FOR years now we have been hearing of sexism and "blokiness" within the federal parliament, resulting in bullying and, now, sexual assaults ('Libs in crisis', Newcastle Herald 23/2). But is the prime minister, by his own behaviour, revealing himself as part of the problem?
I am definitely not suggesting that he would encourage or condone sexism or sexual assaults, but he certainly does his best to portray the "blokey" image, even resorting to checking in with the "little woman", his wife Jenny, when confronted with an allegation of rape within Parliament House. Early last year, during the bushfires, he was filmed forcibly shaking the hand of a young female firefighter, clearly against her will. A short time later he attempted to forcibly shake the hand of a male firefighter against his will.
Just last Sunday he had his vaccination alongside an 84-year-old aged care resident and then invited her to join him in a two-fingered "V for vaccination" salute. When she cheekily changed that salute into a middle-finger action, the prime minister immediately leaned across and grabbed her hands. Is this his way of getting the outcome he wants, by use of physical force? Very blokey. Totally inappropriate behaviour in my opinion, for a prime minister or any other bloke.
John Ure, Mount Hutton
Public voices need to ring out
PAUL Scott ('Time all submissions were made public', Opinion 22/2) raised a very pertinent issue. City of Newcastle's website is "full of public engagement opportunities" but what happens to people's input if they do respond? Is this simply a tick-a-box affair? The call for feedback on the currently displayed Harbour Foreshore Masterplan is a case in point. First of all, there is no information available on the design constraints, what can't be done because of previous council legal obligations. For example, the council is contractually bound to meet Supercars' extensive operational requirements. Has the location of the playground, hard up against the Bond Street private car park and people's homes and businesses, been decided to meet these demands?
Secondly, the concept plan proposes two large event spaces adjacent to Wharf Road. Yet the 2015 plan of management, completed with much feedback from the public, stated there should be "more restriction on the quantity of events per year and impact on surrounding areas and "reduce impact of special event use on the park... to ensure amenity and access..."
In the council's own survey of park users, there was no demand for more and bigger events. People's priorities were for more trees (71 per cent), shade (67 per cent), gardens (57 per cent) and accessible toilets (61 per cent). Respondents wanted pop-up activities, markets and events that have worked well in the park in the past.
The world-weary public will be watching this one closely to see who has the loudest public voice.
Christine Everingham, Newcastle East
Rail against apathy toward trains
I SEE that some are talking of faster trains to Sydney again. Many say the trains were faster in the steam days. Maybe. The problem has been the lack of interest, and at times open hostility towards, rail transport shown by successive governments.
I recently heard that the M1 Motorway cost a million dollars a foot to go through the sandstone hills south of Wyong. Whatever it cost, that sort of money could have completed the quadruplication of the railway between North Strathfield and Hornsby as well as improving the alignment between Hornsby and Adamstown. I find it alarming that successive governments have been happy to splash huge amounts of money on freeways, which they say are an investment, while spending money to improve railways is a cost taxpayers have to bear.
If our railways were improved, journey times could be reduced for passengers and freight. And if measures were put in place to attract more freight and passengers to rail then congestion in cities and on freeways, particularly when a truck breaks down, would be less of an issue. I don't know why our government masters can't see this and why they won't make a serious effort to do something about it.
Peter Sansom, Kahibah
Test theories to dodge conspiracy
IT really concerns me what people choose to believe and the amount of alternative facts and conspiracy theories that are moving around so freely. The attacks on science and leadership from politicians with populist views or influence from well funded lobby groups gives me plenty of reasons to be concerned. Social media has a lot to answer for and people should take more time to check for proven facts. Just because someone says something is true and proven and a lot of people believe it doesn't make it so. Science is the process of finding truth. Politics is the process of bending the truth. Conspiracy theories are a way of avoiding the truth. Be careful of what you believe. Vaccines and medicines have taken us out of the dark ages. Conspiracy theories will take us back there.
