Regarding letters from Paul Fitwarryne (July 9) and Mick McCarthy (July 11) re: the changing names for the respective rugby league (Raiders) and rugby union (Brumbies) teams.
One hopes they are both joking because I nearly fell off my chair laughing. If, on the off chance that they are serious, surely the world has gone crazy.
I propose to please them both. Why not change the name for one or the other of the teams to the "bluebells", Canberra's floral emblem? Surely that name can't offend anyone. I am also sure that in time the punters who attend the games can give a rousing rendition of the new anthem using the new name as the teams enter the stadium. I am sure they would get used to it eventually.
Peter Cullen, Watson
Either the full moon or this dreaded virus has brought the looney left out of their boxes. I am sure - or at least I hope - there were some "tongue in cheek" remarks in Saturday's letters. If not, we are in trouble.
The thought that sporting teams' nicknames being attached to animals or other species or races of people is new, is laughable.
Where would we be without the Balmain/Richmond Tigers, or the Hawthorn Hawks (nee Mayblooms)? To connect the Canberra Raiders to the Vikings and their nasty deeds of a 1000 years ago is bizarre. To propose we throw a statue of a beloved footballer in the lake after he helped bring a sporting premiership to Canberra is beyond the pale.
Wake up people, the sun will rise tomorrow, the virus will still be with us, and life will go on. Relax, smell the flowers and get on with life.
Dave Jeffrey, Farrer
Carers on the job
Thank you for the letter you published about the magpie caught in the tree at the Belconnen Dog Park by Bruce Wright (Letters, July 10).
The Wildlife Carers Group received a backlog of one week's worth of voice messages on July 10.
I will be phoning the provider to find out why the voice messages were delayed.
I will be phoning the mobile numbers left as well to apologise and explain.
We always call the fire brigade for any wildlife caught up in trees. I hope that they didn't leave any string wrapped around the leg because it will cut through and possibly sever the leg if that's where the string was.
The magpie may have needed treatment, cleaning of the wound, and an antibiotic long-term shot to prevent infections.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused to all of the callers who left voice messages.
Nora Preston, Weston
The hunger wars?
Bob Douglas argues that our long-term capacity to feed people is being imperilled by scarcity of soil, water and nutrients and by climatic instability ("Should we appoint a Minister for Food?", canberratimes.com.au, July 7).
At a global level, the World Food Program (WFP) is tackling the rising tide of hunger in the world, made worse by the coronavirus pandemic. It plans to assist 138 million people in 83 countries with food aid, an extra 40 million on last year. It is concerned, however, that there may be as many as 270 million in need of assistance by the end of the year because of the effects of the virus.
David Beasley, WFP's Executive Director, has warned that if people cannot get enough food, "we could see increased social unrest and protests, a rise in migration, deepening conflict and widespread under-nutrition among populations that were previously immune from hunger".
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is also saying the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to worsen food insecurity. While supplies of staple foods are stable, it is the income losses associated with containing the disease that are responsible for increasing the severity and prevalence of food insecurity.
FAO lists 44 countries (34 in Africa) that are suffering an exceptional shortfall in food production or supply this month. Most of them have very high population growth rates. Even if food supplies were to remain stable, there will be an increasing gap between supply and demand should populations grow.
In this time of crisis, we must bolster our foreign aid budget, especially to multilateral organisations like WPD and FAO, at least until we find a vaccine for COVID-19.
Jenny Goldie, Cooma, NSW
It's not good enough
Regarding the $233 million Morrison government funding for national parks. Firstly, this is only for Commonwealth national parks.
Secondly, most of this funding is made up of the $218 million for Kakadu National Park announced by the government in February 2019.
Thirdly, Coalition government funding for conservation has decreased significantly since the funding high under the last Labor national government.
Fourthly, the Morrison government knocked back a funding request from the ACT government for funding for restoration of the fire ravaged Namadgi National Park which was started accidentally by defence.
The Coalition government's support for parks and conservation is a sham and a dereliction of their national responsibilities.
Rod Holesgrove, Crace
Steve Evans writes that a number of scientific studies show face masks "are effective - not 100 per cent effective, but a help" ("Masks or face-shields: which is better?", July 13, p9).
His article also indicates that the efficacy of face masks is strongly dependent on the type of material used.
Face shields will intercept droplets expelled by coughing, but Mr Evans also mentions aerosols, or micro-droplets. Aerosols, or mists, can be formed by sneezing (and, perhaps, coughing) and are likely to bypass face shields. Therefore, a combination of face shield and, ideally, a cotton-flannel face mask, would seem to offer the greatest level of protection from COVID-19.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Trump column 'fact free'
In "A stone-faced betrayal of conservatism", July 11, p23) Mark Kenny refers to Scott Morrison's malleable ideology... as allowing him to play the "Mad King more effectively than most...".
Kenny goes on to cite lavish praise from Scott Morrison for Donald Trump as crucial in avoiding punitive tariffs on Australian steel and aluminium.
