News location:

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

If the government doesn’t care, why should we?

“The ACT shows disregard for actual public service delivery. No wonder Canberrans throw up our hands and put up with dirty, litter-strewn, vandalised roads, parks and infrastructure,” says letter writer G NIELSEN.

I recently came across – again – a stolen sharps container near a very public pathway at the Molonglo River Reserve Corridor. 

Write to

Trying to report it to Access Canberra, I was dismayed to be told the ACT no longer accepts anonymous reports from the public. Fix My Street received too many reports they said. 

Instead of taking that as a sign of demand by concerned, time-poor citizens, the ACT has decided to force people to waste time registering, getting a log-in or phoning and waiting to lodge reports, often to people who have no sense at all of Canberra’s geography. 

I’m not going to touch a yellow, used-sharps container that says “Danger”, and I’m trying to ensure no other walkers, dog walkers, children, cyclists or horse riders potentially encounter the risk. 

Yet again, the ACT shows disregard for actual public service delivery. No wonder Canberrans throw up our hands and put up with dirty, litter-strewn, vandalised roads, parks and infrastructure. 

There’s hardly a skerrick of “public service” mentality left. If the government doesn’t care enough, why should we?

G Nielsen, via email

Change rooms at the Phillip Pool.

 I despair of this government’s lack of interest

I despair at the ACT government and the lack of interest in hearing community concerns. 

The last time I visited the Phillip Pool and used the change rooms this is what they were like (see photo).

The ACT government has just handed over a plot of land, including our community pool, to Geocon and said, “do what you like”. 

I thought they were meant to look after the pool and fix up the change rooms so they weren’t a health hazard. Who monitors these contracts? Why couldn’t the ACT government keep the pool area and give the rest to Geocon? 

Now, apparently, if we are to believe what we hear on the grapevine, we are to get a 25-metre pool attached to apartments. It is NOT what the community wants. Again, the developers just get their way. 

Time for a new territory government – one that wants to listen to the community. 

Penny Moyes, Hughes 

Out of action… the Cooleman Court ATM.

ATM at your service, not…

I moved to Weston in early 2020. This was soon after the closure of the Commonwealth Bank branch at Cooleman Court. 

It took until late last year before the bank finally placed an ATM at this shopping centre again, saving many of its frustrated customers a trip to the next-nearest machine at Woden Plaza.

However, the joy was short-lived: some eight weeks ago, the Commonwealth Bank’s ATM at Cooleman Court, while looking perfectly ready to serve, does nothing but display a notice saying: “Transaction not supported” when customers enter their cards and details.

The ATM at our shopping centre hasn’t been serviced for many weeks despite having been reported twice – in person – for being “out of service” to CBA staff at the Woden branch.

This begs the question of how many other unserviced Commonwealth Bank ATMs there are in Canberra, or indeed, countrywide?

Paul Roberts, Weston

Today’s youth will make fair, unbiased decisions

Well, aren’t the up-and-coming university students of today fortunate that Ric Hingee is no longer involved in any selection of graduates! (“Sick of the protesting students’ antics”, letters, CN June 13). 

Imagine someone holding that position who has no knowledge of world history and his selection is based on his preconceived idea that these students wouldn’t want to learn and work with colleagues. 

What “aggressive demonstrating” have you witnessed, Mr Hingee? The turmoil in Palestine you mention has been occurring for 76 long years and decades before Hamas was formed. 

Today’s youth is fully informed and will, in fact, make intelligent, fair and unbiased decisions that obviously Mr Hingee was unable to make with his preferred choice of employing robots!

June Kirvan, via email

Tunnel vision not the breakthrough

When I saw a headline about a tunnel for light rail to Woden I thought – a breakthrough! No more worries about bridging the lake! No pesky gradients or sharp curves! No waiting for traffic lights! No running over pedestrians! And the tourist attraction of gliding through the limestone caverns under the Parliamentary Zone! 

Imagine my disappointment when I read on and found it would only be a tiny tunnel (or ditch)! 

Come on ACT government, be brave! You don’t care how much it costs anyway. And there’s that nice boring machine that doesn’t seem to be doing much down at Snowy 2; I’m sure they’d be happy to lend it to you. What could go wrong?

Richard Johnston, Kingston

Big block, but no way to subdivide

I am writing in respect of Hugh Selby’s article “Why the increased, rezoned land rates are wrong” (CN June 6).

We have lived at the same address in Kaleen since the house was built 45 years ago. The land is just shy of 1000sqm and over the years, with several extensions, the dwelling itself is now about 300sqm.

Therefore we are caught up in the increased, rezoned land rates changes. 

We have a large organic garden (more than 30 fruit trees and many vegetable plots) that takes up the majority of the balance of our property.

Over the past few years we have explored options to downsize, however, even if we need to get paid assistance, have determined that nothing would give us the same benefits as we currently enjoy, that is the produce we grow and give away, and well as keeping us active and mobile. As such, we want to be carried out of here in a box!!

