Eric Hunter (Letters, April 11) suggests the making of AAT appointments be subject to a legislated oversight mechanism. I do not see that as necessary. However, government commitment to a merit-based appointment process is vital.
When I was principal member of the Refugee Review Tribunal and Migration Review Tribunal (both since amalgamated into the AAT), I had three immigration ministers, one Liberal and two Labor. Three member appointment rounds took place over that period.
All were conducted under a Public Service Commission policy which extended to the making of statutory appointments under which appointment rounds were advertised and a selection panel comprising me, a representative of the PSC, the department secretary and a community representative interviewed short listed applicants and finalised a list to go forward for cabinet consideration and recommendation for appointment to the Governor-General. In every case, all those whom the panel listed, and only those listed, were appointed. The system worked well.
Although the amalgamation of the RRT and MRT with the AAT occurred after my term as principal member ended, I supported that outcome because of my long-held view that a proliferation of review tribunals did not serve the interests of administrative justice in Australia. I thought also that the traditional independent role of the Attorney-General as responsible minister would better serve the interests of applicants for review. I am troubled whether I was correct about those things.
I recently visited Canberra after moving interstate some four years ago and made a visit to the Hughie Edwards VC rest area and the RAAF Memorial Grove at the entry to the city from Goulburn. Given that this area is a first stop for many travelling by road into Canberra it was disappointing and somewhat disgusting to see the overflowing garbage bins and piles of rubbish in front of the rest area and the memorial grove and the information signs in complete disrepair.
These adjacent facilities have tremendous significance not only for the rest area being part of the Remembrance Driveway but both areas honoring the memories of our air force veterans.
It was sad to see the information signs at the front of the Edwards VC area totally blank except for the "you are here" sign with an arrow pointing to nothing. The maps and relevant information needs to be redone for the benefit of those stopping here and possibly visiting Canberra for the first time.
Some years ago the ACT government removed the fixed rubbish bins from these sites and the dumping of rubbish ceased almost immediately. I recommend that the government consider removing the current bins or at least remove the rubbish on a daily basis so that visitors to the city do not have to contend with such an eyesore and unhealthy exposed rubbish piles.
"Motorists pay for their sub-standard roads through registration, cyclists don't", says Angela Kueter-Luks ("Get off your bike", Letters, April 5).
It may be argued that compared to motorists, we regular, fit cyclists tend to make less demands on tax-payer-funded health services.
Also, by minimising vehicular use (with an internal explosion engine) we may significantly reduce our contribution to climate change.
For all which I humbly apologise.
It's puzzling that Scott Morrison is pitching this election as about the economy and security. The table on page 42 of his Budget Paper No 1 shows Australia's GDP growth in 2021 was 4.2 per cent, well below that of our major trading partners which averaged 6.1 per cent. Our average annual GDP growth across 2023 and 2024 is forecast at 2.25 per cent, again trailing that of our trading partners' [average of] almost four per cent. Only the "sugar hit" of re-election bribes nudges the 2022 forecast marginally ahead of our economic partners.
His government's blowing $5.5 billion to avoid being sued for breach of contract for canceled subs, the aggressive and counter-productive casting of our major trading partner (without whom we really would be facing "banana republic" status) as our major military threat, being embarrassingly outmaneuvered in Solomon Islands and trashing our reputation across the Pacific all suggest that foreign relations and security are topics he'd best avoid.
So what's left? Standing firm against an anti-corruption commission? Promising to burn as much of Australia's coal and gas as possible? Bathing in the reflected glory from Tudge, Taylor, Robert, Joyce, McKenzie, Hawke, Cash and Colbeck?
Bob Salmond claims that the first home buyer affordability issue is the result of pesky immigrants arriving in Australia and not being willing to immediately build all of their own necessary infrastructure (Letters, April 10). This is not true.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics tells us that in the 10 years to March 2020, net overseas migration of 2.2 million persons increased the Australian population by 10.5 per cent bringing with it an average annual price rise of 3.6 per cent in the residential property price index. Then in the space of only six months later, net overseas migration reversed to a loss of 118,000 and yet property prices shot up at an annual equivalent of 13.2 per cent and 23.7 per cent in the calendar year 2021 alone.
