IN a time when things are constantly changing we can be excused of asking how can we be sure. The Christian story we celebrate is not fake news, it’s not a Twitter feed fired off by a powerful leader nor is it a Facebook post craving for the most likes.
Your two oped contributors, Dr Peter Stuart and Fr Andrew Doohan both provide us with a signpost that points to a surety (‘Celebrate difference and rely on each other’ and ‘God among us, the source of all our hope’, Newcastle Herald, 23/12).
Long after the ham and turkey are consumed and the gifts exchanged many will forget the historical significance of that event over 2000 years ago as we become equally consumed by a changing world.
For Christians, Christmas is a constant reminder of a message of hope for a world that longs for a peace that goes well beyond the cessation of war.
OUTSPOKEN self interest pro-horse groups have held sway with emotion and miss-truths over any serious culling of high impact feral horses on government land and national parks for decades (‘Ponies shot in aerial cull, Newcastle Herald, 21/12).
Aerial culling is effective and humane compared to trapping, loading and transporting these horses approximately 700 kilometres to feel-good re-homers in the Hunter Valley and elsewhere. Meantime around 1500-2000 foals are now born each year in Kosciuszko National Park alone. The numbers and the arguments by pro-horse people don't add up, though the cost to the taxpayer and the environment does.
I WAS impressed with Perth’s public transport fare-free zone on a recent visit.
In contrast, the unilateral decision to end Newcastle’s long held central business district fare-free zone to coincide with the commencement of the costly privatised light rail/tram appears to be based on mediocrity, short-sightedness and penny pinching (‘Fare-free zone to be axed’, Herald, 22/12).
It was suggested the initial reason for our fare-free zone was to encourage the use of public transport and stimulate business within the CBD. With the significant dislocation and predictable business failures associated with building the light rail – not in the ideal existing transport corridor, the passenger inconvenience of the disruption to switch between train and tram for the last two kilometres of the journey to Newcastle and, the deliberate policy of minimising car parking spaces, surely the arguments to retain the fare-free zone are stronger now than ever before.
CONCERNING ‘mercy dying’, Carl Stevenson (Letters, 24/12) says at the back of most Catholic churches is a pamphlet saying that whoever takes a life will never go to heaven but be condemned to an eternity of fire and torment in hell.
Has Mr Stevenson visited most Catholic churches? I have never seen what Mr Stevenson says ‘boldly displayed in print’ in any Catholic church. For Catholics euthanasia is morally unacceptable, killing as well as dying, but it can also be an error of judgement into which one can fall in good faith, and, in any case, an infinitely merciful God is always ready to forgive. As for being ‘condemned to an eternity of fire and torment in hell’, Catholicism says we condemn ourselves when we use our free will to separate ourselves permanently from God. This state of eternal separation is ‘hell’ and the ‘fire’ of hell represents its eternal pain. The language of Mr Stevenson’s pamphlet seems so ‘unCatholic’ that I am surprised he can find such a pamphlet in even one Catholic church, let alone most of them.
IT is important to keep alive the British origins of our white population while recognising the first inhabitants of Australia. Australia's attitude to life and politics is unique and the envy of the Western World. The main points of a piece I published in the Newcastle Herald on December 16, 1997 when the republic was being hotly debated aimed at preserving all this. There was no party system, members of the lower house, if possible, would come from local government where some public service occurred. The prime minister would be elected by the members of the house. We kept the position of governor-general as head of state and who was appointed from nominations received by a standing committee of past governors-general.
In a separate letter about the flag, since we are stewards of the land and do not “own” it, we should honour the first inhabitants by replacing the Union flag with the Aboriginal flag. The Blue Ensign shows the British connection of the immigrant population and the Southern Cross our position in the world.
WHILST Alan Earl (Short Takes, 24/12) says “fair go mate to claim mediums have had results, but I do not think this can be verified by scientists”, look no further than the TV show Sensing Murder for it has got the method scientists can use to verify medium-ship is genuine.
Just waiting for a scientists to stop saying this is impossible to be true, and do the science work required, to learn a bit more about the universe in which we live.
WHOOPEE! So, we're to have you-beaut, whizz-bang bus signs to keep our fingers on the pulse of the movement of buses around our city (‘Smart stops keep passengers poster’, Herald, 20/12).
What does it take to have a few normal, old fashioned signs, that actually give correct information? I've whinged endlessly about the bus stop signs in my part of this town; I have a growing pile of correspondence from council officers and politicians; I've had adventures on buses that can't stop where they should, because the signage is wrong; my blood pressure is skyrocketing and I'm getting absolutely nowhere.
There are several bus stops near my home, which are signed "School Days Only". Those stops have been altered (on the drawing board) to general stops, but no one has changed the signs. Very confusing for car drivers, bus drivers and potential bus passengers. I have a letter, on The City of Newcastle letterhead, which says that at its meeting in August 2018, the Newcastle City "Traffic Committee supported the changes" to those bus stops, proposed by Keolis Downer. Remove signs no longer needed, alter signs that are incorrect. What could be simpler?
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.