IT is without doubt that democracy is under threat not only in Australia, but America as well. I believe the recent sports rorts scandal portrays just how underhanded political parties have become in an effort to stay in power no matter what the cost.
What is missing in politics at the moment is honesty; it is that simple. If honesty does not exist, neither does democracy. Politicians seem to have become immune to being exposed as being dishonest; they simply ignore it and continue with business as though they have nothing to answer for. It is a dangerous situation, as it shows a marked degree of arrogance and allows those who have been exposed to continue on a path of deception without penalty.
What is needed is a free and unbiased media backed by an authority to protect any journalist or whistle blower who is game enough to stand up against any form of corruption and dishonesty. Dishonesty is corruption, in my opinion.
I think the fact that the Australian Federal Police have opted against pursuing a media release which made false allegations against Clover Moore ('Police clear Angus Taylor over mayor note', Herald 6/2) needs to be looked at carefully. In my opinion it is obvious that the Coalition is playing outside the rules which, if they had the power, they would change to suit their own agenda.
I firmly believe that if any politician or public servant found to have misled in any shape or form should be dismissed immediately and all their benefits withheld. As well, no future employment should be possible within any government departments.
This disgraceful behaviour of politicians smugly denying any knowledge of wrongdoing, then we find just the opposite was the case, has to stop. Brutal as it may have to be, bring back honesty. Without it, I fear there can be no democracy or respect.
Alan Metcalf, Stockton
DRONES STRIKE WRONG TONE
I UNDERSTAND and respect that buying and selling houses requires good marketing strategy, such as the use of drones to produce photos to entice prospective buyers, but there are laws pertaining to the use of drones in suburbia that I believe should be more closely adhered to.
A common courtesy letter drop around the area to warn residents of proposed drone usage would be appreciated. How easy would it be for a sicko to check out your family in the pool or entice unsuspecting children to be asked to bring a landed drone in their back yard to bring it back for the purpose of entrapment? You say it wouldn't happen, but think again.
Modern technology works in many devious ways, so those businesses in the purpose of using drones to promote sales be warned: if the drone comes into our property without permission I will take to it with a baseball bat, no apologies.
Please, it's time to use some common courtesy before hovering.
Graeme Kime, Cameron Park
NO TIME LEFT TO WASTE
IT'S a critical matter, to waste not and want not. I refer to the Peter Lewis cartoon (Opinion, 15/2). It is a fitting summary of the critical problems we face as a result of the ever growing waste throughout Australia.
The imminent closure of the Rydalmere plant in Sydney ('Councils assure residents', Herald 13/2) will further exacerbate the problems for large cities.
The time for talk is past - it is time for solutions. With that in mind, I draw your attention to a waste to energy proposal submitted to the Committee on Environment and Planning's inquiry into the sustainability of energy supply and resources by Muswellbrook resident Mr. Granville Taylor.
I have no doubt most ordinary people in Australia are well aware of the issue relating to waste and look for urgent leadership and action to solve this mounting problem. Waste to energy plants have been (and continue to be) constructed all around the world.
We have been all too willing to shift the problem elsewhere, such as to China, but now that option has been shut off we need to act urgently. Let's hope the powers that be take up the challenge on behalf of the Hunter in developing a world class waste to energy plant in our region.
Kevin Doherty, Muswellbrook
THE EVIDENCE IS AMPLE
CLIMATE change deniers have a favourite target: climate change theory and its models. They claim that theories are just guesses and that computer simulations are not accurate, so the public should be wary of their predictive power. They claim no prediction has ever come true. "Give just one example," they often demand.
Firstly, the prediction 50 years ago that the planet was warming at a dangerously accelerated rate due to human activity has become fact. Temperature readings and trends don't lie.
From that fact, modelling has successfully predicted the following: warming oceans, shrinking ice sheets, glacial retreat, shrinking snow cover, sea level rise, ocean acidification, animal migrations and extinctions, changing seasons, and a record number of high temperature extreme weather events. These facts really aren't that hard to find, unless you don't want to.
