Dick Smith has labelled the ACT's 100 per cent renewable energy target dishonest ("ACT's renewable energy target 'a lie', says Dick Smith", November 28, p1) observing that the ACT will continue to rely on the largely fossil-fuelled national grid.
Shane Rattenbury uses a $100 bank deposit and withdrawal analogy to contest that claim. This is not persuasive.
While diversity of wind and solar farm locations helps, his analogy is still flawed. Given that wind is productive only 50 per cent of the time and solar only 30 per cent, isn't it the case that, on Shane's analogy, the ACT would have to pay for, say, $250 worth of wind and solar installations in order to claim that the $100 worth of energy it is getting back can be labelled renewable?
The figures are rubbery, but you get the point. Is that what the ACT is doing?
Graham Anderson, Garran
Clean energy welcome
Dick Smith's claim that the ACT's renewable energy target is 'a lie', in my opinion, is not correct. I am prepared to admit that currently renewable energy is dearer than energy produced from burning fossil fuels. But Dick failed to mention that it was clean energy. It will tackle the harmful effects we have been weathering on our health. Our grandchildren will live in a better climatic condition than we have lived so far. It's not a big price to pay.
Sankar Kumar Chatterjee, Evatt
Counting cost of cars
There must be no government subsidy of private motor vehicles, as suggested by Douglas Mackenzie (Letters, November 28).
Increasing use of private motor vehicles, even if powered by electricity, is a major economic and environmental cost to this city. They require roads, parking places at both ends of their journeys, and congestion during their journeys all come at a major cost.
That there is a need for private vehicles in Canberra is testament to this government's abject failure to provide effective and efficient public transport. Its commitment to extend the tramway, without a business case or even a clear plan of its route, is indicative of political ideology lacking genuine commitment to public transport. Government subsidy would encourage manufacturers to maintain the high cost of electric vehicles. And with more than 80 per cent of Australia's electricity generated by fossil fuels, there is considerable doubt whether the claimed saving on emissions from electric vehicles would be achieved.
That there is a place for such vehicles is not disputed. But Canberra's hard-hit ratepayers would get better value if government policy were to reduce private vehicle use, not subsidise it.
Graham Downie, O'Connor
I agree with BL West's last paragraph (Letters, November 28), "put our money towards a solution that is capable of a clear vote and will not put us back 20 years as Ms Vanstone fears". But first we need to decide which alternative should be developed to be put to a referendum. I suggest an ABS conducted "postal survey" next year using preferential voting methodology. Preference as follows:
■ 1. No change. (For people who are enamoured of our shared royal family.)
■ 2. An Australian monarchy. (For people who genuinely consider that constitutional monarchy is best but are not enamoured of the royal family. Selection of the first monarch, succession, etc. to be defined before a referendum.)
■ 3. Approval of the Prime Minister's nomination for Governor-General by a two-thirds majority of a joint sitting of both houses of Parliament. (For people who just want someone who complies with s44 of the Constitution to be our ultimate personage, instead of the Queen and her successors.)
■ 4. Election of the Governor General by the electorate at large. (For people who want a popular politician to be our ultimate personage. Powers etc, to be defined before a referendum.)
If a change option gets more than 50 per cent of preferences then that should be fleshed out during the 46th Parliament and submitted to a referendum on the same day as the following election. If "no change" is preferred then that should be the end of the matter for another generation.
John F. Simmons, Kambah
Make patients priority
I was at the Canberra Hospital today for a medical appointment. I arrived at the hospital about 30 minutes before the scheduled time but was late arriving at the clinic.
I spent this time navigating my way through the car park and it was full.
Signs suggested the Yamba Drive overflow and I finally parked my car. I am fit enough to walk from Yamba Drive, but many patients are not.
I apologised to the clinician for my late arrival and was told that this is a perennial problem. Many who work in Woden use the hospital car park as it is free and the politicians don't have the ticker to do what they know is fair. Paid parking needs to be introduced. Those attending hospital clinics could have their tickets validated and not be required to pay. This would discourage those who use the car park as a convenience and ensure that patients with appointments at the hospital could find a park.
Alan Shroot, Forrest
Plan ahead for petrol
Don't like the price of petrol in Canberra?
