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Canberra Today 8°/10° | Sunday, August 14, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Why is Mick avoiding me, asks grieving mother

The late Brontë Haskins… The minister won’t meet her mum.

Letter writer JANINE HASKINS says she’s been trying to meet with government minister Mick Gentleman for two years without success and feels he’s avoiding her. 

IT has been more than two years since I commenced contacting Minister Mick Gentleman, following the tragic death of my daughter, Brontë.

Write to

While our family has struggled with the loss of Brontë, Minister Gentleman has not been “available” to address our concerns and unanswered questions, within his portfolio of being the minister for ACT Policing and ACT Corrections.

Initially, Minister Gentleman used the “covid card” as a reason not to meet with me (despite other ministers using audio visual links to facilitate meetings). 

Following that, it was abundantly clear that Minister Gentleman had no interest or inclination to meet with me. This was evidenced by several emails received from his various staff members, essentially fobbing me off.

Minister Gentleman’s latest excuse is that he can’t meet me due to the “ongoing inquest into Brontë’s death”. 

I had contacted him seeking an explanation of how evidence is stored during a coronial inquest. Nope, Mick’s not going provide me with information that should be publicly available.

So, why is Mick avoiding me and many others? I believe that, as a rate and taxpayer, our politicians are employed to represent the community, and some of them are simply not meeting the expectations of the community.

Janine Haskins, via email

Vassarotti may be ‘proud’, but I’m ashamed 

ON May 23, on ABC Canberra News, just before the annual kangaroo “cull” began, Minister Rebecca Vassarotti claimed: “Canberrans should be proud of having the most humane kangaroo management program in Australia.”

Ms Vassarotti might be proud of this policy, but could she say which aspect of it she is proud of? 

Is it: 

  • Deliberately targetting kangaroos on Red Hill and allowing repeated massacres to occur? 
  • The trails of blood left behind after injured kangaroos have dragged themselves as far from the shooters as possible? 
  • Pools of blood on rocks where joeys’ heads have been smashed in?
  • The trauma inflicted on these innocent native animals night after night?

Perhaps she is proud of the “cleverness” of being part of “the most progressive government in Australia” with its sentient animal legislation, while at the same time imposing abject cruelty on just one species – the eastern grey kangaroo?

The minister, and every member of the Legislative Assembly, will quickly tell you it’s about the “science” and protecting our biodiversity to ensure the survival of some of our threatened species. 

The kangaroo “cull” is now in its 13th year. The Red Hill kangaroos have hitherto gone almost unnoticed it would seem, but this year, suddenly they have become an existential threat to a tiny colony of perunga grasshoppers and a colony of pink-tailed worm lizards on Red Hill reserve, creatures that have evolved alongside kangaroos for millions of years.

Many Canberrans are deeply ashamed and horrified by this ACT government policy which reeks of 19th century colonialism. While this policy is in place, the government’s claims to being progressive, enlightened, whatever, are meaningless.

John Grace, Evatt

No longer a proud Canberran

IT’S inane, inhumane and insane, killing our treasured, precious native kangaroos! 

Come on, fellow Canberrans, we must voice our disgust for this barbaric cruel practice for the sake of these harmless, humble animals. 

Who gave certain people the right to kill our roos? We weren’t consulted or given a choice, I don’t know a single person who supports this senseless killing do you? 

Let’s put it to the vote to prove once and for all that the majority of Canberrans do not agree with the killing of kangaroos! 

Why not shoot all the magpies during breeding season, too? They actually attack us as a warning to keep away from their nests. Let’s murder ’em all! 

As if surviving a Canberra winter doesn’t leave us depressed enough, the grief I feel every July for these animals becomes overwhelming at times, along with the fact that I’m no longer a proud Canberran and can never get that back!

Lisa Pye, Kambah

What does ‘ACT’ stand for?

DURING this cold weather, a Pacific Islands visitor to Canberra was heard asking if “ACT” stood for “Antarctica”.

John Milne, Chapman 

Time for an independent study

THERE is an urgent need for a recount as well as an independent study (not one of the usuals, please) for it’s evident that the numbers of kangaroos in the ACT have dramatically declined. Anyone still on the doubtful side, please go for a walk on one of the cull sites.

