If politicians and the media would properly represent the views of all Australians, thousands of people wouldn't have had to travel from around the country to be heard here. Because it's hard to trust what you don't see for yourself, or hear from trusted first-hand accounts, I joined them on Saturday to protest coerced vaccination and to hear why others were there.
I met and chatted with people who'd driven from as far as Adelaide and Bundaberg; so many from lockdown-battered Melbourne. I met so many people who had lost their jobs - with Kmart, Toll and a bank; a disability support worker, a construction workers, and a teacher.
I met people who were very careful about their health, people who just didn't trust the safety of something that had been rushed to market, and people who had personally seen significant vaccine side effects dismissed. I met parents, grandparents, teachers and others who are so worried about the unknown long-term effects of the vaccines on children, most of whom have little to gain from the shots.
I met people who are just sad about how politicians and media are nurturing division: people who have seen families turned against each other over shots that aren't living up to the promise of immunity.
Rather than whining about how they are "alien", Canberrans should meet the protesters; an experience up there with visiting cultural institutions and pollie-spotting in inner-suburban restaurants.
Think of all the things you could protest against in Canberra: refugees locked up for nine years; no action on climate change; millions living in poverty; an epidemic of violence against women and preventable deaths in aged care, to name but a few.
And what are they protesting? Being asked to get vaccinated to keep themselves and other Australians safe.
Re "Vaccine protesters in the wrong place at the wrong time" (canberratimes.com.au, February 8).
Why so much hate? Why are you trying to brand the majority from the few actions of a minority? And why quote Joseph Stalin?
You as the media are acting more like the mouthpiece of a communist regime by implying and supporting the government's position on vaccine mandates and essentially saying that anyone who does not get vaccinated deserves to be banished from society because they have low IQs and are uneducated idiots.
Who cares if Canberra is 98.6 per cent vaccinated? Canberrans live in an unreal utopian bubble, feeling they are superior to the majority, but remember the majority of the "highly educated" in Germany supported Adolf Hitler.
Your level of hate and vitriol against fellow Australians is un-Australian. Perhaps one day, when someone else is in power and forces you to do something you don't want to otherwise you will lose your job, you might truly understand the position most of these protesters are in.
Some questions for the protesters: Have you had polio or TB vaccinations? Do you get a flu jab every year? If you or a family member needed a tetanus injection, would you consent?
And what about other life-saving measures? Would you have a whooping cough vaccine to see your new grandchild?
Why protest against the COVID-19 vaccine if it helps protect you and your family?
Let's hope your decision and protest doesn't result in the death of a close family member.
Ronald Elliot ("Stick with the monarchy", Letters, February 8) naively believes that the monarch has "served" the people of "her realms".
He misses the point that the principal purpose of the House of Windsor is the perpetuation of its own privilege, prosperity, and status, not the interests of those "realms".
This can be seen in the ruthless refusal of safe haven for the Romanovs, the cynical self-protecting abandonment of the family names of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and Battenburg, and weaponising the granting, refusal, and withdrawal of pretentious titles (no HRH for Wallis; cancel HRH for Diana, Harry and Andrew; HRH for Camilla ...).
And all this fuss over whether Camilla might be called a queen consort rather than a princess consort. They are playing dress-ups with their unearned, ostentatiously gaudy decorations and military uniforms. Do they really think it is important?
They pretend to act only on the advice of "their" Australian ministers - but not when it came to public access to, and redaction of, their flunkies' correspondence with Australian governors-general. Then, self-protection trumped Australian interests.
What sort of 21st-century society continues to accept the expected use of cringingly deferential forms of address, including "your royal highness"; "your majesty"; "your grace"; "your lordship" ... based only on accident of birth?
The anti-vaccine and anti-mandate protesters currently in Canberra apparently have put out a call for 5 million more protesters to join them in their irrational crusade.
The population of Australia is 25.7 million. The latest vaccine figures show that 20.8 million Australians (age 12 and up) have had one vaccine dose, and 20.3 million Australians (ages 12 and up) have had two doses. Are these "protesters" really expecting 5 million children to front up and join them - without their vaccinated parents and older siblings?
The lack of objective reality amongst these protesters is just astounding.
