Mr Barr, we can't afford you anymore

Many letters and some articles of late in the CT have decried decisions by the current ACT government.

Most often topics refer to the enormous rise in rates over the last few years, the planned bus changes and the light rail.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr and his team are facing flak.

Photo: Elesa Kurtz

Mr Barr, as our Chief Minister, please listen. The people of Canberra are suffering and face more ahead because you are implementing changes too fast.

The expectation from you seems to be that we will keep paying , no matter how much our rates rise or how much we are inconvenienced.

As an older, fiscally conservative senior citizen, please let me know what the harm would be in slowing the rate of progress, just for a while, until the ACT can manage our ever-mounting debts without more gouging.

As a life-long Labor voter I am appalled by our current ACT government's lack of empathy for the inhabitants of this wonderful territory.

Come election day, I can only hope for a new government that will really listen to our wider community. We simply can't afford you any more, Mr Barr.

Yvette Goode, Yarralumla

What's in a name?

No, Kim Rubenstein and Katrina Hall, ("Just what's in a name? It's time to update the electoral guidelines so presence of women felt", September 4, p16), our electorates don't need to be named after worthies of any gender or hue, and especially not be names that are a "positive step towards reconciliation" and thus imply that there are two distinct races in Australia who are still at each other's throats.

Public servants are busy enough occupied with things that matter without devoting their time to not only taking into account someone's racial heritage or sexual identity but also weighing these up against the significance of a nominee's influence in such fields as science, politics, social progress, sport, the arts, warfare, economics or whatever in deciding who gets a named electorate guernsey, a name which will eventually have little meaning to anyone outside it and leave most of us wondering where the hell its constituents are.

Couldn't we be sensible and do away with time wasting nomenclature squabbles by confining electoral boundaries to geographical names relating to the nearest population centre or major natural feature? I think this might apply now in a few cases in Australia – it works successfully in UK.

Bill Deane, Chapman

Treatment shameful

It is disgraceful that Dr Maurice Mulcahy, a very competent and dedicated urologist, has been forced out of the public system apparently for calling for improvements in training and culture at Canberra Hospital that were embarrassing to management.

Even after his expulsion, hospital staff continue to send him complaints of harassment and bullying. The Canberra public system can ill afford to lose Dr Mulcahy's services at a time when there is a serious shortage of qualified urologists.

The refusal of ACT Health to explain or justify this serious loss says it all.

David Roth, Kambah

Pronunciation perils

David Dale's piece on the ingenious names of pasta shapes "Every shape tells a story" (Good Food, September 4, p4) gives some amusing examples.

But he is drawing the longbow when he claims that the "wit" who devised the name "penne" (pens) for a nib-shaped pasta "set a trap for non-Italians by using penne ("quills"), which needs to be spelt and pronounced carefully in order not to be confused with "pene" ("penises").

In fact peni (not pene) meaning "penises" is no more like penne than the words "pens" and "penises" are alike in English.

Even if you got the vowel and the gender wrong, there is still a double-N in penne, which means the N must be pronounced twice. It's true that English-speakers are not good at pronouncing doubled consonants, except perhaps in "midday" or "coat-tail"; but the Italian word on which they are more likely to come to grief is anno ("year") which should definitely not be pronounced ano. (Ditto for the Latin "annus horribilis", your majesty!) Italians like to tell the story of the Englishman who approaches a proud mother with the words "Che bel bambino! Quanti anni ha?" (What a beautiful baby. How many years has he?) – but fails to double the N in anno, and so receives the answer, "Uno, naturalmente!" (One, of course).

Mark O'Connor, Lyneham

Our power problem

The report "Power sector 'faces witch-hunt"' (September 6, p20 and p25) tells us that Energy Minister Angus Taylor has said "I will allow nothing to get between me and bringing down [power] prices. No distraction, absolutely nothing." Reading between the lines, this means that Australia's commitment to the Paris emissions reduction agreement, designed to help address climate change, will be ignored.

