I HAVE just received correspondence from the Parliamentary Secretary for Transport that said, among other things, that extensions to Newcastle's light rail were not economically or technically viable given the steep gradients between New Lambton and the John Hunter Hospital. Nothing was said about extensions to other proposed routes. The same correspondence also made mention of developments at what was called the Broadmeadow Sports Precinct. I would have thought that such developments would have needed good infrastructure, including effective public transport to make them attractive and to prevent congestion. No-one in Macquarie Street seems to have thought of this. I mentioned before that building a light rail line to the John Hospital via New Lambton would involve challenges because of the gradients, but I did not say they shouldn't build it. Sadly this government seems to have put light rail extensions into the too hard basket and according to the correspondence, they are looking at improving bus services and rapid buses. Fast buses in traffic? I'll believe that when I see it. Has anyone thought of the Transwest proposal put forward by Save Our Rail?
Peter Sansom, Kahibah
Changed standards carry a cost
GROWING up in my time there was discipline and there was respect. Discipline came from Dad, Mum gave us love and we, our generation, gave them our respect. We respected our educators, the police and health authorities as we were inoculated against what had previously been debilitating diseases. We respected women and girls.
A kiss on the first date was not necessarily forthcoming, but welcomed. We gradually eased into relationships, meeting through social groups or work, and spending time learning about each other. Sadly I believe the sexual revolution has come back to haunt us. In my time sex was first and foremost about growing a family, but within a couple of generations it has become more about entertainment and a contest both for male and female about how many encounters they can achieve.
We were never perfect, there is no such thing, but we had respect - or else, I suppose. Not like today.
We now have virtually total freedom to have sex with whomever we like; however we like; anywhere we like, and the current generation, starting from preteens these days, feel the need to advertise their wares via social media and leaving nothing to the imagination. Yet in my opinion we are blaming people left, right and centre for doing what has been encouraged for at least the past 30 or 40 years and it is not restricted to one sex or one race. What has been torn down will not be able to be built back up in a mere few years.
Historians go back in time thousands of years to study how past civilisations collapsed over a relatively short time. The good news is that they can now study the present to see the beginnings of our civilisation being torn down from the inside. Luckily, my generation will not be here to suffer it.
Garry Robinson, Mannering Park
Finding out about the keepers
THERE was an interesting report on ABC morning television on Friday concerning the usage of JobKeeper by some Australian companies. The report listed a number of prominent Australian companies and the amount of JobKeeper payments received and the percentage of that amount that was distributed to shareholders. The amounts varied, however, figures of 41 per cent were not uncommon. It was pointed out that all was legal and fell within the boundaries of the "rules" of JobKeeper.
Seeing that these monies were intended to support jobs and will be paid for by taxpayers, I feel that most "ordinary" Australians would not consider this to pass the "pub test".
Michael Stevenson, Warners Bay
Backlash shows need for humour
IN reply to Barney Langford, like most if not all people who are critical of political correctness restricting free speech, I'm happy for Mr Langford to express his views on every topic. Contrary to what Mr Langford claims, we welcome debate and counter-argument to every issue or opinion raised. It's profoundly ironic that in a time where numerous people have been de-platformed from social media (eg Donald Trump) or censored from some mainstream media for expressing politically incorrect views, statues and Dr Seuss books cancel cultured and even long-used simple names changed (Coon Cheese) simply because some people feel offended by a word that Mr Langford should accuse the politically incorrect of intolerance of alternate views.
Ironically, Mr Langford quotes Kurt Vonnegut as one of his favourite authors in his argument. Vonnegut authored the very politically incorrect anti-war book Slaughterhouse Five based on the infamous firebombing of Dresden in World War II. I believe nobody should be jailed for expressing an opinion. So, yes, I want a PC get out of jail free card. And I want that card for everyone, not just me. As famous political cartoonist Bill Leak once said, the problem with PC people is that they have no sense of humour. What Mr Langford and the rest of the PC brigade should do is loosen up and with good humour listen to contrarian views.
Peter Devey, Merewether
Harsh realities of colonial past
I DON'T like to disagree with Mike Sargent, but he is off the mark when he states: "You couldn't murder someone the British government said didn't exist" (Letters, 27/3), in reference to the slaughter of Aboriginal people by the military, police, settlers and the Native Police. Instructions to James Cook in 1768, before he set out on his voyage of discovery included: "you are also with the consent of the natives to take possession of convenient situations in the name of the King of Great Britain".
There is no question that Cook encountered First Nations people along the east coast of what is now Australia, however he did not attempt to negotiate with any of the nations and simply planted a flag on an island off the tip of Cape York to claim the entire east coast for Britain. And when Britain colonised Australia from 1788, it was already acknowledged by the British government, who well knew that the land was occupied despite the falsehood that Phillip was settling an unoccupied land (terra nullius), that the Aboriginal inhabitants would be subject to British law. This was confirmed by Colonial Secretary Lord Glenelg in 1837 when he reminded the NSW governor Richard Burke that "all the natives inhabiting those territories must be considered as Subjects of the Queen, and as within H.M.'s Allegiance." To our great shame, local authorities and settlers in Australia largely ignored this inconvenient legal reality.
So when an Aboriginal person was killed and in the absence of extenuating circumstances, it was murder.
John Ure, Mount Hutton
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NO, Mr Morrison, do not blame social media for the behaviour of MP Andrew Laming. In Australian, women have been discriminated against and denigrated since the first fleet arrived. Social media has just given men one more tool to use.
Joan Lambert, Adamstown
IT looks like the Knights can donate two points to the other teams when they are not at full strength ('Tiger sting', Newcastle Herald 29/3). It would appear that without Best they lack any bite. He showed that a week earlier against the Warriors when he won them the game. The replacements who are in O'Brien's top 30 couldn't do the job. The handling was atrocious; they wouldn't catch COVID if they were on a plane packed with American tourists.
Allen Small, East Maitland
GOOD old Annastacia Palaszczuk, yelling and screaming about COVID cases coming from NSW but apparently it is fine and open for business when her population comes down here and spreads it. Typical Labor party; her and Albo make a good daily double. Has anyone noticed that he has all of the good ideas now the drama has lessened ('$15bn Labor fund 'a win for the Hunter', Herald 30/3)?
Dennis Crampton, Swansea
WITH all the claims and counterclaims on the conduct of our politicians and parliamentary public servants, could I be so bold as to suggest that parliamentarians and parliamentary staff be subject to the same work standards as the rest of us? For example, everyone should wear overalls (non tight fitting) and work boots, no face coverings, i.e. makeup, lipstick, etc. Additionally, no alcohol should be brought on, or consumed, on site and random breath testing should be conducted at regular intervals. In Australia, workplaces have well-documented policies and processes to deal with workplace harassment, sexual or otherwise. It appears our politicians, of all persuasions, have little ability or commitment to enforce the same workplace standards as the rest of us are willing to accept and comply with.
John Cooper, Charlestown
IF you're currently still working from home I suggest you ask to return to your normal workplace as soon as possible. If you can be productive working from home the shareholders and powers that be may consider somebody in Pakistan or India that can work from home for a lot less than you earn. Globalisation is going to bite. Good luck with that.
Steve Barnett, Fingal Bay
MANY of Australia's unique native animals can be made extinct through the overabundance of feral cats, foxes, pigs etc. These will still be around when our bilbys, quolls, koalas etc. have long gone.
Mick McMillan, Merewether
I WONDER how Steven Busch would feel if a foreign group turned up at his place and said sorry mate you're going to have to move on because we want to settle here?
Colin Love, Anna Bay
THE Knights might be able to hold on to the ball if they sandpapered it.