In 1970 I arrived in Australia. My first foot steps on Australian soil were in Western Australia before moving across to Victoria and then to ACT.
Having arrived from the UK via East Africa, I was thankful that border crossings were seamless.
After a brief period of settling in I secured a position in Sydney and, after various promotions, I moved to Brisbane, then Adelaide, before arriving back in the ACT in 1982.
There were no border crossings as I wandered the country with my family. How different it is today.
After a number of years I applied for, and gratefully received, my Australian citizenship which had no mention of an ACT chapter.
Some eight years ago I was honoured by Australia, again with no mention of an ACT chapter, with an Order of Australia Medal.
I ask, is the current border closure, and the rhetoric of the state premiers that they must protect their occupants at the expense of other Australians, the beginning of the demise of our Australian Federation as we know it and love it? I for one hope not.
Paul Street, Cook
Advice was wrong
We are given some vaccination advice by Rev Dr Greg Connolly in The Canberra Times (Letters, September 9) as an argument against compulsory vaccination. Unfortunately his advice is wrong.
The Australian Immunisation Handbook, produced by experts in the field and freely available on the Commonwealth Department of Health web site, states "people with egg allergy, including a history of anaphylaxis, can be safely vaccinated with influenza vaccines". This statement is backed by evidence. (https://immunisationhandbook.health.gov.au)
The topic of allergies and safety is discussed at length throughout the book.
It is not that I am not arguing for compulsory vaccination. However I would like to see the dissemination of accurate information so that people can make informed decisions.
Dr Eddie O'Brien, Chapman
ALP program flawed
The works program flagged by the ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, this week is a disappointing rehash of old programs. It continues to focus on cars or bikes to move people around Canberra.
Where is the vision? How about a lake ferry to get workers and students from one end of Canberra to the other zig-zagging along the water axis?
What about a focus on the land axis (Mt Ainslie to Capitol Hill). This would also be useful for a tram line or some other form of mass transport.
And we still have the preoccupation with getting people from work to home. What about other activities outside of public service working hours? We also have an ageing population, many of whose members are reliant on public transport.
If all politicians gave up their publicly funded motor vehicles and used public transport for a month the situation might improve.
H Merritt, Downer
A question of ability
Don McCallum (Letters, September 9) claims to support the West Basin development, citing the highly successful Darling Harbour, South Bank and Docklands precincts as examples.
I can assure Don that if only the ACT government was capable of designing and building such a precinct they would indeed have universal support. One has only to look at the state of the Kingston Foreshore, where the government has been unable to even build a decent arts precinct, to see why there is opposition to the West Lake development.
Murray Upton, Belconnen
Road toll results
Ian Morrison wonders why we don't ban driving when the national COVID-19 death rate parallels our national road toll. (Letters, September 7).
The simple answer to his somewhat astonishing question is that ever since automobiles were introduced into Australia we have had legislative restrictions imposed on the population to reduce the death rates caused by road deaths. Our tolls have declined by nearly two thirds from a high of 3798 deaths in 1970 to last year's 1194 road toll. Inspection of the graph shows significant sharp drops at each introduction of a mandatory change, ranging from seat belts, to RBT and airbags.
A quick web search is all that is needed to see this. His argument actually reinforces the benefit of mandated population control strategies in the fight to keep Australia in its current laudable COVID-19 status, which can only be dreamed of by citizens in other developed countries.
Ruth Palavestra, Gordon
The corflute capital is again living up to its name. Every main road has just been subjected to the mushroom-like growth of pre-election photo galleries of lifters, leaners, and wannabes beaming on the roadside.
Good luck to them all, but please expedite the removal of the signage after the big day.
In years past many have remained for weeks, littering the countryside. Further, this practice seems to generate a rash of other corflutes advertising events and products.
I have been told a permit is required for any entity to place signage on public land. If so, as a part of the approval, could a requirement for a permit expiry date be noted on the corflute after which the permit holder becomes subject to the rigours of anti-littering regulations.
Chas Adams, Yarralumla
It is disappointing to read the ACT is one of only two jurisdictions in Australia that allows smoking in prisons.
The AMC has a duty to provide a safe work environment. Being exposed to tobacco smoke is dangerous to health. Imagine if one of the staff (or prisoners) had an asthma attack and died as a result of inhaling tobacco smoke.
Having a smoking ban would discourage crime. Those who smoke would understand that if they were incarcerated in the AMC they would be unable to smoke.
Dr Alan Shroot, president,
Canberra ASH, Forrest
The results of the ANU's COVID-19 testing of ACT sewerage for the month of May were released with quite a bit of fanfare. But everything on that front seems to have been quiet since.
