Katy Gallagher is a very hard act to beat and I hope that she returns to Federal Parliament at the next election, if not sooner (hint to Labor — David Smith appears to be another party hack, and even with a few months of exposure via the Senate would not get elected on his merits).
But the silence from ACT Labor and Ms Gallagher ('Citizenship Crisis', May 24, p6) raises the prospect that Labor is tempted to run David Smith as its lead Senate candidate and/or offer Katy Gallagher nomination in one of the three Lower House seats (all of which should be winnable by the proverbial drover's dog).
That would probably result in Zed Seselja and David Smith being the ACT's contribution to the Senate.
Surely there is a better outcome for the ACT and Australia. While not without risk, if Labor finds a high-quality lead candidate for the Senate and nominates Katy as number two, enough ACT voters may support Labor with the results that Zed is sent out to pasture (with his conservative social values and tacit support for the Coalition's cuts to Canberra) and Australia gets two strong and balanced Senators.
The latter, undoubtedly, would be a good outcome, whoever forms government.
Bruce Paine, Red Hill
Put Geocon plan in dark
I strongly support the Greens' opposition to Geocon's 16-storey hotel proposal for the north end of Garema Place.
Geocon's own plans show that Garema Place would be almost completely overshadowed at 10am in midwinter.
This is grossly unacceptable for a significant and well-used public space in the middle of the city.
The proposal is also poorly related to Garema Place in visual terms as the tower building is at about 45 degrees to the long axis of the space. It also appears to take no account of possible future development of the two adjoining blocks, currently occupied by two-storey buildings such as the Geocon block.
Richard Johnston, Kingston
Rationale on flu shots
I noted the comments of the Acting Chief Commonwealth Health Officer that five million doses of the flu vaccine had been provided under the vaccination program. The reality test suggests that something else may be occurring.
In my case, the GP clinic I attend sent its patients an email a month ago that the flu clinic was open but within one hour all the available appointments for those eligible to receive the vaccine without additional cost had been filled.
They were also unable to advise when more clinics may be open as the Commonwealth only provided a certain amount at any one time, which to me is evidence of rationing.
I'm not sure where those five million doses are actually going but apparently not to the GP clinic I attend. As a result, I had to arrange to pay for the vaccine through a local chemist because, being immuno-compromised, I cannot afford to wait for whenever.
Rohan Goyne, Evatt
Wheels of progress
In order to maximise access to and use of the promised town centre bike paths which Leon Arundell rightly wonders about (Letters, May 24), perhaps the Minister for Transport can reassure us that each light rail service from Gungahlin will offer ease of loading and space initially for perhaps 40-80 bicycles, or even more, particularly during peak travel times. Also, that safe and efficiently designed bike paths can be put in place across adjacent suburbs to rail stops before the rail services commence. This key infrastructure support is necessary to encourage adoption of the government's Active Living principles by all age groups.
Sue Dyer, Downer
Shock at NDIS push
Re your story "Clients and families lay bare the failings of NDIS at inquiry" (May 23, p4), I am shocked that the NDIS is treating a participant like this.
The Government is encouraging people to remain in their own home for as long as possible. Yet, when it comes to people with disabilities, they want to push them aside, make them share their living arrangements with complete strangers and encourage them to leave their home.
Surely the correct steps to take are to provide the modifications that would allow the lady concerned to continue to enjoy the comfort of her own home.
Dianne McGowan, Holt
I listened with bemusement to optimistic predictions the 2018 budget would be the salvation of the Turnbull government. Surely, I thought, their track record of finding themselves wallowing in quagmires of their own making would ensure they continue to stumble from one policy disaster to the next. It has come to pass. Their arrangement for Pauline Hanson to support their tax plan fell apart. Next?
Phyllis Vespucci, Reservoir
It's Nott that difficult
After reading Sandy Paine's letter, May 24, titled "Nott left lasting mark", I believe it is logical that our forthcoming new Federal Electorate should definitely be called Nott. The letter quotes ... "In 1949 Dr Nott (1886-1951) became the first representative in the then newly established federal parliamentary seat of the Australian Capital Territory. It was largely due to his efforts that the ACT first gained a seat in the Federal Parliament." As Charles Bean had evidently done a lot for Australia, I would suggest that one of Canberra's future new suburbs be called Bean.
