UNFORTUNATELY, even on issues of real importance such as institutionalised child sexual abuse, political corruption and banks receiving kid-glove treatment from government, the attention span of many in The Land of Oz seems to fade faster than a sun tan in winter.
Therefore, it is an odds-on bet the allegations China is using its espionage arm to infiltrate and to influence Australian politics will become just another 48-hour issue for many Australians, particularly if Steve Smith can get among the runs against Pakistan.
The unhealthy influence of foreign powers upon The Land of Oz has existed since the arrival of the First Fleet. Evidence is available; America allegedly used its CIA to constantly destabilise and eventually destroy the Whitlam government during the 1970's. Australia's own despicable use of espionage against a friendly and financially struggling neighbour nation is also well recorded. In 2004, the Howard government authorised an Australian spy agency to place listening bugs in the Cabinet Room of the Timor-Leste government to obtain unfair advantage over Timor-Leste during the Timor Gap gas negotiations.
On this basis, for Australia the adage that those in glass houses should not throw stones is entirely appropriate.
Barry Swan, Balgownie
WELL OF ACTION RUNS DRY
I AM totally disgusted in our government. How dare these politicians treat its people with such ignorance? This is not the Australian way.
The drought didn't happen two days ago; it's been happening for years and will continue into years to come, yet our representatives still sit on their hand and do nothing to show our rural men and women that the government are working to relieve their misery. At the least, infrastructure should have been started, so they are showing that this problem is not going away and they are really concerned about our farmers.
Building pipelines out of fire-proof pipes from the major dams and rivers to storage catchment areas out west, the erection of several desalination plants on the coast - don't tell us that we haven't got the money, just take it from the major banks and stop paying for royal commissions to get politicians to find out what's wrong in our country. Ask the farmers; they can tell you straight up. Maybe certain footballers can donate $14 million towards this cause rather than line their already cashed-up pockets.
Again, I'm disgusted in the government's lay-back attitude. It's sad to call ourselves Australians at this point in time. Yes, we do live in a sunburned country, a land of rolling plains, but if you look at it now it's a dust bowl with dried-up drains
Graeme Kime, Cameron Park
CLEAN UP BATHS MISTAKE
LAST Tuesday I drove from Sydney to attend the City of Newcastle meeting in regard to the potential leasing of the ocean baths and the manner in which the expression of interest process has been handled. Like so many in the community, the baths are dear to me for how they facilitate such harmony in our community.
I am also a proud member of the Labor party, and was witness to the enormous effort that went into saving Dawn Fraser public bath. Last night was a sad day in my opinion for Newcastle Labor. Regardless of our own views, we should always be respectful and treat everyone's voice equally. Furthermore, I believe expressions of interest should always respectfully come after quality recent community consultation. This process wastes time and is divisive.
Even if we have the numbers (power), admitting we got it wrong is true leadership that could regain trust and relieve community anxiety. Crs John Church, Kath Elliot and the Greens' John McKenzie spoke with sincerity for community concerns and passion on this issue. The Labor bloc in my view treated the petition with contempt, as if those who signed it were easily led.
People want the baths well repaired and maintained in its current design, not pseudo-privatised with commercial function centres. Full stop. Labor representatives backed Dawn Fraser in Sydney. One would think Newcastle representatives can, too. Many more people use these baths than the Dawn Fraser public bath. Much harder work is required to gain joint funding and get this actually done.
Suzie Jones, Leichhardt
IT'S TIME TO FLAG CONCERNS
CAN somebody a lot smarter than me, please tell me what the hell our politicians are doing to this nation?
China is a major shareholder in many of our coal mines. We have sold them some of our crucial ports; we also hear of major parcels of valuable water rights sold from under us; they also have giant holdings in our dairy and farm lands.
Yesterday the Herald quoted that there is a big drive on to acquire a massive land holding to produce a large wind farm and now we also hear that the "big M" and Dairy Farmers are in danger of being sold,
Is nothing sacred? Maybe we should just put up the shutters and say "Australia: 100% Chinese-owned".
