WHILE we are staying home a lot more now, because of the coronavirus, will you all spend a few moments thinking about the family of four who are still locked up on Christmas Island after over two years, waiting for the court to meet to decide if they can stay here? They are no threat to Australia. The people of Biloela had accepted them into their community and they were working, so they were able to support themselves. Also they would be no drain on our health system, as Mr Dutton stated. I am sure the community of Biloela would help them whenever they could, so no problem to Australians, but if they were sent home to their country, there is no doubt they would be persecuted.
The people of Biloela remind me of my parents and other people under occupation in Holland in World War II who helped some Jewish families by hiding them in their homes and passing them onto other houses when the German soldiers were nearby. They saved Jewish families that way. Hopefully Mr Dutton could use our great health system by getting a heart. Keep fighting, people of Biloela, to get that family back to their home in your community.
Margrietha Owens, Cardiff
Deja vu for Knights, fans
IT looks like 2019 again for the Knights. We were in the top four last year with ten matches to go but finished 12th. The defeat by Canterbury-Bankstown ('Dog's breakfast', Newcastle Herald 27/7) is a big blow because next week will be the killer. I think the Melbourne Storm will give us a touch up. After next week's loss, we will be close to sliding out of the top eight. With the injury toll I am afraid that what we thought was going to be our year to make it into the top eight will be gone.
In my opinion, Adam O'Brien must wear a little of the blame for his tactics against the Bulldogs and Ponga is still a work in progress. With three and a half minutes on the clock, he kicked a grubber out the back. At that stage it was the worst result. On what I have seen of Ponga over this season, his new contract is a bit over the top. He is no Tedesco and will need to improve sharply to warrant the increase.
Allen Small, East Maitland
Parked patch is back in play
The removal of the derelict Hamilton Bowling Club building from Gregson Park has already been a wonderful improvement, opening up the southwestern corner of the park and making the park appear much larger than when a large brick building dominated that area. This return of open space to the community in an inner city area that needs passive open space is a win for Hamilton.
We can only hope that once the buildings and the old bowling green surrounds are completely removed that the City of Newcastle leaves the area as open parkland. The current playground area on the eastern boundary could be updated to reflect what council have recently installed in Learmonth Park, giving an area with increasing population density from apartment development some much- needed open space and play areas. The return of much-needed parkland to the community by the council should be applauded and supported by all Newcastle residents.
Keith Morgan, Hamilton
It's no time to raise your wages
THE self-determined pay increase for MidCoast councillors seems rather opportunistic and poorly timed, considering the state of the economy, job security and employment at the moment ("Council pay rise voted in up coast": Herald 25/7).
For councillors to self-approve a near 20 per cent annual fee increase despite other considerations, and for a near 35 per cent increase for the mayor, with only one dissenter, could be seen as somewhat gratuitous, especially with the mayor and one other councillor being elsewhere and not casting a vote. That a "salary increase could potentially help draw young people to stand at next year's election", as expressed by one councillor as a vindication, is a little straw-grasping, surely?
Bob Allen, Hawks Nest
Views, not facts, have changed
THE proposal from Cr Mackenzie to remove the plaques from the Civic Park fountain ('Bye bye, captain', Herald 21/7) are not about cancelling Captain Cook from history, but about getting history right. Captain Cook was a great mariner and explorer, but he did not "discover the east coast of Australia", as the plaque says. It had been 'discovered' at least 40,000 years before he arrived. And it is not really the "Captain James Cook Memorial Fountain". The Civic Park Fountain was commissioned and opened in the 60's with no reference to Captain Cook. The 'Memorial' tag was added in 1970 to justify funding from the Cook Bicentennial for upgrading the stairs. So, for the history buffs, the plaque should read: "Captain James Cook Memorial Stairs to commemorate his visit to the east coast".
