In 1975 I was awarded The Queen's Gallantry Medal, one of only 40 Australians to have ever received the award. In view of the Prime Minister's support of General Angus Campbell, in his writing to the Governor-General to cancel the Meritorious Unit Citation for 3000 brave Australian soldiers, I have sought advice of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet UK, seeking advice as to how I should proceed in returning my medal to Her Majesty the Queen.
This award has been one of the my most precious possessions for 45 years, and was to willed to my heirs. However, in good conscience, I feel that as the attitude towards the sacrifice of the majority of service men and women, is valued as no more than a political tool of little worth, I have no choice.
Our generals and politicians could not even wait until any alleged offences were put to the test in a court of law.
Out of courtesy, I have written a separate letter to the relevant office within Buckingham Palace detailing the circumstances, with correspondence to several UK newspapers.
I have nothing but contempt for the manner in which our servicemen are being treated by the Prime Minister, the Minister for Defence, and the Chief of the ADF.
I suggest all three of them take the time to read the Australian Defence Veterans Covenant, if they could be bothered.
David Hewett-Lacon QGM, Gowrie
A silly call
The Australian Education Union ACT branch council know how to deter people making donations to independent schools with its call to strip Radford College of legislated government funding due to a family donation to the college.
I wonder if this principle will also be adopted for government schools in the territory.
We should next expect the AEU ACT branch to gather information in respect of funds raised by independent schools from annual school fetes, walkathons, spellathons, etc, and resolve to have these amounts deducted from government funding.
Maybe the AEU ACT branch council needs to go back to school, starting at kindergarten.
D Bogusz, Greenway
AEU call off base
A generous philanthropic donation of $4 million has been made to Radford College. As long as money is earned from an honest source it can be spent as the owner wishes.
The objection of the Australian Education Union to this donation by suggesting that the government effectively confiscate the donation (by reducing funding by that amount) is therefore inappropriate.
If this family (or another family with $4 million to spare) did not donate these funds it is likely that they would have invested the money and become even wealthier. No-one would be any the wiser.
Many private institutions survive through donations and bequests and if governments adopt a policy of financially disadvantaging such organisations because of philanthropy then private funding would stop and the taxpayer would be left to pick up the tab.
Alan Shroot, Forrest
Help is at hand
In the wake of the release of the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force's Inquiry into Afghanistan, there has been plenty of media commentary quick to judge our servicemen and women.
We can't allow the alleged actions of a few people to stain the reputations and the service of more than two million Australians who have done their duty with distinction.
They are the first people we turn to when things get difficult or too big for state authorities, such as last summer's bushfires and the response do the COVID-19 pandemic. And they keep us safe in an ever-changing world.
If you know a serving ADF member, or a veteran, please show them your support. If you are an ADF member, or a veteran, or one of the many families that support them, I would also ask you to please reach out if you need someone to talk to.
For all current ADF members and their families, the Defence all-hours Support Line is a confidential telephone and online service and is available on 1800 628 036. For all current and former ADF members, and their families, Open Arms provides 24-hour free and confidential counselling and support on 1800 011 046.
Open Arms also has support available through SafeZone and when you call, it is up to you how much or how little personal information you share. This is available on 1800 142 072.
Darren Chester MP, Minister Veterans'
Affairs and Defence Personnel
Something must be done to properly regulate the kamikaze scooters that now litter the footpaths of the inner north, weave dangerously around pedestrians on footpaths or dart perilously close to cars on the wrong side of the road.
Someone will be killed or maimed soon. The other day I counted eight helmets on the ground on a three kilometre walk around the CBD. Half a dozen scooters were lying on their sides obstructing the pathway. Trip hazards galore that would not be tolerated in a workplace.
I suggest confiscation of the scooters and helmets that are not safely parked and heavy fines for unlawful riders. If the scooters can't be deployed safely they must go.
David Perkins, Reid
M F Horton (Letters, November 23) refers to the panic buying, creating shortages of toilet paper and other essentials.
My wife (born in 1943) is scornful of this panic, given that in her youth the toilet, located in a bracing well-ventilated backyard setting, was equipped (in addition to the resident redback and snake) with neatly-cut squares of newspaper and magazines, suspended on string.
The only drawback was when the magazine was made of shiny paper. Renewal of this recycling would surely aid the survival of our threatened print media by stimulating the market for newsprint.
A campaign should be launched to revive this beneficent practice, with short courses offered at TAFE or U3A.
A Moore, Melba
Hackett Residents came home to full bins on last Friday evening as the consequences of the rolling garbo strike made their way north.
Though a full bin for most is a minor inconvenience, and Hackett is home to arguably the best running compost collective in the country, the vacuum of information is perhaps more worrying.
We are yet to have any information provided by the ACT government about when the bins will get emptied. That's strange given how prompt they are sending out their rates notices. Anyway, green rubbish bins have stood silently lining the streets of Hackett since Friday.
It makes you wonder why Andrew and Shane can't sort out how to get bins emptied just weeks after being re-elected for a record setting four more years. What's next? Might now be a good time to get those rainwater tanks installed and to look at "off-grid" toilet options? In 2020, it's better safe than sorry.
Liam Jones, Hackett
Irony an export
Given the recent treatment of many Australian exports to China it is reassuring to see that, not withstanding the COVID-19 crisis, this activity has not affected the production and export of irony from China, if recent "leaks" from Chinese diplomats and CCP trade officials are to be believed.
How disobedient our national leaders have been to the eternal wisdom offered by CCP leadership?
Garry P Dalrymple, Earlwood, NSW
Reform the reform
Re: "NSW government approach to residential tax reform highlighting ACT's failings" (November 22, p8).
Although the OCN (ACT) organisation I represent, and the Assembly inquiry into rates (resulting from 6000 petitioners and over 100 submissions and interviews), requested a review of the reform approach and its negative impacts creating many inequities, an adequate review was never completed.
Let me first of all emphasise I am not objecting to the reform aiming to remove stamp duty but it should be done fairly against all property types; single house blocks and apartments. With the five fresh MLAs, including two additional Greens ministers, there is an opportunity to address this lack of fairness.
Gary Petherbridge, president, Owners
Corporation Network, Canberra
On track, on time
I have always been a fan of Australia Post and have found their efficiency and deliveries both interstate and overseas very timely. Recently I was advised by an Australia Post staff member, that due to current circumstances, if I wished a parcel to reach London by Christmas that I should send it now.
I dispatched a five kilogram parcel a few days later in order to make a very difficult year just a little cheerier. Imagine my delight when just 12 days later I received a text from my son to say that the parcel had arrived.
Bravo Australia Post. This is one of our original national institutions that should be treasured by all Australians and well supported by our federal government.
M Williams, Gowrie, NSW
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