WE are constantly hearing conflicting opinions about hazard reduction burning and conflicting opinions about climate change, but I believe it is very safe to say that there is total unity in collective great admiration for the firefighters.
These men and women have done the most amazing job in the most challenging conditions, and we will never be able to thank them enough. For several weeks now they have gone out day after day as yet another fire starts raging towards homes, as it destroys massive amounts of bush on its way. Apart from the suffocating smoke and intense heat with which they have had to contend, they must by now be beyond total exhaustion. For a moment, let's put aside the conflicting opinions and just acknowledge the relentless dedication and commitment of these good and courageous people, and thank them for saving so many lives and properties. Let us hope they receive the recognition they so rightly deserve.
Vicki Hughes, Nelson Bay
DON'T DEFACE OVER A RACE
LIKE most residents in the East End, to me the Supercars means some inconvenience but it is still our home. I am fed up with the vandalism of those spraying or writing graffiti on footpaths, barriers, light poles and walls. The race is here for at least the next two years and this childish and destructive behaviour will change nothing. In my opinion these people should be tracked down and charged like any other illegal graffiti vandals. Also, I do not know where the Newcastle East Residents Group (NERG) get the idea they represent all East Enders, because having a paltry number of followers on Facebook can hardly be deemed overwhelming support.
It's time for some grown up behaviour and to stop defacing our beautiful location.
Lang Barrie, Newcastle East
A CRACKER WAY TO HELP
OVER the last week I have heard and read so many misconceptions that the fires are the fault of the greenies. What a load of rubbish. Climate change has been coming for years, with many warnings from those who have studied climate change and its impacts. What is not a misconception is that our government has chosen to ignore it and now we reap what they sow. Families and communities have been devastated, warnings of catastrophic conditions are being given and we have not even reached summer yet. Surely the last thing our government and local councils should be doing is spending millions of dollars on New Year's Eve fireworks.
Please, please let common sense prevail and donate this money to those families and communities to assist them to rebuild their lives. Let's stand united and put pressure on the people who are there to represent us to do the right thing.
Kerri Bird, Charlestown
PARK THE GREENS BASHING
A FACT about hazard reduction burning: the Greens have never been in government to have the final decision about what areas are involved with hazard reduction burning.
With recent warmer and drier winters, the window of opportunity to hazard reduction burn has been reduced. Last winter, there were also days where residual smoke was a problem and burning could not take place for health reasons.
The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service have traditionally carried out hazard reduction burning in NSW national parks. With severe budgetary cuts over recent years, I believe their capacity to carry out these burns has been significantly compromised. They have lost some 35 per cent of their personnel and are simply stretched too thinly. Many of the fires in residential areas are the result of spot fires from embers of fires in an adjacent national park.
Lloyd Davies, Stockton
POLITICAL POINTS CAN WAIT
IT was inevitable that ludicrous leftists like Di Natale and Bandt would blame government policy for the fires (Daily Telegraph, 10/11). A while ago, alarmists writing on this page were calling for climate change opinions differing from their own to be banned.
If any opinions should be banned, I believe it's the views of these two. I find it utterly contemptible, trying to score political points at a time when some poor souls are losing everything they have.
Greg Hunt, Newcastle West
NOT ALL ARE IN THE KNOW
THANK you, Ian Roach (Letters, 13/11), but the questions about the republic that I asked were not just my own ideas. Quite a few of my friends and other people that I talk to ask the same or similar questions.
Although the plan for the republic may be there, and that is a good thing, it appears to me that your message is not getting out to the everyday people. Why this is happening I do not know, but I can assure you that a lot of us are uninformed about how it will be structured. Remember that there are a lot of people like me. Some weeks I am lucky to spend a couple of hours in front of the computer screen and I do not bother with a smartphone. But even those that do have these devices I have found are uninformed.
If we have to have a referendum for any good reason, or tied to the legal requirements of the republic, well and good. But I do feel that sometimes politicians put issues to a referendum when they do not want to stick up their heads and say they are for or against some sticky issue, and in a way that is a cop out. They can always say that it was decided by the people.