Our son, who is in real estate, has suggested that in no way are we able to build a second dwelling on the land (without major demolition/renovation to the current dwelling).

We are now members of the SKIN (spending the kids’ inheritance) club, having to get assistance through the Home Equity Assistance Scheme after being scammed of our life savings several years ago.

Therefore, I totally agree with Hugh’s suggestion that the legislation should be amended to make it clear that the lessee applying to redevelop/subdivide their block will be charged an appropriate fee.

Victor Oates, via email

Never mind the plants, think people

Letter writer Ray Peck (CN June13) raises the issue of invasive plants.

But really, the worst invasive species on the planet, dispossessing thousands of other species around the globe, is the entire 9 billion human species.

Until we start limiting our own procreation, many other species, both plant and animal, will continue to lose habitat to tar and cement jungles, and be driven to extinction. 

Elaine Staples, Campbell

Culling takes precedence over controlling weeds

Ray Peck’s letter (CN June 13) points me to several options on how to combat invasive species in Canberra’s nature reserves. 

I have exhausted myself over the past years writing to each Environment Minister drawing to their attention the neglect and lack of invasive weed removal and highlighted observed loss of flora and fauna due to this neglect. 

Nothing has improved during my long campaign in fact it becomes more of a problem as each year passes. Yearly slaughtering of kangaroos, bashing joeys with a mallet, and leaving young at foot joeys to starve if they are lucky enough to escape takes precedence over controlling invasive weeds in the ACT. 

This has and is the preferred policy of the Labor/Greens parties and although invited to view the devastation they are causing only one minister has ever bothered to accept the invitation.

Julie Lindner, Farrer

We wouldn’t be able to agree on anything!

My ego would normally be inflated by Max McGregor (CN,June12) including me in his list of potential members of a “Letters to the Editor Party” at the next ACT election. 

I fear though he might have been indulging in a scintilla of satire. As a group, I doubt if the personages Max named would ever be able to agree on any significant topic (although consistency and community of purpose are hardly key criteria in modern politics). 

Yet Max may have a point in relation to the ACT’s present situation. As Mark Twain astutely observed: “Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason”.

Eric Hunter, Cook 

Party of perennial scribes not the solution 

Max McGregor’s proposal for a new ACT political party (City News, June 13) certainly has merit when viewing the dross we have been obliged to tolerate since the imposition of so-called self-government. 

Over more recent years residents have had little choice but green-veneered amateurs wagging socialist-based laborites in an electoral marathon as to which can be the most prodigal with public monies before crossing an increasingly remote finishing line of economic stability. 

On the other hand the Far From Being Liberal self-styled opposition has for decades shown its fear of being foisted with the reins of government by pre-selecting mealy-mouthed candidates ever unsure of what their party symbolises and how to influence voters to rid the territory of its chronic political contagion.

I’m not convinced, however, that a party of perennial scribes is the solution. 

In the Qantas lounge of Canberra Airport recently I overheard two journalistic types, possibly ABC, discussing local media publications with specific reference to “letters” writers and how both the daily and weekly journals appear to use a common stable of authors.

Being a customary reader of these publications, I couldn’t help but privately concur with their contention but, a stable though it may be, hacks such as Douglas, Eric and Jack seem more distantly related to thoroughbreds named Winx, Makybe Diva and Black Caviar than they are to Boxer in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Please spare the Assembly and the populace from such senescent ruminants. 

John Murray, Fadden

The front cover of CityNews in March 2008.

Alliance parties have their problems

An interesting suggestion, Max McGregor (“Letters to the Editor Party anyone?”, City News June 13), but I have already tried something similar back in March 2008. 

The idea was to put together an alliance of smaller parties and independents to run under one banner, similar to the newly established Independents for Canberra Party today. 

I was asked by numerous people, representing different organisations, to help set up such a party, which would remove a majority Labor Party that found little need to consult with the community.

That majority was removed in the next election, but the problem was that the so-called independents wanted to run under their own names for ego purposes, rather than as part of an alliance. 

I suspect the same would apply today for a “Letters” party and for any independents party. You need the support of a well-known, current MLA or parliamentary representative such as David Pocock, to succeed and I wish him well.

I have since moved on, but the Community Alliance Party, now changed to the Community Action Party, still lives on after more than a decade since it was first established and I am sure the current chairman would welcome any suitable letter writers as possible candidates in the next ACT election.

Ric Hingee, Duffy 

Police should model aspirational behaviour 

Letter writer Ian Pilsner seems to be applauding bullying. I detest it.

The driver on whom a policeman visited such behaviour (Janine Haskins, letters, CN May 9) was driving in Canberra in the right-hand lane. Grounds for a reprimand perhaps, no more.

Police are part of our community, and unless facing a violent situation (verbal or physical) should model behaviour to which we should all aspire.

Oh, and Mr Pilsner has seen “keep left unless overtaking” signs in Canberra (as opposed to the open highway). Where please?