Alex Kuch, via email

Restore Norfolk’s rights, too

I DO hope, especially now that the non-self-governing territory of Norfolk Island has been dumped into the ACT for the purposes of federal elections, that Canberra MP Alicia Payne’s Bill to “restore territory rights” will extend to Norfolk Island, Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

Heaven forbid that the Bill restores the rights of only some territories. How hypocritical that would be. 

Senator Pocock and David Smith, as elected representatives of the people of Norfolk Island, could surely not stand for that.

Jon Stanhope, via

Suspend the tram, look at options

TIM Walshaw’s letter (“Electric trolley buses would be cheaper”, CN June 30) on the unsuitability of Commonwealth Avenue Bridge to be a conduit for the ACT government’s not so “lite” rail fantasy, reincarnated from 19th century technologies, has merit.

Meanwhile, our own National Capital Authority charged with developing a planned capital, which all Australians may be proud of, now announces plans to widen the pedestrian pathways of the heritage-listed bridge and upgrade its load capacity, at great expense.

Such conflicting initiatives demonstrate the failure to understand the importance of planning for engineering infrastructure.

The future of the bridge and the Steel-shod tram to Woden must be suspended until 21st century options, such as trackless buses, are evaluated by the forensic real-world logic of long-term value.

A visit to the ”bomb” site that is Woden Interchange, should make the simplification to a single transport medium an urgent priority to review,

before a further dud is added to this government’s record.

Ken Murtagh, Hughes

How about a recycling bin at the shops?

ARE we at a reasonable point in human civilisation yet that we could also expect to have a recycling bin alongside the rubbish bins at Canberra’s local shops? 

It should be low hanging fruit for a Labor-Greens government, shouldn’t it?

Danny Corvini, Deakin

Emissions are not the full story

LEON Arundell’s letter (“Public transport emissions a ‘myth’”, CN June 23) is probably right with his emissions comparisons between buses and cars, but CO2-e emissions are not the full story.

Mr Arundell does not mention NEE’s in his article. These are non-exhaust emissions and include particulate matter released by rubber tyres, brake linings and road-surface wear. 

These emissions are also known as the “Oslo Effect”, named after the city in Norway where early research into the problem took place. 

How much more of these would be produced if buses did not carry the number of passengers they do?

Do away with public transport to save CO2-e and where will all the extra cars park in Civic and other town and shopping centres? 

No buses in 2014-15 would have required up to 44,000 extra car trips per day. Traffic would have certainly been slower and journeys taken longer as peak bus usage is the same time as peak car use.

Many people cannot use cars for their journeys. School children, young people working who are not old enough to have a licence, people with disabilities and people who cannot afford a car, as well as one-car families where one partner needs the car for work. The list continues. 

If all the 13.4 million journeys in 2014-15 were to use cars, what effect would that have had on our roads and congestion? How would the comparison change?

Traffic pollution is a problem, but all aspects regarding “public transport versus car use” need to be taken into account. CO2-e, NEE, congestion, land use for car parks vs other uses, resources needed to produce enough cars to do away with buses, fuel usage, balance of trade on importing cars against partially making buses within Australia and the list goes on.

It is a complex issue and only talking about one aspect does not achieve much.

Barry Peffer, Nicholls

Incompetents cannot remain in government

THANK you for the brilliant article from Jon Stanhope and Khalid Ahmed (“Why Canberra can’t repay its borrowed billions”, CN June 30).

This paints the Barr government, opposition and members of the Legislative Assembly incompetent and the suffering citizens of the Territory the “walking wounded”. 

Incompetent individuals cannot remain in government. They must leave and make way for refreshing, educated replacements with a track record of achievement, success and some measure of common sense – something that seems to be in short supply. 

John Lawrence via email

Royal commission into ABC better value

Ric Hingee (Letters, CN June 30 ) believes that a royal commission into Robodebt would not be a waste of time and money, as it may prevent a Robodebt repeat. 

If he genuinely believes that, he is living in the dreamtime! Royal commissions into the manner in which the ABC is mismanaging $1.1

billion of taxpayers’ money and into the apparent underhanded way in which the Victorian and Queensland governments are conducting themselves would be much more productive and better value for money .

Mario Stivala, Belconnen

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