THE Newcastle Herald recently reported that Newcastle council was pleased with the high number of public submissions supporting the Newcastle trial, to extend operating hours for late night bars and restaurants ('Bar trial won't change inner-city noise limits', Herald 28/9). Apparently, 72 per cent of 142 submissions received was evidence of strong community support.
However I believe the lack of transparency surrounding the origins of submissions - we don't know their postcodes - means the council should be wary about misleading interpretations. Many could have come from Sydney, rather than from the Newcastle local government area. Some as short as one sentence may have been part of an orchestrated write-in campaign organised by the liquor lobby.
A more telling comparison is that of the eligible 127 licensed venues, which were approached to participate in the Newcastle Trial, only 24 took up the invitation. My reading of that is 81 per cent were not interested. Hardly a ringing endorsement for the Newcastle trial.
Brian Ladd, Newcastle
Sober support is about choice
ON the contrary, Elsa Cant (Short Takes, 29/9), my idea of fun is far from being limited to access to alcohol, as I am in fact not a drinker (and have never ever made any mention of needing alcohol to have a good time). I do however, respect the fact that thousands of well behaved Novocastrian adults like to partake in libations as a social lubricant in bars and pubs right throughout Newcastle and surrounding areas, and far be it from me or anyone else to attempt to prevent them from their legal right to do so.
I also (like countless others) still take pleasure socialising with friends in bars and pubs, enjoying meals, listening to live music, and generally soaking up the atmosphere, regardless of whether alcohol is involved.
I don't see any reason why we (or any responsible law-abiding adults who choose to drink) should be treated like criminals, let alone be told when to go to bed. These are my objections, not my personal lack of access to something I don't indulge in.
Adz Carter, Newcastle
Trump doesn't toe the line
CHEAP shot, ad hominem arguments might make Peter Dolan feel good, but they're irrelevant to explaining or defending his argument (Letters, 29/9).
That argument can be simply stated. Mr Dolan has invoked Christianity to justify a preference for the US president, a man whose objectively established behaviour and opinions are alien to the foundational tenets of that faith. To square this circle, Mr Dolan relies on a single issue - abortion.
To the extent that issue is relevant at all, I have little doubt that Trump's position on it is politically opportunistic rather than personal. But in any event, how can being "pro-life" (Mr Dolan's emotionally laden term) conclusively define as a Christian someone who violates in every conceivable way the definition Jesus Christ himself prescribed? Mr Dolan can support such a man if he chooses. But commandeering an entire faith to do so is beyond the pale.
Michael Hinchey, New Lambton
Farmers are on the precipice
STEVE Barnett (Letters, 30/9) cautions that climate change policy suggested by activists will cost hundreds of thousands of jobs, including those of miners and meat industry workers. I note that the National Farmers Federation has a policy of net zero emissions by 2050 because they realise that climate change will affect their ability to produce. This includes livestock production, which is a critical input for the continued employment of meat industry workers. Fewer cows and sheep means fewer meat industry workers.
It is debatable whether the recent drought was partly due to climate change, but it has caused a large drop in both cattle and sheep numbers and has now resulted in less stock being sold for slaughter.
Scientists claim that climate change is likely to reduce the total amount of rainfall that southeastern Australia receives. Coupled with hotter temperatures, agricultural production will suffer. Farmers are rightly concerned and are calling for more action.
Lloyd Davies, Stockton
Memories of recollection lost
SANDY Buchanan of Largs (Letters, 28/9) mentions memory loss regarding public servants and politicians.
I remember when Liberal Foreign Affairs Minister, Alexander Downer fronted the Cole inquiry (2006) in relation to the Wheat for Oil scandal where we paid Saddam Hussein bribes in exchange for lucrative wheat contracts. When Alexander Downer entered the witness box, he could not recall cable warnings. He repeated 21 times he had no specific recollection of diplomatic cables sent since 2000 alerting the government to concerns about AWB's contracts. He told the inquiry, 'no one's memory is perfect'.
