Over 55 years ago my family was transferred to Canberra. We were allocated a brand new government house in Belconnen and later given the opportunity to buy our house.
In 1988 the offer of self-government was made. Like the majority of Canberra residents we thought we should stand on our own two feet and voted "yes". It was the biggest mistake of our 55 years in Canberra.
Our beautiful garden city is now a conglomerate of ugly, tall and crowded buildings with fewer green spaces and trees. The suburbs have been neglected as well. Streets with clogged gutters, cracked ugly footpaths, cars parking on the road on bus routes.
But one of the biggest failure of self-government has been with government housing. Many homes are neglected or trashed, and the residents' behavior can spoil the lives of other residents. This is allowed to continue because of the failure of the government to manage the portfolio.
Housing ACT has now made the incomprehensible decision to pull down well-built government owned homes in suburban streets - where the majority of homes are privately owned - and replace them with multiple units. This reduces the value of the privately owned homes.
Surely there is vacant land available elsewhere in the ACT to build these units? It puts in serious doubt the understanding and intelligence of our government.
Shirley Gerrard, Scullin
It is difficult to describe my pleasure and satisfaction at discovering eight pages of top class journalism in the Canberra Times on Friday (Inside Story, March 6). Retired Editors apart, it is definitely what has been missing from the paper for some years.
Shining amongst it all was the piece by Frank Bongiorno, "Sunday, I've got Wednesday on my mind", an erudite summary of just what is wrong with Parliament House as a work place. I cannot improve on his writing except to add that federal politics is now dominated by a coterie of powerful evangelical men whose attitude to life and politics is influenced largely by their religious beliefs.
Religion is not necessarily a bad thing in Australian politics, although it has had it's moments in the past. This is different, new and just as powerful but in a way that many voters will struggle to understand.
Chris Fowler, Bywong, NSW
Royals not racists
Concerns about racism within royal circles are completely misplaced when we consider the magnanimity of the Crown.
For example, the instructions given by King George III regarding the treatment of our Indigenous people can only be described as thoroughly enlightened by the standards of the time.
And the anger of King George VI (as the sovereign of South Africa) when he was banned from personally presenting medals to non-whites is well known. Visiting the African protectorates, however, His Majesty was more than pleased to personally congratulate, converse with, and shake the hands of medal recipients, irrespective of colour.
David D'Lima, Sturt
You must be joking
I was gobsmacked by your assertion that the British royal family's treatment of Meghan Markle makes it seem "almost inevitable" Australia will become a republic "soon after the passing" of Queen Elizabeth ("Meghan's pain resonates with many", March 10, p16).
The question of Australia's sovereignty should not be influenced by a complaint from an American actor that some British aristocrats had been mean to her.
Her serious contemplation of suicide while she was pregnant with a healthy baby suggests a degree of self-obsession bordering on narcissism.
I have no doubt that Meghan Markle, like many, many others, has been the victim of particularly vicious and racist campaigns by the British media.
But for Australia to use British racism as a reason to dispense with the monarchy would be the height of humbug given the lack of sovereignty afforded to our First Nation peoples and the way we lock up indefinitely asylum seekers of colour.
M Kinsman, Kaleen
Peter Cullen (Letters, March 9) contends that determining why the tiles are falling off the Gungahlin pool is not rocket science.
I contend however that there are similarities. Rocket designers are still having trouble finding a method to keep insulation tiles in place on rocket nose cones during launch.
My professional experience with many pools is that keeping tiles fixed on large pools isn't that easy either, for all conditions, hot and hold, empty and full.
I understand the Gungahlin pool was emptied and the building's heating and cooling turned off because of COVID-19. When the pool was empty, the tiles would've been subject to high temperature variations, compared to the pool shell concrete, which itself would've been shrinking. This would have induced large shear stresses on the glue or bedding mortar.
John Skurr, Deakin
Too many grog shops
Well done Danila Dilba Health Service in Darwin for resisting the proposed Dan Murphy's megastore ("Medical Group launches legal action over Woolies grog shop", canberratimes.com.au, March 6).
The social, health and financial harm that a store like this could cause is immeasurable, particularly because of its very close proximity to vulnerable people and communities.
Canberra is not immune from similar action. Not only does a BWS store trade in Dickson, there is now a recently opened Dan Murphy's in close proximity, both owned by Woolworths.
Similarly vulnerable people could potentially be affected in the same way as those in Darwin. Perhaps Woolworths should concentrate more on developing its social conscience as opposed to its profit margin.
Angela Kueter-Luks, Bruce
The editorial "Canberrans are entitled to equal rights" (March 5, p24) called the inability of the ACT and the NT to legislate euthanasia "deeply unjust" and "profoundly absurd". This was in support of the claim by the ACT Human Rights Minister and the Northern Territory Attorney-General that this inability was a deviation from the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ("ACT says feds are breaching their right", March 4, p1).
But there is something else deeply unjust and profoundly absurd in this. Palliative care is the means by which the vast majority of citizens will, even with euthanasia as an option, navigate their end of life time if they are afflicted by a mortal illness. Yet it is still under researched, underfunded, understaffed, under supported, and "under-technologised".
Its advances in the past 25 years, in medication and practice, are a fraction of those in more prominent specialities. It operates on the sheer dedication of its practitioners.
Organisations involved in palliative care cannot demand radical action from government because their already inadequate funding is dependent on it.
P O'Keeffe, Hughes
Tunnel not ideal
P Ottesen (Letters, March 7) proposes an underground tunnel in Civic as a solution to the congestion, noise and pollution inhibiting investment.
This would put Northbourne Avenue underground, with a tunnel beginning at Barry Drive (southbound), passing under City Hill and emerging south of London Circuit.
What about the need for, and consequences of, exhaust ventilation stacks to disperse vehicle pollution? Canberra's vehicle fleet is hardly electric yet.
Murray May, Cook
Democracy takes work
Nicholas Stuart ("Every one of us", canberratimes.com.au, March 7) makes the point that institutional maintenance is required to keep things working well.
Comparison was made with a dam.
That reminded me of the old Marib dam which for hundreds, if not thousands, of years served the people of Yemen and southern Arabia. It was neglected, fell into disrepair, and had a most disastrous collapse in 570 AD.
It is equally true that democracy needs constant maintenance, or bit by bit, it begins to work not nearly so well.
Excuses don't cut it. That is why every squirming pollie with supine excuses needs no sympathy from anyone, including self-sympathy.
Roy Darling, Florey
Rape laws flawed
The problem with the PM calling for the "rule of law" is that the existing law around rape is so inadequate. Even when brave women go to the law to report rape, the conviction rate is less than a third of the conviction rate for other offences.
And in appealing to the law, women subject themselves to telling the story over and over again, and to the trauma of brutal and demeaning cross examination by the defence.
No wonder that women and our allies, who the PM refers to as "the mob", find the law so cruel and unresponsive.
It is time for "the mob", at least 50 per cent of Australians, to rise up and demand better.
Christine Healy, Hackett
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