Re: "Missed opportunity", Letters, November 17, (Jorge Gapella), which asked if we could have installed flexible solar panels on the roof of the Shine Dome.
This option was considered in consultation with Australia's top scientists - our fellows - and we found the technology could not be installed on the copper without impacting the heritage values of the Shine Dome, which is on the National Heritage List.
We strongly agree that the home of Australian science should convey a "360-degree message of sustainability", and earlier this year we partnered with the University of Canberra to develop a sustainability plan to investigate ways to bring the Dome's energy and emissions footprint to net-zero.
We invite Jorge and any other interested members of the public to join us on December 4 at the Dome (or online) for a symposium to introduce this project and to discuss sustainable heritage futures. For more information, see science.org.au.
Anna-Maria Arabia, chief executive, Australian Academy of Science
A terrible lesson
I refer to Jack Waterford's article "Brereton Inquiry: SAS Officers failed their men and Australia" (Forum, November 20, 2020).
All war is brutal. Some war is exceptionally brutal, with hideous consequences both physical and psychological.
For this reason, war should always remain a last resort. Unfortunately, this lesson has been lost on too many of our politicians, who have sent Australian youth into harm's way, and kept them there long after the futility of the undertaking has become boldly apparent.
This may reflect the politicians' desire to demonstrate machismo, or to pander to great and powerful friends, or to provoke a "rally-round-the-flag" effect to achieve domestic electoral advantage; perhaps a bit of each.
The Brereton report treated politicians gently. It is they who help engineer the wider circumstances within which war crimes occur.
Peter Grabosky, Forrest
Crimes are alleged
In the first sentence of his article ("Brereton Inquiry: SAS Officers Failed their Men and Australia" (Forum, November 20, 2020) Jack Waterford besmirched the entire officer class of the ADF by writing "Winston Churchill was a little better at accepting responsibility than the Australian Officer class".
Mr Waterford seems to have no intimate knowledge of responsibilities accepted by officers throughout the ADF having apparently never donned the uniform.
He is merely accepting the Brereton report as gospel truth. David Kilcullen, a highly respected contributing editor for military affairs with The Australian wrote "...the allegations of unlawful killing of 39 Afghan civilians by 25 members of Australian Special Forces and two incidents of cruel treatment are utterly appalling if true".
This is a much more balanced observation, does not ascribe any blame and allows those alleged to have committed the atrocities the presumption of innocence until proved guilty.
For Waterford to condemn the entire officer class of the entire ADF is reprehensible.
N Bailey, Ngunnawal
After two long years, the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC) finally admitted after extensive correspondence that it could pay my retirement pension by bank transfer.
After taking months to process my application, the CSC cancelled the last two bank cheques posted to me and paid the equivalent into my New Zealand bank account.
I'm now out-of-pocket $100 for dishonoured cheque fees. CSC told Westpac bank that the bank cheque had been lost. I never reported that cheque stolen.
Westpac Bank told me that they take the word of the customer that the cheque was stolen. Bank cheques are not as safe as a bank anymore.
Jim Rose, Wellington, NZ
Make war no more
In responding to my recent article on Australia's readiness to go to wars such as that in Afghanistan, Frank Bolton MBE (Letters, November 20) has opened up additional reasons we need far greater scrutiny of government proposals for war.
Yes, the PM and cabinet receive briefings, as Bolton states, but they can be ignored. And what cabinet minister is going to stand up to a PM hellbent on war?
Does Bolton not recall the utterly shameful manipulation of intelligence about Iraq's weapons programs that led to the US, the UK and Australia illegally invading Iraq in 2003? (Yes, it is not just "dictators" that invade other countries.) And where are the briefings from humanitarian agencies, those who will be left to clean up the human mess during and after the fighting?
Bolton refers to dictators admiring parades of troops and military hardware. Australia is going one step further. The proposed huge expansion of the Australian War Memorial, the centre of our commemoration of our war dead, is planned to feature displays of fighting equipment along with live feed from the Defence Department. It's not hard to identify the war propaganda creeping into our society.
No-one I know has ever doubted the courage of our troops and the dangerous circumstances in which they fight. The same cannot be said for our political leaders. Their power to send Australians to war needs to be reined in by a requirement for debate and vote in parliament.
Sue Wareham, president, Medical Association for Prevention of War
Where is the CMO?
With the country in the worst medical crisis for 100 years I am wondering why the most critical national medical post, that of the Commonwealth chief medical officer, is filled by a person in an acting capacity.
Is the acting CMO not considered worthy of promotion, or is there no-one in the country suitable for appointment, or does the government just not consider it worthwhile?
