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

Why ‘sanctimonious’ Greens are so dangerous

“All the Greens can offer is fear, fear of the future for your children and grandchildren. And it seems to be working,” bemoans letter writer GREG CORNWELL.

Why are the Greens so dangerous? Because their often sanctimonious attitude is a deep-rooted hatred of success, everyone should be equal.

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And they use a persuasive argument to support their case: climate change.

If we abandon existing methods of living and without producing provable satisfactory alternatives, where is humankind heading?

Their solution to the imagined horror of the future still dominated by the use of fossil fuels is unknown. All the Greens can offer is fear, fear of the future for your children and grandchildren.

And it seems to be working.

People appear to believe with the drastic changes the Greens propose our lifestyles will not change, our standards of living will be maintained, the pluses and minuses of progress will continue.

A local example here in the ACT of this ruthless manipulation is The Tram.

Ideologically it is designed to encourage equality: more people on public transport, less private, non-egalitarian, private cars and thus reduced pollution.

This despite the known facts: a tram is inflexible, this one is more expensive than new buses and also will take longer to reach its Civic and Woden destinations.

These valid criticisms aside, the tram will disadvantage all who do not live or work upon or near its direct route and will be particularly difficult to use for the elderly and mothers with young children.

And, irony of irony, these environmental champions will allow the removal of the majestic cedars lining the Commonwealth Avenue approach to Parliament House. Vale the Bush Capital.

There are other issues, too. Public car parks are being in-filled, again to the detriment of private ownership, while many small capitalists in Civic’s CBD will face ruin when access from South Canberra is inconvenienced for years by the raising of London Circuit.

And yet, the deafening and increasing chorus attacking Stage 2A and 2B of The Tram’s progress is met with silence. When did you last hear of a Green or even a Labor government spokesperson publicly defending the indefensible?

I told you they were dangerous.

Greg Cornwell, Yarralumla

Shame on RSL for march decision

I WAS appalled at the treatment of non-veteran servicemen (and women) this Anzac Day. 

Only veterans were allowed to march, which has created a two-tier structure denying the service of those who have or had devoted their careers to the service of this country, but not serving overseas. 

There is no excuse using the redevelopment of the Australian War Memorial as the excuse. Shame on the RSL.

Edmund Lawler, via email

Time to ‘normalise’ prison life

THERE is a pressing problem with the ACT Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) that should be of top priority for Corrections Minister Mick Gentleman. 

Jon Stanhope, former chief minister of the ACT, was critical of the “rehabilitation” not taking place in the AMC (ABC Radio National, 7am, April 8). 

The ACT government adopted the Alexander Maconochie reward system for its prisoners, which was to have been world-leading, the pride and joy of the ACT. Unfortunately, it has failed. “Rehabilitation” must be replaced with something from the other side of the world, from the Nordic countries.

In “The Nordic Edge: Policy Possibilities for Australia, 2021”, Anna Eriksson writes: “Australia’s methods of punishment in correctional institutions comprise: seeking to inflict pain through retribution and to protect the community through incapacitation of ‘risky’ individuals.

“In stark contrast, Norway’s approach to punishment is vastly different; incorporating the ‘normalisation principle’ to reduce harm of incarceration and increase post-release success; increase the use of dynamic security instead of an over reliance on static security (bars, locks); rethinking of aims of imprisonment of ‘releasing people who can be your neighbour’; and having staff who are sufficiently trained, educated, supported and mentored to undertake a challenging job and who care for the people who will need to implement policy in practice. 

“Finland extends the reward system further than Maconochie did. It legislated ‘normalisation’, which means that prisoners are paid for the work they do in prison but also have to pay their bills in return. 

“They are paid the real minimum wage for work and studies, and they pay for food, electricity, use of phones, clothes in prison, as well as saving money for their eventual release. A percentage of their salary goes towards funds and support for victims. 

“Normalisation does not mean that life in prison becomes easier, but rather that it mirrors the rights and responsibilities of outside life.”

The ACT corrections minister should consider alternative policies and procedures that eliminate “rehabilitation” because it is not working at all. Be the first jurisdiction to change that!

Jenny Holmes, Weston

Add potholes to our shabby city

TO add to the “Seven Days” column’s collection of Canberra shabbiness (“The signs that point to the shabby state of Canberra”, CN April 21) what about all potholes on the roads, it’s a real shambles. One could drive through Tokyo for 40 kilometres to the airport and there will not be one pothole in sight.

Furthermore, I missed the opportunity to photograph the seriously bent traffic sign outside the War Memorial that I could have added to the article. I was jack-knifed by a P-plater a few years ago on my way to the airport, which created a huge bent traffic sign outside the memorial. It was a spectacular accident with fire engines, police and ambulances etcetera. 