Anne Prendergast, Reid
Design ethic puzzle
So there is a "design ethic in the heart of Canberra", according to Professor Greg Clark ('Work on branding', May 23, p3).
Does Professor Clark mean "in the hearts of Canberra's city planners"? If so, judging from the regular citizen revolts versus local planning issues, the planners' "ethic" is far from shared by city residents.
If "in the heart of Canberra" refers to the city centre, that's even more of a joke. Building sites and projects abound, all driven by the developers' profit motive.
Professor Clark was commissioned by the Property Council of Australia to prepare his report. I invite him to clarify what he means by Canberra's "design ethic" and to include some examples to illustrate this nebulous concept.
Elizabeth K. Teather, Reid
Join the volunteers
This week is volunteers week although surely that is a misnomer. Volunteers are out there all year and without them a lot of organisations and probably the government would go broke. Praise the volunteers but more importantly join them.
Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill, Vic
Dumping ground alert
Labor's Ged Kearney wants an end to detaining refugees indefinitely, and a regional solution, which would effectively mean that Australia becomes an endless dumping ground for refugees and asylum seekers, nation shopping for a better life.
Rod Matthews, Fairfield, Vic
Mass brumby cull not the solution
As a bushwalker who has spent perhaps 30 weekends in the Kosciusko National Park, I have seen both sides of the brumbies debate.
I do not like to walk along tracks where there are piles of brumby manure two feet across and a foot high which you must go around but I have also come over a rise and seen a herd of brumbies grazing on the open grasslands. It was magic.
How would you get rid of them? The only successful method is to shoot them from the air and I cannot think of anything I would hate more than seeing a herd of terrified brumbies galloping flat out as marksmen in helicopters brought them down.
I don't imagine that even the best marksmen could get clean kills given the motion of both the helicopters and the horses. These are sentient animals, capable of feeling fear and pain as we are.
How would you react to seeing a foal nuzzling its dead mother trying to get a response?
Emotive, Rod Griffiths? (Letters, May 23), Yes, very emotive. What inadequate and debased human beings we would be if we did not feel in these circumstances? The ultimate question, Rod, is could you take a gun and shoot them?
I couldn't shoot one brumby, let alone 6000. I do not know the reason for the NSW government's decision to protect the brumbies but I would not want to see a wholesale cull of these beautiful and sensitive animals.
Stan Marks, Hawker
Horses not the real enemies
I write in response to the letters (May 24) from Brian Cooke, Kim Taysom, and Rod Griffiths criticising the enlightened decision of the NSW government with regard the management of the high-country brumbies.
I suggest they direct their well-meaning efforts to the other pests, which are destroying the alpine environment/ecology, and move on from wild horses which are an easy visual target.
I spent several years as part of an ecological research team with CSIRO Division of Entomology in the alpine high country, and observed the considerable damage, that weeds, feral pigs, dogs, goats, cats, birds, deer and motor vehicles, do to the flora and fauna of the National Parks/alpine high country.
The impact of horses on the environment pales into insignificance, when compared with the damage from these pests.
The National Parks Associations, environmental individuals and groups need to put their efforts into controlling these pests which are the real enemies of the alpine high country, not horses.
Ken Helm, Murrumbateman, NSW
Let's focus on avoiding conflict
It is appalling to hear of the War Memorial's sponsorship by military manufacturers such as BAE systems ("Memorial's role not to entertain: peace group", CT, May 21).
Sue Wareham is to be congratulated for bringing this situation to public notice. Military manufacturer Lockheed Martin is also a sponsor of the War Memorial.
Militarisation continues apace in Australia, and no less so in Canberra, with the Snow management of Canberra Airport refusing to acknowledge public disquiet with the military ads which dominate the airport.
At the same time the government plans to increase "defence" spending to 2 per cent of GDP, not because Australia faces any threat of invasion, but to please our "dangerous allies", as Malcolm Fraser termed the US.
The best way of honouring our war dead and injured is to make best efforts to avoid war. Our war memorial (and government) should acknowledge and reflect that message and immediately cease any sponsoring by military corporations which profit from the increasing militarisation of our society.
