NEVILLE Aubrey's suggestion (Letters, 7/8) that churches and religion be replaced by a "healthy humanitarianism" appeared in the same issue as Samaritans CEO Brad Webb's article ('Time to raise the desperate needs of homeless people', Newcastle Herald, 7/8). Homeless numbers are now at a level which is totally unacceptable.
Samaritans is the welfare agency of the Anglican Church, Diocese of Newcastle. It works alongside St Vincent de Paul Catholic Care, Uniting Care, Salvation Army and the welfare agencies of the Orthodox, Presbyterian and Baptist churches, together with the Smith Family and similar groups.
Christians also work with members of other faiths and people of goodwill in Amnesty International, the peace movement, refugee and asylum seekers advocacy groups, women's refuge supporters and people calling on the government to implement the Uluru statement. "Healthy humanitarianism" is a good description of the work of Jesus himself, whose record shows him standing with the poor and women who were, and still are, victims of patriarchal ideas and actions.
George Garnsey, Morpeth
HASTY WORDS FROM HASTIE
ANDREW Hastie, chairman of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, was possibly craving some personal attention when he decided to create problems for Australia with our largest trading partner, China, last week ('Liberal MP's China views divide government', Herald, 10/8) .
Fronting the TV cameras, the Liberal MP in my opinion attempted to imitate the steely eyed persona much loved by Donald Trump when he, Hastie, compared China's growing importance on the world stage to the rise of Hitler's Nazism in Germany. In keeping with the 1930's theme, Andrew Hastie included in his rant a mention of France's defective Maginot line. He then proceeded to further fluff up his ego by suggesting every Jane and John Average in Australia, evidently to the exclusion of himself, suffered from intelligence failure, which makes us institutionally weak.
Several days back, his parliamentary colleague Angus Taylor when stoking the fire of distraction, AKA an Australian nuclear power industry, stated he possessed more knowledge about nuclear science than most others. Is it possible, when both statements are taken in concert, that they reflect the LNP's attitude toward the IQ of electorate in general? If indeed that is the situation, it would be important to reflect on what level of IQ was in play when their party gave China a 99-year lease of Port Darwin.
Barry Swan, Balgownie
SHIFT FROM CITIES IS LACKING
ONE wonders if there is anyone in politics with any foresight. If one looks at the past efforts of politicians, it makes you wonder why we are paying these politicians and their staff. First they remove trams from Sydney and Newcastle then at great cost, replace them. Melbourne, in their wisdom, left theirs and reaped the benefits. Now their latest program is to improve regional areas to ease the burden on ever expanding and overpopulated cities. Sorry?
I seem to remember in years gone by that a little town, Vittoria, located between Bathurst and Orange was to face massive infrastructure to alleviate the pressure on Sydney. This was introduced with great fanfare to the public, however it failed to materialise. So many towns were the victim of cost-cutting in the past with motor registries, hospitals and schools closed. As a result, a number of these towns' populations decreased and forced people to move towards larger towns to access these vital facilities.
Of course, those in power have overlooked one very important issue and that is water. The problem is the majority of politicians are all city born and bred and have no idea of how life transpires outside their seats. Towns such as Walgett, Bourke, Warren, Stanthorpe and larger towns such as Dubbo, Orange and countless more are facing severe water shortages. When these conditions prevail, as they presently are, where are these populations to go? If there is no water, there is no life. That is a simple fact, but completely overlooked. Perhaps it may help to cut back immigration and implement a viable water solution before it is too late.
Alan Metcalf, Stockton
BARRIERS TO A BETTER WAY
I BELIEVE introduction of timed parking barriers at Marketown is long overdue, but the issue here is only the tip of the iceberg, as anyone wanting to park casually at Nobbys beach, Fort Drive, King Edward Park or indeed much of The Hill will attest. In my opinion all our great beauty spots are in reality long-term, free council parking lots. Weekday parking time limits need to be introduced in all these places, and then they must be policed.
In their place we need a necklace of park and ride sites and coordinated bus services. Bus usage numbers have been falling (Herald 18/10/18), but if these become the only option they will surely rise.
The light rail was never going to be more than a state sop for removing heavy rail. Talk of extending this to Broadmeadow is for the future, if at all, and then it will only be a partial solution. An obvious question is why the light rail is on rail at all, rather than on tyred wheels. But for this, extension of the service into the suburbs would be a quick and cheap solution.
Cambridge, England has a guided bus which runs along a former railway line but the buses can switch to roads to reach places away from the corridor. Something similar could work here. The bus way links with four park and ride sites and works very well. Some imagination and coordinated action is sorely needed here.
Jeff Fothergill, The Junction
PRIORITIES GONE TO THE DOGS
FIRSTLY I want to say that I have always liked dogs and have owned many over my lifetime. I don't own one now as I lose balance easily and am knocked over and can no longer cope with a dog. Last weekend in a weekend magazine lift-out I couldn't help noticing a full page glossy advertisement that read "if dogs could talk ... they'd ask for the world's cosiest bed".
Chew-resistant, washable, luxurious, durable. It appears to be similar to an expensive ottoman. The picture shows a large dog sleeping on this item.
Obviously there is a market for something of this nature, but does a dog really have the need for a luxurious bed?
The cost is between $139-$169 for the item pictured. I respect the rights of dog owners and know how much a pet can mean to families and the elderly living alone sometimes but there are people sleeping in the streets in the cold tonight.
Where are our priorities?