The weather would not be a major deterrent to public transport use if far more adequate and appealing forms of protection from our harsh seasonal extremes and the growing impacts of climate change were provided ("Numbers on light rail drop after free trial", June 11).
More shelter would encourage and assist passenger movements to and from transport modes and make more comfortable the extra waiting times now required for connections at transport nodes and the very exposed rail stops.
In addition the new Dickson Interchange is largely a concrete wasteland, with the nearest public toilet over 600m away. People need to wait at Dickson for connecting bus services whose frequency has not improved during the day, at night or on weekends and where cancellations have impacted adversely on those waiting. Many elsewhere are using bus stops that have no built or natural shelter.
Let's hope that many of the promised 17,000 trees for Canberra over the next four years will be planted and nurtured at and around bus stops, at major pedestrian crossings and intersections and along pathways, to help show that the government is prepared to support active travelers with practical, attractive and well-designed infrastructure, both green and man-made.
Sue Dyer, Downer
Pay Paul, don't rob Peter
Further to the excellent sense in Dennis Richardson's interview (June 11), surely it is more about providing services to rural and regional areas, rather than denuding Canberra of public servants.
Before John Howard was Prime Minister, the Commonwealth Employment Service was an excellent regional presence, which could also provide space for other government services. Substituting call centres for actual people neither provides adequate services, nor does it enable regional employment.
Instead of focusing on agencies that could be sent to the back blocks, the government should look at what services people in country areas need and consider how best to meet those needs.
Jennifer Bradley, Cook
Where do leaks come from?
Barnaby Joyce defends the actions of the Australian Federal Police in last week's raids on News Corp and ABC journalists, saying that the AFP was investigating the 'crimes' committed by the journalists' sources ("Joyce says media attack claims 'rubbish'", June 12, p10).
Mr Joyce is overlooking - or ignoring - the fact that, more often than not, the source of leaked confidential or secret information is within the government itself. These sources have shown many times that they have a preferred recipient of their leaks: News Corp journalists. Does Mr Joyce really want members of the government hauled before the courts and possibly thrown into jail for being loyal participants in the push to keep its actions hidden from the public?
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Railroaded on stadium
The suggestion by the Chief Minister that the Commonwealth forgive the $1 billion loan to enable the construction of a football stadium ("Andrew Barr's challenge to fast-track new stadium for Canberra", June 11, canberratimes.com.au) is an example of political sophistry.
Why would the Federal government forgive the debt given the financial irresponsibility of the ACT government in the provision of the Civic to Gungahlin light rail, assessed by the ACT Auditor General to have an extremely poor benefit to cost ratio of 0.6?
A new football stadium may have already been provided if funds had not been prioritized for light rail. Its provision needs to be assessed against the claims of other infrastructure including the extension of light rail/the provision a busway to Woden, increased social housing, new convention and theatre complexes and improvements to health, education and bus systems.
The provision of infrastructure should be based on evidence rather than rhetoric and ribbon cutting opportunities.
Mike Quirk, Garran
No good reason to rebuild
I was very interested to read Chris Dutton's full-page article on the GIO Canberra Stadium (June 11) but disagree with his views that the stadium is "out of date". The three reasons for his summation are "the lack of undercover seating", "the distance from the seats to the action" and "the isolated location".
Firstly, there is undercover seating for approximately 4000 people if that is what they wish. But not everyone wants to sit under cover on a beautiful sunny Canberra day or a starry night. While rain may be a factor on some occasions, those occasions are few and far between because the majority of matches throughout the year are played under clear conditions.
How did Mr Dutton come to the conclusion that there is too much distance from the seats to the action? I have seen rugby league, rugby and soccer games at the stadium and no seat is too far from the action. And as the stadium is rarely sold out then most people would have booked their seats closer to the action anyway.
Finally, Mr Dutton's summation that the Canberra Stadium is in an "isolated location" defies belief. The stadium is sitting in the middle of a heavily populated area between the suburbs of Belconnen and the city and inner suburbs. The Canberra Stadium is still a beautifully built and practical stadium and I can see no reason why it needs to be replaced.
Tony Falla, Ngunnawal
Vintage group just friends
In response to Christina Faulk (Letters, June 10) I ask is she seriously inferring that the Vintage Reds is a hot-bed of retirees plotting covert and subversive action in Canberra. For her information, Vintage Reds is a group of progressive people who come together once a month to listen to guest speakers who enlighten us on their field of expertise and/or experiences.
We share a lunch, engage in deep conversations on politics and happenings in Canberra and befriend like-minded souls. Given the current climate in Canberra, should we now fear that the AFP or ASIO will raid our meetings?
