I BELIEVE that it appears that we are being exploited when it comes to changed travel plans as a result of the coronavirus.
Last December my wife and I paid in full, through a reputable travel agent for a trip this coming June. Our plans involved return flights with Qantas, five nights of accommodation in Darwin, three day excursions to popular tourist attractions and a three-night journey in gold class on The Ghan. The total cost was $10,000.
Thus far, we have not been offered a refund but only credits to take the holiday within the next two years. Most unfairly, this would be at an increased cost. Surely this same package should be offered at the same price, as we have completely fulfilled our side of the deal. Why are we being asked to pay considerably more?
Eric Roach, Croudace Bay
Mud on late Mundey was unfair
I BELIEVE Bruce Brander (Letters, 16/5) makes comments he probably wouldn't dare make were Jack Mundey still alive. Mr Mundey insisted the union only act at the request of the community. Seeing as the workers of the Builders Labourers' Federation refused to build in the first place, there was no need to bully or stand over anybody.
Maybe we should ask Juanita Nielson (disappeared), Arthur King (kidnapped) and other protesters of their residents' association who were bashed and harassed, about bullying and stand-over tactics. Then there's the 1973 pink ban at a Macquarie University college over discrimination against two students for being gay.
To quote the premier of the time Bob Askin: "They're mere labourers, who do they think they are?" Well they're people who risked their jobs and lost pay for a better future for a city and its people."
Colin Fordham, Lambton
Don't power past the fine detail
TWO of our local politicians this week had some amazing articles published in this journal. One by Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp was extolling the virtues of re-industrialising the local economy ('The Hunter can rise from COVID-19's ashes', Opinion 15/5), which would be wonderful if only. The other, by Shortland MP Pat Conroy, was telling us about a new steel-making method that would support thousands of jobs in the manufacture of green steel ('Our region is no greenhorn at making steel', Opinion 16/5).
I believe these two are living in a parallel universe. How can you promote heavy industry and at the same time decry attempts to establish reliable base load power generation? You cannot have both. As indicated on the live power generation/usage sites, NSW is rarely self-sufficient in power at present. As has been said many times, heavy industry cannot run on sea breezes and sunbeams. So, guys, make up your mind.
Mr Conroy getting all excited about green steel, to me, shows a distinct lack of knowledge about the process he is advocating and the manufacture of iron and steel. The green steel process is at best very early experimental and if proven, it will only remove about 25 per cent of coal from the process. I wonder how much time he has spent in a fully-integrated steelworks. If any, he would understand that after the iron is made in the blast furnace it is then converted to steel in a BOS then teamed into ingots, rolled into billets in a bloom mill and then rolled into product in rolling mills. It requires massive amounts of energy, both gas and electricity.
Raymond Stewart, Charlestown
Case builds for manufacture
WHAT a great article by Tim Crakanthorp (Opinion, 15/5) about reviving the Hunter manufacturing industry. For too long governments awarded contracts overseas, justifying their decision by saying it's cheaper than local. It should be mandatory for them to factor in the opportunity cost of business viability and employment.
When Australian businesses are forced to shut down and employees become dependent on welfare there is a significant dollar cost to our economy, not to mention the human cost to society. Perhaps our Gladys doesn't care because unemployment benefits are a Commonwealth cost and bankruptcies don't concern her government. Is it any wonder people are asking why state governments are still relevant?
And if the Commonwealth government wants to look at how to pay some of the billions spent because of the pandemic, look no further than a massive saving with cancellation of the French submarine project.
Zenon Woloszyn, Rutherford
It has bordered on overkill
IN a reaction to the coronavirus epidemic, some states elected to close their borders. Why I ask? Is it not sufficient to have temporary laws in place that restrict non-essential movement? Surely that is adequate.
In my opinion the closing of borders has achieved nothing positive, but has managed to divide our nation.
What is the point of quarantining returning overseas passengers for 14 days in the state of arrival and then for another 14 days in their home state?
