It was heartwarming for me, and for members of my generation of town planners and architects, to see the announcement the late, and widely-known, Dr Enrico Taglietti (architect) had been honoured by appointment to Officer (AO) in the Order of Australia for services to architecture and related professions in Australia's National Capital.
I had the honour and pleasure of knowing and working with Enrico as one of his clients during my term as The Commissioner of the National Capital Development Commission for whom he designed and supervised the construction phase of five or so major public buildings in Canberra.
He was arguably the first highly qualified architect who both lived and practiced in Canberra over a very long period of time and in an era (1965-89) when the planning, design and development of the city was in its heyday.
While primarily an architect, his interests and skills entered into social, environmental and transport planning that together formed the basis of his activities as a teacher and academic.
As one would expect, a person with these attributes constantly displayed a personality of warmth, interest and helpfulness, which was always productive and a pleasure to work with.
My condolences to his family for the loss of a remarkable individual.
Tony Powell (AO), Griffith
God help us all
Is it not wonderful that our oh-so-humanitarian government is going to considerable lengths to rescue and return (at considerable but acceptable risk to the rest of us stay-at-homes) up to 400 Australians, including children, from China.
What a great shame it is doing nothing for the very few Australian children living in horrific circumstances in refugee camps in Syria.
What a great shame our government is doing nothing for the very few Australian children living in horrific circumstances in refugee camps in Syria.James Gralton, Garran
The risks are different and on a much smaller scale except for the poor little mites involved. They are Australians in desperate trouble who urgently need their country's help.
Then, of course, there all those people still on Manus and Nauru.
God help all them - and all of us for letting this happen.
James Gralton, Garran
Listen to experts
Prime Minister Morrison appears totally dismissive of any genuine expert advice, preferring political speak over common sense.
Professor David Lindenmayer ("Fire-hit timber towns should become carbon sinks", January 16, p5) suggests that Victoria's forests could be worth far more to the country as carbon sinks than for timber production.
He is instantly dismissed by Morrison saying any business support package would be driven by what local communities required. Not, apparently, by what would be best for the country.
The current disaster will not be solved in an ad hoc fashion. It is far too widespread.
It will require teams of experts, hopefully under the guidance of Ross Garnaut and free of political expediency.
Murray Upton, Belconnen
Call Justice Hayne
I support the idea of a wide-ranging Royal Commission into the causes of the recent bushfires, Australia's response to it and related issues ("PM meets financiers as recovery builds", January 6, p6).
A Royal Commission would help broach the different views on the issues among politicians, scientists, fire experts and so on. Weather modelling experts and Indigenous people should also be called to appear.
But I suggest that the government gives the commission a year to report and requires it to produce an interim report by August 30, 2020 so that its interim recommendations can be implemented in time for the next fire season. That is a rather tight time-frame but the matter is urgent.
Justice Hayne would be an excellent choice.
Herman van de Brug, Kaleen
The new Caesar
There is a lot of talk about leadership these days and I wonder how the Roman people might have addressed Scott "Caesar" Morrison, the Aussie emperor, in light of the recent events.
Options include hail Scomo, smoke Scomo, floods Scomo, business closures Scomo, homes destroyed Scomo, animals killed Scomo and fire Scomo.
Mark Austin, Holt
On election night the PM declared "I always believed in miracles". What he really meant was that he has always believed in the power of "filthy lucre".
He must now be hoping for another miracle, this time from his department which, along with the rest of the public service, was told in no uncertain terms last August that it must be responsive to ministers and the "quiet Australians", and understand "the unique perspective' that politicians have on accountability matters with respect to their constituencies" ("PM&C to investigate McKenzie sport rorts", canberratimes.com.au, January 23).
Will Bridget McKenzie's "unique perspective" be allowed to run roughshod over public anger and despair about failings linked to accountability, fairness, moral authority and leadership?
Will convenient technical and legal interpretations of ministerial responsibility be allowed to float to the surface and be grasped at as a basis for even more glib and dismissive Coalition answers to serious questions about discreditable ministerial behaviour?
Sue Dyer, Downer
We all have those experiences where we buy a major item only to find a few months down the track that it isn't really doing the job as we had hoped.
You try to adjust it but it still isn't working properly. You eventually realise that you have fallen for the slick sales talk and have been sold a dud.
It can happen with all types of items: electronics, white goods, cars, prime ministers...
Rob Ey, Weston
At long last
One can only observe with relief that the ACT government has, at long last, decided to improve access from the Cotter Rd to Adelaide Avenue.
