ROBERT Dillon ('Unfinished business', Newcastle Herald 5/9) took me back to the day about 11 years ago when I met young Jarrod Mullen, pictured, whilst out one night with friends. I knew who he was, but I didn't actually know him. I struck up a side conversation with him.
I was immediately impressed with what a good, decent country boy he was. He seemed very mature in his thoughts about his future career and how he was planning to invest his earnings for his future. It wasn't just what he said, but how he said it and presented himself. As I walked away from the meeting, I expressed to my wife what an impression he had just made.
I have since seen the issues he has brought down on himself, but I know inside he is the same but wiser for his mistakes and wanting to get back what he has almost thrown away. As a father of grown men about the same age who fortunately have taken the correct fork in the road (mostly), I hope Newcastle and the NRL can take him back and allow him to make amends.
Gavin Green, East Maitland
Cats are getting out of hand
THE ongoing problem of predatory domestic and feral cat types on the environment, especially following the advent bushfire congregations that raked the countryside, is of concern.
The devastation of the state's grassland and forest habitat, killing at least 800 million of our native animal and birdlife, adds to considerable numbers hunted by predatory foxes and cats that proliferate after fire.
The environmental cat effect is an ongoing problem, being the single biggest threat to Australia's unique wildlife diversity. Already such species as the numbat, pygmy possum, barred bandicoot, night parrot and even wallaby are a few of our wildlife creatures under real threat of deletion. A fear of koala extinction has also been touted.
Current approaches are proving ineffective. Cats are profuse breeders, thus their recovery rate after eradication drives have proven spasmodic.
Various cat breeds present joy and pleasure to many. Neutering sees partial benefit with their predatory nature still intact, despite entreaties and partitions from both wildlife and environmental advocates. Cats can, and do, create havoc among our fast diminishing bush creatures. Meanwhile, TV is full of cat food commercials, endearingly offered with supermarket availability in abundance, as well as support for cat rescue public appeal carton donations on hand at supermarkets. A contradiction of ideals and activities, it seems, lending itself to little progress for a balanced environment.
Bob Allen, Hawks Nest
Path forward is not quite clear
VICTORIAN Premier Daniel Andrews had little choice but to lock down Melbourne for an additional two weeks. It will take most residents at least that long to read and decipher his "roadmap" to normalcy.
Victorians should look on the bright side, after that generous period of grace, they can confidently have five guests from a party-vetted household over every second Wednesday; so long as their surnames begin with letters from A-K, and no more than two of them are sitting. Unless there is an open window in the room for each person, in which case all five may sit - whilst wearing masks and maintaining 1550mm physical distance. If none of them post about it on social media, I think.
Scott Hillard, New Lambton
Regions deserve separate rules
DANIEL Andrews has issued the plan to show the way forth out of this pandemic. Why do the people in areas, not just in Victoria, that haven't had any cases of COVID be denied being able to work, travel, return to normality? By all means make the wearing masks mandatory all over Australia; sanitise; keep your distance within reason, other than that let areas not affected by infection get back to their lives. Let Australians, who in general are fairly smart people, use common sense; let them get back to work, enjoy life, safeguard and protect our elderly in the general public and in health care, without denying them visitation by loved ones.
Yes, we need to be aware that there is a virus out there and do everything you can to protect you and your family, getting out and back to work will assist this process. So you state premiers must realise what you are doing to the people in your state by enforcing and encouraging these draconian lockdown rules. Let commonsense prevail please.
Graeme Kime, Cameron Park
Public money requires best value
I THINK Gladys Berejiklian was being a tad unkind when she said that Australia is no good at making trains. Australians, especially in Newcastle, have always been very good at making locomotives, coal wagons and passenger rail cars. We have a proud history in this regard. .
The latest order for the Sydney suburban passenger fleet went overseas. This would have gone to worldwide tender. I find it hard to accept that our local manufacturers would not have put in their offer for this contract. The governent's mandarins would have pored over each bid and selected the one which gave the best value for money. If the local companies' bid came in, say, 20 per cent above the international bids, then they would be negligent in asking the NSW taxpayer to spend the extra 20 per cent. This is all about being competitive. Nothing more, nothing less.
Les Field, Wickham
Worst PM a matter of perspective
DON Fraser (Short Takes, 7/9) is entitled to his opinion, but is incorrect regarding the assertion that Julia Gillard has been Australia's worst PM, in my opinion.
I believe that title would have to go to John Howard. Australia is still suffering as a result of his policies. His own electorate finally realised just how bad these were when he lost not only the election but his own seat to Maxine McKew. The real failure of the Rudd-Gillard governments was not to overturn the legislation resulting from Howard era policy.
I might add that current Labor is unable to win an election because the electorate cannot see a discernible difference between the two major parties.
Marvyn Smith, Heddon Greta
If not first in, hard pressed to argue
WHEN first married, my wife and I purchased a house next to a train line, station and shunting yards. Noise and diesel pollution were a constant companion. In the 16 years that we lived there we never raised a complaint as the status quo existed well before our arrival.
My research shows that the Port Waratah coal loader has been in operation for 40 years. In my opinion unless members of the committee wishing to have the loader closed ('Residents fight new lease', Herald 4/9) moved to the area prior to that period, their call must surely come into question.
Trevor Kedwell, Windella
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.
TO all those protesting against the lockdowns and border closures in place across Australia and especially in Victoria, consider the following: if COVID-19 were an enemy army overrunning our country those protesting against restrictions in place to prevent its spread across the landscape and overwhelming us would be seen as aiding and abetting the enemy. This behaviour would be considered as treason and the punishment severe. Consider this when considering further action.
Dr. Brian Roach, Whitebridge
IT is very obvious that Queensland does not want to be part of Australia, so let's cut them loose. They will need visas to travel in our Australia. Our Australian government will not have to give GST money, health care finance or any other subsidies. All Queenslanders will have to do more exams if they want to work in the real Australia. Let's call it Queensit and be done with them.
John Hollingsworth, Hamilton
DEPENDING on who you listen to border closures are a good or bad thing. The voters in the states with closed borders seem to be overwhelmingly in favour, hence the Premiers of these states remain firm. It will be interesting to observe what happens a little while after JobKeeper finishes.
Sandy Buchanan, Largs
ROBERT Green (Short Takes 5/9), maybe you should investigate further before you make accusations. I think that you will find that the federal government didn't have any say in the lease of Newcastle and Darwin ports. They are controlled by the state governments, Liberal in and Labor in the Northern Territory.
Robert Dixon, Morpeth
WITH the privatisation of most nursing homes, I wonder if the increasing mortality rates of the elderly are due to cost cutting measures by the managements to bolster dividends for shareholders. I believe this avenue should be investigated by the federal health minister thoroughly.
John William Hill, Williamtown
IF anyone can remember during this slumber mode we are in, the purpose of the original lockdown was to get our medical systems ready for a major catastrophic outbreak of a coronavirus some six months ago. So I ask, why are there still these ridiculous restrictions in place if our medical systems are ready to cope with a major outbreak of a virus that has shown a high recovery rate without a vaccine? The mind does boggle as to what this is all about.
Brad Hill, Singleton
TONY Abbott was dumped as PM by his own mob after he renounced his British citizenship to take the role, and now is a British unpaid trade adviser. The moral of the story is, as Tony would say, that shit happens.
Richard Ryan, Summerland Point
I AM not a lawyer, but I wonder if we would be able to incarcerate the killer if brought back to Australia as he has not committed a crime in this country. It is a fact that New Zealanders sent back have completed their sentences prior to expulsion.