Probing the polls: Summernats supporters and the age of criminal responsibility

Genevieve Jacobs 13 January 2020 48
Summernats burnouts

Summernats burnouts have polarised our poll respondents. Photo: Peter Norton.

In the midst of the bushfire crisis, one of the other major stories of the season is undoubtedly Summernats.

Organisers’ decision to continue with their burnout competition on what turned out to be the hottest day Canberra has ever experienced remains controversial. In particular, it will be interesting to observe the repercussions after the Chief Minister made his thoughts on their decision abundantly clear.

There have also been some fascinating results after we polled you on the issue. A little context: most RiotACT polls attract between 500 and 1500 votes. We don’t pretend for a second that they are scientific, but it’s a good way to gauge what people care about in our very wide readership.

So we asked: Should authorities have exercised their powers to cancel the Summernats burnout competition?

An all-time record 5,884 people voted. And from behind the scenes, we can tell you that almost 25,000 people read the accompanying poll article.

Your options were: No, organisers acted responsibly within the law. This attracted 71 per cent of the total or 4,166 votes. Alternatively, you could have voted Yes, this event has lost its social license. This option received 1,718 votes, or 29 per cent of the total.

Opinions were certainly polarised in the comments.

Hilbilly said: “Forget it. If they are allowed to continue with burnouts on the hottest day in history with the whole surrounding area going up in flames and gleefully adding their acrid rubber smoke to the worst air quality in the world, then nothing can stop them. All they have to do is quote how much money they bring in to the ACT and everything caves.”

From Shane Bennett: “Definitely NO. The Summernats employ their own fire crew that are positioned all around the burnout ‘pad’ who react & respond immediately to any threat very promptly, no-one & nature are never in trouble. Taking Summernats from Canberra would be detrimental to the local economy. My only suggestion would be [to] ban the sale of alcohol before …say … 2-3 pm, that will eliminate most of the ‘dickhead’ behaviour.”

Maya123 smelt a rat: “One moment with the poll the ‘yes’ vote was leading, then all of a sudden the ‘no’ vote was leading. Makes me wonder if the results were screwed by say an email going out to Summernats attendees and asking them all to vote.”

Perish the thought! Incidentally, a warm welcome to any passionate motorsport fans who may have arrived at the site very recently, and thanks for engaging in the debate.

This week we’re asking about whether we should raise the age of criminal responsibility.

There is a national push underway to raise the age of criminal responsibility across Australia from 10 to 14, and ACT Human Rights Commissioner Helen Watchirs has weighed in, saying that is the international standard.

“We now have the evidence in relation to brain development for complex reasoning regarding consequences and impulse control, which is not developed until the age of 14 generally,” she said.

What do you think?

Should we raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14?

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48 Responses to Probing the polls: Summernats supporters and the age of criminal responsibility
Sarah Kristine Sarah Kristine 11:39 am 17 Jan 20

It was heavily ironic to see people baying for the cancellation of the NYE fireworks, and then to watch the same people less than 10 days later use the same lines they’d objected to in regards to Summernats

Mark Spence Mark Spence 7:23 pm 16 Jan 20

Chris Lenihan interesting comments

    Chris Lenihan Chris Lenihan 7:33 pm 16 Jan 20

    Mark Spence yep, however i agree with their decision to continue with the burnouts, the original article ststed it was discussed with the chief ministers office, ACT fire and rescue and ACT police, they all agreed with 60 professional fire fighters at Summernats it would not drain any local resources.

    Mark Spence Mark Spence 8:36 pm 16 Jan 20

    Chris Lenihan I agree. All contingencies were covered so all good. I think last year or the year before was worse with hotter temps and high winds. Gazebos in high places

Jim McMahon Jim McMahon 10:10 am 16 Jan 20

Little unknown fact. Summernats had more Firefighting resources than the whole of ACT Put together.

The risk of a bush fire starting as a result of a burnout is sweet FA, however if one would have started they had more than enough resource to deal with it.

More chances of a fire getting away from our famous tent embassy’s in front of old Parliament House.

    TJ Saunders TJ Saunders 10:10 pm 16 Jan 20

    So fire resources that could have been fighting bushfires were wasted at Bogan Fest?! Way to justify the event Jim McMahon!

    Jim McMahon Jim McMahon 10:38 pm 16 Jan 20

    TJ Saunders the fire fighting resources were private and specificity for the event so no they couldn’t help.

    And while we are at it, please educate me on what resources the ACT sent to help fight the bushfires.....................

