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Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

Another attempt to 'get' David Eastman a waste of more taxpayer millions

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by October 30, 2016 General

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As a taxpayer who has now been contributing for 27 years to the cost of ACT law enforcement’s pursuit, prosecution and persecution of David Eastman, I decided to attend the Supreme Court proceedings this week to show support for his cause.

That was not to be. Their Honours had decided to close the court to the public.

David Eastman is now 71 and has spent 19 years in jail following a defective trial.

It is madness to contemplate spending more millions and many months on another attempt to “get” him.

Perhaps an Attorney-General Rattenbury might have the courage to bring this gross injustice to an end?

Chris Smith, Kingston

Wind costs misguided

Let me counter two aspects of Ross Fitzgerald’s rant against renewables (Care needed on commitment to renewables, Oct 27).

Fitzgerald misleads on the cost of wind generation. The ACT government has shown new wind can be bought for under $80 per Mwh. In years past wind may have been more expensive than gas generation, but that is no longer the case.

Wholesale gas prices are up over 50 per cent in the last year thanks to Queensland’s LNG exports.

Even a new coal power station will struggle against the current cost of wind.

Our fleet of old coal power stations can only compete because they don’t have to pay for their carbon emissions or other negative environmental and health effects.

Fitzgerald attempts to entirely blame wind generation for the South Australian blackout.

He ignores fallen transmission lines and historical failures of fossil generation under similar conditions.

A sensible move to help SA’s reliability would be to address the discrepancy between the high cost of gas and the low cost of coal.

Despite having gas generation to meet any conceivable need, SA is importing electricity from Victoria for the simple reason Victorian coal power is cheaper than SA gas generation.

David Osmond, wind engineer, Dickson

Direct access vital

If it is G.I. Bellamy’s view (Letters, October 27) that the giving of legal advice is not one of the ordinary functions of counsel, this is not a view many counsel would share.

It was not a view I took as the (first) head of the Office of General Counsel in the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department.

It was not a view on which the many distinguished Solicitors-General with whom I had the privilege of working acted.

It was clearly not the view on which Governor-General Quentin Bryce and the then Acting Solicitor-General acted when, following the election of Mr Rudd as leader of the Labor Party, Prime Minister Gillard recommended to the Governor-General that Mr Rudd be commissioned as prime minister.

The Governor-General very properly sought the advice of the Acting Solicitor-General whether to act on Ms Gillard’s recommendation and commission Mr Rudd as Prime Minister (surely a classic example, if one were needed, of the importance of direct access by the Governor-General to the Solicitor-General, without the prior consent of the Attorney-General).

Ernst Willheim, Forrest

‘Up yours’ rebuke

Don Sephton (CT 27/10) asks why previous AGs had not seen the need to issue a Brandis-type directive.

Had they tried they would have received a very sharp rebuke of “up yours” from all their ministerial colleagues.

Brandis has no mandate to issue such a directive as, first, it does not appear to have been considered by cabinet.

Second, it appears to be unconstitutional as it interferes with the lawful business of other ministers to conduct their ministries.

Third, it would enable Brandis to interfere with the lawful decision-making processes ministers assume.

Any minister who does not administer those processes in accordance with the statutes and relevant law could have decisions overturned by the courts.

Guy Swifte, Garran

Disaster not looming

In his 2006 book, The Vanishing Face of Gaia: a Final Warning: Enjoy it While You Can, environmentalist James Lovelock predicted environmental disasters. In an interview on the BBC on April 2, 2014 he retracted those predictions, and repeated his retractions in The Guardian on September 30, 2016. He said atmospheric carbon dioxide is increasing, but much more slowly than forecast, and the effect on global temperature is unpredictable.

Peter D. Hughes, Curtin

Cynical inquiry ploy

Warren Mundine is correct. We do not need yet another inquiry into Aboriginal incarceration. Instead, the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody should be fully implemented as soon as possible.

