The High Commissioner for PNG and dean of the diplomatic corps, Charles Lepani, believes "most" diplomats and their staff adhere to the road rules of their host country (P1 CT Nov 19).
"Most" Canberrans also adhere to the road rules. Those that don't are heavily penalised, unlike the privileged diplomats who are getting away scot free under the guise of diplomatic immunity.
This privilege is being abused by diplomats to the detriment of road safety and ACT Government revenue.
I congratulate the ACT government in conjunction with the department of Foreign Affairs in taking steps to revoke this immunity.
Charles goes on to say one retaliatory option was to extend the same restrictions to Australian diplomats posted in PNG.
What a good idea! If Australian diplomats do not adhere to road rules in their host country they deserve everything they get.
Mario Stivala, Spence
It seems incredible diplomats based in Canberra are complaining they have to pay fines for traffic infringements.
Having been a member of an Australian diplomatic overseas mission, it was impressed on us on arrival we were solely responsible for any traffic infringements incurred and such cases were personal and not subject to any form of diplomatic immunity.
Quite correctly any traffic infringements by visiting diplomats occasioning fines or any more severe penalties are and should be the personal responsibility of the perpetrator.
This rule should be enforced nationwide. The obvious remedy, particularly where parking and speeding infringements occur, is for people to obey the laws of the land.
N. Bailey, Nicholls
It's not often one gets to praise the Department of Foreign Affairs and the ACT government in one letter, but Megan Doherty's front page article in Saturday's Canberra Times about the liberties taken by some Canberra diplomatic missions on Canberra's roads allows for just such praise.
Mind you, having had much to do with several diplomatic missions some years ago, I am reminded of the Longfellow poem (apologies for the adaptations) about a certain little girl: "When they're good, they're very, very good, But when they're bad, they're horrid."
Peter Moran, Watson
It is good to see the ACT has moved to revoke the licences of diplomats who ignore our traffic laws ("Diplomats upset over loss of Canberra traffic privileges", November 19, pp1,4).
Considering Saudi diplomats' offences include "driving unregistered vehicles", it is inevitable some diplomats whose licences are cancelled will drive unlicenced.
Such people can be declared persona non grata but an intermediate step could be more diplomatic. The Hague, for instance, impounds the cars. Diplomatic status, apparently, does not guarantee the release of impounded cars.
Gary J. Wilson, MacGregor
Well done to the ACT Government and Department of Foreign Affairs and trade. Why should diplomats feel they should be given special treatment when they break the law when it comes to traffic infringements.
I think it's only fair they pay up and a deduction of points is introduced. It may make some of the drivers take more care and be more aware of the road rules, especially if they are going to be penalised if they do the wrong thing.
Wendy Cook, Monash
Those who drive under diplomatic cover should be required to undergo a driving examination to qualify for a valid ACT licence.
Protesting diplomats assigned to Australia, living in luxury unknown in their home country, are frequently apparatchiki of dictatorial regimes. As the Irish proverb says: "Put a beggar on a horse and he'll ride it to hell".
"Diplomats" who take umbrage athaving to stop for red lights, respecting disabled parking spaces, obeying speed limits, considering others and flaunting public safety, should be aware Canberra Airport offers international departures.
Albert M. White, Queanbeyan
Anyone seeking to understand the forces at work behind recent upheavals in Britain and America and which may destabilise our own hitherto predictable destiny should read the opinion pieces in Friday's Canberra Times, Crispin Hull's "Voters deliver irrational ultimatum to punish 'unfair' politicians" and Richard Denniss' "Now that we know where wage stagnation can lead".
As Australia's corporate tax rate has fallen from 49 per cent in 1986 to its current rate of 30 per cent, the average earnings of ASX100 CEOs has increased from 17 times the average Australian wage in 1993 to 42 times in 2009.
The IMF, in a report released last year titled "Causes and Consequences of Income Inequality: A Global Perspective", found instead of tax breaks for so-called "job creators", "... the poor and the middle class matter the most for growth." A recently published OECD book In It Together: Why Less Inequality Benefits All, concluded economic growth "is most damaged by the effects of inequality."
Either the coalition believes trickle-down economics actually works, are looking after their mates at the top end of town, or they're deliberately sabotaging Australia's prosperity believing they'd benefit most from a US-style surge in nationalism to entrench themselves in power.
James Allan, Narrabundah
I was shocked to read in the CT of November 20 in the article by Kimberley Le Lievre (page 5) that Canberra south-side residents who use the ACT Govt "Fix my Street" portal are most likely to "whinge" about their environment.
Kimberley Le Lievre may choose to describe residents who report broken or missing street signs, graffiti in public places, trees posing a hazard to public safety and other suburban blights as "whingers". Most would see the "Fix My Street" website as a useful tool to draw attention to issues needing to be addressed at a local level.
I resent being described as a "whinger" and look forward to a published apology.
Christine Mellors, Mawson
Canberra's high rents (CT 21 November P1) can be partly attributed to Canberra's high rates and high land tax.
The combined land tax and rent for a small property in Chifley is approximately twice that of one in a high-end property in north-west Sydney.
The Sydney property is a larger block and has better garbage services as well.
The ACT government's policy of increasing the rate charge percentage, together with high land tax for rental properties and the increasing plethora of property levies (pretending not to be rates and taxes) are passed on to the tenant.
Land tax is in effect a tax on tenants.
It is not charged for properties which are not leased.
The escalating rates percentage and levies is also a tax on tenants.
