Last weekend, I cycled along the NGA's renovated pathway by the lake. What a pleasure it was. At last, I thought, the long-suffering taxpayer has got his money's worth.
For a mere reputed $750,000, Griffin's vision has a new lakeside masterpiece. Despite the shortness of my journey, only a few metres in reality, I was transported.
The brief path has an indefinable "Champs-Élysées" quality even as it merges imperceptibly with the main pathway.
Surely the work of a latter-day Jan Utzon. And those stairs. They put the statuary behind in the shade. Surely Carrara marble flown in together with Italian stonemasons to create a work for the ages.
Could the Spanish Steps compare?
R. H. Bradbury, Narrabundah
According to the WHO, tiredness is a possible symptom of COVID-19. Gladys Berejiklian was wrong to claim she wasn't suffering any symptoms at the time she took her precautionary test.
It's arrogance in the extreme to suggest she was entitled to self-assess the risk and decide she didn't need to go into quarantine while awaiting her results.
Many have been ordered to take precautionary tests throughout this pandemic and have been required to quarantine until cleared.
What makes Gladys any different? This is her second bad lapse of judgement. How many more can we expect her to brush off as not important?
Keith Hill, Tumut, NSW
Chance to change
Starting Light Rail 2 (Civic-Woden) with the installation of the Woden terminus ("Light rail station to be used for buses", November 23, p3), will give government time to recast the current expensive, impractical, and destructive Civic to State Circle section.
To that end, the government needs to scrap the foolish "orthodoxy" of using Commonwealth Avenue, and relocate the subject section to take in say, Edinburgh Avenue, the ANU campus, Acton Peninsula, an elegant new lake crossing for trams, bikes, and pedestrians (echoing Griffin's missing one), and Flynn Drive connecting to State Circle.
That route could offer some appropriate "land value capture" development sites; and would cater for wider patronage, match currently planned inter-town travel times at peak hours (by having some partially express services then), and precipitate a sunny public lakeside precinct (much better than south facing, apartments-dominated West Basin) at an expanded Lennox Gardens North/Flynn Place - a great site for Floriade.
Most importantly, it would save the vital heritage of the City Hill precinct, Parkes Way, Commonwealth Avenue Bridge, Commonwealth Avenue's cultural landscape, and the National Triangle's symmetry, and prevent Commonwealth Avenue's desecration from inappropriate and view-blocking property development; while avoiding extensive complicated civil engineering works, ridiculous underground power lines, dangerously located stations, and massive temporary and permanent traffic disruption/congestion.
Jack Kershaw FRAIA (retired), Kambah
Plan is sensible
It makes sense to build light rail stops early, and to make them bus-compatible ("Woden light rail station to be used for buses first," November 23, p3).
Government modelling for Stage 1 of light rail showed that 90 per cent of the benefits of light rail can be achieved through improvements to bus services.
Making light rail stops compatible with buses will avoid the need to force public transport patrons to wait at pedestrian signals, and to cross busy roads, merely to transfer from a tram to a bus so that they can complete their journeys.
Leon Arundell, Downer
What about China
Bede North (Letters, November 22) adopts a very Eurocentric view in claiming 1939 as the date for the start of World War II. According to the Chinese government the "war of resistance against Japanese Aggression" started on September 18, 1931 with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. Some historians say it was July 7, 1937 when war actually began in China.
The war was the result of the Japanese imperial policy of expanding its control of Asia to ensure the supply of raw materials for its industrial expansion. It is estimated the Japanese killed up to 25 million Chinese civilians, the greatest number of any nationality in World War II. Japan has never apologised for its war crimes as has Germany.
These facts are the justification for the Chinese people taking a very dim view of the recent pact between Australia and Japan. Hamish McDonald's comments (November 21) correctly raise many issues the government needs to address urgently.
Paul Fitzwarryne, Yarralumla
Time to team up
John Hewson states the young, aged up to 30, are 31 per cent of voters and the old, aged 60 plus, are 31 per cent, so the total is 62 per cent of voters. They have interests such as jobs and climate action in common so they can be a powerful voting bloc ("The young and old united would be a real political force", canberratimes.com.au, November 20).
Also, as a retired person, I have noticed that in many cases they have the precious time to participate in writing letters and attending meetings and rallies. Yes, we are a force demanding action.
Barbara J Fraser, Burwood, Vic
I am not one to knock young people. Far from it. But the "Can-do Generation" piece, (November 23, p10) just struck a chord.
I do get lines such as "she has to cross out another event, or excursion cancelled courtesy of COVID-19", "this year is going to stay with us forever" and "you can't sugar coat a bleak outlook". But then I turned to page 11 of Panorama: "Ernie Corey: A true local hero". He was a World War I hero, blacksmith striker, and stretcher bearer. He saved countless lives during horrific fighting on the Western Front and was then seriously wounded himself. Ernie was probably around the same age as your young interviewees. Now they were "bleak times".
