RACHAEL Cesnik, her family (pictured) victims of building woes with her home said, "It is unbelievable how they get to just walk away from this and move on to the next project" ('House of pain', Newcastle Herald, 1/8). I believe the experience of Phillip Kapeller and Rachael Cesnik, shows that the law is an ass.
Some builders use every legal loophole, such as phoenix companies, to avoid legal consequences. They can financially ruin their victims, and in my opinion many do this knowing that their victims cannot afford to pursue them in court. It may be time to bring back debtors' prisons. Let those who deserve it rot in jail until they pay. I believe in many cases the ill-gotten gains, usually hidden in untraceable foreign bank accounts, or in assets under their relatives' names, would soon materialize.
Geoff Black, Caves Beach
Don't thin prospects of clean air
BOB Vickers is right (Letters, 24/7). During the last horrific fires in January, I experienced my daughter's home in rural NSW south of the ACT become engulfed in dense smoke. It stayed for weeks. Her newborn baby immediately became at risk, so we made the decision to evacuate to our home in Melbourne. A week later, Melbourne's air quality was the worst in the world.
I feel sad that clean air may not be guaranteed for my grand-daughter as she grows up. I urge the federal and state governments to do all they can to combat climate change by moving away from fossil fuels, for energy and transport, and making air quality a higher priority.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn
Two tales are worth your time
THANK you to the Herald for the two major feature articles, of very different tone, in Saturday's Herald. The first, by Donna Page ('House of pain', Herald 1/8), is one that I wish could be presented to young couples starting out and all first-home buyers before they sign a contract. Sadly, the law leaves it to us to sound the warnings.
The second, Anita Beaumont's bitter-sweet story ('The grief and the gift of a better life', Herald 1/8) provides the heart-warming tale of a little life saved and another life lost while saving others. Uplifting in our troubled times.
I recommend both stories to any who missed them.
Geoff Hassall, Birmingham Gardens
History answers the question
PETER Devey (Letters, 1/8) asked whether Indigenous peoples had "any concept of the thousands of kilometres of eastern coastline? As a matter of fact they did.
Aboriginal groups frequently moved long distances and there were laws and customs in place for traversing other peoples lands. Just one example is the bunyah feasts, which were held for thousands of years in what we now call the Blackall Ranges region of the Sunshine Coast. Thousands of people travelled from as far as Victoria and western and northern-eastern Queensland and might stay for several months to celebrate the harvest of the bunyah cones (generally occurring every two or three years).
These gatherings involved corroborees, trading, sharing food, arranging marriages and resolving issues of law. The last such gathering is thought to have been held around 1900. Cook was a great seaman and by all accounts a good man, but Mr Devey obviously does not understand the meaning of irony when he asserts that: Australians, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, can be rightfully proud of this man whose scientific explorations of the east coast of Australia enabled the inevitable colonisation of this land.
John Ure, Mount Hutton
Time to fill the gaps in our history
THE claim that Captain Cook discovered the east coast of Australia ('Bye bye, captain', Herald 21/7) is about as valid as my long-ago claim to have discovered sex.
Both discoveries were exquisite personal moments, but with the passing of time and with some reflection, we realise that these were discoveries only in a limited sense. Cook's penetration of foreign lands brought great satisfaction to himself no doubt, and to the folks back home. On occasion, I shared my personal discovery with special others but Cook was totally promiscuous, sailing around and discovering other people's countries. Over the years I learned that I was not the first to discover sex. Others were already at it and had been for a very long time. Similarly, many generations of Indigenous Australians had gazumped Cook's great find. The misbelief that Cook found something that was lost, along with terra nullius, has helped ensure awful and continuing injustices over 240 years for Indigenous people.
Cook's so-called discovery on behalf of his colonising masters paved the way for my family to thrive and prosper in a modern Australia, but at the expense of the cruel dispossession of Indigenous Australians.
We need to truthfully tell the story of Cook the great navigator and his role in our country's history, and we need to truthfully tell the story of the injustices that we have inflicted on our First Nations people. Those plaques in Civic Park perpetuate a lie.
