It was interesting to read that Chief Minister Andrew Barr gloated to the ACT Labor faithful at the party conference on the weekend about the number of first-preference votes that Labor got at last year's election. ("Coalition ripped guts from Medicare", July 18, p3).
While 101,826 votes was a good result, the fact is that another 170,312 voters voted for someone other than Labor. The total percentage of the Canberra electorate that voted for Labor was just over one-third, at 37.5 per cent, meaning a further two-thirds voted for other parties and candidates.
It's important for the Chief Minister to realise that he needs to govern for all Canberrans and not just those that are beholden to the ACT Labor views.
Mr Barr also believes that the only community consultation that matters is on election day, and if you disagree with a policy or a decision that was made then that's just tough luck.
The ACT government, and in particular ACT Labor, needs to acknowledge when they get it wrong or that a policy will not work. Consultation needs to start with an idea or suggestion and a blank page, not at a predetermined outcome that means consultation is really only feedback.
This would go a long way to improving the electorate's trust rather than someone putting a one next to a name at the ACT ballot box.
Martin Miller, Chifley
I am amazed at the number of people in the community who are visually challenged when it comes to using their ever-present smart phones to check in on entering business premises and tourist venues. This is despite the fact that there are usually a number of notices and hand-gel stations in evidence.
The efficacy of contact tracing has been proven. At the very least, it's the best system we have right now. So, come on folks, play the game. If you're going to be out and about in Canberra, use the Check In CBR app when visiting tourist venues and businesses. To not bother to do so could earn you a hefty fine if you are dobbed in.
You owe it to the business proprietors who are doing their best to comply, under very difficult circumstances, with the current mandate.
Patricia Watson, Red Hill
Persona non grata
Forget "controversial British personality" Katie Hopkins breaking (quarantine) laws while she is here. How was she even given a visa for being here, after being on record in Britain for making light of - if not actually advocating - religious and ethnic genocide?
That satisfactorily passes the federal Coalition ministry's "good character" requirement for admission into Australia, does it? Had her genocide advocacy involved some other particular religious group of course she'd never have stood a chance.
When you consider that environmental activists have been denied entry for vastly less the radical right political prejudice of the federal Coalition is laid bare.
As for Channel Seven, who would trawl the world specifically to invite a Katie Hopkins here, even in the midst of strict arrival caps? You can judge for yourself what sort of audience they are spinning for in their egregious "reality show".
Alex Mattea, Sydney, NSW
G Gillespie (Letters, July 19) suggests Labor's Richard Marles is an "intellectual". Undoubtedly, he is a smart guy and a potential leader, but "intellectual" is today a much over-hyped characterisation.
As Betrand Russell once said (modestly, because he did fit the bill), "One might have intellect, but that doesn't mean they are an intellectual." Another worry with the surging tide of euphemisms and overstatements is the phrase, "public intellectual". I keep asking myself, what then is a private intellectual?
Eric Hunter, Cook
They say that you can tell a lot about a society by the number of social workers (and psychologists) in it. I think you can tell a lot more by looking at the leadership of a country.
It is bad enough that we have to put up with a "hollow man" in the guise of "Scotty from marketing". But it is absolutely embarrassing to have our "Number Two" in the shape of Barnaby "Burn more coal" Joyce telling the world that climate change is effectively a myth and that we should not tolerate tariffs from the EU, for example, because he hasn't "seen the menu" yet.
Bring on the next election.
Stuart Kennedy, Bli Bli, Qld
I'm not usually a big fan of "naming and shaming". I figure most of us are doing the best we can, and have the right motivation for what we do.
I do believe there are three exceptions however.
I would be quite happy for someone to name and shame the person who came up with the term "back-to-back" in relation to grand finals. The correct and sensible expression would be "consecutive grand finals". "Back-to-back" grand finals would mean that one season would finish with a grand final and the next season would start with a grand final. Just ridiculous.
Another person who should be named and shamed is the person who decided that, in a café, one's meal should be served directly on top of one's paper napkin or serviette. This means that one's napkin or serviette is already dirty before one starts one's meal.
The last person who should be named and shamed is the person who decided it should be standard practice, when telling a customer the cost of an item, to say "that will be only X dollars". Well it might be "only" X dollars to the person who decided the phrase should be used, but it might be a fair chunk of money to the customer being asked to hand it over. If it's "only" a small amount of money, then maybe the person behind the counter could shout the customer.
Put 'em all in the stocks and I'll throw the first rotten tomato!
