I TOTALLY agree with Lyn Rendle (Letters, 17/2). Congratulations to Meryl Swanson for introducing a petition to parliament to question the bulk billing changes ('Cutting incentive will cause pain to patients', Newcastle Herald 7/1), but who makes these decisions? Sadly this one is affecting the disadvantaged within our community.
As a registered nurse I have seen and experienced the overload to the emergency departments reviewing not emergency situations, but people requiring a GP appointment. Nurses and medical teams are completely overloaded already with serious accidents and medical emergencies.
I am reviewing clients who are unwell and not attending a GP visit for scripts and follow-on treatment as they are not able to afford a doctor's visit. Sadly this is not supporting a community, highlighting health and wellness. I believe we should support our disadvantaged, and not medically neglect them.
Colleen Canny, Farley
TAKE PRIDE IN YOUR WORK
I WOULD like to thank the staff of the Mater Hospital at Waratah for their caring support for my father.
My father is currently suffering from a major illness and the care and attention to detail while he was being treated at the Mater was, I'm sure, second to none.
The nursing staff and doctors showed my father the respect, patience and true nature of the skill and professionalism of the entire team. Nothing was too good for my dad, and the nurses made sure he received everything possible to improve his quality of life.
My father asked me to write this letter for him to thank the staff and to let everyone know his feelings of appreciation. I personally think the people at that hospital should feel proud of the work they do and I cannot thank them enough. I just hope Dad is still here to be able to read this letter.
Mark Coleman, Cardiff South
CYCLE OF PAIN UNBROKEN
AFTER learning from the Herald that Newcastle's light rail was now 12 months old ('On track', Herald 17/2) I thought it might be safe to venture into the city again by bike. It was something I had abstained from during the construction because of the disruption to traffic. However it's still pretty terrible for cycling.
It's especially bad along Honeysuckle Drive, which is now a high-rise canyon, and the cycle path that ran along the water's edge is closed due to construction of even more ugliness. But the real tragedy only becomes apparent when you look back from the Wickham end and all you see is a wall of tarted up Stalinist-style housing that blocks off the harbor from the rest of the city. So much for a scheme that was to open up the harbour.
In my opinion it makes you realise that while we may think we are ruled by three levels of government, the actual power is in the hands of three councils; the property, mining and business councils.
Don Owers, Dudley
STRUCTURE ALREADY INSPIRES
IT is a pity that a spire is proposed to be added on top of Christ Church Cathedral ('Reaching for the heavens', Herald 29/1). To my knowledge a spire was never originally envisaged. The 1882 design by architect Horbury Hunt shows a raised tower at the crossing with only a pyramidal roof.
Not all cathedrals in England have a spire. Cathedrals such as Leicester, Ely and Salisbury do, but Durham, Canterbury and York rely on towers to express their dominance in the townscape. In the case of Christ Church, its site on the prominent hill was reserved for a church from the earliest days of the settlement of 1804. Presumably it was intended to be highly visible to the town's people and harbour. Today the cathedral, with its raised bell tower, is very highly visible and in my opinion does not need a spire to mark its significance.
Les Reedman, Cooranbong
ELECTRIFY THE CAR INDUSTRY
GENERAL Motors has gifted us the perfect opportunity for Australia to build its future in the Electric Car industry ('End of the lion', Herald 17/2). There is a skilled workforce going begging and we need to build a strong and profitable car to be in good stead for the future. Holden and GM are no longer here, so it's time to move on.
Vicki Dunn, Tighes Hill
RULING MAKES CRUCIAL POINT
THE High Court has decided the most important case on the status of Aboriginal Australians since Mabo ('High Court ruling links Indigenous to country', Herald 12/2). There were two unrelated plaintiffs born in Papua New Guinea and New Zealand who did not hold Australian citizenship. However, they had both resided in Australia under permanent residence visas since age five.
Importantly, they were also both of Aboriginal descent, identified as Aboriginal and were recognised as Aboriginal by their communities of origin. They were appealing federal government decisions to deport them due to assault convictions.
