Having just paid my latest rates bill, up by 10 per cent from last year despite minimal inflation, I failed to see how our ACT government had significantly added to my feelings of well-being over the past few months.
Then it all became clear as I read on Monday "Single-use plastics face ban" (November 30, p1). We are indeed in safe hands thanks to the steadfast efforts of our City Services Minister Chris Steel who in "the first major reform to be introduced by the government since it was returned to power" stated he was taking "an important step on taking action on climate change" by banning the use of plastic knives and forks from mid 2021.
We can all now rest easy knowing that when the ban comes into effect next autumn climate change will be halted and global temperatures plummet. Surely it is well worth paying our rates to support Minister Steel's herculean efforts to save the planet. Who knows, perhaps he will next turn his attention to banning chopsticks.
Phil O'Brien, Watson
Not good enough
Defence took 45 minutes to advise the ACT Emergency Services Agency of the location of the fire caused by their helicopter. The ESA has said "it was satisfied that Defence followed its safety protocols in reporting the incident and that 'information flow' was appropriate between the two authorities".
This all sounds like bureaucratic bull dust to me. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to know that if you have caused a fire you immediately advise ESA of the fact, and of its location - not wait 45 minutes to do so.
I would have thought ESA should have expressed their "disappointment" that they were not notified sooner, rather than being "satisfied".
John R Baker, Griffith
It was wonderful to see the gallantry of Teddy Sheean recognised at last. But it's been a longer road than it should ever have been.
There were a number of letters earlier this year about the government's decision to overturn the independent tribunal's decision that he should be awarded the Victoria Cross. This decision was surprising as no one doubted the bravery and self-sacrifice demonstrated (which is why the independent tribunal recommended that the award be made retrospectively).
It subsequently became known the PM accepted the advice of the Chief of Defence Force that the Queen might be put in a difficult position if the award was to be recommended. Apparently, the NZ government put forward an equivalent proposal some time ago, only for it to be rejected. It was also thought that a retrospective award would open the floodgates for other claims and that two classes of award would be created.
Many were of the view that courage and sacrifice on behalf of our nation was being ditched in favour of political nicety. Public opinion subsequently compelled the PM to appoint Dr Brendan Nelson to examine the matter; the outcome of which led to the recent award and ceremony at Government House. It seems that the government's decision to withdraw the Meritorious Unit Citation to the SASR might also be overturned due to public opinion.
There's undoubtedly a message here... let's hope that it is recognised and acted upon.
Bruce Cameron, Campbell
The violently orchestrated assassination of senior Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh might well be worthy of comparison to the partially confected outrage among leading government officials at the military-sponsored atrocities allegedly committed by SAS personnel during overseas operations.
Dr Fakhrizadeh was working in his own country, was not engaged in, charged with or convicted of any offence, yet he has been presumably murdered by agents or members of a foreign state in no less an illicit manner than that claimed to have been perpetrated against civilians by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.
Should it be proven or accepted beyond reasonable doubt that such is the case, is Australia likely to express its abhorrence at such a criminal intervention and demand global sanctions against the responsible government or institution or will political duplicity once again take precedence on the basis of mendacious transnational alliances.
John Murray, Fadden
Say that again?
A Coalition parliamentarian, defending Australia's stance in its spat with China, said on air on Monday that Australia's free and democratic values are not negotiable.
He also went on to say that, as an example, "Australian journalists are allowed to criticise government".
He forgot to mention that they're also allowed to be intimidated and persecuted for it at the government's pleasure, together with their sources and any whistleblowers.
Alex Mattea, Sydney, NSW
The editorial "Classroom funding turns to class war" (November 27, p42) completely missed the point of the AEU ACT's call for reallocating public funds from an elite private school to our public system.
Philanthropy is the generous donation of money to good causes. It is exemplified by the Gates Foundation who focus their efforts on those with the fewest resources and the highest need.
The multimillion-dollar donations we've seen recently to Canberra Grammar and now Radford are simply feathering the nests of the most well-resourced schools in Canberra - these gifts don't deserve that label. The real issue is that years of handing out Australian community tax dollars to private schools has created one of the most inequitable education systems in the world. Look it up!
I'm disappointed that your journalists have taken a shallow and misguided stance on what is a very important issue worthy of deep consideration by our community.
Holly Godfree, AEU
ACT member, Kambah
Radford is not poor
The author of the editorial "Classroom funding turns to class war" (November 27, p42 misses the point about philanthropy and school funding.
If a school can afford to spend its donations on a 1400-seat auditorium or indoor cricket centre, the art supplies, library books and basic sporting equipment have already been covered, and more besides.