I went back to photograph it the next morning and it was already replaced! There were direct orders from then-director Brendan Nelson citing the War Memorial as a main tourist attraction and why they can’t allow such unsightly signs to be seen by the tourists.

Perhaps if we had more tourists things would be fixed within 24 hours!

Alan Arab, via email

To die ‘a very happy man’

WHAT a wonderful article by Don Aitkin (“When you die, that’s it. Do I fear it? Not really’, CN April 28) on death and dying. I’m some years younger than Don on his passing, as I will only attain my “OBE” (over bloody eighty) in March, 2023, but I’m still fortunate enough at this stage to be able to care for myself in my own home. 

Don’s reflection on his life and dying really resonated with me, and like him, I’m an agnostic. Likewise, I don’t fear death, but accept it is inevitable and also share the thought that it may not be pleasant for friends or relatives. 

Nevertheless, I tell my family and friends that if/when I “fall off my perch” with a massive coronary, for example, I’ll die a very happy man as I’ve had a wonderful, fulfilling (for me?) life!

Rod McCallum, Garran

Transit lanes reduce travel times

MOST of the cost of traffic congestion is the cost of increased travel time. Rather than reduce our travel times, the ACT government plans to increase them.

The ACT Transport Strategy 2020 says that Canberra’s average car trip is 9.4 kilometres and takes 20 minutes. The same trip would take 41 minutes by public transport, 45 minutes by bicycle, or more than two hours on foot.

The strategy includes “rebalancing of investment towards public transport, cycling and walking”. For an average trip, each of those travel modes costs more in travel time than does car travel.

We already have four kilometres of transit lanes between Civic and Woden. Extending them for the full 10 kilometres would reduce travel times, during peak periods each weekday, for 12,000 bus, taxi, motorcycle and multi-occupant car trips.

If they were designated as bus lanes rather than transit lanes, they would reduce travel times for only about 10,200 bus, taxi and motorcycle trips.

A more expensive separated busway would reduce travel times for only about 10,000 trips.

At more than twice the cost of a busway, stage two of light rail would increase travel times, by 10 minutes, for more than 10,000 public transport trips each weekday.

What is the sensible choice?

Leon Arundell, Downer

Uneven roads with potholes

I AM writing about the terrible condition of the roads and streets in the Canberra region. They are greatly in need of urgent and proper repair. Is the nation’s capital supposed to have the best roads in Australia or the worst? 

I’m from Sydney originally and Sydney roads are much better than the capital’s. I have driven around Canberra for the past two years and find the roads here with lots of potholes, rough surfaces and very uneven. Some of the potholes are quite large and your tyre can bottom out. I’m sure many of Canberra’s disgruntled road users feel the same way about the condition of our roads.

Michael Freiberg, Hackett

Seselja motivated by common sense

DURING the US Senate grilling before her recent appointment to the US Supreme Court, Ketanji Brown Jackson responded to the question: “Can you provide a definition of the word ‘woman’?”, saying: “No, I can’t. I’m not a biologist”.

There was, in my younger days, something that could be literally called “common sense” that enabled anyone to readily answer such questions according to a consensus and understanding about what was natural and unnatural to humanity.

Now we have technology created by specialists who attempt to subdue that reality to their wishes. Debate is suppressed to the point of illegality.

Recently a letter in our local daily newspaper claimed that ACT senator Zed Seselja was motivated by “religion-based ideology” in his opposition to “same-sex marriage and voluntary assisted dying (or euthanasia)”. 

In my unpublished response I suggested that Seselja is motivated by that common sense that exists independently of religion.

For example, how many people who speak in favour of euthanasia have ever been faced with making such a decision about their own life in the presence of their family? 

Would they find when they experience the reality of the love and reaction of those close to them at the end of their life, that they would want to journey with them to the end (“When you die, that’s it. Do I fear it? Not really”, CN April 28)?

Otherwise we are ruled by technology and computer logic in an ethics of consequences and quantity. An act is ethically good if its foreseeable consequences constitute the greatest happiness for the greatest number. This ignores the basic human challenge – how to conform our being to reality.

John L Smith, Farrer

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2 Responses to Why ‘sanctimonious’ Greens are so dangerous

Bill Gemmell says: April 26, 2022 at 7:50 am

Why is it so that former long standing (or is that sitting) MLAs like Mr Cornwell are not required to declare they are former members of the Legislative Assembly, and therefore being critical of attempts to rectify their own inertia?

Fair dinkum, defending the indefensible also hit a new low with the claims about the need to protect the life expired white cedars.

Ian Meikle says: April 26, 2022 at 10:20 am

It’s a fair point, Bill. I know Greg is a former Speaker of the Assembly, but given he retired as an MLA in 2004, I’m inclined to believe his views are personal when it comes to letters to the editor.


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