Renewables are working well, both in Australia and overseas.
There are some very odd statements being made about the use of solar and wind power in the aftermath of the SA storms. One is that it renders the network more liable to disruption. Intuitively, this does not make sense. A distributed generation system has more natural redundancy than single point systems (such as giant coal-fired power stations).
A second is that renewable targets set by some states are unrealistic. Our "targets" are in many cases less than the current actual percentage energy generated by renewables in other developed countries. We see Denmark, 50 per cent, mostly from wind, Germany 32per cent (wind mostly), Portugal 45 per cent, Spain 31 per cent. Even Britain manages 22 per cent, and these three, again, are mostly from wind. So in a country with abundant sunlight and plenty of space to erect wind turbines, why is it "unrealistic" to do as well as the Danes, Germans, Portuguese and Spanish?
Les Sullivan, Cook
Entitled to a title
Kirsten Lawson ("Smyth's position first raised just days before appointment", October 3, p2) raises legitimate concerns about the newly created public service position of a Canberra Commissioner for International Engagement. Why was there no consideration of creating an exciting title?
The handy agent-general was dismissed as too British, co-ordinator general too boring and envoy as dull. For gravitas, protocol dictates they could have suggested consul extraordinary and plenipotentiary, the French term of charges de affairs or attache.
After all, who amongst us could name the person who has the reserve powers over the ACT to dissolve the Assembly? A commissioner's tasks should not be similar to that of current political party practice. The toadying up to the vested interests of rich foreign businessmen, genuflecting to unpleasant wealthy people and stomach churning discussions with tax avoiding multi-national corporations. Let's hope Smyth represents Canberra with style and panache so as to never become persona non grata whilst overseas!
Julian Fitzgerald, Farrer
Going with the flow
Landholders in the southern basin are not opposed to environmental flows that are well managed and occur in consultation with local landholders. Working closely with locals can provide opportunities for win:win environmental flows, such as the 60,000 megalitre watering event in the Wakool system last summer. This was done in consultation with locals and resulted in a watering event where water was used wisely and environmental goals were achieved to the benefit of the local system.
The vast majority of landholders and local communities support the need for a long-term plan for the basin that is based on balanced outcomes for the environment and regional communities.
However, the current plan is based largely on political goals and imperatives. The goals and targets of the plan need to be reviewed so we can achieve social, economic and environmental objectives.
Landholders are opposed to environmental flows that have unacceptable impacts on public and private land, and this issue has still not been addressed.
Landholders have a willingness to consider all aspects of an effective basin plan and work with authorities to achieve it.
Unfortunately we are not yet seeing this same willingness from either a political or implementation perspective.
John Lolicato, Barham
No need for insults
I do appreciate Marcia Langton's thoughtful concerns and advocacy regarding indigenous constitutional recognition.
However, it is also important to not conflate two distinctly separate social issues, and realise that conservatives will have varying views on both, which, in some cases, will be mutually exclusive.
The planned plebiscite regarding same-sex marriage is essentially one of giving justice to definition, and not discrimination.
Constitutional recognition of our first peoples is an issue involving the inherent factors of race and historical reconciliation, and taps more deeply into our national pulse, than simply the latest trendy inner-city cause.
If there is indeed a hate campaign, then it is currently being waged by those who brazenly badmouth Christian bishops, pour scorn on the teachers of SRI in schools, or dance semi-naked on a papier-mache bust of the Reverend Fred Nile in the annual Mardi Gras.
In our most liveable democracy, we should be capable of rigorous and robust debate, without resorting to semantic insults.
Peter Waterhouse, Craigieburn
No marriage equality
I'm a conservative, and I also consider myself a Christian (others can judge how good or bad). So I'm getting a bit cheesed off with all those saying it's only "conservatives" and/or "conservative Christians" opposing the counterfeit claims/notions of taking the – truly retrograde – step of true "marriage" to be inclusive of homosexuals of the same sex "marrying" each other; based on some "equality" with heterosexuality fallacy!
Proponents of same-sex "marriage" are using emotional blackmail in trying to bludgeon politicians into biting the bullet on this matter.
Well, chew on this one: Australia's Western society is built on the cornerstone of the laws and principles of the 10 commandments.
Howard Hutchins, Chirnside Park
One of the pictures in the news showed an electricity pylon with its legs in the air. It showed only a small amount of concrete on the end legs. That looked like it was erected to the 1960s engineering standards. I was involved in a broadcast tower upgrade some years ago. It had a 600mm diameter three-metre long concrete foundations (about one cubic metre) on each leg.
After two upgrades to deal with extra hardware on the tower and changes in the engineering standards, it ended up with nine cubic metres per leg.
Sounds like South Australia suffered from insufficient maintenance of existing infrastructure.
Rodger Bean, Watson
Road solution, not trams
A significant component of the Gungahlin-Civic tram infrastructure yet to be mentioned (and probably a future budget item) comprises the many sets of vehicle recognition technology that will be required to police the right of way and prevent motorists of various persuasions using the system.
The necessity for this technology suggests an enterprising way forward for a Liberal government in renegotiating the construction contract with Canberra Metro.
Build the roadway as planned without the rail lines and the ugly overhead catenary structures that would be the most permanently disfiguring aspect of the changes to Northbourne Avenue.
Allocate the new road lanes to a dynamic car-pooling system similar to Uber Pool (not the Uber taxi system currently operating in Canberra).
