The fact the process of job cuts has caused angst and lack of trust among ANU staff is no surprise ("ANU staff demand transparency over university job cuts", canberratimes.com.au, September 23).
The process seems to be an extension of well documented and established behaviour over the last decade. Current staff are rightly nervous.
As a former senior ANU employee, many examples of "change management" and "faux consultations with predetermined outcomes" came to my attention. Such practices can be considered standard "go tos" by HR departments, and are well known to the ANU Council. They can be used to cover up workplace deficiencies in safety.
Former staff who have alleged they were affected by such practices have sought compensation through the NTEU, Comcare, AAT, various courts, FWA, and Commonwealth Ombudsman. The current government's disregard for fair policy and lack of accountability means it has become fashionable for organisations to refuse to act like model litigants and, instead of prevention, to throw endless public money to overpower individual workers.
Organisations are well aware high financial and health costs create unsatisfactory outcomes for individuals and can cause them to cease action.
ANU has the advantage over other universities to cushion itself through this pandemic due to its annual receipt of over $200 million through the National Institutes Grant. As these are public funds, this expenditure should be closely examined.
Katherine Vavasour, Gilmore
Deja vu all over again
Having led the "CanTheTram" organisation in 2016 I read the letters on light rail (September, 19) with a sense of deja vu. All the arguments expressed against light rail and the politics were enunciated in 2016. So, what has changed?
COVID-19 has catalysed a serious trial of working and learning from home. Some have found the experience so valuable they will be reluctant to return to the old ways. Commuting and demand for parking will ease accordingly.
Electric buses are also now a practical proposition. The current Transport Minister, Chris Steel has been quoted in reference to a previous electric bus trial "we've learnt a lot from that in terms of the need to have a partner that can work with us", referring to a Chinese supplier.
The biggest mistake planners can make is to ignore the impact of technology. All these changes, except COVID-19, were predictable in 2016. At the current rate the light rail network will be half completed by 2030. Driverless vehicle technology will then render it to be merely the decorative piece it always has been for the developers who are ruining Canberra.
John Smith, Farrer
Help them now
The increase in the weekly international arrival cap from 4000 to 6000 Australians is very welcome news. But with so many Australians stranded overseas it will still take months to clear the backlog.
More importantly, this doesn't solve the most pressing issue. Right now, to get a guaranteed flight home, the only option is to pay through the nose for a business class ticket.
This means that the most vulnerable Australians stuck overseas, those who can least afford to remain overseas, can least afford a flight home. The federal government's loans for vulnerable Australians don't even cover a third of the cost of the flight home, nor hotel quarantine costs, so these don't help either.
Perhaps we need to start prioritising bringing Australians home based on vulnerability, rather than just who can afford to pay the most for a ticket.
Matt Graham, Queanbeyan, NSW
Cape weed pandemic
There seems to be a lot of Cape weed around this season. While I suppose for some it might be welcome greenery in lawns turned into scorched dust patches by last summer, I'm worried we'll have a real problem in the future.
Nature strips and suburban parks are being overtaken. It will choke out native grasses and other plants. It's also toxic to sheep and horses. I don't know if it's toxic to kangaroos.
The main problem is that it's a prolific spreader. Many people don't know or seem to care that they've got it while spreading it around. It's no good one person isolating their garden if neighbours do nothing.
Will the ACT government declare it a "pandemic"?
Paul Wayper, Cook
Do some research
Re A. Hutchinson's disappointment with the major parties as potential governments for the ACT (Letters, September 22). Why keep choosing them?
There are a number of independent candidates, and candidates from minor parties, who are standing. Every candidate can complete a candidate statement on the Canberra Alliance for Participatory Democracy.
You can use this to select individuals you would like to represent you.
Margaret Lee, Hawker
How to vote for change
Re: "Hope for changes goes begging" by Nicholas Stuart (canberratimes.com.au, September 21). The two major political parties have made it very difficult for independent candidates to be elected in the forthcoming ACT election.
How have they achieved this, when one of the main benefits of the Hare-Clark voting system is that - given the chance - its results more closely reflect the diversity of opinion within a community than traditional single member electorates. The key is multi-member electorates.
The Liberal and Labor Parties subverted the intention of Hare-Clark in 2014 when, following a campaign to increase the size of the Assembly, they both voted not only to increase the overall number of Assembly members, but also to limit the number of members in each electorate to less than the seven recommended.
The effect was they didn't have to bother negotiating with independent and minor party members. We've seen the results.
Given the Lab-Lib hegemony it will be difficult to redeem this situation, but the coming election does represent an opportunity. If enough of us number every box (not just the five encouraged by the majors) and, in our order of preference, all those independent and minor party candidates who seem to care about good governance perhaps we will end up with an Assembly in which the balance of power is held by members who will hold the government to account.
Chris Ansted, Garran
Democracy in Victoria
Mario Moldoveneau (Letters, September 19) claimed Daniel Andrews had suspended parliament, depriving the opposition, and the people they represent, of the right to express their views.
Both the upper and lower houses of the Victorian Parliament sat last week, and have previously sat throughout the pandemic.
The Victorian Parliament has sat more frequently than the Federal Parliament during this crisis. As for the Opposition, they are incapable of any credible questioning and are simply minions of the Federal and NSW governments who are solely interested in political point scoring to further the cause of the LNP in the Queensland election.
Doug Rankin, Isabella Plains
Recent letters have focused on the City to Woden tram route as the be all and end all. That route isn't broken yet. It is a great bus route. However, Tuggeranong has long been forgotten, after talk about the Airport (which I personally favour) and Belconnen.
Forget the Commonwealth Ave Bridge. Let's go along the Parkway to Sulwood Drive, Kambah direct, and thence on to Soward Way, and thence to Lanyon Marketplace. Now that is rapid and it doesn't need very many stops.
It might have to be elevated for part of the journey but Europeans have been doing that for years. Woden can look after itself and, to be frank, the comparative distances between all routes are marginal at best. I'm not hearing anything from those who would want to win office next month about this possibility. Oh for some innovation.
Russ Morison, Theodore
Virus easy to miss
Don Sephton, (Letters, September 22) does not seem to understand that testing either people or sewerage for the virus with negative results is not absolute proof it is not present. The results represent only a small sample of the population and could easily miss cases.
The more we test the more likely it is that we will detect any infection present in the community. The ACT has porous borders with NSW. A lot of people cross in both directions every day. Many will go to Sydney or the South Coast where the virus is active.
We have been extremely fortunate so far but that could change with just one case of COVID-19 being brought here. If you have any cold or flu like symptoms please get tested.
Julia Richards, Kambah
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