Whether this was pandemic panic buying, nervous negative gearers or desperate downsizers, all trying to shut out the young, the foreign and the poor, we can't be sure. What we can see is that it was the result of the actions of true blue Australians (probably boomers) exercising their self-determined right to own all the property.
Oh, and one other thing. Immigration only accounted for 25 per cent of the increase in Canberra's population over last 40 years, so that is hardly "all the construction" that Bob claims.
For months I have been wondering why The Canberra Times has published each Saturday increasingly ridiculous articles by China-hater Bradley Perrett. However, the April 9 article ("Australia's national security demands a vastly larger population") is so ridiculous that I now believe that the editor and Perrett have both been playing games with readers to find out how ridiculous the articles had to become before numerous readers would complain.
For readers who have not been following the recent articles (perhaps because unlike me they have sensibly given up weeks ago) I will summarise the latest two articles.
On April 2 Perrett argued that China might "set up a small military installation in the Solomons" where "weapons could be suddenly flown in during a time of tension", "but Australia would have to guard against those weapons or divert forces, mainly air power, to get rid of them" so "we should be going hell for leather in trying to reinforce our air and sea power".
On April 9 he argued "China is a permanent problem for our national defence, one that will only get worse' so we should "increase our population to 70 million 50 years from now, by opening up the immigration tap". To drive this there would be an incentive of "no tax on $90,000 a year, most people would live in townhouses (or high rises in the nicest locations), and mostly use desalinated water". Also "a coastal fast-rail line could link Cape York Peninsula to the Spencer Gulf".
Any future articles should be printed on the comics page.
My first thought on seeing Bradley Perrett's piece with the appropriately 19th century headline "Simple choice: populate or perish" - was here we go, a standout candidate for the year's silliest column.
But then I realised it's actually fiendishly cunning. Perrett's plan is to pile the bodies of our soldiers so high, it'll make roads impassable to the enemy.
The more I thought about it, the more I came to see the full brilliance of his idea: make this country not worth invading.
By continuing population growth on its current path, we can destroy our already lethally damaged natural environment while depleting resources.
Even better, destroy the economy with the ruinous infrastructure costs required to maintain bloated, congested cities where nobody wants to live anyway.
Then I became confused because why would a potential invader not simply grow their own population faster than ours?
Now I'm really lost, which clearly means I've seen the words of someone beyond me.
Perhaps the Big Swoop could be placed on a plinth like the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London. If deemed necessary, spikes could also be placed near the top to deter climbers.
Chief Minister Barr says that he wants to see more trees planted in suburban blocks. He also claims that he wants to build more affordable housing. Simple solution: build tree houses.
It seems that the penny has dropped for Zed and his re-election bid and he is now on a fundraising push after adverse polls. Given his track record as Dutton's numbers man in the Turnbull coup I hope someone has checked Zed's calculations.
Yet another church that sings from the heights has been accused of being dishonest. Let's hope we don't have politicians who act like that.
Recent polls indicate that the Labor Party, with Albanese as opposition leader, are comfortably ahead in the race to the upcoming general election. Without him it would be a lay down misere.
R J Wenholz (Letters, April 7) all written information is worth reading. One might learn something. While we live we learn every day. I feel for people with blinkers on, they will never learn and progress in our society.
Bradley Perrett ("Australia's national security demands a vastly larger population", canberratimes.com.au, April 9) spent 16 years reporting from China and still isn't aware Chinese property investors are major drivers of the massive growth in high rise apartment complexes aimed to meet Australia's big immigration targets? China is knowingly creating a big Australian population and Bradley Perrett thinks it will all blow up in China's face?
If Albo were ScoMo would Macron still say "I don't think, I know"? Maybe, but the question would be different. With ScoMo it was "do you think he lied"? Easy to answer. With Albo it's more likely to be something like "will Australia's international relations improve with Albo as PM?" "I don't think. I know."
We are electing a parliament, not a president. We should vote accordingly.
So the PM has fudged on Tudge yet again ("Confusion over Tudge's status after Morrison remark", canberratimes.com.au, April 11).
Tudge fudge. Tudge dodge? Hmmm ... lot of food for thought here.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.