There has been - and rightly so - a lot of publicity about the loss in the High Court challenge by Michaela Banerji. Regardless of whether or not you agree or disagree with the decision, it is the decision of the the highest court in the land and we have to accept it. There has also been mention of the high personal costs to Ms Banerji because costs were awarded against her.
Even though she lost, she has made it very plain that she was not only arguing for herself, but for all public servants. Considering the costs, maybe all those who agree with her should get together and start a Go Fund Me page - like what was started for Israel Folau - and raise money to help Ms Banerji meet some of the costs. Without help she certainly could be poor for the rest of her life.
Geoff Barker, Flynn
So, that loyal and erudite Australian Minister Peter Dutton says: "We're not going to have people who are involved in running political campaigns whilst they are employed by the Australian taxpayer." ("Michaela Banerji High Court ruling a lesson for public servants: Peter Dutton", August 9, p4). Look in the mirror, sunshine - who pays you?
Ashley Stanley, Kianga, NSW
Justice's comments refreshing
It is with welcome ears we heard Kenneth Hayne's commentary on current government performance - or rather, the lack of it - with regard to action on banking maleficence and absence of federal policy on several issues. Truth rather than spin at last! His comments are welcome given the current intimidation of press freedom and clamp down on public servants speaking out. Mr Hayne has been an eminent judge and is not constrained by government ties; all credit to him for his objective contribution.
Colin Handley, Lyneham
Time to act on climate
Farmers for Climate Action want a national strategy on climate change and agriculture ("Fed govt brushes off UN climate report", canberratimes.com.au, August 9) and the Commonwealth Bank warned this week that climate change could slash farm productivity and profitability. How long will it be before the federal cabinet shows epiphanous acceptance of climate science and discards its defensive and mealy-mouthed positions whenever the need for hard action is raised?
Sue Dyer, Downer
Nature strip plants a legal obstacle
The function of nature strips is to provide a safe off-road public space for pedestrians, clearer vision of the surrounds for drivers, and a clear uniform visual set back to an assortment of individual gardens. They were not intended to provide free land for adjacent lessees gardens and bollards.
The new guidelines for plants and structures on nature strips ("Canberrans can now grow plants on nature strips", August 9) pose some legal liability questions. Nature strips are not part of a lease. They are public land and accessible to the public. They also provide space for people to walk safely off roads. What happens if someone is hit by a car because they couldn't walk on the nature strip?
[Nature strips] provide space for people to walk safely off roads. What happens if someone is hit by a car because they couldn't walk on [one]?Gina Pinkas, Aranda
If someone injures themselves on an obstacle put there by the adjacent lease owner, or anyone else for that matter, who is liable? Is it the owner of the land, so the government? If I am injured by a tree branch on a nature strip falling under current legal provisions, I might take action against the government for not safely maintaining the tree on its land. Would items approved under a government guideline on public land increase legal liability of the land owner, the ACT government?
Gina Pinkas, Aranda
Just wait for the southern leg
Herman van der Brug (Letters, August 9) notes that the tram hasn't reduced congestion on the roads, which was one of its key objectives. Many other letters to the editor have said that tram travel from the north is actually slower and less convenient, apart from the few who live near the tram stops. But he nevertheless suggests that it is time to extend the tram - to increase its usefulness, he says. It is the opposite way around. The Gungahlin tram is the least bad leg of all and building the tram to the south is simply putting more good money after bad. It is so bad that the government won't release its business case, if it has one. It has to build it for political reasons (the Greens) but doesn't have a rationale beyond that.
The auditor-general estimates the benefit cost ration for the northern leg is $0.47, as in, we will get 47 cents back for every dollar spent. The southern leg will be worse, especially given the costs associated with crossing the lake. The benefits will be less, as there is already an excellent express bus service from Woden to the city. If we build this and later stages, we will all end up as peasants, to use Jack Palmer's word, because there wont be any money left.
Stan Marks, Hawker
Humans the real predators
Philip Machin (Letters, August 7) is quite right that Canberra's kangaroos most certainly do have predators. Studies have shown that 50 per cent of kangaroo joeys are taken by foxes.
The vast majority of young animals of any wild species are taken by predators. Cats take fox cubs, foxes take kittens, the larger birds of prey take both, and all of them take rabbit, rodent and marsupial young.
Most animal species have evolved to bear considerably more young in their lives than are needed to replace the parents. Sad as this is for billions of babies and parent animals, we have to accept - in theory at least - that without predators, most species really would overpopulate and starve.
However, left to do their ecological jobs, predators and prey will generally end up in equilibrium. The predators, along with food availability, regulate the prey population while the availability of prey regulates the predator population.
All species become extinct eventually but, in past epochs, the changes have been gradual enough for new species to evolve to replace them. That is not what is happening in the world today. Humans are directly responsible for the current extinction crisis, through habitat destruction, human hunting, poisoning, motorised vehicles and climate change. These extinctions are neither natural nor gradual.
Killing tens of thousands more native animals and pretending it will somehow fix the problem is just guaranteeing at least one more extinction.
Frankie Seymour, Queanbeyan
Nothing to lose
Tony Abbott has nothing to lose ("Abortion law reform is inhuman: Abbott", canberratimes.com.au, August 9) after losing his prime ministership and his seat in parliament. His new agenda amplifies extreme ring wing views as if they are normal and mainstream. His speech at the unspeakable right wing conference in Sydney was divisive and inflammatory. He can now hang out with his right wing friends with impunity. Australia must do better than this 'gang of Abbott', whose views should be treated with the contempt they deserve.
E. R. Moffat, Weston
What's the fuss over the international influences on the radical right conference in Sydney over the weekend? The long-time most extreme speakers and groups in attendance were home-grown, consistent with Australia's contemporary entrenchment at the far end of the loony ideological political-economic spectrum. Sky News needs no tips from Fox News, oddly enough operated by the same mogul. It's like taking coal to Newcastle - though admittedly, you can never have enough coal.
The only aspect of the conference that should have raised eyebrows was its fraudulent name, the Conservative Political Action Conference - radical right ideology being antithetical to actual conservatism.
Alex Mattea, Sydney
Pope offers rare view
It's not often that a Pope gets to depict a Minister of the Word turned Minister of the Crown as the first law officer of the fictional Geocontham (Editorial cartoon, August 9).
Alison Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW
Smallest, hardest clue
Having used it a few times before today, the setter of The Smallest Hardest Crossword (August 9) must like the clue "(Chem) symbol for nielsbohrium (2)" but it should have the additional clue, (obs). It was suggested for element 105, now called dubnium (Db), and element 107, now called bohrium (Bh).
JF Simmons, Kambah
Australia on call
It is rumoured the US could be considering major military operations using mercenary armies.
Based on past activities, Australia is now being seen as little more than such a military force-for-sale, always willing to get involved in undeclared and illegal wars thousands of miles away; wars that do not even threaten Australia.
Because the US has changed beyond all recognition in the past 20 years, Australia now represents nothing more than a willing, always available US-controlled lapdog.
Rex Williams, Springwood, NSW
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