The call for another inquiry appears to be a cynical ploy by the Attorney-General to direct attention away from his imbroglio with the former solicitor-general.

Patricia Saunders, Chapman

Benefits solution

If the government insists on restricting its maternity benefits to those who do not receive benefits as a consequence of enterprise negotiations the response is simple. During the next round of negotiations employees should trade away maternity benefits for alternatives.

Roger Dace, Reid

Little to brag about

How can we spend months exploring the filth of Trump’s mouth and the Clinton indiscretions while we ignore the mysteries of the US economy.

Retiring president Eisenhower pointed to the power of the military industrial complex but still they arm Israel and the poor go hungry.

Australia has little to brag about economically — stealing Aboriginal land and East Timor’s oil.

We’re aching to build old submarines not sustainable cars, motorbikes or even pushies.

But we have ordered 70 of those infamous Joint Strike Fighters. Allelujah, we’re saved.

Yvonne Francis, Apollo Bay

Autonomous future awaits

Chris Carder (CT letters Oct 27) demonstrates a poor understanding of the potential impact of autonomous vehicles on our society.

The traditional car ownership model itself may well be disrupted.

Uber and Lyft are investing heavily in autonomous technologies. Autonomous vehicles may offer all manner of ways to overcome traffic congestion.

These may include ride sharing in minibus type vehicles, intelligent routing, vehicle-to-vehicle communications, vehicle chaining, moving freight deliveries out of busy periods, demand shaping pricing, drop-off bays and recharging complexes.

Singapore’s autonomous taxis and London’s expansion of the Heathrow ULTRapod system are current examples of larger cities realising the potential for autonomous vehicle solutions.

We can be certain [autonomous vehicles] will have a huge impact on the structure of our future cities.

The full picture of the autonomous revolution as a disruptive technology is only just emerging. This was the worst time to bet Canberra’s transport future on old technology light rail.

Warwick Bradly, Weston

Chris Carder identifies limited benefits when human-driven cars are replaced by autonomous versions.

Co-ordinated cars will double road carrying capacity, improve safety and help those unable to drive regain independence.

The biggest gains will only occur if electric autonomous cars are operated as a shared fleet.

A shared fleet of 23,000 such vehicles is enough to service the common travel needs of Canberrans, providing a 24/7, on-demand, door-to-door service for 20-25 cents/km and a 60-second waiting time for 98 per cent of journeys, but only if cars are shared during the morning and afternoon peaks.

The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group announced on October 24 that Paris, Buenos Aires, Austin, Nashville and Los Angeles are leading the “Cities and Autonomous Vehicles Initiative” to transform city transport systems to, as the mayor of Paris put it, “prioritise the health and welfare of our citizens” and help “cities deliver on the ambition of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change”.

Kent Fitch, Nicholls

Innovation lead lost

Autonomous cars will be part of a public transport revolution that will eliminate pressure on parking, reduce road congestion and improve road safety.

The tragedy of the light rail mandate is that Canberra has lost its chance to be a leader in public transport innovation.

A. Smith, Farrer

Inform public on tram

Could the public please be informed how long will it take to build the tramline from Gungahlin to Civic? How many passengers does one tram take? How many passengers does a bus hold? How much will be the fare from Gungahlin to Civic?

How many tram stops will there be from Civic to Gungahlin?

Will there be two trams running each way along Northbourne Avenue?

Penelope Upward, O’Connor

If light rail is to be pushed out to Woden for stage 2 can it please go to the Canberra Hospital in addition to the plaza?

Only a small extension to the line would be needed.

This would make the tram ten times more useful than if it just went to the plaza alone.

It would help ensure patronage after hours I think as people could use it during visiting hours to the hospital (up to 9pm) and it would help ease parking issues.

The hospital is a major community facility and deserves to be on the line.

The Gold Coast ran their tram to their hospital and we should do the same.

R. Moulis, Hackett

Despite Labor losing primary votes notwithstanding its guaranteed CFMEU voting bloc, the CanTheTram lobby lost the election.