In 2015, the ACT government bought part of Glebe Park for $3.8 million. This was despite the first valuation of the land being around $1 million. Why did the government pay so much? This question was the subject of the Integrity Commission's first report, delivered on February 3.
The value of the land was based on what could be done with it. In 2011, then minister Simon Corbell told the Legislative Assembly that "the government will not consider any change to the territory plan that permits residential development or indeed any other development beyond that which has already been granted under the lease".
This statement was part of the first valuation of the land done by Opteon.
Despite this, the Integrity Commission wrote "one of the owners, Mr Barry Morris, regarded the Opteon valuation as 'totally ridiculous'." And "that, in the owners' experience as developers ... ultimately, a development approval [for residential use] would be obtained".
The commission's report says "there is no reason to doubt the reasonableness of this opinion" and that "the instruction ... to disregard the potential for residential development, was the triumph of deference to political announcement over commercial reality".
Given the Integrity Commission thinks it is reasonable to disregard a clear and unambiguous government statement on planning, what should the public make of them? Can we have faith in statements by our government about planning intentions?
Who makes the decisions, government or developers? Is "commercial reality" the planner?
The recent release by the Australian Republic Movement of a possible model for an Australian republic has brought forth the usual torrent of uninformed scaremongering about the republican form of government, the latest being from Ronald Elliott who associates it with "coups, civil wars, bloodshed, and politicians self-declared as 'President for Life'." (Letters, February 8).
Not all republics are perfect, nor are all monarchies; in both cases usually in countries with no democratic tradition and/or with ongoing issues dating from colonial times.
However, critics ignore the fact that some of the world's most stable, democratic, and successful nations are republics (for example, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland and France).
"But what about Trump?" they say. Well, what about Lincoln, FDR, Eisenhower, JFK, and Obama? It was the US, a republic, not the UK, a monarchy, that saved Australia in World War II.
Australia's future political stability and prosperity will continue to depend on its own efforts, not on outdated and essentially irrelevant constitutional links to a non-resident foreign aristocratic family.
If we are to have a debate about Australia becoming a republic or staying as we are, please let it engage all the relevant aspects.
Of course Scott Morrison hasn't accepted Barnaby Joyce's resignation. He needs a credible scapegoat for the ever more inevitable landslide defeat at the May election.
Repeated bombshell texts lobbed into the Prime Minister's lap from within his own ranks suggest we are in for some blockbuster entertainment leading up to the federal election.
"Memo to the Australian population: there'll soon be plenty of RATs to go around. Please defer catching COVID for a couple of weeks until we get our act in order. Yours insincerely, ScoMo and the team."
Do I understand this correctly? I can drive many kilometres into the highly vaccinated ACT, to protest as an anti-vaxxer with a loaded, unlicensed bolt action rifle in my car? Give me a break. Just go home, and if you do get ill, don't visit our hospitals to infect us all.
I wonder how many of the protesters against vaccinations also hold that drivers' licences should be optional. Ipso facto.
If a religious school benefits from government support, it should not have any prejudicial faith powers to refuse student enrolments or the appointment of non-faith or gay teachers. I know of one religious organisation that appointed the best person for the job, who was not of its faith. Truly an enlightened act.
While I am no ardent fan of the Prime Minister, I have been impressed by the dignity he has shown in the face of what appear to be some highly partisan media attacks this past week while getting on with his job. He was treated very differently to Albo by the inquisitors at the Press Club.
Following in the footsteps of his great helmsman, the Communications Minister has hypocritically made a great display (with an election pending) of easing his funding foot off the ABC's windpipe while tossing pennies to regional media.
Do the non-resident protesters, and particularly the anti-vaccinators, in Canberra at the moment appreciate that any coming COVID-19 infection spike in our community will almost certainly be due to their selfish actions? Protest if you wish, but do it lawfully and comply with COVID-19 protocols.
We cannot understand all the kerfuffle about the text messages sent by Gladys and Barnaby about Scott. Pollies carry on like schoolchildren at times while in Parliament. This is just another form of childish behaviour. What is concerning is that someone leaked the texts. Private texts should remain private. Leakers should be named and shamed.
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