The government's pushback against a meaningful federal ICAC is scaling frenzied and absurd heights of rhetorical flapdoodle.
Take Amanda Stoker's use of "Star Chamber" to attack the idea of public hearings. The Star Chamber was an English court which held its hearings ... wait for it ... in secret. That's just as the government proposes for any proposed (sham) commission, as far as we can tell.
Further, the government apparently wants the commission to only investigate examples of suspected criminal corruption (not the misuse of public funds and "political" corruption), a high bar to start with.
So, basically it has to already think there's an actual crime before investigating if there is one, i.e. it should only look for slam-dunk results, not undertake genuine inquiries.
Isn't this why we already have the police and courts?
Then there is the "terrible" effect on reputations. Take Nick Greiner, Australia's consul-general in New York and on more company boards than the times Gladys asked us to "please know". Or Barry O'Farrell, now high commissioner to India.
The rest of us should all be lucky to suffer such damage.
How long might it be before our Glad is headhunted to head this federal ICAC? Or appointed to the High Court? Damage indeed.
David Jenkins, Casey
The Menzies house
There has been some publicity about the demolition of the "Menzies home" in Haverbrack Avenue, Malvern.
It really doesn't distress me much. My father and mother only lived there after he retired: not quite 12 years.
The real family home was in Kew (in the Kooyong electorate). He and Pat bought that house when sons Ken and Ian were small, and before I was born.
We lived there until after I left school.
That house was his real family home, and is much more important. It has been well looked after and improved.
But I also like the suggestion that The Lodge was his home, and his only home, for 16 years.
Heather Henderson, Yarralumla
Over the past four decades we have seen Keating betray Hawke, Howard betray Costello, Gillard betray Rudd (and vice versa), Turnbull betray Nelson, Abbott betray Turnbull (and vice versa) and Morrison betray Turnbull.
Maybe it should be enshrined in our constitution that to qualify for the position of Prime Minister, a person must have owned a dog for at least five to 10 years before their nomination.Mokhles K. Sidden, Strathfield, NSW
It seems that when it comes to our leaders there is no such thing as loyalty.
Maybe it should be enshrined in our constitution that to qualify for the position of Prime Minister, a person must have owned a dog for at least five to 10 years before their nomination.
Mokhles K. Sidden, Strathfield, NSW
Stop the tram
The Auditor-General's scathing report on the business case for stage 2A of the ACT government's light rail extension to Woden showed exactly what this project has been based on; huff and puff and no substance.
Why are we relying on "transformational projects" which have not been substantiated and not subjected to "quality assurance of the cost benefit analysis"?
The ACT, and indeed the country, is still in the grips of COVID-19, with businesses on their knees and many unlikely to survive.
The last thing they need is the massive disruption that is predicted to occur during the construction of stage 2A, let alone the construction to Woden and ongoing hikes in rates and taxes to pay for this farce.
I suspect that if this report had been issued in respect of a publicly listed company's financial accounts the Australian Securities and Investments Commission would be asking some serious questions of the board of directors.
Peter Toscan, Amaroo
When does an invasive species cease to be an invasive species ("Zoning plan for park wild horses", October 3, p9)? Take the white man in Australia, for example. He arrived in a trickle in 1788 and was immediately recognised by the Indigenous population as an invasive species - with, in a short time, a massive footprint. But surely only the most extreme historians of the invasion would regard Australia's 100 year old non-Indigenous population of the 1890's as still an invasive species, best culled.
Now take wild horses. They arrived down Kosciuszko way some time in the late 1800s, got a numbers boost at the end of World War I and, about 100 years later, have just started to be regarded by some as an invasive species that must be culled because of their hooved footprint.
A visiting Martian who, like any extra-terrestrial intelligence, would struggle to find much to distinguish between the various species of mammals on planet Earth might be impressed by the precision of our hair-splitting, but less so by the proposed slaughter to be based on it.
P. O'Keeffe, Hughes
Ernst Willheim (Letters, October 3) questions the wisdom of the government's decision to cease its agreement to purchase submarines from France and its future impact on foreign relations.
But is the decision as disastrous as some would have us believe? I seriously question the objectivity of our former prime ministers who, I would suggest, have decided to find fault for the sake of notoriety alone.
Perhaps the real reason Australia has decided to end its deal with France - aside from the latter's inability to deliver - is that we have realised conventionally powered submarines will no longer be able to compete in modern warfare situations.
Given our atrocious record of procuring worn-out military hardware from other nations in the past, maybe this turnaround, diplomacy fallout aside, is the best decision Australia has made for some time.
Tony Hanrahan, Barton
No to sensationalism
Your recent front page "A killer around the corner" (canberratimes.com.au, October 4) hits you in the eye and refers to a "drug-crazed teenage killer" who has recently been released on parole. The language is overheated and scurrilous, and reduces the tragedy that was acted out to a form of clickbait.
Without wanting to diminish the effect this crime must have had on the victim's family, representing parole for a young man who can perhaps be rehabilitated as some kind of undeserved "second chance" that he never gave the victim is simply irresponsible journalism. That's what I would expect from Sky News.
The previous day's issue had a court report about another violent and dangerous incident. The report began by making great play of the perpetrator's weird behaviour: "Bizarre breaststroke in crime spree".
The first paragraph, that in good journalism summarises the most important point of the story, focused on the accused's "running around a random house while performing breaststroke motions before eating his victims' pizza" as if it were some stupid TikTok video.
Later, if you read on, you find a story of violence, threats, and real trauma for the victims. Whatever strange and stupid behaviour the accused's actions included, they had consequences for the victims that the report acknowledged only towards the end.
Sensationalist reporting does not give a voice to victims, it victimises them all over again for commercial gain.
Michael Williams, Curtin
Toothless federal ICAC
It's very clear from Morrison's reaction to Ms Berejiklian's investigation by NSW ICAC that the "anti-corruption" legislation the government has been working on for the last three years will ensure events such as "sports rorts", the Leppington purchase, the Angus Taylor "watergate" and "grassgate", the Tudge car parks fund, the alleged misuse of expenses allowances, and the lack of consequences for the refusal to reveal the names of donors to politicians will not fall under the purview of the "independent" body that arises out of it (and that this body will be closely monitored by the government). I can't wait.
Margaret Lee, Hawker
Rae Harvey (Letters, October 6) thinks small business people have been forgotten when it comes to winding down the lockdown in mid-October. This is clearly not so.
They are the government's attempts to deal with a serious outbreak of a very serious disease. Certainly it is a very difficult time for small business and their employees. But this is not a situation of the government's choosing.
Ms Harvey talks about shopping centres being like ghost towns. That's perhaps an insensitive image given the deadly nature of the disease.
Andrew Morris, Kingston
World War III?
I hope Tony Abbott is not a modern-day Harry Hopkins (Roosevelt's emissary to Churchill during World War II).