I REALLY wish that push bike riders would slow down on the walkway near the units that overlook the beautiful marina at Wickham.
My elderly mother enjoys a slow walk along there, followed by a meal at the coffee shop, however nearly every time we visit there we are both constantly having to move out of the way of speeding push bikes. My mother is very frail and slow. The walkway is there for everyone, yet some riders think that it is their domain and they can fly along there at incredible speeds and scare pedestrians out of their wits. If my mother was hit that would be the end of her, so I hope that this is not what it will take before riders realise that they are travelling too fast.
Admittedly not all riders break the rules; however, it is the small minority that will one day cause an accident leading to a death. Please slow down.
Linda Thomsen, New Lambton
Lifting the lid on horrors
FRANK Ward's comments (Letters, 6/9) about how to improve the horrific situation of the people detained on Manus Island is a clear example of the power previously awarded to those supposedly caring for less fortunate human beings and why it must change. My faith and hope in the Catholic Church was shattered 30 years ago when I was made aware that they did the very opposite to Matthew 19:14 teachings, and allowed clergy to conduct child sexual abuse and covered it up for centuries. At least Peter Dutton can no longer hide behind the secrecy he has been granted by the Australian government to make his own rules.
The community have an opportunity to extinguish the policy produced out of the mantra from the Liberal government, “we stopped the boats”. Labor should take note of this warning and show they are above the calibre of religious organisations per se and the leaders of our government, and abandon this indubitable inhuman behaviour for people seeking refuge.
Pat Garnet, Wickham
Conditions on confession
IF Greens MP David Shoebridge wants to contribute to the healing of the trauma caused by the clergy sexual abuse of children, he needs to be better informed as to how confession works.
Confession is not an automatic vending machine. Absolution is conditional upon the penitent, in this case the perpetrator, doing whatever is necessary to keep children safe even if that means handing himself in to the police. This is something the Church, not parliament, needs to clarify.
Mark Porter, New Lambton
Real freedom of religion
WHAT exactly does Morrison mean by “freedom of religion”? George Brandis’ infamous declaration that “People have the right to be bigots” back in 2014, was meant to clear the way for the abolition of S18c of the Racial Discrimination Act. Now Scott Morrison declares that he wants to enact a law to protect religious freedom (‘Morrison pledges laws for religious freedom’, SMH, 8/9). Morrison seems to want to stop people he calls “narcs” who wish to ban the traditional observances of Easter and Christmas in our schools. If Morrison’s law did no more than this, then most Australians would agree. But would Morrison’s “religious freedom” law go beyond this? Probably.
By their nature, many Abrahamic religions, like Morrison’s, require practitioners to actively engage in proselytisation for their religions. So it is likely that Morrison’s law would allow practitioners such as himself to condemn the lifestyle choices of others and encourage them to join their religions. This sounds like Brandis all over again.
Geoff Black, Caves Beach
Deserving of asylum
JOHN Arnold, I am nowhere near shock jock material (Letters, 8/9). (I think the Hawke/Keating government was the best in my lifetime. I vote for the party that will increase the debt the least.)
I was simply taught as a child by my parents to, “put myself in another’s shoes” and to read. Reading has informed me, through the experiment conducted by Germany in 2015 of asking people if they deserve asylum in a first world country, can lead to hundreds of thousands of people per month saying, “Yes.” (The plight of the Rohingya is roughly comparable to the plight of Syrians so it is an apt comparison.)
Germany quickly clamped down before this became disastrous (shock jocks would say after). My ability to put myself in other’s shoes meant I knew the result of letting asylum seekers decide if they deserved to live in Germany then, and was proved right. With 400 million people in the Asia Pacific who live on less than US$1.90 a day (according to the United Nations and the Asian Development Bank) I also know what would be the result of letting asylum seekers decide if they deserve to live in Australia now.
Allan Earl (Letters, 8/9), if you have found a way to be more kind to asylum seekers without sending the signal that there is benefit to bypassing perfectly safe countries in order to claim asylum in Australia, don’t keep it to yourself. Every increase in the standard of living of asylum seekers increases the, “pull factor” and makes more people decide to seek asylum in Australia. If we could give the detainees asylum in Australia with no consequences upon future boat people I would vote, “Yes” in a plebiscite on granting them asylum instantly. We cannot.
Sean Farnham, Kurri Kurri
Praise for Tony’s passion
I REFER to Wilcox's View (Newcastle Herald, 31/8). I am disgusted and appalled at how low you have gone in depicting Tony Abbott as a racist, threatening Aboriginal people with a sledge hammer.
Mr Abbott's passion and hopes for Aboriginals are well known, as I'm sure you are aware. He wants to assist them to achieve only positive outcomes for themselves including education. He wants to assist every Aboriginal child to get to school so they can be independent and proud, self-sufficient and less dependent on welfare, among other hopes. Where in these, Tony Abbott's hopes and aspirations, can you find a negative? There are none, only positives! Give the man some deserved credit.
Shame on you. I found the cartoon negative, biased and moronic.
Viv McLeay, Adamstown
A man worth honouring
CONGRATULATIONS to John Thomas on being awarded Newcastle Knights 2018 Clubman of the Year. What an amazing and dedicated man John is. His many years of volunteering with Valentine Eleebana RLFC, Lakes Juniors and Newcastle Knights is indication of who the true heroes are in our community. Always supported by his wonderful wife Carol and family, we are all very proud of you.