Len Goodman's claim that I don't understand the "quantum shift that has further raised [the AWM] to international iconic status over the past 25 years" (Letters, May 25) exemplifies the problem we have with the AWM. Its purpose is not to be an international icon or to draw in the crowds as if it is a football game. The AWM has become a successful tourist attraction, but that never was or ever should be its purpose.
Its purpose and mission are to commemorate our war dead and to "assist Australians to remember, interpret and understand the Australian experience of war and its enduring impact on Australian society". The AWM is failing dismally in the latter. How could it possibly deliver real understanding of what war means for countries and communities, when some of its sponsors have a huge vested interest in hiding the human, economic and every other impact of our wars?
Goodman refers to the "national spirit" that the AWM is said to foster. Certainly it fosters a fighting spirit, but ifthat's the best we can offer our young, then we have lost our way.
Goodman also states that an "AWM advisory committee" 25 years ago recommended a change of direction for the institution.
A committee recommended a change of direction for our pre-eminent place of war commemoration? In that case, a full public inquiry into the direction of the AWM, with input from any Australian, is long overdue.
Dr Sue Wareham, Medical Association for Prevention of War, Cook
I agree with the roles of the AWM as spelt out by Len Goodman (Letters, May 25), but the advertising of weapons is not compatible with them. While new defence equipment is essential, the AWM is not an appropriate place to educate the young on its virtues. I am doubtful the implicit advertising of weapons has contributed to the growing attendance at dawn services or "raises national spirits", as Mr Goodman seems to indicate. The increase is due to other factors, not least a greater interest in genealogy and military history.
David Roth, Kambah
Quiet on the front
It's now some time since the Anzac Day march and the publication of several letters to the CT regarding the problems with the conduct of this year's March in Canberra and still no response from the RSL.
It seems that the welfare of those on parade, especially the ageing veterans (many of whom could well be members of the RSL), is not a consideration given that those of us who were marching were left standing for an hour and a half in the sun while spectators – many seated – were privileged to hear a good part of the ceremony that those who were marching missed.
A response – any response – from the RSL would be appreciated.
B. J. Millar, Isabella Plains
"One of the operational challenges that we will face when the [light rail Stage 1] system's up and running is how do we cater for more people wanting to ride the system than is available," says the deputy director-general of Transport Canberra, Duncan Edghill ("First trams to start running soon", May 24).
What is the exact challenge to which Mr Edghill refers? Does he mean demand exceeding 150 standing passengers per tram or does he mean demand that exceeds the 66-seat capacity?
Sydney commuters might be prepared to travel on trams with no breathing room, but I think Mr Edghill will be spared that challenge.
John L. Smith, Farrer
Justice ill served
The recent prosecution and conviction of a man, and his subsequent sentencing to a two-year, good behaviour bond following a fatal car accident that led to the death of his daughter, brings into question the administration of justice in the ACT.
What was the purpose of a prosecution? He could not suffer a greater punishment than the loss of his daughter and a judgment and sentence would hardly act as a discouragement to further offences.
And this in a territory where you are lucky to get police attention, let alone action, to an assault or break-in even when CCTV footage is available.
This must rank alongside actions such as prosecutions for not being on the electoral roll as a bid to boost the prosecution rates.
John Coochey, Chisholm
Remember the tent
Canberra has many fine restaurants and does not need The Lobby Restaurant, whose lease is running out, to continue.
If the Coalition government can provide $48 million for a new memorial about Captain Cook, then surely through the National Capital Authority it can provide The Lobby building to be developed as a memorial to the Aboriginal tent embassy.
The embassy is an important part of Australia's history, and to my mind has a place similar to that given to the Eureka Stockade.
They both represent a stand taken by oppressed minorities wanting justice and fair play from entrenched authorities.
As part of the Reconciliation process, surely it is time for non-Aboriginal Australia to give dignified acknowledgment to the role of the Aboriginal tent embassy in shaping our democracy.
