I WOULD estimate about 200 people witnessed a heroic rescue of a young man caught in a dreadful rip off Newcastle Beach on Saturday evening around 6pm. With lifeguards gone for the day, one very brave foreign surfer (French?) risked his own life to save the local. The conditions were so bad that the men almost made it in a number of times, before being swept into the rip channel again and dragged out the back through a horrendous dumping surf.
Despite a rescue underway, several families with young children were still wading in the waters, within metres of the dangerous rip, many of whom were not local and not familiar with the conditions.
Apparently the beach had been closed earlier in the day due to the dangerous conditions. My concern is why isn't there some kind of live signage to alert people after the lifeguards go home that the conditions are too dangerous to swim? Even better, dawn to dusk patrols for our beaches during the summer holidays. With Newcastle Beach the most accessible for tourists, don't we have a duty of care beyond the standard beach signs? I'd like to thank the brave surfer who saved the man's life.
Alyssa White, Merewether
Some things are here to stay
FIRST it was the Lass O'Gowrie Hotel and now the iconic West End stink pipe is coming under pressure from Cancel Culture ('City stink', Newcastle Herald 18/1). New arrivals should carry out due diligence when buying properties to fit in with the locals.
I walk past the Stink Pipe every pre dawn morning, 7 days a week and have never smelt a thing, except I feel like I am in Asia.
Alan Hamilton, Hamilton East
Iron man plaudits ring false
US Republican presidents in this, the second millennium, have it would seem applied the science of metallurgy when bestowing American awards upon Australian prime ministers.
In 2009, George W. Bush told John Winston Howard he was "Australia's man of steel" when handing the US Medal of Freedom to him for services done. Donald Trump in 2019, declared Scott Morrison to be a "titanium man". Mr Morrison, in a classic suck-up response, praised Donald Trump for his political priorities.
"We share a lot of the same views" Morrison went on to say. Come December 2020 and as a despairing world watched, Donald Trump began inciting acts of insurrection across America. What did Mr Morrison do? He totally ignored the damage Trump's lies and actions were doing to the democratic processes of America. Then, in what I consider a gob-smacking example of his egoism, Mr Morrison accepted from Trump America's prestigious military award, the Legion of Honor.
Put simply, in my opinion history must surely record this farcical event as being an inappropriate award given to a non-deserving recipient by a US president with quite a few sheep missing in his top paddock.
Barry Swan, Balgownie
Far from a super idea on cash
I WONDER how this Coalition government comes up with new ideas on how to mess up the lives of the Australian people. At their cabinet meetings do they have a hat on the table where all the members put their ideas on a scrap of paper into the hat, then one gets drawn out, and they run with that idea?
The latest stupid idea is to put extra money in wages to save for retirement instead of putting it into superannuation rises. Extra money in wages will be spent now for things necessary for their living expenses, which will also put more money on government coffers now to make the government look good. So when people want to retire, I believe they won't have money to live on because the pension will be gone and so will superannuation. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Margrietha Owens, Cardiff
Too many empty trading places
LAST week I walked from the bank corner up Hunter Street and past Nobbys. I was so surprised and disappointed at the number of shops closed down. It was like walking through a ghost town. This is my town that I've lived in all my life and I felt sick to see it in such a state.
Helen Hunstone, Cardiff South
Normal is not what it once was
FRIDAY'S editorial ('Vaccine questions amid virus variants', Opinion 15/01) states "there is progress, but the normality many hoped for in 2021 remains a long way away".
I, myself, and many experts in many fields around the world thought that it was a long way from being over in 2021.
COVID-19, as was the influenza virus in 1918-1920, is here for a long time, even with vaccination and all the other things we are doing to stop the spread of this latest virus.
World leaders are stuck between a rock and a hard place. They are not doing enough or they are doing too much. The economy is suffering no matter what they do.