Lucille Rogers, Kingston
No Secrets Act here
Many APS officers erroneously believe that at some time they signed the "Official Secrets Act". There has never been an Australian "Official Secrets Act". Central to the AFP raids is the legislation relevant to the keeping and safeguard of sections 70 and 79 of the Crimes Act 1914. Section 70 refers to penalties for disclosure specifically by Commonwealth officers, and section 79 refers generally to the disclosure of official secrets. Australian Commonwealth officers sign an undertaking that they have read and understood the provisions of these sections.
The Official Secrets Act to which people often refer, is probably the legislation relevant to the United Kingdom, a popular point of reference in British television drama.
David Hewett-Lacon, Gowrie
An ideal for policing
As the proud father of a policewoman daughter recently retired after 33 three years of service, I thought that Canberrans, and our police in particular, might enjoy the following quote from August Vollmer (the first police chief in Berkley California) printed in Police and Modern Society in 1936.
"The citizen expects police officers to have the wisdom of Solomon, the courage of David, the strength of Samson, the patience of Job, the leadership of Moses, the kindness of Good Samaritans, the strategic training of Alexander, the faith of Daniel, the diplomacy of Lincoln, the tolerance of the carpenter of Nazareth and finally, an intimate knowledge of every branch of the natural, biological and social sciences."
David French, Macgregor
Bit rich to complain
It would appear that in his discussion with Senator Patrick, the Secretary of the Department of Home Affairs Mike Pezzullo articulated two matters of particular concern to him: (a) he was being attacked personally; and (b) he had limited right of reply. This revelation immediately took me back to 2014, when I was shocked to hear Mr Pezzullo refer to a Canberra Times journalist as a "bottom feeder".
Apart from all the other things wrong with a public servant using that kind of language, I thought it was a particularly personal attack without sufficient evidence to support the criticism. I also remembered that, at the time, Mr Pezzullo was making those remarks in a Senate Estimates hearing and therefore had the benefit of his words being covered by parliamentary privilege.
This meant that the subject of those remarks had limited recourse, had they wished to take the matter further. So, I find it astonishing that five years later Mr Pezzullo is now complaining about being attacked personally and about his limited right of reply.
TO THE POINT
ORWELLIAN HOME AFFAIRS
David Pope's contribution (June 12/6) prompts me to think that if George Orwell were alive and writing he would be overwhelmed by the richness of the topics and themes thrown up by the antics of the Department of Home Affairs.
Graeme Rankin, Holder
NOT WHAT YOU THINK
David Taylor (letters June 12) is totally wrong. Australia is not the democracy he believes it to be (think AFP raid of ABC offices). Nor are Cuba and China the dictatorships he believes them to be (China, under the communist party, is the most successful country in the world in lifting its people, over one billion, from poverty).
John Rodriguez, Florey
CREDIT WHERE IT'S DUE
I write to commend The Canberra Times editorial ("Tiananmen Anniversary is a Watershed", June 4) and the article by Michael Shoebridge "Why we can't live up to June 1989" (June 11). I recognize that the remarks of Marise Payne, as Shoebridge points out, were somewhat anaemic. Still, it must be recognized that the Australian government has done much to blunt the ever increasing influence in this country of the Tech giant, Huawei, which is so intimately connected with the Chinese government.
John Greenwell, Ainslie
WARDEN FROM AFAR
If Ian Warden moves to Cuba, as Donald Taylor has suggested in his letter ("Move to Cuba, Ian", June 12), we are going to miss Ian's "tunnel visioned pompous"column. However he could remain a columnist by sending reports back from Central America.
John Milne, Chapman
THEY'LL GET MY VOTE
ACT opposition leader Alastair Coe has promised the Liberals will cap residential rates (Friday June 7). I have never voted Liberal in my life, but on the basis of Alastair Coe's promises that the Liberals will cap rates and if they can, also reverse the decision the Labor and Greens have made in regard to the Cannabis Bill, they will get my vote.
J. Bodsworth, Phillip
HOW LABOR LOST
Craig McGill's letter ("Punish whistleblowers", June 10) shows a person with an obsessive addiction to self-punishment and blind acceptance of politicians dishonesty. But it has helped me to understand how Labor lost the unloseable election.
John Rodriguez, Florey
FULL LIST PLEASE
Who decided that, as an ACT resident and reader of The Canberra Times, I would only be interested in knowing about the ACT and NSW recipients of Queen's Birthday awards? (Monday, June 10). I was very disappointed not to see the full national listing. Please restore the full list next time so all recipients can get the recognition they deserve.
Cathy Clutton, Weston
FINE REASON TO TOAST
On Friday my wife and I took the light rail. It appeared to me that there were a number of people not tapping on/off and I commented that the day I see a ticket inspector we would crack a bottle of bubbles. Lo and behold on the return trip that afternoon an inspector boarded and checked our cards. So on a lovely sunny Canberra afternoon we sat in the garden and cracked a cold bottle of bubbles and toasted TC and the ticket inspector.
John Nothdurft, Giralang
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