Bill Bowron, Farrer
Welcome the women
Every so often my belief in the value of what happens in the House on the Hill is partly restored.
That is certainly the case this week.
Sussan Ley goes much further than simply voicing her strong opposition to live sheep exports by introducing her own private member's bill to halt the trade.
And Ged Kearney speaks passionately about the treatment of refugees on Manus and Nauru, also going further in promising to confront the opposition's policies at their national conference.
The fact that these two principled members, both so courageous in going against their respective party's positions, are women, is probably telling us something important.
That is that a parliament with increased female representation might actually operate in a far more effective and democratic manner.
Tim Hardy, Florey
That almost adds up
When I read Ross Gittins ("Parties offer clear choice at next election", Canberra Times, May 23, p17) say that $90,000 a year was almost 60 per cent higher than median income (implying a median income a bit less than $60,000), I retrieved the previous day's paper where, sure enough, David Crowe had told us that "average full-time earnings are about $85,000" ("Labor closer to backing middle-income tax cuts", Canberra Times, May 22, p4).
How you define your terms certainly makes a difference!
Ian Douglas, Jerrabomberra
The real cost of living
Much media attention has rightly been given to the cost of housing, including rent prices.
Well, believe it or not, the government doesn't even know the amount by which rents really increase, and here's why.
If, for example, the actual price of rent hasn't altered from one CPI period to the next, the ABS still checks to see if the quality of the rental market has changed.
If they assess the quality of the rental market as having improved they will report that as a drop in rental prices.
Try living with that when you're on a CPI indexed payment.
No wonder more people are already presenting to homeless shelters.
Research suggests that thedifference between the CPIand the real prices everydayAustralians pay is 1to1.5per cent. The compounding effect of that is quite alarming if you receive a CPI adjusted payment.
The government disgracefully ignores those struggling to live on their Newstart pittance and keeps their payments well below what it costs to live even a very basic lifestyle.
It's high time the government found the decency to properly and fairly assist those who can't find work, and remember, despite the claims of the creation of a million jobs, we don't currently have full employment and never will.
The government must stop misleading us about the CPI and have the ABS produce a real cost of living index, as well as the quality adjusted version, so that government benefits, retiree payments etc keep pace with real prices.
John Coleman, Monash
AGL driven by profit
Robyn Lewis (Letters, May 24) is mistaken if she believes that there is anything altruistic in the refusal of AGL to sell Liddell. Or that it is for the benefit of the government.
AGL is a listed company whose sole purpose is to maximise profit, returns to shareholders and the lining of the pockets of its CEO and assorted executives.
Their push towards the highly subsidised renewables will achieve this. In the meantime, we will all pay handsomely for the rise in our electricity costs, whilst none of this will do a single thing to address "climate change".
Mark Sproat, Lyons
Give players a break
Could I respectfully suggest that the NRL and Foxtel collectively rethink and preferably discontinue the emerging practice of interviewing players leaving the field at half-time?
During one of the recent matches, one of the official commentators approached a player leaving the field and proceeded to bombard him with several, possibly up to a dozen staccato type questions, mainly to do with the player's performance and that of the team, which ended up losing thegame.
To his credit, the player in question was able to maintain his self-control, and answer most of the questions put to him. However, it was apparent to me and others watching the game, that he was stressed and clearly on edge.
Such a situation is potentially dangerous and one which could have the potential to explode and lead to unpleasant consequences This is the last thing we need, since Foxtel's rugby league coverage has, to date been nothing short of first class.
Common sense suggests we wait until the game has been completed and then allow the player a few minutes to unwind before conducting any interview.
Andrew Rowe, Florey
I really don't mind a reasonable proportion of my tax being used to help the less fortunate via welfare payments.
However, I do despair at the number of people whom I know to be on welfare benefits who are regularly spending huge amounts at the newsagent on scratchies and other forms of wasteful gambling. This really is a quite ridiculous waste of taxpayers' money.
We keep hearing that welfare payments are inadequate; they will continue to be so if the recipients are allowed to spend it like this.
