If we care to view Trump as the end product of a deteriorating system then there are clear lessons for Australia.
Faith in our political system is undermined by poor government practices.
These include lack of transparency, obfuscation, misrepresentation of facts and purpose, favourable treatment of businesses and industries that provide electoral funding, politicisation of funding programs (eg "sports rorts"), politicisation of appointments to supposedly independent institutions, undermining our public broadcaster whilst pandering to powerful commercial press interests and underfunding of health and education.
Add to this the privatisation of government services (via expensive out-sourcing to contractors), fiddling with the tax system to benefit higher income earners rather than addressing broader-based reform. To top it off, undermining formation of an effective corruption commission at federal level.
Such practices damage the delicate structure of an effective democracy and bring no credit on a government that chooses to use them.
Geoff Rohan, Kambah
It has happened here
The outcry and amazement about recent events in Washington are completely justified but not without precedent.
I am not referring to the British invasion in the war of 1812 but the riot in the Australian Parliament House in 1996 which occurred as an offshoot of a trade union protest against industrial relations reforms as part of the "Cavalcade to Canberra" rally.
Among other things the souvenir shop was vandalised and looted but at least the security did not kill anybody.
John Coochey, Chisholm
The events in Washington on January 7, culminating in the storming of Washington's Capitol building by variously crazed and armed supporters of Donald Trump and incited by the President and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani (January 8, p1, 4-7) were predicted more than six months ago.
Writing for The Washington Post on June 23, 2020, David Plymyer stated "the mental health of the president has deteriorated to the point at which he is dangerously unfit to lead the country and should be removed from office under the 25th Amendment".
Mr Plymyer concluded "psychiatrists and psychologists have been warning us for years about his malignant narcissism. Devoid of empathy, spiteful and mean, Trump would sooner see the country destroyed than turn it over intact to Joe Biden".
The sooner Mr Trump is removed from office as, to quote his niece, psychologist Dr Mary L. Trump, "world's most dangerous man", the safer we will all be.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
America no friend
In America, perplexingly our closest buddy nation, so it's claimed, it appears that innocent people can be shot or choked in the street, no questions asked, but anyone claiming "patriot" status can rush menacingly and armed into parliaments and not be cut down in a hail of bullets as might be expected.
The other astonishing thing is the mealy-mouthed weaselly behaviour that allows hypocrites such as Trump, Spence and McConnell to declare moral outrage in the midst of mob behaviour they'd till a moment before in no way denounced. Or indeed nudge-wink supported.
And let's not forget G.W. Bush, the perpetrator of any number of constitutional abuses - from the rubber-stamping of the "Patriot Act" down - under the murky cover of "The War on Terrorism", whose only distaste for Trump and his supporters stems from the open contempt he'd duly shown the Bush family, and brother Jeb in particular, in the 2016 Republican primaries.
We need to be buddies with nations hopefully less unlike us.
Alex Mattea, Sydney, NSW
The point is moot
It's pointless arguing over whether a medico or an academic is most entitled to the title "Dr". The dual practice has been normal usage for a least a couple of centuries with, ironically, the only change being the time when medical specialists would, pretentiously, have their brass plates inscribed with "Mr" instead of "Dr".
What really matters is that both groups use their different skills to do the jobs they studied for as well as they can.
Eric Hunter, Cook
Mark Parton's "breach" ("Canberra politician fined $1000 for COVID-19 breach", canberratimes.com.au, December 8) of Western Australian border restrictions because he travelled to Queanbeyan highlights the absurdity of that state's quarantine rules.
An ACT resident can kiss and hug as many people in Canberra as they please but travel across the border for five minutes, even in a hazmat suit, and it is two weeks in quarantine in Western Australia.
It is time blanket border restrictions to residents of an entire state are called out for what they are really are.
It is a lazy and arbitrary policy response made by state premiers pandering to their constituents. They simply do not care if they inconvenience people in other jurisdictions who can't vote for them.
In the case of WA, it is an arrogant premier pandering to a secessionist mentality on the verge of a state election.
Gordon Williams, Watson
I am with Wayne Grant on the matter of the royals preaching about creating a better world from their entrenched position of privilege. It is indeed "standard hypocrisy" as Wayne points out (Letters, January 5).
The royals have never been, and will never be, a reference point when it comes to fighting for the creation of a better world. Historically they have been part of the problem - a very big part of the problem - of the inequalities that characterise our world.
When they start preaching they add insult to injury.
Rajend Naidu, Glenfield, NSW
It was worth reading "Preparing for the year to come" (canberratimes.com.au, January 4) just to come across the word "psephologist". Thank you, Nicholas Stuart. But I got a little lost in the knowns and unknowns.
Climate science is pretty well known. The Prime Minister knows the UN climate conference is coming up in November. He also knows that young and old Australians will be out marching again in the streets, and increasingly fighting in the courts. What none of us know, the Business Council included, is why he won't set a 2050 net-zero target. God knows he needs to.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn, Vic
Time to get tough
Re: Drug war needs retreat (Letters, January 4). Allan Dalling wrote "prohibition doesn't work". It does, just as prohibitions on murder, rape, theft, assault, and dangerous driving work. But it only works if punishments are large enough to act as deterrents.
He also wrote "the war on drugs hasn't worked'. It hasn't been tried. "War" means getting serious with heavy penalties. How many drug dealers have been given prison sentences greater than 10 years in the last decade?
What "has failed is having laws matched with pathetically low associated punishments. Dramatic increases in punishments would see a dramatic decline in drug usage.
Bob Salmond, Melba
I have some new year's resolutions for the Prime Minister.
1. Please let the states get on with their jobs without comment.
2. Please make us safe by stopping using inadequate hotel quarantine in major cities. Several experts have commented that quarantine should be in isolated facilities in the countryside. Howard Springs is one instance.
3. Vaccination by March gives time for intensive logistics planning. The military and emergency response experts, chief health officers and public health practitioners are good at such logistics. Please facilitate this. Just provide money and resources.
(Dr) Tony Stewart, Hughes
A poor result
The public health system has collapsed in the ACT. Earlier this month I suffered acute pain from a duodenal ulcer that was diagnosed about 40 years ago.
In the past I have been able to receive appropriate medical care from my GP during the day and the ACT after hours GP in the evening at my home. This time I could not contact my clinic by phone. I was in no condition to drive anywhere.
My condition had worsened by evening and, after spending 45 minutes trying to use the after hours service, I dialled 000.
When we arrived at the hospital and I saw everyone wearing masks I had a panic attack and had to be counselled. The next day I was discharged on condition of support from my GP. Well, guess what, I still cannot establish phone contact with the Health Centre that I attend.