ACT Government Design Review Panel prior to being approved by the Territory planning authority."
The role of the NCA in the sorry saga is also curious.
ACTPLA's Notice of Decision says "advice provided on 5 January 2017 (from the NCA) was noted — providing support for the 'redevelopment concept"'.
However "advice received on 4 July 2018 (from NCA) in relation to this development application provide commentary on a number of aspects".
We are not told what these "aspects" are, and ACTPLA has chosen to deal with only one, that the proposed building "marginally exceeds" the building height limit.
ACTPLA goes on to say that "the statutory time frame for providing advice expired on 26/06/2018", therefore presumably justifying it in ignoring any other inconvenient advice from NCA, even though the decision was only made more than three months later.
Are these the actions of a really "independent" planning authority, or is this a body which meekly succumbs to pressure to approve a redevelopment proposal which the National Capital Design Review Panel (Interim) recommended "is not considered to meet key provisions set out in the Manuka Circle Development Control Plan or the aspirations for high- quality architectural response in this prominent location"?
R. Johnston, Kingston
A very sorry spectacle
I agree wholeheartedly with S. Bragg (Letters, December 18) about Civic being "somewhat dowdy".
However, I would go further and say that parts of it are actually quite shabby.
While walking around Civic on Tuesday afternoon (December 18), I couldn't help but notice how rundown and ragged the Sydney and Melbourne buildings, in particular, are looking. Paint has peeled off everywhere, in some places exposing the masonry or timber beneath.
There are numerous cracks, with one up to four millimetres wide and extending for several metres.
In one place, a chunk almost the size of two bricks had fallen off the top of one of the columns.
On my way home in the bus I couldn't help but notice that along Commonwealth Avenue, between the Parkes Way overpass and the bridge, a large number of the trees looked very forlorn.
Many of their branches were dead for most or all of their length.
This is not a city centre of which we can be proud.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Another wasted review
So the result is in. The inquiry into "competitive neutrality" has found the ABC and SBS have no case to answer.
That is, they are not competing unfairly against the commercial media and are not breaching their charters.
What a surprise! And how much, I wonder, did this Pauline Hanson-inspired attack against our public broadcasters cost the taxpayer?
I wonder, too, if media shareholders will be told how much dividend they will be forgoing to pay for the wasted but no doubt costly preparation of the commercial "arguments" against the ABC and SBS .
The ABC in particular has been vindicated, so when are the haters going to wake up to the fact that our public broadcasters just keep on rating highly in terms of respect and trust.
You'd think our parliamentarians would be directing all their efforts in trying and muster even a tiny comparison with those favourable levels.
Eric Hunter, Cook
At a time when Australia and the international community has joined in condemning the seizure of Ukrainian naval personnel and their vessels and reaffirmed world support for Ukraine's sovereignty and integrity, it is unacceptable for an Australian newspaper to carry a paid advertisement from Russia defending what are currently disputed war crimes (The Canberra Times, December 21, p15).
The advertisement mocks the international findings that a Russian missile downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, killing 298 innocent souls including 38 Australians.
In the past few days The Netherlands have demanded Russia accept responsibility and pay compensation.
The Netherlands is considering referring Russia to an international court after reaching an impasse with the Kremlin over responsibility. Australia has added its support.
In a letter dated December 4, 2018, Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne reaffirmed Australia's steadfast support of Ukraine and "robust sanctions in relation to threats against its [Ukraine's] sovereignty and territorial integrity".
"Australia is committed to working with its partners to resist Russian conduct when it is inimitable to global security," she said.
Ukraine has initiated legal proceedings against Russia in the International Courts in The Hague – accusing Russian with Terrorism and secondly the abuse of Human Rights in relation to Russia's Annexation of Crimea.
For an Australian newspaper to accept payment for Russian propaganda defending internationally-condemned potential war crimes is unacceptable.
Stefan Romaniw OAM, vice president, Ukrainian World Congress; chairman, Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations.
TO THE POINT
The "five eyes" should hire a rocket scientist to explain to Huawei that a vertical monopoly by a single sovereign consortium of the critical minerals for, the production of, the supply and installation of, the control systems for and the maintenance of global communications is considered, of itself, an unacceptable risk ("Huawei calls on US, others to show risk proof", December 20, p27).
Gary J. Wilson, Macgregor
So, a Labor victory at next year's federal election is what's needed to keep Andrew Barr in politics — now there's an incentive to vote for the Coalition.
Ian Pearson, Barton
BARR HAS LOST WAY
I agree it is time for Andrew Barr to consider "other external development opportunities".
I initially supported him, having always voted ALP until the last local election. But he seems to have lost his way.
He has not listened to the vocal needs of the community.
Geoff Clark, Narrabundah
EDITORIAL HITS MARK
Re your editorial "Climate and energy plans turn farcical", December 21, p.20).
It refers to the "deluded wishful thinking of political chancers such as Tony Abbott, Angus Taylor, Scott Morrison, Barnaby Joyce and Peter Dutton".
Promote that writer I say.
Peter Moran, Watson
ARDERN ON WISH LIST
If you have a link to Santa please tell him that all Australians want for Christmas is Jacinda Ardern for PM. If he could just pick her up as he passes NZ and drop her here it would be much appreciated.
The Kiwis have had their turn, they have to learn to share.
G. Hellyer, Belconnen
The Coalition tell us that we are about to recover from the "debt and deficit disaster" left to posterity by Howard and Costello.
Next year the MYEFO predicts a "surplus", despite the fact that it is obtained by, for example, cutting the budget for universities by hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Fake surplus, fake MYEFO, fake Treasurer and fake Finance Minister.
Adrian Gibbs, Yarralumla
Having trained at Singleton many years ago, I'm disgusted with anyone, from Minister [Christopher] Pyne to the lowest minion, involved in the senseless, heartless slaughter of the 150 brumbies there, regardless of the methodology employed.
For me, this was the last straw in the continuing saga of the government's dysfunctional behaviour. It's lost my support at the forthcoming federal election.
D. Callaghan, Kingston