Missing from the ACT government's list of jobs to clean-up Canberra is the renovation of Chifley Oval. Taken over by broad-leaf weeds, it is difficult to walk on without twisting an ankle, and only passable by a track worn by residents heading to Woden Westfield Plaza. With the existing up-to-date children's playground, work-out equipment, cricket pitch, toilets and change block, and nearby cafes, it could be an excellent sporting venue if the oval were to be dug over and re-seeded. Please add it to the list Mr Steel.
Susan Marshall, Chifley
Climate danger real
Congratulations on the editorial ("Climate change is the existential crisis", canberratimes.com.au, October 18), particularly your noting the federal government, while taking expert advice on coronavirus, has failed to do so on climate and energy policy.
The warming of the arctic terrifies me, not just for the loss of ice and the associated albedo effect. The release of methane from the warming permafrost, and from methane clathrates under the sea, may lead to runaway global warming. There are lessons to be learnt from the end-Permian mass extinction that killed off 96 per cent of marine life and 70 per cent of terrestrial species. In the 30,000 years leading up to the event oceans warmed by five degrees, largely caused by ongoing volcanic activity and lava flows in Siberia. Then, it is thought, there was a sudden pulse of methane that warmed oceans and land by another five degrees, causing the mass extinctions.
We cannot afford to allow the earth to warm by five degrees, or even by two or three degrees. Fossil fuels are the main culprit. We must move away from them as fast as possible.
Jenny Goldie, Cooma
A wonderful Canberran
Thank you for your editorial outlining many of the wonderful contributions of the ACT Senior Australian of the Year, Sue Salthouse, to a better society for us all ("A late arrival to vocation for change", July 22, p20).
Sue, and her advocacy, will indeed be sorely missed by many people. One of her commitments that wasn't mentioned was to reject militarism. Sue spoke at the launch in 2015 of the campaign to get rid of weapons advertisements at Canberra Airport, referring to the sanitized images that promote "the business of arms, conflict and war".
She was one of 83 signatories of an open letter last year from prominent Australians opposed to the major expansion of the AWM. She signed a joint submission to the current Public Works Committee inquiry on the AWM proposal, which stated that it would do little to promote an understanding of Australia's wars.
Sue leaves a huge legacy, which is made all the more powerful by her own challenging circumstances. We are all indebted to her.
Dr Sue Wareham, Cook
Time for change
Re: "Time to recognise national values" by Michelle Grattan (July 18, p46).
Ms Grattan mentioned two changes she strongly believed in: an Australian republic, and recognition of Indigenous Australians. I support both.
On the republic she wrote: "We had the chance in the 1999 referendum, and we blew it". I agree. Some republicans, preferring their "perfect" solution of a directly appointed president, destroyed the achievable solution of a Parliament-elected president.
On recognition of Indigenous Australians she wrote: ''[This] would be a gesture of reconciliation as well as a statement of our values. To my mind, it is a higher priority than the republic". I absolutely agree.
However, Ms Grattan's "perfect" solution of a change to the Constitution would be difficult to achieve; consequently, a referendum on it is being continually delayed.
However, there is a very achievable "satisfactory" (indeed, superior) solution: incorporate Indigenous symbols in the Australian flag. This change is superior because it would be seen daily by millions.
Implementation would be simple. 1. Hold an opinion poll on the principle. 2. Hold a design competition for an amended flag. 3. Have Parliament vote on the preferred design.
Bob Salmond, Melba
Build on rock
The report "Wild weather threatens to wash away beachfront homes" and accompanying photograph (July 18, p18) bring to mind the parable of the wise man and the foolish man (Matthew 7: 24-27). The wise man "built his house on a rock", but the foolish man built his house on the sand. The rain, the floods and the winds came and brought down the foolish man's house, while the wise man's house withstood the wild weather.
As a geologist, I would have thought it obvious - Engineering 101 if you will - that to build on dune sands of unknown depth is asking for trouble, especially at a time when sea levels are relentlessly rising and storms are showing a trend of increasing intensity. Building sea walls, an enormously expensive undertaking, would bring short to medium-term protection, but in the end the sea, its tides and its storms will surely win.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Laundry danger zone
Jack Kershaw provides an interesting perspective on the architecture of 1960s high-rise public housing blocks such as Melbourne's Flemington flats (Letters, July 21). While I acknowledge the many positive design features he points to, there is one major design fault in many 1960s apartment buildings and that is the ubiquitous shared laundry at the end of the hall or (even worse) down in the basement.
Do you leave the baby and the toddler alone in the flat while you do the washing, or do you carry them to the laundry along with the washing basket, the detergent and a selection of snacks and toys to keep the kids occupied while they play on the wet concrete floor? I suspect that the spread of COVID-19 in the Melbourne high-rise blocks was aided and abetted by the need to use shared laundry facilities.