This reads well until history intervenes and recognizes that Malcolm Turnbull negotiated the exclusion of Australian steel and aluminum from Trump's tariff campaign. Part of the background here is advice Malcolm Turnbull gave about not criticising politicians and candidates in other nations' election processes.
"You can imagine how Australians would feel if an American president were to describe one of our prime ministerial aspirants as barking mad," Mr Turnbull said in May 2016. "You can imagine the resentment and ill will that would create".
He proved his wisdom on this issue at least by successfully shielding Australian steel and aluminium from the Trump tariff levy.
Warwick Davis, Isaacs
Bias run rampant
Re: "A stone-faced betrayal of conservatism", July 11, p23).
Mark Kenny shows more of the typical left-wing bias against US President Donald Trump, accusing Trump of being disrespectful in choosing Mount Rushmore in South Dakota for his recent Fourth of July speech. Yet, like many, Kenny had no problems with Obama or Hilary Clinton visiting the famous site.
Kenny also chooses to call Trump the "fulminating orange one". Interesting, would he call Obama the "black one"?
Kenny thinks that a Joe Biden victory would be a good thing for Australia. Has he read up on Biden's racist past? This is a man who told black people they couldn't call themselves black if they voted for Trump.
Yep, Biden would be great for Australia, even greater for America.
Ian Pilsner, Weston
An alternative view
The Canberra Times readers have been swamped with advocacy on behalf of Bernard Collaery and East Timor. The latest was from Michael McCarthy (Letters, July 11).
East Timor's claim for a portion of the oil in the Timor Gap is two decades old and being bolstered by Chinese interests via its notorious "belt and road" initiative.
Cyber attacks, thoroughly explained by the very credible Professor Clive Williams, must be factored into how Australia can prevent China's greed undermining the legitimacy of Australia's entitlement, acquired nearly a century ago. Yes, our operatives were caught out. Diddums. China's were too.
Mr Collaery's arraignment was brought about by his, and others', emotive advocacy on behalf of a resource deprived new state. K's reckless disclosure of appropriately classified in-confidence material has undermined Australia's critical interests while simultaneously advancing China's.
Patrick Jones, Griffith
TO THE POINT
IT'S A MIRACLE
I never thought I'd live long enough to read of Andrew Barr being concerned about a development not fitting with the "form and amenity of the surrounding neighbourhood" ("Barr hits out...", canberratimes.com.au, July 12). There must be an election in the not-too-distant future.
Gordon Fyfe, Kambah
GOOD AND BAD
John Painter (Letters, July 13) rightly applauds Andrew Barr for his response to the pandemic. However, this does not absolve the government from its failure to provide sufficient social housing or health infrastructure, or to base light rail and urban development policies on evidence. Sadly his government is unlikely to be held to account due to the opposition's failure to move the sensible centre.
Michael Quirk, Garran
MAN OF MYSTERY
Who was that masked man ("Trump wears mask in hospital visit", page 13, July 13)?
Allan Gibson OAM, Cherrybrook, NSW
A SIMPLE THING
On Friday my wife and I had a COVID-19 test at EPIC. On Saturday we got the results. Thankfully both negative. From start to finish it was an extremely efficient process, managed by staff who were cheerful, helpful, and good natured. Well done all.
Robin Stanier, Torrens
THE END OF THE WORLD
I recall an old expression along the lines that "Australia ends at the Victorian border". How prophetic is that expression now?
David Cummins, Kambah
"I want to stress... this border closure cannot be compared to any other border closure" - NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (July 9). What a load of cobblers. When Queensland was playing it safe while NSW struggled she raged against Queensland's border closure. Now it's a new tune.
Keith Hill, Braidwood, NSW
STAND UP KARL
Karl Stefanovic accused the Victorian government of being responsible for a "catastrophic bungle" that allowed the virus to spread through the state." Karl should contest a Victorian parliamentary seat in the next election if he thinks he can handle things better than Mr Andrews.
Mokhles k Sidden, Strathfield, NSW
GIVE SCOMO A BREAK
Scott Morrison went to a rugby game on the weekend. So? He deserves R and R like everyone else. Four hours out of a probable 18-hour working day, every day, is not much to ask for. He has been stretched to the max with drought, bushfires, and now COVID-19, not to mention running the country. Give him a break.
Alan Leitch, Austins Ferry, Tasmania
Call me too prone to kowtow, but I count it foolhardy to poke a Chinese dragon in the eye with a sharp stick.
M. F. Horton, Adelaide, SA
HURRY UP AND WAIT
Your columnist, Gary Martin (canberratimes.com.au, July 12) wants to "expose the myth of doing more with less". It is not a myth. All of us are spending more time on the phone with less staff to answer our call. Centrelink, Access Canberra, telcos like Telstra, and many other organisations, compete in extending waiting times.
Thomas Mautner, Griffith
Email: email@example.com. 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).