The ACT Human Rights Commission's claims about the impact of the proposed Religious Discrimination Act ("Bill poses risk of discrimination masked as belief", October 9, p9) are so far from reality they raise serious questions about the commission's motives.
Like any topical issue before the Parliament, there are a variety of views on the draft Bill.
But the commission's assertions that victims of domestic violence could be refused help or taxis could refuse to carry guide dogs are so wrong at law that a credible lawyer would be too embarrassed to say something so legally wrong. Either the lawyers at the ACT Commission cannot read and understand what is relatively straightforward legal drafting in the exposure Bill, or they are engaging in deliberate misrepresentation for the sake of political advocacy.
Other groups submitting on the draft have made their observations and put their views without needing to totally mischaracterise what the Bill's key provisions actually say.
The Bill takes a measured, practical approach to protecting individuals from religious discrimination that addresses real-world issues. For example, very large companies wanting to restrict the expression of religious beliefs by employees in their spare time would need to point to evidence that justifies their position.
The Bill also says Australians should not have to face a discrimination lawsuit simply for saying what they believe, but balances this by putting in place very clear safeguards which ensure there are no protections for speech that is malicious, or that harasses, vilifies or incites violence or hatred.
These are balanced, straightforward safeguards.
Nothing in the Bill would allow taxi-drivers to turn away guide dogs, or prevent women from accessing help for domestic violence, as the Commission has suggested.
The government will consider all of the submissions and the Bill will inevitably be subject to further scrutiny from Senate inquiries as it progresses through the Parliament.
Christian Porter, Federal Attorney-General, Canberra
A small matter of fact
In the latest ACT government's "Our CBR" bulletin, they continue to claim the ACT will have 100 per cent renewable sourced electricity by next year.
For those who believe this fairy story, ask yourself where do you think your electricity will come from on a windless night? It will, as it does now, come from the majority coal sourced national grid.
Further, minister Rattenbury amongst others, claims that if the ACT can do it, so can the rest of Australia. That is not true. Australia has no other jurisdiction to access.
While it is admirable for the ACT to buy renewable sourced electricity equivalent to its actual national grid usage, it is disingenuous to imply to Canberrans that the actual electricity coming into their homes will be 100 per cent renewably sourced.
Geoff Nickols, Griffith
Going for broke
Donald Trump appears dissatisfied with his efforts to goad Iran into conflict with the US. Now he is threatening to destroy Turkey's economy should it invade Syria ("Trump threatens Turkey's economy", October 9, p 15).
Turkey's plans are a result of Mr Trump's move, no doubt in his "great and unmatched wisdom" (or lack thereof), to withdraw US forces from north-eastern Syria and abandon the Syrian Kurds to a highly hazardous future.
The Middle East is already the scene of complex "tribal" war in south-western Syria, conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, a one-sided mini-war between Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and small pockets of IS militants grimly fighting for survival.
Mr Trump's sabre rattling with Iran, the brooding hostility between the various sects of Islam, the threat of major conflict in Syria, and Trump's threatened action against Turkey, indicate that we could soon be faced with a multi-faceted Middle East conflict of unfathomable dimensions.
We should hope that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan follows Kim Jong-un's lead and calls Mr Trump's bluff.
How lucky we Australians are to be living in a peaceful country on the other side of the world.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Ken Waters (Letters, October 8) claims people need to turn on their lights an hour earlier during daylight saving.
Dawn is 6.04 am at present.
I wonder how many people get up much earlier than that, compared to how many people go to bed earlier than 7.12pm; the time of dusk at present.
I would speculate a lot more people are awake at 7.12pm than before 6.04am, and the lights are being turned on less with daylight savings than without daylight savings.
As for rushing home to turn on the air-conditioning, why presume everyone has air-conditioning at home. Many people do though work in air-conditioning, so why the need for them to rush home?
In fact during daylight savings I notice more people outside enjoying the summer evenings, walking, etc than at other times of the year, so they are not rushing home.
As for being out of step with countries such as India and China, they, India in particular, are in different longitudes.
Mumbai is five hours behind us.
If we matched closer the time in Mumbai, India, it would certainly be light when we got up, but it would also be dark before people went home in the evening.
Julie Macklin, Narrabundah
If ever a wake up to reality alarm was sounded to the global community it is the morally derisive abandonment of the Syrian Kurds by Donald Trump.
Used when deemed advantageous to US military objectives, their arbitrary betrayal in being left to the genocidal excesses for which Turkey has an odious reputation should be a strident tocsin to those whose delusional trust in the ANZUS Treaty urges them to accept Australia falling in lock-step with Washington's recurring pleas for ADF support.
Unlike NATO that dictates that an attack on one member is interpreted as an attack on all and so allows for the use of armed force, ANZUS is pathetically limited to a "consult" and "act" procedure, without defining the extent of any agreed "act to meet the common danger".John Murray, Fadden
Unlike NATO that dictates that an attack on one member is interpreted as an attack on all and so allows for the use of armed force, ANZUS is pathetically limited to a "consult" and "act" procedure, without defining the extent of any agreed "act to meet the common danger".
