Drones make mockery of right to quiet

I was dumbfounded by Nev Sheather's description of invasive drone noise in Bonython and the fact that a community action group called Bonython Against Drones has been formed to resist such invasion (Letters, October 6).

The residential tenancy legislation of every state and territory enshrines the right of tenants to quiet enjoyment. In most jurisdictions, the legislation expands the right to quiet enjoyment so it also includes the right to reasonable peace, comfort and privacy.

Project Wing drones being tested at Fernleigh Park. Photo: Supplied

Project Wing drones being tested at Fernleigh Park. Photo: Supplied

The invasion of noisy drones makes a mockery of these rights and is an attack on residents' quality of life.

I note the recent formation of the group "Bonython Against Drones", in opposition to the introduction of drone deliveries in the Tuggeranong area ("Wing looks for new home for drone services", October 4, p3).

I have discovered a far greater concern that warrants similar resistance.

There are large noisy motorised contraptions permitted to travel right past my front door 24 hours of the day and night. These machines carry highly combustible fuel and present a serious physical, environmental and economical danger to residents, their pets and local wildlife.

Parents and schools are required to continually educate children on the dangers presented by these machines. They disturb my afternoon naps and my cat is often worried by them.

I have seen large versions of these monstrosities careering around with only one person in them or delivering a single pizza.

And need I mention these menaces have been responsible for the deaths of more than 190,00 Australians since their introduction.

Maybe the members of BAD would like to form a partnership with my new community action group: Hughes Against Rampant Ruinous Unchecked Motorised Passenger Haulage. Harrumph!

Missing the points

By selectively reading my previous letters, Jimmy Jack (Letters, October 6) believes he has uncovered some sort of hypocrisy regarding my support for the West Basin redevelopment plan and my opposition to the construction of an excessively tall building in the suburb next to my own.

In fact, he has conflated two very different issues. The plans for a mixed-use estate at West Basin resulted from expert and community consultation conducted over 25 years (Letters, November 30) and, if implemented according to the rules outlined in the National Capital Plan, will significantly improve a run-down, largely vacant part of the CBD.

By comparison, Zapari promised three different forms of community engagement in its application to build a rule-violating eight-storey residential building in an established suburb, none of which have been undertaken. If Jimmy Jack fails to understand why I might support one form of development while objecting to another, that's hardly my problem.

Developers favoured

The Canberra Times letter (October 6) about the double standards of Ryan Hemsley may be deserved but the reality is that we are in the grip of a wilful and deceitful government that favours developer cronies with the bigger-the-better buildings, above its citizens. Canberra's distressed anti-development groups are of course concerned about damaging impacts to their home neighbourhoods.

But despite Hemsley's ill-informed comments of the past, Lake Burley Griffin Guardians supports community groups fighting for decently planned environments including the new Molonglo group. Urban planning goals such as equitable, healthy and attractive environments for current and future residents are largely ignored by the Labor-Greens government and most outrageous is the fake "Griffin" spin promulgated by Chief Minister Barr, Mr Gentleman and Malcolm Snow to give credibility to the 3ha infill of West Basin. The taking of West Basin lakebed to create a sizeable estate of private apartments will leave us with a reduced watermelon-shaped basin greatly damaging the three-basin lake form carefully constructed in the 1960s. Along with that damage is a loss of a wildlife environment (for platypus and waterfowl), loss of the human environment and parkland, a loss of public vistas and views, a loss of public access and traffic chaos. Added to the lack of integrity in the ACT's urban planning governance, is that the guardians submitted a petition late last year with 745 signed petitioners from all ages, collected over a number of months. This was to demonstrate community concern and prompt public participation for a lakeside development review. The government did not even bother to send the guardians a response.

Nuclear not in race

Ian Person (Letters, October 8) revisits the tired old suggestion of nuclear power generation for Australia.

As I have stated previously, nuclear power generation and the construction of new nuclear plants in Western countries is not financially viable.

The most recent United Kingdom nuclear plant construction, Hinkley C, cost $37billion and now buyers are locked into a strike price of $172 per MWh (compared with roughly $55/MWh for wind in Australia).

