When we were thinking of retiring four years ago and deciding which city to live in, Sydney or Melbourne were our initial preferred options.
Luckily for us we also stumbled upon Canberra and the choice was immediately obvious despite never having lived there before.
There was a complete contrast between Canberra and the other major cities with Canberra having open vistas, accessible waterfront parklands and the integration of the natural environment into urban spaces and the other cities with their tightly packed overdevelopment.
We now proudly show our Sydney and Melbourne friends how life can be lived in a city intertwined within a natural setting and nowhere is this more obvious and beautiful than around Lake Burley Griffin.
However, since moving we have witnessed a rapid and continuing attack on our greatest asset, the foreshore of the lake, with tightly packed buildings either built (Kingston) or proposed for the West Basin, robbing all Canberra citizens and outside visitors of wide open vistas and access to significant foreshore parklands.
What the people of Sydney and Melbourne wish they had, the ACT government is attempting to sell off as fast as it can to the detriment of future generations.
The latest plans for West Basin, with filling in the lake, narrowing the open space and allowing congested medium rise private dwellings is a last century approach and not consistent with people's desire for open, green waterfront.
The government is turning a city of the future into a city of the past.
Arn Sprogis, Canberra City
Vile visual pollution
I would like to express my extreme disappointment, sadness and disgust at the escalation of "tagging" in Canberra generally but particularly in the Woden, Weston Creek area.
We moved to Canberra 13 years ago and apart from the odd scribble there was virtually no graffiti and tagging. In the past two years particularly it has become rampant and an abhorrent blight on our landscape.
Visitors to Canberra are appalled at the way in which this vandalism has been allowed to get completely out of control. Major roads such as Hindmarsh Drive are an absolute disgrace and for a city that claims to pride itself on beautiful landscapes, dignity and as the nation's capital, the so called "jewel in the crown", the government should be utterly ashamed of itself.
Surely there could be an allocation of funding to clean this mess up and prioritise ongoing maintenance to prevent what has been allowed to happen.
I understand that there will always be patches of graffiti in odd places, but to allow our major roads to be desecrated in this way is beyond comprehension.
We visited Adelaide recently and I can assure you that all graffiti there is removed within 24 hours. Perhaps they treasure their city and its environment far more than we do ours.
We have travelled extensively and apart from Rome, Canberra would be the worst graffiti vandalised city anywhere.
Jenny Chapman, Fisher
Darren Randal (Letters, June 13) points out the inability of the ACT government's planning agency to make the best of the amenity and scenery around Lake Tuggeranong.
Unfortunately, he selected the Kingston foreshore as a positive example of what could be done. I am constantly bemused that I can eat at any restaurant along Trevillian Quay and look directly into the verandahs of the apartments opposite; likewise, the residents on the balconies can look down on diners.
A view of the beautiful Lake Burley Griffin can only be glimpsed if I frequent the pub at the lake end of the Quay walkway.
The ACT government has a long and sorry history of poor planning. For example, Belconnen residents have always appreciated the view of Lake Ginninderra that can be seen fleetingly as we park our cars at Belconnen Mall, rather than being able to enjoy the panorama of the lake over a leisurely repast.
The genome of ACT planners seems to favour hiding our magnificent views from public appreciation. Seriously though, it would be a tremendous leap forward if our city planners could learn from past mistakes.
Surely, planning for future developments should provide better access to Canberra's magnificent scenery and improve the amenity of areas where people gather.
J. Grant, Gowrie
Clearing the air
Paul E. Bowler (Letters, June 8) starts with two fundamental misconceptions about both Hare-Clark and Senate voting, and tries to finesse the inevitable difficulties inherent in any detailed variant of his incipient proposal.
Although multiple vacancies are being filled in each electorate, we each have a single transferable vote, indicating the order in which candidates can be assisted by what remains unused of it.
That puts all elected candidates on the same footing once they achieve the quota, and limits the maximum level of wasted votes, namely those that fail to contribute to someone's election. While it makes sense for voters to mark as many preferences as possible in pursuit of their maximum available influence, under Hare-Clark just a single first preference is accepted as formal.
Giving electors as many first preferences to allocate as there are vacancies would raise the prospect of some having all of these effective while others had just a few or none at all contributing to someone's election.
This could mean a party with greatest support taking all the vacancies, well out of kilter with its actual public standing.
Bogey Musidlak, Proportional Representation Society of Australia (ACT Branch)
Some respect required for jungle sacrifices made on our behalf
On a recent visit to Canberra I came across the Kokoda Memorial located outside the Services Club site in Manuka.
The statue depicts a wounded Australian soldier being helped by a Papua New Guinean, known as a Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel, during the famous Kokoda Track campaign.
I only noticed the statue by chance as it is completely dwarfed by a beer company sign and a large tank.
Unless you look carefully you would not realise the statue was there.
The statue commemorates possibly the most iconic event of Australia's World War II history.
Simpson and his donkey, displayed prominently outside the War Memorial, is the First World War equivalent. It has become a significant Canberra attraction.
The Kokoda memorial statue ought to be given similar prominence and respect.
Peter Kearney, Lanena, Tas
True basis of strategy
Nicholas Stuart makes some valid points in his article ("Changing nature of war may undo us", June 13, p17).
Not everything is as he portrays, however. In particular, his assertion that strategic thinking begins and ends with equipment capabilities is not correct, nor is his statement that "our Abrams tanks are ageneration too old to fight inIraq".
Defence strategy starts with two fundamentals: the "warning time" for enemy intentions to become clear; and the "lead time" to acquire equipment and train personnel to operate and maintain it.
