Readers may be aware of several satirical TV series by Working Dog Productions that have included such masterpieces as Frontline, The Hollowmen, and Utopia. Such productions are so insightful that they could be initially mistaken by some for actual fly-on-the-wall documentaries of various working environments.
I recently watched the first episode of Hollowmen. It focused on the (fictional) prime minister wanting to be seen as a "can-do" individual.
Readers will recall our (real) Prime Minister's recent pronouncements about "can-do capitalism". Scott Morrison's use of that phrase, which many of us found utterly shallow and cringeworthy, raises some questions.
Did Scott Morrison knowingly borrow the phrase from the The Hollowmen not realising that the series was actually satirical? Or, has Scott Morrison never seen The Hollowmen and gone on to use a phrase that is so trite and superficial in the political arena, that it was deemed worthy to be the focus of a bitingly satirical portrayal of our federal politicians?
Roderick Holesgrove (Letters, December 23) rightly asks why the ACT government closed the EPIC COVID-19 testing facility in the face of the predicted Omicron wave. I asked the acting chief minister a similar question and the potential for Summernats to become a super-spreader event, by email, on 18 December. This was the response:
"Thank you for your email. The Summernats organisers have been and will continue to work with ACT Health and the Office of the ACT Chief Health Officer in relation to running a COVID-19 safe event. The ACT government will continue to make decisions based on the expert health advice."
My reply to this was not quite so bland and I'm not reassured.
I fully concur with Peter Langhorne and Margo Sirr (Letters, December 22) when they suggest that dangerous gum trees in an urban environment should be removed.
I have been engaged in an ongoing battle with the ACT government for seven years to have a potentially very dangerous gum tree removed from adjacent to my house. Over the years I have presented photographic evidence of the damage that it has caused, and have also cited witnesses to its potential threat.
Many insurance companies impose an additional excess on claims if the damage is caused by a large tree in close proximity to premises. When I asked the somewhat grandiosely titled "A/g Assistant Director - Tree Protection | Urban Treescapes" whether he or the ACT government would reimburse me this additional cost, his response was "no".
Additionally, I recently had the opportunity to talk to one of the team leaders who was doing some tree maintenance work in a nearby park. He willingly came and had a look at the tree outside my house, and his words were, "this tree should be removed".
In one of the many emails I had sent to the above-mentioned ACT officer I asked him if he had consulted with any insurance companies to ascertain how they assess the risk of trees, and whether he had consulted with the team leader of the tree maintenance group.
He has not responded. When I further asked if he, or the ACT Government, would bear responsibility for any damage and/or injury to persons should this tree fall over, his response was equally uncompromising; stating that the ACT government bears no responsibility for any such damage or injury.
Rather than being a "progressive" government as the Chief Minister so proudly proclaims, it appears that in these matters it is being wholly reactive, and will only approve the removal of a tree after a catastrophic event.
During this exhausting, ongoing, pandemic how good it would be if the federal government struck a positive note and advised "precaution" instead of "restriction" and "be cautious" instead of "don't panic".
We already know it's good to take precautions and not panic and we know to take precautions at critical times. Who has not worn gumboots, used a condom, carried an umbrella or dealt with a bushfire? That's not panicking. That's being prepared.
In pandemic times that's what masks, QR check-in, hand sanitiser, social distancing and vaccinations mean.
Bill Stefaniak's letter (Letters, December 21) suggests that as a boy he spent too much time with his tin soldiers.
He lamented that between 1990 and 2021 the UK's defence force shrunk from 320,000 personnel to a "pathetic" 148,700. Pathetic? Why would the UK need 320,000 today? Who is likely to attack it?
Since most countries in western Europe are in NATO, it is unlikely that the UK will be attacked by another western European country. The only other large country in its region is Russia, and its GDP is less than that of each of the five largest western European countries. Also, if Russia did attack, it would also have to fight the US.
It seems the UK's current defence force is more than adequate.
Western Europe's only real danger is global warming. It would therefore be beneficial for its countries to dramatically reduce the size of their armed forces and use the money saved to invest in producing renewable energy. Simply reducing carbon pollution by significantly reducing the size of all the armed forces would alone be of great benefit to the world.
