Recent The Canberra Times editorials and letters to the editor to-ing and fro-ing on the topic of voluntary assisted dying deserve a more balanced response that departs from the ongoing jousting between more extreme views.
The reality is we are all metaphorically "dead people walking". So why underrate death when its certainly going to come a knocking on everyone's door sooner or later?
It may not be as bad as some of us fear. I've never heard of anybody coming back and complaining.
Life is not about just breathing; it's also about the quality of that life. This means being able to legally flip over to the other side if and when we want to.
Surely the ability to decide whether or not, and when, you exit rather than having some "god botherer" or politician deciding for you is the ultimate expression of personal freedom.
Also, we should consider some of the positives. These include not having to put up with commercial television anymore. I believe they don't allow that in hell as it considered too cruel and unusual a punishment.
Other upsides include no more aches and pains, anxiety or broken bones or melted minds.
And, on a really positive note, you no longer have to pay exorbitant ACT rates bills and you don't have to look at yourself in the mirror every morning.
Surely the humane long-term democratic response is for every government to pass the necessary legislation and perhaps even establish pop up euthanasia booths on street corners (all supplied with a dry martini and a medal).
Death is not such a bad release at all; it just seems to suffer from very bad PR.
Wayne Grant, Swinger Hill
Report under wraps
Historians who have learnt the author of the Iraq and Afghanistan official war history is being denied access to the unredacted Brereton report are dismayed at the way the Morrison government is breaking a century-old convention.
Since the earliest months of Charles Bean's official history of Australia in the great war it has been an accepted convention that our official historians be granted full access to all official documents, with limitations only imposed - sparingly - to protect national security.
This understanding has obtained under the great succession of Australian official historians - Charles Bean, Gavin Long, Robert O'Neill, Peter Edwards and David Horner. To deny Professor Craig Stockings these vital documents is to interfere unduly in the official history and to bring into question the independence and integrity of Professor Stockings and his colleagues.
Whoever in this government is obstructing the free exercise of historical judgment is breaking a long-standing and cherished convention. The Prime Minister should direct that our official historians should be allowed to proceed as expected.
Professor Peter Stanley,
FAHA, UNSW Canberra
Empathy training needed
Has Scott Morrison learnt nothing about women this last year? Perhaps he was too busy in his hi-vis vest somewhere to attend the Safe and Respectful Workplace Training.
In a brief news clip after Bridget Archer crossed the floor he mentioned how she needed "support" three times. Not that he needed to discuss the issue with her and hear her views. She needed "support".
Kate Jenkin's review of the parliamentary workplace and the need for it to be a "safe and respectful environment" for women is to be handed down this week. I would like to ask her a favour. Please highlight the bit about respecting women for Mr Morrison's copy and perhaps mark it with a post it note so that he doesn't miss it.
Just to spell it out, Prime Minister. Women don't need patronising. They need respect.
Judy Aulich, Giralang
Rooftop solar overlooked
Kym MacMillan looked at the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) website to see that over a 24-hour period last week, just 11 per cent of electricity in the NSW/ACT grid came from renewables (Letters, November 29). Kym should note that the AEMO website does not include the contribution from rooftop solar, which would have brought the total to 18 per cent, down slightly from the 12-month average of 22.5 per cent.
While Kym is doubtful of the logic of closing coal and increasing our reliance on renewables, thankfully AEMO is carefully managing this transition. AEMO's Integrated System Plan looks at how to manage the retirement of our aging coal fleet over the next 20 years at the least cost while keeping the lights on.
One of the scenarios would see the national grid 96 per cent renewable, and NSW's 94 per cent by 2042. Even the federal government is now assuming that the ACT/NSW grid will be 46 per cent renewable in 2025 and 84 per cent renewable by 2030.
The modelling demonstrates that a mixture of existing hydro, batteries, pumped hydro storage and our existing gas generators can fill any gaps during periods of low wind and solar generation.
David Osmond, Dickson
Sheep dip mafia?
Some people argue about whether or not we should negotiate with hostage takers. But the Nationals have a simple first requirement every time: whatever else they agree to, they keep the hostage in their custody.
So, now, the Nationals have wasted much of the Murray Basin plan money on high-cost alternatives to buying water. And the water already paid for isn't in the river. Now, faced with a deadline for water delivery, the Nationals want vague future plans to substitute for the action required under the plan ... and Nationals are in charge in both the Commonwealth and key state ministries.
With emissions reduction the Nationals support nothing except their control of the ministries.
No-one should negotiate with the Nationals until they agree to release their hostages.
Christopher Hood, Queanbeyan, NSW
A 'Ned Flanders' clause
I'm all for religious freedom, and I wish people would not question my religious beliefs so frequently, but I'm hoping that in the new bill currently before Parliament, that there is a "Ned Flanders" paragraph [as in The Simpsons character].
