The "heritage" of the wild horses in Kosciuszko National Park ("Tension rises in brumby debate", November 22, page 14) is a carefully cultivated myth drawn from literature, especially A B Paterson's Man from Snowy River and Elyne Mitchell's Silver Brumby novel series. Yet both are problematic.
The wild horses in Paterson's Man from Snowy River are not in the Snowy Mountains, but rather in the region around where Burrinjuck Dam is now located, north-west of Canberra. Anyone reading the poem can see that the ride does not take place in the Snowy.
Clancy (of the Overflow) describes to the other riders the landscape "up by Kosciusko's side" as if they do not know it, and he needs to say why the "mountain-bred" young man from the Snowy and his mountain-bred pony (no reference to it being wild-bred) were more than up to the task. There is no reference in the poem to wild horses in the Snowy Mountains, and there can be no claim for any heritage of the wild horses in KNP based on The Man from Snowy River.
Elyne Mitchell's work depicts the wild horses as integral to the majestic landscape of the Snowy. Understandings and attitudes have changed. Mitchell was a serious conservationist - and a person of her times. If she was considering the issues today she would appreciate the conflict between heavy-hooved introduced animals and the fragile alpine environment she so valued.
The promotion of "heritage" is largely for contemporary tourism. Wild horses should be eliminated from KNP and tourism operators (and others) can maintain wild horses on private properties. These could be managed co-operatively - as has been done with the horses that were in Coffin Bay National Park, and proposed for the Guy Fawkes River National Park.
Barbara Preston, O'Connor
A must-read article
John Kidman's "Tension rises in brumby debate" (November 22, P14) is a must-read for horse-lovers. We love our domesticated beauties and we treat them, well - just like pet cats and pet rabbits are cared for.
So we remember that no sane person gets emotional about controlling cats and rabbits when they run wild: we eliminate them from aboriginal "country-Australia" because we let them go in the first place. I'd like to see First Nations high-country rangers adjudicate between the brumby lovers and the scientists' claims of ecological damage.
C. Lendon, Cook
VAD is not euthanasia
Among the potential effects of passing voluntary assisted dying (VAD) legislation, Dr Paul Jenkins (Letters, November 25) lists the potential for "intimidation of practitioners and facilities who maintain a conscientious objection to euthanasia".
Voluntary assisted dying is not euthanasia and there is no push for legalising euthanasia. Euthanasia is just a distraction put out there by opponents of VAD.- Keith Hill, Clifton Beach, Qld
First of all, let's be clear. Voluntary assisted dying is not euthanasia and there is no push for legalising euthanasia. I've seen no discussion of it by any supporter of VAD; euthanasia is just a distraction put out there by opponents of VAD.
Secondly, Dr Jenkins' concern about the potential for intimidation of practitioners and facilities has got it the wrong way around. Just look at the way opponents of abortion rights behave towards practitioners and their clinics and think about how far they would carry their harassment if the law didn't rightly reign in their behaviour.
I have no problem hearing a contrary opinion about the merits of VAD from a medical practitioner, but so much of what Dr Jenkins wrote is either untrue, wild speculation or will simply be dealt with by the careful crafting of safeguards in the legislation (as has been the case in other jurisdictions that have been allowed to decide this issue for themselves).
Keith Hill, Clifton Beach, Qld
Power price rises
It has been suggested that prices for electricity nationally will fall by around six percent by 2023 except, would you believe, in the ACT where prices are expected to rise.
Despite this the ACT government has not explained why this is likely to occur.
Is the ACT community, having been ripped off by the territory administration for so long on specious expenditure and make-work projects that have led to rates rises, increased costs for vehicle registrations and a host of other fees and charges either direct imposts or passed on through consumption expenditure, simply going to roll over again in the face of an increase in prices?
John Fuhrman, Kambah
I smell an election
Of course it is big, and good, news that the feds have coughed up a cool $244 million for a bunch of new university research grants. These will go to so-called trailblazer universities who partner with business on six manufacturing priorities.
What is wrong with that? First, they already play a huge role in the economy, or used to before his outfit took chunks of funding away. Just look at the higher education sector's contribution to the ACT's economy.
Second, has he not heard of the cooperative research grants scheme - with industry?
Third, only one of the $50 million grants will go to a regional university.
Fourth, of course the resources industry is included in the priority areas - and clean energy is there to find the Coalition's holy grail of a technological solution to climate change.
There must be an election on the radar.
James Mahoney, McKellar
I eagerly look forward to the passage of the Religious Discrimination Bill. Catholics can wear crucifixes in driver's license photos and Scientologist churches are tax-exempt, yet successive governments have ridden roughshod over my rights as a Pastafarian to wear my religious regalia (a colander) in my driver's licence photos, and for my church to be subject to the same tax exemption as Scientologist churches.
