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Sunday, July 14, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Hats off to Alicia Payne for national capital report

“Economic rationalism, user pays, managerialism and all the rest of the 1980s rhetoric drove the Commonwealth’s Canberra policy away from [the] grandiose construction ethic of creating a monument to Australia’s national identity to… the more limited role of a seat of government only,” says letter writer JOHN D PURCELL, of Kambah.

Hats off to MP Alicia Payne and parties responsible for the 22 recommendations contained in the Joint Parliamentary Committee report on the National Capital and External Territories. 

Write to editor@citynews.com.au

The report which underlines why Australians should be proud of our capital and how it stands as a symbol of our nation’s success as a liberal democracy. 

Unfortunately, it also highlights the neglect for decades by successive federal governments in extending recognition for its role as capital, internationally. 

Canberra was created by and for the federal parliament initially built around earlier grandiose planning decisions. New governmental trends of economic rationalism, user pays, managerialism and all the rest of the 1980s rhetoric drove Commonwealth’s Canberra policy away from this grandiose construction ethic of creating a monument to Australia’s national identity to one more inwardly focused towards the more limited role of a seat of government only. 

The same catalyst for the parliament to bestow ACT self government. A paramount shift in outlook back then with many of the symbols of internationally recognised capital cities lacking and/or not fulfilled – national exhibition and world-class conferencing facilities, international-standard cultural and sporting facilities and associated hospitality infrastructure. 

Now, as outlined in the report, if Canberra is to gain these tools, it is incumbent on the Commonwealth via the national parliament to deliver on the recommendations if the national capital is to fully achieve its aims – a city symbolising Australia’s heritage, values and aspirations, and is internationally recognised. 

John D Purcell PSM, Kambah 

Review a cover for annual kangaroo slaughter

The ACT Labor-Green Government has announced its 15th annual kangaroo massacre in Canberra nature reserves and for seven weeks, from June 9, 1336 adult kangaroos and hundreds of joeys will be killed in seven nature reserves.

The announcement was made to coincide with the ACT Environment Directorate’s release of the statutory review of the Kangaroo Management Program by Prof Sarah Legge, who was contracted by the ACT Environment Directorate. 

While Prof Legge is a highly qualified academic, the review was by no means independent of the ACT Environment Directorate, which developed the narrow terms of reference and then tightly managed the review with the aim of achieving the government’s desired outcome.

The review is being used as cover for Canberra’s kangaroo slaughter. It is purely and simply an exercise in green washing. 

In an absurd claim, the ACT government states its program of slaughtering kangaroos and joeys puts “kangaroo welfare at the heart of its activities”. 

How is bludgeoning, decapitating and orphaning baby animals humane? How is keeping thousands of innocent sentient animals in a state of prolonged terror and trauma humane? This is not welfare in any sense. This is animal cruelty. 

Since 2009, over 30,000 kangaroos have been shot and thousands of joeys have been bashed to death with wooden mallets or decapitated, over an area of 11,400 hectares, which comprise the reserves making up Canberra Nature Park. 

Kangaroos are a keystone species in the woodlands and grasslands of the ACT. With few kangaroos in many of the reserves, including those targeted in this year’s program of slaughter, the impact on other native animals is also inhumane, with long, rank grass and prolific weeds reducing the quality of the habitat. 

Jane Robinson, Save Canberra’s Kangaroos 

No ordinary Joe, says candidate

I write in response to John Lawrence (letters, CN May 16, “A little more about Joe’s skills, please”. I hope John wasn’t referring to my Joe Prevedello – Liberal for Ginninderra candidacy letter as “junk” when he found it clearing the “junk mail” from his letterbox! 

Alas, you can only fit so many words on to an A5 page, so I appreciate the query about my skill set. 

In answer to John’s question about small business, I co-ran a tour business called Canberra Guided Tours. And, while I don’t come from an economics background, running a business teaches you the value of a dollar – something the current government doesn’t understand. 

Finally, Mark Parton is a friend of mine and I have no doubt we would work formidably together in the Legislative Assembly if the people of Belconnen put their trust in me.

