Looking down to Anzac Avenue and Old and New Parliament House from Mt Ainslie you can't avoid seeing swathes of dying and dead trees.
Dr Mason Crane of ANU's Conservation Landscape Ecology Unit has said that while the bush die back was extensive during the millennium drought we possibly "are now seeing it on a scale we have not previously observed".
Water shortage is the main cause. Ground cover is one of the best measures to help.
Unfortunately the Morrison Government will not commit to increased effort to reduce emissions. They are now on a mission to carry out more controlled burning which will further reduce ground cover.
Much of Australia's iconic bush looks doomed.
Rod Holesgrove, Crace
Mystery road closures
On Sunday morning, on my way from Gungahlin to the city to fulfil my duties as a church musician, I suddenly found myself at a standstill. All traffic into the city was halted by police while some enormous, seemingly never-ending, convoy of trucks drove off Gungahlin Drive across the city-bound traffic and into Mitchell.
After waiting for some time several of the city-bound cars gave up and pulled across the median strip to turn back towards Gungahlin. I did the same, backtracked, and tried to find another route through Mitchell, only to find all roads blocked in the direction of the city as this convoy continued to move across the suburb. Finally, I went back to Gungahlin and drove to the city via Barton Highway, arriving half an hour late for my church music duties.
This is not the first time I have been held up on the way to an important appointment by unexpected road closures. If roads must be closed off on certain occasions, is it asking too much of the ACT government for them to post signs along the major roads leading up to such closures to the effect "Road closed ahead - use alternative route"?
Surely that wouldn't be too hard?
One wonders how many people on their way to a hospital or some other emergency may be trapped unnecessarily in these gridlocks?
Nigel Poole, Palmerston
A sad loss
Jim Dunn, who passed away at 92 last week, was a real Australian hero.
During long years in Foreign Affairs, the Parliamentary Library, and subsequently he contested Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers and their compliant senior officials over Australia's shameful abandonment of the people of East Timor to a quarter of a century of Indonesian terror.
His position, which was supported by a minority in the ALP and many a private citizen, was ultimately justified by Timor L'este's hard-won independence.
Australians and Timorese owe Jim a debt of gratitude.
Chris Smith, Kingston
Shorten's fire plan
Alex Wallensky (Letters, February 8) asks whether the fire situation would have been any different under a Shorten Government. I draw his attention to Labor's March 17, 2019, media release which committed a Shorten Government to boosting "Australia's firefighting capabilities with a national fleet of aircraft and dedicated smoke-jumper units to keep Australians safe from bushfires" at a cost of over $80m.
Instead of burying his head in the sand, going on holidays and passing the buck to the states it seems Shorten at least took note of what the former fire chiefs and the scientists were saying. He was looking to address the shortfall in our fire fighting capacity.
Would it have made any difference. I suggest it would have. Alas, we will never know.
Sonja Weinberg, Macquarie
And again ...
Alex Wallensky (Letters, February 8) asks "what would Labor have done to prevent the current bushfire crisis if Shorten had led them to victory?"
He need look no further for an answer than Bill Shorten's press release of March 17, 2019.
The first sentence is instructive: "A Shorten Labor Government will boost Australia's firefighting capabilities with a national fleet of aircraft and dedicated smoke-jumper units to keep Australians safe from bushfires."
Eighty-million dollars was pledged to establish a National Aerial Bushfire Fighting Fleet. This seems piddling compared to the $100 million plus that was thrown around in sports grants to shore up vulnerable Coalition marginal seats in the sports rorts affair.
Labor didn't win the election. The Coalition did. They are responsible for Australia's good governance. That's what they're not delivering.
Frances Corcoran, Fraser
Bad to worse
I had barely stopped clapping for joy at the departure from Cabinet of Resources Minister, Matt Canavan, when I read his replacement was Keith Pitt MP.
This man is possibly even worse than Canavan when it comes to being pro-coal, pro-nuclear, anti-renewables and anti-Paris Agreement. Pitt has pushed for a coal-fired power station at Collinsville in Queensland.
That is the last thing Australia needs after this horrendous summer where all experts agree that climate change exacerbated the fires.
He supports the development of HELE or so-called "clean coal" power generators because they reduce emissions by 40 per cent. He ignores the fact they still emit significant emissions, unlike wind, solar and hydro which emit none. Renewables are also cheaper than new coal whatever form the generators take.
I now totally despair of this government and the likelihood it will ever come up with a credible climate and energy policy.
Jenny Goldie, Cooma, NSW
Name change shock
As a long term Canberra resident, I am upset by the change of name of Canberra Opera to National Opera, reportedly at the request of the new director ("Curtain goes up on Canberra Opera", February 5, p17).
The name is clearly misleading. It is also a sorry example of cultural cringe.
