Article's doorknocking insights proved to be mysterious

I read your article "Can you judge a voter by their house? The reality of doorknocking in Canberra" (May 14, p.8) with amusement. I am now confused as to how to vote.

We live in an old suburb, but have a "no junk mail" sticker. Our front yard has fruit trees not natives. Our garden is tidy but my husband wears stripey socks. I was wondering what to do.

Nobody home. Labor's Alicia Payne leaves a leaflet. Picture: Steve Evans

Nobody home. Labor's Alicia Payne leaves a leaflet. Picture: Steve Evans

Luckily, once a Labor volunteer at a pre-poll centre found out I was from the inner south on Monday she pointed me in the right direction by telling me I was wealthy and would only vote in my own interest.

I would not support the broader community because I am selfish apparently.

If only she knew the values my mother and my western Sydney upbringing gave me.

At least your article explains why we are never doorknocked.

Rebecca Scouller, Barton

AEC, Hull, wrong on how to vote

In his Forum article ("Which party do you dislike the least?", May 11, p.29) Crispin Hull writes: "The Australian Electoral Commission advises correctly that for a formal vote voters should vote preferences for at least six parties above the line..."

The purpose of this letter is to dispute such contention. I argue the AEC advises that incorrectly.

In its essentials the argument gets down to this. The AEC and Hull have made it clear they are willing to "own" this new system. Consequently they try their hardest to suppress public knowledge of an important fact about the system - namely that a single number one placed in a party box above the line counts as a fully effective formal vote for that party.

To them that is an inconvenient truth. It is a fact that I have tried at all times to communicate to voters.

They should not be denied knowledge of that fact by what amounts to a conspiracy between the AEC, the political parties and most of the media.

The AEC asks voters to consult its website. However, all readers would get from it is advice as to how to cast a Senate vote in accordance with instructions on the ballot paper.

Malcolm Mackerras, Campbell

Unintended consequences

For the first time in 25 years the advent of rapid transport, due to bus "Park & Ride" on Athlon Drive, you can no longer park in any of the local car parks to do your shopping. On Tuesday, May 14, at 11.45 am, my wife went shopping. Not one car parking spot was available. I guess the ACT government didn't think this far ahead.

Kevin Clarke, Kambah

Former treasurer off base

How can a former treasurer be so economically illiterate as to propose a plan for 5 per cent deposits for first home buyers?

Is he also morally bankrupt? Why else would you want to set up young, and inexperienced, house seekers with very fragile home loans and dangerously low equity?

How can a former treasurer be so economically illiterate as to propose a plan for five per cent deposits for first home buyers? Is he also morally bankrupt?

John Kersh

Economists are already warning existing home owners with low equity could end up with negative equity if housing prices continue to fall.

John Kersh, Giru, Queensland

John Howard out of touch

When is John Howard going to face facts?

He not only lost his last election but he also lost his seat.

Voters see him as tired and out of touch. His absence from the Liberal Party launch was because he was in the UK having dinner with the Queen.

It's time he stopped using taxpayer funds to be driven around the electorates under the delusion he is charming folk. He is not.

And finally, if Tony Abbott can't win on his own merit after being in Parliament for the last 25 years then he shouldn't win at all.

Eleanor Moffat, Weston

Light rail doesn't deliver

The new light rail system is a failure. When it is peak hour and the trams are full, they are not equipped to handle that amount of passengers.

There are not enough seats, of course, but there are also not enough handrails for people to travel safely.

I have seen more than half a dozen people fall in the first two weeks, two of whom were frail elderly women. People will be injured, it is only a matter of time.

I had to help up four of the people who had fallen. Not only is it unsafe, it is an unreasonable burden of responsibility to put on other passengers to assist and protect the people who can't reach the rails.

Also, there is not enough space for all the wheelchairs, parents with children, and bicycles.

It is a recipe for disaster should a serious incident happen.

Any tram on the weekend is already full when it leaves Gungahlin, inevitably picking up more and more passengers, leading to the problems I listed above with overcrowding. Trams at these "off-peak" times run every 15-20 minutes. They are more packed out than the western Sydney rail line in peak hour, a miserable, horrible experience.

Aaron Kimber, Throsby

Bill a hard man to like

S Ramsay (Letters, May 11) asked why Bill Shorten is so unpopular, even with his own party. For those with their ALP blinkers on, here is why.

Firstly he was instrumental in knifing Kevin Rudd from the prime ministry, then did the same to Julia Gillard. He then gains the Labor leadership and installs a policy where he cannot get voted out until he has completed his full term - talk about the Steven Bradbury of Australian politics.

To see him recently with Julia and Kevin sitting next to each other at the Labor Party launch wasn't fooling anyone.

