It is a local council election year. Most in our community will be blissfully unaware, however, that in seven months they will need to walk into a polling booth and select who they want to represent them on their local council.
For many, the decision will be the party they favour or the face that they recognise or whoever has caught their attention in the local media. In reality, many will select somebody without truly knowing anything about them or what they stand for.
The hostility of politics has already ramped up. The recent deluge of rain sparked the return of the debate and blame game about the opening of The Entrance channel and management of Tuggerah Lakes. This debate has been ongoing for at least 20 years with numerous studies, experts and management plans in place. Many people have been affected by flooding and storms. They are angry, upset, frustrated and dealing with the impacts. Many are experiencing hardship. Council staff are working hard in the recovery process.
Against this backdrop, we see some who take advantage of the distress in our community by amplifying the anger and blame through social media and freely distributing fake news. It is the politics of division - ignoring facts, creating rage, preying on people's suffering and frustration, working to drive our community to extremes, rather than bringing them together. We must call this out and demand better.
Our democracy is important. At a time when we know that trust in politicians is low, each of us needs to make sure we intentionally choose the leaders that we want. We need to challenge the misinformation and question the motives of those that seek to exploit vulnerabilities within our community. We have serious challenges ahead. We need leaders that act with integrity and in good faith. We need to call out the politics of division. It causes harm to our community and takes us to a place that it will be difficult to return from.
Jane Smith, Central Coast Council deputy mayor
SECOND LOOK AT FIRST SIGHT
WITH the horrific act of domestic violence in Queensland ('Remembering Hannah', Newcastle Herald 27/2), I wonder whether we are missing something.
I made a point of not watching Married at First Sight this year. However, with the promotional ads I've seen, it's still the same show. It's based on creating tension and drama between two people that have agreed to live with one another for a month or so. It's train-wreck TV and attracts high ratings, and yes, there are some couples that get on well and establish a loving relationship.
However, I am concerned that the drama and tension that the producers create shows some of the couples agitated and verbally abusive to one another.
It's this verbal abuse that in my opinion can in some cases lead to the start of bigger problems, and I fear some younger viewers might be led to believe that this behaviour is normal and acceptable in a new relationship. Am I being a bit sensitive here, or is this worth thinking about?
Peter O'Neill, Warabrook
TAX PLAN MAY HAVE MERIT
STEVE Barnett (26/2) makes an interesting point; tax protesters to cover job losses should their protests succeed.
This principle could be extended to the companies and investors of soon-to-be defunct industries, such as coal and ore mining, who have watched profits and dividends from their taxpayer-subsidised industries grow and grow as their workforce (receiving stagnant wages) stagnates or shrinks owing to automation.
Imagine: every regional job automated to an urban control centre would be balanced by a full pension, drawn from the corporation's profits and paid to the no longer needed regional employee and his/her family and descendants. This transferable pension would be payable as long as the regional area was being pillaged for raw materials to sell overseas.
Mr Barnett might consider joining a brain trust at some time.
Rusty Cherkas, Cooks Hill
HARD WORK TO FIND THE JOBS
THERE still appears to be strong belief that a container terminal at Mayfield will create many jobs ('Port push', Herald 26/2). Container transport was created to reduce jobs, so one person driving a forklift can move more cargo than a team of waterside workers in a much shorter time without stoppages. I believe the proposed terminal at Mayfield will create employment for a couple of managers and a handful of forklift drivers. As for the continuous stream of trucks moving 2000 containers a day through Newcastle's streets, I would bet pounds to peanuts they would be subcontractors working for a Sydney company, with most of them living and returning to Sydney.
So where are these jobs coming from that will put money into Newcastle and employ Newcastle people? I challenge anyone to visit the terminal at Port Botany and see anyone working besides fork lift drivers, and then ask the local residents do they mind thousands of trucks using their streets day and night, seven days a week. Don't imagine a glorious outcome, visualise the reality.
Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek
TERMINAL NEEDS LINE TO LIVE
IT has been interesting to read about the determination of Newcastle organisations to build a container terminal in Newcastle ('Port push', Herald 26/2) however I believe the idea of such a terminal does not go far enough. A Newcastle container terminal is too remote from its main market, which is Sydney itself. A container terminal in the region will need the upgrading of the Newcastle to Sydney rail line to have a freight-only line between the two cities.
This would have to be a line which does not interfere with the movement of current levels of rail movement between Newcastle and Sydney, the building of such a line will be very expensive but unavoidable in the longer term. Such a line will also need to be equipped with transport transhipment facilities, which would permit the integration of road transport to make detailed deliveries of freight to specific delivery points. Road transport from Newcastle to other areas of the state will not be feasible.
Accordingly, in my view, the building of a new container terminal in Newcastle must include the building of a dedicated rail line to service the Sydney market
Robert Kear, Charlestown
OF REASON AND RATBAGGERY
CONGRATULATIONS to the person or persons who choose all the correspondence each day for the Herald's letter page. The effort it must take to give us something to read is marvellous. From deep and meaningful to total ratbaggery - what a mixture! At 85 years old, I might begin some letters of my own with the hope that some might be placed with the mish mash and stir some common sense, logic and reason.
Greg Whitall, Raymond Terrace
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.
ONE really has to wonder why, against all the clear scientific and empirical evidence, conservative old blokes like Peter Devey (Letters, 25/2) just steadfastly and stubbornly refuse to believe the reality of catastrophic climate change. Do they seriously think it's a scam or a hoax perpetrated by the scientific/environmental on the entire planet? It's hard to fathom.
Mac Maguire, Charlestown
IN reply to Georgina Huxtable (Letters, 25/2): if Gold Coast Council had applied your thinking 20-odd years ago there would no longer be a Kirra or North Kirra. They were in the same situation as north Stockton is now, with rock walls protecting the road. With offshore dredging, it not only rebuilt the beach but actually maintained its tourism popularity. There was no talk of global warming and doomsday prophets, just positive thinking and a proactive council.
Tony Morley, Waratah
ENERGY Minister Angus Taylor says Labor's net zero emissions by 2050 target is "unfunded, uncosted and unplanned." It is costed. Not reducing greenhouse gas emissions will cost us the earth.
Wendy Davidson, Toronto
OVER the past 20 years I have dabbled in a few languages. Each year my wife has bought me a desk calendar in various languages to use from day to day and her most recent gift contained daily German translations. On Monday, as Harvey Weinstein was being remanded in custody after guilty verdicts were brought in, there was a sense of irony about the only two words on my calendar for that particular day. They were "me too" along with the German translation "Ich auch". What are the odds?
David Stuart, Merewether
IT appears that when a financial crisis hits the stock exchange there is no plan B, just full steam ahead and damn the torpedoes. People who don't invest in the stock market think it will affect only the top end of town. But eventually everyone will get hurt; even those with money under the bed. For they, to survive, will have to spend those funds.
John Hallam, Kurri Kurri
PERHAPS the effects of the spread of the coronavirus and some other contagious diseases could be reduced by the effective use of hand washing or the use of 60 per cent alcohol hand sanitisers. It would be a good idea to see hand sanitisers placed at the entry and exits of all public buildings such as witnessed at hospitals.
Peter Beach, Cooks Hill
I THINK I agree with Steve Barnett's proposed protester tax (Short Takes, 27/2), but instead of going to his imaginary future unemployed it could go to the very real 225,000 who have had their pensions reduced, with 89,000 thrown off it entirely, by our Liberal government.
Colin Fordham, Lambton
IN reply to Bob Berlin (Short Takes, 26/2).I would love to praise the Knights when they win and have done in the past. Unfortunately in the last few seasons the chances of that have been few and far between.