Siena? Please. How about some real ACT names for high rises?
What do the following all have in common? Como, Midnight, Midtown, Trilogy, Siena, Ivy, Infinity, Air Towers, Park Avenue, Wayfarer, Lakefront, Axis, Nova and Highgate.
Believe it or not, these are the "prestigious" (pretentious) names given to some of the high rise apartment complexes popping up all over Canberra.
How about some imagination from the marketing gurus who think these labels up?
How about a little flavour of our Canberran/Australian heritage? Suggestions from readers are welcome but here are a few from me – Ming, The Serenity, Gang Gang, Matilda, The Monaro, Big Mal, Stromlo, The Vibe and Pollies Palace.
John Mungoven, Stirling
Waleed Aly's article, "Terror Distracts Nation" (October 13), is in part on how "terrorism" distracts from dealing with the far, far more serious issue of climate change. I was at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 where I witnessed Ros Kelly sign the UN Climate Change Convention and I was also working in New York on 9/11.
So I have followed the two issues with interest. In part the disparity in treatment (just compare the public expenditure on the two matters) results from the immediate overwhelming the long term, no matter how trivial in comparison is the immediate, and how the easy issue displaces the devilishly hard issue.
But it is also interesting that the conservatives are so strong on terrorism (and having a role in its formation) but are so weak in dealing with the long-term very serious threat to Australia: climate change.
Rod Holesgrove, O'Connor
A very bad call
It's hard to believe that the government seriously thinks that contracting out the Centrelink call centre function to a foreign-owned company (Serco) will result in better outcomes for the thousands of people who have to deal with Centrelink. Or is this just another tactic for making life hard for the aged, the disabled, the poor and marginalised, students and the unemployed?
Can the minister please explain the terms of the Serco contract? What cost-benefit analysis was undertaken before proceeding down this path? What are the performance measurements? What will be the basis for cancelling the contract? Will the call centre be established in Australia, or will all these poor souls have to deal with a call centre in India or the Philippines? What remedies will Centrelink clients have if they are given inaccurate advice? What will happen to the present Centrelink staff (and their expertise) who currently mostly try their best to assist their clients?
Will the ALP commit to having a long, close look at this arrangement when it comes to government?
And Serco, you will not be running a detention centre (out of sight, out of mind). You will be dealing with thousands of Australians, in full view of the rest of the community.
Catherine Rossiter, Royalla, NSW
A move too far
I refer to Tom McIlroy and Doug Dingwall's story "Ned Kelly's run wants to host DFAT" (October 5, p2).
Moving the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to a northern Victorian town as part of the National Party-led decentralisation plan must be among the silliest suggestions made by the National Party. The embassies and high commissions, which do business with DFAT, are all located in Canberra. Would the diplomatic missions then be told to move to Wangaratta?
With a government that's completely lost its way, the next election can't come quickly enough.
John Milne, Chapman
Laws of demand
Jay Nauss (Letters, October 13) dismisses the federal government's plan to reduce power consumption during peak usage as a "brain snap" and, consistently with former prime minister Tony Abbott, contends that what Australians really need are "more coal-fired power plants". I suggest that demand side management (DSM) makes far more sense than coal for a variety of reasons, in addition to the obvious environmental benefits of reduced carbon emissions. Not only would DSM obviate the need to expend billions of dollars constructing new coal-fired power plants, it would also help to increase the efficiency of power grid infrastructure, given that currently 11 per cent of grid infrastructure is needed for only 1 per cent of the time (ie, summer afternoon peak airconditioner usage). DSM would also help to bring down power prices because increased grid infrastructure costs have significantly contributed to power price rises.
Given that the US has been relying upon DSM strategies ever since the first energy price shock in 1973, it is difficult to understand why Australia has taken so long to catch on.
Bruce Taggart, Aranda
Not so super, man
Pull the other one, Peter Costello. You want to nationalise default superannuation ("Nationalise it ... Costello urges super overhaul" October 13, p9), but let's see how that would work – a burst of positive publicity for this embattled government, then our public service would spend many months and many millions creating new systems, educating the public, and training employers.
Then, when initial hard yards have been travelled and the new fund reaches a couple of trillion dollars, the government will discover a deep concern for the returns being earned by the members. The answer of course would be outsourcing – to the private sector. And no, we cannot be told what commissions and management fees are being paid, because that would be commercial-in-confidence.
So Costello's wealth-creating cohort once again rides to the rescue, and as icing on the cake, they would probably ask the architect of the plan to be chairman.
A bitter pill
Jeremy Hanson's intervention in the proposed "Australian-first pill testing trial at Canberra's Spilt Milk Festival" ("Denials of political influence on pill testing", October 14, p1) indicates that he and his Liberal Party is not interested in new ideas, no matter how beneficial they could turn out to be, and that they are are ideologically rooted in the past – that adjective could also be used to describe their electoral prospects.
Roger Terry, Kingston
Uphill battle finding buses
Spot on, Anne MacDonald ("A bus stop too far", Letters, October 12). The difficulty in accessing the new bus routes is compounded on the hilly west side of Captain Cook Crescent (Narrabundah and Griffith). Try walking up to 1.2km up a steep hill with little or no shelter in the heat or rain – especially if you have health or mobility issues, or you are pulling a shopping trolley or suitcase or pushing a stroller!
These latest changes simply continue a trend: over many years buses have been moved further and further away from residents in the area. Never mind that the area includes public housing, aged care units and a nursing home.
Making bus travel less accessible and convenient flies in the face of the government's policies of encouraging people to use public transport and providing a service to people without cars.
