The 2021 kangaroo cull is finished, with 1505 kangaroos shot to death. Before we celebrate World Kangaroo Day on October 24, we should ask questions the ACT government doesn't want asked.
What happened to the hundreds of joeys orphaned by the cull? Exactly how do responsible ACT ministers personally determine if the cull was conducted humanely?
Why should Canberra ratepayers subsidise one of the cruellest industries in the world? This gruesome wildlife slaughter happened within range of suburban homes in clandestine night-time operations.
How can responsible ministers believe this outsourced butchery is humane?
The Labor-Greens coalition seems strangely and vehemently determined to adopt the pseudoscience behind the ACT Kangaroo Management Plan.
Some Canberrans may accept the plan, with its preponderance of in-house opinion and data that lacks independent verification. Others may believe outdated claims that our grey kangaroos are overpopulated.
But why should ratepayers fund this heinous animal cruelty as the hired gang of kangaroo shooters ply their violent trade?
The ACT government has decided against using humane measures such as building wildlife corridors which could ensure kangaroos are not artificially trapped in small reserves by relentless development.
This would reduce alleged over-grazing. The government has opted for the cruellest option.
It relies on a brutal shooting "industry" to do its dirty work in a way that cannot be meaningfully policed.
John Grace, Evatt
What's new Barnaby?
I note with trepidation your article of Friday 3 September "Deputy PM wants to tell voters he's a changed man".
It indicates he still wants to move more federal public servants out of Canberra to regional centres.
He justifies the disastrous move of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to Armidale by "...we didn't drag people up there - they voluntarily went".
From what I gather, of the approximately 200 staff before his announcement, only about 10 actually moved, so around 5 per cent.
The rest jumped ship - probably to another job in Canberra, accepted voluntary redundancies, or lost their jobs when the agency formally moved. About 40 lucky ones retained their Canberra jobs as specialist scientists without whom the agency could not perform its regulatory function.
So has our Deputy Prime Minister changed very much at all?
Gary Fan, Reid
I buy Friday's The Canberra Times for the TV guide and Saturday's for the crosswords.
I generally put the opinion inserts, such as Forum, straight into the recycling or fireplace unless Simon Cowan has an article.
Last Saturday's (September 4) The Canberra Times promoted on the front page an article on "How has Barr performed?" which I thought should be a balanced assessment. But the first thing that caught my eye was the statement "the pick of the lot".
He is not getting from the press any hard follow-up questions about some of his questionable statements, such as whether there are any countries in the world anywhere near his 95 per cent vaccination target.
Similarly, when he says it is too hard to open up golf, he should be asked if any ACT golf clubs have been hotspots since the start of the pandemic. Also, why can't the same rules that allowed play right up to the latest lockdown be reapplied now, as is the case in NSW?
The Canberra Times is in the privileged position of being able to ask such hard questions. It should do so on our behalf, otherwise we will never get out of lockdown.
Dr Ray Trewin, Lyneham
Morrison's pink batts
Auriel Barlow (Letters, September 6) asked if JobKeeper for big business was "Morrison's pink batts".
There are certainly similarities. Both schemes were rushed into operation and imperfectly designed and executed. But both were reasonably effective at stimulating the economy in a crisis.
The home insulation scheme achieved some enduring benefits. I know because, like many people, I had my house insulated then at a very modest price and continue to enjoy lower energy use and greater comfort as a result.
But despite this, and the fact that fires and deaths from installations were actually lower than previously on a proportional basis, the scheme was subjected to hysterical and deceitful attacks from the Coalition and Murdoch media.
The level of waste from the home insulation scheme was vanishingly small compared with the billions wasted by shovelling JobKeeper at every company that put their hands up and then not bothering to demand it back from the many that turned out not to have needed the assistance.
While the initial outlay was reasonable under the circumstances, the failure to recoup it now is a disgrace.
Apparently only the poor need repay their debts to government. The captains of industry are above such accountability.
Felix MacNeill, Dickson
Med tech rip-off
Australia shouldn't have to pay 30 per cent more than other countries for the same medical devices.
In Nicholas Stuart's recent column "Gloves are off in fight for medical tech industry" (September 6, p20) the Medical Technology Association Australia (MTAA) failed to divulge that big med tech companies are charging Australians up to five times as much for some cardiac stents as consumers are paying in comparable countries.
The exact same stem item used in hip replacements costs more than $4000 in Australia, whilst in NZ and the UK it costs just $1800. Approximately $5.5 million is spent on medical devices in Australia every day. Around $2 million every day is shipped offshore in supernormal profits for big med tech companies.
