The ACT elections have made at least three matters very clear; matters which have been trotted out gratuitously for years by a number of your correspondents.
First, we can say with confidence most ACT voters want light rail. While the return on investment calculation may be marginal, voters at three successive elections have indicated they are willing to pay for the system. Let's hear no more barbs about the decision unless it it is to make the network more cost effective and efficient.
Second, it is demonstrable that Andrew Barr is the most popular local politician. Let's accept that, at least for the present, and moderate the sniping.
Third, the Canberra Liberals are unable or unwilling to understand ACT voters are more sophisticated and educated than they believe. They need to realise that this population can see through slogans and stunts and unveil the menu of limited policies funded by magic pudding economics that were offered at this election.
Perhaps they could spend the next four years developing costed, evidence-based, policies which reflect this sophistication and education. If they did then come 2024 territorians will have genuine choices about who will govern them.
Chris Aulich, Giralang
Experience is vital
The Liberals' historic loss, and the fact they keep getting led by 30-something career politicians, are two sides of the same coin.
Young and ambitious Liberals want to use ACT politics as a springboard into federal politics. They are career politicians and want to be promoted. They know that moving up the federal ranks means following the federal party line: corporate deregulation, public service cuts, and tax cuts mostly for the rich.
But the federal Libs anti-public service policies are the reason most people in Canberra vote for Labor and Greens. Most people here work for the APS or the ACT government. Canberrans won't vote for a government that threatens their jobs.
The net result is that the ambitions of the Libs young leaders limit the electoral chances of their candidates. The Libs need a new leader who is older. But also one who doesn't have federal ambitions.
David Tuckwell, Downer
AWM judgement damning
The Australian Heritage Council has delivered a damning judgement on the AWM expansion (Editorial "AWM redevelopment row continues", October 15, p20), but It won't end the saga. Here is a solution.
First Mitchell. The AWM began extending its facilities here in 1993 specifically for the storage and exhibition of large technology objects (LTO). Last year Dr Nelson announced Mitchell can now meet all LTO needs for eight to nine years and, before long, expected demands for the next 50 years. The LTO now flowing from Defence serve no commemorative purpose, warrant no place in the memorial and should go to Mitchell. That would remove $480 million for the display of LTO from the estimated $498m to be spent on the AWM makeover. Cost to complete the Mitchell development: no more than $60m.
Second. During the term of my successor, Steve Gower, award-winning architect Richard Johnson designed a sizeable exhibition hall to fit neatly and unobtrusively to the side of Anzac Hall. It was a Centenary of Anzac project which, despite its excellence, was dropped from the program. Cost today: around $25 million.
Together, for less than $100m, the recently acquired LTO would go where they ought to be and better space would be available in the memorial to tell the stories of Australians in recent conflicts. The memorial's heritage status would be preserved, Anzac Hall would continue to be "fit for purpose" and exciting opportunities would be opened up to revitalise the Memorial.
Brendon Kelson, director
Memorial call excellent
Re: "Call for first nations memorial in the capital", (October 20, p2). What a great idea.
Can I suggest to Professor Mark Kenny that a possible site for such a memorial already exists at the Burrunju Aboriginal Art Gallery at the edge of Lake Burley Griffin at Yarramundi Reach.
In addition to a wharf and ferry, a shuttle bus could transport tourists and scholars to other venues in the vicinity, namely the National Zoo and Aquarium, the National Arboretum, the Australian National Botanic Gardens and the National Museum of Australia.
Alan Sinclair, Canberra City
Killed by corflutes?
It is interesting to note the party that had the greatest swing towards it (the Greens) was the party that did not plaster corflutes all over ACT highways and suburban streets.
A lack of corflutes obviously did not negatively affect Green votes. But but did a surfeit of corflutes from other candidates put voters off?
Corflutes with Bec Cody's distinctive black and white hair were everywhere in every electorate and she lost her seat despite her party winning the election. The Liberal party's Andrew Wall seemed to appear everywhere in Brindabella and he lost his seat. Is there a negative correlation between corflute numbers and success?
Perhaps something to consider at the next election?
Fay Stenhouse, Wanniassa
The mudlark mistake
In the bad old days when it was fun to discriminate, Steve Evans ("The brutal truth in black and white", CT P.6, 16 October) would have been dismissed as a first rate "whinging Pom".
These more enlightened times require we keep things clean and embrace the misfortunes of ignorance. Tolerance can only go so far when journalistic reputations are at stake, however.
The brutal truth is Steve has been wound up by an insensitive Aussie to identify mudlarks as magpies. The mudlark (commonly known as a "pee wee"), can be confused for a magpie because of its black and white colouring. That's where the similarity ends. I have never known a magpie to hurl itself at a window or a mirror as Steve describes. Pee wees, on the other hand, are chronic narcissists who never learn such behaviour can hurt.
