No model to follow
Since 1976 (including 2017), 1448 people have been executed in the US by the state. Yet between 2005 and 2015, guns caused the deaths of 301,797 people in the US (while terrorist attacks killed just 94 people). Not only is the death sentence ludicrously ineffective as a deterrent, but it appears to foster violence on a scale that is elsewhere only ever seen in times of war. At the same time, since 1973, justice has failed 156 people in 26 US states who have been wrongly convicted and sentenced to death and then been exonerated. Instead of getting tougher on crime, logic demands that we get smarter in the way that we rehabilitate offenders while reducing the triggers that lead to offending, rather than fall into the chaos that is the United States justice system.
Pat Hockey, Clunes
A bad idea regardless of who backs it
On March 31, I raised my disappointment in the Australian Labor Party for backing-up their state counterparts in supporting the development of the Adani coal mine in QLD and on April 1, Catherine King responded dismissed my arguments on account of my party affiliations. I believe Ms King’s duty to her constituents comes before her duty to her party. I stand by my comments that the ALP is selling out on Native Title Rights in pursuit of opening this coal mine, and that it is completely incompatible the ALP's professed plan to transition away from fossil fuels to ensure a safe climate future.
While the ALP is offering no "financial support" for Adani to go ahead as Ms King points out, they have offered to give Adani 9.5 billion litres of precious groundwater for free, every year, to support their mining operations. Labor’s reasoning doesn't justify reneging on promises to Australia's First Peoples, or the climate the next generation will inherit.
Alice Barnes, Ballarat
clear need for transport hub for whole region
I read with interest the report on the Grampians and Barwon South West Region Passenger Services and Cost Feasibility Study (The Courier 6 April).
The report acknowledges the urgent need for rail to connect regional and rural communities. The report commissioned, which was commissioned by eight western Victoria councils (which didn't include Ballarat), states that "rail is essential for more opportunity for jobs, education, health, friends, shopping and sport".
It also states that "… regional residents, including young people, the aged, those in need of medical specialties and those in need of access to choices in work and education, often had inadequate public transport access to regional centres like Horsham, Ararat or Hamilton, let alone Ballarat, Geelong or Bendigo.
As well, the report indicated that the public passenger services that are being provided beyond Ararat are sub-standard, being little improved from 30 years ago, and offering limited access to regional centres as well as inadequate connectivity.
Immediate investment in an integrated transport hub at Ballarat with further improvements along the line to the west are essential for western Victoria.
It is therefore vital that governments invest now in efficient regional rail for the future economy of regional and rural Victoria.
I implore our Ballarat community leaders, particularly those who expouse Ballarat as the 'capital of western Victoria', state and federal governments and their oppositions to act on this document.
And most importantly, implement a wide-ranging review of the public transport services in regional Victoria so as to create efficient and fast public transport, particularly rail, for commuters to Melbourne and people travelling to Ballarat for business and pleasure as well as those travelling further afield in the state.
Ron Egeberg, Soldiers Hill