The Canberra Liberals would be badly mistaken if they concluded that the recent election loss was due solely to the campaign. The fact is that many things went wrong, including the quality of some of the candidates.
The party is run by mates for the benefit of mates. How else do you explain the decision to provide the sitting MLAs with their own quarantined preselection, free from any challenge from other high-achieving party members?
It is the same mentality that allows the party executive to rush a Senate pre-selection by the end of November ("Canberra Liberals start early preselection", canberratimes.com.au, October 24).
This time the intention is obviously to quarantine Senator Zed Seselja from a fair preselection process. Zed may or may not be the best available candidate for the Canberra Liberals. But that should be tested by the full party membership, much closer to the election.
This would allow the many party members who have not qualified to vote in the preselection because of the COVID-19 crisis to participate. It would also allow good party members, who are not able to put their career on hold for such a long period, to put up their hand.
Unless the Canberra Liberals reform their internal processes to become a truly democratic party that cares about the rights of their members, they are doomed to failure in the 2024 Assembly elections. And the party's Senate vote will continue to languish well below quota.
Gary Kent, president
Canberra Liberals 2000-2007
The tantrum outburst in parliament by the federal treasurer, claiming his school-age children have lost six months of their lives as a result of Victoria's lockdown, is what you expect of a spoilt child.
If this is the quality of the parliamentarians who are there to govern for us, not to attempt to strike political blows at a time of national crisis, then Australia is doomed to remain in the backwater of stupidity.
John Sandilands, Garran
The new guard
Hallelujah, the Liberals have finally seen the light by electing Elizabeth Lee and Giulia Jones as the leader and deputy leader of the party respectively.
Both are experienced politicians, academically well qualified, have an ethnic and part-ethnic background respectively, are reasonably young female moderates, and have had a life outside of politics prior to becoming politicians.
As an octogenarian it is a pity I will, in all probability, not be around to see them hopefully lead the party to a sweeping victory at the 2024 ACT election.
Mario Stivala, Belconnen
What's the worry?
When I worked in Employment and Workplace Relations under the Howard government employees rated as "superior" were paid a bonus often exceeding five per cent of their annual salary.
The payment was supported by appropriate buzzwords in the individual's performance assessment, but it basically amounted to a pat on the back for good work. Approval to make the payment was delegated to division heads, on recommendation from a branch head, and lots of payments were made.
Employees who won the approval of their branch head were also rewarded with movie tickets and other trinkets which were presented at staff gatherings. These bestowals of favour happened in an ordinary Department of State, at a time when the APS workplace culture was being primed for a service-wide move to individual contracts. So they must have been all right.
Australia Post is a fully commercialised government business enterprise, operating under a Coalition government that valorises private enterprise practices. Scott Morrison's public dressing-down of Christine Holgate for rewarding high-performing senior staff with expensive watches is not just hypocritical, but bizarre.
Paul Feldman, Balaclava, Victoria
Trump for China
Rajend Naidu (Letters, October 22) suggests that if Donald Trump loses to Joe Biden on November 4 (Australian time) and leaves the US in a huff, he should go to Saudi Arabia or North Korea to be with one of his favourite tyrants.
I may have the perfect solution for Mr Trump: he should go to China. I'm sure he would be welcomed with open arms by President-for-life Xi Jinping. He could be at the source of his Chinese disease/little flu, and could deliver the coup de grâce to the coronavirus with one of his many "miracle cures".
Mr Trump would also be able to fight his trade war with China from behind enemy lines. A perfect, "poetic-justice", solution to Mr Trump's dubious patriotism.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Can anyone explain why the national cabinet decided that the states, not the Commonwealth, should operate COVID-19 quarantine regimes; and why the national cabinet allows the states to control quarantine facilities and dictate the number of overseas Australians allowed to return home?
Surely the national cabinet knows that quarantine is a public service which was transferred from the states to the Commonwealth, in accordance with Section 69 of the Australian Constitution, when the Quarantine Act commenced in 1909?
And surely it knows that all the powers and functions of quarantine which were exercised by any arm of executive government of a State were transferred concurrently into the exclusive control of the executive government of the Commonwealth, in accordance with Section 70 of the Constitution?
Surely the national cabinet knows that, because that disposition of executive powers and functions is established by the Constitution, neither it, nor any Australian Parliament or executive government, has the power to shift quarantine back to the states and thereby undo an important outcome of federation?
Mysteriously, however, that has occurred; and states are now operating quarantine with pre-federation autonomy; apparently "authorised" by the "national cabinet", a committee with no legal standing.
