On March 26 The Canberra Times published my article "Fiona Nash should be restored to the Senate".
My point was that Nash should be chosen by the NSW Nationals to fill a six-year Senate seat from 1 July 2022. The seat is, in effect, presently held by Jim Molan (Liberal) who will retire on June 30, 2022.
Some 90 NSW Nationals will meet on Friday, June 18, to choose a person who will technically be a candidate for election. That is the pretence of our Senate voting system. The reality is this is a party-machine appointments system.
The 90 Nationals will choose a senator-in -waiting, to be rubber stamped later by a statistical return asserting that he or she received some 700,000 popular votes. Under the Coalition agreement the Nat will be placed second on the ticket, a guarantee of election.
The purpose of my article was not merely to say that Nash should be chosen. More importantly it was to say that former leader John Anderson should not be chosen. For that reason, I write to give more information. Nash has withdrawn from the contest. However, there is at least one woman standing and her name is Alison Penfold.
She is best known for her role as Chief Executive Officer, Australian Livestock Exporters Council. In her letter to the party she has written: "I cut through to middle Australia in publicly defending the live export industry and the interests of beef, sheep, and goat producers who directly or indirectly rely on the trade".
Lack of space prevents me from elaborating my case against Anderson. I may do that in a later article. Meanwhile, if any other female candidate asks me to present her case I offer to do so.
Malcolm Mackerras AO, Campbell
I refer to James Hudson's letter (Letters, April 28) about the state of the Boboyan Road. As much as I agree with James about the condition of the road, I think it was totally inappropriate of The Canberra Times to use a photo of the Brett McNamara (one of the Park's managers) sitting on some rocks overlooking the Park to highlight the problem. Brett is passionate about the state of the park and this photo should not have been used. A better one would have been a photo of the actual road itself.
Michael Joyce, former deputy chief officer, ACT Rural Fire Service, Gundaroo
Indigenous people are about eight times as likely as non-Indigenous people to die in custody.
The principal reason for that is that Indigenous people are more likely to be taken into custody.
About 2.3 per cent of Australians identify as Indigenous, according to the 2006 census.
But 393 (19 per cent) of the 2,044 people who died in custody from 1991-92 to 2015 were indigenous, according to Statistical Bulletin 17 of the Australian Institute of Criminology, Indigenous Deaths in Custody: 25 years since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
The report summary should have said, "Indigenous prisoners are now less likely than non-Indigenous prisoners to die in prison" but the report's authors mistakenly used the term "people" rather than "prisoners".
It was on the basis of that incorrectly worded summary that Bill Deane (letters, April 28) alleged that Jenna Price's article "White Australia must look inward" (April 23, p46) lacked balance.
Leon Arundell, Downer
Follow the science
To answer Eric French's questions (Letters, April 26), I am not advocating atheism, or any other form of outright denial. What I am advocating is that we observe the findings of science in preference to any unprovable "faith" (even if we could agree which of the many faiths is the correct one).
Mr French's specific questions on the origins of the universe may be answered with a simple "we don't really know". Science has gone some of the way, but we can be fairly certain that we won't find full or even part answers in any of the many and varied religious texts.
Do any of them for example detail the complex biology of living creatures, the nature of the planets and their orbits, the galaxies, the structure of the universe itself or, indeed, its origins?
Eric's final question about the effect of a non-existent world is illogical because the world does exist and we have to try to understand both the physical and social sciences that determine our existence and behaviour. Besides, while faith may bring comfort and solace to many, its application by humans also creates evil as well as good.
Eric Hunter, Cook
It would be better for us all if the sniping between federal ministers and state premiers over responsibility for quarantine and how it is carried out could cease, and energies directed to what to do about it for the long term. Even if COVID-19 eventually "disappears" it may be replaced by something else also requiring quarantine measures.
It is probably true that military bases and immigration detention centres are suitable quarantine facilities, but I don't think that most hospitals are either, and certainly not aged care residences.
Working on solving the problem and finding the means, financial and physical, to do that should start now, as it is likely to take some considerable time to resolve the present situation. And the world-wide pandemic is not yet showing signs of going away.
R Richards, Cook
Justice for McBride
Major David McBride, the ADF whistle blower who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and who leaked information about the alleged war crimes in Afghanistan to the ABC has had his May 3 hearing put back until September 20.
The prosecution requested the adjournment and the Attorney-General's barrister made an objection to an earlier date of July 4 for the hearing because of a clash with school holidays. I wonder how many other cases are deferred for so long for such a reason?
This case has gone on for too long and the stress being placed on Major McBride is unconscionable. This case can only be revenge for being a whistle blower. We need such courageous people. Since when has reporting a crime been treated as a crime? The prosecution must be dropped.