David Nolan, Holder
Don't blame us
In case readers think that the Griffith Narrabundah Community Association is part of "the usual voices of dissent" mentioned in Anne Baly's letter (Letters, November 18) I would like to make it clear that the GNCA has always supported the re-development of the site where the old Capitol Cinema used to operate.
In our letter to those handling the pre-DA consultation we stated: "Capital Hotel Stage 2 should provide significant benefits to the nearby residential and business communities through the provision of new cinemas, meeting facilities and a new hotel. We are looking forward to a high-quality redevelopment on this important site and we believe many nearby residents will be very interested in viewing what is proposed".
Provided the building complies with the ACT Government's planning rules, we will fully support the proposed development.
David Denham, president, Griffith-Narrabundah Community Association
Please let us not become complacent about keeping up with social distancing, personal hygiene etc.
Victoria is coming out of its dark days but, unfortunately, South Australia has suffered a setback.
We so need to be vigilant and aware of the extent of this invasive virus.
The fact that some of the social restrictions previously in place are being relaxed should not signal a return to normal.
We have not yet seen the end of this scourge.
Patricia Watson, Red Hill
Garbos deserve better
I certainly read the views of Graham Downie with the greatest respect but I disagree with him when he argues that "garbage collectors' wage rise demands are over the top" (Letters, November 18).
It is worth checking out the story of the 1968 strike of sanitation workers in New York after which its citizens were forced to recognise the needs of garbage collectors.
In my view we should pay our frontline workers such as garbage collectors, bus drivers and the humbler of our health workers much better because it is on them we really depend and because the difference between the wages of the wealthiest and poorest in our community has grown too large, causing increased social problems of all sorts.
If it is those groups with the strongest unions who get increases first. So be it. We have to start somewhere.
I myself am proud that the ACT pays bus drivers more than in other parts of Australia. They are usually courteous and helpful to the children and old people in their care. And, if they will not work weekends, then we need to employ more drivers under special weekend arrangements.
Jill Sutton, Watson
Move on Malcolm, Kevin
I note both Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull seem to becoming very talkative and somewhat nasty. The ABC gives them lots of publicity. I hope they are not thinking of planning another political party. They had their chances. It is about time they went away and took up art, music or some other recreational endeavour.
Brian Hale, Richardson
TO THE POINT
THAT DIDN'T WORK
So much for keeping the Australian media out of the Afghanistan war. They're well across it now.
Roger Bacon, Cook
Mr Morrison is fast becoming the mouth from the south. Will his megaphonic approach to China's human rights abuses reduce their incidence? Is it in Australia's best interest? A subtle "softly, softly catchee panda" approach could be more productive.
Mike Quirk, Garran
Thank you to the kind people at the Australian Tax Office who wrote to me recently to tell me my tax return was "outstanding". I felt that was funny because I do not even remember sending it in.
Ricky Dennis, Murumbeena, Vic
It seems that although our invisible Governor-General was the Chief of the Defence Force when the Afghan crimes were committed he knew nothing. If we have to have Governor-Generals surely we could have a visible one not drawn from the military pool.
Rod Holesgrove, Crace
WHERE WERE THEY?
Politicians love to send soldiers to war. Politicians love to stand on the podium and bask in the reflected glory when things go well. It was appalling to see our politicians abandon General Angus Campbell in his, and our, army's time of crisis.
P Dean, Bywong, NSW
A DUSTY DEATH?
I agree with Bede North (Letters, November 21) that the words, "It is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing" are a fitting summary of Trump's term as US president. This being Canberra, however, I need to point out that the quote is not from King Lear, but Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5).
Anne Laisk, Weston
The tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury comes from Macbeth (Letters, November 21) whose ambition matched Trump's.
M Davis, Charnwood
MAN ON THE RUN
Trump's last gasp at retaining power was epitomised by the spectacle of lawyer Rudy Giuliani and his Madmen pitch message on an easel while his poor quality hair dye dripped slowly down his cheeks. What a metaphor for the last four years.
Linus Cole, Palmerston
GIVE HIM A BREAK
Lying is wrong, no question. But I'm guessing the South Australian pizza worker may have been more truthful had he known a lie would result in the state being shut down. I suspect he will have a hard enough time without the premier putting the boot in.
John Howarth, Weston
NO WARS, NO CRIMES
Perhaps Australian troops would commit fewer war crimes if we stopped sending them to fight America's wars-for-profit.
Fred Pilcher, Kaleen
The ACT government can't collect the bins, it can't cut the grass, and it can't provide basic amenities. Our MLA's must be preoccupied with counting their money.
Gordon Edwards, Page
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