A wreath-laying ceremony was held at the Vietnam Memorial on May 1 to commemorate "Black April Day", April 30, 1975, when South Vietnam was taken over by the north.
The President of the Vietnamese Community in Australia (VCA) referred to the hardships inflicted (even now), the "re-education" camps, the grave sites demolished, and the harsh penalties imposed; all of which were intended to wipe out the soul of the South Vietnamese people. It was patently obvious, however, that their passion for democracy and human rights lives on.
Interestingly, the president can't be invited as an official guest to the coming National Commemoration for the 50th anniversary of a battle fought by Australians in Vietnam even though he is the senior representative in Australia of the people on whose behalf we fought side by side. It seems our trade interests might be jeopardised.
I was invited as an official guest but can't accept as I will be hosting the president; together we will be paying respect for the sacrifices that were made by our countrymen.
Of course, "that's politics" but does it have to be one thing or the other? Surely, we are mature enough as a country to do better; to achieve an outcome which protects jobs, while also respecting the cause for which our service personnel died.
The Vietnamese are such gracious, polite and kind people. How they delighted in the presence of a 92-year-old former AATTV member who still speaks excellent Vietnamese.
Bruce Cameron, Campbell
DFAT housing no perk
Overseas accommodation provided by DFAT was not free during most of my 38 years in DFAT ("Nice perk", canberratimes.com.au, April 29).
It was subsidised however.
Staff contributions were based on ACT accommodation costs and the accommodation allowance was topped up to enable staff to live reasonably in other parts of the world where higher accommodation costs were the norm.
Having retired from DFAT I will let others decide whether that accommodation allowance should have always been considered part of the salary package for superannuation purposes.
Jeff Hart, Kingston
The way forward
Fortescue chairman Andrew Forrest has reaffirmed his commitment to ensure FMG will be carbon neutral by 2030, 10 years in advance of previous targets.
This is to be achieved by Fortescue Future Industries, chaired by Malcolm Turnbull, to be backed by 10 per cent of FMG profits after tax.
Fortescue plans to produce "green steel" using hydrogen in the Pilbara region.
A recent global survey of green hydrogen proposals shows three of the top six projects (totalling $60 billion) will be located in Western Australia.
Malcolm Turnbull recently said the federal government had limited powers to stimulate investment in "climate change".
This should be led instead by the states.
Maybe John Ryan (Letters April 29) should "rest easy" in Griffith as "Scotty from Marketing" is about to be proved even less relevant to the climate change debate by his former boss.
If the ACT Minister for Energy would only match the ambition of "Twiggy" Forrest we could advance the date of a zero carbon territory with three new technologies to consider.
David Dickson, Kaleen
No surprises on housing
It's obvious the very valid concerns Anglicare and the ACT Council of Social Service have about the provision of affordable rental housing continue to fall on deaf ears.
It's no accident affordable housing has disappeared from the ACT. The eradication of affordable housing has been a notable outcome of ACT government's Planning and Taxation policy for at least the last 15 years.
Successive changes to planning policy have made small affordable, accessible townhouses in the suburbs illegal, whilst rabid increases in property related taxes have ensured the only affordable dwellings within coo-ee are in Yass and Cooma.
You cannot make private rental properties harder to buy and more expensive to own and run without increasing costs to tenants. A rental vacancy rate that has for years consistently been below one per cent is evidence of failed supply. There just aren't enough entry level rental properties.
One of the culprits is excessive land tax. Why should any provider of rental housing pay land tax anyway? It just gets passed to the tenant as increased rent. Another is the heavily leveraged lease variation charge, levied at the same excessive minimum of $30,000 per property, regardless of size.
As government investment in social housing continues it's real world free fall the ACT rental market will rely more and more on private investment. This has been planned and taxed out of business. How about a planning and taxation system redesign to incentivise investment in affordable housing?
David Shearer, Braddon
Bad to verse...
All the talk of drums brings to mind the verse of A. E. Housman in his volume A Shropshire Lad.
On the idle hill of summer,
Sleepy with the flow of streams,
Far I hear a distant drummer
Drumming like a sound in dreams.
Far and near and low and louder
While upon the roads go by,
Dear to friends and food for powder,
Soldiers marching, all to die.
This was published, ominously, in 1912.
A Moore, Melba
What would the great Raiders' supporter, and inveterate League letter writer, the late Andy Rowe, have written about Thursday night's bunker decisions?
He'd probably have agreed with Ricky Stuart's comments and pointed out exactly why the decisions were dodgy. Andy would most likely also have had a shot at the modern knock-on rule, which has morphed into a slippery "loose carry" rule. This is now used as an excuse even for balls dislodged from safe-keeping by a deliberate nudge from the opposition.
