Parliament is like my golden retriever. He does anything for food. They do anything for a vote. So how about using psychology to reform parliamentary behaviour?
Instead of slaps on the wrist, let's make behaviour count. So for each inappropriate remark we should take away the right to vote on legislation; one vote lost for each indiscretion. This will force better behaviour because the right to support or block legislation is crucial to political success. And for repeat offenders (a three strikes policy) we should have byelections.
We all deserve (and expect) Parliament to lead by example not act with total disrespect on multiple levels.
The one clear virtue of compulsory voting is that politicians have to work to convince voters to elect them. So while we are disappointed with both sides (and some independents) perhaps we should look at fixed-term elections to avoid opportunistic and costly campaigns.
And can we please ban political donations - or make all donations accessible to all candidates on an equitable basis - to ensure the election is fair and not "bought"?
Yes, these are radical suggestions, but if we have to go through another 10 years like the last 10 then I believe that Kate Jenkins, Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins will have taught our politicians nothing and that parliamentary privilege is tantamount to an inalienable right to those chosen to represent rather than choosing to repent.
Your correspondent Jim Coats (Letters, November 30) asks "can [minister Shane Rattenbury] guarantee that every electron that flows down my supply line is renewable?"
Electrons do indeed travel along Jim's line, but at a speed of about 20 centimetres an hour. Worse, with the alternating current that is standard in Australia, they reverse direction 100 times each second. So they travel only about two millimetres, forward and back repeatedly. It's a wonder Jim gets to see any electrons at all.
But seriously, Jim's concept of electricity carried by electrons is faulty. The better concept is electrical energy. It is a physical quantity, measured in units of joules, that travels along the line. The rate at which the energy crosses a point in the line is expressed in joules per second, or watts. The speed with which the energy travels is close to the speed of light.
All the electrical energy that is consumed in Canberra has been generated in a fleet of wind and solar generators, in the ACT and around south-east Australia, with which the government has contracts.
The ACT government pays these generators to feed into the national grid a quantum of their emissions-free energy equal to our consumption. Once in the grid, the energy paid for by the ACT is indistinguishable from the power destined for any other grid-connected location. But the effect of our consumption on the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is zero - precisely the same as if all the energy we consume had been generated, emissions-free, within the ACT itself.
As Canberra reopens for business and the festive season gets in full swing, we non-drinkers enter a particularly surreal zone.
No longer can we count on the blessing of lockdowns to avoid being swept into group celebrations where drinking is the norm.
From now on we must endure the tipsy, overbearing relative, co-worker or acquaintance hell-bent on persuading us that just one drink will do us wonders.
Would this exuberant, often garrulous, bonhomie exist sans alcohol?
Lockdown - how we miss you.
Far from being a source of national self-esteem, Canberra is becoming an unsightly embarrassment.
In the distant past, the ACT government and its predecessor, the National Capital Development Commission, took pride in Canberra's appearance.
Now, roadside verges and median strips are overgrown, as well as posing dangerous traffic hazards because of line-of-sight issues. In addition, many Civic laneways and alleys are dirty and dingy, and the area around the East Row bus interchange and the Sydney and Melbourne buildings remains an eyesore.
All the trappings of Canberra's status as the national capital are diminished by the ACT government's refusal to invest in the appearance and infrastructure that defines the look and feel of a city with such a status, let alone building the world-class facilities needed to attract important events.
I urge Mr Barr and his colleagues to, metaphorically, learn to ride a mower and wield a paint brush. This city desperately needs a refresh. Spending a bit of ratepayers' cash might just be a worthwhile investment.
The ACT's courts may punish an offender with a community service work order that can require up to 500 hours of community service. According to the ACT government website, unpaid community service work can include gardening, cleaning, rubbish removal, graffiti removal or unpacking and sorting of donated items.
It would benefit the ACT community if some of that community service effort was put into clearing up the rubbish around our lakes and along our roadsides.
We seem to rely on Clean Up Australia volunteers doing the job for us once a year when there are miscreants who could be doing it for the community on a regular basis.
Anthony Burnham's deployment of a Fermian estimate to validate continuation of per capita emissions to determine climate change effect (Letters, December 6) is a worthy effort, albeit selectively factual.