The government and social housing policy bodies, such as ACTCOSS and Anglicare, should examine the effect of these charges on rent compared to other cities.
Gina Pinkas, Aranda
Your paper has recently published the thoughts of Professor Stephen Hawking who believes the human race is doomed unless we use increasingly intelligent technology to colonise earth-like planets in other solar systems.
Only a handful of astronauts [ever] travelled to the moon and back, and several lived on space stations for short periods.
The distance between us and suitable earth-like objects are unimaginably huge.
We will be compelled to stay at home and learn together how to make life here sustainable for all.
Noel Haberecht, Ainslie
We have yet another serving of leftist-Marxist-inspired nonsense from the ABC, this time courtesy of Professor William Grey of the University of Queensland.
In the latest episode of Ockham's Razor, he asserts democracy per se is not good enough.
The masses must accept the superiority of representative democracy over the direct or participatory variety, simply because they are incapable of understanding all of the issues involved in making important decisions.
They must therefore entrust such an onerous responsibility to their elected representatives.
So goes his justification for a vote by Parliament over a plebiscite in resolving the current same-sex-marriage debate.
Democracy is a system of government whereby people have a say in decisions which affect them, pure and simple.
D. N. Callaghan, Kingston
As regards Malcolm Turnbull's lifetime ban on asylum seekers, from Nauru and Manus Island, ever coming to Australia I am glad Bill Shorten and some crossbenchers have refused to support it.
It is up to the countries that take these refugees to decide what rules they will live by.
I cannot see how this ban would have the slightest affect on people smugglers.
How are they going to know if any of these people in years to come visit Australia?
Both Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton like being vindictive to boat people.
They claim it was Labor's idea, but they have had three years or more to change it.
Every time members of the Liberal Party are interviewed on any subject, they always use the excuse it is Labor's fault.
It makes them look so weak.
Rosalind Carew, Isaacs
John Mason (Letters, November 16) certainly rang a few bells with me.
Since the issue of a needle exchange at AMC has been going on I have been of the view that as most of the prison officers are apparently of insufficient competence to handle such a thing they should seek alternative employment to which they are more suited.
But John Mason says (and he should know) that most officers are unable to obtain any other sort of work.
This leaves me not knowing how this situation could be resolved.
The union's mindless resistance to this necessary measure should cease.
T. J. Marks, Holt
John Howard said that he wants to "set the record straight" on Robert Menzies' term in office ("Howard on Menzies: Building Modern Australia", ABC Television).
Could he have been referring to Menzies' role in arming Japan during its brutal occupation of China and before it swept through south-east Asia to Australia's doorstep and for which he earned the infamous title "Pig Iron Bob"?
Or could Howard have been referring to the encouragement and assistance Menzies gave to USA and to the Indonesian military coup leaders to massacre a million communists and Chinese across Indonesia? No?
Perhaps Howard meant Menzies' manoeuvring to get Australia involved in the Vietnam War.
Not that either?
Howard could also have mentioned Menzies' sending troops to Malaya in 1955 to suppress communists and safeguard Britain's colonial interests; his desire for appeasement with Hitler after the Nazi invasion of Poland; sending Australian troops to the disastrous Korean war; and his anti-communist fever, as exemplified by the draconian and antidemocratic Communist Party Dissolution Bill of 1950.
But Howard just wants to talk about the good old days of a white Australia, university scholarships, and his God.
David Bastin, Nicholls
The Saturday Gemini crossword is no longer a competition.
So why do we still have to wait a week for the solution?
Gail Tregear, Canberra
Two articles (Untouchable "taxed nots" p3 November 21) and (Oil, gas tax concessionsp4 November 21) highlight the profligate use of concessions in the vote-buying sprees of the Howard era. Proffered solutions: We made a mistake on LNG concessions, let's not blame the companies, and we made a mistake on seniors' tax concessions, let's remove them.
Bob Gardiner, Isabella Plains
Forum the Canberra Times Saturday, November 5, Jack Waterford is correct in stating that the PM is a dud. He's certainly done nothing right. His performance to date has been inept, shambolic, ineffectual and lacklustre. The Coalition is facing its own ISIL.
A. C. Garnet, Deakin
The downturn in Australia's Test cricket performance could be blamed on modern housing trends that curtail the scope for matches in mums' backyards.
M. F. Horton, Adelaide
I was saddened to read the report of the first women's one day international cricket match (CT, November 19, 2016, p95) where, under the heading 'Women' there were two lists of 'Batsmen'.
Tim McGhie, Isabella Plains
Australian cricket is in such dire straits that perhaps it is time to add some of our top women players to the national team.
John Milne, Chapman
BIG SALARY STICKS
I can point out a far greater pay disparity that's failing the 'pub test' — Australian CEOs being paid, on average, 93 times more than their workers. The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) has focused its research and attention elsewhere. Could it be that the IPA is bankrolled by those CEOs?
Declan Mulders-Jones, Lyneham
ISLANDS OF INTELLECT
London Bridge was sold to an American oil tycoon who — it is rumoured — thought he was buying Tower Bridge. Is there any truth in the rumour the US thinks the facilities on Manus and Nauru were established to provide an intellectual hothouse for some of the world's best and brightest?
Roger Dace, Reid
TICK GETS ME CROSS
Could Stan Grant ("Identity trap", Forum, p4, November 19) detail why the requirement to tick boxes in various documents if one is an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander? Another form of discrimination?
Ken McPhan, Spence
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