The bunker thinks these incidents are "loose carries" even when the "terrorvision" shows otherwise. I suspect Andy would have been in favour of tossing the bunker on the scrap heap. Me too.
James Mahoney, McKellar
Nick Bailey (Letters, April 29) took umbrage at the editorial of April 24 ("Morrison's failure on the global stage") that invoked the science of climate change and indicated what the rest of the world is doing about it. Bailey either chooses to ignore the fact and impact of climate change to justify his political viewpoint and have a rant, or cannot understand that it is "global" warming not "local" warming.
We are just one of 195 countries that share this unique blue orb so our two per cent contribution to the problem must be tackled hard and drastically reduced. All countries must face this reality.
He went on to claim the editorial was "a Greta Thunberg-style unwarranted, biased and childish load of hyperbole" (Thunberg was mentioned and quoted in context in the editorial) finishing with "In future let us have all the facts and not biased hyperbole".
He even robbed the grave of Tony Abbott's ludicrous and outdated carbon tax lies and shook its desiccated corpse in an attempt to re-animate it's disproven and discarded rhetoric. "We'll all be rooned" said Hanrahan.
Bollocks, Nick, bollocks. Morrison is holding Australia back from making an effort to prevent our only habitat being irreparably damaged and you, Nick Bailey, are cheering him on.
Spare yourself and other The Canberra Times readers your "unwarranted, biased and childish load of hyperbole".
Rory McElligott, Nicholls
Change the system
It was heartening to read Zoe Wundenberg's article on the growth of grass roots politicians and independents in parliaments (''Ever so gradually, the face of Australian politics is changing'', canberratimes.com.au, April 28).
What a great opportunity to rid ourselves of political parties with their inevitable ego-driven factions and loyalties to ideology and to have members of parliaments serving their constituents.
It would also be easier to boost numbers of women and other disadvantaged groups through this process rather than accepting the sifting of political parties in accordance with their dogmas and factions.
A great opportunity and challenge for community groups in the ACT.
Warwick Williams, Nicholls
The Constitution Section 51 Section (ix) states the Commonwealth is responsible for quarantine. There is no mention of this responsibility being shared with the states. Hotel quarantine was always a stop-gap measure. The Commonwealth government had a whole year to put in place permanent quarantine facilities, but did nothing.
Peter Hill, Kambah
TO THE POINT
BRING BACK TRUMP
Re Brian Hale's letter ("A world of hurt", Letters, April 29). It's apparent many of the complaining letters, particularly those on ongoing political stances, are attempts to fill the yawning gap caused by the absence of Donald Trump. They certainly create renewed yawning.
Peter Baskett, Murrumbateman, NSW
AND TONY ABBOTT?
Peta Credlin has said Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull have "very bruised egos". While I agree with her she forgot to mention the father of all egos, bruised or otherwise, Tony Abbott.
Mokhles k Sidden, Strathfield, NSW
TELL IT LIKE IT IS
Instead of fluff comments such as "the boys tried really really hard", "we improved heaps from the Cowboys game", "the ref doesn't like us", and "Benji gamed us" how about running the headline "Don Furner calls crisis meeting as Raiders' season implodes". And we are barely out of April.
Mark Francis, Griffith
The Brumbies' success doesn't seem to impress the TV commentators. Are they from Brisbane?
Jack Kershaw, Kambah
Some say "good old Albo". Others tell the truth.
Mario Stivala, Belconnen
Would there have been a ban if any of the Coalition cabinet members had family stuck in India? I doubt it. In terms of human rights, which this government doesn't adhere to, it is probably illegal to leave citizens at risk of catching coronavirus in a COVID-19-riddled country.
Dave Roberts, Belconnen
Silly me, Melanie MacFarlane (Letters, May 3), I thought international students were educated here in order to return home to benefit a more needy country. Clearly I need a crash course in selfishness.
Greg Cornwell, Yarralumla
LATTE SIPPERS? HARDLY
The Australian Institute of Company Directors' latest "sentiment survey" of 1500 directors found they once again nominated climate change as the number one priority the federal government should be addressing. Surely they can't all be left-leaning, latte-sipping, tree-huggers? Or is it simply self-interest for them and their companies?
Richard Johnston, Kingston
I would never suggested the Canberra Liberals collectively comprise a "mental mastodon". However if the thrust of the next election campaign includes condom etiquette that analogy may have merit.
John J Smiles, West Deakin, ACT
PENNY WONG FOR P.M.
Greg Cornwell (Letters May 3), Silence? Really? You were a bit quick. We would dearly love to see an Australian prime minister who is intelligent, articulate and highly principled. Penny Wong.
P and S Redston, Chisholm
POTS AND KETTLES
What is telling, Alan Shroot, (Letters, April 27), is your boast an extremist Islamic "rogue" state, Saudi Arabia, is cosy with the extremist Zionist "rogue" state, Israel.