I was present at the small group of people near the Carillon on Saturday, February 20.
The gathering was reported in an article on an ACT government pro-vaccination information campaign on the front page of The Canberra Times (Sunday, February 22) headlined: "Anti-vaxxers targeted in campaign".
Anti-vaxxers is a pejorative label implying a slur, a criticism, a lack of education, and of unthinking ratbags.
This was not the case. Those present were caring, concerned mums, dads, workers and others, most of whom were well informed.
I have a B,Sc, Dip Ed, Computing diploma and hours of further education. I feel that I am typical of those present; people who think it is important to gather information from many sources before making a decision on any issue, particularly such an important one as health.
We are simply pro-choice.
True, there was present what appeared to be a right wing group, but the gathering was open to all. Including, it seems, a journalist who, given the report, had no interest in what was being said.
Whatever happened to investigative journalism?
Faye Thornhill, Chapman
Your editorial "JobKeeper needs to stay", (canberratimes.com.au, February 16) clearly identifies the importance of the Jobkeeper and JobSeeker payments.
Unfortunately the Morrison's government's position reflects an unfounded belief in trickle down economics and a lack of interest in addressing inequality.
Inequality has increased as a consequence of lower interest rates which have led to a surge in the stock market and high real estate prices which benefit only those with assets; the increased casualisation of the workforce and capital gains and negative gearing concessions worth billions of dollars that benefit the already well-off while failing to supply sufficient social housing denying the less well-off the security of appropriate and affordable housing.
The inequality will increase as a result of the proposed Stage Three cuts which deliver a flat marginal tax rate of 30 per cent on tax incomes from $45,000 to $200,000.
The Morrison government's underlying values are clearly reflected in its bashing of the less well-off in the "robodebt" fiasco, its decision not to recover JobKeeper overpayments, and its allocation of sports and community grants on the basis of political benefit not need.
Mike Quirk, Garran
Is the govt crazy?
Has the ACT government gone stark raving mad in considering the purchase of 90 electric buses from China ("Steering fresh route with fast-moving technology", canberratimes.com.au, February 20)?
Entering into a multi-million deal with China in the current turbulent political climate on trade is inadvisable. It is fraught with danger.
What will happen if down the track the Chinese refuse to provide spare parts for the vehicles?
China has a track record of reneging on its contractual obligations. Why take the risk of that happening when there are plenty of other more reliable manufacturers and suppliers of suitable buses elsewhere?
Mario Stivala, Belconnen
No surprises here
The WHO team investigating the origins of COVID-19 have finished their work in China. Health Minister Greg Hunt has been reported as saying that the origin of COVID is "zoonotic' i.e. from the wild animal kingdom.
This, as many scientists such as Dr Anthony Fauci and many respected institutions such as The Lancet medical journal had said was completely predictable.
So it is now incumbent on Australia and the international community to take serious steps to protect the planet's fast disappearing biodiversity and manage it in a way to lower the risks of wild to human zoonotic infections.
After all, the costs of doing so would be a fraction of the cost of the damage caused by COVID-19.
Rod Holesgrove, Crace
Why did they boo?
Yes, the majority of the over 7500 fans booed during two sections of the long rambling speech by Tennis Australia President Jayne Hrdicka at the presentation ceremony for the Men's Australian Open final. Isn't that their prerogative?
They are a cross section of the Australian community, particularly the Victorian community. We live in a democracy where we hope we won't be imprisoned if we applaud or boo.
Ms Hrdicka was invited by Todd Woodbridge to "say a few words" at both the women's and men's finals. Her speeches were long and rambling with political messages thrown in. Of course the crowd booed when she thanked the Victorian government because the fans knew that the government was responsible for the botched hotel quarantine system last year that left over 800 people dead and closed Melbourne and the state for a long period of time.
Her political comments on the "vaccine rollout" were booed because it was not her job to make such comments and it further infuriated the crowd.
Perhaps a new rule at next year's AO presentation will be that everyone in the crowd will be muzzled and if they do not conform they will be ejected by the "boo police".
Tony Falla, Ngunnawal
Alex Wallensky (Letters, February 15) asked "Did the Democrats conduct auditions to see who could put on the most dramatic performance in the impeachment farce?" The impeachment was only a farce in that 43 Republicans were too spineless to stand up to their former beloved leader (Trump) and convict him of incitement.
Let us not forget that five people were killed in the January insurrection and the rioters, some carrying Trump banners, wanted to murder both Nancy Pelosi and Mike Pence. The new footage shown by the Democrats was shocking. It indicated total disrespect for the Capitol building, for the legislators and for democracy itself. No wonder some Democrats got emotional in their testimonies.
The fact Trump might run again fills me with utter despair. He was an appalling president who did massive damage, not least in terms of climate and environment. It will take enormous effort on the part of President Biden to repair the damage.
