Letters / Greens joined at the hip to Labor’s decisions

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COLUMNIST Michael Moore has touched on a vitally important issue central to the quality of our democracy here in Canberra (“Sitting in the centre of things that matter”, CN, August 8). 

I think many of us had always assumed that with Hare-Clark majority government would be rare. 

The fact that we have a unicameral parliament, ie no house of review, suggests that it was not expected when the ACT achieved self government and had Hare-Clark foisted on us that majority government would be a common occurrence.

However, the Labor/Greens coalition has undermined that thinking and we are currently experiencing an extended period of majority government.

The government is, as majority governments do, exercising its absolute power absolutely. The fact that Greens leader Shane Rattenbury is a member of cabinet and has agreed to be bound by the principles of cabinet solidarity means that every single decision of the government is a decision of the Greens and, despite Caroline Le Couteur’s valiant attempts at distinguishing the Greens from Labor, the two parties are now joined at the hip. 

Shane and Caroline are, in reality, de facto members of the ALP. They no longer pretend to have a role in keeping the government accountable. They are the government. Dracula is in charge of the blood bank.

It may be, in light of the now formal coalition between Labor and the Greens, and the worrying lack of accountability or review of government decisions, that consideration be given to a review of the Self Government Act. Perhaps consideration needs to be given, for example, to the addition of an upper house, such as exists in Tasmania, the only other Hare-Clark jurisdiction.

Jon Stanhope, via email

Costigan calls a spade a spade

I LIKED the letter from Ann Cooper (Letters, CN, August 1). 

If Costigan would stand for the Assembly he would get my vote for sure. He has written many articles about the faults with the Barr government’s relentless antics in allowing developers a “free hand” in developing our land. 

How many more trees have to go before the Barr government is held accountable? Where is the infrastructure around the development sites? 

We have developers reducing the width of our roads just to make more profits. In Watson, we have in excess of 800 new dwellings being constructed with the Barr government wanting to sell two more blocks of land for another 1000 dwellings! The local schools are packed, the main roads in disrepair and no new shopping centre!

Costigan is a breath of fresh air and he calls a spade a spade. I wish there were more like him, then we could vote for them also and get rid of this government that is hell bent on destroying our “bush capital” image. 

Bill (surname withheld), Watson

The bridge should stay

I AGREE with all of columnist Paul Costigan’s comments on Commonwealth Bridge et al, but I’d like to add a few more.

Has the NCA ignored or forgotten past decisions? Is its mantra now to destroy things.

Yes, the old wooden bridge had to go; and, yes, another bridge at Kings Avenue had to be built. 

I remember the old wooden bridge when I was a teenager as my school choir was performing at the National Eisteddfod at the Albert Hall. The bus had to take it carefully!

I remember walking across the Molonglo river causeway near where Kings Avenue Bridge is now. 

I remember when, in the wisdom of the ACT government of the day, the hospital by the lake was blown up. Such a great place to take long-term patients to feed the ducks or enjoy some outdoors and fresh air to aid their recovery. 

My high school headmistress was the daughter of Charles Weston. A cousin of mine was involved in planting the trees in the middle of Limestone Avenue. There is a seat commemorating the occasion! They would turn in their graves to see what is happening today. 

So the present gang of decision makers at the NCA just ignore all the history. Their mantra appears to be forget the past, forget the heritage, let’s just worship new concrete… and trams!

Northbourne Avenue now looks ugly. The entrance to the “Bush Capital” is just another concrete jungle reminiscent of other cities and countries around the world. And lined with ugly, concrete edifices. 

And our politicians and bureaucrats think it’s better? Sorry, I may be old and old fashioned, but this is very poor decision making.

Commonwealth Avenue Bridge should stay; work out another way to get your tram over the lake, if that’s what you want because in another 50 years someone will announce it as a stupid idea and propose some other, new hairbrained idea. I won’t be here to complain and nor will you!

Luise Cottis, via email

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