Julie Tongs ("After Reconciliation Day, it's important we don't all just move on", canberratimes.com.au, June 1) highlights the dire situation facing many Aboriginal families in the nation's capital, the high rates of incerceration, child removals, poverty.
She could have added ill health, something she sees daily. I went briefly to the Reconciliation Day event to hear what the government might announce as its new contribution to reconciliation - but sadly all the Deputy Chief Minister could speak about was the federal commitment to the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
She said nothing about what more the ACT government was going to do towards improving the lives of our fellow citizens. The ACT government is shaping its 2022 budget now. Genuine reconciliation would see it make a substantial new commitment, particularly for Aboriginal families and youth, mental health, housing, and alternative justice pathways - there is so much to do.
As Julie says, reconciliation is something we should be doing every day; budget day especially.
50 years ago, from June 5 to June 15, 1972, my father, Guy Gresford (ex-CSIRO), attended the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm.
This was the first time the environment was treated as a global issue and stimulated worldwide consciousness of the looming severity of environmental problems. At the time my father was a senior official at the UN headquarters in New York, and was involved in the early organisation of the conference until a separate conference secretariat was created.
The Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries boycotted the conference. Poor "Third World" countries, many not long independent from colonial powers, worried barriers would be put in the way of their national development.
The conference proceeded smoothly, and culminated in the adoption of the Stockhom Declaration and Action Plan for the Human Environment. This included the creation of the UN Environment Program.
Fifty years on, the world seems to be finally waking up to the immense damage we have wrought on the planet. In another 50 years (2072), will our ambition of zero emissions by 2050 have borne fruit for succeeding generations of humans, plants and animals?
As someone said during the election campaign: If not us, who? If not now, when?
Previously, the ALP, when it has taken over government from the LNP, has inherited plenty of money in the bank; enough to be able to give free pink batts, to hand out $1000 cheques to those on welfare, and even to the dead. They had been able to build massively overpriced school halls ... even for schools about to close.
There had been "cash for clunkers" and many more extravagances, all on the money the LNP had been able to accumulate during their administration, through careful and responsible financial management.
This time, the LNP has had to use the carefully accumulated wealth to support workers and businesses during the pandemic. They did that so well that our unemployment numbers after the pandemic are the best in the world, 3.9 per cent.
But it has not come without a cost.
That cost means that for the first time in living memory, the incoming government of the ALP will not have the ability to splash around the carefully accumulated wealth.
For Australia's sake, we all wish them well.
Some of us are not optimistic. Time will tell how well they handle this unique circumstance.
It seems likely deputy Liberal leader and former environment minister Sussan Ley sat on the latest State of the Environment Report (SOE), since she received it in December and deliberately did not release it before the election.
So I was bemused that only one week after the election, The Canberra Times runs a story "Major environment report must be released: Greens", (May 30, p6).
Why wasn't The Canberra Times running a story on this for the past five months when Ley was in power?
What needs to happen is for the Albanese government to pass legislation with a statutory requirement to release the SOE report at a fixed time period. The time has come to stop playing political games on the environment!
I am curious as to what studies Peter Moran (Letters, May 30) and others rely on to conclude the ACT's response to COVID is inappropriate.
A study by Johns Hopkins University shows the lockdowns may have saved only 10,000 lives in the US and Europe combined. Another study by Bardosh et al published on BMJ Global Health said lockdowns may have done more harm than good.
In Australia, a study by Dr Foster of UNSW showed costs exceeded benefits (including life years) by a ratio of 30 to one.
Little wonder the Victorian government is currently being sued in the Supreme Court to release the medical advice (sic) that it received prior to the worst lockdowns in the world. What does the Victorian government have to hide?
As we're being given complicated reasons we'll never understand for looming hefty energy price increases, nothing is said about what percentage of our electricity and gas bills are going to shareholder dividends.
Hawke, Keating, Howard, et al embraced neoliberalism, abandoning any attempt at national energy planning by promoting uncoordinated privatisation of publicly owned energy instrumentalities.
Formerly, it had been the common view that there were two enterprise categories: services and businesses. Those serving the wider public (e.g. electricity and water) were seen as natural public monopolies, while those serving selective customer bases were seen as privately owned businesses.
