John Bromhead (Letters, July 27) suggests the Yarralumla Residents Association is seeking to stymie residential development near the Brickworks.
We are not anti-development. We are committed to working productively with the ACT government to come up with a better plan. We have stated this clearly in our submission, and in the petition overwhelmingly endorsed at the July 7 public forum of the Inner South Canberra Community Council.
We are unapologetic in calling for the government to address the many real issues with the plan. In its current form, it doesn't stack up. The proposed development is town-centre scale, but without the facilities. The inadequate transport planning will condemn current and future residents to traffic jams. Despite the publicity spin, and the huge sums to be gained from land sales, there is no plan for restoring the Brickworks, just for ''making them safe'', a recipe for managed decay.
This is a revenue grab rather than a genuine effort to preserve an important part of Canberra's heritage or to create a genuinely sustainable infill development.
Marea Fatseas, president, Yarralumla Residents Association
Restoration a furphy
As someone directly affected by the 1600 buildings and 4000 people involved, my public advocacy for embassies or a nursing home on site, and the wording of our petition belie John Bromhead's suggestion (Letters, July 27) that Yarralumla residents are out ''to stymie residential development of any size''. It's interesting to note a proponent of the mega-suburb has discarded the furphy this massive exercise has anything to do with restoration of the brickworks.
Greg Cornwell, Yarralumla
What about tenants?
Rezoning the city (Canberra Times, July 28) raises a few questions.
Cities age and housing should be replaced. The idea of replacing low-cost housing such as Stuart Flats begs the question of what happens to the tenants.
Given that their current accommodation will be replaced by better quality flats and that the builders may or may not provide 10 per cent of the new accommodation as low-cost housing, what happens to the tenants if they choose not to go?
And given that the supply of low-cost concessional accommodation is desperately limited, what will happen to the tenants if costly housing only is built? The average caring Canberran would rightly expect no low-cost accommodation to be demolished before alternative accommodation is provided. The prospect of people being left without a warm place to lay their heads in this freezing weather would be against our collective conscience.
Howard Carew, Isaacs
Pot polling is dopey
Television and radio phone-in polls can be useful when a subject matter causes emotion to flow through a community. Currently the questions surrounding the possible use of so-called medical cannabis is relevant. When intricate medical trials and assessments need to be made, poll results can prove interesting to scientific minds, but in no ethical medical setting can they contribute more than interest. To extrapolate public feeling to some kind of evidence for or against the use of cannabis derivatives would constitute a betrayal of pure scientific method, and must be set aside. Some medicines that had early public support, and even gained approval after trials and testing, have proved disastrous, for example thalidomide.
The cannabis derivatives Sativex and Marinol are already available for use in Australia. Most importantly, no medicine in Australia is smoked because of the well-known harm of that delivery method, and in this context it is significant that the push for ''medical'' marijuana is not coming from the medical profession but from special-interest lobbyists who have openly stated their goal is the legalisation of all illegal drugs, including cannabis, for recreational purposes.
Colliss Parrett, Barton
We're being railroaded
Why is the ACT government persevering with the light rail project even though many of the reports, which they funded, question the economic viability of the program. Even those reports which supported the program did so based on non-economic grounds that were impossible to measure or validate.
Once the contracts are signed for the development of the Gungahlin to Civic light rail line, the program becomes impossible to stop regardless of any escalation of the development costs.
Could it be possible Labor has judged it will not be re-elected and is initiating the project to leave it to the next ACT government to take up the onerous task of finding the funds to subsidise the completion and operation of the Gungahlin to Civic line?
This would require a substantial increase in our rates and taxes, as well as hefty fares.
Ed Dobson, Hughes
Using the UN
In opposition, Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop used every opportunity to rail against Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard for what they claimed was wasting resources as they lobbied to secure a seat for Australia on the United Nations Security Council.
In government, the pair are now rightly using every opportunity presented to them through the UN forum to bring to justice those responsible for the downing of flight MH17 and the associated loss of life.
But how ironic are their actions and statements!
Ian De Landelles, Hawker
Honour Magna Carta
Dr Vincent Zankin makes some strange assertions in his letter (July 28), but the strangest is his claim that the American Declaration of Independence is ''democracy's founding document''. Such an absurd statement matches something I overheard in our Parliament House one day. A young child (with an American accent) called out to his mother ''Gee mom, what's that?'' To which the mother replied, ''It's only the Magna Carta, it doesn't mean anything to us.''
