ON TV I have just watched the latest in a long line of bushfire survivors pleading to our government for more action on climate change. Meanwhile, in the Canberra bubble, both major parties appear to have signed a pact which begins 'Now is not the time'.
For the last few weeks they have been squabbling about a letter sent by the Minister for Emissions Reduction to the mayor of Sydney, not about his plans to counteract the sharp rise in emissions, gaseous and particulate, caused by the bushfires. This behaviour by our leaders is all the more reprehensible because it ignores the wishes of the majority of Australians who want more action on climate change, but also fails to represent the interests of their constituencies, both in the Sydney Basin, where people are suffering under clouds of smoke and ash.
I think ScoMo and Albo have joined Nero in an Unholy Trinity who failed their people in a Time of Fire.
Richard Edmonds, Balcolyn
English as she is spoke
JOHN Beach (Letters, 6/12) has nailed it. But wait, there's more. What is wrong with our language? Why must we succumb to the many Americanisms invading our conversations? I still go to the toilet and not the bathroom - I have never had a bath there yet. Why can't I buy biscuits anymore 'cos I don't like cookies. I still drive a good ol' Aussie ute and refuse to have a pick-up, which is what the car dealers sell these days.
My mates and lady friends are blokes and Sheilas and will never be guys and chicks.
What is wrong with having an "increase" (in whatever) instead of "ramping-up"?
Why do we now increase the length of words to make them sound better? I grate when I hear people say "methodology" (politicians are the worst) instead of just plain old "method". After all, the suffix "ology" infers the study or science of ... methods. We can no longer speak to a company rep (representative), they are all now customer service managers/consultants.
We can no longer go to the tip with our rubbish. It is now a "Waste Management Centre". And while I am at it, will someone tell news presenters there is an extra letter "L" and "E" in the word "vulnerable" and not "vunrable".
Do I need to go on? I am an Aussie and proud of it, although some of the pride is diminishing as I watch us losing our Aussie identity.
Bill Snow, Stockton
We've lost the word war
HELLO John Beach (Letters, 6/12). I agree with all your comments and would be happy to join the Society for the Preservation of Prepositions and Plain Speech, though I fear the battle has already been lost.
I regret the loss of many rules we learned at school and wonder if any grammar is being taught now, even in degree courses, because both printed and spoken English has deteriorated to such an extent.
I hope you feel somewhat better for getting your pet hates off your chest.
Wendy Webb, Belmont
Law is for everyone
I BELIEVE Israel Folau's settlement is a legal stuff-up, not a vindication of his hurtful pronouncements.
Following the ARU's undisclosed settlement with Israel Folau, it is easy to understand why Scott Morrison has sought to redraft his religious freedom law and delay its presentation to Parliament until 2020.
If the law was passed in its present form, I believe secular bodies like the ARU would be free to discriminate in their employment policy. Secular organisations generally could claim that adherence to "non-religiousness" was a condition of employment and write this into their employment contracts. If this had already been the law, Folau, following his Twitter statements, could have been legally sacked by the ARU. He would have had no legal recourse and would not have bothered to threaten to sue the ARU. Nor would he have received his (presumably) multi-million dollar out-of-court settlement.
Whatever freedom of religion law the Morrison government comes up with in 2020, it is likely to be challenged in the High Court. Belief or non-belief in the supernatural must be treated in the same way under secular law. We cannot have one law for some people, and another for the rest.
Geoff Black, Caves Beach
Ignorance would be bliss
I WONDER if Rugby Australia realise that if they had totally ignored Israel Folau's controversial media posts, then he probably would have led the Australian rugby team to victory at no uncommon cost to Rugby Australia.
For those who disagreed with his post, nobody outside the rugby circle and Mr Folau's circle of followers would ever have heard of him his or his posts.
Now we hear his name almost every day while he heads to the bank with his multi-millions of dollars.
A bit of a Pyrrhic victory methinks.
George Paris, Kotara
Drought the new normal
BRETT Miners ('Drought forces Hunter farmers to sell off cattle', Newcastle Herald, 7/12) may call this drought "exceptional circumstances", but in fact extreme conditions are the new normal.