Joe Prevedello, Dunlop

Pervasive pornography is destroying democracy

Letter writer John L Smith (CN, May 9) rightly refers to pornography as the driver of domestic violence. 

From seeing women as mere objects of men’s uncaring sexual activity to perceiving them in this role in everyday life is a small step.

The closest possible relationship between the sexes, once alluded to as “one flesh” in some writings, is now in the process of being reduced to animal copulation, centred on personal gratification only. 

All, men and women alike, are missing out on deep, abiding, committed love which sustains a relationship lasting throughout life and incorporating, in most cases, the birth and nurture of children. 

Pornography is a big worldwide business, generating vast sums for its purveyors. Its pervasiveness, even among children sometimes, is destroying society. 

This is where the “no censorship” promoters are damaging human relationships with a lack of respect for self and others and, ultimately, domestic violence. Now is the time for decisive action, personal and governmental, to ban pornography and restore the dignity of human relationships.

Mary Samara-Wickrama, Weston

Male entitlement is root cause of partner killings

Russ Morison raised a good point when he mentioned the case of Donald Morley, an elderly Canberran sentenced for the murder of his wife.

The backstory is indeed tragic. A man caring for his wife with dementia kills her and attempts to take his own life because he had a terminal illness. 

Due to voters’ obsession with lower taxes, conditions in nursing homes are terrible. Yet still a man has made a decision for his wife without her consent.

This male entitlement is the root cause of all intimate partner killings, and there is one of these every four days.

The length of the sentence is in this case rather unimportant. Mr Morley will die in prison.

Russ Morison then adds as an afterthought that the Barr government allows 14 year-olds to undergo sex change operations. This is simply not true.

Medical guidelines in Australia mandate that the minimum age at which surgical gender reassignment can occur is 19. 

A person must be 18 to decide on such a medical procedure and then to have lived one full year in their new gender while receiving hormonal treatment only. Any doctor who operated on a younger child would rightly endanger their licence to practice medicine.

Noel Baxendell, Holt

Don did what he did out of love, without a doubt

I grew up across the road from the Morley’s and my mum still lives there. Don Morley was the most devoted man and he and Jean loved each other dearly. They were wonderful neighbours who looked out for each other.

I find it extremely sad that they thought this was the only option for them. Don did what he did out of love, without a doubt.

Bring forward the voluntary assisted dying laws so our old people have options for end of life.

Lauren Carter, Chisholm 

When to hold and when to fold

Apropos my two letters printed in “City News” in June 2023 and May 2024 about the HECS/HELP scheme, and my invitation to the architect of the scheme, Prof Bruce Chapman, to inform us whether the existing scheme was still fit for purpose, it is apparent from media reports that he still stands by his scheme. 

I was rather surprised at that as he is a quite proficient bridge player. I would have thought he would know better when it was best to hold as against when best to fold.

Ric Hingee, Duffy

Congratulations to the policeman

I would like to congratulate the policeman that pulled over Janine Haskins (Letters, CN May 9) for driving in the right lane. 

This is a common complaint about Canberra drivers and it is often marked on the road signs “keep left unless overtaking” and is a law for anyone that possesses a licence. 

I would like to criticise the policeman for not issuing Janine with a traffic infringement notice. 

Janine often writes letters to various Canberra media and is often critical of other people who don’t share her views. Is she that much of a snowflake that she “burst into tears” because a law-enforcement officer pointed out her errors? 

Janine should be grateful that she didn’t incur a fine and lose points, especially as she says it was a period of double-demerit points. 

Maybe she should walk in the shoes of a police officer for a day and see some of the things they have to put up with. 

Ian Pilsner, Weston

He then produced a breath test

Re Janine Haskins’ letter (CN May 9): I was comIng out of the Belconnen Hotel driveway, I watched a car speed around the corner of Belconnen Way and drive fast up Springvale Drive. 

I stopped and watched the car speed away, I then proceeded to drive up Springvale Drive and within minutes a police car with flashing lights came speeding up behind me.

