On Tuesday morning (Australian time), a few minutes after expressing his support for peaceful protest, President Trump sanctioned the use of tear gas to dispel peaceful protesters outside St John's Church in Washington so that he could stand outside the church holding a closed Bible aloft.
What a shame he did not open his Bible to read what it has to say about injustice, hypocrisy and the use of the outward trappings of religion for self-promotion.Charles Body, Kaleen
What a shame Trump did not go into the church for quiet prayer and reflection. And what a shame he did not open his Bible to read what it has to say about injustice, hypocrisy and the use of the outward trappings of religion for self-promotion while ignoring the inherent message of that religion. No wonder many church leaders have condemned his actions as "outrageous".
Charles Body, Kaleen
Aboriginal deaths in custody
Bucolic Sutherland Shire is the ideal place to raise a family, have a prawn curry and pav weekend meal, go to a rugby match on Saturday and to church on Sundays.
It is an harmonious shire, despite the Cronulla riot, as according to the Shire Council, 97.8 per cent of their population claim Australian, UK or Irish origin. About one per cent identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Throughout multicultural Sydney only 63.8 per cent claim Australian, UK or Irish origins.
It is only natural then for a long-term resident to respond to the murder of an African-American in this way: "As upsetting and terrible that the murder that took place - and it is shocking, that also just made me cringe - I just think to myself how wonderful a country is Australia."
Let me just add to the chorus of voices that is saying Australia is not all that wonderful when we have had 432 Aboriginal deaths in custody since 1991, when the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody concluded. Aborigines make up about 2 per cent of the population and 28 per cent of those in prison.
Civil Liberties Australia (CLA) urges that after National Reconciliation Week, we look at how we can reform justice and equity systems so that Australia is truly a "wonderful place" for all its inhabitants.
Jennifer Ashton, Director CLA
These tactics must stop
It is so shocking to see the violence in America and the way the police killed an African American by kneeling on his neck.
Now, we see the police in Australia throwing a young Aboriginal man to the road, causing injury and kneeling on him.
It looks like the police are taught these brutal tactics in their training and should be legally stopped.
Penelope Upward, O'Connor
We call this reconciliation?
With Miriam Margolyes' concerns about our treatment of our First Nations peoples so clearly expressed on ABC TV (June 2) and the Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service's concerns about the age-standardized rate of Indigenous incarceration in the ACT being an horrific 14.9 times higher than for the non-Indigenous population (publicised on the "Christians for an Ethical Society" website under their "past forums" heading), Canberrans must be wondering how our "Reconciliation Week" had any meaning at all.
The destruction of the Juukan Gorge caves of priceless antiquity and Indigenous value by Rio Tinto was just the last straw.
Let's take another look at the Uluru statement as Stan Grant is suggesting (The Canberra Times, May 26). We use Stan as a media personality, so why do we fail to hear him when he speaks truth to power?
Jill Sutton, Watson
Vive la monarchie!
My heart has swelled at the recent flurry of activities from the ACT government. Streets are being swept, lawns mowed, run-down amenities renewed and local members are out and about asking what they can do to help.
Ah yes, it's that brief window when things work again in the ACT - election time! If only this could continue all year round.
Here's my proposal. Let's introduce yearly elections. That way, the ACT government would be persuaded to provide decent, people-focused services all year round rather than every four years.
Or, better still, let's do away with elections altogether and institute an ACT monarchy. Andrew Barr would be our king and be supported by a bevy of colourful princes and princesses such as Prince Shane of Trams and Princess Bec of Names.
King Andy and his royal retinue could do all their normal looting and plundering from their new castle atop Mount Ainslie, but would now be instilled with a divine sense of noblesse oblige to the people below.
Then at the end of the day, Their Majesties should give something back to the lowly peasants of the realm; even if it is only a strategically gritty food van in Braddon.
I'm sure the peasants would rejoice and would also enjoy the pursuant royal scandals much more than the current two-bit local ones.
We've already shown how we can get rid of trial by jury in the ACT, so we are partially on our way. Vive la monarchie!
Simon Cobcroft, Lyneham
Problem of vision not feasibility
I entirely agree with the views expressed by C Williams (Letters, June 1) and supported by John Buxton and Douglas Mackenzie (Letters, June 2) regarding the feasibility of a fast train connecting Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.
If I may add, back in 1992 whilst working in Spain as one of the Pavilion Managers at the Australian Pavilion of the Universal Exposition - Seville 92, I saw the first Spanish AVE (Alta Velocidad Espanola). In the intervening 28 years, Spain has increased the fast train network to over 3000 kilometres.
If, as well as organising the Expo 92 and the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, not a particularly wealthy country, also managed to start operation of a fast train between Madrid and Seville (some 500 kilometres), surely wealthy Australia can afford to build a fast train along a corridor that contains well over half the country's population?
Maybe the problem is not about feasibility but about lack of vision and determination.
