I AM dismayed that any organisers of Christmas carols would opt for fireworks displays this Christmas. Not only is it dangerous in this current climate of bushfires and dry, windy weather, but in my opinion it is completely disrespectful to the hundreds of people who have lost everything in the fires across four states, not to mention those who lost their lives. We need to urge organisers across Newcastle to cancel any fireworks and not risk the possibility of fire and destruction. If this sounds dramatic, tell that to those who lost everything and the thousands evacuated who feared the worst.
Terrie White, Wallsend
VOTERS HAVE CAST THEIR LOT
SOME people are slow learners. In his speech at his formal farewell last Thursday, Malcolm Turnbull told his audience they should still adopt policies that saw him removed from the Liberal leadership twice. Apparently 250 people turned up to hear Mr. Turnbull's latest poor-me speech.
At a similar farewell function for Tony Abbott a few weeks ago, the attendance was over 1100. No further explanation needed.
Jim Gardiner, New Lambton
RIGHT FIGHT IS NEVER WON
VERY seldom do I find myself agreeing with the senatorial decisions of Jacqui Lambie or Pauline Hanson. However, I take great delight in thanking both senators on behalf of working Australia for their rejection of the Coalition's so-called Integrity Bill. Quite obviously, sanity has prevailed.
Never in my lifetime have the ordinary workers of Australia needed collective representation more than now. The repudiation of this bill by the Senate in my opinion shows Christian Porter's "review" of industrial relations in Australia has been seen for precisely what it is; the destruction of workers' right to bargain collectively. Had the bill passed, I believe all workers rights including sick leave, holiday pay, parental leave, workers compensation and penalty rates would have been at risk.
Hopefully Australian workers, particularly the young, will realise now that the fight is never, ever over.
John Lawton, Belmont
LOOK PAST PRETTY POLICIES
HAS the Morrison government totally flipped? For six years, the Coalition has increasingly run a hands-off approach to the economy. Deregulation of business power in employee management has caused alarming impacts on wages and other employee conditions, and has allowed lower to middle income wages to fall and employment to become less secure and inadequate.
Yet since Mr Morrison became PM, it seems the whole approach has been turned on its head. These days he's cracked open the multi-billion dollar pork barrel, only this is a barrel with a difference. Now he's throwing money at farmers and bushfire victims, although the money is hard to apply for, and threatening electricity companies and banks with his "big stick".
Yet I believe all of this is window-dressing and populist vote-buying. Pork barrelling by proxy. It sounds great, doesn't it? "The Prime Minister is really doing something we want," say the jury of the pub test, but we all know that alcohol clouds the judgement and makes people say and do silly things.
In my opinion Mr Morrison is in election mode, and has been since the last poll. Note the ongoing reference to Labor as the cause of all evils, and the greatest threat to Australia today (not global warming at all).
But beware; although it looks like Christmas might come early with lower power prices (which keep rising still) and punishing those evil banks, he still wants a hands-off free market with no rules and little benefit to those at the pub.
Scott Bell-Ellercamp, Clarence Town
UNIONS HAVE THE RECORD
THE Liberal federal government has tried to persuade people that unions are thugs and in the business for themselves.
What the federal government doesn't tell you is that unions ensure work safety, improved work conditions, negotiation for fair pay, representation for injured workers, representation in the workplace for disciplinary action by the employer and representation for threatened termination, and overall a fairer society. Unions gave us the eight-hour day, weekends and more for decency than any other organisation.
Robyn Starkey, Fennell Bay
SOLAR POWER'S FISCAL ZAP
HOW good are solar panels?
After you buy them from a company that makes a huge profit on the sale, you then sell the power they produce back to a branch of the same or similar company for a fraction of the price they charge you to draw back off the grid. So you borrow a lot of money to make money for someone else, and after 15 years you need to replace or upgrade. Of course you can spend extra on batteries and use your own power, but you'll still need a connection to the grid for when the sun stops shining. This comes with a rather expensive connection fee, whether you use it or not. Talk about a dumb deal. You put up the money, supply the power and they charge you for redistributing your own power back to yourself. It's like paying for shares in a poker machine that charges more than it pays, just to have it.