Department of Industry data to March 2021 suggests that, even with a 20.8 per cent reduction of the Paris Agreement baseline, Australia produces around 64 tonnes per square kilometre (19 tonnes per capita). The ACT share is almost 12,000 tonnes per kilometre. That's quite a spill over to a relatively pristine Queanbeyan, at 220 tonnes per square kilometre.
If Enrico Fermi were alive today, he may very well be able to calculate the lingering contribution of the Roman Empire.
I am somewhat perplexed by the current AFP policy of not attending burglaries, apparently due to staffing shortages.
Not so long ago I had to contact the AFP to arrange the return of a firearm which ACAT had directed.
I was told the relevant officer would be in Sydney for four days on a "paper shredding course".
I asked if this was AFP jargon for something other than shredding paper. It was not. I thought such training could be achieved in about 30 seconds.
Thanks, Wesley Morgan, for your insightful analysis of Labor's emissions target ("Good climate policy is good economic policy", canberratimes.com.au, November 7). As he points out, Labor's target of 43 per cent definitely "falls well below what the science says is necessary". At the same time, federal Labor continues to approve funding for new fossil fuel projects, such as drilling for gas in the Beetaloo basin.
The Coalition's climate ambitions are even more inadequate. This is at a time when the latest IPCC report has clearly stated the need for more ambitious targets, and the head of the International Energy Agency has warned against any new investments in coal and gas. The Greens and independents are the only ones who take this seriously.
Wesley Morgan is right: "Good climate policy is good economic policy" (canberratimes.com.au, November 7). However he fails to acknowledge that the Paris Agreement's ideal goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees - which would require a 75 per cent reduction by 2030 by Australia - is now unattainable. There has been too much hesitancy and delay.
That leaves the final option of a 2 degree increase, which will require a 55 per cent reduction in Australia's emissions by 2030 - a far cry from the Morrison government's shamefully inadequate Abbott-era target of 26 to 28 per cent by 2030.
When Bridget Archer crossed the floor, she was hauled immediately into Scott Morrison's office for an explanation. Senator David Van, on the day the sexual harassment report was released, interjected by making "noises" while Senator Lambie was speaking, and later apologised.
Scott Morrison, a day later, said he was disappointed with Senator Van but hadn't spoken to him.
Morrison really doesn't get it, does he?
Barnaby Joyce once said of George Christensen that "if you poke the bear it will only make it worse". He obviously wasn't listening when a former army chief said: "The standard you walk past is the standard you accept."
PM Scott Morrison is keen to have former NSW premier Gladys Berijiklian run in the federal election despite the ongoing ICAC investigation. This is a reflection of this mob's basic values. For them it is all about power, not about integrity and good governance.
Why is it that each time Scomo talks of anyone having "integrity" loud alarm bells start ringing?
If Gladys accepts Scomo's invitation and runs for Federal Parliament, how many car parks and change rooms would Warringah get?
The Coalition says it will turn its attention to "budget repair" if it is returned to office. A chilling thought, given its performance in wasting billions of dollars in order to avoid buying French submarines, not to mention the billions paid to businesses in JobKeeper grants that proved to be neither necessary nor reimbursable. How will the government tackle its debt? How about robodebt 2.0?
Three cheers for your public-spirited and educational series on how to avoid diabetes, which has highlighted cutting down on processed carbohydrates. But then on Monday, December 6, we have a page promoting a young man starting up a new cereal bar with yummy, sugary items even from (overfed) America.
Well, Mark Sproat, (Letters, December 7) can you tell us what is the question?
If Bill Deane (Letters, December 7) is correct that people's perceptions of whether a facial contortion is a smile or a smirk is determined by whether the person likes or dislikes the subject, then it's Labor in a landslide.
No, Bill Deane (Letters, December 7), it's the other way around. The smirk comes first. That is what decides us that we dislike a particular male.
Mark Sproat (Letters, December 7) is right on the money. By way of example you only have to look at the poor ACT, with its Labor-Greens government led by Andrew Barr and Shane Rattenbury, to see the problem.
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