The only two new nuclear plants mooted for construction in the United States have stalled and Westinghouse, the manufacturer of AP1000 nuclear plants, has filed for bankruptcy.

In contrast, solar and wind are getting cheaper every year and the incredible potential (pun intended) of grid scale storage has been demonstrated by the Horndale/Tesla plant.

The perils of tobacco

M. Jarratt (Letters, October 6) is clearly a nicotine addict who, like all addicts, wants to have a fix wherever, whenever and without concern to self or others.

There is no safe level of active or passive smoking and questions of how long people are exposed are irrelevant.

Tobacco smoke contains thousands of noxious chemicals, many causing cancer, and if tobacco was considered the same way as other products it would be banned.

It is only legal because the tobacco industry is a multibillion-dollar enterprise and money talks all sorts of languages.

If Big Tobacco had a conscience it would withdraw its product from the market.

M. Jarratt also mentions "freedom" to buy and use tobacco.

What about other dangerous inventions, such as cars without brakes? Should they be available for those wishing to purchase them?

MPs raiding piggy bank

There was a time when it was a sackable offence for a politician to bring a Paddington Bear or a portable TV through customs. Fast forward to the Howard years where one of his members allowed one of his children run up a $500 bill on his government mobile phone. Something that was not seen as a sackable offence. Fast forward to Bronwyn Bishop's little public paid with staff holiday in Europe and her chopper charter that was, in the main, buried with only the chopper charter being repaid. The present conservative government is just about to sweep one of its own's abuse of the public purse under the carpet by doing a Peter Reith for Stuart Robert's abuse of the public purse. And the tragedy is the latest raid on the public purse will be buried like all the others with the predictable up-you to us mug punters. And it will continue because of our apathy when it comes those elect raiding of our piggy bank.

Parallel universe

The parallel universe that politicians live in was evident in the way they treated one of their own ("Stuart Robert to pay back internet charges after Scott Morrison demands answers", October 6, p8). Frontbencher Robert, through apparent negligence, racked up a huge internet bill that the taxpayer copped. Unfortunately for Mr Robert this overspend made it into the public domain causing the ScoMo government embarrassment. Now Mr Robert has magnanimously agreed to repay the amount he overspent. Sanctions against him? Zero.

By comparison, a Centrelink recipient who is overpaid (even through someone else's fault) is likely to be sent stern letters threatening legal action and benefit removal. But then again Centrelink recipients are not part of the protected species MPs are.

Shameless reaction

Apprentice Treasurer Stuart Robert is shaping up nicely to be the quintessential Australian politician. Unexpectedly caught with a delinquent arm deep in the taxpayer cookie jar, he smoothly turns what he full well knows was a rank abuse of entitlement into a virtuous decision to repay it — ahead, of course, of an inquiry. Breathtakingly shameless. In an earlier time he would have had the decency to resign.

Gilbertian charade

Scott Morrison's revealed intent to "look into" Stuart Robert's internet charges, is another Gilbertian charade, an exercise in cynical futility ("Robert to pay back net charges as Morrison demands answers", October 6, p8). All such "looks" — Noodle King or Rolex — find the politically incestuous "rules have not been broken".

Jingoistic enthusiasm

The great ideological payoff in constantly intimidating a national broadcaster is you can then have them springing to your every desire, eager to please and anticipating everything you want to hear, propaganda and all. That, disappointingly, seems to be the genesis of some of the ABC's current enthusiastic populism, which does it no credit.

ABC evening news' forelock-tugging report on Friday on the fabulously novel idea of planting 150,000 knitted red poppies on the AWM's lawn, in preparation for November 11, concluded with the statement that the sacrifice of our boys in WWI had "underwritten our freedoms and way of life". Parroting therefore this bizarre new take on Australia's involvement in that war, that we are so strangely proud of.

Ironically, the War Memorial respects history, and its own WWI interpretive exhibitions in the past 15 years have duly made no secret that antipodean volunteers to that European war were motivated by a mixture of loyalty to Empire, anti-Germanic xenophobia and craving for an old-world grand adventure which they could never have afforded.

