How magnificent it is to think of Floriade spread throughout Canberra this year. And a chance for community participation to an extent that has never been possible before.
Another bonus is that these Floriades will be so accessible for people unable to travel far. A great idea and let's hope it continues.
COVID-19 is responsible for a fair amount of distress. But having multiple and accessible Floriades is surely a positive in a troubled times. A triumph for promoting well-being.
Judy Angus, Ainslie
Time for change
COVID-19 has a lot to answer for. Not only is it killing people and causing economic chaos, it's highlighting the need for us to reassess just about everything. Get on your soap box, rant about your favourite topic, state that coronavirus has clearly shown the need for change and Bob's your uncle.
For me, my rant this week is hearing. Not only have broadcasters, family, and everyone else I talk to been mumbling for years, now I can't even lip read. That's right, face masks. They may stop me from spreading or catching the virus and dying a horrible death but they've done nothing to improve my hearing.
Curses. I may have to learn Auslan but that's only good if the other person knows it too. Better still, I should finally go and get that hearing check and invest in some hearing aids. Bloody COVID-19.
John Panneman, Jerrabomberra, NSW
More box ticking
Most Canberrans will not have noticed the Coroners Amendment Bill 2020 pass in the Legislative Assembly last week, but many bereaved parents were keenly aware of its progress.
In reality the amendments will do little to improve the process for families going through coronial processes in the ACT, but it was reassuring to hear promises being made in the assembly that this is the first step in a much larger reform agenda.
Indeed, much more significant reform is needed if family voices are to be equally heard. Too often, families feel as if it's all just a "tick the box exercise" and struggle to move on knowing they have been denied the right to have their very reasonable questions about a death answered.
Ros Williams, Holder
Bob McDonald's response (Letters, July 29) to Douglas Mackenzie's earlier letter on the plight of Central Coast residents was pertinent. A friend of mine, who lives in Terrigal, has shown me a pre-World War II map which shows a road between the now stranded blocks and the beach. Apparently the road was washed away many years ago by storms and yet the houses were still subsequently built there.
Bruce Paine's letter of the same day was ingenuous to say the least. Of course he wouldn't be able to find a transport My Way balance on his seniors card. It is free. The concept of a balance is irrelevant. I suggest he just start using the card, as I do, without having to worry about the cost.
David Weeden, Evatt
A mea culpa
Subsequent to submitting my letter ("Card confusion", July 29) I received excellent service from a Transport Canberra Officer, who I talked with after a third party gave me Transport Canberra's direct phone number. As it turned out, my problem was partly self-inflicted.
However on this and other matters, I have found contacting the relevant part of the Public Service via Access Canberra to be very time-consuming, often requiring tens of minutes waiting time, or futile - for example no callback despite leaving a message as requested.
I recognise that officers may have been reallocated to COVID related duties, for example contact tracing.
Bruce Paine, Red Hill
Rock solid rebuttal
I assure Bob McDonald (Letters, July 29) that my apartment is built on solid rock - on the bottom of an abandoned quarry.
I can also assure Mr McDonald that my dwelling, at about 580 metres above sea level, and about 120 kilometres as the crow flies from the coast, is not presently at risk of storm-wave erosion.
I further assure Mr McDonald that I was commenting on coastal erosion, not coastal subsidence (which is also a factor when building on dune sands).
Many of the houses now under threat at Wamberal (on the NSW central coast) were built after 1978, when several houses were destroyed by a similar episode of coastal erosion.
The intent of my July 23 letter was to point out that it is inadvisable to build houses on loose dune sands - which have little or no load strength - rather than to criticise the owners of those houses.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
I was interested to read the letter from Bruce Paine (Letters, July 29) referring to his frustration with an ACT government website. I tried to use the "Fix My Street" website some time ago to draw attention to the fact that following the severe hailstorm earlier this year, which affected Macquarie and other suburbs, there were still large amounts of debris caught in street gutters, particularly beneath gum trees.
Each time it rains some of this debris is washed away, presumably to be incorporated in our water supply. The website required an address, not simply the name of a street. There was no option to name more than one street. In spite of the fact that the website proudly proclaims that every street is swept twice a year, there has been no sign of any street-sweeping occurring so far this year.
Bea Thompson, Macquarie
Punctuate or perish
Vince Patulny (Letters, July 29) is right to point out the perils of poor English expression, an essential foundation of which is punctuation.
The example that always got the attention of my (mostly) female journalism students was the un-punctuated: "A woman without her man is helpless", followed by the punctuated: "A woman; without her, man is helpless".