Jenny Goldie, Cooma, NSW
No ethics here
It is interesting to note the Defence Department is introducing ethical guidelines into artificial intelligence (AI) projects ("Defence introduces ethical AI guide", canberratimes.com.au, February 17). However Australia is failing to act to prevent the man-made looming global threat represented by the use of AI for killing.
Killer robots (lethal autonomous weapons systems) are those weapons in which there is no human control over the selection of targets or the act of killing. They are already being developed in several countries.
They present a number of grave problems, such as the moral implications of delegating life and death decision to machines, the lack of accountability for the results, especially when mistakes occur, blurring of the boundary between being at war and not being at war, and the capacity for these machines to become yet another tool of oppression.
Many nations have called for a ban on killer robots, so that meaningful human control over weapons is mandatory. Australia is not among them, and instead has funded research to attempt to embed ethics into the machines, an endeavour that experts worldwide have said is futile. A far better approach would be in the prevention of yet another global scourge before that goal becomes impossible to achieve.
Australia is again out of step with international momentum. Global cooperation for the common good would make us far more secure than a constant race to get ahead in the technology of killing, which seems to be a bottomless pit for taxpayer dollars.
Dr Sue Wareham, president, Medical
Association Prevention of War, Cook
Reynolds should go
The Prime Minister may have full confidence in his Defence Minister, but members of the ADF, and in Defence, must dread that any new working day will reveal yet another major blunder by Linda Reynolds.
In the last three months, they have suffered the consequences of her abysmal handling of the Brereton Inquiry findings, concealing from the PM that allegedly a major crime had been committed in her office, and now, her allowing the renewal of a contract with a Chinese owned company to store classified Defence Department information. The latter, was despite Scott Morrison in 2016, then treasurer, instructing that all this material was to be removed from that storage facility by the end of that year.
If I were the PM I wouldn't be sleeping at nights; worrying about what cataclysm was about to manifest itself the next morning at the hands of the Defence Minister. If you have no appetite to remove her from office then you could employ the methods used in some Commonwealth Government departments of appointing a mentor to guide her in ministerial responsibility, and avoid another political train wreck.
David Hewett-Lacon, Gowrie
TO THE POINT
The PM's got this victim blaming trick down to a fine art. Last week it was Brittany. This week it is all the poor devils now on, or about to go on, JobSeeker when JobKeeper goes west at the end of March. Didn't they know? The recession is over.
M Moore, Bonython
OVER TO YOU MICK
Heather Henderson's precisely argued letter on William Slim Drive (Letters, February 22) made all the points. Perhaps Mick Gentleman would like to reply? So far he has embraced the politically correct but vague "tosh" one associates with the current ACT government.
Jeff Hart, Kingston
CANBERRA'S CIRCUS TENT
The confusion on Capital Hill does make me laugh. The giggle of the day might be conflicting comments, factional friction or embarrassing interludes. The house on the hill is looking more like a circus tent than a seat of national government.
John Sandilands, Garran
NOWHERE TO HIDE
The PM must be waking up by now to the truth in the adage: "Be sure your sins will find you out". ("Government rejected sexual harassment, bullying clause proposed for staffer employment agreement", canberratimes.com.au, February 18).
Sue Dyer, Downer
WHAT A RABBLE
Is anyone else wondering what Bob Menzies would make of the rabble masquerading as his successors in the once proud Liberal Party?
Maria Greene, Curtin
ARE WE SERIOUS?
I am a bit concerned about the images I'm seeing on television of people holding little bottles of the COVID-19 obviously out of refrigeration. What gives? Aren't we supposed to be taking this seriously?
Gary Frances, Bexley, Vic
Maybe the ACT government could have used the hotel for quarantine to help out the Labor Club, but then the chief minister may not have wanted to have a Barr of it ("Labor Club posts $10m loss after downturn hits hotel", canberratimes.com.au, February 21).
Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW
NICE TO KNOW
In one of the big supermarkets on the weekend they had "100 per cent" Australian bananas. It's nice to learn that no parts of the bananas were imported.
Gary Frances, Bexley, Vic
EYE FOR DETAIL
Got to love Broelman's View (Monday, February 22). There was one glaring error though. The large syringe of truth serum for Morrison was far too small to have any real effect on him.
Linus Cole, Palmerston
Given the recent questionable distribution of funds by some federal ministers, will anyone be looking at how the Pfizer vaccine (apparently the most appropriate for older people) is distributed? No colour-coded spreadsheets this time we hope.
John Rogers, Cook
THE BUBBLE BATH?
It seems the PM was content to live in the "PMO bubble" well within the "Canberra bubble" that he so detests.
Neil Wilson, Turner
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