Once again on a fine Australia Day morning, together with a group of navy veterans and their families. we gathered at Weston Park to celebrate our national day.
The weather was beautiful, the lake was glistening and the barbecues were clean. Unfortunately one barbecue worked at about 10 per cent efficiency and the other not at all. Why do we pay enormous rates if the public facilities on such a day do not work?
A tray of sausages and onions took over on an hour to cook. Those persevering in this culinary effort were subjected to the hot sun for that period instead of the usual 20 minutes.
To those who service these facilities, cleaning them and making the look good is not enough. You must check more than just pressing a button and seeing a light come on.
Dave Jeffrey, Farrer
The Kiwi gambit
I didn't celebrate Australia Day this year because I want to pass as a person from across the ditch.
I can still recall the Yank backpackers back in the day with their maple leaf t-shirts. I am planning to get a kiwi one. Now I just have to work on my vowels. Haven't got far yet, I'm still at "sexes and sivens".
Pauline Westwood, Dickson
I can't imagine that there would be any other country that celebrates its' national day on the anniversary of the arrival of its colonists rather, for example, than the date of gaining independence. Surely this is the ultimate cultural cringe.
R. Palatino, Araluen, NSW
The perfect solution
Christopher Budd's article "The best day for Australia (Day)? One that truly celebrates all of us" (January 5, p. 28) was by far the most logical and well documented presentation on this current controversy that has so far appeared in print.
In view of the growing numbers of letters and articles appearing in the media in favour of changing the date of Australia Day this suggestion should be given more prominence, seriously considered by government, and adopted as soon as practicable.
I can't imagine that there would be any other country that celebrates its national day on the anniversary of the arrival of its colonists rather, for example, than the date of gaining independence.R. Palatino, Araluen, NSW
It would seem to be, as Christopher claims, "perfect" and would put all the present arguments behind us.
Murray Upton, Belconnen
Foundation day support
I loved Penleigh Boyd's suggestion January 26 can remain as a public holiday and it be named "Foundation Day" (Letters, January 26). I find it appalling, however, that we were never taught the sad history of what happened to our indigenous people. To the best of my knowledge this is still not being taught in our schools.
Had we been made aware of what happened we all might have more empathy, understanding and hopefully less of the racism that still exists.
Mary Robbie, Farrer
Pledge not wanted
The backlash to Tanya Plibersek's well intentioned, but woolly, ideology on patriotism is understandable. Getting all school children to recite a loyalty pledge to country and all that sort of patriotism is commonplace in totalitarian regimes.
Does anyone need reminding what kind of society that can produce?
I prefer the open society we are where citizens feel free to criticise the country or the state when it's doing wrong. Take, for example, the stance on climate change and refugees and asylum seekers or our attempt to gain unfair advantage over East Timor's natural gas.
That does not make critics unpatriotic, does it? If it does then that explains why Samuel Johnson famously defined patriotism as "the last refuge of the scoundrel".
Rajend Naidu, Glenfield
Like Jorge Capella (Letters, January 23) I also have a greenhouse fitted with white shade mesh suspended above the glass.
The shade mesh now contains numerous holes and many panes of glass have been broken. It too had managed to defeat hail storms during the last 10 years or so but was no match for the severity of Monday's storm.
I suspect that the fortunate survival of Jorge's glasshouse may have been due to Kaleen being spared the extreme conditions at the centre of the storm.
Jim Derrick, Florey
Good luck with that
Surely all Australians will wish Dr. James Muecke every success in his mission to get to "the root cause" of diabetes ("Eye surgeon Dr. James Muecke named 2020 Australian of the year", January 26, p4-5).
It is difficult not to feel sadness that he is manacled to an obdurate, recalcitrant government whose only policy approach, whether it be to obesity, global heating or political malfeasance, is obfuscation and denial.
Since the 1977 "Life. Be in it" campaign obesity has been identified as a growing problem, contributing to Type 2 diabetes and diabetes related blindness (retinopathy).
Deep in the age of deregulation, or the farce of self-regulation, suggestions the government legislate for the greater good are dismissed as "nanny state" silliness.
Resistance to the sugar tax has more to do with the the influence on the Coalition of vested interests including cane growers, food and grocery and beverage associations and other self-interested industry groups.
Albert M. White, Queanbeyan, NSW
Time to change
I will celebrate Australia Day again when we stop our brutal and exorbitantly expensive treatment (billions of dollars) of asylum seekers and refugees and accept fully the first nations' people and the Uluru Statement.
As a fifth generation Australian I am ashamed.
Marguerite Castello, Griffith
A petty crack
The best that can be said for Heather Nash's little jibe (Letters 24 Jan) about Greta Thunberg going back to school is that it was a marginal improvement on Tony Abbott's patronising comment about women and ironing.
