Meghan Markle and her husband have shown maturity in choosing their path outside that deigned by the royal family.
England tries to hang on to its storybook kingdom past with kings, queens, princes, princesses, earls, barons and their female equivalents. Royal "scandals" are rife in history, right up until most recent days. Hardly a comparative stability as some would argue.
Politically, Scotland has sought to run its own show. Nor is Northern Ireland in unanimous agreement with Brexit. England wants out of a European union, yet insists on maintaining a "united kingdom".
Yet here at the bottom of the world is Australia. While everybody else is growing in independence little Oz is still getting obsessed with magazine covers of royal births, marriages and divorces. It fears instability would occur under any other system.
We can still love the royals while we cut the apron strings and get on with the republic.
Greg Simmons, Lyons
Save our trees
Can anything be done for Canberra's younger street and park trees, now clearly dying from heat and moisture deprivation?
Just a small sample is at the Hilltop Reserve at Crace. On the top of the hill is a children's playground circled by young deciduous trees, obviously planted to shade children at play.
These trees are either dead or near death. Further down the hill towards the Crace shops the young eucalypts are clearly stressed. Many of the deciduous trees that have been planted as street trees in Crace are also clearly stressed.
All town planners are aware of the benefits urban trees provide to residents, including energy savings. ACT governments have planted thousands of trees at great expense across the "bush capital".
Much of this investment is now being lost.
Can the ACT government encourage citizens to water young street trees out the front of their houses?
Also, let's see some government initiatives, such as water tankers, to water and save our precious trees.
Rod Holesgrove, Crace
Nevil Shute Norway was a brilliant aircraft designer who became famous as a novelist. His 1953 story In The Wet is set in 1983.
The royal family has become so exasperated with the UK that they move to Canada and Tharwa. Much of the story centres on aviation and Shute's predictions were sound.
He was wrong on how soon the royals would implode however.
Martin Aubury, Scullin
We saw it coming
The writing has been on the wall for at least three decades now. Professor Ross Garnaut's 2008 climate change review foreshadowed more intense fire seasons in the future, likely to be directly observable by 2020.
He also spelt out the health risks, including from bushfires, the impacts of temperature extremes, including heatwaves, and increases in air pollution, as from bushfire smoke.
Similarly, climate scientist Dr Pep Canadell from the CSIRO, advised senior bureaucrats from a large group of federal government departments and agencies in late 2018 that global warming would trigger a rising likelihood of severe heat waves, power blackouts and fierce bushfires.
A coalition of former fire chiefs from across Australia warned during 2019 about the need for federal government action, as climate change is facilitating catastrophic bushfires.
All this emphasises the importance of the "foresight principle" used in futures work.
Foresight now needs far greater application in disaster management, emissions reduction, and taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
Australia could become an exemplar in natural approaches to restoring living systems. This would include protecting and restoring natural forests and allowing trees to repopulate deforested land.
Murray May, Cook
Training is vital
It's the training that means you can drive under lights and sirens. It's the training that means you know when you can (and when you may not). It's the training that means you can break some road rules, as safely as possible.
We shouldn't trust anyone without the training to "emergency" drive. And we don't: not in NSW, not in the ACT, not anywhere.
We shouldn't trust untrained volunteer firefighters either. Being trained to fight fire doesn't train you for emergency driving, any more than it trains you for Olympic skiing.
Christopher Hood, Queanbeyan, NSW
Soleimani was evil
Your editorial of January 8 was absolutely right in its description of Iran's General Soleimani as a "dangerous, hardline and brutal extremist". In fact, Soleimani was the man most responsible for Iran's rogue activities, including buttressing Assad, sponsoring and directing terrorist groups and proxy militia and destabilising its neighbours.
He had the blood on his hands of hundreds of thousands of Syrians, thousands of Iraqis and Yemenis, and hundreds of Americans, Lebanese and Israelis, not to mention Iranian protesters.
He had made it clear he was intending to escalate his activities. The US had the choice of allowing him to do so, with seeming impunity, or stopping him in his tracks.
Iran may make blood-curdling threats, and carry out some minor attacks to save face. However, it will now know there are consequences for its actions, and that is a good thing.
Athol Morris, Forde
Kelly is a fool
Craig Kelly has achieved notoriety for his interview on Britain's ITV. The low point was his put-down of the program's meteorologist, Laura Tobin, during a follow-up ABC interview. Kelly referred to Ms Tobin as the "weather girl".
Ms Tobin, a graduate in physics and meteorology, had pointed out some uncomfortable facts about 2019 being Australia's hottest and driest year on record.
