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Let’s hear voices of the Great War’s real heroes

Letter writer PAUL VARSANYI, of Kambah, would like to hear the voice of an NCO, even a private, representing the real heroes of Remembrance Day. 

ON Remembrance Day at 11am I tuned into ABC Classic FM and was once again moved by the recitation of the prayer, the Last Post and the two minutes’ silence.

I think it was the Sydney ceremony that was transmitted. The prayer was quite competently read by an Air Vice Marshall. But ahead of the reading we were treated to a lengthy recitation of the AVM’s entire military career. In fact this detailed bio reading lasted longer than the prayer itself.

I thought that was strangely inappropriate. By all means let’s have the reader identified by name, rank and current position held, but let’s leave it there and not totally upend the balance of the occasion with what sounded like a job application.

And is a two-star general the appropriate level for this reading? 

The ceremony remembers the Great War, in which the performance of Australia’s senior military was uneven. How much better it would be to hear the voice of an NCO, even a private, representing the real heroes of that awful conflict.

Paul Varsanyi, Kambah

Respect and recognition is needed

I THINK columnist Paul Costigan (“The inequality of women to be seen in public art”, CN November 11) is somewhat naive by suggesting that more public art representation of women in and around Canberra will inspire more women into public life; he uses the statues of Enid Lyons and Dorothy Tangney as examples. 

Noting the overall inequities in the social, corporate, leadership and political arenas of women, he argues that having a predominance of “blokes, animals and other stuff does not encourage young women to take significant roles in society”. 

I disagree. Admiring “bricks and mortar” as works of art is one thing. However, what would inspire young women to be engaged more in public life would be a significant improvement in the culture, integrity, organisation and practices of our governments, parliaments, judiciary and society in general in the way women should be treated, that is, with respect and recognition for their enormous contribution in both the public and private arena.

Angela Kueter-Luks, Bruce

Remembering Marion’s role

THANKS to Paul Costigan for his timely remembrance of Marion Mahony Griffin (“The inequality of women to be seen in public art”, CN November 11). The National Capital Authority can be congratulated for highlighting this, the 150th year of Marion’s birth and the 60th of her death.

It’s timely to recall the motion passed by the ACT Assembly in February, 2020, including this: “Acknowledge the significant contribution to our capital and consider naming future public places, for example, street names after Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin”.

The government’s response was to name a street in Taylor “Knitlock”. This was a construction system invented by Walter and only used interstate – otherwise unknown in Canberra.

In her own right, Marion Mahony Griffin warrants wider acknowledgement as an architect, artist and partner in the winning design of our nation’s capital.

Peter Graves, chair, Canberra Chapter, Walter Burley Griffin Society

Here we have a real main street

LETTER writer Greg Cornwell (CN November 11) has hit at least one nail on the head: life in Queanbeyan is generally less costly than in Canberra – and not only because there are fewer things to spend money on in Queanbeyan than in Canberra. 

For instance, in the four years I have lived here, I have not had to pay one cent to park my car wherever I liked; nor have I had to buy a ticket to the local cinema.

I lived quite happily in Canberra for about 40 years but reckon I have saved more and spent less in my last four years in the Quean Bush Capital of the Southern Tablelands than I was able to in any of those 40 Canberra years.

And whenever I feel the need to flash my credit cards, I can always slip across the border and head down Canberra Avenue to the fleshpots of Fyshwick, the markets of Kingston and the (ugh!) Kingston Foreshore, the swanky shops of Manuka; or pass through the only real bush in the Bush Capital – Oaks Estate, en route to make a retail hit in Pialligo or at Ikea.

Here in Queanbeyan we have a real main street, with no light rails, but free parallel parking right in front of real shop-worn shops, cafes, restaurants, barbers, hairdressers and pubs – out in the open air, for God’s sake! 

And in the suburbs (yes, we have them, too), with their fabulous heritage-listed potholes, you might find the occasional corner butcher or convenience-shop, with lollies and ice-creams galore, and lampposts. Here in Queanbeyan we have a real main street, openly carrying power lines for all those birds to sit on and for passing pooches to leave their own messages.

But other nails Greg might like to have a go at include the variety of urban textures we have here, compared to the modern predictability of the Bushless Capital. 

Squeezed among the encroaching mid-rise apartment blocks for impoverished refugees from Canberra, there is still an endless variety of domestic architecture, dating back to colonial, federation and ’50s styles; the snug cottages with fragrant wisps of smoke from chimneys, their weatherboard or fibro cladding topped by rusty-red CGI roofs, with their own verandahs and sleepouts, backyards and front gardens. Forget the film-set facades of Gold Creek “village” – how many verandahs have you seen in the streets of Red Hill lately?

And we have our own real river, today with its own reedy floodplain and its ducks and black swans showing by elegant example their fluffy cygnets what true deportment is; and, of course, the platypuses – not many of them to be seen in the shopping malls of Woden, Tuggers, or (ugh!#2) Gungahlin.

So, whenever you hear the coo-ee call of nostalgia, Greg, you’ll be welcome to spend a day or two in the Quean-City of the Bush over the border. But leave your Dryasabone and Akubra at home.

Phillip Mackenzie, Queanbeyan

Trees felled in the ‘climate emergency’

I’M writing in response to the article “Who Benefits from the Trojan Tram going south?” (CN November 4) by Paul Costigan.

