May I suggest that retiring vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt ("Australian democracy in peril", December 5) has got it a bit back to front?
He yearns for that rosy time, when "recognised" media outlets "curated" information into a "homogeneous" understanding. Before "bad" social media and 24/7 news cycle.
A Nobel scholar ought to be more vigilant. Government (Treasury) itself is commonly the crucial source of misinformation. Uncomfortably often the ANU lends aid and succour.
For years now the unpopular "big Australia" program has been firm bipartisan policy. And ANU demography has been the national wellspring of supporting propaganda.
From 2016 to 2018 UN policy offered the exciting diversity of eight billion people, plus of course their "net zero" emissions. Rather than second-guessing this palpable contradiction, globalist ANU has doubled down.
With our open-borders net-migration triggering the worst housing crisis we have ever had ANU demographers and economists still misinform in support big Australia.
How about the recent Crawford School zinger: "Likely population growth of 2.4 per cent and what Westpac believes to be retail price growth of 3.6 per cent means the amount bought per person actually fell 4.5 per cent".
On top of that ANU has called in their climate team. Not to unpack the government's fanciful claims of net zero by 2050 but to exhorting them to go for 2035.
Stephen Saunders, O'Connor
I blame the teachers
I completely blame the teachers for our school children striking in support of the thousands of Palestinian children slaughtered by the Israelis so that there will be no more terrorists.
The math teachers probably taught them that the response was wildly disproportionate.
The ethics teachers no doubt taught them it was manifestly unjust, and those critical thinking coaches probably taught them that that the Israelis are creating far more terrorists than they could possibly be killing.
If we don't bring these teaching methods to heel immediately we will be left with a whole generation of young adults who can think for themselves. Come to think of it maybe we should send some politicians back to school.
Mal Wilson, Campbell
Postal decision sensible
Stopping daily letter deliveries in a bid to avoid Australia Post losses appears financially sensible.
Leading into the festive season a cheerful reprieve is imminent. However, techno-luddites sending real rather than e-linked Christmas cards will only temporarily stem the haemorrhage.
The eco-responsible have learnt to scan heartfelt hand-written letters as image files to be emailed to loved ones on the other side of the world in an instant.
Regular letter delivery may be as dead as a dodo but gifting from afar still needs the involvement of the postal cart. Also, there is the public health call to arms every two years for over-50s participants in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme.
I recently dropped off my fridge-cooled poo samples to staff at the post office with a silent blush, and on the same day was handed gifts from far-away friends by the cheerful Aussie Santa-postie.
Joseph Ting, Brisbane, Qld
Short stay party animals
The ACT government says there is no need to regulate short-stay rentals. This is news to the residents of apartments who regularly deal with noisy parties, vandalism and theft by "guests" who access our homes via unregulated third-party booking sites. It is disappointing the government ignored the case for regulation our organisation (representing over 3000 apartments) put to the review.
Carrie Steffen, City Executive
Committees Group, Canberra
All we want is peace
Letter writers Jones and Schnapp (Letters, December 1) ignore the key tragedy regarding the creation of Israel.
Schnapp inferred that I wish for the Jews to be wiped out. I only wish for a long-term peaceful solution for the area. Clearly there is fault on both sides. The tragedy is the creation of Israel has been a story of dispossession, colonisation and disproportionate slaughter.
I agree that after World War II the horror of the Holocaust needed to be addressed. But not at the expense of ordinary Palestinians who had no part in the European crimes.
Roderick Holesgrove, Crace
Light rail is best
We need to stay the course on light rail. A fully integrated light rail system across the territory, interlinked with regular, efficient and decent local bus networks will create a better Canberra for all public transit and road users.
However, some are suggesting that we use these things called "trackless trams". They are just fancy and expensive buses that are not fit for long distance public transport like actual rail is.
The weight of the bi-articulated buses (so called trackless trams) means they can't use standard roads anyway.
They would need their own dedicated, strengthened lanes. The city of Stirling in WA has already seen its test roads get worn away with only a month of testing done.
Citing PTCBR: "Australia's first trackless tram system is expected to be significantly more expensive than stage one of Canberra's light rail".
Not even the alleged economic benefits exist in reality.
Timothy Mott, Bruce
On the other hand
Penleigh Boyd (Letters, December 4) tells us that a trackless battery powered tram has been demonstrated in Perth. A "trackless tram" is an articulated vehicle that can automatically follow a pre-determined route.
Canberra has battery powered buses. We have been travelling in articulated buses since 2012. Adelaide has had buses, since 1986, that can automatically follow pre-determined routes.
Any technology that is used in a "trackless tram" can equally be used in a "trackless bus".
