Having recently returned to Canberra after an absence of 15 years, I was fascinated by the public art pieces now scattered around the landscape.
Those I have seen, I believe, demean a city which used to project dignity and thoughtful intelligence.
The Owl, on Benjamin Way, seems a strange choice, but if it is to be displayed, surely a more appropriate place for this symbol of wisdom, might be to place it in the Parliament Circle or perhaps even more appropriately, in one of the University zones?
The cluster of scattered metal girders on Gungahlin Drive looks like a cluster of scattered metal girders. Are they meant to symbolise chaos ? Their haphazard placement certainly might suggest this.
Another strange choice is the yellow and orange creature on Drakeford Drive. Is it some sort of crawling insect like a mantis or some other species? Hard to tell really. And the question, whatever it is, must be "Why?"
None of these examples seems to speak of serious artistic endeavour and, consequently, I feel they demean the city of Canberra. The owl for example is simply a large block of stone. The wonderful texture of this bird's body, and the inquisitive head with penetrating eyes, is ignored.
Where is the artistic endeavour here ?
Hopefully these three particular displays are on a limited exhibition !
Elizabeth Blackmore, Holt
It's taken a while
Are the Reserve Bank and the Grattan Institute only now, a decade on, studiously discovering the systemic perversion of migration policy which the 457 visa scheme quickly and notoriously became in tick-box self-regulated Australia?
It was soon an open secret that the only reason for regarding dangerously non-English-speaking labourers or tilers as specially skilled and needed on our building sites was their acceptance of low wages. Or that the only reason for suddenly having entire wards of Filipino or Sub-Saharan nurses on duty in hospitals, when countless new Australian training schools were pumping out our own, was their willingness to make no trouble, on pain of deportation, over wages and conditions.
A Nobel Prize for Economics to these august analysts for discovering that only profitable opportunism operates in post-Howard Australia.
Alex Mattea, Sydney, NSW
Cannabis can harm
Cannabis was declared a prohibited drug by the League of Nations in 1925 on the basis of major harms enunciated by the Egyptian delegate, Mr El Guindy, at the Geneva Convention on drugs that year.
Cannabis was legalised in Colorado in 2012. Over a four year period Colorado added 326,000 new frequent cannabis users in a state of 5.5 million, opening each up to the psychosis, violence, suicide and other harms that cannabis brings. If Australians think our cannabis-related road fatalities are too high today, in Colorado they rose 62 per cent in the first two years after legalisation and cannabis-related hospitalisations rose from 6,715 to 11,439 in the same period.
Until today, there have been 40,000 scientific studies on cannabis. Its harms are many. They include psychosis, schizophrenia, violence and aggression, strong links to alcohol use disorder, depression, suicidal ideation, suicide, amotivational syndrome, adversely affected verbal learning and organisational skills, loss of coordination, memory loss, attention problems, drugged driving accidents and deaths, miscarriages, lower fertility, gastroschisis in babies, adverse cognition and motor functions, bronchitis, testicular cancer, and heart attack.
Against this background, no ACT government MLA can present cannabis legalisation as acceptable within its policy of harm minimisation.
Colliss Parrett, Barton
Howard Duffy (Letters, August 3) complained that Minister Gentleman did not approve the re-development plans for the Services Club in Manuka.
The proponent's application was just to remove the concessional status on the site. No plans were available, at least in the public domain, to show how the site would be re-developed.
The legislation requires the Minister to decide whether removing the concessional lease would be in the public interest. Without knowing what the plans are after the concession has been removed, he is no position to assess whether the application is in the public interest.
Consequently, Minister Gentleman's decision was correct.
David Denham, Griffith
Scomo out of touch
Scott Morrison thinks he understands the mood of the silent majority yet he is so frequently found to be sitting stubbornly on the wrong side of the fence.
This is the man who abstained from supporting the marriage equality bill despite overwhelming public support including a 55 per cent yes vote in his own electorate. This is the man who childishly brandished a lump of coal in Parliament.
This is the man who fought tooth and nail to protect the big banks from a banking royal commission. And now he is taking a fixed stance against raising the pitifully inadequate Newstart allowance.
Morrison's presidential style election victory has no doubt imbued him with an arrogance of self confidence but how often can one person be wrong on so many important national issues and still retain support?
Keith Hill, Isaacs
Chevrons can work
I travelled to Kambah along Tuggeranong Parkway last week and experienced the chevrons that have been painted on the out and back lanes on the way into Kambah and just after the Cotter Road overpass on the way to the city.
I've seen chevrons on roads elsewhere in Australia and in Europe. They are a good idea given so many Canberra drivers are hell bent on driving at speed too close to the car in front. That said, the chevrons on the parkway are dangerous.
There's just too many of them and they are too distracting at 100 km/h. They are almost hypnotic in the way they draw the driver's eyes to them rather than to what is happening on the road.