Roland Bannister, Newcastle
Focus on church status is taxing
CARL Stevenson (Letters, 30/7) has noticed fewer letters complaining about religion, apparently an unsatisfactory situation for him, given his recycling of old arguments about the tax status of religious organisations. He says revenue collected not going to welfare and general running expenses should be taxable.
Considering that religious organisations are, by and large, not-for-profit entities, I'm not sure what revenue he means. He also says religious groups should be more into welfare than spreading their beliefs. Other tax exempt entities such as trade unions and environmental groups spread their beliefs. Why pick on only religious organisations?
Peter Dolan, Lambton
Make the changes and let's go on
FOR a while now there have been many letters posted in the Australia-wide newspapers in regard to what different writers want to have altered or rearranged in our short Aussie history.
Please, oh please get things rolling so that I know what to say about things. I'm 77 and I've forgotten a lot (probably the things that are putting a selective bee in their bonnets as well). First off, do get Coon cheese renamed quickly, as I think will happen. Please post the new name just as quickly, as I am running out of Coon cheese at this moment.
I want to know what to buy at the supermarket that is not offensive to others. Think of all us oldies out here in retirement land that are still clinging onto their memories of life as it was years ago. Treasured memories of a much more loving and simple life.
Postscript: all lives matter to me, let us all not get too fixated on one colour. Think of the horrors worldwide that are happening to people of all colours. Then bend your knee for each and every one of them/us.
Wal Remington, Mount Hutton
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.
TOUR operator Frank Future has done the right thing suspending his business due to Sydney visitors bringing the risk of COVID-19 to the bay ('Traders tackle COVID with their own limits', NewcastleHerald 3/8). The atmosphere here isn't good at the moment if you're an outsider. Gladys should ban travel from Sydney. Simple as that. Well done Frank, I will buy you a beer as long as we don't talk about marine parks.
Steve Barnett, Fingal Bay
THIS politically correct madness is out of control. Won't be long before someone trawls through the phone book and singles out surnames like Brown and Black. I have a friend whose surname is Black. You can't even call out "how's it going Blackie" without the fear of upsetting someone.
Tony Morley, Waratah
I SUSPECT it's not just David Stuart struggling with Scott Hillard's "Sahara like wit" (Short Takes, 3/8). There are thousands struggling to unmask it on a daily basis.
Dr Barney Langford, Whitebridge
WHAT a poor comment by David Davies (Short Takes, 3/8) about Victoria and Queensland's premiers, likening them to Ma and Pa Kettle. In my opinion it shows how little he knows about what they are doing.
William Pryce, New Lambton
THANK goodness for the separation of powers. Protecting us from what Dennis Crampton (Letters, 4/8) believes should be illegal is exactly the reason it is there. I remember a prominent politician was once asked about their understanding of the powers limitations and, perhaps similarly to Mr Crampton, they displayed uncertainty. 'Please explain' was the plaintive request.
Milo Kei, Mayfield
I HAVE noticed that many of the people spreading COVID-19 seem to be visiting various clubs, pubs and restaurants ('Pub tests', Herald 4/8). That is surely a message.
Bill Slicer, Tighes Hill
WHEN did you last use a telegraph service? It is unlikely that cars are hitting "telegraph" poles. Saturday's Herald, for example, has two articles using the term. It is more likely that the cars have hit poles owned and maintained by Ausgrid to provide electrical power to homes, businesses, and industry. It is much more likely they are power poles rather than telegraph poles. I note that your paper is not alone in this reference, as NBN News also reports cars hitting telegraph poles on a regular basis.
Paul McGlynn, Valentine
AMERICA is the only country to ever use weapons of mass destruction. Atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Nixon wanted to use them in Vietnam, but he was overruled. America's greatness was built on slavery, arms deals, and wars (Iraqi oil). China is the next up and coming super power. We may have a more peaceful world then; no more wars.
Richard Ryan, Summerland Point
TONY Brown ('Too much at stake to water down conditions', Opinion 4/8) please give it a rest. I've heard enough of your ranting about alcohol. Find another topic.