The Australian Medical Association has detailed that yet again we have the worst hospital waiting and treatment times of any state or territory, setting records for comparative poor performance. The ACT government's response as reported in this paper: "The more people we can keep well at home and out of hospital, the better off they will be and the better off our system will be."
On November 15, the assistant governor of the Reserve Bank told a federal inquiry into housing affordability that owning your own home is "the thing you need to do to not be in poverty in retirement". The ACT government's response - contrary to this advice - spruik the release of land for property developers and speculators to profit from "build-to-rent" schemes rather than for home ownership.
Earlier this month, the Hands Across Canberra Vital Signs 2021 report told us that over 38,000 people - and 11 per cent of children under 15 - are living in poverty in Canberra, and that low income households in rental stress have increased by over 25 per cent in the last three years. The ACT government's response: rejoice - we're dumping 60,000 tons of rubble on London Circuit and there will be fireworks on New Year's Eve.
If the people of Canberra wanted incompetent and uncaring managers pandering to the "big end of town" and distracting their constituents with blather, explosions and counter-productive infrastructure, surely they'd have voted Liberal.
Three months ago amid horrifying scenes of the fall of Kabul, the Morrison government offered 3000 places for Afghan refugees from within Australia's existing allocation in the humanitarian intake program.
While there is no question as to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, as yet not one of these 3000 humanitarian visas has been issued by the Australian government.
The successful rescue of the Afghan women's national soccer team was celebrated as an inspiring example of the humanity, kindness and boldness that Australians are capable of.
But the women, along with others who managed to get on an evacuation flight to Australia, are not being given permanent protection. They have been put on short-term, temporary visas.
Many former ADF interpreters applied for and were granted visas for themselves and their immediate families under the Locally Engaged Employee program. But their visas have been issued for the interpreter only and not their wives and children.
More examples of Scott Morrison's "Australian Way" of doing things?
When I hear that over 20 million people in Afghanistan are beginning to starve and that we are making this planet unlivable with our use of fossil fuel, I find it hard to understand how the federal government of Australia, one of the richest countries in the world, is prioritising its actions.
As they fight over whether they ought to agree on saving their own lives with a vaccination or whether they should allow schools to be picky about the religion of their staff, it does seem like a bit like fiddling while Rome burns.
I seem to remember that when a public service department was publicly criticised, it either shut up and wore it or the minister spoke up on its behalf.
However, the Prime Minister's Department has seen fit to publicly respond to Senator Patrick's criticism and by doing so has now joined the public debate about its politicisation and performance. It must well know that a good deal, if not most, of the Australian public from all sides of politics regard it as a politically entrenched and willing tool of the Prime Minister and his staff.
Using the department's own words, they themselves have done more than anyone to "directly undermine public confidence in Australia's democratic institutions", what with "nothing to see here" secret inquiries into ministers and so on. So good luck to them now that they've decided to enter the public arena, and by doing so they've now taken full responsibility for the welfare of their individual staff.
The public arena is pretty tough, so if you want to enter it you assume the responsibilities and take the consequences. Mind you, one would have thought an assistant secretary's remuneration would compensate them for any perceived hurt, particularly as the cut-and-thrust of public debate is sometimes nothing to that in the APS itself.
I commend The Canberra Times for publishing Nasser Mashni's opinion piece on the appointment of Vic Aldaheff to the board of SBS ("Latest SBS board appointment bodes ill for our multicultural broadcaster", canberratimes.com.au, November 22).
It is rare for a major newspaper in Australia to allow such points of view to be expressed in its pages, as journalist John Lyons has recently made clear.
Media self-censorship, however, is one thing. It is quite another for the government to arbitrarily appoint an active partisan to the board of a public broadcaster. This has all the hallmarks of political interference and as such is to be deplored.
It marks a new low in the Coalition's dealings with the media outlets it is hostile to. And this at a time when the importance of independent and fair-minded reporting is more crucial than ever.
While it's good news that a new organic waste trial has started in a few suburbs in Belconnen the ACT Labor government needs to acknowledge that for 15 or more years they opposed a third green waste and organic waste bin.
