I AGREE with Justin Field's sentiments expressed in his Thursday opinion piece ('Water bill pales against the price of secrecy', Opinion 22/10). Every department, organisation or authority that expends taxpayer or ratepayer money must be transparent in their decisions and dealings. In my opinion, to claim confidentiality in any matter of expenditure is akin to fraud against the taxpayers and ratepayers. Transparency is vital in all matters pertaining to the public purse.
In another matter, Pope's View refers to the alleged Afghanistan war crimes. These charges are promoted by people who have not and will not ever be in a combat situation. To be asked by your government to fight a war where you can not distinguish between the locals and the enemy, or where the enemy uses the locals as shields, is unfair to our fine troops on the ground. We experienced the same situation in South Vietnam where the locals you had dealings with during the day were the enemy at night.
The phrase war crimes was created to cover the actions of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan during World War II, and in my opinion should not be used in the matter. If our government cannot see their way clearly to fully support our troops totally, then maybe they should not send them to fight in other people's wars in the first place.
Dennis Kershaw, Caves Beach
Dam the price, it's worth the cost
EARLIER this month the Newcastle Herald published an article revealing Hunter Water spent 450 hours and $320,000 to comply with Parliament order for information ('Waste water', Herald 16/10)
In the article, Hunter Water managing director Darren Cleary and the NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey complained about the time and money involved in Hunter Water complying with Standing Order 52 of the NSW Parliament.
As reported by the Auditor General in 2017, Hunter Water's ill-fated attempt to construct the Tillegra Dam and the massive $62.4 million loss Hunter Water incurred just from selling land bought for the dam indicate that Hunter Water is no stranger to wasting tens of millions of dollars, but then have the gall to complain when they have to meet the costs of complying with the NSW Parliament.
Independent MP Justin Field stated that eight of the 21 boxes of the material eventually provided were classified as privileged and their contents cannot be made public. This only reinforces that Hunter Water could be withholding information of vital public interest in Hunter Water's selection processes and costs for potential new dams and other water infrastructure currently being considered as part of a major review of the 2014 Lower Hunter Water Plan to be released next year.
In my opinion this complaint by Darren Cleary, makes a mockery of Hunter Water's favourite catch cry of their commitment to "transparency and community engagement" in Hunter Water's decision-making process.
Ken Edwards, Clarence Town
Berejiklian debate misses point
THE Berejiklian PR blitz wants us to believe the Maguire affair is private; merely a case of a single woman badly burnt by love gone wrong. The aim is to ensure sympathy displaces cynicism in the public mind.
Of course, this trades off sexism. Would the same latitude be extended if she was a single, 50-year-old man? However, the bigger problem is that she's the Premier. Gender and love are irrelevant. Whether she actually did something corrupt herself is also irrelevant. She deliberately pursued and maintained a relationship which created multiple conflicts of interest, and compromised her capacity to discharge her duties to the public, and kept all this secret. If we accept this standard in public life, how can we expect anything better?
Can you imagine the unhinged hysteria if she was a Labor premier?
Michael Hinchey, New Lambton
Prop up high-performing forwards
CONGRATULATIONS to Raiders five-eight Jack Wighton as the NRL 2020 Dally M Medal winner. For this old bull, he was not an unexpected winner. Over its 40-year history the winner on 34 occasions was a back-line player. Of those 34, 16 were halfbacks, nine fullbacks, eight five eights and one centre. That equates to 85 per cent of the 40 winners. As for the remaining 15 per cent, or six winners, three were hookers, two second rowers and one lock.
Any back-line player who ever laced on a football boot would acknowledge the value of his pack. So why are the current forwards in the NRL being overlooked? Could it be that rugby league is being coached and played along the lines of the American NFL? Applying a Yank term, what player is considered the MVP in most NFL franchises? A no-brainer, the quarterback! The defence/forwards rarely get a mention.
So my suggestion is, make two Dally M awards; one for all forwards and one for back-line players. The great sides of the past were not a team of champions but champion sides. Consider it a step forward.