Alan Parkinson, Weetangera
One of the most delightful aspects of the Commonwealth Games is seeing the participation by members of nations who normally would not expect to qualify for the Olympic Games. A Mauritian triathlete, a Sri Lankan Rugby Sevens team, a Papua New Guinean swimmer, a Malaysian hockey team and a Tongan marathon runner are all expressions of the unique bonds that exist within the family of nations associated with the British monarchy.
Peter Waterhouse, Craigieburn, Vic
Dr Nitschke does his case no good
Just over 12 months ago, I returned from my study tour of end-of-life issues of three European countries where assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia are legal. While consulting with a wide range of professionals and politicians in these countries, more than once I was warned by people in senior positions in the pro-euthanasia movement to make sure I distance myself from Dr Philip Nitschke (pictured) if I wanted to have a serious and constructive community debate about the subject.
I was also advised by those who remain opposed or concerned about these practices that if I was to foster a healthy conversation on my return, and avoid polarising the issues, that those with extreme positions, or those who were apparently unable to approach the debate openly, should be avoided.
To date, I have been reluctant to make that advice public. However, the actions of Dr Nitschke in respect to his role in the suicide of Mr Brayley, the subsequent actions of the Medical Board of Australia and the words of Mr Kennett, quoted in the Canberra Times editorial July 26, have convinced me that I need to make clear my views on Dr Nitschke.
I believe the role being played by him in promulgating his style of voluntary euthanasia is negative rather than positive, and has indeed set the cause back considerably, but hopefully not irrevocably.
By his actions, Dr Nitschke has demonstrated that he is far more interested in his own self aggrandisement than he is in promoting rational debate about this important subject.
Mary Porter, Member for Ginninderra
Cyclists being taken for a ride over infrastructure funding
While now we can claim that Canberra leads the nation in cycling participation (July 26), thanks in part to the decline in cycling participation in the Northern Territory, this pales into insignificance compared with other world cities. What was not mentioned in the article is that only a measly 1 per cent of the total transport funding was spent on cycling infrastructure between 2011 and 2012. While this was the third highest of any state/territory, it is pathetic by world standards. Since 2000, total road expenditure in the ACT has been around $100 million a year.
Any city that still requires someone on a bike to dismount to cross a road, to ride on freeways and highways with only a painted line as protection, and a city with all-age helmet laws is not a ''cycle friendly city''.
The suggestion that the federal government, through the NCDC, built Canberra's generous ''wide'' road network so that it could accommodate cycling safely, is ridiculous, to say the least.
It wasn't until protests by cyclists, the formation of Pedal Power and the Whitlam government that forced changes to the NCDC's car-based transport policies. This saw the building of Canberra's cycle path network and the doubling of its cycling rate in just five years, from less than 1 per cent to more than 2 per cent between 1976 and 1981.
The next phase should be to follow other countries and cities with protected cycle tracks and paths, separated from motor vehicles and pedestrians with Dutch-style intersections and roundabouts.
Martin Miller, Chifley
Bombs not winning
Protesting against the bombing of Gaza by Israel is all very laudable, and the majority of nations would be grateful if such carnage ceased. However, there are two sides to this conflict and protests should also be moved against Hamas for the indiscriminate and continuous bombardment of Israel by rockets.
Submission of an aggressor by aerial bombardment seems, historically, to fail. Germany was not bombed into submission in 1945, it took a massive army invasion to complete the job. Aerial bombardment did not win the war in Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan; troops on the ground were required to ensure some form of victory.
N. Bailey, Nicholls
Defence of Russia wrong
I found Paul Malone's comments in support of Russia to be unerringly wrong (''Was this Abbott's 9/11 moment?'', Sunday Canberra Times, July 27).
Russia has a long and unpleasant history in Eastern Europe and this cannot be undone. Putin has massively overplayed his hand and caused a huge rupture in relations with the Ukraine. Any hope of a productive relationship is gone. Malone's defence of Russia in fighting various enemies as if it justifies its overbearing position does not add up.
Russia has oppressed the Ukrainians for centuries, and this is why they voted to become independent, and Russian speakers must have supported this, too. I am surprised how passive the Ukrainians have been, the Soviets killed six million to 10 million people during the Holodomor, and Russians have become the majority in Crimea by killing and deporting the Tartars, and replacing them with Russians, after occupying the Ukraine in 1654.