By the way it has been reported in the media and by the ACT government this is the first time we've had an organic waste bin trial in the ACT. In fact we had a trial 21 years ago in the suburb of Chifley. Many residents still have their original bins.
The Canberra Liberals proposed a green bin at the 2008 election. There were even experts in the ACT helping surrounding regions and councils with an organic waste service called City to Soil since 2010 ,which is still being used today successfully.
But even the ACT government's waste management strategy released in 2011 suggested a third bin with organic waste would cost $20 million by 2021 and would divert less than half of the organic waste going to landfill.
They recommended a materials recovery facility (called a dirty MRF) as the best option.
So to now and the Fogo system trial, while it sounds good I note that there are a few differences than the City to Soil program. With Fogo you can't put in tea bags, compostable kitty litter, tissues, paper towels, shredded paper, soiled paper cardboard products, pizza boxes, used cooking oil, all of which can go in the City to Soil green waste bins.
Are we sure we are trialling the right system for the ACT?
I have long admired the writings of Douglas Mackenzie in these columns. I regret I now must take issue with him.
Mackenzie, signing himself "earth scientist" (Letters, November 23), seems to be an apologist for the fossil fuel industry, in particular (1) fracking for gas, citing the potential "sudden death of the natural gas industry" and (2) mining for coking coal (he doesn't mention thermal coal), because of the decade delay in hydrogen replacement in steel-making. He doesn't seem to care that the gas would come at the expense of the farmers' groundwater.
It has been made very clear that, to save the Earth, fossil fuels must be phased out fast. What's more important; saving the earth or saving these industries?
What has always been sadly lacking in this area is serious planning to make the necessary transition away from fossil fuels - to provide alternative jobs for people in related industries. Where is "can-do capitalism", to borrow Scotty's term? Where are our new renewables-based enterprises? So far, they're few and far between, and not nearly sufficient. Industry, get on with it. You've already had plenty of time.
Gary Frances (Letters, November 23) asks if God is "just for those who have nothing substantial to believe in". For some he or she might be, Gary, but I'd advise you to Google Bishop John Selby Spong, who died in September.
Briefly, he disdained belief in God and all the miracles but thought the sermon on the mount - apart from the catering arrangements - was a useful life guide. A Christian atheist, or atheist Christian if you wish, as I like to think most of us are.
Reports about the 2017 texts (including a photo) alleged to have been exchanged by Tim Paine and another party generate surprise the exchange was found to not breach of Cricket Australia's code of conduct. My only conclusion is the decision was based on the legal maxim that the law does not concern itself with trivialities.
Ken Maher is correct in stating all a voter has to do is get their name crossed off and accept a ballot paper. But if you do not turn up the lamest excuse will suffice - i.e. you were too sick or your car wouldn't start.
ScoMo has reportedly hit out at critics of his government's anti-corruption model claiming he would not implement the kind of "kangaroo court" which brought down former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian. If the former NSW premier had been a Labor premier I could see ScoMo lauding the NSW ICAC for its investigative prowess, not deriding it.
The day after public representation closed over a commercial development proposed to double the allowable height of building on Giles Street, the developer attacked the tree growing on the public land.
That the proposal for a federal integrity commission has been defeated in the parliament is hardly a surprise. It just reinforces the message we have been receiving for the last three years or more that many politicians appear to think that they are above the law.
Que? Eric Hunter (Letters, November 25) is maligning Fawlty Towers' poor Manuel from Barcelona. It was Sergeant Schultz from Hogan's Heroes who knew nothing.
The ACT and the people of Australia are not safe from COVID-19 until the vaccination of children five to 11 years old is proven safe to them and then approved - not by the PM , please note that before some start blaming him - but by ATAGI and the TGA . Until then, there is a large leaky hole in the boat .
The religious discrimination and voter ID bills are solutions desperately seeking problems.
Anyone who needs a negative COVID test result to travel for pleasure, domestically or internationally, should pay for it. I have no idea why governments (federal or state) should pay for this. It seems governments have a lot of cash to splash.
The PM is rushing through legislation for added protection to a small number of people against religious discrimination but further delaying legislation protecting the community from the evident excesses of government corruption and rorting. Must be an election in the offing.
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