There were many who thought banking, too, should be a public monopoly, but until 1912 - following its 1890s imprudent behaviour in Victoria and NSW - it was 100 per cent private. In 1912, the Fisher federal government created the publicly owned People's Bank (formal name "The Commonwealth Bank") as a necessary instrument of banking regulation.
It is shameful how Keating and Howard sabotaged the public interest by handing it back to the private sector. Recent banking royal commissions verified that shame.
That's our capitalism - open your wallets.
Yes, Mr Parrett, let us not "accept that drugs have come to stay in our societies" (Letters, May 26). Alas, that is a big reason why the law-enforcement focus of existing policy needs to shift to a public health focus.
Such a focus is seven times more effective than law enforcement in reducing supply, and 15 times more effective in reducing societal cost. A law-enforcement approach to drugs has been a gift to organised crime. It has seen heroin consumption in Australia grow from five kilograms per million in 1953, when its import was banned (till then it was used in cough mixtures), to 350 kilograms per million by the end of the century.
Ice was unknown in Australia until 1996, and there was barely any cocaine.
Decriminalisation, more than any amount of law enforcement, will undermine the illicit drug trade. If Mr Parrett's abstract vision of "doing what is right" does not have at its heart "the preservation of life and advancement of wellbeing", heaven help us.
I am absolutely devastated at this government's plan to cut down century-old trees on Commonwealth Avenue near the Albert Hall to put in a tram to Woden that we don't need.
The bus to Woden from Civic takes up to 15 minutes, and I believe the tram will take 30 minutes. It's amazing that a government can cut down trees, but residents in houses who have problem trees aren't allowed to.
How about spending the money on fixing potholes on the roads and shared paths?
Why does Australia need a referendum to initiate a "Voice to Parliament"?
Surely a more practical solution would be for the current government to immediately create an advisory body, and after all Australians had seen it in operation for about two years, hold a referendum.
The "Voice" could begin operation almost immediately, desired amendments to the legislation could be made, and by the time of the referendum most Australians would have a better understanding of what they were voting for or against.
I think this would increase the probability of the referendum being passed.
There appear to be limits to the efforts the Albanese government is prepared to make in order to "change the way politics is done in this country". There is more than a strong whiff of internal factionalism playing a part in the absence of Labor's economics guru, Andrew Leigh, from the cabinet. Keep a strong rein on it Albo, don't let it get away.
Barnaby Joyce brims with pride for having "screwed a pretty good deal" for regional Australia by getting $30 billion in funding commitments from Scott Morrison in exchange for the Nationals' (paper-thin) agreement to a target of zero carbon emissions by 2050. What a telling indictment of the expediency of the Coalition and the self-interest of its leaders! Who, or what, was being screwed, Mr Joyce? The taxpayer? Future generations?
With South Pacific Islanders being showered with favour by China and Australia, the question is who will come down in the last shower.
The obvious choice to be the next Speaker organising the politicians in Parliament House is new Labor MP Sam Lim, because of his previous experience as a dolphin trainer.
Two outstanding ALP ministers, Penny Wong and Jason Clare, would have overwhelming support from the community should they express any leadership aspirations. They will ensure the Coalition has more than enough time to come to terms with the needs and aspirations of today's Australia.
Craig Kelly and Clive Palmer made lots of election ads highlighting "zero". Now the election is over with zero representation for Clive Palmer, Craig Kelly and the UAP. Thanks, Australia. The electorate has managed to get it right once again.
Ian Warden aptly uses Irving Berlin's song to capture the mood of a nation who successfully voted for change ("A society that seems elated and stoked", canberratimes.com.au, May 29). After years of division and negativity, we have a government that seeks unity and consensus. Placing First Nations Australians and the regeneration of our environment front and centre is leaving many of us feeling like we're "walking on sunshine".
The new Opposition Leader is already claiming the federal government is hopeless. Can we assume, then, that Morrison and Dutton left their instruction manual open on the PM's desk?
I want to join the ongoing shout-out around the country for Rex Patrick, an absolutely outstanding senator who has unfortunately not been returned to the Senate. I have phoned his Adelaide office to express my regrets.
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