John Griffin, via email 

Why we must commit to dying a natural death

Letter writers Carole Ford (CN June 6) and Janine Haskins (CN June 20) cite the incapacity of people with dementia in a well-intentioned argument in favour of extending euthanasia laws to allow the killing of people.

The experience to date is that euthanasia can be very quickly normalised so that once killing is allowed there is no logical stopping point.

When Churchill and Roosevelt committed to the Normandy invasion in World War II they were commanding 45,000 young Allied service personnel who would give their lives over the following 10 weeks so that nations of the world could live in freedom.

Conversely, we must commit to dying a natural death so that the vulnerable in our nation who are aged or disabled will have their inalienable dignity respected and protected in all circumstances.

If not, how will we respond within a few years when the baby boomer generation requires intense aged care at an unprecedented level?

John L Smith, Farrer 

On accepting personal wishes

Enduring both unwanted suffering and lengthy and extensive palliative care at the end of your life instead of seeking access to voluntary assisted dying is now seen as something that should be put up with and accepted because it is also about “enabling those near and dear to express their love” at that time of your deterioration (“How intolerant our society has become”, letters, CN June 13).

A recent full-page obituary in the Sydney Morning Herald for Lynne Spender, “influential feminist, teacher, author… editor and creative industries leader”, noted how she had been a supporter of VAD and had also watched how her mother died: “Her pacemaker seemed to prolong her life and she literally starved to death… None of us has ever really recovered from this heartless imposition”.

The obituary advised how Spender had recently accessed VAD in NSW, where the system, unfortunately, imposes cruel restrictive time parameters on those with eligible terminal conditions: “Enduring late-stage pancreatic cancer, Spender remained at her home… supported by family, friends and a palliative care team”. 

When choosing VAD in the ACT, you can have others with you if you wish. Whether they are “near and dear” is up to you. There is no need to die alone, as many have had to experience in the past when organising to end their lives to escape unwanted levels of existing or looming suffering. 

The education of the general community about VAD in the ACT and the associated training of health professionals will address “coercive control” issues. This would also include situations where family members and others oppose and seek to interfere with a person’s clear wish to seek VAD support.

Sue Dyer, Downer

Time the Commonwealth reintroduced democracy 

Re Jon Stanhope’s column “Territories labour under Canberra’s ‘colonial’ yoke” (CN June 20).

The Commonwealth rhetoric leading up to the abolishing of the Norfolk Island parliament in 2015 was that Norfolk Islanders wanted all the benefits but didn’t want to pay tax. 

The reality, like most things in life, was a little more nuanced. We opposed the destruction of our democracy because we knew the imposed model didn’t work. 

It hasn’t worked in the Indian Ocean Territories since 1984. Forty years is time enough to fairly state the neocolonial governance model will never work. 

The governance model doesn’t even work for the taxpayer. Hundreds of millions spent per year (mostly on mates’ consulting businesses); ensuring high investment with little return. 

In Norfolk Island the population since June 2016 has risen by 36 per cent, a direct result of removing local immigration management to be replaced with, well nothing. Imagine if the population of Australia had increased by 36 per cent in less than a decade?

Norfolk Islanders are now drowning in a sea of land rates. The brilliance of replacing a sustainable governance model with a local government model, and removing the previous revenue streams. 

Now we are blessed with a broke council (in administration) and roads that have dramatically worsened since the ill-advised removal of the Norfolk Island government in 2015. The land rates are damaging the culture and the environment as locals are forced to either subdivide or sell.

It is time for the Commonwealth to reintroduce democracy to the non-self-governing territory of Norfolk Island.

Brett Sanderson, Norfolk Island

Who can be trusted?

In a world of spin and confusion, there’s never been a more important time to support independent journalism in Canberra.

If you trust our work online and want to enforce the power of independent voices, I invite you to make a small contribution.

Every dollar of support is invested back into our journalism to help keep strong and free.

Become a supporter

Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor

Share this

One Response to If the government doesn’t care, why should we?

Jim says: 25 June 2024 at 1:11 pm

Would John Smith like to provide evidence for his assertion that “The experience to date is that euthanasia can be very quickly normalised so that once killing is allowed there is no logical stopping point.”

There is no evidence to support that claim, at all, in regards to modern voluntary euthanasia laws. Don’t try and project events from a long time ago, in a very different context forward, to try and justify opposition to giving people the right to ending their lives as they choose.


Leave a Reply

Related Posts


For all our sakes, Joe, it’s time to go

"Younger leaders will make mistakes, even create catastrophes, but they offer something that old fogeys can’t: vision, excitement, a feeling of belonging, and hope," writes (mature) columnist HUGH SELBY. 


Fading memories as the ABC falls to pieces

"On any given day, the ABC's viewing line-up is overwhelmed by repeats; most of the rest are BBC propaganda freebees such as Antiques Roadshow or Grand Designs," writes The Gadfly columnist ROBERT MACKLIN.

Follow us on Instagram @canberracitynews