We can do without the ABC's jingoistic enthusiasm for this new revisionism, no matter how pleasing it certainly is to the far right in government and the obtuse "new nationalism" it has carefully spawned.

Norfolk Island issue

Jon Stanhope should know better than to assert, in his letter of October 5, that the residents of Norfolk Island have no "say or any role in any law or any aspect of the governance of or administration of their community".

Although the Norfolk Island government was abolished a few years ago, there is a Norfolk Island regional council with normal local government powers, entirely appropriate for a community of fewer than 1800 residents. As for Bruce Sanderson's suggestion (October 5) that there be a royal commission into the governance of Norfolk Island, it would find, as various inquiries have done, that the government of the island was dysfunctional and facing bankruptcy and that those arrangements could not continue. The present arrangements flowed from that.

I do not know the best arrangements for the government of Norfolk Island but it is not a return to self-government of the kind held from 1979 to 2013, where this small community had all the powers of local and state governments plus some federal government powers as well. It would be a bit like making Braidwood or Bungendore into states.

Suicide's tragic toll

Your call for more investment in suicide prevention is important, as is the description of suicide as a "devilishly complex issue" ("How we can reverse rise in suicide", October 7, p18). Targeting investment most effectively requires an acknowledgement of several aspects of this complexity.

For example: those who take their lives are overwhelmingly male; suicide among young people is at concerning levels (in 2016, suicide accounted for 35.7 per cent of all deaths among males age 15-19); youth suicides are twice as likely as adult suicides to occur in clusters; and many suicides are not associated with prior indications of anxiety, despair or distress. Indeed, it is tragically all too common for no warning signs to be shown by a person struggling to cope with pressures, conflicts or setbacks.

It would be helpful if our approach to suicide prevention recognised the role of gender and included more emphasis on assisting young people and men to build resilience and coping strategies.

Karina Morris, Weetangera



The response of the NSW government to the rantings of Alan Jones and allowing advertising on the Opera House sails for a horse race shows total hypocrisy.

It is recognised that problem gambling in Australia costs us $4.7billion per year in destroyed homes, domestic violence and other social calamities. The fact an unqualified radio announcer can bully our politicians into supporting the horse racing industry tells us who is really running the country.

Gerry Gillespie, Queanbeyan, NSW


Last Friday, the spineless Premier of NSW Gladys Berejiklian legitimised bullying.

What will be the next thing? Renaming the state to "Alan Jones Domain" or the delayed again city light rail to "Alan's Tracks"? As federal politicians seem just as frightened of him, the second Sydney Airport to be named "The Alan Jones Aerodrome"?

Ms Herron, you are to be saluted and are very highly valued by all decent people.

Gail McAlpine, Griffith


OK, I get it! The reason the NSW government is so keen on projecting horse racing ads onto the world heritage-listed Sydney Opera house is to celebrate Prime Minister Morrison's announcement that we will meet our Paris commitments "in a canter".

Matt Colloff, Melba


In calling for a review of the ACT planning strategy, Mike Quirk (Letters, October 7) appears to think the ACT has one. And thanks for the laugh at the idea of anything giving the Barr/Rattenbury/Gentleman circus credibility.

Maria Greene, Curtin


With Coles replacing hundreds of workers with robotic back docks, it's time to seriously consider taxing this model to replace lost wages. The retail giant will make profit without workers, how will sacked workers earn a living?

Matt Ford, Crookwell, NSW


I have been using Canberra's bus system for many years and have been disappointed it has not attracted more users despite various promotions. The light rail will have one big advantage — it involves "steel on steel" rather than "rubber on road". Thus it will be more comfortable to travel on than buses will ever be. Hopefully this will attract more users.

David Purnell, Florey


Matt Ford (Letters, October 5) asks what we will call royal commissions when we are a republic. Maybe they will be called inquisitions, and known colloquially as "babushkas" because of their sweeping powers.

Peter Baskett, Murrumbateman, NSW

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