It is a matter of public record that in 2013 allegations of sexual assault dating back to the 1980s were levelled against a senior federal ALP figure.
His identity was known around Parliament and by the press but it remained unreported and uncommented-on while the police investigations were conducted. Even Tony Abbott never raised it.
When the police concluded that there was no case to answer, the man concerned was able to identify himself as Bill Shorten, the then leader of the opposition, declare his absolute innocence and thank his colleagues and family for their support. The issue quickly died. However last week the press, and especially the ABC, made headlines of a similar story regarding a Coalition minister facing rape allegations from the same period. Many of the same media commentators and politicians - who had afforded Mr Shorten the presumption of innocence a few years before - now demanded this latest accused be named and face public scrutiny.
Senators Hanson-Young and Penny Wong have been particularly vocal in demanding that the alleged perpetrator stand down. But a few years ago they all remained silent and allowed the individual to work on while the law took its course. Partisan principles perhaps?
It appears highly distressing rape allegations are no longer a matter for the law, but are now a vehicle for media sensationalism and political point scoring.
Kym MacMillan, O'Malley
Hypocrisy on parade
You have to give it to the Morrison government for the consistency of its shameless hypocrisy.
One week they're defending the dangerous undermining of public health by a government member as "free speech", the next they're trying to suppress the identity of a minister accused of rape, no less, who holds one of the highest posts in government.
This is accompanied by much pompous bloviating about the presumption of innocence, something which was notably and deliberately denied to the "robodebt" victims.
That we've ended up led by such nasty, amoral cowards might say something about contemporary Australia, unfortunately.
But it doesn't matter. We know the name and, what's more, we can believe it. And the dissembling and cover-ups go on.
David Jenkins, Casey
In praise of Northbourne
Am I the only one who is a fan of the Northbourne Avenue tram landscaping?
The only one pleased to see native trees and native grasses, elegantly and intentionally screening the tram infrastructure, in the heart of the national capital?
Perhaps your correspondents would prefer demure european hedges and bowling-green lawns?
For my part, "I know to what brown country/My homing thoughts will fly".
Ryan Goss, Dickson
The dissenting view
Northbourne Avenue would have to be a top contender for being one the most unsightly main city entrances in the world as the tall, dried-out "native grasses" alongside the Stage 1 rail tracks look like out-of-control weeds.
It is embarrassing when visitors ask why the median strip is so unkempt, dishevelled and neglected. It needn't be this way as the directorate in charge of this project had a team of landscaping experts capable of designing a world-class gateway which all Australians could be proud of.
According to the National Capital Authority's vision they want Canberra to be "A National Capital which symbolises Australia's heritage, values and aspirations, is internationally recognised and worthy of pride by Australians". If the NCA decides to approve the ACT government's preferred route for Stage 2 my plea to the CEO is please ensure that there is attractive landscaping alongside the rail tracks as the prospect of weed-like "native grasses" in Commonwealth Avenue, State Circle and next to the PM's primary official residence in Adelaide Avenue would be an unacceptable blight on these nationally important focal areas of our city.
In the meantime I recommend that the high fire-risk grasses along Northbourne Avenue are mowed immediately and eventually replaced with attractive native flowering plants, such as grevillea and correa which will attract the birds and bees and choke out the weeds.
Peter Sherman, Aranda
Justice for all
Greg Cornwall (Letters, March 3) writes that men accused of sex crimes should have their identities protected until proved guilty, otherwise "no man is safe from unjust persecution".
He implies, therefore, that many women make false claims of sexual assault, or worse, and later seek some advantage through naming some poor innocent male.
Just what advantage this may be to these women, Mr Cornwall fails to explore. Nor does he acknowledge that many women who are subject to unwanted and sometimes brutal treatment go through long-term trauma so injurious to their well-being, that that they forever remain silent.
"Innocent until proved guilty" is certainly an important tenet of our system, but so too is "justice for all"; especially the victim.
Eric Hunter, Cook
Primary school children visiting Canberra are subsidised under the Parliament and Civics Education Rebate Program (PACER). To be eligible for the travel rebate, schools must include a visit to Parliament House.
Such a visit to study the building, and perhaps meet with their local member, may be a positive educational experience. However, if the intention is to expose the students to question time, I believe this should not be permitted.
Consistently and historically (hysterically?), the behaviour of many of our parliamentarians (on various sides) and in particular, the so called leaders, confirms the toxic nature of the institution and the "system".
Exposure of young children to the disgraceful, abusive, arrogant, combative, disrespectful and wasteful spectacle of question time borders on child abuse and should be banned immediately. An R rating at the least.