Heather will be pleased to know that Greta Thunberg completed her secondary schooling with 14As and 3Bs, despite spending lot of time on world climate issues in her final year.
She conceded that she may have got straight As had she not got involved in climate action but no doubt her actual education was massively improved by doing so.
The world needs more of Thunberg's type of sincere, unbeholden, straight talking leadership, not less.
Jon Stirzaker, Latham
Human rights law
Quite right, Jennifer Nash (letters 24 January). It is shameful that Australia is the only western democracy without a human rights act to protect us against invasive legislation.
The draconian terror laws have gradually seeped into a passive normality, and robbed us of our rights and privacy. There needs to be a complete revision: throw out those which are excessive and not used, which is the vast majority.
We need a human rights act against which we can evaluate how laws impact on our basic freedoms. ACT, Victoria and now Queensland have such acts. CLA is heading a group lobbying for acts in Tasmania and WA, while SA and NT will follow. Finally the national government must be shamed into action.
Dr Kristine Klugman OAM, President, Civil Liberties Australia
Smith is right
Dick Smith's advertisement (January 22, p6) poses an inconvenient truth for all global leaders at Davos and for Greta.
Global warming is real. It is caused by oil and coal use, land clearance and animal production. The increase in these activities relates solely to population growth.
There is a graph of the rise in global temperature that exactly matches the rise in population.
No-one but Dick wants to talk about it.
David Roberts, Belconnen
I note Dick Smith's heartfelt plea to reduce our population growth in Wednesday's The Canberra Times, but I'm a bit worried about his motives.
His stated population growth, backed up by the ABS, is 1.6 per cent. The "natural" population increase, births over deaths, is 0.5 per cent. The rest is people migrating to Australia from overseas.
Is Dick Smith actually anti-immigration?
I am all for trying to reduce population growth for the reasons he lists. It's crazy to expect a finite world to provide endless resources for a continually growing population.
Of all the solutions to population growth, the only one I can support is voluntary assisted dying.
All the others: reduced migration rates, family size limits, taxes on extra children, and other more draconian measures, are either unpopular, unethical or just move the problem elsewhere.
Paul Wayper, Cook
TO THE POINT
SHE'LL BE RIGHT
Things can't be too bad. Despite all that's happening people still find the time to think about, comment and, indeed, editorialise, on the inconsequential doings of a couple of unimaginably wealthy upper class Brits. Good times!
Fred Pilcher, Kaleen
THE WAY IT IS
If Bridget McKenzie survives this scandal we can all assume that the guidelines for any government grant program are not worth the paper they are written on. Unless we live in a marginal or prized Coalition seat we will stand buckleys of getting anything. She has to go.
Janet Hunt, Dickson
THE GREASY PIG
The ballooning of the community sports grants pork-barrel story shows the grief that can be caused if a greasy pig is let loose in the silly season.
M. F. Horton, Adelaide, SA
GOOD JOB ACTION
Action buses often comes in for criticism. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them for one fine community service initiative. At least one bus carries the warning that Alan Jones has a morning program on one of our radio stations. Apparently, it is safe to tune in after 9am.
Ken Brazel, Wright
SO FAR, SO GOOD
Climate change deniers, and those who think current targets and action are adequate, remind me of the joke about the man who fell from the top of a 50-storey building. As he passed the twenty-third floor he was heard to say "So far, so good".
Ruth McLucas, Weetangera
DODGED A BULLET
Has anyone noticed the world hasn't ended following the legalisation of same-sex marriage in December 2017. Funny thing that. Folau, Court and various Libs manning the trenches please take note.
John Mungoven, Stirling
In January 2019 Scotty said "I'm a prime minister for standards". It is obvious he did not mean ministerial standards.
Hans Miller, Tuross Head, NSW
HOW GOOD IS THAT?
One has to congratulate Tourism Australia in removing the Raiders or Brumbies from the back page on Thursday's edition.
Jeff Bradley, Isaacs
SPOT ON MALCOLM
Turnbull is absolutely spot on with his scathing assessment of the performance of the Morrison government. A lack of leadership, inaction on climate change and kowtowing to the right wing of the party. We wouldn't be in this mess if we had someone of the calibre of Malcolm leading us... Oh, hang on.
Rob Ey, Weston
BUILD THE BUBBLE
We need to build a real Canberra bubble; a Canberra biodome. No more smoke haze, hail, gale force winds or (bull) dust. Maybe also install a "pollie flap" so we can control which ones enter and leave.
Nick Swain, Barton
WHAT NEXT BRIDGET?
Bridget McKenzie is already walking the plank. Will she jump or be pushed? Governments are not keen on dirty linen being aired in public week after week.
Murray May, Cook
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