Has the testing been discontinued? If not, what have been the results for the last three months? A COVID-19 clean bill of health should be good news.
Don Sephton, Greenway
Do the right thing
I expect the Prime Minister to support Australians who are doing it tough but having a go to save lives.
In this way, rather than doing a Trump and criticising anything not Republican, I expect him to support Dan Andrews and his team who are trying to get on top of the COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria.
It's a simple request.
Dennis Flannery, Scullin
Go for elimination
The federal government wants the premiers to agree to a definition of a COVID-19 hotspot, and to commit in advance to responses. Blind Freddie can see that what comprises a hotspot is very different between a state pursuing "suppression strategy" and one that has eliminated the virus.
The health of both economy and citizens are significantly more robust and secure in a state of elimination than in the yo-yo uncertainty of suppression strategy.
Suppression is a wishful idea for a perfect world. The cost to Victoria in lives and business lost is all the evidence needed to show humans do not provide a perfect world.
The federal government's undermining of state premiers is fomenting social division (a key Trump strategy). It is exacerbating hotspots in the interests of promoting the focus on short-term profits and political marketing.
This is what "we are all in this for ourselves" looks like. Australia needs federal leadership that supports by state premiers to protect both health and the economy. That is what "we are all in this together" looks like.
L. Kramer, Curtin
Saving is sensible
Why wouldn't Australian households pursue prudent "precautionary saving" when they witness confidence-sapping federal government wailing aimed at a state government handling 19,000 cases of COVID-19?
The calamity has been made worse by entrenched federal oversights in aged care. Why are there no hints of a convincing, and creative, confidence-building way forward, and of a "new normal" that would deliver positive "trickle down" effects for more than a few favoured sectors? To date the focus has been on wheeling out old standbys much-loved by conservative governments: tax cuts; hard infrastructure projects; tinkering on climate and energy reform; and IR changes.
Women in particular have been given little hope so far for the future.
Sue Dyer, Downer
TO THE POINT
A BIT HARSH
Why does M Stivala (Letters, September 7) denigrate past leaders. Based on their experiences, they have much to offer and are no longer burdened by the need to please their party or the electorate.
Peter Haddon, Jerrabomberra, NSW
THINK ABOUT IT
Every time Morrison and Frydenberg have a tantrum about lockdown procedures in the states they demonstrate just how little they understand. They should shut themselves in a small room and meditate on the meaning of "exponential increase" for several days. Maybe it would sink in.
Geoff Mander, Hawker
WHAT AN EFFORT
Re: "Angelina gets a new lease of life" (canberratimes.com.au, September 2).
Well done to Tania Giorgio and family for your hard work and perseverance in helping Angelina get the home and care she deserves. There were lots of hurdles to cross but your persistence and hard work paid off. Her happy face reminded me of her childhood years in Braddon.
Poppy Moullakis, Kaleen
FOLLOW THE RULES
Diana Nelson (Letters, September 8) is wrong in her belief "walkers do not have priority on the paths". ACT Road Rule 250 says: "The rider of a bicycle riding on a footpath or shared path must ... give way to any pedestrian on the footpath or shared path".
Leon Arundell, Downer
A DIFFERENT APPROACH
Given poor building standards and safety issues, the ACT construction industry might consider using more young apprentices with no "experience". They would have a clearer view of what is good and what is bad and, hopefully, offer safer solutions and build better, bigger, and liveable buildings.
Lyn Rutherford, Gungahlin
SHARE THE PAIN
C. Williams (Letters, September 8) comments on the ACT's self-defeating approaches to tax. If voters return a Barr Labor/Greens government in 2020 one could also argue the pain of "peak rates" has not yet been reached. Presumably masochistic behaviour has to be self-limiting at some point.
Murray May, Cook
SAY THAT AGAIN?
ACT Parks and Conservation Service signs about COVID-19 illustrate two things: that the public is saturated by signage it barely reads; and that bureaucracy has a language all its own. Example? A group "smaller than two people". Isn't that one person?
Jane Roberts, O'Connor
INDIGENOUS VS ABORIGINAL
It is demeaning to our Aborigines to call them Indigenous. Aborigine comes from the Latin, meaning "from the beginning". They are a unique people to Australia. Indigenous simply says they are natives.
Bernard Katz, Canberra
Dave Jeffrey and Eric Hunter (Letters, September 7 and 8) should agree to split the difference. Acronym or initialism, let's just agree that anything with "Her Majesty's" in it is an anachronism.
Phil Jackson, Kambah
THURBER WAS RIGHT
With regard to the COVID-19 vaccine race, a cautionary proverb from James Thurber: "He who hesitates is sometimes saved".
M F Horton, Adelaide, SA
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