Just before lunchtime on Wednesday, June 12 I was second in line buying some creamy cakes in the Erindale Centre. The lady before me was selecting a delectable variety from the showcase, enough for probably 12 or more people. I remarked with humour that she should have a lovely afternoon tea getting through her purchase; there were others who would share she explained.
I was about to pay for my simple two selections when she asked the sales lady to include my purchase on her bill, which happened despite my having the money in my hand ready to pay.
She insisted and so it happened, an unexpected generous offer. What a wonderful world it would be if this lady's generosity was demonstrated by all mankind. It brought a tear to this older senior citizen's eyes.
Martin Devine, Macarthur
Stick to your priorities
Yet again, our rates and land taxes have increased by large margins while we are required to send 'Fix My Street' requests for what should be general maintenance in our suburbs. After many months, our last request was not addressed so my husband performed the work himself at great risk of injury.Now we have other requests outstanding to fix broken and rusted storm drains in Macquarie and a plea for street sweeping, already weeks overdue according to the ACT Government calendar.
Our drains are choking in leaves and debris and footpath and street maintenance is now non-existent. Why are we talking about an expensive new stadium when the ACT Government can't look after the infrastructure it's already got?
Canberra's suburban maintenance is deteriorating further year on year and we are paying more and more for the privilege. ACT Government, please address the real issues affecting Canberra's residents and stop looking for big-ticket, ribbon-cutting exercises. It's about priorities.
Alison Chapple, Macquarie
Rates increase hard to bear
We received the news via The Canberra Times that our rates will increase by an average of seven per cent. Based on our current rates that will be an increase of $14.55 per month. We live on a Centrelink pension of $1,394.40 per month and the rates will be 11.81% of that amount after the concession is applied. The increase represents 1.04 per cent of our monthly income and 67.69 per cent of our monthly surplus. Our current surplus of $21.50 does not include any money for entertainment except for the internet.
Unless the ACT government increases the rates concession we get to cover the rates increase, we will be substantially worse off.We understand the increase is to cover the expense of light rail from which we get no benefit. It seems the Government is following some financial institutions and charging a fee for NO service.
Peter Masson, McKellar
Is hydrogen really the answer?
Despite all the recent expressions of enthusiasm for a hydrogen-powered motoring future, little has been said about how to obtain the hydrogen in the first place.
Not being a chemist, I have to tread warily here, but I believe that, conventionally, hydrogen is produced through electrolysis of water, which needs a lot of electricity. Natural gas is mainly methane (CH4) and maybe this is where the hydrogen is going to come from. But the combined carbon would need to be disposed of, and breaking down the methane to release the hydrogen would presumably involve a considerable energy input.
Given these apparent energy costs, can the hydrogen enthusiasts explain why hydrogen power for cars and trucks is a better bet, overall, than simply battery-powered electricity?
Sandy Paine, Griffith
Veteran care isn't taken seriously
It is disappointing, but not surprising, that the Australian Government is disinclined to appoint a Royal Commission into self-harm by ex-service men and women. It is both surprising and disappointing that the Government appears unable even to specify the extent of that harm.
Governments have been all too willing to expose members of our defence force to risk in unnecessary and futile conflicts in far off places, at great financial and human cost.
If the Government were truly concerned about the well-being of defence personnel, it would not send them into needless conflicts in the first place. Having done just that, the Government should at least do what it can to repair the damage that it has overseen. It is somewhat ironic that the current Government that can afford to invest half a billion dollars in enlarging the War Memorial, while appearing to skimp on the rehabilitation of veterans.
Peter Grabosky, Forrest
The way to avoid conflict
Indeed, we must pay heed to the warnings of Leonard Blazeby ("We need to talk about conflict and climate change", June 12). The Melbourne-based think-tank, Breakthrough, issued a report recently on this very issue (Existential climate-related risk, by David Spratt and Ian Dunlop), using a scenario-based approach. In the 2050 scenario, a world that is 3 degrees C warmer than pre-industrial levels, they write:
"Most regions in the world see a significant drop in food production and increasing numbers of extreme weather events, including heat waves, floods and storms. Food production is inadequate to feed the global population and food prices skyrocket, as a consequence of a one-fifth decline in crop yields, a decline in the nutrition content of food crops, a catastrophic decline in insect populations, desertification, monsoon failure and chronic water shortages, and conditions too hot for human habitation in significant food-growing regions."
This, surely, is a recipe for conflict. if we are avoid such a future, we need an urgent and collective response to climate change, as Blazeby says.
Jenny Goldie, Cooma
Mass media should aim up
While I can't go all the way in agreeing with Nicholas Stuart about the place of mass media in a healthy society ("Picky news audiences are changing society", June 12), I will say that it could play a part, providing the media is first healthy itself.
