It's good to know that the ALP still has passionate supporters, but the defence of the current government expressed by Douglas Mackenzie and Ken Brazel (Letters, June 3) perhaps reflects their generous souls rather than the facts about the government's performance.
Speaking as someone who has voted Labor almost since the beginning of time up until the abrasive outing of Kevin Rudd, I can only bemoan the changed direction of Labor. From that inner circle of social conscience, intellectual egalitarianism and workers' comradeship, the direction has been tangential. To who knows where?
It may not be entirely the leader's fault - the sycophantic support she gets from her mates must share the blame. But it would betray the inherent goodness of the party to allow it to be destroyed for the sake of personal ambition and misplaced pride.
Replacing the government at the next election would be a win-win result: we give the opposition a fair chance to show what they can do, and we give Labor the opportunity for renewal. Perhaps the real Labor Party can then come forward with the right balance.
Philip Telford, Tarago, NSW
Sorry David Ellery (''The building that never gave up'', Gang-gang, June 3, p8) but I can show you a still far from completed Canberra development that already beats the 29 years it took to complete the John Gorton Building hands down.
In 1975, when Gough Whitlam was prime minister, my next door neighbours received planning permission for a significant redevelopment of their house. An even more remarkable 38 years later it is still far from complete. In 2004, the ACT Supreme Court made completion and clean-up orders that have not been complied with and the ACT government has been unable or unwilling to enforce.
I have made representations to planning ministers and chief ministers for years and all I get in response is platitudes and assurances that things are happening. The fact that nothing has changed on the site since 2004 is clear proof that the ACT government is powerless to enforce its own Supreme Court orders and that a record that will stand forever is still in the making.
Wayne Mitchell, Waramanga
Still fighting racism
Your editorial, ''Adam Goodes sets an example for all'' (Times2, May 31, p2) is a sound assessment of yet another revelation of racism in our country.
Having witnessed expressions and acts of racism directed at our adopted indigenous son for more than 50 years, I can understand and support Adam Goodes' reaction to the hurtful remarks of the young girl and of Eddie McGuire.
From the time of white settlement to the dispossession of Aboriginal people from their lands as the White Australia policy reigned supreme, and Aboriginal children were brutally removed from their mothers and families, negative racial views were widespread.
While a greater understanding of such shameful episodes in our nation's history has been accomplished due to the efforts of many outstanding people, including sporting personalities , there are still elements of deep-seated racism in our social make-up.
Until we walk in the shoes of indigenous people and understand the difficult road many of them have travelled as they encountered blatant discrimination, we are failing them and our society. Like us, they seek respect from all people, including football fans.
Keith McEwan, Bonython
While not necessarily disagreeing with Bruce Minerds (Letters, May 31) on his discussion about racism, I don't agree with his view that The Canberra Times' decision to ''prominently publish'' a letter by Gordon Fyfe reflects poorly on The Canberra Times as a paper.
I think that regardless of the views expressed, The Canberra Times shows more integrity by publishing that letter than the alternative of not publishing it. That would amount to censorship. Whether or not we like or agree with somebody else's opinions, or the way they are written, we are better off to know what's out there than not.
Bruce Kennedy, Melba
Driving in circles
There's a logic black hole at the centre of Canberra planner groupthink that we must have a sophisticated public transport system here. Architect Philip Cox is just the latest to mouth the mantra (''A city without a beating heart'', Forum, June 1, p4).
They say, ''abandon cars because they pollute''. But, like 94 per cent of us, they themselves rarely use buses: they're busy and buses are inflexible. They say they'd use them if services became less inconvenient. We're to take their word on that.
They say public transport (subsidised $2 million a week and rising) would work if only we'd had the foresight to decide to live at inner-big-city densities in tall apartment blocks and townhouses (out in these sheep paddocks, in the bush), instead of bringing up kids on blocks with elbow room. How stupid would that have been?
Canberra will remain small and we're not poor enough to live densely enough. Green-electric and fuel-miser cars will cut transport emissions. Plan on it.
Cuthbert Douglas, Bonython
Now that we are to have a referendum, could it please include a proposal to remove S59 from the constitution. This provides that the Queen may disallow any law within one year of the Governor-General's assent. In accordance with the Australia Acts 1986, the power of disallowance is exercisable by the Governor-General acting on the advice of the Prime Minister.
In effect an incoming government can bypass the Parliament in order to set aside any legislation passed in the last 12 months of the previous parliament. Similar provisions in the laws of the states were repealed by the Australia Acts, 27 years ago. It was understood then that at the Commonwealth level a referendum would be held with a view to the removal of S59. September would provide a convenient and inexpensive opportunity to take that course.