Although cattle rearing is a big part of Australian culture it represents the most water-intensive livestock farming. Each kilogram of beef consumed takes over 15,000 litres of water to produce, each kilogram of cheese 3100 litres. Even if all carbon emissions ceased tomorrow, global temperatures would continue to increase for the next decade and severe droughts will no longer be rare. We need urgent action on climate change and cattle farming in Australia may be a casualty of the damage already done.
Eliza Milliken, Mayfield
Ports and power
FIRSTLY, let me address Mike Sargent's reply where he stated I had overstepped the mark by saying ports instead of port (Letters, 7/12). But to me Newcastle port has been sold from under us. If you hold a 99-year lease, then that to me says you have no control, therefore they have the power. I am sure Mike and I would like to be around when they hand it back to the Newcastle people.
Secondly, there has been a lot of talk about climate change, the swaying of yes/no by both parties and as I see it is still undecided. Also a lot of comments on coal power against solar power and this I can comment on. Just recently we purchased a string of solar Christmas lights so we now have coal power and solar powered lights outside. Sadly over the last two nights the solar powered lights have failed to function because of the heavy cloud cover and dust. So that says to me we will always need some form of backup power if we continue to head toward renewable energy and the only thing on the horizon is coal.
John Matthews, Belmont North
IMAGINE Peter Dutton blaming England for sending their rejects out here on convict ships, as the original inhabitants the Aborigines proclaim "stop murdering, raping, and stealing our land". The shame of it all.
Richard Ryan, Summerland Point
PERHAPS selling so much 'critical infrastructure' to China is not such a bad thing after all. In the event of our government doing something really stupid at the behest of the Yanks, China will be far less inclined to bomb things they already own.
Peter Ronne, Woodberry
WE are spending some time at our second home in Radelaide. Thursday night we attended Elton John in the Botanic Gardens. Sir Elton was unreal, see him if you get the chance. On arrival I was in millennial mode and headed straight to the toilet to retrieve my pills (arthritis and indigestion) a bottle of gin and two backpackers who didn't have tickets from my backside only to find out you could buy full bottles of wine and full strength gin no problem. Everyone had a ball, no anti-social behaviour, no plastic cups, no nanny state cops to spoil the party and Sir Elton, thanks for a great night.
Steve Barnett, Toorak Gardens
WITH all due respects, are we really serious about letting the fireworks go ahead this year. The amount of smoke blanketing our city at present surely is enough. It would be an insult to volunteer firefighters and all concerned. Spare a thought for the poor farmers they have seen enough smoke and fires. Donate the cost of the fireworks to them please. The laser displays in Sydney and Newcastle have been amazing. Would that not be a better alternative? Oh and your pets will love you.
John Lehman, Merewether
JOHN Milligan, hate to prick ScoMo's bubble, (Short Takes, 7/12). Smoke haze shelters us from the sun, but ta ta breathing and going outside. See 'Lewis' View' (Newcastle Herald, 7/12). Carbon dioxide doesn't make haze. So there's no shelter from the sun. For the sake of truthfulness the foregoing is "fake news".
Graeme Tychsen, Rankin Park
JOHN Milligan (Short Takes, 7/12), that haze in the sky blocking out the sunlight, stinging your eyes, and irritating your nose is not carbon dioxide, it is smoke. Carbon dioxide is a colourless, tasteless and odourless gas and it is transparent to sunlight.
Ian Roach, New Lambton
JEFF Corbett ('Some food for thought', Herald, 7/12), I believe meat eaters today who are aware of the cruelties of many forms of mass farming and still eat meat are lazy, narcissistic, apathetic, non-thinking members of this virus that is human kind.
Dan Kirkpatrick, Karuah
INTERESTING vision on the Channel 9 News segment the other day, during a period of extreme fire danger and strict water restrictions, a worker was noticed in the background of the interview, hosing down the forecourt of Parliament House. Guess they don't have the same water worries in Canberra.