Developed under contract by one of our leading technology groups, the Canberra Pool control system would link to the roadway monitoring system in order to ensure that the new road lanes were only used by vehicles (including buses) currently carrying a pool passenger.
Canberra Pool would be the first step in the transition to ride-sharing in driverless vehicles as these fleets become part of the public transport mix of the future.
A. Smith, Farrer
Prisoners to light rail
The long-term budgetary cost of the Barr government's decision to commit its light rail project to construction is akin to a long-term jail sentence for Canberra taxpayers. Nicholas Stuart (Canberra Times October 4) points to, by way of example, the disastrous financial decision by the NSW Labor government to plough ahead with the Darling Harbour to the city monorail despite numerous warnings about the project's long-term viability and in particular the shonky optimistic predictions of passenger numbers used to justify their decision. Sounds familiar doesn't it?
If they have not already done so, Gungahlin residents should ask themselves "Would I use the light rail?"
Eventually, in 2012, the NSW government bought the failed monorail from the private owners and demolished it.
This was the fine NSW tax0 payers had to pay to get out of jail.
Graham Brady, Hughes
I found Gerry Murphy's (letters CT October 6) claim that "even orthodox Jews are respectful and tolerant of their host society's cultural norms" well and truly over the top.
The Jews of Israel have done nothing but push the people of Palestine to the margins of their society, and yet the people of Palestine are the "host society".
It has reached the stage were the Palestinian people are beggars in their own land and not allowed to be part of their own society in a country in which they have lived for several hundred years.
The Jews "respectful"? I don't think so! Especially now they have had another massive increase in American arms to keep the impoverished "host society" people away.
Geoff Barker, Flynn
The time has come for the annual rant on diplomats avoiding the payment of traffic fines by claiming "diplomatic immunity".
Along with this comes the stock answer from DFAT that they will do something about it. The result. Nothing changes.
I spent three years on a posting to Canada.
I was fortunate enough to be there with diplomatic privileges and my motor vehicle had diplomatic registration.
As part of the arrival briefing given by the Australian High Commission we were advised that even though we had diplomatic privileges we were obligated to pay any traffic and parking infringements.
We could not claim diplomatic immunity to avoid this and any attempt to do so would not be supported by the Australian government.
Michael Booth, Macgregor
No place for hate
As a proud Australian and member of Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth from Blacktown, NSW, I'm relieved to find out that a Pakistani religious scholar has been shown the door to leave Australia.
Australia is not a place to spread hate in the name of free speech. I understand that it is difficult to check all statements of religious scholars from past years but all Muslims must report any hate preachers to the authorities.
It is all of our responsibility to keep Australia safe and protect all Australians.
Aqeel Ibraheem, Blacktown
Vocal minority railing
In response to questions relating to light rail in cities similar to Canberra (A. Smith CT Letters, September 16) the Gold Coast is a good example.
The Gold Coast's recently constructed light rail has patronage figures that have exceeded the wildest expectations of the operators and political leaders.
The success of stage one has galvanised support for stage two; with the federal government contributing a further $95million for the Gold Coast light rail network.
Maybe there is a community vision in the Gold Coast that Canberra does not possess at this time; or maybe we are just being bombarded by the opinions of a vocal minority and politicians desperate to divide the community.
Ian Ruecroft, Bonner
I can't completely agree with Father Robert Willson (Letters, October 4) that religion is the remedy for superstition. Muslims and Christians, Protestants and Catholics, and Sunnis and Shiites have been trying to remedy each other's superstitions for centuries, without success.
Mike Dallwitz, Giralang
TO THE POINT
Four major banks admit much more than shortcomings, and all policing authorities shout: "Stop! Or I'll blow my whistle again!" Business as usual ... bring on the royal commission, Malcolm. Obvious!
Greg Simmons, Lyons
I think I may collect the political zombie boards along the roadside. I am in need of tomato stakes and, if I keep the photo, it may scare off the birds. See, this election isn't a waste.
Kevin Kubank, Evatt
Pauline Hanson and One Nation are an embarrassment, as immigration is making Australia more interesting, diverse and cosmopolitan, and is creating hybrid national strength. But multiculturalism is essentially an Orwellian word used by our leaders to soften the reality of multiracialism, placating doubters.
Rod Matthews, Melbourne
Well, I am mightily disappointed. I looked up the website of Canberra Alliance for Participatory Democracy to view my local candidates. Only 24 per cent of the candidates in my electorate had bothered to fill in details by Wednesday and they were all from the major parties. Come on candidates, how can we vote for you if you remain anonymous?
James Walcott, Mawson
The ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott told the Standing Committee on Economics that the ANZ is considering ending donations to political parties. The follow-up question the politicians failed to ask is: what was the business case for making the donations in the first place? I guess I shouldn't be surprised that neither side wanted to go there.
Richard Manderson, Narrabundah
After the many negative letters regarding Floriade this year I felt I must write in praise of the event. On Friday I met two friends from the Perth at the airport and drove them straight to Floriade. They both thought it was a wonderful display and thoroughly enjoyed their visit. They were amazed at the number of flower beds and blooms.
Patricia Kneebone, Bruce
LIGHT ON INTELLIGENCE
The PM claims the SA government failed to keep the lights on during some of the worst weather SA has experienced. The same can be said of the PM for failing to turn on some intelligence during what he knows was a rare event.
John Sandilands, St Marys, Tasmania
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