1. Stop driving. Or reduce driving.
2. Plan ahead: Fill-up or top-up where it's cheaper or cheapest, whether you "need" petrol or not. Off-brands generally cost less than name-brands. NSW is often cheaper than ACT. Use E10 versus U91, U91 versus U98.
3. Monitor the price of petrol and buy when and where it's least expensive. My partner uses petrolspy.com.au. Checking now, petrol prices range from $132.7 per litre (U91, Costco, Majura Park, membership required; we usually queue for 10-15 minutes) to $165.4 (Belconnen, Curtin, many). It's $139.9 (E10) at two places in Fyshwick, neither requiring membership. $146.9 (E10)-$153.9 (U91) in Queanbeyan-Jerrabomberra. $135.9 (E10)-$152.9 (U91) in Goulburn; many at $139.9.
4. Grin and bear it. Petrol's a finite resource; its entire life-cycle contributes to our disproportionately large carbon footprint.
And as "bad" as petrol prices are here, they're about a quarter of the price in other parts of the world.
Let's stop whinging; whinging changes nothing. And ... my partner notes: "If this letter sends everybody to Costco, we all will queue a lot longer."
Judy Bamberger, O'Connor
Wong's odd stance
After the ALP voted to suspend Richard Di Natale for calling out the perpetrator of sexist comments directed at Senator Hanson-Young, Penny Wong then told anyone who would listen that the sexist innuendo was inappropriate even though her party had supported the suspension. Senator Wong seems to be the sort of pollie that stands up but not long enough to be counted.
Thos Puckett, Ashgrove
CASA role in drone trial
Your readers should be clear that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority is the nation's aviation safety regulator.
Our key role is the safety of air navigation. We are not responsible for privacy or aviation impacts on general amenity. Other authorities are responsible for these aspects.
In response to the article ("Residents object to delivery drone flights in the capital", November 28, p8) let me be clear that the aviation safety requirements for the trial of a drone home delivery service at Bonython were very carefully assessed by CASA before any flights began. To date there have been no significant safety incidents and no accidents. CASA has been closely monitoring the trial, with safety data and information provided regularly by the organisation conducting the trial.
I can assure Canberrans this type of drone activity would not have been approved if there was an unacceptable level of risk. CASA will continue to oversee the safety of the ACT drone trial and we will take appropriate action if there are any unacceptable public safety risks.Shane Carmody, CEO and director of Aviation Safety, Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Coalition's achievementsBravo Mario Stivala (Letters, November 28) for getting your letter published that reminds us of the very real economic achievements of the federal government over the past five years, despite such a dire political environment. As you say, imagine what it could have done if unfettered. All the rusted-on Labor and other left-leaning voters in this town can thank the government for their continued, cushy jobs and easy lifestyle. Canberra might live even higher off the hog under a Labor government but the rest of the country will be paying for it dearly.
Canberrans, please give some serious, rational thought to what is good for our nation and not just your hip pocket!
M. Silex, Erindale
Mario Stivala (Letters, November 28) trumpets the "achievements" of the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison rabble as having "the lowest unemployment rate since 2012, a growing economy ... and a projected budget surplus". Realistically, these things have happened despite the rabble, not because of them. And let's not start on the negatives, for the list would be endless.
PJ Bewley, Barton
Soul of the nation
The Minister for Veterans' Affairs has announced the reappointment of James McMahon of Western Australia to the Council of the Australian War Memorial. Mr McMahon is a retired senior military officer. The council has 13 members, eight of whom are serving or retired senior military officers (rank of Lieutenant Colonel or equivalent and above).
Another member is a retired army corporal and Victoria Cross winner. If, as we are sometimes told, the memorial is "the soul of the nation", why doesn't its governing body look more like the nation and less like the board of a military club?
David Stephens, Bruce
The higher your total income the greater the tax-minimisation benefit of negative gearing. That the majority of politicians are heavily into the use of negative gearing to buy multiple properties makes it obvious that they have an "indirect pecuniary interest" not to make changes to the laws around negative gearing. Knowing this, it is also obvious that any changes to negative gearing rules that involve "grandfathering" to existing owners of negatively geared properties is a cynical way of ensuring politicians, and their friends, are not affected.
I would gladly have the housing market crash and my own house collapse in price if it meant my children could buy a house and not become a captive tenant to the new "landlording class" that negative gearing promotes.