I would like to see this idea supported by child protection agencies.
John Mungoven, Stirling
NCA under pressure
Many have been disappointed in recent times with the National Capital Authority's responses on contentious development matters that will impact the national capital's unique features, design and heritage for decades to come.
Far better outcomes and solutions were shunned and now it is "crunch time" for the NCA on the massive $500 million AWM redevelopment (Letters, "National Capital Authority could stop the AWM expansion", March 2).
At least, so far, the NCA is not planning the creation of a few extra islands in Lake Burley Griffin onto which excess AWM military ironmongery could be offloaded and visited by paddle boats and float planes.
S Dyer, Downer
You know you have a circus in town when the government, the opposition, and media instantly and obsessively chest-beat about such grave medical "incidents" and "debacles" as the administration of too much of a vaccine by mistake.
Not an anaesthetic or cardiac medication, mind you, but just a harmless vaccine. This naturally isn't the time, either, for medical bureaucrats or the profession's "leaders" to point out the overblown - clueless or insincere - nature of this response, and not abandon themselves to joining the scandalised wolf-pack. That just wouldn't do. And anyway, who's interested in reason?
We have a government that cares so little about aged-care standards as to let that industry do as it pleases in the midst of a Royal Commission into it seizing the opportunity to feign deep concern about two "over-vaccinated" seniors.
The Sanctimony Bros Circus performs as it does because it believes this will all receive head-nodding applause from the audience; us.
Alex Mattea, Sydney, NSW
Honour the dead
Bruce Cameron's assumption that my relatives have not been to war (Letters, March 2) is wrong. I could fill in all the detail of my family's war service and the suffering caused by it, but this would simply feed the perverse notion that only those who have fought, and their families, are entitled to an opinion on the Australian War Memorial.
His implication that I, and all those who oppose the AWM redevelopment, do not want to honour our service people is equally wrong. However a memorial is to commemorate the dead, not the living. For the living, many people can see far better ways to honour them than by a grandiose structure that glorifies weaponry.
Dr Sue Wareham, president, Medical Association for Prevention of War, Cook
TO THE POINT
The banking royal commission cost $70 million and handed down 76 recommendations. The PM was extremely reluctant to establish it. It revealed a great deal of bad behaviour. Its findings are now being traduced and ignored. ("Bill threatens vulnerable minister says", February 27, p7).
Albert M. White, Queanbeyan, NSW
TOO MANY CONSULTANTS
The federal government's spending $850 million on consultants is a slap in the face for real employees. It could also be a roundabout way to look after mates. We need an open investigation.
Sankar Kumar Chatterjee, Evatt
DARK DAYS INDEED
Our country is now being led by a mushroom, kept in the dark and shrouded in silence. Well done Scomo.
K L Calvert, Downer
One medical professional makes a mistake that is likely to have no impact administering a new vaccine. The company CEO steps down under immediate pressure. Young females working in Parliament House appear to be victims of multiple sexual assaults over a long period. Nothing but crickets chirping.
John Howarth, Weston
Put all politicians and, most particularly, federal LNP ones on JobKeeper with the promise of performance pay. Should they ever be able to perform decently, that is.
Kathleen Read, Gundaroo, NSW
A FAIR CALL
I will receive a COVID-19 vaccine, for the good of others as well as myself. However, I can understand if the frail elderly, expectant, nursing, and would be mothers, and others aware of the precautions in the product information, decline.
Arthur Connor, Weston
MISSION TO MARS
Past-president Trump may run for US president in 2024? Thanks for the warning. When does the next shuttle leave for Mars?
Geof Murray, Ngunnawal
Attending the Brumbies vs Waratahs game at GIO Stadium on Saturday I was appalled at how dirty the grandstand was. Others said the same. With no games for an extended period it could have been expected the management would have it cleaned before the start of the rugby union and rugby league seasons.
Dick Roe, Cook
SMOKE AND MIRRORS
At the time of the catastrophic bushfires Scott Morrison stated, "I don't hold a hose, mate, and I don't sit in a control room". Well, it now appears that the backburning is licking around his ankles.
Peter Crossing, Glengowrie, SA
TAKE THE TRAM
And, of course, you can catch a tram almost right to the door of the AWM's Mitchell facility. Creating an exhibition space there would be terrific for tourism and boost revenue from the tram.
James Mahoney, McKellar
WHAT'S THE POINT?
I cannot see how looking at a conglomeration of ugly war machinery "tells a story". Whatever happened to words and pictures?
R J Wenholz, Holt
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