A further mystery is that the Commonwealth could be using the modernised quarantine powers of the Biosecurity Act 2015, with assistance from the states if required, using trained and qualified personnel, protecting the rights of detainees, paying their quarantine expenses, all as required by the Act; but inexplicably it is avoiding doing so.
Kenneth Kuhlmann, Braddon
Can we imagine a hospital with no trained medical staff, or an accountancy firm without any trained accountants? The answer of course is "no" because we care about ourselves and our finances.
The situation among our elderly is very different. We put them in so-called "homes" in which there is often no one trained in ageing or aged care management, either amongst the management team or on the board. How many of those on the Royal Commission who are currently looking into the way we treat our older people trained in either of these areas?
During the last few months particularly we have isolated our elders from their families and loved ones, often leaving them to even die alone. Death rates among the elderly in so-called "care" have been unacceptably high.
This is inhumanity to man (and woman). History will blame the leader.
Dr Audrey Guy, Ngunnawal
James Gralton, (Letters, October 24) has the wrong angle. Ms Holgate's US counterpart is not paid "about a quarter of her salary". Given the population of the USA is 331 million and ours is 25 million, she earns thirteen times more than him.
The Yanks usual delivery is six days a week, not the three, sometimes two, we get. And now we find our senior staff in Australia Post are rewarded with $5000 watches for doing something they're already paid to do. The PM should sack Ms Holgate and review the salaries of its managers.
Bill Deane, Chapman
PM a hypocrite
I hope the press ceases buying in to Morrison's hypocritical "look over there" horror about the Cartier watches, which pales into insignificance when compared with Choppergate, post-Ministerial ambassadorial appointments, sports and community grants rorts, and "jobs for the boys".
To throw the head of a government agency under a bus is not what I would expect from a leader or a statesman.
Nathan Dean, Bungendore, NSW
What a deal
I'm waiting for Michael McCormack to defend Australia Post's purchase of French watches to again argue "in time it will seem a bargain" as he did with the $30 million airport land purchase. I note the price per watch has increased from the original $3000 up to $7000. Perhaps they have now included first-class postage.
Howard Ubey, Kingston
TO THE POINT
On Tuesday I heard Alistair Coe on radio saying the Liberals lost the election because of COVID-19. I bet John Mellor of Coombs (Letters, October 26) is having a good old chuckle.
Michael Mills, Casey
A TIMELY WIN
Congratulations Elizabeth Lee. Better late than never.
John Howarth, Weston
I'm just relieved the ADF's $3.8 billion Taipan helicopters have a door flaw, not a floor flaw.
Roger Bacon, Cook
MADNESS I TELL YOU
I don't pay tax but again I got a "tax" refund from the ATO. It is based on franking credits from shares, a policy I deplore. But if the ATO wants to throw money at investors I will take it. Stupid of ATO to give it and stupid of me if I reject it.
David Hutchinson, Richardson
THE NZ QUESTION
What arrangements have been made for the eventual return home of our Kiwi visitors ? Were they trapped Australians or genuine visitors?
Either is fine but little information seems to have been released .
Paul O'Connor, Hawker
AND THE TRUE BELIEVERS?
Now it seems the ALP will form government with Greens support it will be interesting to see how much influence the Greens will have over the policies the ALP took to the election and on the basis of which ALP members were elected.
N Bailey, Ngunnawal
Corflutes are still hanging around. One from Chris Steel, partially hidden in long grass above Ainsworth Street, is slowly disintegrating with the rain.
The only regrets when it is collected will come from the mastiffs of Mawson and the spoodles of Swinger Hill who will miss Chris on their daily walks.
Christina Faulk, Swinger Hill
MISSING IN ACTION
The fight against climate change is the most important battle we face. In this battle our Prime Minister is missing in action.
Ricky Dennis, Murrumbeena, Vic
A LOST CAUSE
Abraham Lincoln said people who gave their lives for the country had given the "last and full measure". Donald J Trump says people who have died serving their country are "losers".
You don't have to look any further to see why the "Orange Man" will shortly be voted out.
Rohan Goyne, Evatt
The Canberra Times has run a number of stories about abundance of snakes that have emerged from winter hibernation.
I bet they now wish they had stayed in bed for a few more weeks.
George Beaton, Greenway
THE SENSIBLE SEX
Now we have a majority of women in the Assembly maybe we will see some financial sanity return to budget priorities, instead of wasting another $3 billion (over 25 years) on Stage 2 of the tram, let alone beyond.
M. Flint, coordinator, Smart
Canberra Transport, Erindale Centre
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