Mike Trypas, Bar Beach
Watch how long it takes to arrive
I HAVE just watched a segment on the box about gifts being given to Australia Post executives. I would like a gift, not much of a gift just one that's already been paid for; my mail. That's right, my mail that was posted on the 9th October arrived on October 21 in Newcastle. No, it wasn't posted from a near deserted island in the Arctic. It was posted by a government department in Canberra.
If you haven't posted your pressies by February for Christmas, you're stuffed.
Nick Ryder, Booragul
If only president would wing it
AS the US elections grow near I have taken to watching reruns of the wonderful series of The West Wing, an award winning series from Aaron Sorkin that perhaps shows how the White House could function. Yes, it is make believe, but it has a beautifully written script and a great cast and right on topic week after week.
What a difference in the administration America has now. At the time Americans were polled on President Bartlett (actor Martin Sheen) an overwhelming number of voters stated that they would vote for him. Certainly in the series he was a great president: bright, intelligent, well read and a great communicator. Perhaps everything the current president is not.
If Trump is re-elected America's standing in the world as a superpower will be diminished. Take a look at The West Wing. Television at its best. Have a look at how it could work.
Denise Lindus Trummel, Mayfield
Don't let your right to die rest
MOST states and New Zealand will probably by next year have voluntary euthanasia. It's well documented that over 80 per cent of NSW voters are in favour of assisted dying yet our politicians continue to ignore us. Only squeaky wheels get oiled, we must badger our local MPs because we are all going to be confronted with a situation where one of our loved ones become terminally ill. I urge you to ensure that your family and your doctor are aware of your wishes. Apathy is the enemy of progress.
John Smith, Mount Hutton
NIKOLAI Topor-Stanley is in good company ('Jets veteran says time to move on', Newcastle Herald 21/10). About 40 years ago Newcastle KB United dismissed their current coach, Alan Vest. At the time we had a very distinguished guest player from England, one Mick Channon. He was instrumental in wise words to the playing squad to "get on with it". What the management does with the coaching staff is none of our business, we are here to train and play football so lets "get on with it." Which they did. As this was way before Nikolai was born I doubt he knows anything about it.
David Brown, Wallsend
THE Hunter development team that controls the outcome for the Honeysuckle School of Arts building must include people who know and appreciate Newcastle's history, unlike the team (likely in Sydney) who blithely planned the destruction of the historic facade of The Store. In my opinion that decision showed complete ignorance of the heritage aura that the facade used to give to the Newcastle West area.
David Rose, Hamilton
THE official and long awaited report on historical child sexual abuse arrived the same day it was reported that the main perpetrator, the Catholic Church, has transferred $1 million from Vatican Funds to Australia. Don't get excited, it wasn't for the benefit of victims; it was to assist the Church to pay its legal costs. One immoral, unethical and hypocritical act after another. They really take the Bible's adage to heart; "SUFFER the little children to come unto me".
Maureen Dearing, Newcastle West
TO those who think Donald Trump and Alan Jones speak truths are delusional. It has been proved by countless educated people that Mr Trump lies through his teeth. Also, if you support them, in my opinion you yourself must be sexist, racist and a conspiracy theorist. I believe the only fake news is Murdoch media.
Ryan Adamson, Hamilton South
DAN Kirkpatrick (Short Takes, 21/10), I and plenty of others have enough common sense to know that science does lie, and in a big way. Think 2005/6 predictions of no future rain and 25-metre rises in sea levels within a decade. But it's nice to know that while we have to put up with these wrong scientific predictions of catastrophe, you have more concern for interbreeding bears.
Greg Hunt, Newcastle West
ANDREW Whitbread-Brown, (Letters, 21/10), we could have had all you say plus trains on a single-stanchion viaduct. See the Eastern Suburbs and airport lines. Intercity services direct to the coast would have been just the shot for Australia's sixth-largest place. This is an enormous loss of business and job-spinning wealth. Truncation trashed the vast knowledge of 21st century principles for business and transport.