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Canberra Today 3°/6° | Sunday, August 7, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Click and collect a whole lot of direct marketing!

Letter writer MICHAEL A CROWE is annoyed at having his personal details purloined by a pet shop for direct marketing.

ARE our lockdown click-and-collect restrictions being exploited for direct marketing?

I was forced to place my first click-and-collect order recently due to ACT lockdown restrictions on pet stores. 

As I do not like my personal contact details being exploited for direct marketing I went straight to the company’s privacy policy to see if they used the bad business practice of opt-in by default. Unfortunately, they did. 

“By submitting this order,” they warned, “you consent to receiving direct marketing”. As such, they dutifully “acknowledge and respect our customers’ choice to ‘opt-out’ of direct marketing communication activities”. 

This is known as “opt-out” by choice, forcing a customer to contact them separately by phone or email, which is what I sent.

Despite my efforts, I have now received a chirpy email thanking me for joining their “Pet Family” club! I had avoided ticking that option during the order process. 

When I clicked the spam email’s “unsubscribe” link it took me to a “sad to see you go” page that begged me to “allow up to 48 hours” for this to take effect.

While I wait for that, I have still yet to receive any acknowledgement of my opt-out request.

How sad to discover that my customer loyalty to a local pet store during lockdown is being exploited by greedy, direct-marketing practices of head office.

Michael A Crowe, Hawker

Compounding impacts of lockdown

THE Chief Minister is not being upfront with the ACT community about the path ahead out of lockdown. 

The National Plan calls for lockdowns to be relaxed progressively after 70 per cent and 80 per cent double covid vaccination rates are reached for a state/territory’s eligible population. 

Latest federal Health Department data projects that the ACT will reach 80 per cent rates on October 20. As at September 1, the department’s data also indicates that just over 40 per cent of the ACT population had received their second covid vaccination.

Until recently, Andrew Barr has been saying that he had not given up on the possibility of achieving a zero covid level for the ACT; hopefully this prospect has now lapsed as we need to learn to live or co-exist with some level of ongoing virus across the community, as the Victorian premier has belatedly recognised. 

On television Barr stated that 180,000 Canberrans were not vaccinated (I assume this includes the recent 12-17 age cohort recently approved for vaccination by federal Health). 

This past week he has also repeatedly stressed that the next two to three months will be the most challenging for the ACT. He has also indicated that he was not disposed to follow the NSW Premier’s proposed roadmap for opening based on 70 per cent full vaccination rates now scheduled for around October 18. 

Finally, he has previously indicated he was not averse to the ACT achieving higher vaccination rates of 85 per cent before restrictions were eased.

It therefore seems likely we will be in hard lockdown at least until October 20, with some possible slight easing of restrictions after that date but no broader opening up of retail, services, other business and education until mid-November or later.

Perhaps all Ken Behrens should now begin to more carefully consider the compounding economic, social, education and mental health impacts from such an extended lockdown.

Ron Edgecombe, Evatt

‘The chief’ doesn’t give a rat’s

I WELCOME the expanded letters column of “CityNews”. It is timely, too, as I am sure there are many frustrated Ken Behrens out there suffering lockdown fever, wanting to vent about something. Sadly, ideal meets regime reality. 

Columnist Paul Costigan again leads the charge about the incomprehensible tin ear of the local regime concerning biodiversity (CN September 9), but I agreed with an earlier item of his about the Chief Minister competently dealing with the pandemic although his trying to shift blame is a bit tiresome (as well as the deferential phrase of “the chief” when he is referred to). 

Paul might, sadly, have to adjust to the reality of our lopsided jurisdiction. The third team in the sandpit (aka the Greens) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the eternal regime (which has governed for time immemorial), the supreme leader (aka “the chief”) has had to adjust to suffering the “collective leadership of the sandpit” (CLOTS). But nothing really has changed at all. 

I do agree with Paul about the sad state of affairs here, but the regime and “the chief” in particular to quote him does not give a “rat’s arse” what anyone thinks anyway. We will, it seems, just have to toughen up, or change the management at the next election. 

Columnist Bill Stefaniak (CN September 9), I think, is on the wrong side of history on resisting quotas for women in the Liberal Party. 

Historically, the Liberals have been streets ahead of the ALP on the first women in state parliaments (also the first deputy party leader Rosemary Foot in NSW), and often so on policy for women. 

The ALP, a very blokey union bastion, made the decision to redress the lack of women and it has changed itself dramatically. This is really only in the last 40 years. The ABC program “Ms Represented” might have pointed out the general lack of women, but the ALP having elected one federally in 1943 (Dorothy Tangney) left her on her lonesome in the party for the entire period of her time in parliament until 1968 – then there were no ALP women for some years federally. 

