In reflecting on the ACT government's persistence with its light rail project in the face of better alternatives, all I can only conclude is that a "tram" is essentially an image factor in the minds of Andrew Barr and Shane Rattenbury; a gleam in their eyes. It probably makes them feel that Canberra has somehow come of age as a city.
Despite consideration of more efficient and effective alternatives, a colourful and costly brochure has been issued containing persuasive and creative costings, aiming to capitalise on, and override, the general public apathy. In reality, Barr and Rattenbury are conning us into accepting what is nothing less than a grossly irresponsible waste of public money.
Many concerned Canberrans have been pointing out the obvious for months, even years, that easily the most effective and efficient public transport technology is battery-powered electric buses. A system based on this technology would be flexible, adaptable, peaceful (quiet!), and happily accessible to all of us, wherever we may live.
The ACT government must surely in all conscience cancel its plans, save the wasteful cost of crossing Lake Burley Griffin and all that that entails, and adopt a public transport plan that is truly suited to Canberra's needs.
Sandy Paine, Griffith
Time to go
After reading about Caroline Le Couteur's call for a ban on roadside electoral signs I look forward to her leaving the ACT Legislative Assembly at the next election.
Yet again the nanny mentality of the ACT Greens pervades our elected ACT assembly. Ms Le Couteur claims the roadside electoral signs cause "visual pollution", "clutter up public places" and that "many Canberrans" find them "supremely annoying" and "distracting".
Where is the evidence and research that many Canberrans find them "supremely" annoying and distracting? I believe that Ms Le Couteur made that up to satisfy her own personal feelings about the signs. I am a driver and have never found electoral signs annoying or distracting.
They are part of our democratic process and only appear for a very short period at four year intervals. Roll on 2020 when Ms Le Couteur will no longer be a member of the ACT Legislative Assembly.
Sebastian Cole, Ngunnawal
Truth will out
In the article "Morrison, Howard behind Molan bid" (canberratimes.com.au, October 29) a quote by Mr Molan caught my attention. It read how he "might best help the Morrison Government beat Labor (and) the Greens".
This kind of attitude is exactly the reason why I dislike both major parties; both are trying to beat the other. I think the statement would have appealed much more to the voting public if he had said how he "might best help to serve the nation and its' people". As it stands, this is another example of a would-be politician only thinking of himself.
It is an inherent problem in Australian politics that a ruling party is faced by a party called the opposition, rather than the alternative party. So, the opposition must oppose, whatever the ruling party offers, with few exceptions. A frustrating situation.
Erwin Feeken, Bywong
Self interest an issue
While much has been written about attacks on press freedom in editorials, opinion pieces and full page ads, the lingering doubt remains that this is all just an exercise in media self-interest.
One of your correspondents (M Smith, Letters, October 28) said "the journalists' mission is to oversee the work of government officials on behalf of citizens".
Says who? Who appointed journalists of the arbiter of what is right and wrong, and what is "public interest"? Journalists are neither elected or accountable.
The media operates first and foremost in its own interests with stories designed to attract sales or to foster the interest of their management and advertisers. Even our ABC and The Canberra Times are not above pushing particular editorial policies to suit internal (and often unstated) agendas.
The latest ANU survey of 'Trust in Australian Institutions' reveals barely one in five Australians trust the media. That's even lower than trust in the government and the big banks.Kym MacMillan, O'Malley
I note recent stories on the latest ANU survey of Trust in Australian Institutions which reveals barely one in five Australians trust the media. That's even lower than trust in the government and the big banks.
Why on earth would we trust the media to watch over public interest?
Sorry media, you don't deserve special rights. Stop pretending you are doing this for us and just obey the law like everyone else.
Kym MacMillan, O'Malley
Caffeinated law breakers
Section 231(2) of the Road Transport (Road Rules) Regulation 2017 makes it an offence to cross a pedestrian crossing when the light is red, and yet, every day I see public servants, great flocks of them, crossing the road illegally in just such a manner in a desperate bid to refill their depleted coffee reserves.
Is coffee more important to them than adhering to the APS Code of Conduct, which specifically requires public servants to uphold the reputation and integrity of the APS and Australian laws? Please, please set a good example and spare yourself the violations.
No cup of coffee is worth the gradual erosion of public confidence in the APS' ability to regulate its employees.
Alex Miglietti, Belconnen
Brady right and wrong
Dr Howard Brady (Letters, October 19) is right on two counts. As temperatures changed during the ice ages of the past 800,000 years carbon dioxide levels began to rise after the temperature rose, a fact well known and accepted by climate scientists.
Unfortunately this is not the point. Those climate changes were triggered by astronomical influences, not atmospheric factors; subsequent carbon dioxide increase simply accelerated the changes.