John Matthews, Belmont North
WE CAN'T GO ON LIKE THIS
UNLESS big capital takes drastic action to mitigate climate change, life on this planet will be extinguished, possibly within this century.
Scientists have been following trends and plotting changes for decades. The evidence is all around us: the accelerating rise in temperature, the melting of glaciers and the ice cover, the rise in sea level and its acidification, and the changing weather patterns such as the change from a regular pattern of high and low pressure systems moving from west to east across this country. This means low rainfall over the continent as the low pressure regions that bring regular extended rain patterns have been moved south.
Unless the low pressure systems return to the mainland and the monsoon rains again come to the north of Australia, we are in for a long dry period. If they do not return, water will become a major problem. and we will have to consider the nuclear power to run desalination plants continuously around the country.
Halting the rise in greenhouse gasses, carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere will be difficult. Burning fossil fuels for power generation and transport will have to be drastically reduced. A price on carbon is essential. Preserving our forests by no further clear felling and planting more trees is a measure that can be implemented quickly. Reducing the world's cattle numbers by a lower consumption of meat is essential, and an option which has recently been advocated by health authorities.
The bottom line is that irrespective of wealth and position, we are all in this together and we have to find a solution. Greta Thunberg said it all. Experts are now saying there is a climate emergency.
John McLennan, Charlestown
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 was pleasing to hear of the win against Johnson & Johnson ('Landmark win', Newcastle Herald 22/11), but when is action to be taken against the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration that let the devices into Australia?
Elizabeth Watson, Swansea
THE federal government talking about the unions needing to be more accountable. There it is for you folks; you just heard it, the joke of the year.
Geoff Starke, Macquarie Hills
I BELIEVE that for many of us, Mark Creek (Short Takes, 29/11) "we have had enough of" you. When or where did Christine Everingham (Letters, 27/11) claim she speaks for all of the Newcastle East community, and for whom do you speak? You sound like you've run out of attempts at counter-arguments and you want her to shut up. Try reading her book Wrong Track and critiquing it, if you're capable.
Keith Parsons, Newcastle
I THINK we all realise by now the coalition and other governments have no intention of doing anything to seriously mitigate the impact of catastrophic climate change. Each year will be worse than the last. We've crossed the Rubicon, now brace for enduring impact.
Mac Maguire, Charlestown
SUPERCARS - what a standout. Newcastle is on the global map! Has been for yonks. It makes decades of neglected intercity rail infrastructure, now amputated, even stranger. Lots of efficient-throughput is the name of the game; swift intercity services, 365 days a year. We have the numbers for healthy, complementary light rail for getting around. Let's get humming.
Graeme Tychsen, Rankin Park
I THINK Scott McLaughlin's comment about King Street McDonalds being an "absolute dive" is an insult to Newcastle and the people that work there ('McLaughlin: cars are 'too fast' for the track', Herald 26/11). What do you expect, fine dining? If so, go somewhere else given that you can well afford and fill your trophy with prawns instead of nuggets.
Helen Hunstone, Cardiff South
I WONDER if King Street McDonalds will benefit from or back future Supercars race after comments from back to back champion Scott McLaughlin, stating the restaurant "...is an absolute dive..." (('McLaughlin: cars are 'too fast' for the track', Herald 26/11). Personally, I couldn't agree more.
Bryn Roberts, New Lambton
MR Morrison's call to the NSW Police Commissioner ('PM says nothing wrong in phoning police over Taylor', Herald 28/11) was a privilege that regular Australians do not have. In my opinion Mr Morrison believes he has special rights. After all, he is the PM. I believe he could have used appropriate channels if he was taking a balanced approach. The phone call in question was a very bad call politically and shows Mr Morrison is rattled. In my view, he can't handle complex issues and this is just another case in point.