Margaret Juskevics, Flynn
Afghan citizens may regard PM Morrison's expression of "deepest sorrow" to President Ashraf Ghani - on behalf of Australians - with equivocation in view of the $500 million AWM extension which will accommodate an Afghanistan campaign-eulogising section, and committing $270 billion to war matériel ("Evidence of murder, wilful cover-ups", November 20, p6).
Albert M. White, Queanbeyan, NSW
Time to act
There have been serious concerns raised about working conditions at the Canberra Hospital for at least the past 10 years. The opinion piece by a junior doctor in The Canberra Times ("Hospital morale is not on the rise", November 21, p32) is the latest piece of evidence of the serious problems in the culture of our health system.
There have been a number of inquiries held over the past decade that have verified the reports of major problems with the culture in our health system. Every health minister since Katy Gallagher has told the public that things are improving. The evidence has shown that these claims are wrong.
The time has come for an inquiry under the Inquiries Act into the culture of our public health system.
Keith Old, Hughes
Waterford was wrong
Jack Waterford's opinion piece "Brereton Inquiry: SAS officers failed their men and Australia", Forum, November 20) might have offered some interesting insights if it wasn't based on a lack of understanding of how the SAS works and if he hadn't allowed his personal agendas to lead him to factual errors.
Brendan Nelson was not the Minister who took the SAS to Afghanistan as he claimed. Mr Waterford failed to mention that Labor Ministers (Fitzgibbon, Faulkner and Smith) were actually responsible during the period of most of the alleged crimes. He didn't question what they did to ensure proper accountability and oversight.
And the fatuous comment about "SAS DNA" at the chiefs of army and Governors-General hierarchy is negated by the fact that there has been one Governor-General (Mike Jeffery) and only two chiefs in a bit over 100 years. Hardly rampant SAS domination.
Finally, I object to his use of the term "psychopath" to describe men not yet charged with an offence. I doubt Mr Waterford would use this against any civilian merely under investigation.
Kym MacMillan, O'Malley
Postal service fail
Our postal system is a mess. Once postage of a standard size envelope from Canberra to the Lilydale area in Victoria would take two to three days. Now it is takes 28 days.
Could the federal government improve the postal system's delivery timetable? Or should I revert to delivery on horseback which could be done quicker than the current four weeks by Australia Post.
Peter Kercher, Holt
TO THE POINT
LIFT YOUR GAME
With the millions he can command why doesn't President Trump spend more on improving his swing? Golf swing, that is.
Geof Murray, Ngunnawal
Is Christian Porter committing political suicide? The prosecution of whistleblowers such as McBride and Witness K will be seen as a single issue and, in light of the recent revelations in Afghanistan, could open a can of worms. Bundling Collaery in with this job lot is little more than crass stupidity.
Gerry Gillespie, Queanbeyan
I could not check a Canberra bus timetable on November 25 because www.transport.act.gov.au was down. I phoned 131710 where a courteous woman could not help. They had no paper timetables.
Graham Downie, O'Connor
IT'S A MYSTERY
Can someone explain why we are paying $4000 an hour travel expenses for private citizen Jobseeker Corman when everyone else gets around $612 a fortnight plus $250 coronavirus supplement?
Marion Connaughton, Ainslie
Well done Brett Burdett, ("The man who saved Australia $15 billion" November 23, p.1). You've certainly earned your Biosecurity Award and added even more justification for the title we knew you by when you taught at Curtin Primary. Way to go Mr B! Bug Catcher Extraordinaire!
Chris Page, Curtin
THE REASON WHY
Trump wonders why Joe Biden is forming a cabinet. Could that be because he is the duly elected President to take over from him on 20 January 2021? Makes one wonder if Trump is okay mentally.
Rajend Naidu, Glenfield, NSW
Re: Greg Maher's comment "How boring is Canberra?" (Letters, November 25) I say "thank God for small mercies".
Therese van Pelt-Penders, Page
Before the Boer War generals led from the front. When Horace Maxim invented the gas operated machine gun generals led from behind their soldiers in the back of the bus. Now our generals want to throw their soldiers under the bus.
Brian Byrne, Young
Please explain why Matthias Cormann can use the RAAF for transportation to and from JobSeeker interviews in Europe for a position with the OECD. Is this service open to all job seekers?
Mary McLaughlin, Weetangara
How long will it be before our politicians work out we realise that when they start an answer with "Let me be clear about this..." we all know that is code for "I am about to lie to you"?
Stewart May, Reid
Having seen the list of issues China is whingeing about in its relations with Australia it seems there are no words in any of the Chinese languages that equate to "hypocrite", "hypocritical" or "hypocrisy". "Diplomacy" and "tact" seem to be missing as well.
J F Bishop, Flynn
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