I'm particularly grateful to Labor for supporting this bill, something I wasn't expecting. Bring it on.
Fred Pilcher, Kaleen
It cuts both ways
Consider this hypothetical.
An independent private school says in its value statement that it is non-faith based.
The school wishes to promote tolerance and independent inquiry amongst its students community.
The school has stated it does not wish to employ teachers of active religious faith because they may not reflect the non-faith values of the school and may proselytise to students or staff.
So while religious schools will be able to employ staff that reflect their faith, will the same protection measures be available to a school such as this school to not employ people of faith?
Rowan Bergin, Kingston
Mr Morrison's utterly shameless dog-whistling directed at protests in Victoria and personalised against Dan Andrews is just the latest low point in his prime ministership.
Predictably, he denied doing this. We can be certain there will be many more low points before the election.
Hypocrisy, self-interest and casuistry now pass for common currency in our politics.
But Mr Morrison was almost right. We're tired of political leaders in our lives telling us what to do who serially fail to develop responsible policies in a time of crisis.
We're tired of political leaders in our lives whose prime concern is retaining power by any means and who routinely lie and obfuscate.
We're tired of political leaders in our lives who rely on the spin doctors on their staffs to shape public debate and who fail to address our society's dire challenges with transparency, diligence and integrity.
In the coming election many voters will opt to vote for independents in both houses.
They will do this as a way to address the manifest failures of the creaking juggernaut that is the two-party system.
Ironically, the strongest case for a revitalised cross-bench is being made by Mr Morrison himself.
I. C. Dillon, Garran
Statue is misplaced
I fully support the proposal to move the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel statue to a more appropriate location (Letters, November 18).
I have personal connections with Papua New Guinea.
I worked there on AusAID projects. My father served in World War II and spent significant time on the Kokoda Trail.
It really saddens me every time I see the statue in its current location surrounded by an overgrown, uncared-for garden on the dilapidated site of the demolished Canberra Services Club in Manuka.
It is now more than 10 years since the club was destroyed. It is time to do something.
I think that the ideal site for the statue would be Remembrance Park at the trail head of Mount Ainslie's Kokoda Track (which commemorates the Kokoda Trail).
The park is located immediately behind the Australian War Memorial.
Alternatively, the statue could be placed in a quiet corner in the Australian War Memorial garden.
The Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel statue deserves to be placed in a better and more suitable location than its current site.
Liz Swain, Barton
TO THE POINT
If you want to hear religious bodies screaming discrimination, take away their tax exemptions.
Gary Frances, Bexley, NSW
In all the haggling over discrimination and the "rights" surrounding "freedom of religion", we seem to have forgotten the other, even more vital tenet of a truly democratic state, that is, "freedom from religion".
Eric Hunter, Cook
SINS OF OMISSION
Thank you, Jim Allen, for pointing out my mistake (Letters, November 24): I carelessly omitted the words "phase out thermal coal, starting now" in my letter of November 23.
Dr Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
CHAPEL IS CLOSED
What, no evening services tonight at the "broad church" of the Liberal Party? (David Pope editorial cartoon, November 24).
Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW
I denunciate those calling for the removal of the Prime Minister by violent means, but understand the frustration that people have living under the worst prime minister for 50 years.
Rob Ey, Weston
We don't forget the last time we had "can-do capitalism" in Canberra. We had a public hospital blown up and a young girl died.
Colin Handley, Lyneham
DO THE RIGHT THING
A word or two to the anti-vaxxers. If you don't care about the community, why should the community care about you? Get vaxxed or stay out of whatever health authorities determine. It's your decision.
Ken Brazel, Wright
AN OLD ADAGE
Gary Frances (Letters, November 23) asks whether God is "just for those who have nothing substantial to believe in"? G. K. Chesterton suggested that those who choose not to believe in God become capable of believing anything.
John Smith, Farrer
A HORROR STORY
With all the potholes appearing in Canberra's roads, I hear that JK Rowling is working on a new story: Harry Potholes and the Deadly Hollows.
Chris Mobbs, Hackett
NATIONAL IQ TEST
The upcoming election will benchmark the intelligence of the Australian people.
If Morrison gets voted back in it will tell us all we need to know about the value Australians place on responsible leadership, honesty, integrity, inclusion, giving people a fair go and extending assistance to those that need support and comfort.
It will also debunk the mantra that Australia is "the lucky country", and the land of the "fair go".
D. Bogusz, Greenway
Rogue senators, an MP who might withhold support for the government, and a slim parliamentary majority almost in name only. This doesn't sound like a federal government that can govern, not that it's been doing much of that anyway.
Perhaps Anthony Albanese should make a case to the Governor-General for an early election.