Putin will be Russia's undoing. Why would you provide such sophisticated weapons to hooligans? Annexations as an answer? Stalin, Hitler, and Saddam Hussein thought this an answer too. Paul Malone is seriously wrong in siding with Putin.
M. Gordon, Flynn
I very much agree with your editorial ''AFP deployment is unnecessary'' in regards to the downing of MH 17 (July 28). At some expense to the taxpayer, some 230 Australian officials plus the Foreign Minister and the Governor-General and their respective staff are biding their time in presumably first class accommodation in Europe, for what? (Cynically, one could suggest for some political advantage to the PM?)
Without discounting the personal tragedies for Australians as a result of the downing, it is not clear how much 200 Australian officials in Europe can do for the victims and their families. There are much bigger issues at play in the Ukraine in regard to the role of the West in countering non-democratic Russian moves.
It is a shame that the Abbott government cannot put the same amount of effort into international actions that will bring very large benefits to all Australians, such as playing an active role in efforts to combat dangerous climate change.
Rod Holesgrove, O'Connor
History supports subs
The article by David Wroe, ''Local subs may cost too much'' (July 28, p2), prompted me to do a little research and I came across an article written for Australian Ships and Ports, a small extract of which follows: ''The decision to construct the submarines in Australia, despite having never previously built submarines, was bold and masterful. It was in keeping with the government's policy for industry and an essential element in ensuring a degree of self-reliance in defence, never previously possible.
''It also ensured that Australia developed and retained the technologies and skills to support these and future submarines, through life.
''It was part of our coming of age as an independent nation. The decision to build the submarines in Australia was enormously successful in terms of self-reliance, economic benefit with 72¢ in every dollar spent here in Australia, the introduction of new and vastly improved skills and processes and the transfer of state-of-the-art technologies.''
The article was published in the December 1999 issue of the magazine.
Andy Millar Cmdr SM CSC RAN (Retired) Collins Class Project Planning Manager 1986-99, Weston
TO THE POINT
LAND OF NO MAN
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has suggested Palestine should become a demilitarised zone.
Those looking at the mess Israel has made of Gaza might think it was one already, if looking like no man's land is what he means.
Roy Darling, Florey
Rosalind Carew (Letters, July 29) needs a quick refresher in internal ALP processes that applied when Julia Gillard led the federal ALP.
Julia Gillard was elected by members of the party, not the Australian voters. Now ALP rank-and-file members have a direct say for the leader of their choice.
Graeme Rankin, Holder
MARK MY WORDS
So now Australian lawyers are prompting the ''asylum seekers'' to sue this country for delays in their travel here. If such a frivolous action is allowed to waste the time of a busy Australian court, then we will be seen as an easy mark for all the world's economic refugees, genuine refugees being the ultimate losers.
Rhys Stanley, Hall
Christopher Kremmer's article, ''Ramadan: empty belly, nourished soul'' (July 29), drove me to reconsider the usually sympathetic discipline of comparative religions. He is not the first journalist to overlook the Christian tradition of the Lenten fast. It is a rite largely ignored in modern Christian practice and predates Ramadan.
Gary Wilson, MacGregor
WAY OF ABETZ
When Employment Minister Eric Abetz says the anecdotal positive evidence for work for the dole outweighs the cohort study done that showed it to be ineffective, he's either lacking an understanding of how these things work, or prioritising the few over the majority.
Mina Roberts, Deakin
MEASURE BY MEASURE
To assuage the fears of Douglas Mackenzie (Letters, July 24) I only referred to rainfall in my letter.
I picked one town as an illustration. Rainfall in Adelaide from 1841 to 1870 was 514mm. For the period 1981 to 2010 it was 545mm.
Brian Hatch, Red Hill
I wish to protest at Pope's cartoon of July 29. His caption, ''Operation Scape All The Goats'', breaches the three-word limit on Abbott government policy titles. If the limit is to be breached, I suggest ''Operation Kick Them While They're Down''.
Paul McMahon, Isaacs
Email: email@example.com. Send from the message ﬁeld, not as an attached ﬁle. Fax: 6280 2282.Mail: Letters to the Editor, The Canberra Times, PO Box 7155, Canberra Mail Centre, ACT 2610.
Keep your letter to 250 words or less. References to Canberra Times reports should include date and page number. Letters may be edited. Provide phone number and full home address (suburb only published).