Inflating the price of housing should be removed as an investment strategy and investors should be encouraged to invest in productive exporting or nation-building sectors. The housing industry will continue to flourish just as it did before negative gearing and I am not sucked into believing otherwise by those whose interest is only to increase their monetary wealth subsidised by the bulk of taxpayers.
Brett Burdett, Kambah
Inflated egos rule
The US has just successfully landed a probe on Mars after guiding it for six months, which is incredible to say the least. And yet mankind finds it takes supernatural force to coexist, choosing instead to take up arms to win what usually turns out to be a minor victory. To demonstrate how stupidity and inflated egos rule we only have to look at the federal government. And what is even more concerning, there is no light at the end the tunnel. Instead, they are building it longer.
D. J. Fraser, Currumbin, Qld
Wallabies just lack skills
While the coach must take some responsibility for the declining fortunes of the Wallabies, he has to play with the cards he is dealt.
This generation of Australian players is generally characterised by a lack of the most basic skills compounded by a propensity for misplaced aggression and ill-discipline.
Earlier this year I visited GIO Stadium to watch the ADFA/RMC game. After the game four Canterbury Crusader players appeared and practised kicking to one another over 30 or 40 metres before the main team warm up. No Brumbies appeared to do the same. I vividly recall the Rod McQueen era when the flyhalf and back three would be behind the Mal Meninga Stand kicking to one another for lengthy periods before home matches.
The inability to pass and catch the ball is another glaring weakness. I was at Stadium Australia in 2003 when the Wallabies defeated the All Blacks to make the World Cup final. A number of All Blacks who had not played in the game appeared on the pitch at the end of the game and were throwing accurate 15-20 metre passes to one another off both sides of their bodies. How many among the current group of Wallabies could do the same?
Forget about Japan in 2019. The task for the immediate future is to build the overall skill base of Australian rugby. Thankfully, the Brumbies, at least, have recognised this. May their efforts be rewarded.
Ron Perry, Gowrie
TO THE POINT
BLACK FRIDAY HISTORY
For the information of Eric Hodge (Letters, November 28), in the 1940s a furniture store in country Victoria, and perhaps in other parts of Australia, had Black Friday sales on a Friday which was also the 13th day of the month.
Ken McPhan, Spence
Even the big Brit BHP is salivating at the prospect of electric cars. They'll sell three times as much copper to the automotive industry. Imagine how much they'll be able to sell to the maritime and aviation industries.
Gary J. Wilson, Macgregor
SCOMO'S BANKS PROBLEM
It looks like all of the banks have shafted the people and one Banks has shafted ScoMo.
Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill, Vic
SKATING ON THIN ICE
With the resignation of Julia Banks from the Liberal Party and the massive swing away from a conservative government in Victoria the federal Coalition is skating on ever thinning ice.
John Sandilands, St Marys, Tas
BATSMEN MIRROR POLLIES
Looks like the Aussie cricket team's batting line-up is as fragile as the Liberal government.
Ian Jannaway, Monash
TRUMP FALLS FLAT
President Trump says he doesn't believe his own government's climate warning. I wonder when Trump will tell us he believes the earth is flat.
Rajend Naidu, Glenfield NSW
INDIGENOUS NEED A SAY
Would it not be polite, courteous and respectful to first ask the Australian Aboriginals for their consent and their blessing in the pursuit of a republic? A United Republic of Australia that grows from "solid rock, standing on sacred ground".
Ronald Elliott, Sandringham Vic
FAULTY TOWERS IN A.C.T.
With ACT government committed to energy conservation, I am astounded that high rise residential towers continue to be constructed with floor-to-ceiling windows. If windows were installed from an insulated, table/desk height of 72 cm it would save 30 per cent of energy loss. No more faulty towers, please.
Mary van de Graaff, Belconnen
SCOMO NEEDS A LESSON
So, Scott Morrison has a go at little kids for giving voice to their views in our democracy? When it comes to climate, it's our prime minister who needs to go back to school.
Andrew Fraser, O'Connor
A VOTE FOR INDIVIDUALS
I object to critics of Julia Banks, not because I dislike the LNP but because we should put faith in individuals, not parties. A successful candidate's attitude to politics and parliamentary voting should be as an independent thinker, parties are just loose affiliations.
Matt Ford, Crookwell
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