On February 14 you printed my observations of an anti-vaxxers rally I attended. I stated that the protesters were "easy prey to darker political manipulation". Last Saturday I attended my second rally and came away with a profound sense of unease.
The keynote speaker was a Riccardo Bosi (who spoke twice, at the beginning and end). My alarm bells clanged at the bizarre suggestion "full term abortion", "satanic rituals" and "paedophilia" were prevalent, and protected. An even more bizarre claim was that a military aircraft had overflown the march and was a message of support from Mr Trump.
The most bizarre suggestion was that a sonic weapon had been turned on from Parliament House by the police ("can you feel it?") and there was a rushed response by crowds to the invitation to collect ear plugs for personal protection.
This was on top of an equally bizarre suggestion by another speaker a ray weapon had been used by the police the previous week at Epic. Those who experienced symptoms were urged to see a nominated solicitor.
All other prominent leaders of the anti-vaxxers seem to have dropped away and the movement has morphed into a far-right "fight for freedom" headed by Bosi and his A1 AustraliaOne Party (an incorporated company not registered with the AEC).
In reviewing its policy (and other materials online) it could be accurately be described as "far-right populism". "Bunyip fascism" comes to my mind.
If the energy of this captured "uprising" is directed towards the next election will it help or hinder the electoral prospects of the candidates of the right, including the LNP?
How do we get the message through to the ordinary people to withdraw from involvement in the face of extremism and lunacy?
During World War II the west formed a fragile alliance with Russia to defeat Nazi Germany after Hitler decided to invade Russia.
This was despite Britain and America's reluctance to side with the communists they had previously condemned.
It was a marriage of necessity intended to prevent the German invasion from succeeding and to, ultimately, bring the war to a successful conclusion.
When the western and Soviet forces met in Germany after the defeat of Hitler in 1945 American General George Patton urged his superiors not to halt but to invade Russia to defeat the Bolsheviks while they had the men and equipment on the ground to do so. He was even willing to use German troops to achieve this aim.
His suggestion was not adopted and the allied armies and the Russian army stopped where they had met in occupied Germany.
In light of what is currently happening in Ukraine; the US in particular, and the other European allies must now be ruing the decision not to have gone ahead with Patton's suggestion.
I have read Allan Orr's article ("Putin's boldness is an indictment of the west", canberratimes.com.au, February 23) with interest. It's a very informative article. However, I do not agree with his assertion that the Ukraine conflict seemingly popped up from nowhere. It seems it was in the making for a while.
I do not support what Russia is doing. Big powers always try to keep small powers under their control, particularly if they are neighbouring countries.
I'm fascinated by the almost universal consensus among the talking heads that China would back Russia over Ukraine.
While China has not publicly criticised the Russian military build up on the Ukrainian border it has not publicly supported it either.
Indeed, as recently as a few days ago it was calling for recognition of Ukrainian sovereignty.
The widely held premise that Russia and China are friends has very little basis in history or fact.
All they have right now is a common interest in hastening the decline of the west.
Traditionally the two countries have been at loggerheads since at least 1689. Border disputes have been a regular occurrence down the centuries.
China would be well aware that if it is successful in its bid to undermine western power its most significant remaining competition would come from Russia.
It is quite likely that Xi would not be unhappy to see Putin tie himself up in knots, and probably trash his own economy in the process, over Ukraine. It is equally likely that if Putin was counting on Xi to pull his chestnuts out of the fire if this goes belly-up for him that he will be sadly let down.
There is no friendship or alliance; just a shared antipathy to freedom, open markets, democratic values and the rule of law.
How sad to see one of Australia's most notable TV journalists stricken with dementia.
George Negus may be most remembered for the dressing down he received from Margaret Thatcher for an unfortunate journalistic lapse (not that George was the only reporter to feel Thatcher's wrath; I was with Richard Carleton one day when he received a stern put-down from the Iron Lady, but luckily for him it was off-camera).
George should really be noted for two things. First he was one of the nation's most outstanding and dogged TV journalists spanning both the ABC and commercial TV, never afraid to pursue an interviewee to obtain an answer to a tough question - even when , as with Thatcher, it got him into trouble.
His second great attribute was that he never ever put on airs, no matter how well known he became. Whether he was on air or just having a drink and a yarn with friends and colleagues he was always the same George Negus; a bloody good bloke.