Gordon Fyfe, Kambah
Art of poesy
Every Saturday, in a somewhat belated effort in this lifetime to make myself a better person, I rip open our sealed and delivered copy of The Canberra Times and turn not to the headlines or the comics, or even to the sports pages, but to Poetry Corner in Panorama. I feel that a small dose of poetry once a week can only keep my mind young and my spirit uplifted.
Alas, my excruciatingly drawn out primary school renditions of Daffodils by William Wordsworth and Someone by Walter de la Mare, along with our rhyming high school diet of Shakespeare's sonnets, John Donne and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, have not provided me with any understanding of why many of the poems printed in Poetry Corner are poems at all.
Could consideration be given to including a brief technical explanation of why, when necessary, the words from which I seek fulfilment and advancement every Saturday are in fact poems?
Trevor Fowler, Chisholm
Rita Joseph (Letters, July 19) repeatedly uses the word "arbitrary" to describe how euthanasia legislation might be in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
My Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines arbitrary as "based on mere opinion... as opposed to the real nature of things, capricious, unpredictable, unrestrained in the exercise of will, despotic, tyrannical".
Any fair reading of voluntary assisted dying legislation clearly shows that, if implemented, euthanasia would be anything but "arbitrary".
Perhaps Ms Joseph should focus on the word "voluntary". If someone's suffering cannot be alleviated by palliative care they will retain the right to endure their pain until they die.
Steve Ellis, Hackett
Senator Zed Seselja seems to be playing God with his opposition to the ACT Legislative Assembly being able to pass social legislation to benefit our community.
The electorate did elect the good senator as an individual according to the Electoral Act, but on a Liberal ticket and on the understanding and practice of being a representative of the ACT.
Zed seems to have forgotten that we have representative government and that he should generally abide by majority views. He is not God. Nor should he adhere to his own religious prejudices.
Geoff Henkel, Farrer
What's in a word?
Sunday's leading article ("Silence is no answer on prison failures", July 18, p18) says that the recent dramatic prison escape deserves a "fulsome" explanation from authorities. The Macquarie Dictionary defines "fulsome" as "offensive to good taste, gross, insincere". I would prefer a straightforward accurate account of the event, rather than one that might be given by a politician of the effusive self-promoting type.
Jack Palmer, Watson
TO THE POINT
PAY THE PRICE
May the bright sparks at Seven lose their performance pay for countenancing the importation of dangerous far-right troublemaker Katie Hopkins. They are quick to hide behind apologies now but were willing to risk copycat acts by those who take pride in resisting any form of government guidance or control.
Sue Dyer, Downer
THE TROUBLE IS ...
The Prime Minister has suggested we can go early and get a second AstraZeneca vaccination after eight weeks. Various medical experts have said the same. Unfortunately, finding a vaccination clinic willing to do it is proving impossible.
Keith Hill, Tinana, Qld
Requiring lots of the young to fund our retirements exacerbates the problems for future generations who would need an even a larger young cohort to fund their retirement. It is a pyramid scheme and a form of intergenerational theft. We should not leave the transition to population stability to our grandkids.
Greg Dunstone, Bruce
Indefinite growth is the fundamental philosophy of both neoliberalism and cancer, and both have the same outcome.
Fed Pilcher, Kaleen
What happened to NAIDOC Week? Was it locked down too? We should've at least seen historical descriptions and or photographs and paintings, or even artefacts in our shopping malls ... I did not see any. Seemingly history has been "locked away" again. Why?
G. Gillespie, Scullin
Barnaby is a heartbeat away from being Prime Minister. What has this country got so wrong? Oh, now I remember, the bloke above him.
Linus Cole, Palmerston
Anyone observing the "character" of our government ministers would agree that Katie Hopkins passes character tests with flying colours.
Maria Greene, Curtin
Can the government enlighten us as to the "critical skills" Katie Hopkins possessed that allowed her to come to Australia from the UK. The standard excuse of not breaching privacy will probably be trotted out and we'll be none the wiser.
Peter Dahler, Calwell
The selectively silent Senator Seselja is a member of the exclusive club of only five Canberrans who get to vote on any voluntary assisted dying legislation for the ACT.
Graeme Rankin, Holder
Re: Zed Seselja's response to Katy Gallagher's petition on his view of the ACT being able to legislate for voluntary assisted dying. Is "playing politics" the new generic phrase that you trot out when you don't have an actual argument?
Jennifer Bradley, Cook
Brain teaser. Are politicians essential workers?
John Howarth, Weston
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