AFTER more violent incidents occurring in residential areas of Newcastle recently ('Won't cop it', NewcastleHerald, 30/12), I certainly hope that those who continue to campaign for lockout laws and licencing restrictions within the city of Newcastle are taking notice, and consider that these laws are perhaps not addressing all of the problems. One incident involved a man wielding a baseball bat at police around 7.30pm. The other incident, at approximately 10pm, centred around a party, hosted by a 16-year-old. Only two people arrested were actually of legal drinking age, and the party was allegedly made up mainly of youths, some as young as 15.
This raises two very important issues that relate to night-time violence in Newcastle: drugs and underage drinking. There are often assaults committed outside licensed venues by people not even old enough to enter them, so how the bartenders could be to blame I'll never know.
Adz Carter, Newcastle
KEEP POLITICS OUT OF IT
THE current national (not natural) disaster of the country-wide bushfire emergency has now in my opinion been made into a political football by our Prime Minister, Scott Morrison.
On Friday I witnessed several television news articles that featured Mr Morrison attempting to show empathy to devastated fire victims. I would mark him as a fail. Less than 24 hours later, he is spruiking a plan for some of our armed forces to assist with the many aspects of rescue and recovery. But how dare he (to quote Greta Thunberg) use his prior marketing experience to present us with television advertisements that have been authorised by himself on behalf of the Liberal Party. I believe this national disaster should have had a non-partisan national plan of action many, many months ago.
Barbara Ross, Tea Gardens
AUNTY DESERVES RESPECT
HOW good is our ABC? Well, if the important role played by the ABC during this national emergency can be used as a yardstick, it's irreplaceable. The ABC has been the communication source millions of Australians have trusted since 1923, when the national broadcaster first commenced transmitting. Across those decades, the ABC has never resorted to sensationalism of news or motor-mouthed commentators to maintain its audiences; it simply maintained a principled approach of presenting issues impartially. It's far too good for we Australians to allow conservative politicians or vested interests to destroy.
Barry Swan, Balgownie
MIND CHANGE ON CLIMATE
LIKE many, when I first heard about a supposed hole in the ozone layer I laughed it off. You can't be serious, I thought to myself, and like many I thought climate change was a overreaction. Sadly, I admit I was wrong.
What changed my mind was a documentary I viewed where a British scientist rationally explained her findings over a 30-year period of research. She explained how our lifestyle was impacting on the climate and I began to look back to when I was a much younger person. One of the reasons, she said, was that the world has trouble coping with overpopulation. I lived in Cairns when the population was 28,000, whilst today it is over 160,000 and still growing. The town in which I grew up had a population of 8000; today it is home to 40,000.
When I return particularly to Cairns, I found forested habitat now replaced by housing developments and I wonder when does it stop? I cannot understand why people are so frightened to utter the name of climate change. It's only a phrase.
Where are we headed? It's lucky that we have politicians who have more knowledge than the scientists who have been warning us for years of what will be occurring. Perhaps it's too late. Who knows; after all, climate change is only a phrase, isn't it?
Alan Metcalf, Stockton
WE NEED BETTER BALANCE
THE unprecedented outbreak of fires across eastern Australia raises discussion about leadership. Perhaps we need to review our land management practices. The original inhabitants of our land and their successors regularly carried out burning off on land that had excessive overgrowth or needed regeneration. A landowner lighting a fire nowadays is subject to a rigorous and prescriptive approval process to the extent that it is almost impossible to light a fire.
There has to be a balance between staying green and good land management. Should we have done something to prevent or handle the situation? Yes, we need to collect, divert and manage water. This is not rocket science as we live in one of the driest continents. We need more Snowy Mountains schemes to divert water inland and other clever infrastructure. Others can build expressways and tunnels under the ocean and have trains that travel at speeds three times faster than ours.
This event gave our leaders the chance to assure us that all was under control and that we were safe and in good hands. John Howard banned guns after the Port Arthur massacre, Bob Hawke said that no child would live in poverty and Donald Trump said that he would build a wall to keep the Mexicans out and get them to pay for it. I am disappointed with Scott Morrison, even though there is probably nothing that can be done now other than to say that it is under control and hopefully it will never happen again. He could have come home and sent in the defence force immediately on his own initiative, but he should have allocated substantial resources in a constructive way and he should have reassured us.
Craig Doyle, Newcastle
PM HAS COME UP SHORT
PLEASE, on my behalf, approach the Prime Minister and establish the health of our budget surplus, and then pass on the result to our fellow Australians who are victims of the vicious inferno sweeping the country. He should also meet with fire commissioners.
Perhaps he will then be in a position to understand the needs of the community when it comes to fire prevention. He may even consent to spending some of the budget surplus on firefighting equipment, preventative measures to safeguard the community, and give him the opportunity to display the quality of leadership, which he has thus far failed to display (how was the Hawaiian holiday?).
It may not be politically correct to blame the victims, but ask these poor wretches who they voted for in the previous federal election and whether or not they wish to rescind their vote. In my long lifetime I have experienced many Prime Ministers from both major political parties who display an unwavering commitment to Australia and its people: Menzies, Hawke, Keating. In my opinion, though, the current incumbent is bereft of any quality which would render him suitable for office.
Peter Payser, Gosford
THEY say history has a particular way of repeating itself and, after watching the events unfolding on the south coast this past week with people sheltering in small boats and huddled together on beaches and near lakes before they crammed onto a jetty to await evacuation by the navy to somewhere safe, I found it was reminiscent of the same exercise carried out at Dunkirk during World War II. This time, though, it is a different enemy that is forcing them to flee. I believe that sadness and tragedy does not even come close to describing what these people have gone through.
Barry Reed, Islington
I THINK water to showers at all beaches should be turned off (Letters, 4/1). I have just been to fire-ravaged Crowdy Head beach before Christmas. Water to showers there has been turned off, and water was only available to wash hands in the toilet block. No-one was complaining; everyone seemed to consider it sensible.
Margaret Taylor, Eleebana
I AGREE with Daryll Hatfield and Jim Richardson about the end of the decade, and also the end of the century. Ten years is not finished until the end of the tenth, not the ninth. It's simple maths. The end of the tenth is the start of the eleventh, hence 2020 is the end. There was no year zero.
Kevin Miller, Windale
DURING these destructive fires Scott Morrison told all and sundry that the fires was the state's problem, and if they needed help they were to ask him for it. With all the carnage, loss of life and the devastation, I would have thought that, with his credibility shrinking in my opinion, he could have got on the front foot and led by example. But no, the premiers had to ask him for help. I hope his quiet Australians, as he likes to call them, find their voice and let him know how disgusted they are for his lack of leadership during this country's crisis.
Andy McFadden, Warners Bay
I AGREE with Richard Marr's letter (Letters, 3/1) that public transport could be better utilised in Newcastle. However, a walk along Hunter Street on many an early New Year's morning gone by was usually met with a lot of singing, yahooing and laughter from others strolling to wherever they were headed. I'm still lucky to be able bodied enough that walking from the Interchange to the East End is as easy as the ten times' table for me unlike, it sounds, Newcastle's public transport timetables.
Bryn Roberts, New Lambton
DOES somebody want to send a fiddle to the government so the Prime Minister has something to do while Australia burns?
John Brattan, Thornton
ON Friday I read the best letter yet ever written to the editor, sent in by Antony Bennett of Bar Beach (Letters. 3/1). How could we cause our useless politicians to read it and have a think about all the issues he's covered? Thanks so much, Mr Bennett. I think you were spot on about every issue, absolutely perfect. I keep it to read occasionally just to remind me of what a wonderful job our politicians are doing.