John Rodriguez, Florey
Sorry Josh, buses do it better
Josh Wyndham-Kidd's letter (CT letters, June 3) has not achieved his wish of stopping me, at least, from writing anti-tram letters to The Canberra Times.
Instead, on reading his letter on the benefits of the tram, I was compelled to write and point out that all the benefits listed in his letter are also achievable by fixed busways at a far cheaper cost. Good examples of such fixed busways are found in Brisbane and Auckland.
Buses are also more flexible at the end of a fixed route than trams. The tram proponents, when comparing the busway with the tram proposal, claim that the extra development along a fixed route tram would create revenue.
So would a fixed-route busway. I am curious where such development to pay for the tram will occur along the Civic to Woden proposed tram route.
Mr Wyndham-Kidd, having moved to Darwin, has avoided the major anti-tram concern that many ACT residents have; we have to pay for the costs of our trams, he doesn't.
Gina Pinkas, Aranda
They should be heroes, not on trial
So Bernard Collaery's pre-trial hearing that was held in secret finished on Friday ("'Sad times': Bernard Collaery laments now fragile democracy", May 25).
We now await the judge's decision on whether the trial will be held in a closed court. Let us hope not, since there cannot be justice - either delivered or seen to be - if the court is not open.
A hearing is hardly fair when a judge can determine whether the defendant can see all the evidence against him, or not. It is difficult to defend yourself against unknown accusations. This is surely an exercise in the Australian government trying to save face in light of a shameful episode in our history, when we sought unfair advantage in negotiations with an impoverished neighbour, East Timor, by spying on it. It is indeed a case of "sad times" for Australia's "fragile democracy".
We wish Witness K and Bernard Collaery well. They should be regarded as heroes for what they did, not be standing trial.
Jenny Goldie, Cooma
A world riven by the virus
While most likely unintentional, the way that COVID-19 has been managed globally has resulted in two major blocs: the countries with herd immunity and those without.
What is concerning for Australia is that we appear to be in the same bloc as China, yet our government appears to be willing to do the bidding of the USA and pick a fight with our most likely strategic partner country as a new cold war between China and the USA emerges.
If we want to continue travel and close ties with the United States, England and other countries which are aiming for herd immunity, we have quite a lot being bet on the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. What if a vaccine can't be found? Where does that leave Australia?
Greg Adamson, Griffith
TO THE POINT
IT STILL WAS NOT O.K.
Sorry to spoil the celebrations of the cattle exporters who have convinced the courts that extreme animal cruelty in Indonesian abattoirs was and is OK. Maybe some of their compensation could be donated to the RSPCA, Animals Australia and PETA Australia, who do care what happens to Australian animals that are the victims of the live export trade. Scenes of these animals being slaughtered in 2011 required a viewer warning on the news this week.
John Davenport, Farrer
A GESTURE TO HELP
A small thing, but to assist businesses such as cafes, coffee bars, nail bars etc. who issue loyalty cards, we stop using the cards for a few months. A free coffee is not much to one person, but it mounts up.
Gail McAlpine, Griffith
RETHINKING OLD LINES
Writers extolling the virtues of fast trains may consider another option for the failing rail corridors: rail trails. Easements become lengthy bike paths, cycle-based communities spring up along the route.
Matt Ford, Crookwell
Great to see the return of the Crace correspondent Rod Holesgrove (Letters, Canberra Times, 2 June). He is spot on with the significance of the upcoming revelations from Archives of the interventions of the Queen, Barwick and Mason in the 1975 Kerr dismissal of the Whitlam government. Another blot on our history.
Warren Nicholls, Reid
David Pope's ecumenical take on POTUS' walk of biblical proportions reminded me of the line from Paul Simon's Call me Al: "The rest of my life is so hard, I need a photo opportunity, I want a shot at redemption. I don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard."
Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW
WHERE'S THE APOLOGY?
So not only did Australia's Defence Force start the Namadgi fires that burnt 80 per cent of the area, they were also not very helpful to ACT firefighters in dealing with the fires (Canberra Times, June 3, p4). But I don't think we have yet heard a fulsome apology from Defence for the tremendous damage they caused to the territory.
Rod Holesgrove, Crace
You are all misjudging Donald Trump. He has made America grate again.
George Beaton, Greenway
DRESS FOR THE OCCASION
At the US riots, every man and his dog wears a mask and carries a camera. Surely common sense would suggest that the press and media wear proper large identifying signs as they do in war zones, instead of trendy clothes?
Paul O'Connor, Hawker
SPOT THE DIFFERENCE
Minneapolis: black cop kills white woman; goes to prison for murder. Minneapolis: white cop kills black man; watch this space.
James Gralton, Garran
HELP YOUR VIEWERS
Some TV presenters and often members of discussing panels mumble. Their pronunciation sometimes is very poor and they forget that there is a wider audience who are also listening. I am urging them to take notice and do the right thing, please.
Sankar Kumar Chatterjee, Evatt
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