Whether the people were informed, uninformed or fully understood the issue is another question.
Tom Randall, North Rothbury
A BLOODY GOOD CAUSE
THE next time you donate at the Newcastle Donor Centre, you might notice things look slightly different as we change our name to Australian Red Cross Lifeblood.
We're now doing more than ever before to help Australian patients. Whether it be through blood, plasma or platelet donations, through our donor breast milk service for premature babies, our organ matching services, or our world-renowned research.
While our name is changing, the friendly faces at the donor centre are not with Mark and the team looking forward to welcoming even more Newcastle locals.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank every single one of our Newcastle donors past and present for their incredible generosity over the years. Your donations have helped countless Australians, whether it be mums experiencing complications during childbirth, those undergoing treatment for cancer, those involved in road accidents and countless others across the nation.
For 90 years we have been the lifeblood of Australia thanks to our generous donors, and with their support, we look forward to continuing to play a vital role in the community as Lifeblood.
Shelly Park, Australian Red Cross Lifeblood CEO
SHARE YOUR OPINION
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a text message to 0427 154 176 (include name and suburb). Letters should be fewer than 200 words. Short Takes should be fewer than 50 words. Correspondence may be edited and reproduced in any form.
IT would be interesting to properly establish the definition what a greeny do-gooder is. I have a feeling that Malcolm Turnbull was rolled because they thought he was a greeny do gooder. I think it may be someone left of Genghis Khan. God bless Sky, 2GB and the Telegraph for educating these people.
Dave Stallard, Mayfield
GRAEME Watson (Short Takes, 14/11) childish name calling and flaccid insults sum up the Monarchist movement; again their own worst enemies. They are dumping the Queen, saying the Governor-General is our head of state. So why not formalise it? Then their vote, backfiring, with the rejection of a head of state appointed by politicians. Exactly what we have now.
Colin Fordham, Lambton
TO those who want to return Newcastle CBD to the bad old days of alcohol-fuelled violence, I reiterate Tony Brown's wise words and clear evidence from our police and ambulance who are against the repeal of the lockout laws. Newcastle is now a safe and vibrant city day and night.
Denise Pollock, Newcastle
A RECENT small survey asked people's opinions on the factors causing the severity and extent of the current fires. One person's response was "climate change, I just don't see it" (''Face up to the facts and do something'', Newcastle Herald 13/11). An excellent point. None of us can "see" it. Scientists, however, constantly monitor atmospheric temperatures and humidity, and their effects on soil and vegetation moisture levels. They can demonstrate the higher temperatures and lower humidity (that climate change brings) lower moisture levels in both soil and vegetation. These lower moisture levels assist ignition and promote much fiercer burning. And, over the last few months, these "quiet Australian" scientists have been aware of critically low moisture levels across most of eastern Australia (New Daily, 14/11). Theirs are the informed opinions we (particularly our political leaders) should be seeking.
Richard Mallaby, Wangi Wangi
NO matter what one thinks of their opinions you have to admire the tenacity of Scott Hillard and his band of man-made climate change deniers. These sceptics, mostly made up of over-65 white males, will use any and all pieces of historic fires and floods in their vain efforts to ignore proven science. Mr Hillard's latest missive (Letters, 13/11) is a classic illustration of these efforts. How in the heck an 1851 bushfire in Victoria can in any way dissuade thousands of scientists, hundreds of scientific organisations and millions of people from the scientifically proven fact that man-made climate change is real is beyond me. But keep trying, Mr Hillard. You, the few other sceptics and the National Party keep the rest of us amused.
Mike Sargent, Cootamundra
I HAVE an uneducated answer to Steve Barnett's query to whether 20 billion cigarettes smoked a day contributes to climate change (Short Takes, 14/11). I'd say the 20 billion sets of lungs inhaling ciggie smoke will have definite climate change of over 20 billion bodies sooner or later.