I WAS reading a while back about the parcel of land between Fletcher and Minmi being considered to be added to the national park register ('Bush push', Newcastle Herald 15/12), and I think about it often in regards to the possible futures of the western extremities of Newcastle. I genuinely hope that the land in question between Fletcher and Minmi stays undeveloped or at least be used for low-cost housing.
Opponents against leaving land alone cite the nationwide housing shortage, which is true; NSW for example, isn't building nearly enough houses to accommodate everyone. You know what else doesn't help though? This trend of inefficient, expensive, poorly-planned housing estates that are generally only accessible to cashed-up yuppies or people who already own a home and are looking for a new property to subdivide. For example, Cameron Park is terrible to drive through; many of the roads were simply not planned for the population it now has. If you have ever had to enter it via Cameron Park Drive, you know what I mean.
I am young and I have lived in the area since I was born. I have had to become content with most likely never owning a home, as it is not the reality for most people my generation. Despite what certain people might have you think, creating housing that gets sold at exorbitant prices that has outpaced current wages to the nth degree does not increase the likelihood of us making that purchase. Government intervention is required in more ways than one, because the free market is evidently not fixing our housing crisis. We will need more than increased housing production to bring down real estate prices to a tenable position for most people, so if you wish to further desecrate the land out west here, please do it properly and create homes designed for people that genuinely need them, and for whom ownership wasn't a possibility before.
Tom Newby, Minmi
Social problem needs solution
FOLLOWING Trump's unanimous social media ban, is it time for left-wing social media to stop playing the role of judge, jury and executioner?
Donald Trump, love or hate him, was elected to be the President of the United States until January 20. Despite leaving office, he is still currently the most powerful man in the world and what he has to say matters to millions of people. So how can big tech companies justify silencing the most powerful man in the world?
Regardless of how his words have been interpreted over the last few days he remains the President of the United States and whether it be a ramble of tweets characteristic of Trump, an announcement of policy or urging of his supporters to take action, I believe that big tech shouldn't have the right to silence him. Given the leaders of both Twitter and Facebook have openly admitted to being left-leaning, it's a major conflict of interest for them to play judge, jury and executioner on who can and can't be heard on social media.
If social media companies continue to decide who can and can't be heard within the political world, the United States, Australia and other democracy-loving countries risk that democracy (and in turn, freedom of speech) becoming an oligarchy controlled by a small number of billionaires pushing their own agenda. In the eyes of anyone with the slightest common sense, social media companies must be stopped from playing the role of judge, jury and executioner.
Robbie DeVine, Waratah
Damage will outlast presidency
THE incitement to riot spewed out by Donald Trump, resulting in fascist and militia eccentrics attacking the Capitol Building in Washington during the joint sitting on Wednesday January 6, must almost certainly go down in US history as another day of infamy. Lives have tragically been lost as a consequence of the attack and, while the damage to property can in most instances, be repaired, the damage to the democratic norms may take generations to recover.
Why has this attack on American democracy taken place? Because of Donald John Trump's ego was deflated with the result of the 2020 presidential election.
Essayist Shalom Auslander once wrote, "The easy Hitler-Trump comparison belittles Hitler - Hitler was a psychopath. Trump is just a con man. All of the evidence to date clearly supports Auslander's assessment of the 45th president of the United States. Which in turn poses a very concerning question; "if 74,223,744 Americans were so easily conned by Donald Trump last November; will the world ever again see a truly United States of America?
Barry Swan, Balgownie
Criticism just isn't cricket
I WAS quite aghast at Crispin Hull's opinion ('This is a pandemic not a spectator sport', Opinion 9/1). It was surprising to read such a biased tirade on what is still, arguably the most sporting contest of all. In a democracy he is fully entitled to his opinion of the game.
Other sporting events have gone ahead with considerably less severe restrictions applied during this pandemic - especially rugby league matches.
I wonder if during our restrictions he ever went to a supermarket or a bar or a restaurant with or without a mask and obeyed all the relevant, imposed restrictions. It simply may be that he has never experienced the "chumocracy" of the game of cricket. I do not believe he has improved his reputation by using derogatory vernacular such as Gold Standard Gladys, Dictator Dan and the Pan-glossian Prime Minister
Robert Tacon, Adamstown Heights
We must get a line on dangers
JOHN Martin (Letters, 9/1) is worried about power supply failures, and so he should. But the real danger comes from the network and not the source of supply.
The storms that hit NSW in February knocked down 250 kilometres of power lines across Sydney, the Central Coast and the Hunter and resulted in 139,000 homes without power. This storm was described by Ausgrid as one of the worst to hit the network in 30 years. Australia is at risk from further such disruptions because extreme weather events will occur more often and only a small percentage of power, about 6 per cent nationwide, is supplied underground. In the wake of the NSW bushfire crisis, Four Corners examined almost four decades worth of evidence into the cause and impact of major bushfires concluding some of the most catastrophic bushfires in Australia's history have been started by power line failure.
If proven, it means 93 per cent of the deaths on Black Saturday, Australia's worst bushfire disaster, were caused by fires started by power lines. The program also found power companies have known since 1974 that their lines can cause fires. Power companies have historically settled legal cases made against them, without admitting liability, avoiding critical findings involving negligence.
Don Owers, Dudley
POWER generation plants at our tidal inlets are a great idea, but if we build at Swansea then how will the boaties get in and out of Lake Mac? This will upset most of the vocal minority at most entrances and then what of the rising sea level which is to flood Swansea? Sounds good on paper, but can we afford to upset the upper class in our society?
John Bradford, Beresfield
I AGREE with PM Scott Morrison. His MP's George Christensen and Craig Kelly can exercise free speech in the form of repeating lies and misinformation about the US election if they want. And if Mr Morrison chose to be a responsible leader on this matter he would exercise his own free speech by rebuking them, and emphasising that lies and misinformation are not what he wants from his MPs.
Michael Jameson, New Lambton
IN answer to Steve Barnett's question; there is no way Gladys would allow it when you consider the population of Sydney compared to Newcastle/Port Stephens area. It would be far worse than Melbourne was.
Bruce Brander, Belmont
DID the A-League save the Jets so that the other teams could have someone to beat?
Bill Slicer, Tighes Hill
A ROBUST investigative committee is just what we need to determine how Capitol police in the US, who apparently employ more than 2000 workers, allowed the dopey types in. Crocodile Dunover IV.
Vic Davies, Tighes Hill
SPOT on, Michael Stevenson (Short Takes, 8/1) regarding the misuse of the word safe and others. The one that really gets up my nose is the word "gotten".
Ian King, Warners Bay
INTERESTING in this time of equality I read recently the young lady in the latest Knights scandal is reported as "no longer employed" in Knights administration, but the footy "star" remains in his overpaid contract with the Knights.
Terry Tynan, Merewether
AS a ratepayer of the City of Newcastle I would have much preferred my rates being spent on more crews to mow our grass median strips, verges and parks instead of being spent on new council offices.
Col Page, Adamstown
MAYBE ScoMo can get his mate Donald Trump a job standing alongside him at his Hillsong revival meetings, shaking their tambourines together. ScoMo could even wear the medal Donald gave him. I'm sure Joe Biden would be pleased to see if Mr Morrison wears it when they meet.
Barry Reed, Islington
SCOTT Morrison couldn't get to the megaphone quickly enough to denounce that Chinese cartoon but would offer no "commentary" on the white nationalists storming the US capitol at his mate Trump's urging. I'd say China noticed that too.
Mac Maguire, Charlestown
DO we need more affordable housing?