We are all Australians and should be treated equally. State borders should not be used in this manner. One does not need a border to stop and question a traveller as to their reason for travel (essential or non-essential). Our law enforcement officers have been doing so randomly at any place they choose, and rightly so. The big question is, what is essential travel? If that is clearly defined, and I believe it is, there should be no problem keeping people at home.
If we all exercise some patience, we will eventually be able to take a holiday and if we choose to do so, in another state. There should be nothing to prevent us from so doing.
Stan Keifer, Arakoon
Jonesing for a reckoning
THANK you, Peter FitzSimons, for your honest appraisal of Alan Jones and our Prime Minister Scott Morrison's praise, telling Jones "you have always done the right thing by your country." Was our Prime Minister serious?
Have we forgotten about Jones's vicious attacks on both Julia Gillard and Jacinda Ardern without provocations? He has become well known for his misogynistic rants and bullying, and his recent encouragement of his radio audience to ignore the danger of COVID-19. In 2015 he attempted to destroy the Wagner family by blaming them for the Grantham floods, and at that time a judge stated that Jones was vicious and spiteful. It cost Jones and the station over $3 million.
There have seen many cases of Jones spruiking on the airwaves stirring up anger and hatred, including before the Cronulla riots.
This country needs to choose our heroes more selectively and not admire shock jocks like Jones as this is a negative contribution at its worst. Trump has changed the landscape of journalism forever with his labelling of false news. Prime Minister, we cannot make a hero out of Jones.
Denise Lindus Trummel, Mayfield
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AUSTRALIAN values: politicians grovelling to Alan Jones as each political salesperson jockey for his favouritism.
Richard Ryan, Summerland Point
DR Mary McMillan ('Walking the chalk during COVID pandemic', Opinion 19/5), I was just wondering about "the kid" you refer to in Tuesday's paper. Would that be your son or daughter, or the goat in the backyard?
Graeme Bennett, Warners Bay
I AM confused; Queensland's border is shut to people from other states, but their footballers were allowed to cross over into NSW to allow them to play in the competition and State of Origin. I believe this once again proves to everyone they are above the law and can do what they want. In my opinion this is a blatant disregard for every citizen in Australia.
Debra Forbes, Wickham
I WOULD have sentenced the Newcastle coal activists ('Protesters remorseful', Newcastle Herald 20/5) to 12 months in the bush without phones/computers/hot water/electricity/cars/clothes. Without coal they'd have none of these "essential" items.
Matt Ophir, Charlestown
PAUL Scott ('Fast trains? Bike lanes? Don't stop believin'', Opinion 18/5), hah! It's probably because I'm always getting my head chopped off by lefties that I need a few spare. Stay well brother.
Steve Barnett, Fingal Bay
I WOULD like to know what Don Fraser (Short Takes, 19/5) has against Greta Thunberg. Is it her youth? Is it that she is female? Is it because she says things about climate change that he doesn't want to hear? I believe declaring her unhinged is a disgraceful tactic. Young people like Greta have it more together than you think. Spend time with them, listen and wise up.
Julie Robinson, Cardiff
RUTH McFayden (Short Takes, 20/5), we've found YouTube too. Endless 1930s, '40s, '50s, film noir and westerns. Saturday arvo local pictures have come roaring back.
Graeme Tychsen, Rankin Park
WHAT a pity that the Labor states want their borders to remain close for an extended period. Seeing that the unions are also going for a rise in the basic wage, you would think they would want the borders open earlier so the economy would look better, potentially taking the pressure off their wage claim. And to Don Fraser (Short Takes, 19/5), I say hear hear.
Bruce Brander, Belmont
GREG Adamson (Short Takes, 19/5) is experiencing the proverbial truth that politics makes strange bedfellows. I'm noticing it too. Some of my more left-wing friends, who generally wouldn't trust a Murdoch-aligned source for a second, have been busily posting Facebook links from Fox News shouting an anti-lockdown anti-science anti-contact tracing line. Strange days indeed.
Michael Jameson, New Lambton
DENNIS Crampton (Short Takes, 20/5), you took the words right out of my mouth.