I am a life-long conservative yet I intend to vote elsewhere in the forthcoming election. As I get older I seek three things from my government; honesty, competence and leadership. The Coalition fails on all three.
On honesty. Of course politicians lie; when circumstances change, so should their policies. But bare-faced lying to Parliament, with no intention of being truthful, is scandalous and used to result in expulsion.
Perhaps the worst example was Tony Abbot turning his electoral prospects round by stating there would be no cuts to health, education, the ABC and SBS, etc or by this government's many promises to have an ICAC. This has yet to be established; it is easy to see why; if there were such a commission several cabinet ministers would probably be facing proceedings.
On competence. The Coalition has long claimed superior governance; however national debt is now many times what they inherited (and called an emergency). Our most important trading partner now imposes punitive tariffs on some commodities and will not speak to our Trade Minister.
It has been claimed new submarines are is essential. Despite enormous sums having been spent, Australia faces decades without them. A minister wastes several million dollars preventing a refugee family from returning to the community where they thrived and were wanted just to show his power: It also showed his vindictiveness and obstinacy.
The handling of the bushfires, the floods and the pandemic have been woeful.
On leadership. If either party were to produce a leader who is intelligent, experienced and skilful and who has not had a charisma bypass, it would be a change. I would vote for a party with such a leader. The most likely candidates are probably female.
I wholeheartedly agree with Graham Clews (Letters, March 24) that population is the issue and has been ignored for too long as a driver of environmental decline. When will our major environmental organisations appreciate that humans cause loss of habitat for other species, be it from urban expansion, agriculture or mining? And it is habitat that is critical for preserving other species. If you increase the number of people then other species' habitats will be lost from one human activity or another.
This week the Australian Security Leaders' Climate Group issued an open letter. It was largely about climate change but it contained this sentence: "Globally, water and food crises exacerbated by climate change, along with population pressures, have resulted in escalating cycles of civil unrest and conflict". In other words, population growth contributes not just to environmental decline but to civil unrest and conflict.
Why is Russia invading Ukraine? There are many reasons including the megalomania of Putin. Another is to secure the rich farmlands of Ukraine and ensure food security for 146 million Russians, even though its population is now declining slightly. The memory of hunger, however, lingers with major famines in the 1920s, 30s and 40s, not to mention the worst in 1601-2 that killed nearly a third of its people.
Food scarcity, or having too many mouths to feed for the food available, is now looming as a problem in many parts of the world.
The increasing talk of moves being explored to install Peter Dutton as the next Liberal leader, with Paul Fletcher as deputy, raises some serious question marks over the role of Senator Seselja in this new round of leadership tussling.
Also, what would it mean for future LNP development. For example, would this new Dutton/Fletcher power duo and their close supporters, if in government, act to prevent the whole public service speaking about, let alone developing, improved policy option responses to climate change? ("Admiral Chris Barrie says Peter Dutton stops Defence personnel talking about climate change", canberratimes.com.au March 18). In August 2018 Senator Seselja tried hard, with other conservative Liberal colleagues, to swiftly install Peter Dutton as prime minister. Would this ACT senator do the same again ?
The World Happiness Report explains that some of the world's happiest nations include Finland, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands and Norway.
Anu Partanen's book The Nordic Theory of Everything explains how the Nordic nations tax the rich highly thus enabling everyone to have a workable, enjoyable life. The Nordic nations don't have the huge numbers of hopeless homeless that exist in nations such as ours where wealth coagulates into the bank accounts of ever fewer people.
But tax? The very word is a tolling bell calling us back to the defeatism of Australian politics. There will be no higher taxes after this election no matter who wins.
Interestingly the Patriotic Millionaires are asking to be taxed more highly so that wealth is circulated through the community, nourishing it financially and enabling the good life for all.
The proposal by the Greens to have a car free day ("Greens push for car free days", canberratimes.com.au, March 25) is ludicrous and impractical.
Roads are the property of the people and not to be used as some political fashion statement for a few fanatics.
How would this work? How would sick people go to hospital? Would they ride their bikes while having a heart attack? This is going too far. How does this party survive when it does nothing except make stupid comments.
What about emergency vehicles? Or are they exempt and only the people who use their cars to make a living by driving to work are included in this farce? Are rural people who work in Canberra meant to set off the day before on their bikes?