Ray Macarthur, Eleebana
Cruz holiday has a precedent
HAS Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz successfully done a Scott Morrison? Instead of demonstrating leadership in a time of crisis Ted Cruz went on holidays while the people of Texas struggled to survive in blizzard conditions and without electricity. Cruz flew to sun-drenched Cancun in Mexico for a family holiday.
Wanting to be a good dad was the excuse Cruz gave to the TV cameras following his return home. Watching and listening to the patter had me briefly pondering where I had heard such crap before. Suddenly, the scales fell from my eyes as I realised it was Mr Morrison Cruz was plagiarising. I waited to hear the phrase "I don't hold a hose mate", but it did not come, possibly due to the nature of conditions in Texas.
Barry Swan, Balgownie
Don't judge a book by cover photo
UNDER the current circumstances I am sure there are many who would like to make a stand regarding Facebook but feel they are unable to because of the enticing nature of this giant of giants of social media land.
In some ways taking yourself off Facebook could be like trying to wean yourself off an intoxicating drug.
Facebook gives people the chance to be someone. It also gives us licence to skite, brag and make others jealous. It shows hundreds of friends what a wow of a life we are leading. The photos are there to prove it.
We should never forget, however, that the company needs people far more than we need it. We only think we need Facebook because over years we have lost communication skills. Facebook is easy and has made us lazy.
What others cannot see, however, is loneliness, emptiness and the gamut of emotions and needs that make us human beings. On Facebook no-one reaches out to give a hug or a gentle touch.
Relationship building is rewarding but it takes effort. Facebook robs us of this because it gives us an instant snapshot of a tiny portion of someone's life. Many long to be known in a deeper way.
Julie Robinson, Cardiff
I WONDER why I have never before seen the Coalition, the ALP, the Greens, the commercial media and the ABC join together to concurrently protest about anything, although I don't hear much interest from ordinary people. I wasn't aware the news could be watched on Facebook, but then I don't go there. If I don't get enough news via my wireless I can still go to Google.
George Paris, Rathmines
MAC Maguire (Short Takes, 20/2) no wonder you fell out of your chair, what with your fellow leftie ABC evangelists on this page there with you, you obviously overbalanced.
Greg Hunt, Newcastle West
WHY does Prime Minister Scott Morrison feel he can jump the line with the jab ('Shot at history', Newcastle Herald 22/2)? All of the jabs should be going to the people who need it, not someone who is going to use it as a photo shoot. Is he the new Putin?
Doug Andrews, Tarro
GOOD to see the most vulnerable getting the first COVID vaccinations.
Stephen Kuehn, Williamtown
WHILE tip-toeing around the appalling state of aged care and mental health, Josh Frydenberg concentrates on making Facebook pay for news because it's good for business interests. Can you reduce taxes for the wealthy and privileged while you're at it?
John Butler, Windella Downs
A MILITARY friend tells me that maintenance crews at RAAF Williamtown are busy removing the traditional kangaroo roundels from our jet fighters and replacing them with Liberal Party logos. Anyone with half a brain can see that this is a brilliant idea but I expect that there will be loud protests from the more rabid members of the loony left that infest our schools, universities, and the ABC and who could not recognise a good policy if they tripped over it.
Ian Roach, New Lambton
DOES the council have an excess of funds this year? The Foreshore Park plan seems to show the demolition of a perfectly good toilet block near the tram sheds, convenient and inconspicuous, and construction of a new toilet block further away. It also demolishes the existing children's playground and builds a new playground away from the centre of activity and closer to the access road, with a risk to children. Why not just extend the existing one? There is a suggestion that these changes, and their costs, are to accommodate Supercars; if that is so, then Supercars should pay for them. I am sure there are other parks around this city which would benefit from refurbishment.
David Stewart, Newcastle East
FACEBOOK, Bookface. Meh same thing. I'm a ghost and never had it.
Mick Porter, Raymond Terrace
GREG Hunt has the right to criticise the ABC, he pays for it after all. As a shareholder of the ABC myself, I would like the option of putting my money somewhere more deserving like helping homeless Australians. It's time for auntie to stop chest feeding off the taxpayers who don't support her.
Steve Barnett, Fingal Bay
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