I DON'T know how old Gary Robinson (Letters, 31/3) is. I am 84 and I cannot remember a time in my life when women were respected, let alone had equal rights.
It is only comparatively recently that girls have had the same educational opportunities. As a married woman I was denied entry to Teachers' College and later denied promotion. Surviving victims have demonstrated that domestic and sexual violence was rife as was child abuse in its many forms.
I, for one, certainly do not want to go back to the good old days.
They appear to have been good for men, but in reality everyone suffers when inequality reigns. I remember the old saying it does not make sense to have half the brains of the country tied to the kitchen sink.
Joan Lambert, Adamstown
Put pollies to the test
The recent events of alleged sexual misbehaviour in and around both NSW and the federal parliaments are appalling. Allegations include rapes, improper access to and unapproved access to ministerial offices and other parliamentary rooms, concealed relationships, lewd activity, sexting, bullying, photographs of members and civilians and more. All alleged, it must be remembered.
We have parliamentarians on sick leave, some for the most unusual "treatments", and suggesting that the reasons are not known. Others are standing down from duties, moving to cross benches or resigning. More to come? This promotes the stifling of government whilst cabinets are reshuffled in what I believe are intended to give the impression of problems being fixed. I doubt it.
Any elected or paid employee of governments or parliaments know full well if they are guilty, and if they are they should immediately resign. I believe parliaments should recover the salaries paid to these persons involved. There are also suggestions of substance abuse occurring and improper access to Parliament House in Canberra.
It is not party time in Canberra nor NSW when elected or employed by the people, although recent events might appear different.
We seriously need a federal ICAC-type watchdog with real teeth, and at the same time regular unannounced drug and alcohol testing regimes put in place.
Parliaments must send a message to elected and employed personnel that party time is over.
Gary Foster, Adamstown
Booze ban would offer assurance
THE statement by Senate leader Bridget McKenzie reported in the Newcastle Herald under the headline ("Parliament booze ban is not a quick fix", Newcastle Herald 30/3) left me totally gobsmacked.
In Matthew Kelly's story, Ms McKenzie states that banning booze and drugs from Parliament House will achieve little unless an underlying disrespect towards women changes. Since just about every workplace in Australia does not allow employees on the premises if they have been drinking or are affected by drugs (some even having mandatory testing before starting shifts) I can't believe that our MPs are effectively permitted to use drugs and alcohol whilst conducting government business which affects all our lives. There will never be any excuse for unwanted sexual advances, but you don't have to be a behavioural specialist to know that alcohol (and I assume drugs) lower one's inhibitions. So let's start by having an assurance our legislators are drug free and sober, at the least when they are there.
John Smith, Mount Hutton
Cabinet shuffle isn't a solution
WHILE it is a step toward gender equity with more women being given seats around the federal Cabinet table, I have a feeling Prime Minister Scott Morrison has again proved his ability to put his foot in things. Appointing Michaelia Cash as our first law officer is fraught with danger should Brittany Higgins, a former staffer for Cash, continue with the criminal case over her alleged rape in 2019.
My concern is that the voicemail from Michaelia Cash, to Ms Higgins (post the alleged rape) in which Cash says "the office has the issue under control. I promise you" could result in our first law officer being called to give evidence under oath explaining what her voicemail message implied.
With her history of almost manic reactions when under pressure from probing questions going to her alleged conduct, I humbly suggest tickets for seats in the courtroom when Michaelia Cash is giving evidence under oath on the intent of her voicemail to Brittany Higgins would sell like hot cakes.
Barry Swan, Balgownie
Hard Labor days demand advice
ONE of the most powerful unions and biggest political donors in NSW, the Health Services Union, has disaffiliated itself from NSW Labor. This follows recent polling which showed their primary vote was at 23.9 per cent, much lower than the disastrous 2019 election, even lower than former premier Kristina Keneally's 25.6 per cent effort. It appears even the rats are deserting the ship. Come on you light on the hill diehards; instead of criticising Mr Morrison, what about some constructive suggestions or advice as to what the NSW Labor party should do to improve this?