I expect my exercise to attract criticism with published facts and numbers, but the fact remains disregarding propaganda benefits that you are saving the planet that you are working for a very smart organisation that uses other people's money to profit from those same people.
Unless the government intervenes and forces an honest return on investment, I believe people will be caught short with unfair power distribution.
Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek
PROCEED AND OWN RISK
SO we hear another person has died from taking drugs ('Festival death', Herald 2/12). Do these people who take drugs know it is risky? They do. Are we going to place a nanny at any location where any risky activity may take place? I don't think so.
Why do drug users feel they deserve special treatment for self-prescribed risk? They know the dangers, and taking anything of unknown ingredients from an untrustworthy person who only wants to exploit you has to be beyond stupidity.
D Andrews, Tarro
TESTING THE BOUNDARIES
ANOTHER festival drug-related death, and these idiots want drug testing. What I believe they are actually saying is let's legalise drugs, we are not concerned about your well-being.
You millennial festival-goers who need drugs to enjoy the show need to have a good look at yourselves. If you still haven't worked out what's wrong, then go to Bali and see if the prison over there can sort you out. Maybe our politicians should introduce the same drugs laws as Indonesia.
Graeme Kime, Cameron Park
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.
ROBYN Starkey (Short Takes, 4/12) asks the NSW Premier to attend the funeral of the young man who died after taking illicit drugs, opining he wouldn't have died if pill testing had been available. I would make the sad point he would be alive today if he had not taken the pill. I believe it's time to stop mollycoddling the young, and that they must accept the possible consequences of their actions. Harsh, but fact.
Mike Sargent, Cootamundra
FRIDAY'S Newcastle Herald had two very interesting articles. One was by John Hewson ('Nation's disillusioned youth deserve better', Opinion 29/11). Mr Hewson seems very disillusioned with the Morrison government, judging by his comments lately. I'm not surprised. The other article was by Scott Hannaford on renewable energy generation ('Australia's chance to become an 'energy superpower'', Herald 29/11) citing more jobs and higher incomes in rural areas and greater opportunities for farmers and landowners. Does this government listen to these experts and scientists? They seem to be putting all their eggs in the coal bucket. Several comments at the end of the article make me think they are starting to listen. Let's hope they "don't muck it up". All Australians, the environment and future generations count on them to get it right.
Wayne Grant, Waratah
MANY parts of Australia were in the grip of a severe drought in 1927, and the Cascade Dam in Tasmania burst under the pressure of excessive rain in 1929, causing massive flooding and destruction. Climate change didn't get a mention at the time, and politicians didn't get the blame for either event. Welcome Kerry Harrison (Letters, 28/11), a former Tasmanian who is presently enjoying life as a Novocastrian and who likes reading this page but has had enough of the constant whinging from some. Their letter in my opinion reminds us that Mother Nature is quite unpredictable and that we should exercise a little common sense without blaming climate change for every disaster.
David Stuart, Merewether
PAMELA Anderson is in Australia to film ads for Ultra Tune. In my opinion she did not come across as too bright when you contrast this with her statement that climate change is a key factor in Australian bushfires. Perhaps Ultra Tune is no longer servicing vehicles that burn fuel, which would be why Pam would put her name to a company like Ultra Tune and make such a statement whilst being paid by them.
Steve Barnett, Fingal Bay
STEVE Barnett, "climate belief" is dead wrong, (Short Takes, 30/11). As the US Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, (NOAA), and David Attenborough got stuck into all, their decades of hard findings confirm what the science says. Only it's much faster. Both, a much wider role than change. They just happened to be on the scene. It's a matter of hard fact. Want to hazard a guess why NOAA is part of the US Department of Commerce?
Graeme Tychsen, Rankin Park
SHOULD Newcastle repeal its lockouts?