Yet still the letters page is peppered with arguments for and against the tram.

Before this continues further, possibly we could establish the current rationale for the enterprise.

Is it to reduce traffic congestion or merely a cost-effective investment in a growing city?

Maybe it is to reduce fossil fuel emissions from buses and cars. It could be to speed up the commute.

Ongoing availability of parking spaces at employment hubs could be the issue or maybe the community health benefits of a longer walk to transport and most commuters having to stand on their own two legs for the trip.

Maybe it is just to force implementation of the long-planned densification of the inner north.

I think all of those have been thoroughly debunked excepting the last possibility.

Anyway, we’re stuck with it. This show pony of an enterprise looks set to bolt south.

Gary J. Wilson, Macgregor

Correct Berlin trivia

Please correct the answer to your number two trivia question [Canberra Times, October 27, page 13]. Alexanderplatz, is several kilometres from the Brandenburger Tor, the Soviet occupation border was on the western side.

Artur Baumhammer, Isabella Plains

Milk diet over-pumped

Marguerite Castello seems to believe that she needs cows’ milk (CT Letters, Oct 25).

Humans, especially those who have been weaned, do not need to consume milk from cows any more than they need milk from giraffes or mice.

It is calf-growing fluid. That so many believe it’s a vital component in a human diet is testament to the effectiveness of marketing.

Mike O’Shaughnessy, Spence

TO THE POINT

GRATEFUL FOR GLEESON

Like many Australians I was sorry Gillian Triggs wasn’t named Australian of the Year last year after her mauling at the hands of Attorney-General, George Brandis.

Thankfully there’s still time for outgoing Solicitor-General, Justin Gleeson, to be given the honour by a grateful nation.

John Clarke, Pearce

HANG IN THERE TRIGGS

LNP politicians make misleading statements and it is claimed they “misspoke” and all is forgiven.

Gillian Triggs makes one misleading statement to the Senate inquiry (Oct 26, 2016 p 8, Coalition MPs Tear into Triggs) and she is pilloried by the LNP and supporters. Hang in there, Gillian.

Colleen Foster, Bywong

SOME PERSPECTIVE

The tragic deaths of three Canberrans continue to dominate the front pages of the Canberra Times (November 28).

Meanwhile, back on page 21, a small entry tells us 14 children have been murdered by Russian and Syrian forces in air strikes targeting schools. That’s not really anything to do with us, is it?

J. Sever, Higgins

WARNING OF WASPS

On Saturday I found two European wasps; one on the inside of my fly wire door, the other dead on an outside seat. They are distinguished by their bright yellow and black markings.

They make their nests under soil or in crevices of walls.

Glenys Hammer, Narrabundah

MILITARY UNCERTAINTY

NATO and Russia are ramping up the positioning of opposing military forces, which could lead anywhere.

Rod Matthews, Fairfield

WELFARE ATTACK DOG

Is there a reason for the Treasurer being lead attack dog against welfare or is the Social Services minister just insufficiently shameless?

Bob Gardiner, Isabella Plains

HANDY DEATH LIST

I have considered the Pope’s handy list of “erroneous ideas about death” (“Pope Francis forbids use of ashes in death rites,” October 27, p15) and find I hold all of them.

David Stephens, Bruce

DEMOCRACY STOLEN

Why are greedy developers allowed to steal our sky and sunshine by erecting tall buildings? Why are the privileged few allowed to buy our lake foreshores?

Why has the ACT Government abandoned the democratic principles on which Canberra was designed?

Robyn Coghlan, Hawker

Email: letters.editor@canberratimes.com.au. Send from the message field, not as an attached file. Fax: 6280 2282. Mail: Letters to the Editor, The Canberra Times, PO Box 7155, Canberra Mail Centre, ACT 2610.

Keep your letter to 250 words or less. References to Canberra Times reports should include date and page number. Letters may be edited. Provide phone number and full home address (suburb only published).

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