Far from setting this condition, however, Nicholas' uncritical attitude toward journalism is precisely what's creating issues at large: the assumption that the subject is fine, and that the problem lies somewhere else. If the mass media can buck this trend and face up to its many difficulties, it could indeed be something worth defending; but so long as it continues on the path that it's on, it can only be part of the problem.
I can hear alarm bells ringing around the recent ABC raids, too, but to act as though the media isn't a threat in itself, is why people are now leaving it in droves. Much ground therefore needs to be made up before the media becomes a pillar of society.
Vasily Martin, Queanbeyan
Who are the peasants?
For Mr. Jack Palmer's information, concerning lack of government investment in fast trains (Letters, June 12), I am one 'peasant' that is very much against the travesty that is light rail in Canberra.
However, in respect of fast trains, in 1990 I was directly involved with one of the major companies in the consortium to build the Very Fast Train, Sydney-Canberra, until the Labor government of Messrs. Hawke and Keating flatly refused to subsidise the line in any way, upon which the consortium promptly pulled up stumps.
I guess that made Hawke and Keating 'peasants' too! So, who is the peasant Mr Palmer?
M. Silex, Erindale
Too many eggs in one basket
We have to admire the ingenuity of manufacturers in turning the humble mobile phone into a 'Hold All'. Now our phone contains our lists of contacts (complete with photos) our banking details, our music & videos. It is also our wallet, our camera, our GPS, our internet, to name a few.
Then there are all the apps, one for every occasion, bus timetable, medical appointments, pizza delivery, online shopping, etc. Now if we think of our phone as a basket and all the contents as eggs, we have an awful lot of eggs in our basket. What happens if we drop or lose this device?
To my mind the Ancient Wisdom still rings true: "Don't put all your eggs in one basket".
Brian Hanvin, Charnwood
Of course someone knew
For the multitude of public servants who work, or have worked, at EL/SES level it's inconceivable that the Government didn't know about the AFP raids on the Daily Telegraph journalist and the ABC. So much time is taken up briefing ministers, sometimes on an almost hourly basis, about the slightest issue that might possibly annoy or embarrass them, that it stretched credibility to believe they didn't know.
We know how the system works; a quick call to the Ministers office, a few cryptic sentences - not too specific - and the message gets through. Using the AFP, and its acquiescence, as a tool to intimidate and the Government's half-truths and denials are deceitful, transparent and morally reprehensible.
Colin Smeal, Holder
ENLIGHTEN SOME VISITORS
I recently visited Sydney and toured around Circular Quay and the Botanic Gardens for Vivid. It is an amazing spectacle: the Harbour Bridge outlined in moving colour, the Opera House with ever-changing fractal Waratahs busy on its sails. But I have to say I still love Enlighten more. It's easier to get around, and there's more building projections and less focus on individual art displays and sculptures. Sydneysiders should come down and be Enlightened some time.
Paul Wayper, Cook.
PM, LOOK TO YOUR OWN
While Scott Morrison is quick to jump on the usual Coalition band-wagon of "union thugs", he needs look to thugs in his own coterie who would deny climate change, rort public funds, and condemn Australia's least able to poverty ('Albanese wants Setka expelled from the ALP', June 12).
Albert M. White, Queanbeyan
A RELIEF FOR SOME
Sue Dyer (letters June 13) points out the nearest public toilet to the Dickson interchange is over 600m away. Her hope that "trees ... will be planted and nurtured at and around bus stops" will come as a relief to some.
Richard Dunworth, Spence
NOT FIT TO LEAD
I thank Murray May (Comment CT 12 June) for his suggestion that it was time to get rid of the current ACT government. Unfortunately Murray did not suggest an alternative and that on offer in the ranks of the ACT Liberal Opposition are certainly not fit or mature enough to assume the government role.
Roger Terry, Kingston
Like 'Seketree', the union movement is famous for the generation of new words. The addition of 'Misconscrewed' has just been cast into the lexicon as part of the latest on-air controversy. To put it into a sentence. 'John Setka and his words have just been misconscrewed'.
Howard Styles, Kingston
A DOPEY PLAN
So the government is considering legalising cannabis. In my view, amongst other things, this will just lead to more impaired drivers on the road, not good news to this motorcyclist. However, whether this goes ahead, I would like to see any defence counsel, representing a driver who has been caught driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, and offering this has a mitigating factor get a share in whatever sentence the accused receives.
Kim Fitzgerald, Deakin
Today, for the third time in two weeks, I received a paper copy of the Individual's Tax Return. Each time, I requested the return for 2019: each time, I was sent the 2017 copy. No apology for being left with the inconvenience. Accuracy, anyone?
Ross Kingham, Civic
I have wondered for quite a while why are the traffic lights on Northbourne Ave are so uncoordinated. It seems all one does is watch the lights turn green then the next set turn red before one gets there. Is the anything ACT roads can do about this? Also I have noticed recently workers seem to be able to park their vehicles in one lane, put traffic cones around and completely close a lane. Is this legal?
Stephen Sherlock, Charnwood
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