There was his failure to condemn activists who vandalised a Captain Cook statue a couple of years ago. Alternate Labor leader Anthony Albanese came out straight away and denounced the vandals.

He just swings in the breeze. Is it any wonder he is unpopular?

If you vote this man in, what will happen to this great country?

Ian Pilsner, Weston

There are storm clouds ahead

The Treasurer blithely brushed away a strong hint of storm clouds on the economic horizon that could undermine key wage and economic forecasts made in the Coalition's budget only last month with the claim "we have seen strong labour market growth" ("Labour demands support for tax cut plan",, May 11).

He ignores that this means little to many in the work force and their families, those who have obtained a second or third job to make ends meet, the many who still want more hours of work, and others who find, after accepting a position, underpayment remains rife in too many industry sectors.

Sue Dyer, Downer

Overreach editorial correct

It's difficult not to agree with your editorial about the shadow treasurer's budget overreach ("Overreach calls costings into question", May 11, p.32) but why should anyone be surprised?

Have we all forgotten the education revolution which gave us overpriced school halls, the pink batts fiasco or the no carbon tax promise?

Let's not confuse wishful thinking with implementation of promises.

Roger Dace, Reid

Great news for music school

It was a joy to read the ANU School of Music and the H course will survive and flourish ("Perfect Pitch", May 11, p.1 and p.19) under the stewardship of Kim Cunio.

Both of our children were participants in the H course. It was largely their making as now adult musicians and performers. Our son is a graduate of the School of Music and a talented conductor/carillonist amongst other things thanks to music then being adequately supported in our capital city.

Because of the troubles at the SOM five years ago, his sister, our daughter, went to Melbourne to complete a degree at the Victorian College of the Arts. Our city has lost her forever to the big smoke.

Unending thanks to Brian Schmidt, vice-chancellor at the ANU, for reinvigorating the School of Music.

Karen Dahlitz, Forrest

Climate change inaction

Dr Martin Rice, head of research for the Climate Council, has said the Coalition had "repeatedly tried to avoid scrutiny" by releasing emissions data when they are likely to attract least attention and had blocked entirely the release of other information relating to climate change.

Dr Rice also said the government had "censored a UNESCO report on climate change and World Heritage sites", and had convinced UNESCO to "delete all references to Australia and the Great Barrier Reef".

Australia has recently suffered its hottest summer ever. Bushfire danger in eastern NSW was classed as extreme to catastrophic for much of the summer period. A widespread conflagration could easily result in enormous losses of property and possibly also human lives.

Mr Morrison should worry not so much about the cost of climate action, and more about the cost of climate inaction.

Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin



There is a proposal being put to the ACT government to treat dogs and cats as sentient beings. Not included are birds, corroboree frogs and members of the Legislative Assembly.

Roy Bray, Flynn


The media often refers to the wife of the (male) Prime Minister as Australia's first lady. The first lady of Australia is the wife of the (male) Governor-General.

Ian Gollings, Mawson


Ann Kent (Letters, May 11) writes "Shorten and his team deserve better" [than Andrew Barr]. Not only does Shorten deserve better; so do the people of the ACT. Our chance to do something about it will come at the next territory elections.

Don Sephton, Greenway


I voted in pre-poll recently. The rules stipulate that voting for the House of Reps requires voters to number six boxes above the line. After numbering three parties that I support, I am forced to choose from parties that are abhorrent to me including United Australia Party and the Fraser Anning Party. That stinks.

Paul Kringas, Giralang


An article lavishing praise on the opposition for promising $1 million to clean up ACT wetlands got me curious. It's a nice tokenistic top up to the $95 million already spent by the Coalition on cleaning up ACT waterways.

Gary Roy, Spence


If you have taken offence at the recent tripe dished up by Folau and his ilk, you will have good company in "hell" as Folau will be with you. The Bible reference Leviticus 19:28 says, "You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord."

L. Christie, Canberra


Disgruntled swinging voter here. Can't help but notice that LNP advertising is only about denigrating the ALP. At least the ALP put forward their policies.

Kim Fitzgerald, Deakin


With the Liberals' seemingly generous offer of easier finance for first home buyers, are they in danger of becoming the Harvey Norman of politics?

Wayne Stinson, Merimbula, NSW


Re David Pope's excellent cartoon on the home deposit scheme (May 14). It's just another brick in the wall.

Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW


My heart goes out to the independent whose ad was screened directly after Metamucil's "vote for the turd you deserve" commercial on a local channel on Monday night. Fascinating piece of scheduling.

M Moore, Bonython


As a regular traveller in and around Murrumbateman and Yass I have to say it appears as if Mike Kelly has Eden-Monaro in the bag. When it comes to corflutes he is outnumbering the conservatives by about two to one.

N Ellis, Belconnen

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