However, the Australian Energy Market Operator has pointed out that the threat of continuing drought – which is probably increased by climate change – will reduce water availability for hydro power generation and for cooling thermal power plants.

An energy industry expert has said that this reduced water availability will drive up power prices and result in more gas being used for power generation, further driving up prices.

The current drought has already resulted in Snowy Hydro's largest dam, Lake Eucumbene, falling to 18 per cent of capacity, compared to 35 per cent in 2017. With the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting that there is a 50per cent chance of an El Nino event – double the normal chance – this summer, the water situation is likely to worsen, putting even more pressure on power prices.

Angus Taylor has the might of Mother Nature standing in the way of his power price ambitions whether he likes it or not.

Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin

Time to buy back farm

The editorial of September 5 scotched an energy royal commission by asking, "Would it be authorised to investigate what impact the failure of a succession of governments to set coherent and cohesive energy policies for well over a decade has had on prices and industry planning?"

A royal commission is not necessary to determine the nation's energy policies for years past. They were privatise, sell off production and distribution and then whinge when supply fails and the price rises.

It's time to buy back the farm so to speak and also sow a couple of extra fields.

Gary J. Wilson, Macgregor

Heartwarming story

Your fantastic story on Emma Adams and Abdul ("How one family made a home for a boy from Afghanistan", September 7, p8) was a heartwarming reminder that it is individuals who make the difference when change is needed.

M. Moore, Bonython

Missing pollen key to honey doubt

Thank you, Canberra Times. Your article "Honey laundering" (September 3, p.4) answers a question which has been bothering me for some time.

As part of a school forensic program, I have had children attempt to identify pollen in various honeys bought from supermarkets to decide whether they came from the trees listed on the labels.

Filtering the very small pollen grains from honey would be very energy expensive, so we were surprised at how few grains we could find. Now we have the answer — there was very little honey in the samples.

Interestingly, "Pure Australian Honey" did contain eucalypt pollen suggesting either Australian honey was included or the mixture was spiked.

If it was Australian honey, one must suspect adulteration in Australia.

Beechworth honey, by comparison, contains plenty of pollen and is clearly the genuine article.

Dr John Rogers, Cook

Men and boys

Isn't it telling that a 23-year-old army lieutenant commanding 40 males in an infantry platoon, refers to them as "the men". And isn't it appropriate, that a middle aged coach of 13 males playing for a professional rugby league side [the Bulldogs], refers to them as "the boys".

David Hewett-Lacon, Gowrie

Who's the bully here?

Just as we were warned, those wicked Chinese carpetbaggers are busy peddling their insidious "debt trap diplomacy" to poor African nations ("China waives debt, promises 'no imposition of will' on African nations",, September 4).

Why can't China respect the "rules-based international order" and adopt the West's proven approach to civilising people by simply drawing lines on maps and exposing them to the joys of colonialism: trade, education, slavery and our prized system of justice?

Of course, if China is really keen to avoid the West's traditional approach to the Third World, it could adopt our more efficient strategy and simply steal the wealth of those struggling nations, just like we did to East Timor.

John Richardson, Wallagoot, NSW

PMs and their failings

I'm not quite sure of the point(s) Geoff Page was making in relation the actions of prime ministers who are professed Christians (Letters, September 5).

He may be implying that atheists would have done better. Unfortunately, those with atheist beliefs would include the likes of Hitler, Stalin and Mao Zedong, so I think the issue with people making bad decisions has more to do with the dark side of human nature rather than religious beliefs.

Maybe Geoff is saying that the prime ministers he named made bad decisions because they are professed Christians. If this is his argument, I would say that it is widely accepted that one should be able to see Christ in the words and actions of Christians (a principle, incidentally, that has often brought former non-believers to faith).

Obviously, I cannot speak for those named. However, I would offer that if one cannot see Christ in the words and actions of a professed Christian, there are a variety of explanations: it is possible that the latter's faith is not genuine; or they don't yet properly comprehend all the various principles of their faith; or they don't yet have what it takes to live out their faith in everything they say and do.

