When Desmond Tutu came to the ANU in 1994 to receive an honorary Doctor of Laws, it was also the day of a special ceremony to install Professor Peter Baume as chancellor.
The new chancellor's first task was to throw an academic hood over the kneeling Arch's head. Something went awry and the hood got tangled.
Later, Tutu, a seasoned university chancellor, began his address, "Mr Very New Chancellor ..." The Canberra Times' photographer captured the hood's entanglement and a series of three photos was carried across the top of page 1 with the headline: "As the Archbishop said to the Chancellor..." There, in one go, was the message of the ceremony: a new chancellor and an honorary degree for one of the world's greatest citizens.
Re: What to do with the Telstra Tower? ("Iconic Telstra Tower to close indefinitely", December 24, p8).
How about a real "mind-blowing money spinner", with an appropriate dash of colour and movement: an all-weather, two-way cable car, from Acton Peninsula up to the viewing areas and a cafe and restaurant at the top of the tower?
For further synergies, this central national area fringe attraction should also be linked to the Civic-Capital Hill-Woden tram line. This instead of taking the expensive, disruptive, and destructive City Hill-Commonwealth Avenue Bridge route, should include New Acton (linked to the lake foreshores), the ANU, the Acton Peninsula attractions, Griffin's missing third central lake crossing, and Lennox Gardens north.
The article about the Telstra Tower visitor facilities being closed indefinitely ("Iconic Telstra Tower to close indefinitely", December 24, p8) raises a number of issues. I remember the controversy in the early 1970s about it being built. Many, myself included, considered it would be an eyesore on bushy Black Mountain.
Now it is to be closed indefinitely. So what was the point of what some would describe as the desecration of Black Mountain?
What I find curious is why Telstra cannot now open the tower to the public; after all, there is a magnificent view from the top. I suspect some sort of cost issue. So, I repeat, what was the point of the tower?
Each Christmas I enjoy rewatching some feel-good Christmas movies. This year I watched The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. In it, when a little girl nominates the Grinch as the town's Holiday Cheermeister, the mayor (who himself wants the position) grabs the rule book and says that the book says the Grinch can't be nominated, at which point the little girl calls out "You just made that up!"
This triggered something in the back of my mind as to how I'd had exactly that same thought just recently. It took me a while to figure it out, but finally I had it. It was when PM&C told Senator Patrick that the minutes of the national cabinet were cabinet-in-confidence.
Leon Arundell does not paint a good picture of the ACT's greenhouse gas emissions, claiming that "ACT Greenhouse Gas Inventories show that emissions in the ACT were 60 per cent higher in 2020 than they were in 1990" (Letters, December 23).
This claim is incorrect. The ACT government records show that "in 2020-21, ACT emissions were 45 per cent lower than 1989-90 levels", a good achievement.
Mr Arundell also claimed that "the Commissioner for Sustainability recently estimated that in 2018 the ACT's carbon footprint, at the equivalent of 35 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person, was now second only to that of the Northern Territory. Every state had a carbon footprint below 30 tonnes per person."
The first part of this statement is also incorrect. The Commissioner's report states "per capita [ACT] annual greenhouse gas emissions were just over eight tonnes in 2017-18".
The Australian government site, "State and territory carbon dioxide emissions per capita", shows that, after Tasmania with hydropower, the ACT's emissions per capita are the second-lowest in Australia. While, as Mark Twain said, "facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable", they are not quite that pliable.
Senator Seselja is right about one (and only one) thing - anything is on the table under a federal Labor-Greens alliance.
However, his criticism equally applies to his own Liberal Party's secret deal with the Nationals. At least in the ACT, the Labor-Greens governing agreement is publicly available. Openness and transparency is something Senator Seselja doesn't seem to understand much.
Nor does he have a particularly good memory. When he criticised former Labor PM Gillard for breaking a promise, someone should remind him of former Liberal PM Howard promising to never introduce a GST, or only keeping "core" promises. And he criticises "extreme Greens ideological policy". What does he think Australia's been subjected to under the Nationals? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!
His opinion piece does sound rather desperate, though. Maybe if he actually did his job to represent ACT voters he might not be so scared of losing his job next election.