Leon Arundell, Downer
The great tree debate
James Coats (Letters, December 1) argues against planting eucalypts in urban areas. Local authorities should consider the suitability of all types of trees, and how to maintain them, as part of planning urban landscaping.
In discussions with removalists, trees rate - along with steep slopes and weather - as the bane of their lives. Australian rigid heavy vehicles can legally be 4.3 metres high, 2.5 metres wide and 12.5 metres long.
As they carry whole households of furniture and effects, many removal vehicle are this big. They are forced to zig-zag down the middle of many suburban streets to avoid tree branches - if that is possible.
Damage to vans is common and, unless immediately repaired, risk of rain damage to the next cargo is high.
When this happens many vehicles are far from their bases.
Perhaps residents should campaign more loudly to their local authorities. Shady tree-lined streets are visually attractive but even local garbage trucks under 4.3 metres have problems in some areas.
Peter Haddon, Jerrabomberra, NSW
Boxing a minefield
Many sports are changing their rules, in an effort to reduce head contact and to reduce the consequential brain damage.
Boxing, though, stands out in not discouraging the targeting of an opponent's head.
Australia could set a new standard by not having boxing events at the 2032 Brisbane Olympics unless the sport changes its rules.
For instance, just as blows below the belt are penalised, blows above the neck could be likewise penalised.
Maurice Hermann, Kambah
On profit and loss
A federal government surplus, hurrah. Or so you'd think according to the grave mistake perpetuated by so many commentators. This includes The Canberra Times editorial "Surplus aside, families need help now" (December 4).
Elsewhere we've seen headlines telling us that the government "is heaving with debt".
The word "surplus" sounds a bit like "profit", which surely must be a good thing. "Deficit" sounds like "loss", a thing to be avoided.
The problem is, the federal government is not a business; its job is not to make a "profit". Its job is to create money that drives the economy.
A surplus actually means sucking more money out of the economy than it puts in.
The only significant period in Australian history where the federal government has run budget surpluses, was during the Howard/Costello years.
The result? It drove the private sector into debt.
A R Taylor, Giralang
Tropical cyclones and heat waves. And it's only the first week of summer.
N Ellis, Belconnen
TO THE POINT
LEOPARDS AND SPOTS
The replacement of Jeremy Hanson is a positive sign. But at what stage do we believe it? Those at the big end of town are masters of the hollow marketing stunt.
S W Davey, Torrens
On October 7 Hamas launched an appalling attack on Israeli civilians, slaughtering innocents in their homes or at a concert. Since then the IDF have dropped bombs and fired rockets against which there is no local defence on Gaza regardless of the presence of families in their homes. Those who planned and launched the October raid have rightly been accused of war crimes.
G Williams, Gowrie
ROYAL VISITOR PAYS?
Charles and Camilla are intending to tour Australia next year. I hope they, and not the Australian taxpayer, are covering their costs. Perhaps they could be paid, as a measure of their value, a fee for any official speeches and the like they are required to give.
G Hansen, Ainslie
CLIMATE AND WEATHER
Ian Morison (Letters, December 5), individual weather events are not directly connected to climate change: it's the cumulative effects of the changing climate in which mankind has played a critical part that result in the intensification of abnormal weather patterns globally. Our recent heavy rainfalls are part of it.
Eric Hunter, Cook
SOME WON'T LISTEN
That climate and weather are not the same thing has been patiently explained for decades, yet letter writers such as Ian Morison (December 5) persist in pointing to changes in the weather as if they invalidate the overwhelming evidence on climate change. Wishful thinking won't make the facts go away.
Peter Campbell, Cook
HULL ON THE MONEY
What a wonderful clear-eyed exposition by Crispin Hull ("Why Albanese needs to go full Robin Hood to fix our healthcare system", December 5) on the politics and history of Medicare, together with sensible policy suggestions for its revival in future linked to abandonment of stage three tax cuts.
David Fisher, Curtin
DRAWING A LONG BOW
Umm ... great picture of Albo in the column on Medicare by Crispin Hull column but Robin Hood's weapon was the bow and arrow, not the broadsword.
Bill Deane, Chapman
WE WILL SURVIVE
I am pleased and relieved to report that I ventured out on Tuesday morning and was not accosted or set upon by recently released detainees. We will be safe for Christmas.
Meryl Causebrook, Melba
A CONIFER FOR CHRISTMAS
Re: "It's the bold and brave tree we never knew we wanted. Because we don't" (December 5). Why can't we just have a good old fashioned Christmas tree, a really tall beautiful pine with lots of lights and red hearts.
Anne Willenborg, Royalla, NSW
WAR ON REPORTERS
At least 61 journalists and media workers have been killed in Israel's war on Gaza. What threat did they pose to Israel?
Rajend Naidu, Sydney, NSW
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