They have concentrated on "it's the economy stupid" too much and paid the price. We have to realise that not only do people die from this virus but they also get very sick and debilitated from COVID-19 in the long term. Many people have lost their jobs and may never find a job they can survive on. Life as we know it, as far as working in CBDs around the world has already changed. Many will permanently work from home.
This will impact big time on business in CBDs all over the world.
We will get back to normal one day in the future but that normal will be completely different to the normal in early 2020.
Peter Selmeci, Murrays Beach
Well shouldn't decide fate of ill
MOST of us have been in the horrible position of watching someone we love die long before their time. I've lost friends and family to cancer, motor neurone disease and multiple sclerosis. Although the physical states of these people differed at the end, the pain, loss of function and mental anguish that was caused is something I would not wish on my worst enemy, so I eagerly await the bill to legalise Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) that is likely to be brought to the NSW Parliament this year.
I have been on the record for many years as supporting the legalisation of VAD. It is not for someone who is well to determine how someone who is terminally ill should live their final days, how much pain they should withstand, or how they should mentally feel about their prognosis. I cannot speak for my departed friends and family and say whether they would have chosen VAD if it were offered to them, but they never had the choice. That is the crux of this issue; the choice to hang on or the choice to let go, and the choice of how you spend the end of your life. Death may be inevitable, but suffering until your final breath shouldn't be.
Tim Crakanthorp, Newcastle MP
TUESDAY'S editorial incorrectly stated Charlton MP Pat Conroy was parachuted in to replace Greg Combet. Mr Conroy, who had worked in Mr Combet's office, won a rank and file preselection for the seat in 2013. He was preselected for his present seat, Shortland, after Charlton was abolished in a redistribution before the 2016 election.
WITH around 50,000 jobs on offer in the bush I believe it's a bit rich for people from the arts to be asking for more handouts. There's a whole big world outside of Balmain, it's about time these jacked up pretenders got a real job instead of milking the taxpayer.
Steve Barnett, Fingal Bay
I AGREE with the several writers in the Herald (Short Takes, 11/1). Some of my pet hates are news readers (mainly on Sydney channels) when speaking of bulk carriers waiting off Newcastle say they are tankers. No, they are not tankers they are bulk carriers. It has been a very long time, if ever; we have had any oil bulk ore carriers in Newcastle to load. The other thing that gets to me is "a bit of water" or "a bit of rain". It is a drop; it is liquid. Another is "the next bulletin will be at 5am tomorrow morning". If it is AM, it is the morning. As one Hunter newsreader once put it, I don't write them, I only read them.
Fred Saunders, Waratah West
HOW ironic (Letters, 13/01) Democracy at risk due to the risk of an oligarchy of media billionaires pushing their own agenda.
Marvyn Smith, Heddon Greta
FOUR or five months ago I wrote a letter (not published) complaining about the behaviour of children riding skateboards inside Coles at the Junction. I spoke to the boys and they moved to the footpaths outside. I am wondering why Catherine Whelan's letter (Letters, 14/1) about a similar activity has been brought to our attention? My concern was that not only were the boys who were involved in The Junction activity acting dangerously, but their behaviour among people on the footpath was very unnerving, because a serious collision with aged and frail pedestrians could occur. These boys were very impudent, cheeky and disrespectful.
Pat Garnet, Wickham
THE virus has caused a no-go zone between states in Australia. The virus has caused more deaths in the USA, 350,000. That is more than the dropping of the two weapons of mass destruction in Japan that caused 200,000 or more deaths. May well we say, God Save the Queen, but who is going to save the Australians stranded in England, as the government plays politics here in the Disunited States of Australia?
Richard Ryan, Summerland Point
I BELIEVE there's usually a vague odour of stupidity hanging over the National Party. But when the real, pungent stink of idiocy becomes overwhelmingly sickening, you can bet the three stooges are speaking. I refer to Kelly, Christensen and McCormack. What a national and international embarrassment these fools are in my opinion. Do they really represent the views of their electorates? Donald Horne's The Lucky Country is writ large with these three. God help us.