Greg Giles, Hamilton South
Tax status looms as faith fades
IT is interesting to notice fewer complaints and praises now being presented in the letters page regarding religion. Apart from mostly the elderly trying to catch the train before it leaves the station, the younger groups no longer seem to put much faith in the destination promised by religion.
I reckon if religion intends to keep not paying their taxes, their aim in life should be more into welfare than spreading their beliefs. Most have already shown their caring side and already help the needy in many ways, but revenue collected not going to welfare and general running expenses should be taxable.
Most religions say the greatest gift man can give is to love their neighbour. I say the greatest gift religion can give is to pay their taxes, we no longer live in biblical times, religion should be free to preach and follow, but also willing to pay their share of taxation.
Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek
Exposing holes is worthy goal
DAMON Cronshaw's report ('Newcastle club slams "corrupt" sports fund', Herald 24/7) regarding grants to improving sporting facilities was timely, warranted and honest.
The article clearly demonstrated the scheme was based on an uneven playing field. Those holding the whistle made it impossible for the deserving to get over the line, even when their application ticked all the boxes. Yes, the decision makers simply kept moving the goalposts. There was never a chance for Hamilton Olympic to get the ball in the back of the net.
As a supporter of both Hamilton Olympic and fair play I believe the decision not to award a grant to such a worthy and deserving sporting group was foul play.
Mike Trypas, Bar Beach
SHARE YOUR OPINION
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a text message to 0427 154 176 (include name, suburb). Letters should be fewer than 200 words and Short Takes fewer than 50 words. Correspondence may be edited and reproduced in any form.
DENISE Lindus Trummel (Letters, 24/7), families like yours helped make Australia the great country it is. As a young bloke, I worked in the Riverina in a boring office job and had a second job working for three Italian brothers, alongside many new Australians. It was before political correctnesss and the I'm-entitled days, so though the work was hard we laughed a lot and became good friends. I'm smiling now recalling how they struggled with the b in "banker Dave" but never in "bloody bastard."
Dave McTaggart, Edgeworth
KOSTA Patsan has very good reason to be angry with the manner in which the government has mishandled the distribution of the $100 million sports infrastructure grant program ('Newcastle club slams 'corrupt' sports fund', Herald 24/7). If, as Labor senator, Tim Ayres, told the inquiry, applications have been funded months after the cut off date is true, then action must be taken. To use the public purse to curry favour in certain marginal electorates is on the nose.
Robert Tacon, Adamstown Heights
CAN you believe it? At a time when people are struggling to make ends meet and we are in the middle of a pandemic these self-serving MidCoast councillors decide to vote themselves a pay rise ('Council pay rise voted in up coast' Herald 25/7). They allocated to give the mayor (who was not at the meeting) a pay rise of $16,000 and the councillors a pay rise of $4000 each. The reason behind the rise, according to one councillor who didn't oppose the rise, was that the extra money would get young people interested in joining the council at the next election. Strike me pink, what planet are these people living on? And we elected them.
Geoff Heath, Tuncurry
IF justice were blind, a blindfold would not be needed in my view.
Dave Wilson, Bar Beach
THE A Shed at Lee Wharf was used to land and to load cargo and as a landing place for immigrants after World War II on ships such as Fairsea, General AW Greely, General Harry Taylor, Johan Van Oldenbarnevelt, Oxfordshire, Roma and Skaugum. I look forward to seeing Hope Estate develop the site ('Hope's dream', Herald 23/7). It reminds me to question what the maritime museum society has done with the collection that was donated by Newcastle people and organisations over that past 45 years. It has been 27 months since the collection was transferred to storage. What happened to the proposal to transfer the collection to the city?
Bill Storer, Charlestown
SCOTT Hillard (Short Takes, 27/7) can be amusing at times, but occasionally it is a little hard to know whether he is putting his foot in his mouth or tongue in cheek. However, there are a lot of vulnerable people out there who are easily influenced, and I believe that for him to suggest that COVID-19 is no worse than seasonal influenza is just plain dangerous at a time when health workers are stretched to the limit in some regions.