The flak Malcolm Mackerras is copping over his US presidential prediction brings to mind the 1999 debate at ADFA when Malcolm put the monarchist position against David Headon's advocacy for a republic.
Expecting an entertaining engagement, I was not disappointed. What did surprise me though was how convincingly Malcolm Mackerras demolished David Headon's shallow arguments, and resoundingly won the debate.
In retrospect, David Headon's line was emblematic of the Australian Republic Movement's self-serving opposition to the opportunity provided by then Prime Minister John Howard's option for selecting a president in favour of a popularly elected president, where presumably one of the ARM's luminaries had decided that they would be the prime candidate. One of them becoming prime minister didn't work out well, either!
Given what is happening in the US presidential campaign, riven as it is by egos, huge expenditures aimed at buying votes, and massive internal divisions, John Howard's option looks better by the day, notwithstanding that when it was offered it was likely done so for Machiavellian reasons.
The day will come when Australian coins no longer feature the image of an English person, and our true head of state will unequivocally be one of our own. Whether Malcolm Mackerras has called the US election correctly or not, when we eventually turn our minds to how a president of Australia should be selected, we will do well to remember how the popularly elected model has played out in the USA in 2020.
Ian Pearson, Barton
Are the restricted parking problems of plumber Sean Wilson and other tradies ("Tradies under pressure in parking crackdown", October 14, p2) just another case of "it's not what you know but who you know?"
The article also highlights the government's lack of understanding about what makes a business really tick.
Mr Wilson gets penalised for overstaying in a designated commercial parking bay while attending to business. Others get booked if they have to use a footpath or median strip.
And yet for the duration of Geocon's massive Belconnen high-rise development, trucks, low-loaders, cranes, cement deliverers and the like have had full use of the surrounding median strips to park, and even to unload.
Is it a case of special exemptions for the big end of town while the small guys are left to fend for themselves?
Len Goodman, Belconnen
Leave politics out of it
A veritable cornucopia of contenders is on offer for the High Court when two vacancies occur in 2020 and 2021. One of note is WA Supreme Court Judge, Janine Pritchard, an ex-Canberran. However, although the Morrison government is keen to find conservative or "black letter" lawyers, can we please not ever descend into a US-style judicial appointment fiasco. Let's try and keep it non-partisan, non-political and non-gender-based, but entirely on merit. May the best lawyers succeed.
Angela Kueter-Luks, Bruce
The letter from John Leech (Letters, October 14) reminded me of a tragic accident several years ago. A long-time colleague was cycling along a shared path near his home in Belconnen (Scullin, I think) when an unleashed dog ran onto the path in front of him. The dog collided with his bicycle's front wheel, effectively knocking the bike from under him. He fell heavily onto the path, was duly taken to hospital, but soon died from his severe injuries. The life of a man much loved by his wife and family, and valued by his colleagues taken by a dog carelessly and, I suspect illegally, allowed to run rampant near a bike path.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Do Trump's rusted-on supporters believe his absurd claim that Friday's presidential debate did not proceed because Biden is scared to take him on when he was clearly the one who pulled the plug? If so, how gullible are they?
M Moore, Bonython
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