DR Brian Roach (Letters, 11/9) has been criticised for arguing that the nation's response to COVID could be likened to the response to an army attacking Australia. Opinions on the correct response vary, but what would you do if you were the responsible person that had the lives of the people in your state or nation and their welfare directly on your shoulders?
It is so easy to be critical of others when you don't have to take responsibility. Where does our individual civic responsibility fit into the picture? As for liberties and freedom, we have the freedom to write to this newspaper. We have the freedom to vote in elections, which many in other countries do not. Would you want our leaders to promote untruths as a COVID response, such as in the US?
Finally, for those still not convinced I would ask why we abide by those civic responsibilities that exist for our own safety. Why do we adhere to norms of public behaviour, why do we obey the government-imposed road rules? Why do we abide by the government-imposed rule of law?
Ken Thornton, Rathmines
Manufacturing days are gone
GRAEME Bennett (Short Takes, 17/9): I didn't say anything about Australia sinking down the waste pipe. Australia is doing very well, thank you very much. You seem to be rooted firmly in the 1960s, when we did make a lot of things ourselves, but Australia has moved on. It is no longer a manufacturing economy; it is a service economy. We sell and export our commodities and our services. Let me give you some data that you failed to include:
Australia's per capita GDP last fiscal year was $53,000. This is for every man, woman and child. All the figures to follow are in US dollars. By contrast, Japan's per capita GDP was $43,000. China's per capita was $10,800, and Russia's per capita was $11,300. Because of the pandemic, our unemployment rate has been standing at 7.5 per cent. For a country that is sinking down the waste pipe, I think we are doing very well. I wouldn't live anywhere else.
Les Field, Wickham
Beastly behaviour still unwelcome
THE powerful alcohol lobby and their political supporters must think Novocastrians have short memories.
I believe their clumsy attempts to weaken modest alcohol controls for the city's smaller bars were always just the entrée for the main meal. That is, unleashing the booze beast by the ultimate removal of our trusted life-saving Newcastle conditions including the 3.30am closing times, earlier curfew and drink controls that reduced the high levels of dangerous intoxication in the bigger, more violent pubs and clubs.
This week the NSW Treasurer announced the imminent relaxation or removal of closing times to create a 24 hr night-time economy to bolster industry profits post COVID. The Newcastle Herald revealed Merewether's Prince hotel's application for an extended 3am closing under the head scratching excuse of providing 'late night food' ('Prince hotel applies for 3am close time', Herald 14/9).
In my opinion this should send a strong warning to residents surrounding other large Newcastle suburban pubs that you will likely be next to share the love associated with the state's new "safe" and vibrant 24 hour night-time economy.
It appears the liquor lobby has become emboldened. Drunk on the power that motivates our elected leaders with liberal servings of spin, to bypass established legal safeguards that once provided the community with some genuine protection, inclusion and impartiality.
It may be premature to assume that the ordinary people and brave front-line emergency workers of our city have forgotten the deadly past when our CBD was a more violent, grog-soaked and lawless nightmare. Those of us valuing public safety, amenity and integrity must unite to ensure the beast can never return.
Tony Brown, Newcastle
Gas 'plan' is just more sales spin
SCOTT Morrison's smirking self-confidence really comes to the fore when he's allowed to talk a lot without saying much. So it was during his visit to Newcastle to spruik his "gas plan" ('Hitting the gas', Herald 16/9).
Stripped of all the hype, this is the plan: he just might do something at some stage in the future if something else happens, or doesn't happen. I'm not quite clear on that bit of the plan. For that, he not only gets coverage across most of the first three pages of the Herald and an opinion piece.
Of course, nothing is ever likely to come of Mr Morrison's "plan". It will probably fade and disappear into the mire of the Coalition's energy and climate change policies, and everyone will move on.