    Mark Oz Mark Oz 11:25 am 17 Jan 20

    @Jim McMahon Actually they’ve been involved quite a bit for some time -

    Looking forward to your apology to our firemen and women now that you are “educated”

Cameron Shaw Cameron Shaw 6:30 am 16 Jan 20

Let us car people have the fun weekend.

It’s a week of “inconvenience” for some of you lot.

A lot of money is spent in a lot of ways in the local economy for Summernats.

Money that usually wouldn’t be seen because the rest of Canberra has no appeal to the demographic that attends summernats.

If we want to cancel events because of environmental impacts, we should cancel floriade because why and how are we supposed to have a flower show in the middle of a drought?

We should cancel skyfire because it’s a big potential fire risk.

We should cancel the balloons because they’re a fire risk too.

Where should we stop?

Just cancel anything appealing to the ACT because a loud minority hate it?

Please 🙄

Megan van der Velde Megan van der Velde 10:16 pm 15 Jan 20

Anyone who does not live in the Watson area should not make any comments on this as you have not experienced the noise and stench every year. When you do, then please comment.

Leo Menssen Leo Menssen 10:17 am 15 Jan 20

See y'all at Summernats 34.

Toby Hartley Toby Hartley 8:32 am 15 Jan 20

Facing the inevitable obsolescence of fossil fueled cars,

Summernats prefer to burnout rather than fade away.

Acton Acton 10:38 pm 14 Jan 20

Summernats should be kept because every year, without fail, it upsets the finger wagging wowsers. It is so enjoyable to see these elitist snobs squirm in their impotence. Let’s make Summernats a twice yearly event.

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 8:30 pm 14 Jan 20

“….it will be interesting to observe the repercussions after the Chief Minister made his thoughts on their decision abundantly clear”

But not before the 2020 Territory election.

The people who hate Summernats are likely to be rusted-on Labor/Green voters anyway, but a fair chunk of Summernats supporters would be part of ACT Labor’s cashed-up bogan demographic who tend, as a matter of honour, to dislike Liberals even more than they dislike Labor’s PC poseurs – for some of them, cancelling Summernats could well be the last straw.

Mathew O'Connor Mathew O'Connor 6:47 pm 14 Jan 20

I think people really put the boot into Summernats enthusiasts, and I think it's more than a little class based / culture cringe. I for one am sick to death of hearing what knowledge workers did on their retreat to Ubud, and don't even want to think about how much carbon they wasted on flights to Denpasar.

Clarrie Crawford Clarrie Crawford 5:57 pm 14 Jan 20

I don't get how a place like Canberra ended up with a weird thing like Summernats. Seems more suited to Queanbeyan or a country town or somewhere. Seems unfair to place it so close to residential areas. Many of those residents have been there a long time, before Summernats began. I think that Andy Lopez needs to be much more considerate.

    Steve Herring Steve Herring 10:02 pm 14 Jan 20

    Queanbeyan ? Practically is part of Canberra...just without the pretentious attitude. 😂

    John Hynes John Hynes 7:24 pm 15 Jan 20

    Another open minded canberran who thinks everyone should be given a fair go, except the things they dont approve of.

    Brendon Boscence Brendon Boscence 7:30 pm 16 Jan 20

    Clarrie Crawford what nonsense to make a statement like that about where it should be, and yes I live in Canberra. And what makes the event weird?

Danny Williams Danny Williams 5:23 pm 14 Jan 20

I don't think anyone who thought this year's Summernats should have been suspendeded or cut short thought that all future Summernats should be cancelled (other than the usual suspects), but on this occasion, other than the heat, (alleged) fire risk and bad optics of continuing to hold the event, it denied the rural folk in affected bushfire areas from using the horse stabling area at Epic to relocate their animals to a safe and secure location. Instead, the overcrowded Queanbeyan showground with much inferior facilities was used. I think that was of greater concern than the other reasons most might think the event should have been suspended. Once again, though, money and tourism wins.

    Brett Izzard Brett Izzard 10:44 pm 16 Jan 20

    Danny Williams it’s a pity thoroughbred park didn’t make their facilities available next door for horses etc.

Robyn Holder Robyn Holder 3:04 pm 14 Jan 20

10 year olds know what they are doing.

Toshy Roy Toshy Roy 12:43 pm 14 Jan 20

They shouldn't had the burnout on such hot day long with all the smoke it was very bad choice to go head with the burnouts

    John Hynes John Hynes 7:25 pm 15 Jan 20

    Toshy Roy you were there?