The federal government has acknowledged the current price setting regime (prostheses list) is unfair and announced measures in the 2021 federal budget to fast-track changes to medical device pricing, but big med tech continues to raise red-herring issues in the media and use scare tactics as a distraction to stymie reform.
By changing medical device costs, private health insurance premiums will reduce, with no effect on the quality or accessibility of the devices that doctors can recommend.
These reforms are not about removing options for doctors or patients, but ensuring consumers pay a fair price for medical devices and health insurance.
With millions of Australians doing it tough right now, and hospitals coping with increased demand from patients suffering COVID-19, the government must see through these delaying tactics.
Dr Rachel David, CEO, Private Healthcare Australia, Canberra
I have long admired the architectural elegance of the Sydney and Melbourne buildings in Civic ("The former glory of our city centre's iconic buildings", September 6, p12, 13), but in recent years that admiration has morphed into a mixture of sadness and anger.
Now, fading and peeling paint is common (as in the upper-left of the main photograph accompanying Sally Pryor's story), pieces have broken from the colonnades, the overall decor is a patchwork of colour, and many of the ground floor shop fronts look decidedly second class.
Even the first-floor windows shown in the main photograph are completely out of character with a once graceful building.
The ACT government should immediately initiate restoration of what should still be part of a beautiful portal to the national capital.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
I couldn't believe what I was hearing but at his conference on September 5 the PM said when talking about the next phase of opening up from COVID-19: "Sadly (people) they'll have funerals, but people will be able to attend them".
Sorry Scotty, please don't take this the wrong way and I mean no offence, but I would prefer it to be the funeral of a friend or relative of yours rather than mine that needs to be attended if we rush to open up.
Steve Whennan, Richardson
I have a dream
Let's imagine that last year, instead of continually boasting about being the "world's best" the federal government had done its job.
Let's imagine that early on the federal government had marshalled all the unemployed construction workers and built fit-for-purpose quarantine centres in every state.
And let's imagine that instead of smirking that "this is not a race" the federal government had been first out of the blocks and ordered both enough, and a variety of, the vaccines.
How good would that have been?
I suppose we can all dream.
Barbara Bankovsky, Kaleen
TO THE POINT
Despite all the posturing by the premiers of Western Australia and Queensland and their hard border intransigence, denying clearly worthy families and individuals entry in the most distressing of circumstances AFL players and their entourages continue to enter freely. There are no words.
Angela Kueter-Luks, Bruce
I was so impressed by the Paralympics in Tokyo. Win or lose, the strength, the power and the spirit was admirable in all the athletes. I am glad the government is now supporting and rewarding all those who represented us so wonderfully on the global stage.
Judy Angus, Ainslie
TIME TO PANIC?
Given the authorities are continually changing their minds about how the pandemic is to be tackled it would be honest of them if they withdrew the admonition not to panic.
M. F. Horton, Adelaide, SA
THE NEW 'UNAUSTRALIAN'
Anna Palaszczuk's apology for giving preference in hotel quarantine to the entourage of rugby league players over returning Queenslanders has confirmed the views of Coalition ministers that her actions were "unAustralian". After all, which other Australian prime minister or premier has accepted responsibility for a poor COVID-19 related decision?
Ken Brazel, Wright
IDEOLOGY, NOT INCOMPETENCE
The massive handouts to business by Josh Frydenberg were not an act of incompetence but rather a deliberate, planned and ideologically motivated based redistribution of wealth from the public to private coffers.
Don Batcheli, Fisher
A New Zealand friend asked me when the Prime Minister received his knighthood. He said he had heard on the radio a reference to "Prime Minister Sir Cott Morrison".
John Milne, Chapman
I was very disappointed to read the letters by Tom O'Sullivan and Warren Austin (Letters, September 4) demanding vaccine choice for over-60s. This is a selfish perspective. They should just go and get AstraZeneca, an excellent vaccine which provides outstanding protection.
Sean Murphy, Garran
The homelessness safety net is in tatters and many vulnerable Canberrans can no longer afford a home. Providing federal rent assistance that is only half the market rent is cruel. It's time for a "HomeKeeper" payment which would match assistance to increases in rent. Your home is a sanctuary.
Ian Hubbard, Ainslie
PAY IT BACK
If the government can harass pensioners over welfare repayments, they must surely demand companies return JobKeeper payments they did not need. Like wages theft, this should be made a criminal offence.
Barbara Fisher, Cook
THE WINNER IS ...
Daniel Andrews has been in the "egg and spoon race" since April last year. Based on performance and his recent outbursts, it is evident that he is more than qualified to be captain of the team.
Mark Sproat, Lyons
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