In his autobiography Malcolm Turnbull wrote that "A person of good character, who can be relied upon to tell the truth ... is too rare in politics" (p659). What a sad indictment of our people on the hill. Mr Turnbull summarised his fellow parliamentarians well, particularly judging from the last five years or so.
What can be done about it? We can eliminate party heavyweights nominating candidates and/or require endorsement of those candidates by party members in the particular electorates, close vetting by the party of those put forward: whether they are of good character, whether they will be good local members first and foremost, whether they have shown capacity for this over a number of years, whether they have lots of energy and stamina, and so on.
Politics is not for the faint-hearted. A genuine effort should be made also to eliminate pork barrelling.
We are already aware we need to do better for women on the hill. Enticing good men into politics will also become more difficult unless we do something about it. We expect our sportspeople to set a good example. It is not too much, surely, to ask our parliamentarians to do the same.
Herman van de Brug, Belconnen
The cup that cheers ...
Pasteur said "food without wine is like a day without sunshine". It seems The Canberra Times's restaurant reviewers are in the dark when it comes to wine lists.
The review of Aubergine on May 25 did not devote even a single sentence to their award-winning wine and beverage list.
Reviewers seem to ignore that the wine cost component of a meal is substantial and adds greatly to the meal's enjoyment. Sommeliers or wine consultants are employed by most restaurants, as they see wine as an integral part of dining.
Mention of the number of wines by the glass, do they match any dishes with wine, is BYO allowed, are local wines included, and is the list developed with the restaurant's theme, would all add to the review.
I am of course biased, as I choose my wine before the meal.
Ken Helm AM, Helm's Winery, Murrumbateman
Silence in the refectory
Re: the recent letters about people with hearing difficulties struggling with noise levels in Canberra restaurants - speaking as a person without any hearing difficulties, I personally find the noise levels in many restaurants too high.
If I read a review of a restaurant which describes it as "vibrant", "lively", "buzzing" and/or any other similar terms, experience tells me that trying to maintain a conversation at normal volume with my fellow dinners will be next to impossible. I am sure I am not alone in wanting to enjoy an often expensive meal in a calm environment in which I can enjoy (hopefully) the food and conversation with my fellow diners.
Hard surfaces in many restaurants, which appear to be in vogue at the moment, are not conducive to such an experience.
Malcolm Paterson, Greenleigh, NSW
In the mood for love
I congratulate the young couple who became engaged at the tram station. Life's precious moments are often comprised of romantic lighting.
But they could not have had elderly guests or young children attending the engagement event. No loos would have marred the happy event.
Our Labor/Greens government can extend to occasional mood lighting, but not to permanent essentials.
Christopher Ryan, Watson
We all have a right to our opinions. For the ownership of that right we may not, legally or morally, transmit any anti-racial, homophobic, or anti-religious views we may have.
These restrictions are placed upon our freedom of speech for the benefit of the individuals affected and for the general good of society.
So why should the anti-vaxxers be permitted to promote their damaging views?
Roy Bray, Ngunnawal
I love your editorial sense of irony. A heart-warming story, in the sports pages of course, explains how some thoroughbred race horses are offered a humane retirement instead of the horrors of an Australian knackery ("Racing retirement: How Canberra is playing its part for horse welfare", May 21, p62). Saving faithful horses one by one.
But earlier in the news pages, there's a different story ("Report reveals how horse has bolted on managing numbers", May 21 p10).
As we know from George Orwell, all animals are created equal but some are more equal than others, and arguments rage about what to do with the least equal of all, wild horses.
The ACT government solves that problem for the next least equal of creatures, kangaroos, by slaughtering them, and turning a profit too. ("More than 1500 kangaroos in yearly cull program's sights", May 15, p3).
Of course, your mild sense of irony is far eclipsed by that of the US and China who have invested billions in sending devices to Mars "to find evidence of life". With a view to what? Martian live exports or eradication?
The human is the cruellest, most predatory, and most dangerous species on this planet.
P O'Keeffe, Hughes
Take your chances
Mario Stivala ("Approach is sensible", Letters, May 23) is clearly a betting man who likes long odds.
Like Scott Morrison, he wants to back Steady as She Goes in the Climate Change Stakes.
The "business as usual" approach, favoured by the trainer of "Steady as She Goes", has no chance of meeting the Paris Racing Board's regulation of 1.5 degrees of warming by 2050.
In its latest tip to punters, the International Energy Association is backing the filly Renewables and has dropped the gelding Fossil Fuels from its stable.
Even then, the IEA warns, there's only a 50-50 chance of satisfying the PRB regulation. Mr Stivala is flogging a dead horse.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn, Vic
Of mice and Marie
The thought of Marie Low ("Australia, we can't just keep on building outwards forever", canberratimes.com.au, May 23) having a live mouse in the toe of her boot will stay with me for a long time.
Nevertheless, her sentiments on the need to rein in population growth were admirable.
Similarly, Nicholas Stuart ("When what we "know" turns out to be wrong", canberratimes.com.au, May 22) questions the long held assumption that we need a "big Australia". He notes that, with immigration collapsing because of border closures, overall employment has risen.