Coupled with alliances, these considerations drive defence policy, from the size of the standing defence force and readiness levels, to industry participation and stockpiling requirements.
It was General Cosgrove as Chief of the Defence Force who stated that our then Leopard tanks could not be deployed to Iraq because "they would be anageing orphan among our allies".
This was not, of itself, reason to prevent them participating in that campaign (our Centurions were operated successfully as ageing orphans in Vietnam).
The nature of warfare more recently, however, means that interoperability is essential.
All sea, land, and air platforms in a theatre of operations must be able to communicate with each other, as well as with command centres.
It is the responsibility of the ADF to maintain this capability in accord with the relevant warning and lead times (both in terms of equipment interface and logistic support).
Bruce Cameron, Campbell
In explaining that there can never be long-term guarantees about the effectiveness of any new weapons system, no matter how top-of-the-market world-beating they may be in the contemporary world, Nicholas Stuart is spot on ("Changing nature of war may undo us", June 13, p17).
By the time the new submarines we have ordered have been built and are in service in 50 years' time, there will very probably exist technology capable of detecting them: they will no longer possess the invisibility that is their main asset. To reinforce his point, Stuart gives many other examples of new weapons that have been effective only until technology devises an answer to them.
He could have chosen many more – the arms race started with a better kind of spear, andan improved shield to counter it.
The modern nuclear weapon is an exception to this general rule.
Ever since president Ronald Reagan announced his anti-missile project, dubbed Star Wars, back in the '80s, no reliable defensive shield to a fleet of intercontinental ballistic missiles tipped with multiple hydrogen bomb warheads and travelling at six kilometres per second has been found, despite the best efforts of scientists over many decades and billions of dollars expended.
At last we have come to a point where there is no military answer to a weapon, and security must be sought in politics. A political solution to the other weapons systems would also be wonderful, but it would involve a degree of international collaboration never yet achieved.
Harry Davis, Campbell
Your columnist Nicholas Stuart is incorrect in asserting, in his article "Changing nature of war may undo us", that sonar was a World War II development.
While the technology, originally known as ASDIC, was not operational by the end of World War I, it was well along the development path with thefirst patent for an echo sounding device issued in 1912.
Work on a (British) naval prototype began in 1916 and both France and Britain had constructed working prototypes by the end of World WarI.
Research continued during the interwar period and by 1939 several ships in the British fleet were ASDIC equipped.
Britain supplied the highly secret technology to the US at no cost long before that nation officially entered the war.
M. Moore, Bonython
Truly a wailing wall
The Great Wall of Parliament House is appearing. It's ugly. It's as senseless as any wall (buy a drone!). Its symbolism is tragic. It's from a furtive parliamentary process taking advantage of a minor act of interruption that was a major act of democratic protest.
Shame on our pusillanimous, deceptive politics. Deal with real issues, like climate, inequality, housing, NBN, even the budget: there's no shortage after years of political failure.
This wall will stand as a symbol of shame and utter despair for our demeaned politics.
Eric Pozza, Red Hill
Now that's a penalty
Why is our federal government so intent on screwing over the little guy?
There is no evidence that cutting people's penalty rates will increase jobs. There is, however, on the increased inequality that it will cause.
Our investment banker Prime Minister doesn't want tohear from you unless you'rerich.
The most vulnerable members of our community seem to be slowly crippled with every new policy that is made.
I am sick and tired of the men on the hill living in luxury while we are stressing over how to make it through the week.
Cutting penalty rates has entirely cut my support for our government.
Andrew McGregor, Isabella Plains
TO THE POINT
Fifty thousand fellow Canberrans will be affected by the reduction in weekend penalty rates, so grossly unfair it's not funny. Many of these people provide services that the well heeled (lots being pollies and their support crew) take advantage of every weekend. And now they will need to throw even less shekels their way.
Gerard De Ruyter, Wanniassa
THE WRONG MAN
I object to Thos Puckett (Letters, June 12) claiming that Boris Johnson is "Britain's answer to Donald Trump". Boris Johnson badly needs a comb, but he had a successful career as mayor of London, is highly intelligent, writes well and appears to be genuinely funny. None of those apply to Trump.
Jenny Goldie, Michelago, NSW
If Boris Johnson gets to be Britain's next Prime Minister, we'll have our two closest allies leaders with the worst hairstyles in the history of the Free World.
Brian Bell, Isabella Plains
No, no, no, Thos Puckett (Letters, June 13), no way is Boris Johnson Britain's answer to Donald Trump. Boris is well educated, intelligent, literate and articulate.
M. Jackson, Kambah
SCHOOLS TO HELP
I remember when Greek children went to government schools and attended Greek school run by the Greek community on Saturdays to learn Greek language and culture.
Why can't Muslim immigrants do this? It would help them integrate into the wider community.
M. Davis, Charnwood
UNCLE VLAD STRIKES
The arbitrary arrest, detention and third degree treatment of those protesting corruption in Russia makes one wonder whether the Stalinist communist state has been resurrected by the Putin regime.
It certainly does not resemble democracy.
Rajend Naidu, Glenfield
WATCH THIS SPACE
Ten-year-old Barron Trump has moved into the White House. Should we expect to see an improvement in Donald Trump's spelling on Twitter?
Peter Moran, Watson
DEITY IS LAUGHING
Luca Biason (Letters, June 13) has not heeded the old saying: "God must have a sense of humour. Otherwise He would not have made us the way we are."
Jack Monaghan, Lyneham
AFTER YOU, SIR
Follow-the-leader politics. Victoria queries bail and parole, NSW opens special quarters for terrorists.
Barrie Smillie, Duffy
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