G M King, Narrabundah
Fair go on trolleys
The outcomes for supermarket trolley collectors from the Fair Work Ombudsman, a compliance partnership with Woolworths and an enforceable undertaking with Coles, seem highly equitable for the collectors, provided, of course that they are honoured ("Backpay deal for underpaid trolley staff", October 11, p22).
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James spoke of the "two largest supermarket retailers now accepting a moral and ethical responsibility". The underlying legal responsibilities of the primary contractor, and the contractee or principal, across all industries, await establishment.
Gary J. Wilson, Macgregor
Get real about Bimberi
In what appears to be a suggestion that dilatory bureaucracy explains a 17-month delay in finalising an investigation into Bimberi's dysfunctional history ("Misconduct investigation at Bimberi drags on for 17 months", October 10, p.3) let me say a brutal encounter with reality is necessary.
Nothing has changed since bleeding hearts entertained the illusion that improvements would occur when Quamby closed. Big, bad, brutal inmates emerging from thoroughly dysfunctional circumstances merely moved suburbs.
As a former Quamby volunteer tutor, my assessment is that there is a failure to recognise the core dynamic of who populates places like Bimberi.
Overrepresentation of Indigenous youth, lamented by John Stanhope et al, skirts the real question which is: "why are so many convicted?"
Is it attributable to police allegedly focusing on them; or an inability to pay for legal advice? Or, are our local ideologues too frightened to speculate that total community dysfunction explains so much about Bimberi's intractable problems?
Patrick Jones, Griffith
Our toxic culture
I was astonished to read an article on friendship surviving a different opinion on the marriage vote ("One of my best mates is voting 'no' to same-sex marriage. Can we still be friends?").
An educated, intelligent, professional person, a counsellor on family relations, positing the view that her default response to dissenting opinion was that the friend was homophobic.
Attitudes such as that explain the toxic culture in some workplaces, the absurd bitterness of family law and child welfare proceedings, the social coldness of some neighbourhoods, the loss of fundamental respect and decencies and courtesies and trust that should (and used to) underpin our liberal Australian society. Counselling! Spare us the medicine.
Christopher Ryan, Watson
Health for dummies
Does federal Health Minister Greg Hunt really believe consumers are so dumb that they will rush to take up private health insurance because he is providing the industry with savings of a billion dollars over four years on the one hand, while consumers will get a new "gold, silver, bronze and basic" medal health fund rating system on the other ("Health fund premiums to be reined in under sweeping Turnbull government changes", Canberra Times, October 13)? Given that we accept a five-star health rating system on packaged food based on what is supposed to be in the food, rather than what is, perhaps he does.
John Richardson, Wallagoot
No defending Pyne
It was disingenuous for Christopher Pyne to disavow that the government or its agencies has a responsibility to prevent the breach of the abysmally protected computer systems of a "minor" defence contractor. It is abundantly clear that the government indeed has the primary responsibility to vet the protective cyber security standards of all contractors involved in Defence or other sensitive projects well before any of them are awarded contracts.
To do otherwise is to reveal ourselves, yet again, as the weak link in the alliance and therefore invitingcyber attack. It is highly unlikely that our allies share Pyne's insouciance.
A Whiddett, Forrest
AWM signs thoughtless
While it has been a pleasure not to see advertising material hanging from the front of the heritage listed Australian War Memorial, we now have another exercise by the War Memorial director, Dr Brendan Nelson, in the form of redone signs at the entrance saying "for we are young and free".
These are words from the anthem and are nothing to do with the War Memorial.
If the director was bent on putting his personal feelings on the signs he could have used a more appropriate line "here is their spirit in the heart of the land they loved".
Could I remind the director that the AWM is not his personal property. He is the caretaker for all Australians.
The Australian War Memorial deserves considered planning and thought.
Keith Mitchell, Campbell
TO THE POINT
TRUTH ROUNDED OUT
Re letters Glenys Hammer (August 13). The earth is really flat, it is just our round eyes playing an optical illusion on us!
Brian Hale, Wanniassa
A good letter from Ross Kelly (Letters, October 13). I would only suggest one change. In the first sentence of paragraph 4, I think "mendacious damage control" would be nearer the mark than merely "audacious".
Phil Jackson, Kambah
QUESTION OF COST
Now the Fair Work Commission and the Federal Court have "robbed" the weekend workers of part of their wages will we see the "small" business owners remove their weekend surcharges? Highly unlikely.
L. Christie, Canberra
I look forward to Shane Rattenbury leading a rally through Civic calling for the government to ease homelessness in the ACT. Of the 105,000 Australians who experience homelessness daily, more than 1700 are in the ACT. Almost 300 aged under 12.
John Milne, Chapman
Most people who criticise modern individualism are firmly individual and independently-minded themselves.
Rod Matthews, Fairfield, Victoria
SPEED LIMIT CHECKS
Can the government organise free safety checks of cars for people who intend to travel over the speed limit?
Anthony Reid, Murrumbateman
I was disappointed that Jill Murphy (Comment October 11, 2017) didn't detail any reasons her friend had to vote "No" on same-sex marriage while simultaneously not being a bigot or a homophobe. That's a hell of a trick and she didn't bother to explain how her friend managed to pull it off.
Logan McLennan, O'Conner
The sad part about the recent massacre in America is that the weapon used would have borne little relationship to the guns available when the Second Amendment to the Constitution was adopted in 1791. I doubt if anyone still keeps such a weapon except as a historical object no longer able to be used.
Their problems in this area would be solved if the legislation was strictly applied to the weapons the legislators would have had in mind.
Audrey Guy, Ngunnawal
Blackouts may, or may not, start, Owen Reid (Letters, October 13) but it is certain that Tony Abbott will remain a divisive, idiotic hypocrite!
John Griffiths, Mayfield, NSW
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