Mr Kelly has no formal, and clearly little informal, expertise in climate science. His performance was ignorant, and his put-down was sexist and bullying.Harry Samios, O'Connor
Mr Kelly has no formal, and clearly little informal, expertise in climate science. His performance was ignorant, and his put-down was sexist and bullying.
Harry Samios, O'Connor
Greg Cornwell asks if we have any idea of the organisation involved in dealing with our national crisis (Letters, January 9).
The PM was repeatedly warned that such a crisis was very possible and that we needed to prepare for it, including in April 2019.
The warnings were ignored, requests for meetings with fire chiefs were rejected, and nothing was organised until Morrison's return from Hawaii.
We don't expect "instant positive reactions", or "miracles", Mr Cornwell, but we do expect precautionary planning, organisation, and listening to expert advice.
It doesn't sound like an "empty criticism" to me.
David Roth, Kambah
Point is missed
Greg Cornwell (Letters, January 9) is correct in saying the PM has belatedly done a lot to help people recover from the bushfires.
But he is missing the point that there should have been a change in the government's attitude to climate change years ago.
If they don't recognise the dangerous trend, and do something about it, instead of constantly telling us that drought and bushfires are the norm in Australia, then the next emergency (whether it is drought, fire or flooding) could be far worse than this one has proved to be.
Alan Parkinson, Weetangera
Hundreds of water containers are popping up in nature reserves and front yards across the ACT. Their refillers are then eagerly posting to social media.
At first glance this is an honourable community effort. But delve a little deeper and things are never as simple as they seem.
Australia is ecologically complex; a land of boom and bust. Kangaroo numbers have been unprecedented in the ACT. They have no natural predators.
Drought limits their population numbers. The carrying capacity of the land is diminished when there is no grass.
Human interference just prolongs their starvation.
Rose Hosking, Cooke
Learn from Snow
Authorities planning to reduce future bushfire damage might learn from the example of Terry Snow's success in saving his South Coast equestrian estate, and possibly the township of Bawley Point as well.
Snow's property borders a national park and occupies eight square kilometres. Reportedly, a team of 15 used a loader to clear firetrails of debris. Two water trucks were also used to attack spot fires. Pumps powered by off-the-grid generators were also deployed.
This suggests a large area can be defended cost-effectively if the right strategy is used.
While situations differ from location to location, this example offers an initial pointer to the strategy and scale of investment needed to protect those coastal communities that are so important to us.
Paul Feldman, Macquarie
TO THE POINT
KYRGIOS DID GOOD
Canberra can be really proud of our Nick Kyrgios who kept his cool and played the best doubles match I have ever seen last week. Well done and congratulations Nick.
Jean James, Stirling
The NSW government says it will make $1 billion available for infrastructure repairs post-bushfires. The announcement purports to show a generous and caring government: what rubbish. The NSW government self-insures infrastructure assets. All this does is meet its own liabilities. Typical political doublespeak.
Roger Dace, Reid
QUEEN ON THE JOB
Rod Holesgrove (Letters, January 8) can put his mind at rest. David Hurley is not our head of state. Our head of state, Elizabeth Windsor, has sent a message. I hope this brings him relief.
Shane Mawer, Kingston
A recent letter asked where our head of state is. She's in England where she usually is.
Fred Pilcher, Kaleen
GO, JUST GO
S Morrison, D Trump, and M Markle should travel the road of no return.
Cynthia Moloney, Yarralumla
A NEW LOW
Please, readers, do listen to these desperate defences of Cats and go see it yourself. The absurdity of the worst film in years needs to be seen to be believed. What is a jellicle?
Erin Cook, Waramanga
I agree with Denis Grant (Letters, January 9). I think the most suitable place for Summernats is Broken Hill. Broken Hill/Silverton were wonderful locations for Mad Max 2. It is certainly far enough away from Canberra.
Sandor Siro, Ainslie
JOBS FOR SHANE
RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons should be able to choose the job he wants. These could include as Prime Minister or an empathy consultant. One or the other of these will surely be available in the near future.
Nick Corby, Hawker
Once again at the first whiff of trouble in the Middle East petrol pump prices in Australia are set to skyrocket. No justification, just another lame excuse to gouge. I have criticised the ACCC for years about this unpoliced nonsense. When will the ACCC get some competition?
Linus Cole, Palmerston
If ScoMo is the nurse we should keep hold of as Nick Goldie (Letters, January 8) is suggesting, all I can see down the track is a horror movie in which a wolf in sheep's clothing leads us all to our inevitable doom. Not a good rap for nurses.
Keith Hill, Isaacs
Once upon a time I would have agreed with Norman Lee (Letters, January 8) but now, having experienced poor quality government by both Labor and Coalition ministers, I do not. If we had a "central authority" government and it stuffed up, then the entire nation would suffer the consequences.
John F. Simmons, Kambah
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