AS a visitor to Launceston from Toowoomba in Queensland we found much to admire about your beautiful city. However, we were somewhat taken aback by last Friday's article (The Examiner, March 5) about the state of your Tamar Estuary.
So, on Saturday my wife and I went on the river cruise to see for ourselves. Your articles were justified. The Tamar is a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly. Talking with some of the locals we learnt some of the history, and their frustration.
Toowoomba is also a regional city, the largest inland city in Australia after Canberra. If we had a similar waterway I'd want to be on a committee to make sure it could keep the city's rowing and sailing events and cruise boats.
Come on Launceston, maintain and enhance your beautiful asset. Our cruise was nearly 30 minutes late returning because we had to crawl through a narrow muddy channel getting back on low tide.
OUR Minister for Women, Sarah Courtney, has assured us that the "independent judging panel" for the Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women is "completely at arm's length from government", so no-one should complain that Christine Milne's nomination has been rejected (twice), while that of the secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Jenny Gale, has been successful.
Her assurance is disingenuous, as Ms Courtney fails to acknowledge that the panel is entirely appointed by the Premier. So ongoing governmental interference in its processes is no more necessary than is the case with the Supreme Court of the United States.
ZAC Batchelor is right in his opinion piece in (The Examiner, March 8).
Senator Eric Abetz's comments are an affront to the hard-working public servants who have seen us through the past year. To shift responsibility for Robodebt onto public servants is outrageous.
For him to say that with Robodebt "the principle was absolutely right" is also outrageous, Robodebt was found to be illegal. It was a cruel and deliberate attack on vulnerable people. Mr Morrison and his Liberal government are the architects of Robodebt.
They removed all human oversight and checks and balances by public servants and accused people of owing money based on a computer program. It was designed to save money, but it cost money. The federal government had to repay $721 million taken unlawfully from over 400,000 people.
It cost the Federal government a $1.2 billion court settlement, which they settled the day the class action arrived in Federal Court, because they knew it was unlawful.
George Williams, one of the country's leading legal scholars wrote during the class action that Robodebt has become the "textbook example of how not to deploy technology in government decision-making. Systems must be designed in line with community expectations that governments operate according to the law and exercise their powers in ways that are transparent, accountable and fair."
This was not the bureaucracy's scheme, it was the Morrison Liberal government's scheme. It was wrong and no public servant deserves Senator Abetz's blame shifting.
REMOVING planning powers from local councils to un-elected panels would be a blow for democracy and grassroots decision making.
Local council decision making is the closest sphere of government to the community. Councils know their community and are accountable to it. Decisions by a distant, unelected panel are a recipe for community anger, dispute and protest.
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