Jeffrey Miles, Yarralumla
Secret out, money laundering is indefensibly dirty business
Julie Novak's defence of money laundering and tax evasion (''Ravenous monsters of the deep have woken'', Times2, June 3, p5) is astonishing. Extreme and contrived measures of tax avoidance by multinationals are nothing less than theft and economic parasitism designed to divert wealth from ordinary taxpayers to their shareholders, and to avoid contributing to the infrastructures that support them.
Secrecy jurisdictions are responsible for the ease with which organised crime and corrupt politicians can amass billions of dollars and keep it safe from detection. American former banker Raymond Baker, author of Capitalism's Achilles Heel, a book that Novak ought to read, has estimated that secrecy jurisdictions help the criminal and the corrupt annually shift 10 times more out of developing countries than is given in aid.
Novak's defence of secrecy - on the grounds that it ''helps secure people's confidential information from … criminal elements'' and ''allows ethnic, religious and other minorities … to avoid the threat of expropriation'' - is ludicrous.
That's like saying that robbery is good for the economy because it provides an income to the perpetrators. She criticises what she calls ''the persecution of tax havens by the OECD and its members''.
This ''persecution'' has resulted in, for example, the blacklisting of the Cook Islands (a country of 15,000 people) some years ago for minor loopholes in their banking regulations, while the US continues to go unpenalised despite states such as Delaware continuing to offer anonymous incorporation for an almost nominal fee, permitting any amount of money laundering by organised crime.
The richer member countries of the OECD are themselves the most successful of the tax havens, and are therefore only protecting their patch by persecuting others.
Get real, Julie!
John Walker, Queanbeyan, NSW
Park pay is the way
Unfortunately, Tom Quinlan (Letters, June 4) appears to have missed the point regarding the introduction of paid parking in the parliamentary triangle, which is that currently tourists cannot visit the cultural institutions in that area because there is no parking available. All the adjacent free parking is taken by public servants.
When faced with pay parking, some tourists may decide against visiting a national institution or tourist attraction, but that's likely to be a much smaller number than the number of visitors currently being lost because they can't find a parking space at all anywhere nearby.
And yes, I do know this of my own experience because I recently attempted to take my visiting brother and his family to enjoy a Segway tour by the lake. Having dropped off my less able sister in law, the closest car park I could find was nearly 15 minutes' walk away.
Bring on the paid parking, I say. Why wait till July next year?
Lynn Harden, Campbell
It's in the blood
So, now we have it. At uni one can bludge, imbibe and inhale big-time, or maybe even exhibit inadequate grey matter and Professor Peter Visscher, employed by the University of Queensland, says oldies' DNA is the real culprit (''Uni dropouts can blame their parents'', May 31, p3).
Clearly, take C. Thomas' call for an evicted single mum with six kids to take responsibility for her own failings (Letters, May 30); and Judge Richard Refshauge telling a 20-year-old career crim (''Sad past catches up with burglar'', May 30, p4) to take responsibility for his own actions, and what we have is that blaming someone else for one's own inadequacies should not be laid at the door of another.
Perhaps human rights advocates can devise a way to accommodate mum and dad taking the blame for their offshoots' behaviour. In the interim, C. Thomas' and Justice Refshauge's admonishments are absolutely outrageous. Maybe, just maybe, Dr Helen Watchirs can concoct an argument to the effect that their position incorporates a smattering of logic.
Patrick Jones, Griffith
Common sense on climate
How refreshing - even a little reassuring - to read some common sense about adapting to climate change from a former senior businessman with considerable knowledge of the fossil-fuel industry (''Business can save the planet'', Times2, May 31, p4).
Ian Dunlop acknowledges that we are on a virtually suicidal course, with rapidly increasing rates of fossil-fuel use (as if there were no tomorrow) rather than a phasing in of renewable-energy alternatives. Both governments and business are culpable. Dunlop regards this as a crime against humanity.
Some fossil-fuel companies (for example, Total, BP and Chevron) are already investing, albeit on relatively small scales, in some of the many opportunities in renewable, non-polluting energy. Too few politicians and few, if any, coal company executives are doing likewise.
Much of the world's coal was formed during the 80-million year Carboniferous-Permian interval. This ended about 250 million years ago with the greatest climatic upheaval and mass extinction the world has experienced. Perhaps Mother Nature has a message in there for us.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Niceties of naval history
Commodore Norman Lee (Letters, May 30) stresses that the German warship Emden was not sunk but was run aground by her captain after her battle with HMAS Sydney. Surely, this is a fine distinction.