Mr Costigan is totally correct. As I write, there is large-scale tree felling of mature trees along Callam Street in Woden. And also Launceston Street. 

So what happened to the Labor Party and the Greens claiming and stating that we have a “climate emergency”?

To me, it’s obvious that Stage 2 of light rail will become an environmental disaster and, therefore, will create and justify the term “climate emergency”.

Also why the destruction of the forest of massive eucalyptus and other species adjacent to Phillip Oval?

So if we have a so-called “climate emergency’, then those who say it need to practice what they preach.

Otherwise, I will ask the question: “Is climate change real, or just an urban greenie myth?” 

Michael Calkovics, Lyons

Listen to the ‘prophets of doom’

I HAVE been observing the weather daily for more than half a century, 30 years here in Canberra. 

Letter writer John L Smith (“Climate models are incomprehensible”, CN November 11) fails to realise that “one swallow does not a summer make”. 

While we are indeed experiencing a very wet period at present, drought always remains a threat to the “bush capital” and surrounds, with attendant heat waves and bushfires as 2019/20 illustrated so graphically. Global warming of around 1.1C has powered up and energised the earth’s weather/climate system since the advent of the Industrial Revolution as CO2 increased in the atmosphere, particularly since the 1950s. 

The atmospheric scientists from around the world, who contributed to the latest “Code Red” warning report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, unlike politicians, are not the least interested professionally what the general population thinks of the numerous models now being used and improved to understand the complex physics of the Earth’s atmosphere/ocean/land system, which produce weather and long-term climate. 

Mr Smith is likely to correctly state that the average citizen is not too concerned with the models we use in our observations and research.

They are mathematically complex, requiring masses of computer power to process. However, when weather disasters of the severity we are witnessing around the globe and in Australia continue to occur more frequently and start to impact people directly with increasing food prices, scarcity of goods and lifestyle disruptions, just maybe members of the public will sit up and take notice of the warnings of those of us burdened with being the prophets of doom.

Gavin A O’Brien, Climate Watch Australia, Gilmore 

Let’s see what the future holds for Kim

I WOULD like to congratulate Prof Kim Rubenstein on her quest to run as an independent senator for the ACT at the forthcoming federal election. 

As a cover story (CN November 4), it is highly important for Canberra people to see a fresh approach of having four ACT senators instead of two which are always linked to the Labor and the Liberal parties. 

In my opinion a title such as “Kim’s for Canberra, but will Canberra be for Kim?” is on one hand supportive, but on the other hand negative and inappropriate since it is doubting her by questioning the readiness of the public to see a change and accept her as a candidate. 

A better title might be ”Kim for Canberra, but let’s see what the future can hold”. 

Barak Zelig, Wanniassa

Excited by an independent candidate

I WAS very excited to read about the independent ACT Senate candidate Kim Rubenstein, who feels strongly about territory rights (“Kim’s for Canberra”, CN November 4).

Let’s hope that after the next election we can say: “Welcome Kim and farewell Zed”.

Carol Carlyon, Mawson

‘Inbred ted’ deserves a new long-term home

GIVEN the original donor’s sense of humour and the recipient‘s ability to link up events, connections and deliver pertinent political story-lines to the public, it is hoped that one day the CN editor’s two-headed teddy-bear and its current write up will end up being offered to – and accepted by – the National Museum of Australia (“Of chairs and bears… and one happy ‘family’”, “Seven Days”, CN November 18). 

This particular bear and its story deserve to move on from the privacy of “the pool room”, since such an inclusion in the Museum’s political and cultural history collection would help show “how things happened” in early twenty-first century Australia.

Sue Dyer, Downer

We are being dudded big time!

EVERY “CityNews” reader should take time to peruse the ACT government’s submission to the National Capital Authority for the raising of London Circuit, the sole purpose of which is to accommodate Stage 2A of light rail. See nca.gov.au/consultations/rlc

Of particular note are the following facts taken from Appendix F to the submission: The amount of dirt fill required is not 60,000 tonnes, as reported in the media, but 124,200 tonnes, plus 250 tonnes of waste material.

From the executive summary: “Total emissions generated by the project are estimated to be 1875 t CO2-e, a relatively minor amount which amounts to approximately 0.15 per cent of ACT’s total emissions of 0.00035 per cent of Australia’s total emissions, based on reported 2019 values.”

In 2019, Australia’s GHG emissions were only 1.06 per cent of world emissions, meaning that ACT’s emissions at 0.00035 per cent of that are meaningless.

Yet, according to my latest Rates Instalment Notice, the ACT government spends 4 per cent of its Budget ($274 million) on Environment Sustainable Development and Climate Change. Why?

Does this not say how ludicrous the Greens’ enforced policies are on Canberran taxpayers? Millions every year for absolutely zero effect on global warming let alone on climate change. We are being dudded big time!

Max Flint, co-ordinator, Smart Canberra Transport

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One Response to Let’s hear voices of the Great War’s real heroes

Jim says: November 23, 2021 at 10:11 am

Always fascinating to see people that would love Australia to be a pure ‘leaner’ on climate change. The ACT may well spend too much on climate change related activities – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t, as a community and society, seek to do our bit, and probably a bit more as an affluent part of the community.

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