John Arnold, Anna Bay
THERE'S DEVIL IN THE DETAIL
SCOTT Hillard (Short Takes, 14/2) has claimed that because Japan has opted to build new coal fired power stations, this casts doubt about the validity of Ross Garnaut's vision for Australia.
It should be obvious that there are big differences between Japan's situation and what we have in Australia and to make such a conclusion is flawed.
Until the nuclear disaster, Japan had 30 per cent of their electricity generated from nuclear power. They now have almost completely stopped nuclear power generation and as a result had to find alternatives.
Gas is expensive because they have to use the more expensive liquefied gas. Oil is also an option but is expensive.
Renewables are an option but due to a number of factors, particularly suitable sites, the expectation is that the renewable share of the electricity mix will only increase slightly from the present 20%.
When coal shipped from Australia is the cheapest new power alternative, the conclusion that Mr. Hillard should have drawn is that this clearly demonstrates the advantage Australia given renewable power in Australia is even cheaper again.
A final point is that we get inundated with misleading statistics about the number of new coal fired power stations being built.
What is conveniently ignored is that there are also power station closures.
In 2019 the Global Energy Monitor reported there were 35,354 megawatts of power from the construction of new coal fired power stations to come on stream but at the same time there were 34,233 megawatts retired.
Lloyd Davies, Stockton
SHARE YOUR OPINION
Email email@example.com 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.
ROBERT Dillon is absolutely spot on ('Leigh earns hallmark', Newcastle Herald 15/2). Leigh Maughan, although not playing for the Knights, should be a Hall of Fame recipient. Over to you, Wests.
Wayne Grant, Waratah
THANK you, Robert Dillon, for your great article on Leigh Maughan. I'm 200 per cent behind your views on recognising Leigh's battle for the Newcastle Knights' entry into the NSW Rugby League Premiership by naming him in the Knights' Hall of Fame. Just a note to think about his available time during that decade: Leigh was in his 40s with young children and working in the sports media. As for the future of the Hall of Fame, I'm sure that will be rectified in the near future as a result of your report.
Elaine Street, Merewether
WHY are there weeds throughout Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Local Government Areas on major thoroughfares? The median strips on Pacific Highway, City Road, Warners Bay Road and Charlestown Road are growing weeds that are two metres high. It is an eyesore and an embarrassment. Both Councils charge high rates. Something needs to be done to address this issue.
Tracey Egger, Charlestown
IN response to Michael Cowan (Letters, 15/2): sure, everyone needs a safe workplace. But surely he has to understand that his work place is one of the biggest polluters of our environment. His argument that seismic testing of the lake is necessary in providing that safe workplace in my opinion only compounds the damage coal mining creates on the environment. If Mr Cowan wants to enjoy his family leisure time on the lake, I think he should give some serious thought to the environmental damage caused by coal mining in general.
Jeff Cooper, Kahibah
IAN King (Short Takes, 15/2) with our state government and opposition occupied with a crippling drought and catastrophic bushfires I can understand why they failed to see the importance of graffiti.
Colin Fordham, Lambton
ONCE again, allegations of animal cruelty have emerged in our area ('Man, 37, allegedly hit cow with car', Herald 15/2). It is alleged this person tortured and set dogs on a cow in the Hunter Valley. It sounds sadistic. Where do such people come from?
Lee Patterson, Carrington
REGARDING the alleged animal cruelty ('Man, 37, allegedly hit cow with car', Herald 15/2), a person who allegedly hits a cow in a vehicle deliberately and breaks its leg before slitting its throat, then releases dogs, is given strict conditional bail. The cow is a living thing. In my opinion there should have been no bail and a charge of manslaughter laid.
Wayne Ridley, Gateshead
A MASSIVE overreaction by Sean Farnham (Short Takes, 15/2) to John Bonnyman's quip about federal cabinet heading to Wuhan (Short Takes, 11/2). He doesn't really want them dead, Mr Farnham; he's just expressing his contempt for what you refer to as their incompetence. In my opinion the "cringing in shame" should be done by those who voted them in.