I have read they are meant to give the driver a good idea of how far it takes to pull up at 100 km/h - about 92 metres. If that is the case then whey are they just 46 metres apart?
The chevrons on the parkway are dangerous. There's just too many of them and they are too distracting at 100 km/h. Why not remove every second one?Chris Carder, Spence
Why not remove every second one? Less distraction and an accurate and scary indication of how far it would take to stop at speed.
Chris Carder, Spence
Nuclear is viable
Minister Taylor's review into nuclear power implies the government accepts the need to move to low-carbon power, but has concerns about being the first country to plan for total reliance on renewables.
Douglas Mackenzie ("More questions over nuclear", Letters, August 12) discussed my letter (August 9) about this review. Based on figures he quoted for their costs and limited generation capacities, he doubts a convincing business case can be made for small modular reactors (SMR), which I supported as the main focus of the review. I maintain this is far from a foregone conclusion.
SMRs have attracted considerable international attention recently because they offer the advantages of relatively few location restrictions, the capacity to increase outputs as required by adding modules, manufacture at dedicated factories, easy transport of components to site, and suitability for discrete regional power grids. But they are only now starting to be deployed; the first three in China, Russia and Argentina. So economies of scale have not yet been realised.
Australia can learn from, and draw on, the UK's strategic approach to achieve low-carbon power generation. Rolls Royce is leading the largest ever national engineering and manufacturing collaboration in the UK to develop an affordable SMR. The consortium is taking a modular approach to lower the cost of electricity as far as practically possible, whilst making sure the technology is safe.
Ian Lambert, Garran
Watch and learn
For those who don't believe that we are living in dire times when it comes to the environmental future of our beautiful planet, I recommend to you a program on ABC iView called Climate Change - The Facts. This should be compulsory viewing for every person in Australia, indeed the world.
The facts about climate change are set out by scientific experts and the environmental impacts that are happening now and will continue to happen make for grim viewing. So why is the Coalition still advocating for the burning of fossil fuels and the opening of mega coal mines in Queensland?
We have a government that doesn't believe in climate change. Or is it just that they have too much invested in keeping things the way they are?
What a sorry world we live in when we have the opportunity to do something but those in power deny there is a problem.
My grandchildren, aged nine and five, will have to live in a world vastly different to what we have now.
We need to start taking this seriously.
Barbara Godfrey, Lyneham
Re Mike Pezullo's view the leaker of a top secret document should go to jail. Discussion of the issue would benefit from the answers to three questions: Was the subject matter of public interest ? Was the document appropriately classified? What actual harm to Australia's national security arose from the disclosure?
Peter Grabosky, Forrest
FEEL THE LOVE
Christopher Smith (Letters, August 15) lauds Scott Morrison's criticism of "unfunded empathy". How does he feel about Morrison's more than doubling government debt since the LNP took over? Or is that "funded empathy"?
Roger Terry, Kingston
HOW ABOUT A WAR?
Two of the world's significant powers, India and Pakistan, are locked into an extremely dangerous confrontation over Kashmir. Both are nuclear armed. Is the Australian government waiting for its orders from the USA as to whether we get involved or not? The motivation? They both play cricket and we haven't been part of an American war for some months. Let's do it.
Rex Williams, Springwood, NSW
LONG WAY ROUND
I didn't see anything in the media regarding the apparent world record attempt for using the greatest number of road markers on an avenue (Northbourne) but surely this one couldn't be beaten. Also, spotted at the Flemington Rd roadworks; a sign that read "Mapleton St closed, detour via Nullabor".
Anthony Bruce, Gordon
THINK IT THROUGH
While police are only doing their job by fining the people who don't wait for the green when crossing Northbourne Avenue the fact is the Civic Bus Exchange is now spread on both sides of the road. The pedestrian signals need to be be adjusted so have sufficient time to walk the full width of Northbourne on one green. Otherwise it can take seven minutes.
Chris Emery, Reid
LET'S DO IT
Milk crates should be standard issue for all police?
Howard Ubey, Canberra
BISHOPS IN ERROR
Don't Australia's Catholic bishops realise a refusal to reveal admissions of child sexual abuse made during confession will be looked on askance by the Catholic rank-and-file? They must be in a time-warp if they haven't realised this is not the pre-1950's when the average person was relatively uneducated and docilely accepted the idea that "father knows best".
Phyllis Vespucci, Reservoir, Vic
I agree with Israel Folau's solicitor George Haros that an apology would come a long way in resolving the dispute between Israel and Rugby Australia. Israel should apologise to his team mates, his club, the fans and Rugby Australia for signing a contract incorporating a standard of behaviour that he had no intention of abiding by.
Dallas Stow, O'Connor
IT WILL END IN TEARS
Hong Kong is part of China. Nobody will intervene if Beijing uses force to bring a rebellious Hong Kong into line. Dissent is a no-no in Communist China. Witness the Tiananmen Square massacre. Beijing will not allow its authority to be undermined.
Michael J Gamble, Belmont, Victoria
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