As I read the article "Bashed man's plea to remit jail sentence" (August 3, p8) l felt a growing sense of shame that we in the ACT treat prisoners like animals. "Locked in their cells during the staff lunch break". Hasn't the AMC heard of rosters? Inmates do not need to be "locked up" so the carers can eat.
And then obviously no thought is given to who goes where. Just throw them in, lock them up, and go eat. The victim in the article was a first time inmate with good behaviour and due for release in a matter of weeks. So he is locked up, in a cell designed for one person, with a repeat offender of violence, who is known to have mental health issues. That certainly shows an absolute lack of any consideration of who goes where.
As a result of the unprovoked violent attack the victim suffered extensive brain damage, requiring an extended period in hospital, and now suffers post traumatic stress.
That's great for someone who was in a place that supposedly cared for its inmates, with an emphasis on rehabilitation. This person has had his life virtually ruined, because of the "care" given by our ACT jail. The jail has been found to have breached human right laws.
I am also disgusted with the response of the ACT Attorney-General, when presented with a request to have the remaining six weeks of the victim's sentence waived because of the harm inflicted on him by the AMC, and his need for on going special care.
The A-G has shut down the request because he says the usual reason for granting early release is "good behaviour!".
Is he suggesting the victim was not of good behaviour while locked in cells, and lying in his hospital bed for up to seven months trying to regain his health, which was severely hampered with because of the failure of the AMC to adequately care for him.
Maybe we could approach the Goulburn jail and transfer some of our longer term inmates there to ease the overcrowding. Another very simple thing is to ensure those with mental health issues should not be just thrown into cells like animals.
They should be housed in facilities where they are fully supervised at all times with proper health professionals supervising.
Geoff Barker, Flynn
Last week the Master Builders' Association lauded the ACT government for being proactive in shutting down numerous dodgy building sites in Taylor despite the government only seeming to act after receiving public complaints about building practices in that new suburb.
Yet the rectification costs and poor compensation outlooks relating to defects, including for high-risk combustible cladding, that plague ACT apartment owners in particular, are only expected to intensify over time as more inspections, surveys and assessments take place ("ACT's $260m defect bill", canberratimes.com.au, August 20).
Perhaps the MBA can offer hefty rewards to vigilant and knowledgeable volunteer watchdogs when they alert the government's building inspectorate to questionable, illegal and other non-compliant practices that are whispered about, readily deduced or visible to even a slightly trained or expert eye, and that prove to have substance.
Consumers currently have no evidence that the government's resources are able to monitor building quality and compliance and issue building site shut-down notices in a thorough and comprehensive way, as well as ensure satisfactory remediation work.
Simply learning of intermittent inspection blitzes in some locations would not reassure sufficiently those who wish to purchase a new house or apartment.
Unfortunately the secrecy surrounding the perpetrators also does not help future home buyers who, following the ACT government's acknowledgement earlier this year of the often severe personal and financial impacts linked to the exposure of widespread building defects, have been strongly encouraged to undertake much research into the quality and construction history of a new residential building before purchase.
Sue Dyer, Downer
The news that a refugee family with a sick father have been allowed to remain in Australia is a wonderful story, but the fact that the Tamil family from Biloela have been refused the opportunity to make further appeals to have their application to remain heard really disturbs me.
We learnt a few weeks ago that the younger (Australian-born) child had to have many of her teeth removed at the age of three due to the poor nutrition in the detention centre.
I cannot imagine how little Tharunicaa will be able to get the treatment she will need over the years if they are returned to Sri Lanka.
There are innumerable reasons this family should be allowed to remain. They left Sri Lanka because of the risk to their lives due to their ethnic connections, and had been in Australia for five years, met each other, married, settled in Biloela where the husband was employed at the local abattoir (positions notoriously difficult to fill in country areas), had two little girls and became valued members of that community. They are exactly the kinds of migrants we need in this country: prepared to go to regional areas with job vacancies, and become part of the community.
The reasons for the government's refusal are so unclear as to appear to be simple intransigence.
Remember: the two children are Australian. They were born in Biloela. Until they were forced to remain in detention for over a year, they were in good health. Tharunicaa's health problems arose as a direct result of their detention. Her health cannot be considered a reason for refusing them residency.
I would urge everyone with a heart to join the protest against their deportation by signing the Change.org petition.
Margaret Lee, Hawker
Liberals to blame
Tim Field (Letters, August 22) has concerns over the previous lack of action to curb building defects in Canberra. However he blames the wrong culprits. It was a Liberal government in 1995 which sent us down the path to shoddy buildings by copying New South Wales and privatising building certification. It was part of the neo liberal plot to privatise many government services at the time.
When Labor was elected in 2001 its platform included reintroducing public building inspection. This was blocked by commercial matters, including the need to accommodate private certifiers. Labor did, however, introduce the first Building Warranty Scheme.
