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Canberra Today 7°/10° | Sunday, August 14, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

With this government, we get what we deserve

Letter writer ANDREW SUTTON, of Campbell, says: “This government has become increasingly arrogant and belligerent and seemingly uncaring as to the concerns of its constituents, but we keep re-electing them every four years.” 

I HAVE been a relatively long-standing resident and proud Canberran since I moved here for high school in 1977. 

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I have seen Canberra grow significantly in this time and whilst a lot of this has been positive, I have grown increasingly frustrated with the degradation of this beautiful city especially in the past 10 years or so.

The government’s determination to push ahead with the folly that is light rail will leave a significant scar and negative legacy, not only financially but also from an aesthetic perspective. 

Light rail is a blight on the city especially as there are far cheaper, more technologically advanced and environmentally friendly options available, as has been repeatedly outlined in “CityNews” over the past few years or so. 

We will pay for the decision for many years to come and at the same time see things deteriorate in other areas because we do not have the funding available.

In addition the environment has suffered more broadly under the Labor/Greens coalition. 

Our city’s reserves and parks are rife with noxious weeds including St John’s Wort, Patterson’s Curse, Capeweed, Privet and various thistles etcetera. The government clearly has no interest in controlling and eliminating these. 

The same can be said about the ever increasing population of rabbits throughout Canberra although I am aware there are some measures being taken in the high-profile parliamentary triangle. 

At the same time the government continues to kill kangaroos in the name of looking after the environment!

Our health system, despite us living in what is supposed to be one of Australia’s most liveable and affluent cities, is in a very poor state – this is in no way a reflection of our healthcare workers who do their very best under very trying circumstances.

What is all the more frustrating is the fact that this government has become increasingly arrogant and belligerent and seemingly uncaring as to the concerns of its constituents, but we keep re-electing them every four years. 

Maybe this is as much a reflection on the opposition Liberal Party which has struggled to present itself as a credible opposition. Whatever the reason we deserve what we get!

Andrew Sutton, Campbell 

Cull leaves kangaroos functionally extinct 

THE annual culling of Canberra’s kangaroos needs to end as it not only causes immense stress and trauma to the kangaroos being hunted and killed, but also to residents of the ACT such as myself. 

Having lived in Canberra for more than 30 years and spending a lot of time on both Mt Ainslie and Mt Majura, it is distressing to not see mobs of kangaroos any more. 

Where these mobs would reside is now overgrown with weeds. The elimination of kangaroos causes ecosystems to become unbalanced.

Counts after last year’s cull found fewer than 200 kangaroos on these mountains, when the area is more than 1000 hectares. This means that kangaroos are now functionally extinct on these mountains, and who knows how many will be left after the cull ends in July – definitely not many, if any at all. 

Our national icon, a native species, has been left decimated in the Bush Capital. The cull is no longer about conservation but about the unnecessary killing of a native species.

Whitney Richardson, via email

Government silent on cull numbers

IF the government is so sure of its counts of kangaroos on reserves, why does it not table those numbers before the cull for each reserve it intends to cull, tell us how many it intends to cull on each of those reserves, and how many kangaroos are expected to be left after the cull? 

So many times this has been asked to be greeted with deafening silence on the part of the government. 

Surely, that reflects a desire not to be accountable to the public on this issue. And again, when is it going to include in its target the extra 30 per cent that are killed, being the joeys pulled from the pouches of shot females and bludgeoned to death.

It’s very distressing today to see blood-stained rocks showing more joeys had been killed this way. 

Pull a puppy away from its mother and kill it that way and tell me, would I be guilty of an act of cruelty? Under the Animal Welfare Act I would be, so why are joeys not given the same protection. 

It’s not good enough, minister and chief minister; it’s time you properly informed the public on this issue.

Jennifer Macdougall, via

If their findings aren’t enough…

THANK you to Jane Robinson and John Grace who are calling for an independent review (not one of the usuals, please) to put an end to the abhorrent and archaic kangaroo cull. 