Unfazed, the region's biggest developers, eyes no doubt spinning with the money they might make, nevertheless line up to kick it along. Developers are hardly known for caring, let alone thinking deeply about, how we can best quickly transition away from fossil fuels. Much as they would have us believe otherwise, their interests and the public interest are not the same thing. Enough said about them. As for Mr Morrison, it seems to me he's the product of an age in which people think leadership is found in the sales and marketing department.
Michael Hinchey, New Lambton
Sound of engines leave some raw
I OVERLOOK the intersection of King and Auckland Streets in the Newcastle CBD and am repeatedly disappointed by the lack of police intervention in the anti-social vehicle movements in this part of the city.
The vast majority of cars cause no problem and are barely audible. However those with modified exhaust systems are an absolute menace. They accelerate so hard between the speed hump near Union Lane and the pedestrian crossing at City Hall that the cars backfire. Quite often, on car enthusiast nights, they do this in convoy. In addition some motorbikes make so much noise that there is no possibility that they could be legally registered.
I have no problem with the day to day traffic noise of general traffic. Living in the city, it is part of the price to pay for such convenience. However I appeal to NSW Police to monitor, apprehend and discourage these pests.
Zenon Helinski, Newcastle
Nothing excessive in donations
IT'S fantastic to see the support from the community and business sector for OzHarvest Newcastle. I'd like to call for all supermarkets to donate not waste but excess food. I watched at least a dozen cooked chickens, dozens of bread loaves and baked goods loaded into a trolley at night's end at one recently. I asked a staff member if it was getting collected, and she said it all goes in the garbage. For a business whose slogan proclaims community benefits - well it doesn't, does it?
Bree-Arna Harris, New Lambton
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SOMEONE labelling Donald Trump a climate arsonist ('Trump a climate arsonist: Biden', Newcastle Herald 16/9) seems appropriate. He's been arson about for a while. That's also where most of his thinking comes from.
Colin Fordham, Lambton
I'M intrigued by the arbitrary decisions made by the Queensland Premier and yet conveniently left to the Queensland Chief Health Officer to defend regarding coronavirus pandemic restrictions. The family of the man dying of cancer ought not to have been left to decide which one of his four children should visit him. The easier solution for the Chief Health Officer and the Premier would have been to ask one of the 400 hundred AFL staff to send some wives and four children home. Given the fact that the wives and children don't contribute to the state of play, then this would have been a great gesture on behalf of an already indulged sector of the community.
Peter Trenbath, Warabrook
HEY Newcastle people, has anyone burst out of their COVID bubble in recent times to check out the beach situation of our good neighbours in Stockton? If you haven't, I suggest you take the time to go and have a look. I was over there Tuesday and while the beach from the breakwater to north Stockton looked inviting, after two east coast lows, there was virtually no access. Every entry to the beach was blocked off with brattice barricades. It seems the council has come to a standstill right on the edge of summer. Surely some safe access points can be established at minimal cost. We can't fix the beach, but surely we can make it accessible. If this was happening on the Bar Beach to Merewether stretch, let me tell you it would be fixed yesterday. I believe the council should at least give the good people of Stockton some sort of access to their beach.
Tony Morley, Waratah
DAN Kirkpatrick (Short Takes, 16/9), I doubt there are many true climate change sceptics left amongst intelligent individuals, but I'll wager businesses with vested interests, like insurance companies, rub their hands with glee every time a scientist comes out with another wild prediction of catastrophe for the planet.
Greg Hunt, Newcastle West
MIKE Sargent (Short takes, 15/9) calls Donald Trump "the fool in the White House" yet Trump's recent tweet that the mayor of Portland is a "fool" is labelled offensive. Double standards from the anti-Trump camp, I suggest. Contrary to what Mr Sargent suggests, I never claimed Trump was without fault. I actually made passing reference to his "shortcomings" (Letters, 10/9). But I don't believe he is the anti-Christ, or, as John Ure (Letters, 12/9) put it, "the antithesis of a good Christian". All political choices are about selecting the least flawed candidate or party. I agree with Trump that the Democrats have embraced radical and extreme positions. For me, Trump is not the perfect but the least flawed option.
Peter Dolan, Lambton
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