Kathryn Kelly, Chifley
Deals disrespect our fallen
I am deeply troubled by the commercialisation of the Australian War Memorial. Adequate funding is critical to maintaining our important national institutions, however, raising funds by turning the AWM into a venue hire theme park funded by arms manufacturers is grossly disrespectful to our war dead.
I fail to see the connection between the din of war and the fear and stench of death and a venue where "gala diners" at cocktail functions "can wine and dine among historic items, authentic objects and great works of art depicting Australia's military history".
It is insulting that the name of BAE, a weapons manufacturer that profits from selling arms to Saudi Arabia, a major sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East, is connected to an Australian institution that commemorates the sacrifice of Australians in fighting terrorism in the Middle East.
For Australians the calendar proximity of Easter and Anzac Day is a sobering reminder of sacrifice.
I am also reminded of Jesus' expulsion of the merchants and money changers from the temple at Passover prior to the crucifixion. It is time that we expel the merchants of death and the money changers from the Australian War Memorial.
Rob Baker, Curtin
Creating Disneyland of war
I fully agree with the concerns expressed by Dr Wareham (Letters, May 21) about how distasteful it is to see weapons manufacturers advertising at the Memorial, and about the grandiose plans which are afoot to expand even further what is fast becoming a Disneyland of war.
The lack of any significant recognition of the importance of diplomacy and peace making is an insult to those who died in earlier wars and to whom the message "Never Never Again" seems to have been forgotten, wiped out in the name of corporate greed.
Meg Willams, Weston
Memorial on wrong mission
I have often thought that the AWM has lost touch with its primary function to commemorate those whose who fought, were injured and those who died in wars, in the name of Australia.
These days, the AWM has become pre-occupied with marketing, visitor numbers and corporate sponsorship which are all markers of a theme park.
Then we also have the gift shop to go to on our way out!
I would be pleased if the AWM spent more of its time, considering war in the context of justice and peace.
I do not see this in their mission statement.
Jane Timbrell, Reid
Coal-powered rocket in verse
Re: Ed Highley's coal powered rocket (Letters, May 21).
It's been done, Ed.
Welsh entertainer, Max Boyce sang in the '70s The Ballad of Morgan the Moon:
"Old Mog the mechanic, I remember him well,
"He once built a rocket, or so they will tell.
"From an old winding-engine he found on the dole,
"Built in the Rhondda and powered by coal."
Followed by five more verses describing the success of the mission! (Probably available on the web)
Mal Davies, Wanniassa
TO THE POINT
JUST DEPORT THEM
Foreign sports people who don't now return home after an event like the Commonwealth Games should be deported. If athletes claim they will be persecuted at home then the country concerned should not be invited to future games.
Adrian Jackson, Middle Park, Vic
PEACOCKS IN FIRING LINE
First it's the kangaroos, now it's the lowly peacocks in the firing line (RSPCA 'disturbed' over peacock plan, May 24, p.3). And yet again, the ACT government has been "found out" in misinforming the community.
Philip Machin, Wamboin, NSW
BAN INHUMANE PRACTICES
I notice how cunningly politicians are discussing the banning of live exports of sheep. The bans should include cattle. Australia should lead the world in banning these inhumane practices and also look at how vast numbers of animals are confined to tiny areas in preparation for slaughter or transport here in our own country.
Gerry Machutta, Pearce
FOCUS ON JUNKETS
In light of Australia's vote against investigating the violent deaths of dozens of Palestinians at the hands of Israeli forces it's high time for Australians to be told more about Israeli junkets offered to politicians.
This is the policy outcomes.
Erin Cook, Waramanga
A PARK FOR FERAL CATS
Protect the brumbies? How about a national park for feral cats?
M. Moore, Bonython
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Send from the message ﬁeld, not as an attached ﬁle. Fax: 6280 2282. Mail: Letters to the Editor, The Canberra Times, PO Box 7155, Canberra Mail Centre, ACT 2610.
Keep your letter to 250 words or less. References to Canberra Times reports should include date and page number. Letters may be edited. Provide phone number and full home address (suburb only published).