I've just come in from mowing. That's something we who are fortunate enough to own a house will have to get used to this summer. My mowing is a little different as I use an electric mower. It weighs so little I can lift it with one hand, and it cost me about a third of the price of a new petrol mower.
I am constantly amazed at how powerful this little machine is. When I say mow, I was mowing the reserve next to our house, and the grass and weeds were half a metre high. I can honestly say it is more powerful than that old petrol mower I used to use.
In addition, there is no more nasty mixing of fuel or storage of flammable liquids. It really is a vast improvement on the old technology.
I can't help wondering why we aren't all driving electric vehicles. From what I read, they are as superior to the current petrol/diesel vehicles as is my electric mower to the old one.
When Tony Abbott ended the Australian car industry, perhaps a wiser leader would have helped it transition to building electric vehicles. This could be a real winner for the ACT if someone had the vision and capital to set up such an industry. Apparently EVs require virtually no maintenance, run on the smell of an oily rag, can do 0 to 100km/h in four seconds and, of course, don't produce climate damaging gases.
Simon Upward, Queanbeyan, NSW
Response is risible
How funny it is to hear Coalition members and supporters claiming that lies are OK, corruption is OK and that contract-breaking is okay because "everyone does it".
They are clearly taking a break from spruiking the rules-based order and their higher moral and family values.
If they are right, then how about setting Obeid and MacDonald free?
But seriously, can we really believe that they know right from wrong?
S. W. Davey, Torrens
What about the others?
Results from an anonymous survey showed about 98 per cent of teachers were COVID-19 vaccinated ("ACT teachers highly vaccinated but less confident that schools are safe", canberratimes.com.au, October 4).
What about school staff other than teachers?
Since there will always be a small percentage of school staff, teachers or otherwise, who for whatever reasons remains unvaccinated, general confidence can be enhanced by persuading this subset to wear a bright tag indicating their unvaccinated status.
Those unable or unwilling to acquiesce should be offered alternative employment, well away from students.
Jorge Gapella, Kaleen
Units costs to rise
Two articles in your ACT budget coverage are connected.
One notes that single blocks will make up just 25 per cent of new dwellings, with the other 75 per cent to be apartments and townhouses in the strata sector.
The rate rise table on the same page shows that rates on units (strata title properties) will increase at double the rate across the suburbs presented.
We could assume similar comparisons across all areas of Canberra. The combination of these two policies will ensure considerable increases in the overall rate take for the next few years.
This stealthy approach impacts on home affordability. The lower purchase price and supposed stamp duty reductions for the unit purchases will be eaten up by higher rates, body corporate fees for maintenance and building defect rectification, as well as higher utility costs.
The latter will also yield a dividend to the government. The impact of these ongoing costs needs to be considered and different approaches developed as part of the Rates Calculation Review on Strata Properties that was promised but not delivered several years ago.
The move to higher density may be justified to make better use of land and to reduce infrastructure costs, but it shouldn't hit housing affordability.
Gary Petherbridge, Owners Corporation Network president, Barton
Thank you for your editorial, "The race to vaccinate is far from won", (canberratimes.com.au, October 6). I completely agree with its message. I am disappointed to note, however, that it falls into a common trap with expressions such as "... when just 80 per cent of the population is double-jabbed ...".
In this context, that 80 per cent actually relates to the population over 16 years of age.
The common reference to vaccination rates of the population over 16 years of age, I believe, is a hangover from last year, pre-Delta, when people under 16 were apparently less vulnerable. With the advent of Delta, it is evident that that no longer applies.
It is high time that, in management of the pandemic response, benchmarks refer to the whole population. The ACT government is moving in the right direction when it gives figures relating to the population over 12 years of age.
The "80 per cent" benchmark actually means only about 64 per cent of the population. That hardly provides an impressive level of protection. With an accurate description of the benchmark, the editorial's message would have been justifiably stronger.
Oliver Raymond, Mawson
On October 1, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) recommended mandatory vaccinations for all workers in healthcare settings as a condition of work.
AHPPC has consistently noted that vaccinated individuals are less likely to be significant drivers of spread and that unvaccinated people dominate community transmission.
With over 100 ACT hospital staff furloughed at one point due to COVID-19 exposure, when will the Chief Minister stop obfuscating and mandate vaccination for all health and disability support workers?
John Landos, Ainslie
Government in verse
This quote, from W. B. Yeats's The Second Coming, seems to well describe the Morrison "government".
Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Richard Keys, Ainslie
A fleet carrier?
Now that the government has signed a nuclear submarine deal with the US and UK governments, Australia will eventually have eight nuclear submarines.
This terminates the deal with France's NAVAL group to build 12 diesel submarines.
The money saved by building fewer submarines should go to purchasing a light aircraft carrier to carry F-35B fighter jets.
Why not look to Japan? Japan has two Izumo amphibious assault ships that are now being converted into light aircraft carriers that can take 28 F-35B fighter jets. These ships cost $US1.3 billion.
As Australia has close relations with Japan and both nations are part of the "Quad", maybe this could be an Australian-Japanese joint venture.
The sooner Australia has it's own aircraft carrier, the better. It will strengthen our naval capabilities.
Malcolm Webster, Boronia, Vic
J. Davidson (Letters, October 2) chides me for misinterpreting the difference between an initialism and an acronym.
I can only defer, most humbly, to my old English teacher who insisted that a true acronym should also be an existing real word. A classic example came from the Cold War nuclear build-up, critically referred to as "Mutually Assured Destruction" or, acronymically, "MAD". Some experts, though, regard such examples more precisely as "backronyms".
This is an acronym formed deliberately from a phrase in order to draw particular attention to the intent of the phrase.
Thanks, J. Davidson. It's reassuring that ardent pedants like us are seldom at a loss for words, no matter how they're characterised.
Eric Hunter, Cook
A history rhyme
International shipbuilding contracts can cause wars when politicians change their minds.
In the early 20th century, the Ottomans contracted to buy two battleships from Britain. They were paid for by public donations of gold bullion, coins and necklaces.
When World War I broke out, Churchill seized the Turkish battleships without any plan for compensation. The Ottomans were furious and soon joined Germany's side in the war. Of course this led to the Gallipoli campaign, which Australians still solemnly memorialise.
To this day ships take a lot longer to build than it takes politicians to change their minds.
Fiona Ryan, Edge Hill, Qld
TO THE POINT
WHITE, STALE AND MALE
Premier Perrottet celebrates diversity. Where will this end? Will his white, middle-aged male cabinet colleagues start going to different churches, or even wearing different styles of navy suits and spectacles? Surely they can't outshine our Prime Minister for Diversity.
John Howarth, Weston
Floriade should be stopped. It promotes European flowers. Nowhere is an Australian flower to be seen. These gaudy blooms should be replaced by Australian flowers, of which there are hundreds of examples. The money saved could be spent helping the poor and providing more social housing.
Paul Knobel, Crestwood
Accountability, Tory-style: an independent corruption commission is carrying out a vital role when it investigates Labor politicians; it only becomes a kangaroo court when it investigates members of conservative parties.
Phil Teece, Sunshine Bay, NSW
HIDING TO NOTHING
After berating the PM for his "tardy" purchases of COVID-19 vaccines, the ABC is continually rolling out at the bottom of the screen that the Australian government has ordered 300,000 doses of an "unapproved COVID drug". Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
Paul O'Connor, Hawker
COVID-19 has shown us the value of sewerage testing and tracing. Perhaps Mr Barr will need a "sewerage detective" after all, if he co-mingles sewerage from Parkwood (NSW) and Ginninderry (ACT) instead of using separate collecting facilities.
P. R. Temple, Macquarie
LEANING, NOT LIFTING
"If you have a go, you get a go." This works fine for Gladys Berejiklian. Also, "If you have a go, you get a go" and ICAC is totally unfair and unnecessary. Odd that.
Doug Steley, Heyfield, Vic
Interesting to read the opinion of P. O'Keeffe (Letters, October 5) that Malcolm Turnbull was the most disappointing prime minister since John Gorton. My opinion is that Kevin Rudd was the most disappointing prime minister since Billy McMahon.
Tony Falla, Ngunnawal
UNLEASH THE DOVES
As the hints of war don`t seem to be decreasing, maybe it's time to send out ambassadors of peace.
Reg Naulty, Hawker
Catharine Coleborne's account of Australian campus novels (canberratimes.com.au, October 6) prompted me to look at my copy of the novel Bush Week (1980) by Christopher Lee. It portrays student life in Canberra in the 1960s and is still worth reading.
Stephen Holt, Macquarie
Congratulations to Elizabeth Lee MLA on her success (hopefully not requiring a price for government support - though that would be impossible to ever prove) with her "stealthing" amendment to the Crimes Act. Let us now have another amendment to not name someone charged with rape unless they are found guilty.