Dr Brady also points out correctly that back in the Ordovician Period, 444 to 485 million years ago, carbon dioxide levels were considerably higher than those of today. But Dr Brady will know better than most that there is much more to climate change than one factor. In 2006 Royer pointed out that in the Ordovician the sun was four per cent cooler, so carbon dioxide levels below 2000 parts per million (ppm) could have initiated glaciation in parts of Gondwana that were then near the South Pole.
A paper in Nature (Lenton et al., 2012) suggests that the development of land plants in the Ordovician accelerated rock weathering, a process that takes up carbon dioxide.
This led to a drop in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration to about 1600 ppm, enough to trigger glaciation at that time, when other factors such as volcanic ash cooling, as suggested by Buggisch et al. in 2010, changed ocean currents, and the arrangement of the continents are taken into account.
As for the global temperature rising in steps, (plural) there is but one step in the records, from 1945 to 1975 as post-war reconstruction put much sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, cooling the planet by reflecting sunshine and causing acid rain. Once the world's industries agreed to remove sulfur from their chimneys, the temperature rapidly rose again. (See http://berkeleyearth.org/2018-temperatures/)
Much geological evidence tells us that rising atmospheric carbon dioxide leads to rising temperatures. History's lesson is for us to take urgent action on global warming that could threaten human civilisation.
Tony Eggleton, Emeritus Professor, Research School of Earth Sciences, ANU, Belconnen
Perspective is everything
Paul Fitzwarryne (Letters, October 21) says we should put the effects of climate change, "in perspective, along with the need for developing countries to industrialize to improve the wellbeing of their population". Unfortunately, Paul ignores the real perspective; it is unchecked "industrialisation" that has resulted in the situation we have reached.
Unless we act upon the evidence-based conclusions of every reputable climate-change organisation in the world, there will be no "improved wellbeing" as Paul hopes. It will be precisely the opposite.
Eric Hunter, Cook
Where's the big stick?
Why isn't the PM using his "big stick" approach with institutions that still have not joined the national redress scheme to assist child sexual abuse victims?
Instead of tip-toeing around encouraging them to do the "honourable thing", faster action may result if significant parts of any federal recurrent or project funding and concessions that these bodies receive could be withheld until they join the scheme.
Public "naming and shaming" would not go astray either.
After all, the Coalition has been keen to "out" other previously committed unacceptable behaviours. Before the last election it suggested the creation of a publicly available sex offenders register that is now on track to becoming a usable system.
Victims relying on the redress scheme deserve far better responses from both the government and the recalcitrant institutions that are still floating around outside the redress scheme.
Sue Dyer, Downer
TO THE POINT
TIME WILL TELL
The test of Anthony Albanese's victory in relation to John Setka is whether it becomes set in concrete.
The same traditional industrial ploy will test Albanese's leadership.
M. F. Horton, Adelaide, SA
Spot on J Gray of Queanbeyan (Letters, October 28).
Cyclists who like to loudly promote their rights should, if riding on the roads, have to register their bikes and have a number plate.
This would enable other road users to ensure that cyclists obey the laws of the road like everyone else.
Jeff Hart, Kingston
Your column Today in History (October 28, p30) states that Lindy Chamberlain's trial ended with her conviction for murder on this day in 1980, and that she was pardoned in 1987. You should also point out that Lindy's conviction was quashed, annulled, and voided on September 15, 1988 after Azaria's matinee jacket was found near Uluru in January 1986.
Alastair Stewart, Campbell
I note Anthony Albanese and others within the ALP are now on a vision quest.
I assume the legalisation of marijuana by the ACT government will assist them in this endeavour.
M Moore, Bonython
Jim Molan, who lost his senate seat at the last election, has written to the NSW Liberal preselectors to let them know "how he can best help the Morrison government beat Labor and the Greens".
Gee, I thought the purpose of being elected to the Australian parliament was to govern for the benefit of the Australian people. How telling.
Anne Willenborg, Royalla NSW
Health Minister Greg Hunt has attacked the ACT's cannabis legalisation for "breaching our international obligations". Yet, in a tragic perversion of values, the government happily breaches our international obligations towards asylum seekers.
Patricia Saunders, Chapman
Greg Hunt has used a UN report from the International Narcotics Board to attack the ACT law on cannabis. When is the federal government going to act on the many reports from UN bodies that show Australia's failure to meet international standards on human rights, development and disarmament?
David Purnell, Florey
Current geopolitical events have prompted an avian metamorphosis of inter-continental proportions. The raptorial attributes of the American eagle have newly manifested themselves within the emerging sultanate of Ankara whereas in Washington there is a real turkey.
John Murray, Fadden
TIME TO CHILL
Since "Extinction" and "Rebellion" and young women shouting "Don't you dare!" offends people, I offer to the sensible world the slogan "Keep the Planet Cool", or "Just Cool It" if you insist on only three words. (Apologies to West Side Story).
Frank McKone, Holt
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