Alayne Richardson, Narrabundah
Batteries to the rescue?
A quite disturbing report from the International Energy Agency tells us that, worldwide, only four of 38 clean energy technologies are "on track" to meet the Paris targets ("Clean energy options lag for Paris targets", May 25, p13).
Solar panels, LED lighting, electric vehicles and data centre energy management are the only ones on track.
Coal-fired and geothermal power are described as being "completely off track". The world is, thankfully, weaning itself off coal. Geothermal power has huge technical problems, including some to do with drilling holes deep into "hot rocks" which are usually riddled with cracks that have a habit of moving. The energy sector is responsible for 42 per cent of the world's emissions. Its emissions increased by 2.6 per cent in 2017.
Perhaps Australia, a world leader in energy storage technology, can help with the further improvement of battery technology.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Hear the sabres rattle
Sabre-rattling from Paul Dibb, the Lowy Institute and now Peter Hartcher? "A new regional order of Chinese dominion gets closer by the day," says Hartcher ("China remakes our region", May 22, p18).
But surely Beijing must be worried by the infiltration of "Geoff Raby, a former Australian ambassador to Beijing" and several of our former politicians! Raby, says Hartcher, "is now on the board of a Chinese state-controlled coal company and runs a China-based consultancy".
Surely that's infiltration?
Let's hope this Aussie mob is not out to suborn Chinese loyalty to President Xi.
F. B. Orlzov, Flynn
Let the peacock strut
Stephen Alegria of Transport Canberra and City Services has said the government has been receiving complaints about the peacocks and traffic in Red Hill for a long time. I am not aware of any accident in our area as a result of peacocks on the road. I would much rather have to slow down for a peafowl family than for the brutal speed bumps in our area. I am pleased the RSPCA is disturbed at the ACT government's plan to get rid of these colourful, wonderful birds.
Elizabeth Chisholm, Red Hill
To the point
RESPECT SENTIENT BEING
Some previous letter writers lament there has been more outrage over the suffering of exported sheep than the suffering of humans (Letters, May 25). Given that sheep have the same capacity for suffering as humans they are just as deserving of our compassion.
Jenny Moxham, Monbulk, Vic
LACK OF FACTS
World climate models are seriously deficient. Only 10 African nations have adequate meteorological services supplying data.
Rod Matthews, Fairfield, Vic
THE LONG FAREWELL
Over the years we have seen the overt politicisation of many once independent institutions. With the timing of the next set of byelections we have surely seen the extent to which hitherto proudly independent officials have been cowed by the executive. Vale the formerly independent AEC. Sad.
P. Edsor, Bungendore, NSW
MIND THE GAP
I thought Australians were working to "Close the Gap" on Indigenous disadvantage and eliminate the need for an Aboriginal embassy, not establish one in concrete.
Michael Lucas, Conder
STANDING WITH ISRAEL
Let me reassure Canberrans that, in the light of the constant Folau versus Pocock headlines, this Pocock is firmly in the Folau corner!
Philip Pocock, Coombs
ON SKID ROW
IKEA's way of naming their products can be rather quirky. The SLADDA bicycles have been recalled for safety reasons. But the very name should have discouraged people from buying it in the first place. Sladda in Swedish means skid.
Thomas Mautner, Griffith
GENTLY DOES IT
A Ms Golightly, Deputy Secretary in the Department of Home Affairs, recently appeared before Senate estimates. Apparently she is responsible for the issue and removalof visas, citizenship andmany related issues.
Is the Deputy Secretary operating under a pseudonym or can we expect a more relaxed government approach to visa and residence issues?
John Mungoven, Stirling
DISPLAY OF FEELING
People who love animals and express concern about their inhumane treatment tend also to be concerned about the plight of fellow human beings like the refugees left in limboin our offshore concentration camps.
But politicians are another breed of human animals who are grossly under-supplied when it comes to showing empathy.
There are of course exceptions. Peter Dutton is clearly not one of them.
Rajend Naidu, Glenfield, NSW
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