He rightly acknowledges the contributions that immigration has brought us but now questions whether we need to return to the huge levels of immigration on this fragile land.
There's a lovely ad on TV about a boy and a koala and the need to "protect all homes". Yes, we do, koalas' homes included. We cannot do this, however, under a scenario of endless human population growth. We have to stop somewhere, preferably now. We need to do it for our own sakes before, as Marie Low noted with the mouse plague, we turn on each other.
Equally, we need to stop growing for sake of other species that inhabit this fragile land.
Jenny Goldie, Cooma
No reason not to try
Committing and achieving, as Mario Stivala claims (Letters, May 23), are worlds apart. But that's no reason not to try.
Many years ago I, and another beautiful person standing by my side, made a commitment to each other which we had no idea whether we could actually achieve. Some would definitely have argued at the time that our commitment was foolish with little chance of success.
For 45 years we've worked assiduously towards achieving the promise of that commitment and we're still working on it. Others don't succeed, but the point is, they try.
And so it is with a net zero emissions target by 2050. It's a commitment that should be made. I'm optimistic it can be achieved and I don't want to gamble my grandchildren's future or that of their children and grandchildren on the alternative.
Fear of failure is never a reason not to try.
Keith Hill, Nindigully Pub, Qld
Russian space odyssey
Seeing is believing, but when it is impossible hearing will do. That's why in 1957 we Russians equipped the very first satellite with a radio transmitter. In 2030 another spaceship will start, marking our transport module's 50-month space odyssey to the Moon, Venus and finally Jupiter.
The itinerary must have been chosen by someone here who likes both Arthur Clarke's novel and Stanley Kubrick's film. The project may well make Putin's 2014 Crimean success a relative minnow and his tenure in the Kremlin safe till 2036 as he wishes.
Perhaps the event will prompt a sequel to your 2000 film The Dish about the Parkes Observatory, or better still a reality television series.
Mergen Mongush, Moscow
TO THE POINT
GAETJENS UNDER FIRE
As the head of the APS, Phil Gaetjens owes Australians respect and integrity. His performance at Senate estimates, displayed neither. Coming before a Senate committee charged with parliamentary scrutiny of the executive without adequate preparation shows contempt for the public.
Gerry Gillespie, Queanbeyan, NSW
Except for tokenistic crumbs to those who get dirty with the lumpenproletariat, national honours represent indulgences bestowed on affluent politicians who squander resources that should go to the less privileged. ("G-G pushes for diversity in national honours", May 25, p4).
Albert M. White, Queanbeyan, NSW
PROOF OF WHAT?
An in-house investigation says that there is no proof that anyone in the PM's office briefed against Ms Higgins' partner ("Kunkel finds lack of proof ....", May 26, p6). If there's wilful blindness on Mr Kunkel's part, the media has a duty to tell us who briefed them. The alternative hypothesis is that it was a media-led lie.
Roger Dace, Reid
END THIS NOW
When is this vindictive undemocratic treatment of Bernard Collaery going to stop?
Joyce Van Leeuwen, Gordon
THE NEXT G-G
My suggestion for the next governor-general is Alice Springs deputy mayor Jacinta Price. She is a highly competent, sensible, articulate, and decent Indigenous woman who would do us proud.
Bill Stefaniak, Narrabundah
If, as reported, Jodi McKay believes Labor's disastrous drop in first preference votes of eight per cent was "matched" by the victorious National Party's drop of less than three per cent, she is a mathematics ignoramus. Yet another reason for her to step down and give Labor a fighting chance at the next NSW election.
Mario Stivala, Belconnen
Australia still struggles with hotel quarantine and there is federal resistance to throw money in that direction. Why not redirect the half a billion dollars for the unnecessary AWM redevelopment and put it towards some serious good?
Kim Fitzgerald, Deakin
RATS IN THE RANKS
I read that Canberra is about to be overrun by mice. They will be in good company. The metropolis is full of political rats.
Michael J Gamble, Belmont, Vic
The latest buzz-phrase is "you had one job". Like most words coming from the land of semi-illiterate puritans, it doesn't contain a lot of depth. You could say it was a no-brainer even if you do or don't understand what that is supposed to mean. Simply, no one has just one job. Ask any woman.
Gary Frances, Bexley, Vic
SPARE THE INNOCENT
An interesting juxtaposition ("Fantasy email' brings down bureaucrat" and "Ex-café owner's indecency case dropped amid concerns about evidence", May 26, p7) whereby the latter's name is published while the former person's name is suppressed. Why don't our courts only release the names of those found guilty?
Greg Cornwell, Yarralumla
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Email: email@example.com. Send from the message field, not as an attachment. Fax: 6280 2282. Mail: Letters to the Editor, The Canberra Times, PO Box 7155, Canberra Mail Centre, ACT 2610.
Keep your letter to 250 or fewer words. References to The Canberra Times reports should include date and page number. Letters may be edited. Provide phone number and full home address (suburb only published).