They spent hundreds of hours walking Canberra’s reserves with nothing to gain for their efforts other than seeing the backs of the kangaroo shooters here in the ACT. If their findings aren’t enough to get another opinion, I don’t know what is.

Alex Kuch, via email

When is a home a home?

MINISTER Vassarotti’s undisclosed discretion over the exemption from relocation for tenants within public housing will match the proposed Planning Bill’s discretionary power with no appeal available; a Bill that omits from its objective and principles any inclusion of planning for social housing. 

Those who put up their hands to go had a choice. From the start, the choice to stay should have been available instead of this now complex and overwhelming process of exemption. 

A hastily put together process requiring vulnerable residents to expose and justify the relevance of their most personal and private health details to whom? 

Under successive Barr/Rattenbury governments, with the demolition of housing flats in the most expensive areas, hundreds of public housing tenants of the inner south have been relocated far from home. 

Now Housing ACT is left to target their oldest tenants who used to be allowed to stay until they died or accessed nursing care. One such tenant in Kingston died last weekend at least without her threatened relocation brought to fruition by a heartless government. 

Barbara Moore, Kingston

Democracy group keeps an eye on David

ATHOL O’Hare (Letters, CN June 9) despairs as to the invisible member for Bean.

There is an Active Democracy Bean group that seeks to make sure David Smith is working for the constituents of Bean. 

Should Athol want to help uncover what Mr Smith can do for him, he could be in contact with Active Democracy Bean; just search-engine that term and be in contact.

Peter Tait, convener Canberra Alliance for Participatory Democracy

Electric trolley buses would be cheaper 

IN my letter “Tram’s bad vibrations over the concrete bridge” (CN June 16), you may ask “Why is cracking of concrete dangerous?”. 

Aside from the obvious structural problems, the major problem is corrosion. Water gets down the cracks and corrodes the steel reinforcements. As a result, as seen in the Western Distributor, London, at Genoa and many other places, the bridge collapses suddenly without warning. 

In the Commonwealth Avenue road bridges, there are inconspicuous doors at each end allowing access to passages under the bridge. The concrete is inspected regularly for cracking.

Also the gap between the road bridges is clearly not wide enough for two tram tracks. 

For two tram tracks to be built down this gap, it would be necessary to use part of the internal lanes of the two road bridges, reducing the bridges to one lane each way. 

Furthermore, if it is intended to build this bridge on the cheap by placing concrete structures to support the tracks placed on top of the existing road bed, aside from the aforementioned vibrations, there will also be additional lateral stress on the bridge, for which the bridge has not been designed. Also there is the question whether the bridge has been designed to carry the extra weight of the trams.

The usual political response to these sorts of warnings are denials and statements that they have “received advice”. No doubt the politicians and consultants expect to be a long way away if or when the bridge collapses. 

My advice is to build a steel bridge for the tram beside the present road bridge. Better still, give away this foolish idea of a tram to Woden, and invest in electric trolley buses instead. It would be a lot cheaper and more effective.

Tim Walshaw, Watson

Why is nothing being done?

Re: letters from Tim Walshaw and Robin Underwood (CN June 16): I agree entirely with both letters in regard to the light rail and cannot understand why nothing is being done. 

The Commonwealth Avenue Bridge has been heritage listed so should not have any modifications done to it and this should mean not having a road down the middle. 

Heritage-listed buildings are not allowed to be changed in any way, so the bridge should not be any different. The question is, which way is the tram going to go once it gets over the bridge? If it goes around Parliament House, it is going to cause traffic congestion like we have never seen. The traffic in that area in peak hours is already horrific and it will be going on for years not months and there are not many alternatives.

The light rail is only going to service a very narrow corridor of the Canberra public, yet we are all going to be paying for it. How is this reasonable when the ACT is already in so much debt, is it really worth it? I do not think so. But then Andrew Barr is beholden to the Greens, so what they say goes.

Vi Evans, via email

Disgrace to ban public from jubilee events

IN response to the article “Public ban from local jubilee events a ‘disgrace’,” CN June 9), I totally agree with the Australian Monarchist League and the sentiments expressed that the events should have been above politics. 