In this regard, all Christians should be able to acknowledge to themselves and others that there will always be a gulf between their actual words and actions, and the words and actions they aspire to.

Bridging this gap should be a lifelong endeavour.

Gordon Fyfe, Kambah

Disapproval linked to violence

Prime Minister Morrison doesn't want anti-violence or anti-bullying programs to include scenarios that have people in them he wouldn't approve ("PM hits out at school material on violence", September 4, p4).

One of many scenarios, in a program that isn't used in NSW and wasn't part of Safe Schools, included someone who is a 17-year-old sexually active bisexual. Using someone like that in a bullying and violence scenario does not meet Morrison's "values".

But any anti-violence or anti-bullying work has to deal with people who are likely to be disapproved of. It's those people who are likely to be bashed or bullied.

When we disapprove of people, we have to know better than to bash or bully them.

Morrison was in the Alan Jones echo chamber.

He wants children to be in a similar echo chamber: one in which people he doesn't approve can't be mentioned.

Then children can't learn not to bash or bully as a response to disapproval.

Christopher Hood, Queanbeyan

Please explain

Why does Transport Canberra charge to replace a TC — Myway card when other jurisdictions such as Melbourne do not?

Why do they also expire cards after a two-year period if they are not used rather than after the card is for instance four-years-old as is done in Melbourne with Myki cards? Myki cards can also be renewed online without charge.

This practice seems a very strange way to encourage occasional users of Canberra's bus network such as regularly returning visitors.

Pam Cohen, Turner

Imposition of beliefs

Geoff Page (Letters, September 5) says we are lucky not to have athiests running the country.

I actually am not so sure.

There has been much conflict in the world, and it is still going on, as a result of humans saying they are "doing God's will".

Unfortunately the "God's will" they talk about is in fact often taking away people's right to think and/or do what they consider what is right for them.

Many religions impose what they believe are "divine teachings" but are in fact only "human interpretation" to what they abide by — eg the Bible or Koran.

Then when these very avid religious people gain positions of authority — eg a politician — they see it as almost a duty to impose their beliefs on others regardless of the thinking of the greater populace.

G. Barker, Flynn

Let's start over

I think Federal MPs and Senators as a whole need to go back to basics in order to tackle their enormous trust deficit with voters.

A good place to start would be to lead by example in dealing with the boozy culture, which contributes to sexual harassment.

Smart workplaces do not tolerate drunken behaviour.

Our Federal Parliament House could be declared an alcohol-free zone.

How many bars are there in Parliament House now?

These spaces could be put to more productive use.

Why not have gyms, child care facilities, meditation areas and counselling spaces?

Glenys Byrne, Florey



Just when it seemed Canberra politics could not be more farcical along came Dutton's she-nanny-gans.

Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale, Vic


V. Lauf (Letters, September 5) advocates paying our MPs no more than the minimum wage. Does Lauf wish to go back to the days when only the independently wealthy were inclined to run for Parliament? Will overtime be paid?

Ian Douglas, Jerrabomberra


A number of letter writers criticise the annual Kangaroo "cull" and have done so for years, I am one. The Canberra Times, in its editorial quite rightly refers to it as a slaughter, for that is exactly what it is. Eastern grey kangaroos are indiscriminately killed in their thousands by a territory-sanctioned selective slaughter.

Chris Doyle, Gordon


I congratulate you on the comic note in your Business section ("Westpac hit with record penalty", September 5, p19). Hilarious. The word "hit" is so cunningly ironical. To a bank that makes more than the ASIC fine of $35 million every single day, not to mention its enormous resources, it must be like being beaten with a rabbit's tail on a string.

A. Moore, Melba


Now the Baby Boom Liberal and Labor leaders are behind us and Generation X has taken over what can we expect?

Michael McCarthy, Deakin

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