This would allowing religious schools to exclude those students and families whose intensity of religiosity makes the rest of us feel uncomfortable about our less actively espoused faith. Can't we keep out the people who make God work really hard each day, by calling on him or her to help them make every little life decision?
Staffing religious-based schools with the right sort of religiously approvable teachers is very important and, in a society that increasingly worships "the market", it is what some parents are paying for. Could there be an additional amendment to further support religious schools by restricting the number of religiously qualified teachers working in public schools?
Garry P Dalrymple, Earlwood, NSW
Liberty has limits
The protesters demanding freedom from COVID-19 vaccine mandates conveniently forget that there is no such thing as total liberty. To keep people as safe as possible, often from their own folly, we live by laws, rules and regulations. The COVID-19 vaccination mandates are just another example, imposed because of a global pandemic.
If these people lived in a world of total freedom, otherwise known as anarchy, they would quickly find they had no true freedom at all. Their political apologists, such as Clive Palmer, Craig Kelly and Pauline Hanson want the federal government to impose freedom from state and territory vaccine mandates. It seems they and the protesters want government out of their lives (except when they don't). Ironically, the COVID vaccinations are the one guaranteed path back to the liberties we treasure.
Mark Slater, Melba
I applaud Helen Oakey of the Conservation Council for her sentiments regarding further housing development to the west of the ACT ("Canberra's western edge should be saved from urban development", November 25, p34).
Since 1942 successive federal governments have historically denied state and territory governments adequate funds for their general administration. Recent expenditure by the federal government to counter the effects of the coronavirus pandemic have proven the money can be found, if there is a will, and only the federal government can do it.
The inability of the ACT to raise the necessary funds from its very limited tax base has been evident since the granting of self-government. To properly manage land development, resulting in the urban sprawl seen in the major urban areas across Australia, requires money. The Commonwealth government does not believe there are votes in such funding for them.
The ACT government is too reliant on the revenue that further development brings. It's time that the states and territories demanded their fair share of the federal tax take to obviate the clearly evident environmental damage that inappropriate development brings.
Bill Thompson, Scullin
TO THE POINT
EYE IN THE SKY?
A senior Liberal politician describes faith in imaginary beings with magical powers as "reasonably held beliefs". No comment.
Gary Frances, Bexley, NSW
SAVE OUR SOULS
NASA is developing technology to keep us safe from outer space asteroid bombardment. But who can keep us safe on planet Earth from the unrelenting bombardment of nutcase fanatics in our own midst?
Rajend Naidu, Glenfield, NSW
The Morrison government's approach to calls for a federal ICAC is more about self-preservation than pragmatism. The PM Morrison is desperate to keep his government's rorts, such as the sports grants and commuter car parks schemes, both of which were heavily biased to electorates held by the Coalition, at risk of being lost, or on the Coalition's wish list, under wraps.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
CHANGING THE GUARD?
Now that Peter Dutton has been seen smiling in public during daylight hours (without apparent) effort, we could have a new leader at the next election.
R F Bollen, Torrens
Thanks to I C Dillon (Letters, November 26) my modest vocabulary has been extended yet again. Looking up the word "casuistry" in my compact Oxford English Dictionary (which requires a magnifying glass) I found the use of the word by Bolingbroke in 1736 to be the most apt "casuistry ... destroys, by distinctions and exceptions, all morality and effaces the essential difference between right and wrong".
Steve Thomas, Yarralumla
WELL DONE IAN
Congratulations to the ANU and Professor Schmidt for such "a poignant bedside graduation" ("ANU vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt confers degree to 88-year-old student Ian Mathews", November 26, p6) for Ian Mathews. You always have been a "D", Ian. A distinction to The Canberra Times when you were editor. A distinction in your later roles. Presenting us with professional excellence in journalism. With distinction.
Peter Graves, Curtin
THE REASON WHY
John Fuhrman (Letters, November 26) asks why electricity prices are expected to rise in the ACT. Look at Andrew Barr's claim that ACT has 100 per cent renewable energy. He has to pay extra for the green offsets.
Jevon Kinder, Murrumbateman, NSW
Minister Rattenbury has again claimed Canberra has 100 per cent renewable energy. Can he guarantee that every electron that flows down my supply line is renewable? I very much doubt it.
Jim Coats, Fadden
LEAVE IT TO CHINA
Australia should wash its hands of any responsibility for Pacific nations and their beautiful people and let Beijing enforce stability, law and order.
Rod Matthews, Melbourne, Vic
HEART ATTACK MATERIAL
"McDonald's launches Tim Tam McFlurry on UberEats", canberratimes.com.au, November 24) began: "Iconic Tim Tams mixed with creamy soft serve ice cream? It's the stuff only dreams are made of". Sounds more like a recipe for a heart attack to me.