I have no naval experience but I suspect Emden was run aground precisely because she was on the verge of sinking and this action saved lives. It also enabled Sydney to salvage two of the guns from the Emden. One of them, a 104mm naval gun, stands in Hyde Park South in Sydney and is a trophy of war. I think the other is in the War Memorial in Canberra.
Robert Willson, Deakin
Added value in language
The new increase in rates in the ACT makes the term ''unimproved value'' even more unreasonable than it was before. It's time ''rateable value'' was used instead.
Beryl Richards, Curtin
NBN now bringing fibro to the home
A few days ago, the NBN shifted from being a celebratory ''fibre to the home'' flagship and became, instead, a ''fibro to the home'' proto-liability. Just how much of a liability will, I suspect, only become apparent in weeks and months to come.
In one respect we will be reaping the bitter harvest of the inevitably sordid worship of market forces.
Big, able and dignified organisations have lopped off their sturdy arms and legs and sold them to the highest bidder. Now, these buff and profitable corporate torsos find the fashionably hired help has replaced their once rhythmic, reassuring gait with a horrifying downhill derby in hastily assembled shopping trolleys (so to speak).
Devolution and outsourcing rather loses its lustrous patina when dozens (hundreds? thousands?) of Australians have to be listed in perpetuity on a register of the ''exposed''.
If something good can come of this fiasco-in-the-making, it may be that we will reflect appreciatively on a time - perhaps 30 years ago - when ''community charter'' had at least equal billing with a turbocharged ''bottom line''.
In practical terms, we are likely to see even the most heroic estimates of cost and chronology challenged, and some may already be wishing that every pit and pipe could be sealed over, replaced with a wireless and atmospheric 4G solution that lets the thousands of sleeping dogs lie.
Maybe it's not too late? How many lives is 100 megabits per second worth?
Ross Kelly, Monash
This week, opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull began a press conference expressing concern for the safety of people involved with the rollout of NBN Co's fibre-optic cables.
I was disgusted to hear him state, however, that one of the main reasons the opposition was against the government's broadband rollout to every house was the possible hazard posed by exposure to asbestos.
Why did Mr Turnbull not air this concern years before? The opposition must be condemned for taking such a repugnant position, playing politics with people's lives.
Michael Gardiner, Red Hill
TO THE POINT
POWER TO THE WORKERS
To cut deaths and injuries on building sites give building unions and their members the power to close down unsafe sites.
John Passant, Kambah
GREEN AS THE SNOW
An environmentally sustainable airport, Fiona Mueller (Letters, June 4)? Who's kidding whom?
John Bromhead, Rivett
Fiona Mueller (Letters, June 4) should know that cheap insults, such as ''resentful whingeing'', are not a convincing answer to critics of Terry Snow. A person who feeds the well-fed and passes the hungry by cannot expect to thread the eye of a needle.
David Roth, Kambah
BELL'S STILL CHIMING
Rest easy, Terry Levings (Letters, June 3) and other devotees of letter writer John ''JB'' Bell. He told me he is relocating to his own country (Melbourne) where he will sort out his beloved Bombers, the injustices of John Batman's conned victims, that scourge of leftie Laborite governments the DLP, and other worthy causes, probably submitted to the opposition (the Murdoch stable).
C. Lendon, Cook
SECRETS OF THE PAST
If Bradley Manning goes to jail for dealing in secrets, will there be a posthumous inquiry into the activities of of J. Edgar Hoover?
Gary Frances, Red Hill
PARKS AND RECREATION
The parliamentary triangle does not include the National Museum on the Acton Peninsula. Of all the institutions that attract interstate visitors, including my car passenger, this is the only one where I have not been able to park during the day. Visitors can park at all the other attractions if they wait five to 10 minutes and use shopping mall strategies. Omitting the museum leads to the question of whether paid parking is intended to help Australians visit national institutions or purely to raise revenue.
Ann Smith, Curtin
A POSITION OF DISTRUST
After reading about the fraud at CBA I can only conclude one thing: financial planners have replaced used car salesmen as the profession least trustworthy.
M. Pietersen, Kambah
Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson is quoted (''Seselja set for big campaign and even bigger clan'', June 4, p1) as saying Zed Seselja ''achieved a lot in the period he had been in the Legislative Assembly''. I am at a loss; could he please tell us what Seselja achieved for the ACT community?
Vic Adams, Reid
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