The director's employers should have told him in no uncertain terms that they are proud of Canberra's contributions to music and the arts, and to go and get knotted if he thought that the original name was demeaning or otherwise inappropriate.
This adds to a long list of misleading, ambiguous, largely meaningless, or otherwise inappropriate names for Canberra organisations and facilities, including Icon Water, Alexander Maconochie Centre, Resource Management Centre, Resource Recovery Estate, Domestic Animal Services, "National" Zoo and Aquarium and Bimberi "Youth Justice Centre".
What's next; a new name for the University of Canberra? Why do we put up with this nonsense? Who are the drongos who think up these silly names?Max Brown, Mawson
What's next; a new name for the University of Canberra? Why do we put up with this nonsense? Who are the drongos who think up these silly names?
Max Brown, Mawson
The Australian Federal Police have dropped the case against Angus Taylor for allegedly forging documents.
Apparently it wasn't Angus Taylor who actually forged them, and they're probably not able to work out who did.
These are the same police who are telling us they absolutely need the power to compel anyone in Australia to implant spyware in anyone else's computer, and to compel them to not tell anyone, even a lawyer.
All of this without any judicial oversight.
I believe these police couldn't be trusted with a worn out spoon.
The sooner they hang their hats up and give up on that complicated policing lark the better. The process of actually finding evidence and making arrests is clearly beyond them.
It's lucky for some that we don't have a Federal ICAC.
Paul Wayper, Cook
Bridget no saint
Rajend Naidu (Letters, February 6) suggests there might have been a case for Bridget McKenzie to have been elevated to the status of Sainthood.
A closer examination of her claim not only shows that she failed the test of Ministerial conduct but also misses out on the qualities ascribed to sainthood.
Did ScoMo have her actions in mind when he said "I believe in miracles" after winning the last election?
While Ms McKenzie might have had a bucketful of indulgences in the form of sports grants which she dispensed with the corrupt abandonment of the Church in the 1500 century, her conduct for sainthood would have been subjected to the scrutiny of the "Devil's Advocate".
In this instance it was the Auditor General. He dismissed her claims as an extravagance, an indulgence.
Ms McKenzie never even reached the status of "Blessed". To suggest that she might yet again rise to the ranks of the Ministry would undermine the value the faithful expect from those who spread the word.
Patrick Flynn, Page
TO THE POINT
GOOD FOR THE GOOSE
Interesting revelations about the Morrison Government channelling taxpayer-funded programs towards its preferred electorates.
This is the same mob that wants to extend cashless payments to all Newstart recipients. Poor things, they just need a bit of help. You can't trust them with cash, you know.
Paul Feldman, Macquarie
I'D LIKE TO KNOW
Is the AFP impartial and independent? Just asking.
Jeff Bradley, Isaacs
SAD BUT TRUE
In defending Scott Morrison (Letters, February 8) Alex Wallensky says that, despite his Hawaii "lapse", the Prime Minister is, "...now handling the situation as well as can be expected". Too true Alex, too true.
Eric Hunter, Cook
Pledges have changed over time (Letters, February 7).
In my rural NSW school in the 1950s we honoured our God, served our Queen, were loyal to our school, and we saluted our flag.
Our country and her laws didn't rate a mention.
It's not surprising some of us grew up to be fairly wary of them.
Ian Burke, Campbell
WHAT A DISGRACE
The misuse of power by Morrison and company to gain votes in marginal and Coalition seats demonstrates the rapid decline in ministerial standards.
He, and his ministers, should hang their heads in shame for failing to meet acceptable standards. If this is leading by example, then God help Australia.
Caroline Coombes, Macgregor
NO CONFIDENCE LEFT
If ever there was ever a time in history for a motion of no confidence it is today in this present dysfunctional Federal government.
Clive Bloomfield, Googong, NSW
THE REAL LOSERS
Trump has apparently been acquitted and vindicated.
Having presided over his self-proclaimed economic miracle there is a strong chance he will be re-elected in November.
What a shame all those victims of gun violence, which Trump has done nothing to reverse, won't get to share in the new prosperity.
Mark Slater, Melba
CORRUPTION IS RIFE
The truism "a fish rots from the head" is being reaffirmed daily by revelations of corruption focused on maintaining control over levers of power; not for common good, but narrow self-interest directed to enrichment of an ingratiated plutocracy ("Politicians treating us like mugs", February 8, pp1-2).
Albert M. White, Queanbeyan, NSW
BETTER AND FASTER
Science has shown a golf ball with 336 dimples on its surface can improve its flight distance when compared to a smooth ball. A car with many dimples of its surface should use less fuel than one with a shiny smooth surface. Think about it.
John Favre, Bywong, NSW
The Prime Minister should change his name to "Scom Orison"; that's how it's being pronounced.
John Milne, Chapman
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