It is not just the climate council's latest report that strongly advised that Australia halve its emissions by 2030. Back in March this year, the Climate Targets Panel reported that Australia needed to reduce its emissions by 50 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030, reaching net zero emissions by 2045, if we were to stay within our remaining 'two degree carbon budget. For us to stay within the remaining 1.5 degree carbon budget the targets would be 74 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2035.
As Dr Douglas Mackenzie (Letters, December 20) pointed out, these numbers may appear to be meaningless to some; however ignoring evidence-based science (and thereby not acting urgently to slash our emissions) is going to damage Australia's economy, security, farming and our healthcare system.
The coming federal election is our opportunity to change the course of our future. We need to be smart about who we vote for; this means voting for politicians who have climate policies that are based on science, and not biased towards vested interests.
Readers have enjoyed dietary advice daily in The Canberra Times since December 4; all of it emanating from presumed experts. They do not all agree. It is hard to tell whom to trust.
Among them, Dr Peter Brukner stands out as a special case. There is sales promotion in his pieces: buy the app, buy the book.
His claims about diet are confidently asserted. Are they to be relied upon? He declares that research will soon begin to determine whether his advice is sound.
Some readers, including me, suspect that the research should be done first.
In any case, no research in the world can confirm some of his claims. The disorderly lists of foods in the two full pages on Saturday, December 4, contained.
For instance, some items (for example artificial sweeteners) get both a red light and a green light.
Others get a red light and an amber light, (lentils). But nothing can be both red and green, nor both red and amber. Contraries cannot be true together.
For this, we may invoke papal authority. As Pope John Paul II (preceded by Aristotle, Abelard, Spinoza, and others) declared in 1996: "Truth cannot contradict truth."
Dr Mackenzie (Letters, December 20) quotes the climate council's demand for our political leaders to do more to reduce emissions by 2030.
However neither the council nor Dr Mackenzie ever seem to address the issue that this is not a "global drive to carbon neutrality" as claimed.
Three of the world's largest emitters (China, India and Russia) are not reducing emissions at all by 2030 and none are targeting net-zero by 2050.
Demanding Australia reduce its emissions by a few more percent while these others emit ever greater quantities of carbon is Canute-like in its naivety.
What we need is recognition that those big emitters are going to keep emitting and 2030 and 2050 targets are not going to be met.
The rest of the world has to face this reality and develop appropriate mitigation strategies to cope with the inevitable result.
Where is the research and investment into these strategies?
Dave Jeffrey (Letters, December 23) is right to raise the rapidly increasing population of the Earth as an important factor in the warming of the atmosphere.
But, if fossil fuels were harder to obtain or phased out altogether, we would not be able to use them and create carbon dioxide, the main driver of global heating, no matter how many people lived on this precious "pale blue dot in the vast black emptiness of space".
The PM is wrong. Wearing a mask is a social obligation, not a personal responsibility or choice.
If a person chooses not to put on sunscreen or wear a hat, that doesn't impact on me. However if a person chooses not to wear a mask that may well impact on my health and that of others.
Roderick Holesgrove (Letters, December 21), you are right that it should have been the Governor-General visiting the grieving families in Devonport. I think the fact he didn't is because he is under instructions from the PM's office not to do anything that could take the gloss off ScoMo. ScoMo thinks that he is head honcho of everything and should always be to the fore. Heaven help anyone, including the Governor-General, who steals his thunder.
Thank you, Prime Minister, for removing the "heavy hand of government". How good it will be to see the release of refugees from indefinite detention and the dropping of the prosecution of Collaery. It's just common sense.
Every cloud has a silver lining. Microchip shortages may provide potential addicts, hostage to being programmed by cyber media-assisted, instant gratification consumption, pause to enable differentiation between needs and wants in the lemming-like rush to support technology's built-in obsolescence.
Simon Holmes à Court claims that he is supporting Independents in Coalition-held seats to dislodge the Morrison government. If he and his supporters were truly independent why no challenge to Labor or Greens MPs as well? It is becoming increasingly obvious that these so-called independents are just monkeys and he is the well-heeled organ grinder.
I was appalled to learn the Nationals received more than $200,000 in donations in the last five years from tobacco giant, Phillip Morris, and that Barnaby Joyce had no problems with the party receiving what is effectively "blood money". Over 15,000 Australians die each year from the effect of tobacco-related diseases.
Such is the mixed messaging on managing the COVID-19 pandemic that I fear Scotty from Marketing must be leading Scott Morrison, elected Prime Minister of Australia, astray.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.