Foreign Minister Bishop is again preaching about democratic institutions and regional norms ("Bishop urges Trump to focus on Indo-Pacific region", March 14, p4), while Australia goes all out to thwart regional norms on the most urgent security issue we face; nuclear weapons.
While a strong majority of the world's nations support a treaty to ban these most horrific of all devices, a treaty which we know will be a powerful tool with which to advance disarmament, the Australian government has done everything in its power to undermine the process.
When negotiations for a ban treaty commence at the UN in New York in two weeks, Australia will be boycotting them.
Every other country in south-east Asia and the Pacific (bar Micronesia, under strong US pressure) supports the negotiations.
As for democracy, a Nielsen poll in April 2014 showed 84per cent of Australians want the government to join international efforts to ban nuclear weapons.
Meanwhile, on the overwhelming threat of climate change and the need for immediate action to curb it, without which some of our low-lying neighbours will literally cease to exist, Australia's record is appalling.
Regional norms, minister? You should practise them, rather than preaching about them.
Dr Sue Wareham, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Australia, Cook
Fred Pilcher claims a high standard of sex education, and ready availability of abortion mean we live in a "relatively enlightened polity" (letters, March 11).
Increased sexual assault, increasing domestic violence, high levels of divorce and solo parenting, more children in foster care, and more people living entirely on their own, all shout that intimate relationships are in trouble in our enlightened society.
There is a mix of factors at work. The way we teach sex and relationships in schools, including "pregnancy options" is part of that unholy mix.
Arthur Connor, Weston
Geoff Barker (letters, March 10) states if the church had any semblance of Christ in its veins it would be supporting those women who decide to have an abortion and not condemn them as murderers.
I invite Barker to examine such New Testament passages as Mark 9: 42 where Christ states that a terrible punishment awaits those who would hurt a little child.
Is Barker really suggesting that Christ would support the killing of about 100,000 healthy unborn children in Australia each year?
Fr Robert Willson, Deakin
Assange no hero
It is interesting reading the letter from Rod Holesgrove (letters, March 14) pointing out the "only classified documents that have been released by WikiLeaks and Assange are from democratic countries" and that "he has never released any secret documents from authoritarian regimes such as China and Russia".
Julian Assange is a dangerous criminal and he should be locked up for life and WikiLeaks should be permanently closed down.
Anne Prendergast, Reid
How dare anyone presume to know better than me when living in my flesh and bones has become too painful or too undignified, least of all a group of sexually dysfunctional, scientifically illiterate, morally bankrupt old men in frocks who, in their pursuit of alleviating poverty somehow amassed one of the largest fortunes the world has ever seen, and whose organisations are collectively responsible for extinguishing more human life than any other unnatural cause. The arrogance of people like Christopher Prowse is staggering.
James Allan, Narrabundah
Re "Fate of the falls", (March 13, p1). A joint government committee has been set up to (re)examine changing the north-west ACT-NSW border.
With that, the Ginninderra Falls-Gorges area, the NSW part of the new Ginninderry urban development area, and other areas like Gooramon Ponds, could all become part of the ACT (their current municipal services provider).
The ACT's protected Murrumbidgee River Corridor would be extended. The heritage-rich and beautiful Falls-Gorges area is currently privately owned, but should be part of a national park. That could be achieved with a land swap.
Ginninderry development should be set well back from the Falls-Gorges area, and the Murrumbidgee Corridor (viewed spectacularly from Shepherd's Lookout, off Stockdill Drive, Holt).
Jack Kershaw, Kambah
On the wrong track
In 2010 Andrew Barr said Walter Burley Griffin was dead and implied that Canberra had nothing more to learn from him.
Time to move on. But it seems that poor old Walter cannot be left in peace. The current hoardings for the light rail along Northbourne Avenue state: "Walter Burley Griffin's 1912 plan included light railway in the ACT, running down Northbourne Avenue."
What Griffin's 1912 plan actually showed is a "railroad" (his word) running along what is now Lonsdale Street.
The ACT government should either justify their claim of Griffin's Northbourne Avenue alignment or remove the misleading hoardings.
Griffin said: "Railroads that enter large cities mar their beauty. The railroad line that will enter the Australian capital from the north has been treated in my plans with regard to beautifying rather than disfiguring the city." (The New York Times, June 2, 1912).
The National Capital Authority should counsel the ACT government on misquoting Griffin's aims and demand removal of the offending hoardings, unless the claimed alignment can be proved correct.
Penleigh Boyd, Reid
They say at times "The law is an ass". Seems to be the case in Indonesia. A woman is imprisoned for 20 years for smuggling into the country a handful of hash yet a man bludgeons a local policeman to death with a beer bottle and gets only six years.
Tony May, Pearce
Brumbies deserve to stay
According to reports, SANZAR is thinking of reducing the number of Australian Super Rugby teams from five to two – the Force, the Rebels and the Brumbies will go.
I have no doubt that the ARU will campaign loud and long against this. The Brumbies are Australia's most successful Super Rugby team. They were the first Australian team to win Super Rugby, and they still have as many premierships as the other four teams put together.
At one stage, the Wallabies were more or less just the Brumbies plus Matthew Burke. No other Australian Super Rugby team has come anywhere near such eminence.
So if three Aussie teams are to go, then it should be the three least successful.