John Cooper, Charlestown
In jail for exposing the truth
WHILE Peter Devey's throwing around his 'get out of jail free cards' to simpletons who want to bully and malign the marginalised without consequence, he might seriously consider sending some to Australian citizens; Witness K and Bernard Collaery.
Both Australians are currently undergoing secret trials; Witness K for blowing the whistle on the Howard government's illegal bugging of a foreign government and Collaery for being Witness K's barrister. These Australians really are headed to jail simply for reporting a crime, as opposed to committing a crime. In December 2020 Collaery won the International Blueprint for Free Speech Whistleblowing prize, which recognises bravery and integrity.
One of the judges described Collaery's story as "one of spies, international espionage and corporate greed ... one of the richest countries ... spied on and betrayed one of the poorest''. In Australia we secretly try these internationally recognised heroes simply for telling the truth.
If you want to defend free speech, Mr Devey, forget the homegrown bigots and focus on these Australians.
John Arnold, Anna Bay
It was okay for Boomers
REFLECTING on my life in a Baby Boomer era, I realise just how fortunate that time was.
Sure, we had testing times but were disciplined at home which in turn earned respect. We received the cane at school and realised most times that it was warranted. Basically we were always in fear of our lives, but it wasn't because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs etc.
The local policeman, our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat. We survived because our family life and love was far greater than the threat.
Most of us had a reasonably thick skin and a sense of humour. I just ask the question: What has gone wrong?
Col Parkins, Wallsend
IF you can't drink enough before 3am, you have a dead set problem ('Worth a shot', Newcastle Herald 1/4).
Les Shore, Mallabula
THE Labor party has not got a chance in hell of winning a federal election with Anthony Albanese as their leader. If he remains there they haven't got any chance of a victory. The only one that may give them any hope looks to be Tanya Plibersek, if she steps up to the plate.
Gary Graham, Raymond Terrace
AS a dedicated bomb thrower for the Coalition for many, many decades, I say Scotty from Marketing very rapidly needs to morph into Scott from Sales Support ('PM denies cabinet reshuffle 'distraction'', Herald 1/4).
Howard Hutchins, Chirnside Park
ARE there any reporters game enough to investigate and report on the quality of the water at Newcastle beaches now and before the World Surf League's Newcastle Cup? ('Yewcastle', Herald 31/3)
Bryn Roberts, New Lambton
THERE have been reports lately of some minor earthquakes around the Muswellbrook area. Would it be a quandary to suggest that mother nature is trying valiantly to maintain the equilibrium for all of the big holes that coal miners have dug in the surface. One can only ponder the final outcome.
John Bradford, Beresfield
DAVE McTaggart (Short Takes, 30/3) you certainly don't speak for me. I know plenty of working class males, whether they be Pakistani, Indian, Aboriginal etc, who are leading by example and willing to accept responsibility. Your letter disgusts me.
Steve Eyre, Cardiff
IF her performance up to this point is a guide I'd say Marise Payne looks about on par with our last prime minister for women, Tony Abbott ('PM denies cabinet reshuffle 'distraction'', Herald 1/4).
Mac Maguire, Charlestown
THE cabinet reshuffle ('PM denies cabinet reshuffle 'distraction'', Herald 1/4) shows us we have to hand it to Mr Morrison. He's placed all the responsibility for promoting respect for women to the new women he's appointed. He has ducked for cover and ducked the major issue at hand.
John Butler, Windella Downs
WHY can't the electoral roll be used to have most people vaccinated at their local school, just like an election ('Vaccine spat flares as outbreak enters NSW', Herald 1/4)? It would nearly cover everyone in a couple of weekends.
Bill Slicer, Tighes Hill
PRIME Minister Scott Morrison has stuffed up again. Made the big announcement that 4 million would be vaccinated by the end of March. All talk no substance.