IT is very good for hairdressers that they have won the continuance of their penalty rates ('Hair stylists fight off cut to penalty rates', Newcastle Herald 20/1) but what of all the other hard working people who are being dudded?
Once again we see how wealthy interests seek to divide the power of workers in order to increase their profits. The current government goes along with this gleefully, claiming that giving more money to fewer people will somehow help the economy.
One can only hope the stylists might declare solidarity with their fellow underpaid. Ultimately, it would mean more customers could afford their services.
Peter Ronne, Woodberry
THE RIGHT TO DIE MATTERS
THE euthanasia debate has recently ignited timing criticism and claims of devious motivation.
I am one asking for the 2017 bill to be revisited. There is no intent other than preventing the prolonged suffering of loved ones with very little life quality and who regularly indicate, in times when in the present moment, that they don't want to be here.
At 91, our loved one has a shattered hip which is beyond repair. Hearing is limited and eyesight plagued by macular degeneration and Charles Bonnet syndrome, where one sees images that are not there.
Life exists in the split realities of being "zonked out" due to required pain relief (and associated horror dreams), the daytime fantasy of images that don't exist and moments of lucidity where one realises the nightmare one lives in. Requiring total assistance, each day is spent in a princess chair.
It's all very well to make lofty statements on the sanctity of life, but life is naught if you are not living in this world and interacting with it. I am hoping that an assisted dying bill is introduced as soon as possible. No one is asking for preferential consideration over the current fire disaster, only for it to be put to a voter decision at an appropriate time and not left sitting on the backburner.
Paul Duggan, Garden Suburb
CREDIT WHERE IT'S DUE
FOLLOWING my previous letter (Letters, 17/1) I wish to publicly thank Jeremy Bath from City of Newcastle, Tim Crakanthorp MP, Paul Scott and the team of workers for their prompt attention to the remediation work which was so badly needed at Merewether Baths.
This complex is now much more accessible for people with mobility issues, and the base of the small pool has now been levelled and is safe for the many people who use it regularly for walking rehab.
Once again our baths are an inclusive space. With a regular maintenance program in place, hopefully we can now keep it that way. Next month the world comes to Merewether for Surfest and this amazing complex, the largest ocean pool in the southern hemisphere, now looks like an area that is proudly cared for and loved.
Glenis Powell, Merewether
UPDATE ETIQUETTE IN CINEMA
JOANNE McCarthy ('When the lights dim', Weekender 18/1), we are on the same screen when it comes to going to the flicks. Just the thought of it gets my body into a tizz of tension, and it's only because you just don't know what is going to plonk itself down behind or in front or on either side. That really means everyone else in the theatre.
I remember one scene where Mel Gibson's character is hailing a cab in What Women Want. "Ooh," said one of a couple sitting directly behind, "he's getting a cab." "Yes," his wife says, "I wonder where he's going?". Henceforth we got a running commentary. This would be okay if everyone in the theatre had a sight and hearing problem but they didn't, so just close it.
Years before this, I was sitting in a tiny theatre up the coast. In a scene from The Piano, the character Harvey Keitel plays is standing naked near a piano. Well, that started a run of giggles and sniggers like we were watching Laurel and Hardy from oldies who couldn't hack a bit of bare flesh, namely a bare back and bottom.
With mobile phones it must be tough love; a turn the bloody thing off or we'll throw you out type of thing, flashed up in big red letters before the film commences.
They just don't get it, do they?
Julie Robinson, Cardiff
IT'S TIME FOR A TRANSITION
I DESPAIR at our prime minister's lacklustre response to BlackRock Investments' announcement that they are reviewing their investment strategies subject to a corporations climate initiatives.
Mr Morrison continues to spruik the same old message about how important coal is to Australia's economy and the export dollars that the industry generates. Whether or not the numbers are correct, is it no longer a moot point?
After a decade of ignorance and procrastination, a year of thoughtful activism from our concerned young, of recent pleas from esteemed scientists and fire experts, of a summer of well reported record temperatures, record drought, record firestorms and death and destruction along the eastern seaboard and still it seems he doesn't get it.
Please, Mr Morrison, you have time on your side. Start to look at other industries in these coal-dependent electorates and deliver a vision and a path for the future. There must be no end of great ideas that given financial incentive or perhaps tax breaks could explore, invest in and establish clean green employment and position Australia for what remains of the 21st century and beyond as a world leader in new ideas and new initiatives. It seems that at the moment we are a model example of how not to manage this climate crisis.
Antony Bennett, Bar Beach
Australia in Flames
East coast wears hungry, heated blanket
Danger nearby brings many fears
Our dry land down south with bitter face
For us, neighbours shed many tear
Caring folk assist from pocket and heart
Government gone walk-about again
Angry red owns more life now
Our few native animals and selfless men
Brave red truck chasing beast in bush
Strive to save a land that's scarred
Warning message barked to flee
Some stay stubborn, chained to yard
Above horizon look around
Sky of orange and plenty smoke,
Burnt black by fire home and town
Drained we long for water's soak
Cracked-soil stretch his blatant grin
More pain for history being made,
Thick hot air smother our patience
Broken community scream for aid,
Warm hearts and steel strength we bare
Crisp country sits on old earthy plain
Hearts stitched together heavy with hope
Loud we pray for relief, recovery and rain.
Lily Manton, Newcastle
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.
THE real disaster now is that people give their lives to care for country, communities, our mega-diverse biota and each other while the governments we elect siphon off resources in an attempt to back up their lies. The NSW Rural Fire Service, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, the State Emergency Service and many other agencies are in my opinion spat upon, with constant downsizing and diminishing real budgets. I believe Coalition governments and those who seek to exploit the water and the land represent the last breath of a disastrous colonial folly. We are all volunteers picking up the mess. We must take another path.
Peter Stevens, Merewether
THE Jets are still at the bottom of the ladder. Are we grooming young players too soon? The statistics of an Under 13 team last year indicate a wide gap between the top four and the bottom of the ladder four of 11 teams. If we use the NAPLAN assessment system, it's easy to see why; the coaching methods are good but results on the field show many of the children are not quite ready.
Frank Tweedie, Morpeth
LAWRIE McKinna claimed its was his decision to sack Ernie Merrick, not the owners'. I wonder if he is able to admit he made a mistake?
Stuart King, Toronto
BRENDAN Mackay (Short Takes 18/1), you are so right with wanting Dick Smith as prime minister. He could be Australia's answer to Senator Bernie Sanders who's running for the US presidency. A prime minister for the people, not vested interests.
Jo Coombes, Mayfield West
RICHARD Mallaby (Letters, 20/1) it's fantastic news that renewables are producing electricity at half the price of coal. So perhaps now is the time to stop subsidies and spend taxpayers' money on dams. That way coal and renewables can compete in a free market. Let them fight for market share, and let people choose who and how their power is supplied.
Steve Barnett, Fingal Bay
NO, Leigh Marr (Short Takes 15/1) the Greens have not been silent. The media I have accessed has given great credit to Shoalhaven's mayor, Green Amanda Findley, for her involvement in and leadership of her community during the bush fire crisis. As well, all Green politicians have issued media releases. They can hardly be blamed for what the media chooses to report.
Joan Lambert, Adamstown
THE statement from our head marketing man that he won't kill off regional communities that rely on the mining industry to cut emissions must be a big relief to the regional communities that are now piles of ashes.
Chris Peters, Newcastle
I WAS always brought up to believe God was a peaceful god, or a fisherman, but was never sure after hearing of the piece of cod which passeth all understanding. Understandable, as there were no fridges in those days.