I have a question regarding old age pensioners whose homes have burnt down.
Their principal place of residence was exempt from the assets test. Cash assets are not exempt however. Pension payments cut out altogether for, say, single non-homeowners with assessable assets of $473,750.
Does the Commonwealth exempt home insurance payouts from the assets test? If not, are they going to do so?
On the subject of wildlife extinctions, it may be time to allow some Australians to keep native animals as pets. There is no "wild" for recuperated injured wildlife to be returned to right now. The only way the no doubt enormous numbers of creatures who've survived the fires will endure is with human help. It will take decades for much of the destroyed forest to regenerate.
A Curtis, Florey
Aged Care Assessment Teams, also known as ACATs, determine the level of care we will be offered if we go to a nursing home.
The Federal government is rumoured to be moving toward the privatisation of these teams. This is despite a number of "stakeholders" expressing concern that such sensitive decision-making should be privatised.
I have several times been alongside the long, intrusive and potentially humiliating interview process entailed in this decision-making with much-loved relatives. I am horrified at the thought of what could eventuate if it became even less transparent.
I am begging for some public reassurance from the Federal Health Department that it will not be privatized.
Surely, right in the middle of a Royal Commission into aged care, such a drastically insensitive step would not be considered.
Jill Sutton, Watson
The Morrison government recently announced they will privatise our Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACAT). Ministers have suggested this has the support of the Royal Commission into Aged Care; The Royal Commission has issued a statement denying this.
That this government would seek to push this through before the Royal Commission has completed its work is proof of their desire to put cost minimisation before quality of care.
Pandering to their mates in the big end of town, hollowing out our withering public services, and lying to the nation is classic LNP modus operandi.
We owe it to our elderly citizens to resist this shameful act with all our might. To do otherwise is to risk putting the foxes in charge of the hen house.
Jude Dodd, Swinger Hill
We're on it
I'd like to assure Rod Holesgrove (Letters, January 13) that some of us in Canberra are doing what we can to save local trees suffering in the severe drought.
This involves daily car trips with large containers of water and walking trips carrying bottles of water. Unfortunately these trips reveal just how little most of our fellow citizens are doing in relation to their own gardens, let alone the neighbourhood green space.
The government used to provide funding for large trucks that watered trees in public spaces during the hot summer months. These now appear to be restricted to the Chief Minister's "green corridor" for the tram.Aurelia George Mulgan, Lyneham
The government used to provide funding for large trucks that watered trees in public spaces during the hot summer months. These now appear to be restricted to the Chief Minister's "green corridor" for the tram.
Aurelia George Mulgan, Lyneham
Yet again a senior federal Nationals minister is in the limelight for discreditable behaviour.
This was documented in the Auditor-General's damning report on the "distribution bias" that resulted from Bridget McKenzie's interference in project approval processes for a community-based funding program.
Her willingness to lower standards even further, and her unashamed determination to cling to office, will provide rich pickings for Transparency International when it next assesses Australia for corrupt governance and administration.
Sue Dyer, Downer
We learn from your report "Minister defends handling of $100m fund" (canberratimes.com.au, January 16) that "A federal government minister sees no reason to apologise despite the auditor-general finding she awarded grants from a $100 million fund based on electorates the Coalition wanted to win, rather than (on) merit".
Why should we get her to apologise? Shouldn't she be sanctioned for abuse of power or ministerial office?
This case demonstrates the critical role the Auditor-General plays in ensuring democratic good governance by exposing departures from acceptable norms .
Rajend Naidu, Glenfield, NSW
So who exactly are the armchair experts we should be ignoring Geoff Davidson? (Letters, January 17).
Is it the deniers who constantly spruik their pet theories that have been well and truly debunked by qualified experts? Or is it the believers who have taken the time to read, question, understand and accept the science?
Or is it not just time to get on and act on the advice of those who do know what they are talking about?
Keith Hill, Isaacs
Last week a beautiful male blue wren that has delighted our family and our neighbours for more than three years was killed by a wandering cat.
The attack occurred in a neighbour's backyard. The cat had been seen stalking birds on other occasions. Its well-groomed appearance indicates that it is someone's loved pet.
Perhaps its owners are not aware pet cats are not allowed to roam free to kill wildlife. We hope the ACT Government soon seriously considers implementing a comprehensive cat containment policy as a means of protecting our dwindling native fauna.
Allan and Wendy Hahn, Chapman
Stan Marks (Letters, January 14) lets the Prime Minister off far too lightly.
Greg Mullins' group of former emergency management heads anticipated and feared how the fires might develop. Scott Morrison ignored them for months. He went to Cobargo poorly briefed and without the well respected local member who could have deflected the criticism he received.