Then we have the case of Arthur Sinodinos who appeared before an ICAC inquiry, Operation Spicer. During questioning he also suffered from memory loss. The inquiry heard Mr Sinodinos was Treasurer and was present during a Liberal Party meeting that discussed how to deal with a NSW ban on accepting political donations from developers, when it was resolved to do so by funnelling these donations through a Canberra-based Free Enterprise Foundation. Though Mr Sinodinos asserted he knew nothing about this, the inquiry found it difficult to accept.
Dennis Petrovic, Rutherford
Sell terminal plan up the river
WITH a legal challenge being presented against the government regarding a container terminal in Newcastle ('$5bill deal on line as port case goes to trial', Herald 30/9), and with a fee charged for each container above a certain number, I believe the only answer, and a better outcome for the people of Newcastle, is simple.
Considering the government now owns the land in question they can remove the fee, but instead they could avoid giving permission to build a container terminal by giving the land to NSW Sport and Recreation to be used for sporting and recreational purposes within a central park.
Maybe the container terminal can still be built, but further up river away from city road congestion and legal contention where ships were once built. Why else was the Stockton Bridge built so high? I believe it was good government foresight for further expansion up river.
Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek
Club's run offered rare relief
IT has been a tough year, but thanks to our Knights, fans have had something to lift our spirits, with the boys making it to the semis. Fans of eight other clubs would love to be in our position. I've no doubt our boys will give it their best on Sunday arvo. Regardless of the results, that's all we can ask.
Dave McTaggart, Edgeworth
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.
WHEN are the council or police going to take control of the idiots at Glendale shopping centre car park? Every night they drive their cars and 4WDs like absolute idiots. My two daughters work at a fast food chain at night, not to mention a whole lot of other people. It has to stop before someone is seriously hurt or killed.
Michelle Turner, Glendale
STEVE Barnett (Letters, 29/9): the only reason union membership has declined to about 14 per cent, not 10 per cent, is that unions are victims of their own success. Young people come into the workforce and get all the conditions that the union movement have won over the years whether they join a union or not. As far as I am concerned, if you don't want to join a union that's fine but do not accept your annual leave, penalty rates, worker's comp and all the rest. Give that money to charity.
Frank Matzanke, Mayfield
THE biggest environmental vandals in the country unfortunately all belong to the National Party, Ray Peck (Letters, 29/9). Holding out hope that the Nationals will prevent further environmental devastation is like hoping the sun will rise in the west.
Mac Maguire, Charlestown
COLIN Fordham's preference for Democrat Joe Biden is understandable. Joe claims to have been in politics for 180 years. I'm sure Mr. Fordham remembers Mr. Biden's maiden speech in the White House. Mr Trump doesn't stack up as presidential material because he hasn't had enough young Americans killed in conflict compared to your average president. Is that what young Mr. Fordham is trying to convey?
Steve Barnett, Fingal Bay
BLOODY hell, David Stuart (Letters, 30/9), I hope my missus doesn't read your comment, I cop enough nagging now about the untidy front yard without her worrying about people detouring to check out where fellow scribes live.
Dave McTaggart, Edgeworth
GREG Hunt's obsessive trolling about climate 'alarmists' continues apace. Your increasingly breathless letters to the editor reveal unsurprising facts. That you believe a politician is more credible than a scientist tells me more than I need to know about your agenda.
Milo Kei, Mayfield
BILL Slicer is correct in saying he is entitled to have his say concerning the Knights' performances (Short Takes, 30/9). That is democracy. However, to threaten not to renew his membership, as he did last year when his team was struggling is, in my humble opinion, tantamount to hypocrisy. Go the Knights.
Robert Tacon, Adamstown Heights
OH please! A rugby league player allegedly calls an opposition player a name (''It's not who he is', Newcastle Herald 30/9). Gee, there's something new. If a white player is called a "white so and so'" by a black player nothing is reported. If that same white player says to him "you black so and so" all hell breaks loose. What a joke. Take a deep breath and grow up.