Those who know him will remember him for these attributes as should all Australians - he certainly deserves to be.
What's wrong with ACT Cricket and diminishing crowds?
I'll tell ya. Night T20 and corporate greed.
It was novel at first, but parents don't want to take kids out with an 11pm finish and work and school the next day. Just not worth the effort.
Ticket prices are exorbitant for 40 overs of smash and thrash by players who only know how to hit over cow-corner. No art, no class.
We used to have an ODI starting at 11 am.
People would take a day off work and take the kids out of school to watch. The games were "full house".
There was also an arrangement whereby the booze and food-stalls were run by the local grade clubs to raise a bit of money.
Three bucks for a steak sambo, three bucks for a beer, and $1.50 for a softie.
It was a real "picnic day".
Mum and Dad could take the kids to the cricket, get home at a reasonable hour, and have change out of $60 or $70 (max), including tickets.
Then the suits took over and thought they could do better. They sold off the booze and food concessions to the highest bidder, upped the ticket prices, and went for boring T20 under lights.
The food prices skyrocketed. A cup of weak beer climbed to seven bucks, and people just turned off. The crowds are now a fraction of those that attended on our beloved "picnic day". No way will the ground ever be filled like it used to be with these dunces running the show.
We haven't been back in six years for what was an annual event.
Mums and dads can't afford the inconvenience, nor the prices. And the suits wonder why they are making a "negative profit".
Forty eight years ago, as a 10-year-old, I went on a family holiday to Tasmania. We spent two weeks exploring the natural beauty of the place and this began my lifelong love for the Tasmanian wilderness.
Many years later I asked Dad why he chose Tassie for the family holiday. He told me he was furious that Lake Pedder had been flooded and wanted us to see Tasmania "before it was all ruined".
This year marks 50 years since the flooding of the jewel of South West Tasmania.
Recent thorough scientific studies have shown that Lake Pedder's unique beach, dunes and surrounds lie intact below fifteen metres of impoundment waters.
The lake's flooding provides four per cent of the state's hydro-electric output which is the equivalent of 50 or 60 wind turbines.
It is practical and possible to restore the original Lake Pedder.
2021-2030 is the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and this is a wonderful opportunity for Australia to become a world leader in the area.
Barrister and Queen's Council Edward St. John said in 1973 about the flooding of Pedder "The day will come when our children will undo what we have so foolishly done".
Let's make that day now.
The LNP needs to tread carefully when they claim to be better at handling defence and national security than their opponents. They have both the unjustified war in Iraq and Afghanistan - Australia's longest ever war - to their credit. That doesn't look good.
Mark Kenny says the government's false flag on national security and China may just work ("PM's false flag operation just might work", canberratimes.com.au, February 20). Indeed might - while, at the same time, the electorate is taken in and voters ignore the real national security risks of climate change, mass extinctions, and chemicals and plastics in the environment.
A protester at the "anti-vaccination, anti-mandate" protest at Parliament House on Saturday reportedly said: "I've got no job to go back to, no home to go back to". You obviously came from somewhere. My polite suggestion is go back to where you came from; you and your fellow disruptors are not welcome in the ACT.
The PM played the ukulele and the ukulele lost. As a uke player (and on behalf of my eight uke-playing kids I am sorry.
He can't hold a hose, he can't play a ukulele, he can't stand for anything, he can't take the blame no matter how deserving of it he or his government is. Oh, look over there ... it's another poorly contrived distraction. How convenient is that.
Wow. What a statement by Felix MacNeill (Letters, February 16). I knew the Canberra Liberals are a pretty ineffective mob but saying they operate out of a cubby house in a tree is funny.
I've just come across a dead pardalote in my yard. Given the scattering of feathers and it had one eye pecked out I'm assuming the poor little thing was bullied to death by the noisy miners which are now so abundant. How like our federal government are those noisy miners. Always screeching, swooping, pecking and bullying; leaving a trail of corpses of far more worthwhile birds.
Of course the PM's job is to keep the nation safe. But it is getting a bit hard to do that when expensive jet fighters can't fly a lot, submarines won't arrive for yonks, tanks are inappropriate, and frigates that can't do the job we are buying them for are still to be built.
Albo probably wouldn't criticize Beijing as much as ScoMo.
The PM's bombastic messaging to potential tourists about not forgetting to bring money gave the impression he is desperate to pass around a large collection plate for alms giving.
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