Canberra Grammar and Radford College can hardly cry poor. Do we think that businesses which are doing well during the COVID-19 pandemic are also entitled to government assistance through such programs as JobKeeper?
Let's not forget the lessons we have learned over last summer's bushfire crisis and the pandemic about what is important and who we want to be.
Emily Squires, AEU
ACT member, Monash
Keep the old bomb
John Sandilands (Letters, November 28) mentions the UK plan to stop selling diesel or petrol vehicles beyond 2030. This "plan" will simply force most of the population to retain and maintain their vehicles for many more years as they simply won't be able to afford expensive electric cars. The irony is that this means a huge fleet of inefficient, older vehicles (like the one John admits to owning) polluting more than is necessary for an ideology.
Jevon Kinder, Murrumbateman, NSW
Re: "How do we fix a problem like Canberra Hospital?" (canberratimes.com.au, November 29).
Jenny Stewart writes about the problems of Canberra (formerly Woden Valley) Hospital. Those of us with some memory left will recall the original hospital was on the site now occupied by that postmodernist architectural monstrosity called the Museum of Australia.
Shortly after moving here from Sydney in 1968, I was admitted there for an appendectomy. I was on a floor high enough for me to enjoy the view out over the Brindabellas, the windows would open, and a pleasant breeze would blow in off the lake. Subsequently, I visited Epidaurus in Greece, whose Aesclepion or "healing temple' was the most famous in the ancient world.
The therapies were centred on the assumption that the patients deserved the best of everything: the best doctors, the best food and the best entertainment. The 14,000-seat amphitheatre there is still in use, and is an architectural marvel of the classical world.
Sadly, philistinism triumphed in Canberra, and the ACT government destroyed that beautiful hospital building on Sunday, July 13, 1997, with a blast that also ended the life of a 12-year old girl, Katie Bender. Its place was taken by the "PoMo" museum monstrosity and its function transferred to lesser institutions.
Ian MacDougall, Farrer
On a winner
In February I bet a mate that if David Pope drew one cartoon of our Prime Minister that was not snide or cutting before Christmas I would give him $50. So far I am a shoo-in to win my bet. Keep it up Pope. I do wonder however if this is really what you think or if you are playing to an audience.
Paul O'Connor, Hawker
TO THE POINT
Australians need to get off their "high horses". Yes, China has an abhorrent human rights track record. But we have a short memory. The murder, rape, incarceration and dispossession of our First Nations people, albeit a century or so ago, was ghastly.
G Gillespie, Scullin
THE FIRST STONE?
China, look at me. Look at me please. I have two words for you China... Tiananmen Square.
Ross Hill, Aranda
China has proved that it has mastered the art of "limbo dancing" in addition to being the world's biggest goods manufacturer and exporter, and biggest exporter of viruses. The question is "how low can they go?" China limbo has a certain Confucian ring about it, don't you think?
D Bogusz, Greenway
It is a shame the Prime Minister didn't come out swinging at least as hard at the alleged atrocities as he did against the concocted Chinese meme.
David Perkins, Reid
BURY THE HATCHET
Your editorial of December 2 referred to "wolf warrior diplomacy" by China. Morrison and his ministers, backed by rednecks in the Australian Strategic Policy Institute have been carrying out "SAS warrior diplomacy". Both teams of warriors need to cool it and stop causing collateral damage to common interests.
Michael Chin, Canberra
WISDOM OF RUDD
What a travesty it was when Kevin Rudd was removed as PM by his own party, not the will of voters. After listening to his comprehensive analysis of China's tweet and Scott Morrison's feeble response I realised Rudd is still an erudite statesman.
G. Gillespie, Scullin
AND THE POLLIES?
While some SASR soldiers will be discharged and others charged with murder following their deployment in Afghanistan, will former PM John Howard and former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer ever face court for their part?
Adrian Jackson, Middle Park, Vic
NO MORE C.O.D
Perhaps the time has come for China to be made to pay for its orders from Australia before they leave our shores.
Roger Dace, Reid
CHINA LACKS HONOUR
The fake image created by China puts a spotlight on how weak and dishonourable that nation is. It shows China does not understand us and does not comprehend how strong our democracy is. Our ability to be self critical is our strength. China's inability to do the same is its weakness.
John Panneman, Jerrabomberra, NSW
DECENCY IS DEAD
Theodore Roosevelt said: "The most practical kind of politics is the politics of decency". It seems that not too many politicians of today are aware of that.
Rajend Naidu, Glenfield, NSW
THE RAW PRAWN
The readers panel on Saturday, November 28, discussed whether or not to devein prawns. Of course you do. But stuffing the haggis is a bit tricky.
Roy Bray, Ngunnawal
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