    Toshy Roy Toshy Roy 8:18 pm 15 Jan 20

    no but there was that much smoke from the fires only idiots would go head with burnout on such a day its show that the fuel to the brain make people do stupid things

    Cameron Shaw Cameron Shaw 6:17 am 16 Jan 20

    Toshy Roy so, with all the bushfire smoke around, you were worried about the smoke from the burnouts making things worse?

Richard Czeiger Richard Czeiger 11:58 am 14 Jan 20

I love a classic car show! But even forgetting the environmental impact ... I just don’t get burnouts. It’s not as if you’re even in the drivers seat...

Happy to hear from fans to describe what they love about it: always interested in others opinion.

    Herbert Kowalski Herbert Kowalski 9:34 am 15 Jan 20

    Richard Czeiger agree, car guy myself. Car shows, track days, drag racing... but burnouts, I just don’t get

    Benedict Hutchison Benedict Hutchison 4:50 pm 15 Jan 20

    Well personally I bleed race fuel and I love burnouts. Well that is to say, I love proper skids. Not some car sitting still smoking the tires, but the sort of show the likes of Mick Brasher and Lynchy put on.

    My dad doesn’t have any great interest in cars or Motorsport but he once told me that he was glad i did, because otherwise he’d never have appreciated the raw, visceral experience of the top contenders letting loose on the pad. I can understand why it’s not for everyone, but I think it’s great.

    Luca Jewell-SIkic Luca Jewell-SIkic 8:10 am 16 Jan 20

    Most accurate post of 2020 to date Benedict Hutchison

Ed Haywood Ed Haywood 10:46 am 14 Jan 20

Get rid of it. The amount of hooning that goes on when it is on is not good

    Leigh Stephenson Leigh Stephenson 11:18 am 14 Jan 20

    Ed Haywood Mate it's 1 weekend a year - when alot of locals are away on holidays too.. It also brings 20 million to local businesses alone in a 4 day period

    Ed Haywood Ed Haywood 3:11 pm 14 Jan 20

    Leigh Stephenson and a lot of hoons, take it somewhere else

    Clarrie Crawford Clarrie Crawford 5:59 pm 14 Jan 20

    Leigh Stephenson It shouldn't be about the tourist dollar! It is very unhealthy for the environment,.

    Jack Wilson Jack Wilson 11:54 pm 14 Jan 20

    Ed Haywood alot of hooning happens every day in Canberra.

    Ed Haywood Ed Haywood 10:28 am 15 Jan 20

    Jack Wilson, yes, we already have enough. Why import more?

Matthew Dwyer Matthew Dwyer 1:49 am 14 Jan 20

ACT Government wants the money poll results irrelevant

Tammy Marie Tammy Marie 9:45 pm 13 Jan 20

Oh and burnouts wouldn't have even put a dent on the air quality. From a former Watson resident. 😎

Tammy Marie Tammy Marie 9:44 pm 13 Jan 20

Noone from summernats sent me an e-mail. I follow summernats and riotact. Glad I got my vote in. Would definitely not want to lose the summernats. It's not all beer and bogans. If you love art how can you not see the time, skill, creativity and dedication put into this machine art. Old school cars and the motor vehicle history kept alive.

All depends on how you look at it.

    Leo Menssen Leo Menssen 8:09 am 14 Jan 20

    Four days and people feel inconvenienced. Pack of whingers. lol

Jay Annabel Jay Annabel 9:36 pm 13 Jan 20

i don't understand why the Chief Minister tried to appeal to the Summernats organisers to ask them to stop, rather than directing them to do so.

    Brad Adams Brad Adams 7:46 pm 15 Jan 20

    Jay Annabel that’s perfect easy to answer. The Chief Minister knew they wouldn’t stop and didn’t want to alienate the event by forcing them to stop. He also made every who didn’t like it happy by asking them to stop. Win win for him really

    Chris Lenihan Chris Lenihan 7:37 pm 16 Jan 20

    Nor does the chief minister have the power to enforce a stop, the territory was under a state of alert on the day, which gives the power to the ACT ESA commissioner the power and she was satisfied along with ACTFR that the 60 on site fire marshals had the equipment and training to handle sny situation without drawing on local resources

    Chris Lenihan Chris Lenihan 9:25 am 17 Jan 20

    Wayne Mccauley exactly Wayne

    Hats off to all the awesome fire fighters at Summernats

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