Meanwhile, a number of Liberal women came and went. Diversity is a perfectly compatible value with liberalism, and it would be a good thing for the Liberal Party and for our democracy. 

Martin Gordon, Dunlop 

Pride in my public-housing unit

I WRITE in response to Lucinda Spier’s letter (“Fairness really means ‘free’ in public housing”, CN September 2).

Being an aged/retired (from retail) woman on the aged pension, I live in a lovely public-housing complex of seven units in Ainslie. 

At 68, I still work part time and my fellow residents basically worked all of their lives and paid their taxes.

Unlike Ms Spier, not all people can afford to buy a home, due to reasons such as being divorced, widowed or in a low-income job.

All the residents in my complex, whose ages range from 62 to 94, take excellent pride in their home and all have, at their own expense, upgraded gardens, sorted out maintenance issues and painted. 

I feel Ms Spier needs to reassess her selfish attitude towards others.

Sandra Picker, Ainslie 

And still the economy tops the news

COLUMNIST Michael Moore wrote a brilliant article (“Pandemic reveals the price of packing people in”, CN September 2) highlighting the ACT’s population and housing crises. 

The one misleading part mentioned economic growth as the catchword of conservatives. Economists, and the economic agenda, have hijacked Australia’s political and social debates for decades across all major parties. 

Even in the face of this century’s worst health crisis, the economy has never been far from (or at) the top of the news. The planet cannot afford for us to keep thinking this way.

Ty Douglas, Barton

Why don’t people keep dogs on a leash?

IN the last three days I have had two, close “near misses” with dogs running across the road very suddenly. 

With more people taking to recreational walking with their best friend. why in the name of Jupiter don’t they keep their dogs on a leash?

Thankfully, no injuries were caused to the dogs I mention – but on the second occasion I certainly had to “lock the wheels up” to avoid running it over as the dog just had no idea about being on the road. It was chasing another dog that was on the opposite side (this one was on a leash). 

I can only say thank goodness for the speed humps at the Gowrie shops, I hate to think what could have happened otherwise. 

I know restraint of dangerous dog breeds is a separate and very serious issue, but people who accidentally leave their side gate open or don’t appropriately secure their yard, or knowingly let dogs wander around the street, choose not to use a leash, or take them to construction sites and let them loose are beyond words that are fit to print.

I see the government legislates a lot about animals, however enforcement, monitoring and following-up are very different issues.

Bjorn Moore, Gowrie

You must take what we dish out

GOVERNMENTS, money lenders, enviro-zealots, town planners, developers, surveyors, civil engineers/contractors, real estate marketeers, faux designers, and project/spec builders – conceited overachievers all – are telling prospective home makers, especially young families: “Sorry, we’ve dumped equitable town planning, local employment opportunities, individuality, affordability, and a fair go, and it’s time to do as we say (not as we do). 

“So, who needs backyards, privacy, sunshine, and electric cars, if you want a new dwelling, you must now take what we dish out, and live cheek-by-jowl in crap flats, noisy townhouses or cookie-cutter mansionettes, in our latest micro-plot development, Nullus Arbor, and have we got a deal for you!” 

Jack Kershaw, Kambah 

Population point well made

JENNY Stewart’s letter on the growth of Canberra’s population (“Large Canberra ‘undesirable'”, CN September 2), in particular the comment “Population growth is an outworn mindset”, is on the right track. However, Dr Stewart does not go far enough. Endless population growth is not just undesirable, it is unsustainable – if not impossible.

Unconstrained expansion of population in a country such as Australia places insatiable demands on our relatively scarce food-producing soils and a heavy load on our supplies of potable water, especially in times of drought. 

Furthermore, climate science shows that periods of drought in Australia will become more frequent, more intense and longer whilever global heating persists.

Large-scale land clearing for beef cattle production and agriculture, as well as urban expansion, destroy huge areas of ecosystems that are home to endangered, critically endangered or vulnerable-to-extinction species such as the koala, the eastern and mountain pygmy possums, the spotted-tailed quoll and the orange-bellied parrot.

Dr Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin

Reminder of a poignant poem

THANK you, columnist Clive Williams (CN September 2) for reminding me of my favourite poem Leo Marks’ “The Life That I Have”.

I believe its particular poignancy lies in that it was used as the signal code of a young, female Special Operations Executive agent in France who, betrayed to the Gestapo, died in Ravensbruck.

Tina Faulk, Swinger Hill 


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