On word choice, Mark Twain gave us: "The difference between the almost-right word and the right word is really a large matter, 'tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning".
Eric Hunter, Cook
Not a good idea
Alan Leitch (Letters, July 29) argued he should be able to deduct the expenses he incurred in volunteering in his tax return because "one would think that the federal government... would encourage people to be volunteers by allowing volunteer-related claims".
While governments have increasingly used the income tax system as an economic lever to encourage or discourage various activities, its primary purpose remains to raise revenue by taxing income and profits. If deductions were allowed for private expenses, such as Mr Leitch's, everyone would have much lower (or no) income or profits and that primary purpose would be undone. I, for example, would claim deductions for my clothes, on the basis the government wouldn't want me to walk around town naked.
Greg Pinder, Charnwood
What values pray tell?
We keep hearing, unchallenged even in "quality" media, of the great shared values that keep us uniquely bonded to the US. We should be careful what we claim in this respect, lest anyone actually examine the emperor's clothes. Given America's performance from Vietnam to Iraq, these are presumably not values based on fighting "good" wars in the last three generations.
As for that old cliché, "democratic values", it's frankly outrageous that we should be blind to America's long support for many repressive regimes as long as they were anti-left, from Chile to the Congo, and from the Philippines to Saudi Arabia. And to its own astounding jerrymanders, and notorious electoral shenanigans, including a Bush banner-waving backer being the Florida returning officer in the 2000 election, and the widespread disenfranchising efforts directed at non-Republican-leaning minorities.
If democratic, and other, values were important to us, our strongest relationships would be to Scandinavia, not America.
Alex Mattea, Sydney, NSW
The report and recommendations of the Kippax District Flooding Study, prepared by a local consultancy for our ACT Government, was damning.
It is understood that this report has been rejected by the government and a new architect has been engaged with "updated" designs.
Mr Gentleman, save our money and concede that even you will not be able to argue with, or beat, Mother Nature. Even if you think you have fooled her, rest assured that one day, quite unannounced, she will come back and bite you hard.
She is clever, fickle and unpredictable. I have seen her in action too often to think otherwise in career as a geologist.
P R Temple, Macquarie
TO THE POINT
TIME TO GO, PREMIER
Instead of pointing the finger at others, Premier Andrews should have the decency to admit that his government's handling of the crisis has been totally inept. New infections have now spiraled out of control, and an additional 14 deaths recorded, all stemming from the botched hotel isolation security measures. He should resign forthwith.
Mario Stivala, Belconnen
BATTEN THE HATCHES
With another 600-plus COVID-19 cases on Friday in Victoria it's time to lock down and stay behind shut doors.
For those that won't wear a mask, or still want to party, it's time to make sure the doors include bars and prison guards.
Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill, Vic
WHAT'S IN A WORD?
A TV news reporter said the other night: "Tens of millions of dollars are needed to keep the aviation industry afloat".
I suppose it will take a similar amount to keep the shipping industry airborne.
John Milne, Chapman
DON'T COP IT
Vile anonymous tweets directed at prominent female journalists have been aired on TV recently. Why does the sisterhood tolerate this stuff.
Form a posse and stop all political reporting until it's fixed.
Howard Ubey, Kingston
A GOOD QUESTION
What is it that Woollies knows that the ACT Government is not telling us?
Jim Coats, Fadden
Woolworths strongly encourages" masks in ACT stores. I'm sure they sell them in ACT stores too.
Gordon Edwards, Page
MORE PULP FICTION
Australia is Washington's basement gimp.
We're not a real country, and we don't have a real government.
We are a US military/intelligence asset on a useful stretch of land in the Indo-Pacific for stationing war machinery and and for running NSA and CIA operations.
Rex Williams, Springwood
A LOW BLOW
Greg Hunt pulled a low political stunt when he reworded Daniel Andrews' message about nursing homes for his own political advantage.
If he cares for our ground-down care workers he should demonstrate it. Give them paid leave and pay them appropriately.
Maggie Morgan, Northcote, Vic
TRUMP'S LATEST FAIL
Trump's ominous threat to delay the 2020 election because he knows the writing is on the wall for his electoral defeat, confirms his mould as a Third World banana republic kind of leader who shamelessly refuses to relinquish power no matter the immense harm that he does the country and its people.
It's a shame a great democracy like America produced such a third rate leader.
Rajend Naidu, Glenfield, NSW
Letter writers advocating the printing of money to pay for coronavirus support schemes should read their history.
This didn't work out well for the Weimar Republic, or a lot of South American countries, if my memory serves. Let's not go there please. Disaster always follows.
N Ellis, Belconnen
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).