The case was essentially about one thing - whether Aboriginal Australians, determined as such by law, can be considered "aliens" under the constitution, and thus subject to exclusion from the country. The court said they could not.
From Justice Gordon's judgement: "An Aboriginal Australian is not an 'outsider' to Australia."
Mabo foreshadowed this conclusion. but it took almost another 30 years to be fully made. Even so, the Court was split 4-3. That our highest court has been prepared to make such a decision should be a cause of national pride.
However, predictably enough, the conservative elite think otherwise.
Conservative politicians decry the creation of two classes of Australians, despite the fact Aboriginal Australians have been second class citizens in their own country ever since it was stolen from them.
This sudden and selective interest in equality is shallow and disingenuous. It confuses cohesiveness with conformity. As Justice Edelman says: "To treat differences as though they were alike is not equality. It is a denial of community. Any tolerant view of community must recognise that community is based upon difference."
The conservative legal fraternity warn of the perils of "legal activism", while ignoring a litany of legal fictions used to enact and sustain Aboriginal dispossession.
Two of the most recited examples are that at the moment the First Fleet arrived in 1788, the British Crown "acquired" sovereignty of this country, and that Australia, and its original inhabitants, "received" the common law of England.
This case provides compelling arguments for the creation in the Constitution of an Aboriginal "voice", if not a treaty. Sadly, it's unlikely they'll be enough to sway the forces in this country that have long set their face against justice.
Michal Hinchey, New Lambton
SHARE YOUR OPINION
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THE iconic Holden brand has evaporated ('End of the lion', Newcastle Herald 18/2). But, isn't it a symptom of the failure of government and business to actually invest in Australian companies? Will this event alert any of our leaders to the hazards of trusting overseas interests? As we enter an era of new technologies in manufacturing, will the government and their wealthy business mates make any effort to invest in local and sustainable efforts or will it just be the same old, same old?
Peter Ronne, Woodberry
I CANNOT see where Cr John Church blamed council staff for delays in achieving a coastal management plan or any emergency works ('John Church calls for action not words', Herald 17/2). I would expect deputy mayor Clausen to attack Cr Church, but as for Mr Liddell stating "this is not a reason to blame council staff or suggest it could happen more quickly"? I believe it is wrong of him. In my view staff should leave political sniping to those elected to do it, and paid employees should remain apolitical.
Laurie Coghlan, Jewells
BOB Salter (Short Takes, 18/2), the federal government has only peripheral connection to the crisis in Wuhan. I believe the fact John Bonnyman (Short Takes, 11/2) devised and made a quip about sending them there makes it more biting and less acceptable than you suggest. It is the equivalent to someone suggesting the ALP's politicians should be sent to Idlib (under attack from the Syrian Army), being both unreasonable and a bizarre non-sequitur, to which the appropriate response is "huh?" rather than laughter. If he had said they should be sent to quarantine on Christmas Island, which the federal government is intimately involved in, I would have had no objection to the quip.
Sean Farnham, Kurri Kurri
SO the Pope has knocked back an appeal by some bishops for married priests. How come people listen when an unmarried man makes rules about sex?
Neville Aubrey, Wallsend
ONE wonders whether, if these people who were segregated to Christmas Island were British or Americans, would they have been shipped off to this island? Measles, smallpox, influenza and more caused many deaths to the original inhabitants of this country when the settlers arrived on this continent along with these viruses. But Aboriginal Australia survived these plagues, along with murder and massacres.
Richard Ryan, Summerland Point
AUSSIES on the Diamond Princess must have been relieved when the US and Canada decided to evacuate their nationals. This was a wake up call for the Australian government to help stranded Aussies caught on the ship. Thanks to those nations; without them the Aussies would still be stuck.
John Butler, Windella Downs
I STRONGLY object to my rates being used to fund park-and-ride services and on-demand transport due to loss of parking spaces, which will now increase, caused by building a light rail to nowhere.