Kathryn Kelly, Convenor, Alliance Against Political Prosecutions, Chifley
I noted a large federal government display advertisement on page 5 of the April 25 edition of The Canberra Times proudly announcing that "We are duplicating the Barton Highway from south of the NSW/ACT border to at least the intersection of Rolfe Road... expected finish 2023". A distance of some 4.7km.
I note also the announcement now visible on the NSW Government RMS website dated November 2020: "Work has officially started on stage one of the Barton Highway duplication with a turning of the sod on Monday 23 November 2020... Stage one will build new northbound lanes from the ACT border to Kaveneys Road.... It is anticipated the initial duplication work will be completed in 2023, weather permitting". A distance of some 7.1km.
Do I see here yet another re-announcement by the federal government, this time including a walk-back in the scope of a project by some 34 per cent?
Oliver Raymond, Mawson
US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, spoke at Harvard's Kennedy School Conference on Climate Change, Intelligence and Global Security on April 23. I participated in the conference online.
He stated his two expectations regarding the role of the US government intelligence community on climate change. First, to objectively inform US decision makers and the Congress on climate threats. Second, to monitor actions by other countries on what they are doing on climate action, in part in Kerry's words, " to ensure that they are not gaming the system" in terms of climate commitments and performance.
Earlier in the week I participated in an Australia Institute climate webinar at which Mr Alden Meyer, a long-standing US climate expert who is close to the Biden administration, spoke. Mr Meyer stated that the US pressure on Australia to be serious on climate action will be in his words "unrelenting" this year.
Mr Morrison better get serious on climate change if we are to keep our "great and powerful friend".
Rod Holesgrove, Crace
Friday's Pope cartoon (April 23) was infantile and deeply offensive to the many Australians who rebel against becoming cannon fodder for President Joe's climate frolic. It also missed the true point of humour in the whole event. That was the president pretending to believe the promises to save the planet made by his most dangerous enemies. In a demonstration of the utter absurdity of it all the biggest carbon dioxide emitter of all promised to keep it up for the next 40 years.
Fred Bennett, Bonner
TO THE POINT
SO SO, SO WHAT?
When people are being interviewed these days, I often hear the word "so" used at the beginning of each answer to a question. Can anyone explain why this occurs? Perhaps some media training recommends it. It seems very stilted to me. So, looking forward to any further clarification on this from the word experts.
Murray May, Cook
WE HEAR THE DRUMS
Now we're old and grey can we remember the titles of the ABBA songs? What was that one that started "Can you hear the drums Pezzullo"?
Peter Bradbury, Holt
HERE'S A CHALLENGE
It is to be hoped Canberra Liberals will prevail upon education authorities to launch a vigorous awareness campaign alerting our teens to the unsavoury consequences of inappropriate condom removal.
John J Smiles, Deakin West
COME BACK BILL
I heard Shorten's speech at the Press Club. He still has some steam. I suggest he stabs Albo in the back, ditches negative gearing and franking credits amendments, has a realistic electric cars vision and nominates again for the big job.
Mokhles k Sidden, Strathfield, NSW
Did I see the ghost of a reference to ASIO at the bottom left-hand corner of Pope's cartoon on April 28? Was the cartoon censored? Cut on legal advice? My suspicions were aroused when I noticed how ill-fitting the cartoon was in the space available.
Dick Parker, Page
The "drums of war" are indeed beating. We know who is beating them, and why. The coalition's cavalcade of policy blunders requires a distraction. What better than an escalation of international tensions?
Peter Grabosky, Forrest
Mike Pezzullo would do well to remember he is no more than a public servant. An "advisor" to government but little else. He should stay in his corner until called upon.
Gerry Gillespie, Queanbeyan, NSW
The Brazilian Senate has opened a probe into Bolsonaro's "management" of COVID-19. He is responsible for the dire crisis Brazil is facing because of his bombastic denial of the threat. He should be hauled before the ICC for crimes against humanity.
Rajend Naidu, Glenfield, NSW
THE TRUTH MATTERS
Congratulations to Bill Deane ("Facts overlooked", Letters, April 28) on pointing out that many so-called experts are in reality social commentators determined not to allow the facts to get in the way of their opinions.
Roger Dace, Reid
DON'T DO IT
Regarding the go-ahead for the conversion of the Australian War Memorial to the Australian War Museum, my plea to the NCA is the same as Rod Marsh's plea to Trevor Chappell before Trevor bowled the underarm delivery: "don't do it".
We are still regretting the ignoring of Marsh's plea.
The regret will be on a much grander scale if the NCA ignores pleas and gives the go-ahead for the conversion.
R J Wenholz, Holt
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