Letters / What is it, Minister, you don’t want us to know?

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CONGRATULATIONS are due to Robert Macklin for writing the story “Who is Canberra’s mysterious ‘secret prisoner’? (CN, November 14). 

I thought I had reached an age and a point in life at which I was beyond being shocked. I now know I am not.

I find it very disturbing that the ACT government has willingly partnered with the Commonwealth in the implementation of its draconian and authoritarian national security regime. 

The “secret prisoner” may very well have been serving a sentence for breaching Commonwealth law but the organs of the justice and correction systems that managed his trial and incarceration are administered by the ACT government.

It is ironic that the revelations contained in Robert’s article come at the height of the Right to Know Campaign, the catch cry of which is “what don’t they want you to know?”.

In this case, Robert reveals that the documents seized by ACT Corrective Services, under Minister for Corrective Services and leader of the ACT Greens Party, Mr Shane Rattenbury, because they clearly did not want them published, were related to a book that the “secret prisoner” was writing about his experiences and observations as a detainee at the AMC.

A further irony about this particular act of suppression of freedom of expression is that it comes at a time, off the back of the Right to Know Campaign, when the Labor and Greens parties, with the support of a range of progressive organisations such as Get Up are mercilessly, and appropriately, attacking the Liberal Government of Scott Morrison for suppressing freedom of the press and freedom of speech more generally.

I for one will be very interested to see how Labor, the Greens and Get Up respond to the actions of the Leader of the ACT Greens and Minister for Corrections, Shane Rattenbury, for his decision to confiscate from a prisoner under his control a manuscript of a book about his experiences as a prisoner in the ACT, for arranging a police raid on the home of the prisoner’s brother to search for and confiscate any documents authored by the prisoner as well as refusing Robert Macklin, an esteemed author and writer, a right to visit the prisoner in the AMC.

Exactly what is it, Minister, that you don’t want us to know?

Jon Stanhope, via citynews.com.au

Who is Canberra’s mysterious ‘secret prisoner’?

With respect, Bill’s wrong

WITH respect, Bill Stefaniak is wrong when he writes “we should listen to all opinions about climate change from any source” (CN, Letters, November 14). We should not.

The opinions we should listen to are those informed by the overwhelming majority of scientific evidence and research. Which is that climate change is real, is happening, and poses an existential threat.

The Earth is round. Opinion that it is flat is wrong and worthless. The Earth orbits around the sun. Opinion that the sun goes around the Earth is wrong and worthless. Human-induced climate change is happening. Opinion that it isn’t is wrong and much worse than worthless. It is dangerous, because it delays meaningful action being taken to begin the incredibly long and hugely challenging task of trying to counter the causes and the effects of climate change.

Peter Dark, Karabar 

Unkempt grass on Northbourne Avenue.

Overgrown on the avenue

THE Northbourne Avenue, government-owned nature strip in Turner has become overgrown, Mr Barr. I thought you were trying to make it inviting.

Geoff Davidson, Braddon

Bonfire waiting to happen

WE watch with trepidation the fires all over Australia. Last year the fire brigade visited houses backing on to the bush with bags of information on how to clear our properties and be ready for the fires if they come our way. 

But in the Majura Parks (backing on to my house) there are dead fallen trees that have been there for years and only metres from the back fences. 

I have reported them many times only to be told they are protection for small animals! This could be a bonfire just waiting to happen! 

Pat Bourke, Hackett

Rail time is not right

WHERE does letter writer Clive Williams get the idea that it’s 247km to Sydney? (CN, November 14). This is totally incorrect. It is actually 327 kilometres to Central Railway Station, roughly 30 kilometres longer than by road, the extra distance because of the meandering route around Kowen Forest to Bungendore not to mention the Picton loop. 

And Andrew Barr does not run this, Clive, it’s run by Transport NSW. The NSW government does have new trains coming for country lines soon that, hopefully, will bring it down to 3.5 hours at least. Additionally, I do not believe it takes longer than in 1970. In them days 4.75-5 hours was the norm until the current Explorer Rail motors were introduced in 1993.

Michael Williams, via email


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