Before well-meaning Australians race off to contribute funds to the restoration of Notre-Dame Cathedral - whether by tax-free donation to an Australian fund set up for the purpose or otherwise - at least a couple of questions should be asked. First, was the building insured against fire? If so, how much will the insurer(s) be paying?
If the building was fully insured, then at least a large part of the cost of restoration should be covered. Another significant question is - or should be - how much will the Roman Catholic Church be contributing (after insurance) to the cost of restoration? After all, the cathedral is one of the Roman Catholic Church's churches, and a significant one at that. The Roman Catholic Church has been strangely silent about the tragedy. Opening its considerable coffers to fund the restoration would only be right and proper.
Don Sephton, Greenway
Australia has other responsibilities
Morrison rightly expresses sorrow over the damage to Notre-Dame, although this can be successfully rebuilt, and is not Australia's responsibility. He doesn't however express concern over the dying Great Barrier Reef, the largest living organism on Earth and which is the responsibility of Australia to protect. With current climate projections it is very unlikely the reef will restore to even its current state.
Rod Holesgrove, O'Connor
PM's decision disappointing
The decision of current Prime Minister Scott Morrison not to set up a fund for the restoration of the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris ("PM says no to fund for Notre-Dame aid", April 17, p12) is disappointing and very mean spirited. According to reports in other areas of the news media, many ordinary people, wealthy individuals and companies have already pledged almost $1 billion for the cathedral's restoration. It is also reported that German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has called for a Europe-wide restoration fund. If the Australian economy is in the wonderful state that the PM and the Treasurer claim, surely they can afford a little of that wealth to help restore one of the world's best-known and revered buildings.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Does it really represent a fair go?
The PM says he's for giving a go to those having a go. I wonder if hospitality workers, often students struggling to support their studies, think that losing weekend penalty rates represent being given a fair go.
Graham Wright, Yarralumla
The cost of renting
Millennials may largely have come to the conclusion that they may as well rent rather than buy, obviously apartments, overwhelmingly, in the impoverished contemporary Australian sociocultural and cost-of-living circumstance.
The question is what relative weight of considerations led them to that?
Next time, the researchers should explore what part an awareness of our ubiquitous and notorious Opal Tower build standards played in the Millennials' evaluation. And the inevitable revulsion at tackling years of litigation and huge extra costs as apartment owners, as compared to renters.
Alex Mattea, Sydney
Transport popularity contest
There are two very related news stories this week. One is the start of Canberra's tram. The other is the Uber IPO. Rattenbury and Barr have committed $1 billion of ratepayers' money on a 19th century transport solution.
Investors are predicted to invest $100 billion of their own money on a 21st century transport solution. Uber has been very honest about its current business model that may never make a profit. The smart money, however, agrees with its expectation that within five years autonomous ride share will revolutionise public transport.
That means that within five years the expectation is that by pushing a button on your smartphone an air-conditioned pod will take you door to door. Rattenbury's plan is an 800m metre walk at each end, a wait and a tram ride. In a Canberra summer (35) and winter (-5) I know which one I will be using.
It is not too late to repurpose the route for buses and to trying recoup some of the wasted money by selling the rolling stock before it loses too much value through endless, empty runs.
In an attempt to seem relevant the system is referred to as light rail. The general definition is that light rail track protrudes from the surface whilst tram track is inlaid into the surface. If one needed any further clarification, look at the traffic lights: "T".
Simon Blake, Deakin
The light rail effect
It is amazing that I read in The Canberra Times on April 16 that this government is going to spend another $100,000 of ratepayers' money on light rail on a booze-up to celebrate the opening of a white elephant when they have already cost the people of Canberra nearly $1 billion on this waste of time and outdated project.
As well we have now the pleasure of our MLAs telling us that they, with the help of the Transport Workers' Union (who's interest is in themselves and not the public) that all the bus routes will be changed for the better from the April 29 fit in with the light rail.
Dear MLAs, Transport Workers' Union representatives who I believe have never travelled on an Action bus to work: does the changing of bus routes in Belconnen, South Canberra, and as far as Tuggeranong have anything to do with the light rail service?
If the people of Gungahlin wish to change their bus service so they can catch a tram, which I believe will take an extra 15 minutes in travel time, good luck to them, but the rest of Canberra should not have to suffer the indignity of travelling on a bus system that was devised by a bunch of MLAs, the Transport Workers' Union, and Transport Canberra after a session down at the local.
I know from speaking to Transport Canberra that the good service of the 300s have been scrapped from April 29, and may I say what a wonderful service it was and could continue to be.
A trip that would have taken me 35 minutes from Macgregor to the city will take me over one hour, and will need me change at a bus interchange. Only if the connecting buses are on time, which I doubt as connecting times don't match up, will I ever reach my destination on time, only because some person in Transport Canberra and our MLAs thought we will try and force people on to the light rail. I will prepare after April 29 for more cars on the road.
Errol Good, Macgregor
Better conditions preferred
National pay rises have been in vogue since 1972 when government encouraged them in an attempt to force taxpayers into a higher tax brackets to increase revenue. Rises have always been announced as a percentage increase in salaries, which means that high salaries have increased more than low salaries and the gap between high and low has increased for every pay rise granted.
The penny still hasn't dropped, the press for higher wages continues. Union leaders should be pressing for better conditions of employment.Alan Blake, Duffy
Costs of goods and services has also increased in line with, or perhaps a little more than the average wage, or in other words, goods and services cost has increased by more than the increase received by low paid workers.
At each subsequent pay rise, their buying power has been further decreased, the worst hit, as usual, being retirees.
The penny still hasn't dropped, the press for higher wages continues. Union leaders should be pressing for better conditions of employment, not increased wages which only benefit high-paid positions.
Alan Blake, Duffy
Preaching the right message
Israel Folau seems to have heartfelt religious beliefs which have led him to publish social media messages about what he sees as outsiders and sinners as going to hell. (Letters, April 14 and various media reports).
I respect Israel's right to his beliefs, with which I disagree, but question the effectiveness and appropriateness of his approach to 'saving souls'.
I suggest that Israel focus on reading the Gospels in the Bible, rather than the Old Testament and some of St Paul's writings. Perhaps he could concentrate on Jesus' messages of love and compassion: 'Love the Lord your God ... and your neighbour as yourself (from Matthew 22: 38-40). How does Christ treat 'outcasts'? lepers, the blind, the lame, 'unclean' women, adulterers, foreigners, the 'possessed' (or mentally ill), tax collectors, and so on? Read the Gospels and learn, Israel.
E Smith, Page
An animal's right to freedom
T.J. Farquahar (What animals want, Letters, April 17) attempts to diminish an important issue by suggesting a ridiculous scenario where "freed" animals are running rampant around the streets.
But I agree with Mike O'Shaughnessey that we have no right to rob animals of their freedom.
In our human society the deprivation of freedom - a prison term - is the punishment meted out to our worst criminals. Yet, without a second thought, we casually rob other life-loving sentient beings of their precious freedom. How fair is this?
Jenny Moxham, Monbulk
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