Thus, if Australia, in the course of meeting a perceived legal or moral responsibility to one of its Asia-Pacific neighbours, incurs the threatening wrath of an aggressive dominant power, the US may determine that a martial response by them is not in their commercial, political or geo-strategic interests and so leave Australia to cope with the repercussions of its ire-provoking action.
Regardless of decades of ostentatious expressions of gratitude and fraternity, Trump or another president of parallel integrity could well dismiss our past bilateral efforts and treat us with the same degree of brotherly love as Abel received from Cain.
The fact that we have long supported Washington in foreign wars, votes in the United Nations and a host of other ways is no guarantee that, should it ever be in the overall interest of the USA or its president, Australians will not become the Kurds of the South Pacific.
John Murray, Fadden
Pull the other leg
A scientist (Howard Brady, letters October 8) "thinks" we are in a natural global warming cycle.
I am a scientist who, having read the evidence, has accepted that we were in a natural cooling cycle which started at the end of the last glaciation 10,000 years ago. This is the latest of the Milankovitch cycles which drove the Ice Ages.
The global temperature is recorded to have fallen by two degrees centigrade from 7000 years ago up until the nineteenth century, and it was heading toward the next ice age about 50,000 years hence. I do not "think" this. It is not my opinion. It is the considered conclusion of the astronomers and geologists who have investigated these things.
A recent article examining temperatures of the past 7000 years, published in the Journal of the Geological Society includes the following: "Prior to the modern warming period, a negative temperature trend is visible in the Northern Hemisphere in all datasets" (Wanner et al. 2019). That is to say, cooling up until 200 years ago.
Another article published in 2013 states: "Global temperature ... has risen from near the coldest to the warmest levels of the Holocene (last 10,000 years) within the past century, reversing the long-term cooling trend that began ~5000 yr before the present." (Marcott et al. 2013).
Why did the global temperature stop this natural cooling trend of two degrees in 7000 years and rise one degree in the last hundred years? Through a 40 per cent increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, that's why.
Tony Eggleton, Belconnen
TO THE POINT
HEED THE CALL
I cannot recall a more important editorial than the one in The Canberra Times today "It's time to bring the IS kids home" (October 10, p18). I hope there are enough good people in the government to persuade the Prime Minister to do whatever it takes to bring the children of IS fighters and their mothers home to Australia and rehabilitate them.
John F. Simmons, Kambah
The editorial comment seeking to contrast the "good momentum" in Britain's talks to enter the European Common Market in 1962 with the lack of momentum in present efforts to leave it ("Times Past", October 10, p2) might be more ironic than intended: it took another decade for Britain to join what went on to become the European Union.
Ian Douglas, Jerrabomberra
SCHOTT ON THE MONEY
If only someone could wave a magic wand and make Dr Kerry Schott our federal energy minister ("Energy minister goes against own adviser", canberratimes.com.au October 9). Her consistently sound and forward-looking advice as chair of the Energy Security Board is being wasted.
Sue Dyer, Downer
Canberra certainly is the most expensive place to rent. The cost of rentals is made worse by the agents actually charging rent on a daily basis so that a house which is advertised at $550 week or $2200 month actually costs $2389.88 per month which is $597.47 a week. I believe that no other state does this. Apart from financial considerations, is this not false advertising ?
Elizabeth Blackmore, Holt
SAVE THE FOREST
While the Extinction Rebellion continues in our cities another extinction continues nearer to home. Next time your readers drive to the coast, they should look at to the right as they go down the Clyde. They will see rainforest as magnificent as they have in Brazil or Indonesia. Hardly 10 kilometre to the south of the highway it is being clear-felled for wood chips, a handful of jobs and profits for someone. This is a disgrace. Think globally but act locally.
Stan Marks, Hawker
The Kurds took the brunt of the fighting and casualties in the war against ISIS, backed by the US. For their bravery and immense sacrifice, rewards the Kurds by withdrawing protection and permitting Turkish troops to cross the border and murder them. This may also free Isis prisoners from their Kurdish-run detention camps and restart the Isis war. This is how America thanks its friends.
Meg Williams, Alphington, Vic
A CASH COW
I've got a great idea for our cash strapped ACT government to gain extra revenue. Simply set up a fixed speed camera in the 40 kph zone in both Ayre St and Giles St Kingston, adjacent to the shops, sit back and watch the dough roll in.
Byam Wight, Kingston
CHECK THIS OUT
If Howard Bradley (Letters October 8) really is looking for answers I recommend the web site SkepticalScience.com which deals with all the issues on climate change that he raises and provides links to articles in the peer reviewed literature.
Paul Pentony, Hackett
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