Letters / Racial crisis calls for meaningful ideas

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Letter writer MARTIN GORDON, of Dunlop, says the hijacking of the protests about the wrongful death of George Floyd are a bigger travesty when they spiral into looting, and grandstanding rather than meaningful ideas.

FOR a long time we have had “CityNews” columnist Jon Stanhope highlighting our own local failings in the drug/criminal justice space. 

Clive Williams’ very thoughtful piece about the recent protests in the US and elsewhere (CN, June 18) felt like channelling of the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan. 

Moynihan was a US Democrat senator, diplomat, worked for administrations of both parties and produced the “Moynihan Report” in 1965 on the state of race and socio-economic status in the US. 

He had a knack for saying what needed to be said (just like Clive has done). 

I have followed developments in the US for a bit over 50 years, and the cycle of low socio-economic progress, family dysfunction, incarceration and crime is a constant. 

The media report it because there is a lot of media coverage of it. Other parts of the world simply don’t get much coverage. For example, the persecution of the Falun Gong and detention of a million Uighurs in concentration camps continues without much media interest at all – hint: it is in China.

People who encounter the criminal justice system and police tend to be at the low end of socio-economic status. It exists everywhere, the US has a visible and large problem, and much of the welfare and justice system are ineffective in dealing with it. On the day I wrote this there was the murder and wounding of two police in NZ. Policing in the US is dangerous too, as Clive pointed out.

Can the US do better, yes, and so should we? The hijacking of the protests about the wrongful death of George Floyd is a bigger travesty when they spiral into looting and grandstanding rather than meaningful ideas.

Martin Gordon, Dunlop

Could planning outsiders even find the paddocks?

REFLECTING on the membership of the board of the City Renewal Authority raises interesting questions about the Curtin Horse Paddock-West Basin land swap.

Of the members of the board, none of whom, as far as I am aware lives in Canberra, and the only one I have ever heard of is proud Sydney resident Michael Eason, and he has pulled the plug.

One wonders if any of the board members could actually find the Curtin horse paddocks on a map or if they have ever visited West Basin. Perhaps even more pertinently do any of them have a clue what the residents of Canberra value about the city they love and call home?

On a more mundane matter I wonder whether the board or any member of it might be able to shed light on the reason that both the ACT and Commonwealth governments have refused to respond to a request for the valuation they each placed on the land they agreed to swap with the other as part of the Curtin-West Basin deal.

Following the refusal to reveal the valuations I have lodged an FOI request with the NCA and the ACT government. The NCA has advised it won’t provide any information unless I agree to pay it $1400. I may have to crowd fund. The ACT FOI request is grinding through the process. I will keep you updated.

Jon Stanhope, via citynews.com.au

Quarantine rules for everyone

THE exemption given to diplomats returning from overseas not to isolate puts a new meaning to “diplomatic immunity” (“Seven Days”, CN, June 18).

The latest coronavirus case in the ACT was from a diplomat returning from overseas. Again we have a situation where the exceptions, just like the Ruby Princess debacle, are the ones causing the virus to continue and place everyone in danger.

When are those making the decision to allow exemptions going to act to ensure we have consistent rules about restrictions, and that the restrictions apply to everyone in the whole country.  No exemptions, no immunity!  You arrive in Australia, you must go into a 14-day quarantine.

I would also like to know how these diplomats are travelling to Australia when all international flights are banned. They are not Australian citizens returning home, they are foreign nationals. Their travel to Australia should be banned just like every other non-citizen. Oh, I forgot – diplomatic immunity!

Australians will not be able to return to a “normal” life if we keep on allowing individuals to flaunt the restrictions.

Bill Meani, Watson

‘Multiple’ criticism of police report

FIRST, a bouquet: I enjoy “CityNews” and have been reading it for several months now. I hope you keep your excellent columnists Jon Stanhope and Michael Moore. They are incisive writers who don’t need a tabloid page and a half to make their point.

Second, I have a brickbat. In “Seven Days” (CN, June 18), you referred to the “Calwell Slasher” as stabbing “multiple residents”. By using the word “multiple” your news item gave me no idea of the extent of the Slasher’s nefarious activities. Has the Slasher stabbed a couple of people? Or several? Or dozens? Even hundreds? I could only guess.  And still am. “Multiple” gives me no clue.  

If police reports used by “CityNews” contain “multiple” inappropriately, “CityNews” should reject its use and demand real numbers from police.

Terry Craig, Holt 

Free course on budgeting

CAP Money Management, which assists participants to manage debt, budget, save and get more control of their finances, is offering a free budgeting and money management course on two Saturday mornings – July 25 and August 8 – 9.15am to 12.30pm. 

Our free seminar on “Age Pension and Your Choices” run by Centrelink, a few months ago was a great success and there was considerable benefit for everyone who came.

The budgeting course will be held at the Tuggeranong Baptist Church, Wanniassa. Intending participants can register at capmoney.org.au or email to capmoney@tbcchurch.com.au or ring me on 0402 007551.

Robert Ardill, CAP money coach, Tuggeranong 

The ‘enemy’ in anarchy 

IN the US, the city council of Minneapolis has agreed under pressure to dismantle the police force and replace it with a social-worker outreach. In Seattle, groups, mainly anarchists, reportedly have removed the normal rule of law by police in a self-created Capital Hill Autonomous Zone, about six city blocks and a park – roughly equivalent to Manuka/Kingston/Barton.

They laid siege to the police station until the Democratic mayor told the police to evacuate. They then announced it was a “cop free” socialist paradise that was no longer part of America.

Most recently, Paris police blamed anarchists for hijacking a peaceful protest as thousands of doctors, paramedics and nursing home carers, many dressed in their scrubs and white blouses, were protesting near the health ministry for better wages and conditions. 

The head of the Paris emergency room workers’ association stated his disgust that the protest had been stolen violently from the workers. Australians should recall the words of US President Theodore Roosevelt in the 1900s when confronted by the anarchists’ phenomenon “the anarchist is the enemy of humanity, the enemy of all mankind and is a deeper degree of criminality than any other”.

Colliss Parrett, Barton


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