Marlene Hall, Kingston
Put AWM funds back
Alicia Payne ("Making a noise on war memorial works", July 20, page 18) describes the criticism many of her constituents make of the proposed redevelopment of the Australian War Memorial. Despite having sympathy for their preferred ways of allocating the $498 million, she rejects calling on the Morrison government to withdraw funding for the project as the money would "just go back into the pot".
Better the funds go back to general revenue than see the memorial turned into a military museum.
Liese Baker, Watson
Support not universal
I wish to assure Kym MacMillan (Letters, July 21) that there are many, many, veterans living in Canberra, and across Australia, who object to these "monumental" funds being allocated to the Australian War Memorial redevelopment work.
Many more feel the dollar amount is a just a "bit over the top" and would be better spent on direct veterans support programs.
The destruction of Anzac Hall is also seen by many veterans as simply unwarranted.
I think it was a great pity that the AWM Board did not seek to acquire the nearby Commonwealth land surrounding the former CSIRO headquarters to build a substantial annex to house their extensive stored collection rather than pursuing the current proposal.
K. Gill, ex-ACT and National President
Vietnam Veterans Association, Aust
Lennox Bowen (Letters, July 21) appears to harbour a grudge against the Campbells of Argyle following the Lennox Clan's defeat in the aftermath of "The Forty Five". No doubt revenge is sweet, and is indeed best served cold. May I suggest that he take a swig of Irn Bru and consider carefully the fearsome reputation of the Campbells? It doesn't take much to stir them up.
In the words of a famous survivor of Culloden, one Jamie Fraser of Lallybroch, "Twelve highlanders and a bagpipe make a rebellion." Keep yer heid doon!
Stuart Yorston, Macgregor
Preferences are valid
To win on preferences is just as good as a win on voter first preferences. All votes are just preferences. It is a great system where each voter can allocate their order of preference. This reduces dead votes and allows us to express that "if Fred doesn't get in, I want my vote to go to Jim".
It is strange that conservative supporters recently complained because from 1918-1919 the scheme has allowed the various conservative parties to stand candidates without splitting the conservative vote, allowing them to defeat Labor. Conversely, in the recent Eden Monaro by-election it allowed Labor to defeat the conservative parties. The weakness remaining is that some voters are unwise enough to blindly follow how-to-vote cards, or worse vote above the line, thus giving unwarranted power to others. No one and no party allocates my preferences but me.
Greg Dunstone, Bruce
TO THE POINT
TELL THE TRUTH
Real unemployment is much greater than the official numbers indicate. Politicians on both sides have publicly agreed that the official numbers cannot be trusted. Here is a bold (Sir Humphrey would say courageous) proposal: make the real figures official.
Thomas Mautner, Griffith
KNOCK IT ALL DOWN
The arguments by the Australian War Memorial management for demolition of Anzac Hall, after only 20 years operation, because it will create jobs for construction workers, suggests all ACT buildings should be rebuilt every 20 years to create jobs. I object to the AWM spending so much taxpayers' money to create an armaments museum. I prefer the solemnity of the memorials in Melbourne and Sydney.
Chris Emery, Reid
AWM PLAN WASTEFUL
I agree with W Book and Eric Hodge about the AWM expansion (Letters, July 21). Not one person I know supports it. Stop this ridiculous waste. Spend it supporting bush fire victims, those who've lost jobs recently, or the poor folk from those dreadful housing towers in Melbourne. Oh, and refugees who need help as well.
Anne Bowen, Macquarie
SCRAPING THE BARREL
Now that Kanye West will be running for the United States presidency we can look forward for a race to the bottom between him and President Trump.
Mario Stivala, Belconnen
When looking at data, maxima and minima seldom provide much insight because they are what statisticians call "outliers". To use them to make a point about climate change, as John Coochey does (Letters, July 21), is as insightful as claiming COVID-19 isn't more dangerous to the elderly because the oldest living person is 112.
Antony Burnham, Turner
John Panneman ("Death from above", Letters, July 21) should not be too concerned about the magpies near his home. During the football season the species self-inflates under the impression this is their year and becomes increasingly aggressive to those of a different view. As the months head towards summer they "consider their options" and return to normality.
Peter Baskett, Murrumbateman
IT'S THE COLD
Perhaps John Panneman (Letters, July 27) has been away for quite a long time. Our magpies have to puff up their feathers to keep warm. He may have noticed that Canberrans also resemble turkeys in the mandatory puffer vest and jacket while enjoying our glorious winter.
Elspeth Humphries, Yarralumla
BAN THE ROYALS
Fred Bennett (Letters, July 17) makes the fine point that the Queen is irrelevant to Australian government.
"Let's keep it that way" he writes.
I say let's go one step further and remove her and her family from our system altogether.
Keith Hill, Braidwood, NSW
Why would any self-respecting journalist attend a Dan Andrews press conference? He refuses to answer any pertinent questions and trots out statistics freely available elsewhere.
Mark Sproat, Lyons
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