After the Cobargo visit his world changed and suddenly the Commonwealth and the ADF would take command of what was said to be a state matter.
While the extra resources that change of heart brought is welcome, it comes only after it dawned on the Prime Minister that he would carry much of the blame for the carnage. A case of too little too late. The Prime Minister's name is Scott Morrison not Scott Free.
Bill Dejong, Merimbula, NSW
Soleimani no leader
I disagree with some of Jack Waterford's analysis ("Potshots at Iran turn out to be poor policy", canberratimes.com.au, January 11).
The politicians that he cites as victims of assassinations the US should have learned from were all the leaders of their countries.
Soleimani was more like the leader of the state's terrorist arm. Killing him doesn't change the regime, but it does potentially reduce its terror-supporting rogue state behaviour; both because it harms its capacity and serves as a warning against its continuance.
This warning is almost certainly what is behind the Iranian forbearance Waterford mentions.
Waterford says such assassinations serve to justify terrorism, but in this case, the terrorism perpetrated by Soleimani and the groups he directed had gone on for years and cost hundreds of thousands of lives, including Americans.
Moreover, he was in the process of planning further attacks which may now have been prevented.
Also, Iran had not been complying with the nuclear deal; most importantly obstructing inspections and hiding past nuclear activities. Meanwhile, it was using the money freed up by the deal to enhance its rogue activities rather than its' people's welfare.
Alan Shroot, Forrest
Call me a suspicious old codger but I distrust the suggestion of holding yet another Royal Commission. Why do we pay huge salaries to public service mandarins who don't even do their jobs? Whatever happened to green and white papers?
We need to heed the expert advice already provided in spades, not a new commission report limited in scope by skewed terms of reference.
The Prime Minister should just read the many reports lovingly laboured over by scientists and economists and which are now gathering dust in the metaphorical bottom drawer.
They tell us to act on climate change right away and how to do it!
Pauline Westwood, Dickson
TO THE POINT
Meghan Markle was a "B" grade actor from a "B" grade TV series. She has, however, succeeded in turning Harry from an "A" grade prince into a "B" grade prince.
Mark Sproat, Lyons
THE EASY WAY
If Captain James Cook was searching for the great south land today all he would have to do would be to follow his nose.
M Moore, Bonython
COULD IT BE?
Checking rainfalls at various locations in the weather page I noticed that on many occasions Ulladulla recorded one millimetre while other places had zero. Is a phantom with an eye-dropper tampering with the gauge in the dead of night?
Peter Baskett, Murrumbateman
END THE DENIAL
The last decade has been hottest ever measured (NASA and the UK Met Office). Humans, and the changes we have made, are to blame. When will the deniers accept the truth and then help remedy what we have done?
Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill, Vic
I SMELL SMOKE
The Prime Minister can't get his Royal Commission into the bushfires off the ground. Is it due to the smoke haze or is Tony Abbott's shadow still trying to smother it?
Herman van de Brug, Kaleen
TIME TO DIG IN
Jackie French might be right. Maybe we will all be living in wombat burrows by 2030. A good percentage of the political class already live with their heads in the sand.
Acacia Rose, Thredbo
AN OLDIE BUT A GOODIE
Trump plans to increase economic restrictions on Iran. In other words the floggings will continue until morale improves.
Peter Brittliff, Kambah
Given the current disaster why do so many voters still support the dishonourable rabble running our country into the ground? I blame greed. Their grandchildren will neither forgive nor forget.
Rick Godfrey, Lyneham, ACT
Trees are at the very core of the solution to climate change. Yet we don't value our trees. We log and chip our forests and regard trees as a hazard. Without our forests, climate change will accelerate.
Peter Cocker, Jindabyne
The government saying "now is not the right time to discuss climate change" is like saying 1942 was not the right time for the government to be discussing the war. If not now, when?
Doug Steley, Heyfield, Tas
I wish Paul Pentony (Letters, January 15) addressed what I said (Letters, January 14), not his version of it. My opening sentence, and crux, of my letter was "It is often said that history repeats itself ". This does not constitute a comparison, but simply an observation.
Colliss Parrett, Barton, ACT
If Joe Hockey is right and the US is the modern Rome we must have reached the reign of Caligula.
Tony Judge, Woolgoolga, NSW
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Send from the message field, not as an attachment. Fax: 6280 2282. Mail: Letters to the Editor, The Canberra Times, PO Box 7155, Canberra Mail Centre, ACT 2610.
Keep your letter to 250 or fewer words. References to The Canberra Times reports should include date and page number. Letters may be edited. Provide phone number and full home address (suburb only published).
To send a letter via the online form, click or touch here.