Along with the Force and the Rebels, either NSW or Queensland therefore has to fold up its tent and steal away. It shouldn't take too much effort to go back through the records to find which of the two is the more inglorious.
Perhaps the one that slunk home from New Zealand to face the headline of "Shame On You" on the back page of a Sunday newspaper?
G.T.W. Agnew, Coopers Plains, Qld
Make charity count
Re "Fundraisers fight alleged sham contractors" (Monday 13, p2) the real losers are the charities. You are often asked to buy raffle tickets as an incentive to donate money. This is then regarded as a purchase and not as a charitable donation by the tax office.
If you buy $100 of raffle tickets, the contractor takes about 60 per cent leaving the charity with $40.
If you donate $100 directly to the charity (either in person or via their website), the charity gets $100 and you get the tax deduction which means it costs you $70 or less.
So one way your $100 becomes $40 for the charity or the other way your $70 becomes $100 for the charity. The maths is easy and so in the choice.
Frank Piscioneri, Bywong, NSW
Car park chaos
Did the Shannons Wheels Charity Vehicle Display, that commenced at 10am on Sunday, March 12, have to cause the early morning closure of the two large Treasury South and West carparks near Parkes Place West and Langton Crescent used by spectators to the Canberra Balloon Spectacular?
Alternatively, couldn't the Shannons Wheels Charity Vehicle Display been held in another car park that wouldn't have been used on a long weekend, such as Brisbane Avenue, York Park or Windsor Walk or over another weekend?
Edward Corbitt, Farrer
No 'town council' here
Gary Wilson (Letters, March 13) is being boorishly persistent in his laughably invalid likening of the ACT government to a town council.
Show me the town council which bears responsibility for matters like health, education, some taxes and duties and numerous other functions performed by state and territory government and not by local government.
Sure it is something we did not want which was foisted upon us, but it is not a town council so spare us the persistent and ridiculous allusions.
T. J. Marks, Holt
Sharing the road
Dear bicycle riders on Black Mountain, I'm more than happy to give you the metre of space while overtaking you on suburban roads. But please realise that you put car drivers in danger when you ride up Black Mountain if you expect them to give you that same metre of space.
There is no verge, as you well know, so there is no room for error — especially when approaching a corner. If riders want car drivers to not endanger them, passing on that risk to the car driver should not be acceptable.
I would welcome a dedicated bike path going up Black Mountain, so you can ride up and down without endangering anyone else but yourselves.
Paul Wayper, Cook
Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting the Australian War Memorial Spirit of ANZAC travelling exhibition in Orange.
While I have travelled to the Western Front and Gallipoli many times there is always something to be learnt. From this excellent exhibition I learnt Charles Bean made Fromelles his first battlefield visit after the end of the war.
This in itself is significant evidence the Battle of Fromelles should be recognised by inscription on the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux in France.
It is still a mystery why the first battle where Australians were involved on the Western Front is not recognised.
Surely over 5000 casualties including nearly 2000 killed in 24 hours are worth recognising by inscription.
Robyn Lewis, Raglan, NSW
It is easy to understand the outcry from those under threat of disruption from the move of the APVMA to Armidale.
But it is only those who cannot foresee the impact technology is about to have who would accept the reason Commonwealth departments and other institutions were brought together (in Canberra) is still valid.
Anyone who publishes an article in a mainstream scientific journal would know the process of drafting, submission, revision and electronic publication, including communication between author, editor and reviewers, is conducted completely via the internet.
The process is rapid, productive and convenient.
We are not investing $40 billion in the NBN for fun.
John L. Smith, Farrer
TO THE POINT
Anywhere else in the world, and airports have been relocated away from high-rise buildings.
Why? Because of unpredictable turbulence. One of the oldest airports closed was Tempelhof in Berlin, the most used airport during the Berlin Airlift at the start of the Cold War.
Artur Baumhammer, Isabella Plains
You have to laugh at criticisms levelled at Canberra Airport over perceived threats from wind currents due to structures.
I had the dubious pleasure of flying into the old Kai Tak in Hong Kong on a 747 during a minor typhoon thankful for good pilots and brown upholstery. Canberra Airport, noworries.
Linus Cole, Palmerston
I agree with Vince Patulny (Letters, March13) that letters to the editor do not sway the politicians whose first priorities are themselves and their donors in that order. The letters are a voters' forum to impart ideas and critique government and institutional policies and decisions. Keep writing.
Max Jensen, Chifley
Strange to think that SA's $550million energy plan is half the cost of ACT's tram.
Eric Pozza, Red Hill
I find the now-common habit of footballers spitting on the field to be offensive, unhygienic and inexcusable.
Gary J. Wilson, Macgregor
ON THE BOIL
The Turkish President's hysterical reaction in calling the Dutch Prime Minister a "dictator" prompts a three word-reaction: (tin) Pot. Kettle.Black.
Graeme Rankin, Holder
HEAR, SEE, SAY
Does the ratification of the extradition treaty with China mark the beginning of Year of the Three (wise) Monkeys in the Australian calendar?
Luca Biason, Latham
The Turnbull (ex-Abbott) government has ignored so many sensible and practical suggestions that I am forced to conclude it amounts to ignorance.
Sandy Paine, Griffith
Rattenbury has his pet tram; Barnaby has the Exodus fromCanberra.
Captain Disappointment (per Clarke and Dawe November19, 2016) has no idea.
C.J. Mountifield, Greenway
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