A CREATIVE and interesting letter from John Arnold (Short Takes, 18/7). I certainly agree with him. My question is, where was the religious freedom policy prior to the election?
It is a policy of deep concern to the religious and non-religious alike. Did our prime minister deliberately keep this policy from the public so as to not cause harm to his re-election chances? What will the bill entail? Will there be public debate, or will this be another example of government's autocratic captain's calls?
Is religious freedom really an issue when the economy is tanking, when Trump looks like leading us into another Middle Eastern fiasco; when two previous front-bench ministers are accused of breaking the code of ministerial conduct with new jobs ('Morrison seeks advice on Pyne, Bishop jobs', Newcastle Herald 4/7); when the Coalition have destroyed the Murray Darling river system (''Rort' claim ignites Murray-Darling stoush', Newcastle Herald 9/7)? Is it a priority when Australia is in quite possibly the worst drought ever, and when mining giant Adani are personally investigating CSIRO scientists (ABC 16/7); when China is purchasing great swathes of our most arable land and our ports (SMH 20/12/18), then posting warships off our east coast (ABC 14/7)?
Science got the human race where it is today. Science saves lives, science keeps metaphorical wolves from the door, and yet the Coalition under-fund the CSIRO and champion religion. A word for our Pentecostal prime minister: radical science flew aircraft to the moon, and radical religion flew aircraft into buildings. Get the priorities right for all Australia.
John Lawton, Belmont
WORK NEEDED ON SAFETY
I REFER to your recent story ('It needs to stop', Newcastle Herald 16/7) where a Newcastle teenager spoke out about sexual harassment by a customer at a cafe she was employed at. My daughter has been subjected to the same behaviour by a male similarly described in her work place.
The same male, old enough to be her grandfather, followed her into a toilet whilst she was at a cafe with friends, my quick thinking daughter was able to slam the door and yell out which in this occasion made the male leave. I hate to think what may have happened. I am disgusted and upset about the behaviour of these men who think it is appropriate to sexually harass young females working in the hospitality industry.
My daughter has been in psychological counselling and fortunately for her, her employer has been able to move her shifts around so that she is no longer working when this man comes in.
The incident in the cafe has been reported to police and we have been told that there have been "no offences committed".
Well done to Layla Smith for speaking out about what has happened to her, I feel her story may have opened a Pandora's Box of similar incidents.
Thank you for publishing this article.
Name and suburb withheld
NEW PLAGUE'S PROPORTIONS
Living on the verge of bush land, we are accustomed to bush rats and cockroaches seeking our home as warm and dry shelter. Pythons also use the roof space above our heater and leave us their shedded skins, now reaching over three metres in length.
However a new urban nuisance is of late appearing almost daily in the letterbox, on the phone and at the door. It only takes one house in the neighbourhood to achieve an unbelievable price, and they swarm.
Over the years, governments set up a do not mail, do not call register you may join by calling 1300 792 958. Responsible companies abide by this, but irresponsible ones seem never to have heard of it. I now advise the intruding pests that I have written them on my list of agents never to be used if we are selling our house and not to mail or call again.
It has reached such a critical mass that I sought help from the Australia Communication & Media Authority. Now I ring and make a complaint advising the time, date, location, name of the firm and anything else that may assist the authority in taking action.
I have so many estate agents on my list that I may have to contemplate a private sale. You get to keep your 6 per cent agent's fee, you have to pay for your own pest inspection anyway, and with most you pay for your own advertising. With the 6 per cent I save, I could buy my first new car. But that leads me to a whole new scenario outside the range of verge-dwelling pests.
Sophia Campbell, Dudley
HELPING HAND IS APOLITICAL
ONE thing the rich love is a treat, and under this Coalition government they have got more than their share, so I cant agree with your correspondent Scott Hillard (Letters, 17/7).
As Trump pushes the US into national debt of $22 trillion, every unbiased economist has pointed to a future that will require huge cuts in services for ordinary people. Minimum wage remains $7.25 in the US, and sure, some of these big companies have given workers a one-off tip of up to $1000 but they have been slow to increase the wage to $15 per hour (CNN 15/7).
One of the things that I and my brother and sister gained from being raised by the nuns in St Patrick's Orphanage from the age of two was that service to others, as exemplified by the nuns, means we all gain. This example led my beloved sister to go on and be awarded two orders of Australia, AO and AM, and was nominated as senior Australian of the year in the year of her passing. My brother became a much-respected doctor, and I have been awarded an OAM. These were awarded for services to others, and if this is what Mr Hillard calls left wing I gladly stand beside the nuns.
If I wanted to live in a socialist country I would choose Denmark, regarded the happiest and fairest country (CNBC 16/4/18). I'm sure Mr Hillard will be happy in Trumpland where dog eats dog and it's stiff luck if God deals you a bad hand.
Frank Ward, Shoal Bay
INTENT IS NOT THE ISSUE
DOUG Morrissey ('My belief: Folau's words are not hateful', Opinion 18/7) made a spirited defence of Israel Folau's right to express his religious beliefs. However, those that have a fundamentalist view of the bible and accept all that is written without question are in the minority even among Christians, and are certainly rejected atheists. No-one doubts his sincerity, and most would see his efforts were aimed at help rather than malice, so while I am not alarmed by his message the thought of having similar like-minded persons in government, let only in ministerial positions, is deeply disturbing.