14 December 2021

Probing the polls: the right to vote and the responsibility to mow

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Lawnmower by Lake Burley Griffin

Lawnmower by Lake Burley Griffin. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

While there were strong opinions on both sides, most Riotact readers don’t think 16 and 17-year-olds should have the right to vote.

The Greens have been campaigning for some time on the issue, arguing that engaged teenagers have as much right as anyone else in the community to have their say over our future.

We asked Should we give 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote? A total of 786 people voted.

Your options to vote were: No, maturity varies and two years makes no real difference. This received 61 per cent of the total, or 725 votes. Alternatively, you could choose Yes, if you can work and pay taxes, you can vote. This received 39 per cent of the total, or 455 votes.

This week, we’re wondering whether you’re willing to take the mowing into your own hands in this wet, wet season where the grass is already towering over cars at some roundabouts and intersections.

READ ALSO Is it time we took mowing into our own hands?

The ACT Government says there are some delays in the mowing program because of the exceptionally wet year and the soggy ground, but is it time we took matters into our own hands to keep the city both tidy and safe?

Whether a high-tech ride-on or not, several local heroes are getting out and about and mowing not only their grass but the community’s, too.

In the ACT, the only public land residents are expected to mow is their verge – the strip of land between the residential property boundary and the adjacent roadway. And while community support is appreciated, there’s also some caution about safety issues.

Commenters were divided about whether to hop in and lend a hand with their own mowers, whether the ACT Government was neglecting their responsibilities or whether they were simply overwhelmed by the sheer volume of grass.

“Yep. Did it to our local park. Took a while but was concerned about snakes for the children and dogs that play there. Also, we picnic there too,” Erin Nugent said.

“I did it out of community spirit and not because of any ill feelings towards the mowing crew. I understand this is a particularly tricky season with rain and I understand the large machinery cannot go onto the grounds because a) they will destroy the ground b) wet grass doesn’t cut clean) c) it clogs up their mowers. I would encourage anyone who feels like they can get out with push mowers. Instead of complaining about it take pride in your community and do something about it.”

While there was understanding from some commenters about the sheer size of the task ahead of the ACT Government, others were more cynical. Bryan Doherty wrote: “Neighbours have been mowing areas before all the rain … any utilities that were sold off/contracted out will have problems … profit first …”

Our question this week is:

Would you mow public areas in your neighbourhood?

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Maybe it’s time to replace our nature strips (which are dominated by invasive grass species) with native grasslands filled with native flowers? It would be expensive at first but it could save us money in the long run… #biodiversity #climate #bushcapital

I usually mow the bus stops next door and across the street. No one else bothers, both stops are heavily used and the long grass is uncomfortable for people waiting for the bus.

I don’t own a lawn mower, having no grass at my place. So nothing to mow grass with. However, I am not worried by the long grass. It’s rather pretty actually, and fire at present isn’t a high risk.

Sick and tired of the whiners. Grow up; it’s been raining…a lot. That makes grass grow. It can’t be expected that the lawn mower people could keep up, with both the extra grass, or the reduced days they can mow due to the many more rainy days. Take a look outside your window at present. It’s raining. The lawn mower people will catch up, even if it’s not till winter, when grass slows its growth. Thank you lawn mower people, keep up your good work. Sorry for you; it must be overwhelming at present, but some of us appreciate your work and effort.

To the others; stop your boring whining! Do you really want to pay more rates, by buying more lawn mowers and employing more people? That is, if they can find those people.

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