Zed Seselja appears to have decided that his chances of re-election in 2022 depend on how often he can scare potential voters by sledging his opponents as "extremists", in contrast to those models of moderation - himself, Morrison and Joyce.
Independent candidate David Pocock copped the extremist tag first.
Then, more recently, it was the Greens - local and federal - getting a quadruple blast of extremism ("Anything is on the table under a federal Labor-Greens alliance", canberratimes.com.au, December 24).
In an intelligent, progressive, electorate like the ACT, Seselja will not win the second Senate seat this time if two factors materialise.
First, numbers of moderate ACT Liberals (no longer an oxymoron) will have to be persuaded to vote Green or independent because they are deeply concerned about what government corruption and climate change are doing, and will do, to their children and grandchildren, long after the current crop of rorters and sceptics in the Liberal/National parties have departed.
Secondly, the ALP, the Greens, Pocock and the other independent, Kim Rubenstein, will have to have the brains to properly exchange their preferences with each other.
We'll wait to see if the combined effects of ALP-Greens antipathy, and the "independent as closet Liberal" syndrome, block that.
With apologies to Malcolm Mackerras, I predict that the first will happen, the second won't, and we'll have another three years of Senator Seselja protecting us from "extremists".
I was interested to learn from Jim Coats (Letters, December 27) that many insurance companies impose an additional excess on claims from damage caused by large trees in close proximity to premises.
My experience with the ACT government Tree Protection Unit is somewhat the reverse of his.
A large brittle gum (approximately 20 metres high) just over 10 metres from my front door has been previously approved for removal by the ACT Conservator of Flora and Fauna, based on its inappropriate location. Yet the body corporate still refuses to remove it.
The manager of the tree protection unit at the time told me that he rarely sees such a perverse situation, as people are usually trying to get approval to remove trees.
My predicament has been further underlined by the recent summer storm activity which brought down large gum trees in the immediate area, significantly damaging some properties.
Given further predicted intense storm activity linked to climate change, the risks from falling gum trees are only increasing.
Once again the National Museum of Australia has given us a fabulous exhibition. The present one on the Greeks is second to none, and up to the standard of all the others.
I think my favourites were two on Indigenous culture and art, but I have learnt from every exhibition.
We chose to join the Friends years ago, and I am so glad we did. We often visit just for a coffee or a light lunch, sometimes to check out the shop and other times to be part of another event, such as the book club.
Thank you once again, NMA.
It is bad enough that there is no The Canberra Times on Christmas Day, but not to have had a print edition on Boxing Day (unprecedented, as far as I am aware) is inhumane. For those of us who do not have an online subscription, the joys of Christmas Day were obliterated by this decision. Please, The Canberra Times, return to us on Boxing Day next year.
People are being far too hard on the government at Christmas. Who could have predicted COVID-19 would spread so fast when everyone wants to get close together? As usual they have been proactive and had all the right measures in place. They didn't advance their election chances by not putting the health and welfare of the community first. And, if you believe all that, you probably still believe in Santa.
Ian Jannaway states I oppose spending money on weapons (Letters, December 22). I've never advocated not spending any money on weapons. However, what MAPW and many others regard as dangerous is Australia's obsession with joining every US war, each one of which leaves a trail of human devastation, and our marginalising of the steps that can be taken to promote peace. If all we do is prepare for war, that's exactly what we get.
Broelman's cartoon of December 22 is indicative of his blatant bias against Morrison. Regardless of whatever decision Scomo made, Broelman would have criticised it.
The latest email from our non-representative Zed is begging for donations for his election war chest to enable him to maintain his position. The email is headed "Time's running out". I sincerely hope he is correct.
All this hassle crossing state borders that are supposedly open for Christmas. My worst border crossing experience as a child was my mother force-feeding us the peaches she had just naively purchased from a roadside stall.
The possibility of China behaving and being treated fairly in the world of business? Try pulling the other leg. It usually plays Jingle Bells.
Instead of running a tired old Labor-Greens scare campaign ("Anything is on the table under a federal Labor-Greens alliance", canberratimes.com.au, December 24), perhaps Zed Seselja could tell us what he plans to do for the ACT if re-elected.
The man of the cloth was grounded in a social gospel which provided a moral compass, enabling a nation to discover its true north after decades of division and oppression ("Tutu: man of peace and trouble", canberratimes.com.au, December 27).
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