It was an absolute disgrace to ban the public from the Queen’s Jubilee events. 

However, I also blame the Monarchist League and the former and present federal governments as well as the local Canberra city council! Where was the advertising of the event? Myself and many of my friends from both sides of the political spectrum knew nothing about it. 

The first indication we had was a RAAF flypast over Canberra, for what we all asked?

To ban the public while inviting selected guests smacks of nepotism, elitism and double standards.

Rob Kerby, Kambah

What did the secretary know?

I HAVE to disagree with Mario Stivala in respect to his letter (CN June 16) saying that a royal commission into Robodebt would be a waste of money. 

I, for one, was concerned that Kathryn Campbell, who was at that time secretary of the Department of Social Services, which oversaw the Robodebt program, apparently claimed she knew nothing of the distress caused to many taxpayers or that some had actually committed suicide. 

Now Mr Stivala may have information that I am not privy to, but I would like to know just what Ms Campbell knew about the operation of Robodebt and its effect on a large part of the community. I suspect that only a commission will bring that information out and prevent a repeat in the future.

Ric Hingee, Duffy

History adrift, off with his head! 

STREAMING columnist Nick Overall needs to brush up on his history. In his comments re the new TV series on Stan called “Becoming Elizabeth” (CN June 16) he gives the impression that Elizabeth I reigned in the 17th century.

Elizabeth got to the throne in 1558 (16th century) and after the deaths of her father Henry VIII, her half-brother Edward and then half-sister Mary. She died in 1603 (yes, the 17th century) but she ruled mainly in the 16th century.

Halina Zachara, Belconnen

Dr Mackenzie’s disparaging me again

I READ (Letters, CN June 23) that our once self-proclaimed “earth” scientist, Dr Mackenzie, is again disparaging me with ad hominem assertions bordering on calumny, in respect of what he thinks I am saying about climate change. 

Of course, his assertions are just that, with no citation from what I have written. If readers could take the time to check out my (grandly-named) website,, they may read what I really say. 

My papers agree that there has been global warming, but question the claimed cause being due only to fossil-fuel generated greenhouse emissions. 

My papers also document the rising prevalence of these emissions and agree with their accuracy. However, what is not proved, and I defy Dr Mackenzie or any other climate scientist to show proof that GHG, especially CO2, is in fact the primary driver of global warming, given its relatively low greenhouse effect compared to massive water vapour in an atmosphere, the behaviour of which is still largely unknown, as acknowledged by some climate scientists. 

Max Flint, via email

Lisa should hang her head in shame

LISA Wilkinson should hang her head in shame for the irresponsible manner in which she handled herself at the presentation of her silver Logie award. 

Despite the warning from the ACT director of Public Prosecutions about

the potential for public statements to derail the upcoming alleged rape trial, she went ahead with a prepared speech regardless of the consequences. 

I believe it was all about headlines, and her vanity. Her ill-conceived speech ensured that the trial date was set back. It was also, arguably, a contempt of court. 

I have never had too much respect for the Logie awards, now I have none.

Mario Stivala, Belconnen 

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One Response to With this government, we get what we deserve

Bjorn says: June 28, 2022 at 10:46 pm

I agree with Rob Kerby about recent Jubilee events having virtually no announcement. However, I guess that the reason the event was so low-key and restricted public attendance is due to a threat and risk assessment highlighting the occurrence of protest activity as ‘certain’. As to what type of protesters, I would say; “take your pick”. The so called ‘peaceful in nature’ type of protesting these days I believe would turn such an event into a politically and socially motivated debacle and would result in all sorts of rowdy and forceful (even violent at times), clashes between protest groups and security/police. Of course the “very small numbers” would be blamed as they were only there to cause trouble, but nowadays it is almost a guarantee that protest activity results in abuse of the right to do so. And on a side note, those who affix themselves to roads, handrails, buildings, etc… (with glue or similar), I say “leave ‘em there to work it out themselves” why do we have to pay to have them removed by emergency services? After several hours and a yearning to go to the toilet, these kind of protectors would have second thoughts about their actions.


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