Not knowing what I had done, I pulled over and tried to get out of my car, to which the policeman shouted for me to get back in the car. He came over and said I had failed to indicate when coming out of the driveway. 

I said I was sorry but was distracted by the speeding car and must have forgotten to turn the indicator on. 

He then produced a breath test and said I need to blow into it, this did not function well, so he went back to the police car and came with another breathalyser. 

I was again tested with no return of alcohol, he then said that I could go. My main comment is that if they have to target people for a very minor issue to gain the opportunity to test them, my confidence in the police is somewhat lacking.

John Easthope, Macquarie

Just a number to bolster an argument?

In Dr Douglas Mackenzie’s letter, (CN May 9) “Don’t have a bar of another Barr Government”, he makes completely irresponsible statements on the costs of the light rail to Woden! 

Quote: “Estimates of the cost… of Stage 2B to Woden range from $5 billion to between $8 billion and $10 billion… depending on unforeseen problems” Considering the total ACT annual budget is about $7.5 billion and the total cost of the new second Sydney airport itself (not including the metro) is under $6 billion, to throw such irresponsible costs around for seemingly blatant political purposes is beyond reproach. He has no idea of how big an amount one billion dollars really is, let alone five, eight or 10! Just a number to bolster an argument eh, Dr Mac?

Dave Rogers, Woden Valley

No scientific evidence on climate change

Re: letter from Ray Peck (CN May 9, “Vote to elect climate aware politicians”): I have yet to see any written scientific evidence that humans are causing climate change. 

We get told “follow the science” but we are never shown what science, it is all conjecture. I agree we are polluting the planet with CO2, but there has been CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere for millions of years. 

The heat comes from the sun and it changes in its activity on a regular basis. We have had several ice ages, then they melted due to hotter weather. CO2 is absorbed by the trees and plants, this is why we are getting bumper crops of plant life.

As to using our money to divest superannuation from fossil fuels investment, it will not work if you want to continue having plastics, rayons, steel etcetera. You will have to do without all items that include sporting goods, car parts, clothes, phones, computers, water pipes, electrical conduits, kitchen utensils… I could go on but there would not be enough room on the page. 

Vi Evans via email

An economy of good comedians

What a shame today’s so-called comedians don’t (or can’t) take a leaf out of their intergenerational predecessors and devise clever, clean and intellectually-stimulating one-liners. 

Whimsy columnist Clive Williams (CN, May 16) has been providing a wide range of excellent examples (many could also be labelled “truisms”). May I add a couple more to Clive’s most recent collection on economic realism: “If you laid all the world’s economists end to end, they wouldn’t reach a conclusion” and “What do you call an economist?” Answer: “An accountant with a sense of humour”.

Eric Hunter, Cook 

Housing plan tantamount to madness

I agree with Michael Moore and Ian Elsum (“Planning gone completely mad in North Curtin”, CN, May 16): the North Curtin development proposed by the Rattenbury–Barr, “GreensLabor” government is tantamount to madness. 

Cramming 1300 dwellings on to the horse paddock is asking for trouble before the first sod is turned.

The first problem is access. At present the only feasible entry point is from McCulloch Street, which – as Mr Elsum points out – is “already very busy and congested with peak hour traffic”. Another option might be opposite the entry to Dudley Street, Yarralumla, from Cotter Road: this intersection complex is already busy at peak hour, and will become more so as the population of Molonglo Valley grows.

There are also the problems of loss of topsoil to support the growth of trees and lawn (green space), and the heat-island effect. With a population density equivalent to “the most densely populated areas of Sydney, London, Amsterdam or Stockholm”, and a built-up area “three times as dense as Singapore”, the heat-island effect could be fatal, especially for older residents.

Planning Minister Chris Steel needs to rethink this proposal and persuade his Greens-Labor masters to accept a new and more sensible plan.

Dr Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin

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One Response to Hats off to Alicia Payne for national capital report

Palmerston's Growing Lament says: 21 May 2024 at 7:22 am

The Kanberra Kangaroo Kollective’s regular weekly whinge of how unfairly science fact is treating them appears to a mixture of petulance and denial. As though reality is something to be avoided?

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