It's 2012. Shane Rattenbury, is elected the sole ACT Greens' representative and holds the balance of power. He signs an agreement (on the public record) with Katy Gallagher, the Chief Minister, ACT Labor. And, in return for his support, he asks for a tram. Yes, a tram, as his top priority.
Most enthusiasts usually want a Hornby model train set, "00" gauge with tracks and, if they can afford it, a model of the famous Flying Scotsman, the crème de la crème of engines.
Mr Rattenbury got his gold-plated tram. How much? About $1.7 billion. Is he paying for it? No. We, the ratepayers are and will be for at least 20 years.
Will most of us use it? No. It's only for a minority. About 10-15 per cent of the commuting population. The rest of us will be "forced" to drive our cars, pay for our increasing fuel bills and the tram.
It's OK; we should rejoice. We have been instrumental in bringing our public transport system into the 20th century. Sorry, the 21st century!
But there's more. Another gold-plated, diamond-encrusted tram is coming your way, from Civic to Woden. Sure, it will be slower than the current bus service but trams are sexy, according to Mayor Celia Wade- Brown, City of Wellington. Anyway, what do you expect for $3 billion? Free steak knives?
One solitary politician has committed the ACT government to spending about $5 billion of our money on a tram. A pity it's not being spent on hospitals, schools, cheap housing and all the other more essential services.
And of course we will forgive him for the massive disruptions that will occur over the next four to five years. If not, we can stay home and play with our model trains until the dust settles.
How can anybody be unmoved by the images of horror, pain and suffering coming out of Ukraine? While Putin is doing his best to prevent them from being seen by his own populace both he, and the greedy oligarchs, would have to be very aware of what is going on.
To argue, as his minions have done, that Russia has not invaded Ukraine and civilians have not been targeted is a triumph of doublespeak of which any Orwellian lackey would be proud.
I cannot believe that such barbarous acts are occurring in the heart of Europe in the 21st century. The idea of human progress has been exposed as a myth.
An recent article in The Canberra Times ("Emma Davidson calls for veteran wellbeing centre for Canberra", canberratimes.com.au, March 13) referred to the development of a veterans' support centre.
There is already a Veterans' Support Centre (VSC) in Canberra at Belconnen. It is operated by the Vietnam Veterans and Veterans Federation ACT and has been at this site since 2008.
The VSC is a registered not-for-profit organisation providing support to ex-service and serving veterans in claims for compensation and repatriation through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Advocates are volunteer ex-service men and women who don't get paid. In the last 12 months over 2000 claims have been submitted to DVA.
The VSC has a qualified Wellbeing and Welfare Advocate whose workload continues to grow as her ability to assist troubled Veterans and families becomes more widely known.
All of these components represent a very significant veterans support centre that is the major compensation and repatriation service in the ACT. Unfortunately, what it lacks is financial support.
The VSC supports the development of a wellbeing and wellness hub similar to those already established elsewhere by the federal government. But in the meantime, while the federal and local government program is being pursued, the services provided by a very effective and established Veterans Support Centre at Belconnen for the ACT and regions is financially struggling to survive.
It's perpetuating a myth to make out "Negotiations the only path to peace in Ukraine" (editorial, canberratimes.com.au, March 16) when negotiations (and diplomacy) had failed and we have what we have now: the full horrors of war.
The only enduring path to peace is for humanity to make war and militarism obsolete. It's a waste of the world's valuable resources which can, and should, be put to more productive and life affirming use.
Recall that when we were first hit by the COVID-19 pandemic the UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said this should provide us with a good opportunity to move away from military spending and wars and focus on more urgent human and environmental needs.
How many world leaders paid serious heed to that critical message?
After peace is negotiated in Ukraine what happens?
We waited for the next war to talk about how to bring about peace.
And, we call ourselves the highest intelligence on planet Earth!
When the coronavirus was believed to have originated from the Wuhan wet market it was closed.
Since pigs are the reservoir of Japanese encephalitis at the moment why aren't piggeries closed?
Mosquitoes are only the vectors. Not only would the environment benefit from the decrease in toxic waste in air and water from the factory farm (pork has the third highest environmental impact of all meats apparently), but the cruelty to the pigs through this method of farming would cease.
If there is one good that could come out of the Ukraine crisis it will be to expose the impotence of the free and democratic west in the face of totalitarian aggression.
We are more worried about power to minorities, gender selection, climate fearmongering, extending welfare to any cause, compensation, blaming all men for the harassment or assault wrongs of a few men, smothering enterprise in red tape, locking up our energy resources and reality TV, than protecting our freedoms. Wokeness, excessive empathy and the laziness of appeasement, have made us limp.
Our freedoms were hard won over centuries, highlighted perhaps with early Greeks spreading democracy, the Romans developing community-based governance and the English Magna Carta. Since then free countries have enshrined our basic freedoms within constitutions, parliaments have made laws for the common good, and courts have enforced rights.
We have had to go to war to keep us and our friends safe from aggressors; not at all nice, but necessary to remain free.
But now our freedoms are looking fragile in the face of Russian aggression. It is time we reverted to the basics. Ensure we are close to our allies, increase defence preparedness, and protect our way of life by mining and extracting our own energy necessities and producing and manufacturing locally.
The alternative is we slowly wither, and ultimately are forced to toe the line of Big Brother from George Orwell's book 1984.
Let's stop crying over spilt milk and get on with governing. The response to the next flood or fire tragedy must be led by routine strategic planning. Appropriate taxation and town planning is government duty.
Often it's the poorest in line for the worst impact from floods and fires. To offer a handful of motor homes is insulting. Some may not be able to afford petrol, let alone the land, insurance and a four-wheel-drive to pull them to safety.
Dramatically increasing the numbers of armed soldiers threatens our neighbours and trading partners. Guns are for killing, not sweeping drains.
As Australians reluctantly agreed on climate change we demand to be part of the future; not just victims and exhausted heroes.
A decent government is not content to repeatedly cry over spilt milk, however loudly, in time for elections. Useless systems of government make benign dictatorships seem preferable.
I recently heard an interviewer on the ABC ask someone "what's your immediate take-away"? I'm not sure if they meant reaction, impression or meat pie with sauce or a devon and tomato sauce sandwich.
We have perfectly good English that doesn't need sub-standard, confusing American injections. I don't want everyone to sound like John Cleese or Jonathon Dimbleby but is there no standard of English that the ABC ought to maintain?
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