Magpies are highly territorial and respond well to the friendliness of humans who share their space. I am not aware of a friendlier bird species which remains wild. Nesting season behaviours often affect outsiders, but the insiders almost always remain unaffected.
In encouraging Steve Evans to check his information, I can do no better than refer him to another "new" Australian - Giselda Kaplan - who wrote the definitive book on the Magpie subject Australian Magpie - Biology and Behaviour of an Unusual Songbird.
Ernest Berry, Stirling
So, "Scott Trump" and "Donald Frydenberg" are pushing for Daniel Andrews to end lockdown so the economy can recover, just like their protégé in the United States is encouraging states to loosen restrictions.
Meanwhile European countries, including the UK, are re-introducing lockdown and curfew measures to try to contain the second wave.
"Gladys the gladiator" is facing a potential second wave in her own state. But Scott and Donald hold her and Stephen Marshall up as examples of how to balance health and economic priorities while lampooning Queensland and Western Australia.
Our treasurer could take a lesson in accountancy from WA. They are the only jurisdiction that has delivered a budget surplus in these challenging times. The future of National Cabinet is under threat due to the federal government's preference for business and the economy rather than our health and the advice of scientific professionals. WA has shown you can do both.
Doug Rankin, Isabella Plains
Make Canberra clean again
Now the election is over perhaps the time is ripe for our once beautiful city to become exactly that again. It would behove our government to have the many potholes around Canberra repaired. Should you be a motor cyclist and be unfortunate enough to ride through one of the deep potholes you may well have a nasty accident. Car drivers need to be alert as well as you may well damage the steering of your car.
Our city is beautifully green but oh how the mowing teams need to be out and about as well as teams to remove the rubbish from our roadsides. We deserve better. Now is the time, Mr Barr, to have your team work towards making our city beautiful again.
Neredah Crane, Monash
A hollow excuse
Since Saturday night the ACT Liberals have been bleating about how the virus and its management caused voters to tune in more to the former government in recent months ("Pandemic doesn't explain whole election result", canberratimes.com.au, October 19).
However it is also likely that a sizeable number decided to tune out from Alistair Coe's sound bites after he pronounced, rather haplessly on May 7, that the pandemic had ended.
Sue Dyer, Downer
TO THE POINT
NOTHING NEW HERE
One "professional" valuer says $30 million; another, $3 million. What's new?
Jack Kershaw, Kambah
SET MOTHERS FREE
It's been a long time since there's been a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Canberra. So when will restrictions ease up to allow new mothers groups to meet? Women having babies in 2020 have faced a range of restrictions and social isolation.
Melissa McKee, Kingston
SAVE POWER, SAVE MONEY
If we need to reduce our electricity consumption why not turn off the poker machines?
Ricky Dennis, Murrumbeena, Vic
COMING UP TRUMPS
On Sundays we do the giant trivia quiz in The Sunday Canberra Times. Question four in the "easy" section of October 18 was "What are gluttony, lust, pride, anger, envy, sloth and avarice known as collectively?" Not surprisingly, everyone's answer was "Donald Trump".
Dallas Stow, O'Connor
The premierships of both the AFL and of Gladys Berejiklian could be determined by what view is taken of "holding the man".
M. F. Horton, Adelaide, SA
MASTERS OF DEFLECTION
The Libs lost because they are still in the shadow of far right wing zealot, Zed!. The faster they can muster the persona of a moderate lib like Gary Humphreys the more likely they are to gain ground. Voters listened to the slogans and said No to Coe.
David Perry, Amaroo
THE EIGHTH WONDER
Building the pyramids was monumental. The great wall of China is a fabulous feat of human endeavour. The completion of the lakeside walk near the Art Gallery will rank up there with these marvels. If it's ever finished.
Doug Hodgson, Pearce
REHOME THE DONALD
Trump says if he loses to Biden he will leave the country. He should go to Saudi Arabia or North Korea. He would be welcomed in either country on account of his admiration for authoritarian regimes.
Rajend Naidu, Glenfield, NSW
POINT WAS MISSED
Erin Cook (Letters, October 20) missed the point of my letter (Letters, October 19). That is that if there was strong enough concern about rising rates or land taxes people would not have voted the ALP back in. The Liberals promised to freeze rates. This election only encourages Andrew Barr to continue turning the screw.
Murray May, Cook
THINK OF OTHERS
The mental health of returning Australians being repatriated to Howard Springs is now at the forefront of discussions. After all, they have been "stuck overseas" and "away from Australia for so long". Not my words. How about the same consideration for asylum seekers, refugees and the Aussies still stuck in Syria.
John Panneman, Jerrabomberra, NSW
CHANGE THE NAME
Trump's US is a prime example of how not to do things. If he wins again it may force the Australian "Labor" Party to drop American spelling in favour of "Labour".
Jorge Gapella, Kaleen
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