Once again these people show they have no common sense and only want to control people. I could go on and on but unlike them I have common sense.
As one who was involved for many years in the tourism and business events industries, I was very disappointed with Senator Seselja's announcement that if re-elected his LNP government will spend $8.76m on yet another upgrade to our ageing National Convention Centre. This is mixed up with a grab bag of goodies for community centres, ovals, pathways, bus shelters, crossings and skate parks.
I'm sorry, Senator, but Canberra deserves so much better. It is simply not good enough for the national capital to lack a world class convention centre. The convention/business travel sector is already a significant revenue generator for the ACT. However, we could do so much better if we had a brand new facility with the capacity to host much larger domestic and international gatherings, with thousands of delegates.
Clearly this can only happen with significant federal government funding. Hotels, caterers, restaurants, the national institutions, our universities, the airport, Defence industries and our public service would all benefit enormously. There is centrally located land available for a convention centre. It's time to invest in a facility Canberrans can be proud of.
Putin claimed that he wanted to "protect" Russia from Ukrainian "neo-Nazis, drug dealers and terrorists". A 10 year old wouldn't believe that.
What we are seeing is that Ukraine needs protection from these pathological liars, warmongers and the head psychopath in the Kremlin, Putin.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov parrots Putin's threat that Russia will use nuclear weapons "if Russia's existence is at stake". What rubbish! It's Ukraine's existence that is at stake, not Russia's.
Putin's army has been seriously embarrassed by Ukraine's determined defence of its homeland.
It is reported that five generals have been killed and Putin's soldiers are being killed, their military equipment smashed and there are soldiers who are deserting, saying that they were lied to about the invasion of Ukraine.
Putin's generals now resort to aerial bombing and artillery shelling of civilian areas from a distance. Mostly women, children and the elderly are displaced. The destruction of Mariupol is a war crime that millions of people are seeing every night on television.
NATO, watching all this should now brush off Putin's nuclear alert threat and tell him that if he doesn't immediately pull out of Ukraine and if he fires one nuclear missile, then, NATO will target the Kremlin, Moscow and Russia's oil and gas facilities to send Russia into economic meltdown.
It is time that the civilised world stood up to this coward Putin.
Putin did what dictators do best: he's held a jingoistic rally to flatter himself about the success of his war of invasion in Ukraine. It's an eerie remainder of another far more powerful demagogue dictator Adolf Hitler. History will remember Putin in the same notorious way.
I hope that Treasurer Josh Frydenberg's upcoming budget has more air in it than the under-inflated Sherrin football he was tossing round in the front page photo of Saturday's (March 19) The Canberra Times. Surely his minders could have pumped the damn thing up. As is well known, the devil is in the details.
An extremely distraught Mariupol man sobs in front of a camera after seeing his daughter and young granddaughter killed in the Russian missile assault on the city: "God, why have you visited this on me?" A good question indeed and tragically ironic.
After donating, on-trust, $70 billion in non-refundable JobKeeper to corporate Australia and squirreling away an acknowledged $16 billion election slush fund, Frydenberg's cash-splash of $46.8 million over four years, for disadvantaged youth and ingratiating sops to women, the aged and disadvantaged is pathetic.
Scott Morrison and his LNP team remind me of a defeated Field Marshall and his cowardly army running away from the field of battle. And, as they retreat, every resource is sabotaged so as to make the task of rebuilding the nation more and more difficult for the advancing liberators.
It is reported Russian losses in Ukraine could already be similar to when Russia lost about 15,000 troops over 10 years in Afghanistan. But the Afghanistan figure was for the whole USSR, and so would include losses from the Ukrainian and then other 13 Soviet Socialist Republics. The toll for Russia could therefore already exceed that from Afghanistan.
It looks as if ScoMo and co are worried their mismanagement will cost them the next election. Why else would they release the poor wretches who came to us for help and were then jailed for terms normally imposed by the courts for very serious offences. All praise to New Zealand for their humanity. Could we borrow Jacinta Ardern for a few years?
We shouldn't have been surprised by the "mean girls" saga. Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins last year concluded in her report into the treatment of women in Parliament that women were "more likely to bully" than men.
Didn't Senator Kitching "bully" Christine Holgate at a Senate estimates hearing and then Scott Morrison "bullied" Ms Holgate out of her job?
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