Letters / Lies or imagination at Christmas?

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ARE we really lying to children? Or is the issue just one of imagination? (“The Santa myth; do you tell them lies or not?” CN, December 13).

Einstein said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world…”

Having imagination is not a lie. Imagination is a beautiful thing, in a world where “real” and “reality” is so often stark and confronting. A world where the beautifully innocent imagination that children have is so often sucked from them. A world wherein violence is prevalent and children particularly can be exposed to so much from so young; violence or abuse, the pain of poverty, bullying in the playground or cyberspace, the innocent children in war zones or detention centres Manus or Nauru. Imagination in such instances and conditions can be a powerful thing, perhaps the only thing, that brings them hope.

Maybe we should include more imagination in the lives of our children and take the focus off Christmas in terms of the material; focus instead on the spirit of hope and love and joy, family and friendship at Christmas. It can be a magical time.

In this modern world, do any of us really know what reality is?

Where does allowing a child to be child come in? They have the rest of their lives to be an adult, why are we rushing it?

Therese May, Queanbeyan

Everyone should have a say in planning

COLUMNISTS Paul Costigan and Michael Moore (CN, December 13) both opine about how planning (for a city of the future we want to live in) is not being delivered by our current planning system and government. The Canberra Alliance for Participatory Democracy has been hearing the same thing for over two years now.

How to “change the culture” (Costigan) and develop a “change in approach” (Moore) we think can be achieved by institutionalising more robust ways to bring citizen experience and knowledge into the planning process.

One element of this is to expand the resources for and build the capacity of the Community Councils and Residents Associations who could be one avenue for this input.

Citizen consultations without predetermined outcomes and adequately facilitated and resourced is another. There are more.

The point is that we all live here and so we all should be able to have a say in what this place is going to be like for the next century.

Peter Tait, Canberra Alliance for Participatory Democracy

Time for a drug royal commission

MY single greatest New Year fear is that the biggest life problem for the youth of today and tomorrow is not getting a good education but avoiding being sentenced without trial to life in our personal drug prisons.

The ABS reported (2017) that in 2016 there were 1808 drug-induced deaths, the highest recorded over the past 20 years – and 500 more than road deaths. Another official source (2016) told us that over eight million people in Australia had illicitly used a drug in their lifetime.

I don’t speak uninformed, having been published in the same university periodical as Dr Alex Wodak; helped the banning of cigarette advertising from television; instigated the ban on smoking in aircraft and negotiated the introduction of low-alcohol beer.

We have undoubtedly reached the time for a royal commission into what is now a drug industry rather than a strategy.

Colliss Parrett, member, Drug Watch International, Barton


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