One can also observe with a wry smile that they seem very pleased with themselves that they are doing it within a reasonable budget and wish that they had done the same with their recently completed, politically motivated, flagship project.
There are other places where there are bottlenecks in our road system. One is on Mouat St where, westbound, the road shrinks to a single lane for a short distance near Northbourne Avenue.
This feeds into Ginninderra Drive and Ellenborough St and needs to be fixed. It could also be done for a few hundred thousand dollars.
There are plenty of others. Strange priorities, this lot.
Stan Marks, Hawker
How can this be?
The very low flow of water into Canberra's waterways and their declining level, including Lake Burley Griffin, is hardly surprising given the current drought conditions.
What is somewhat surprising though is the continued (very green) colour of, and extent of irrigated areas on, the golf course adjacent to Lake Burley Griffin.
Is water pumping from Lake Burley Griffin continuing? If so, what impact is it having on the declining water level and flows?
Taking a lead from the generosity recently shown by the community towards other people affected by bushfires, perhaps it is time for the relevant club to reduce the frequency and/or extent of watering.
An alternative would be to prepare a water use plan and to publicly commit to implementing it over a reasonable period.
Bruce Paine, Red Hill
We're a laughing stock
All of the news channels in the UK have covered the bushfires in substantial detail. There have been articles on television and in the papers about the climate change debate and the performance of the Australian Prime Minister.
A family member living in the UK told me "generally, people in the UK are a bit dumbfounded how Australia is responding to the climate emergency (or not), and can't understand why it isn't investing in renewable energy and phasing out coal. Even China is doing that!" Amen.
Roger Quarterman, Campbell
Bridget (bang bang) McKenzie isn't going anywhere for the simple reason this whole "sports rorts" fiasco has Morrison's, Frydenberg's and Cormann's fingerprints all over it.
There is no doubt they were all in on it but can't throw McKenzie under the bus because she knows where the bodies are buried.
Michael McCormack is also in a strong position. All he has to do is to ask the PM "what about Angus?"
With previous offenders Stuart Robert and Susan Ley back in the ministry this government has the worst record of ministerial accountability in modern politics and deserves to be removed.
R F Bollen, Torrens
TO THE POINT
POINT OF SIMILARITY
Why are the Raiders like the Federal government?
They both need to be Scott free.
Brian Smith, Conder
Articles about the Holocaust often fail to mention the fact that in occupied Poland anyone caught helping a Jew would be shot on the spot by the Germans.
Roman Buszynski, Kaleen
THE PLEDGE DEBATE
Pledges are not only done in totalitarian regimes (Letters, January 26). At assemblies at Cooma North Public School in the 1960s we recited this pledge: "I honour my God, I serve my Queen, I respect my school, I salute my flag".
Peter Jeffery, Garran
GOOD OLD BARNABY
We can rely on at least one member of the LNP to take the matter of the Bridget McKenzie sports rort seriously. Barnaby Joyce is quoted as taking bets on whether or not she will lose her job ("Confidence in McKenzie survival", January 28, p7).
Ann Darbyshire, Hughes
ON THE WAY
It looks like Senator Bridget McKenzie is headed for the "Outa Ministry".
Does ScoMo have anything further to say about the "Smo kaze"?
John Milne, Chapman
The PM has asserted "our way is to see the humanity of others regardless of their ethnicity or disability or age, religion, gender... We accept and embrace people for who they are".
Would that to be true for all those on Nauru and Manus?
Tim Hardy, Florey
"Gerrymandate": a mandate bought by a political grants rort.
Stephen Neilsen, Wanniassa
It's almost 200 years since Alexis De Tocqueville observed: "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money".
That's just as true here as it is there.
N Ellis, Belconnen
IT'S ONLY CANBERRA
Morrison proposes greater involvement of the ADF in action on fires. But Defence have somewhat undermined him by actually starting the fire at Orroral Valley.
But it's "only" in the ACT, so he can blame Labor and the Greens for it, as usual.
Dr Tony Weir, Melba
A BIG THANK YOU
I am writing this at 6.30pm on Tuesday.
Thank you to all the firefighters in Canberra. Thank you to all the the firefighters throughout Australia.
Michael Tang, Fadden
THE BUSHFIRE CAPITAL
Seeing a red sun through the dense smoke from the Orroral Valley fire on Wednesday afternoon made me wonder if whoever coined the name "bush capital" ever dreamt that Canberra could one day be known as the "bushfire capital".
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
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