It was part of the neo liberal plot to privatise many government services at the time.Gina Pinkas, Aranda
Yes the chain has been dragged and Labor did not act quickly enough to fix the problems caused by the Liberal legacy. Under minister Gordon Ramsay it is now clamping down on shoddy builders.
One way to avoid building quality being subject to fluctuating budget whims is to establish a building board which is funded through development applications and any fines from non compliance. That way the industry pays for itself, compliance is independent of government budgets and any assessments associated with developments, such as heritage, can be funded independently from other budgets such as heritage list registrations.
Gina Pinkas, Aranda
Master plan needed
John Mungoven rightly brings to our attention the "fiasco" regarding the development of the Molonglo Valley (Letters, August 22).
It is indeed sad that these, only-too-frequent planning debacles, demonstrate, together with the appalling road congestion, the Barr government's persistent refusal to produce a proper master plan for Canberra.
If this matter is not urgently attended to the current shambles that pervades this city will only worsen the problem; as will building a tram to Woden.
It is surely time for the Liberal Party to "step into the breach".
Murray Upton, Belconnen
The two towers
A significant failure of development control is becoming increasingly obvious in west Belconnen.
Towers for a new high-tension power-line across Ginninderry, adjacent to and parallel to an existing power line, are so high and starkly silver-white in colour, that they stand in stark contrast against the Brindabellas.
In the views from parts of Latham and Flynn, particularly but not only in the early mornings and afternoons, they thrust far above the tree-tops, appearing at times as if they are white towers almost half the height of the mountain range behind. Yet the towers for the adjacent high-tension power line are invisible in the tree-scape. Why must the new towers be so much higher than the towers of the adjacent power line?
Why were Belconnen residents not warned of this development and given the option to object?
Bruce Wright, Latham
Bus service disgrace
I have an elderly, unwell sister in law whose son has been in hospital for over six weeks. She walks over a kilometre to catch a bus to the hospital.
Before the changes a bus pretty much ran past her house. The powers that be removed the number 4 which not only stopped going to Woden but was redirected down streets that do not have bus stops.
Waiting over two hours for a bus on weekends, expecting the elderly to walk long distances to stops and then to sit on buses that go round in circles is an absolute disgrace.
Joseph Italiano, Red Hill
There's a simple solution to the bodyline bowling which caused Smith's injury. If a bowl rises above shoulder height the umpire calls "wide" and the bowler's team gives away a run and has to repeat it. Easy to do right now, no argument, quibbling or delay.
Neville Lindsay, Sinnamon Park, Qld
BUY HONG KONG DONALD
Greenland no, but maybe Donald Trump could buy Hong Kong?
Allan McFarlane, Garran
ALL THE WAY WITH USA
Off we go again, carrying the USA's bags, this time in the Strait of Hormuz. From our subservient PM: "The United States is pulling this together, but it's also the UK's view that this provides the opportunity for others to be involved in a multi-national engagement". The more the merrier. This is the same UK then that sent commandos illegally on to an oil tanker on July 4.
Rex Williams, Springwood, NSW
NOT OUR PROBLEM
Freedom of navigation is not Australia's problem. Let America sort it out. We don't need petrol or overseas markets for our exports ... do we? The security of international trade is just as much a global issue as climate change.
N Ellis, Belconnen
Every time Australia falls into line with the United States on some ill-advised and dangerous venture we confirm Australia is the next large US state beyond El Paso. This was how we were seen by LBJ in the 1960s. Nothing much has changed in more than 50 years.
David Stephens, Bruce
FEDERAL ICAC NOW
The Pell verdict has many boasting about how the system works and saying nobody is above the law. That's why federal Coalition politicians, who are well aware of this principle, realise the only way to get away with blue murder in office is to have no system and no applicable law. It's also why we don't have a federal ICAC.
Alex Mattea, Sydney, NSW
JONES STRIKES AGAIN
Looks like Alan Jones has claimed another victim following the booting of Tim from the breakfast table ("Radio personality Tim Shaw leaves 2CC", canberratimes.com.au, August 22). Maybe Demtel's making a come back and the steak knives will be out.
Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW
CHANGE OF HEART
China's communist party is urging its citizens in Australia to protest. Will they now extend that right and urge citizens in Hong Kong and mainland China to do the same? Has Xi Jinping seen the light?
Jon Jovanovic, Lenah Valley, Tas
NO WIN, NO FEE
Wouldn't it be great if Bret Walker, SC, George Pell's appeal lawyer, worked under a "no win no fee" arrangement. Tens of thousands of dollars could then be directed towards compensating victims of childhood sexual abuse.
Struan Robertson, Wanniassa
HERE'S AN IDEA
How about we get the individuals who put together the new bus timetable to catch public transport for one month and then see how quickly they change it.
H Stournaras, Scullin
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