IN a world where almost everything is labelled as racist, I am sadly compelled to add to the tally. The calls for bans on flights to and from India ('COVID chaos rises in India', Newcastle Herald 28/4) in my opinion do not stand up to rational scrutiny and can only be racist in origin.
As of April 27 India's COVID-related death rate per million people is just eight per cent of the UK's. The case fatality rate in India is just 1.12 per cent, versus 2.89 per cent in the UK. So, despite the UK having a per capita death rate more than 10 times that of India and COVID proving more than twice as fatal to those infected in the UK, we didn't block flights to or from the United Kingdom.
It would seem that all COVID cases are of equal concern - but some are more equal than others.
Scott Hillard, New Lambton
Fire failures saved us nothing
PREVENTION is always better than cure. This saying is most certainly the direction Australia should be taking by former RFS chief Shane Fitzsimmons, or we will expect more of the same ('Former fire chief talks resilience', Herald 23/4.)
His newly-created, bureaucratic position should understand Australia must adhere to the bushfire royal commission's findings involving the government protecting Australia from climate change. Preventing bushfires from taking hold is the key to our protection, and the billions of dollars now being spent on rehabilitation should have been spent on prevention. When it comes to droughts and floods, they are also triggered more frequently due to climate changes.
Exporting our coal to world markets makes us hypocrites when we frown on other countries and their pollution but we still enjoy the royalties of these sales. As for the current pandemic, we are still importing these viruses, their mutations, and are expected to live with them. The vaccines have been rushed through in less than 12 months where they usually take five or more years for approval.
Brian Watson-Will, Corlette
Feral felines too risky to ignore
A REMINDER of the "stressing number of species impacted" by the bushfires arrived recently ('Champions of fire-hit wildlife', Herald 19/4) where ground animals - gliders, reptiles and even playpus - were severely decimated. Habitat protection, species assistance, pest and predator control, and monitoring for species preservation were pledged. The next day's Herald front page issue extolled the Hunter region RSPCA efforts at finding homes for dozens of cats from strays to kittens ('Game of cat and house', Herald 20/4), overlooking the impact of cats as prime predators on wildlife and their negative effects.
Feral cats stem from domestic introduction via past settlers, as well as current domestic untamed cats, and their influence was overlooked. Its predatory nature has seen it spread across 99.8 per cent of Australia's land mass, becoming a major creator of wildlife destruction. Collars, bells and other constraints have had little effect on cat control. Some mindful cat owners curfew their animals at varying times of the day, finding its predatory instinct unaffected.
No doubt domestic cats of varying breeds, shapes and colours provide joy but despite care in negating a cat's predator instincts, wildlife protection should take precedence.
Bob Allen, Hawks Nest
Relevance wanes on climate front
IF the virtual climate summit proved anything it was that most world leaders see Prime Minister Scott Morrison and therefore Australia's relevance in any future world plan to counter global warming and climate change to be minimal at best.
Relegated on the speakers list after Bhutan (with less than a million people), the first 30 seconds of Mr Morrison's contribution was possibly his most significant contribution on climate change to date as Australia's prime minister as technological problems rendered them soundless.
The remainder of Mr Morrison's contribution consisted of three-word slogans, self-congratulations and dodgy greenhouse gas statistics. US President Biden and 20 of the 27 listed speakers had in fact left the virtual summit before Mr Morrison spoke.
Some may see this as a snub to Australia, but I think it was more of an indication of their lack of faith in Mr Morrison as a can-do leader. Australians know from experience any commitment made by Scott Morrison is as bankable as the guarantee given by Bali beach peddlers to tourists on "genuine gold Rolex watches".
Barry Swan, Balgownie
Nurse fight demands healthy support
THE protest of nurses regarding the rejection of salary increases in line with the cost of living application along with a request to address additional short staffing issues ('Nurses rally for ratios and a fair rise', Herald 23/4) has been rejected by the government. With all respect to the organisers, I believe this protest was poorly organised given the numbers seen in footage.
Whilst not a believer in recent protests seen recently around the world, my view would be for the organisers to seek community support in an approved nurses and community combined protest. I don't believe such a protest to support those who care for the community whilst underpaid and understaffed will result in street violence or looting. Perhaps social media could for a change assist in ensuring that government listens to those they have often referred to as our front line heroes dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and possibly reconsider their objections and standing prior to the upcoming elections. From my experiences over many years in hospitals with a loved one I extend my thanks to each and every one of you for your dedication and caring.
Peter Mullins, Rankin Park
Clear winner emerged in code war
CONGRATULATIONS on the extended coverage of our major national footy game, AFL, in the Herald ('Tasmania awaits advice on whether Hobart will host Roos', Herald 27/4). Teams in every mainland state and games played in every state and territory and we are entitled to, and now receive, decent coverage.
Clearly it's not the NRL, where management focuses purely on the money from existing strongholds instead of investing in south and western Australia, where they must be if they are really the National Rugby League. The AFL has invested heavily in rugby league territory and now has a significant presence across the entire country and that is for the better.
On the field confusion reigns supreme, with no clear control, and rule interpretation is completely ad hoc, with play-the-ball rules tightly policed this week but ignored the next, and on it goes. No wonder the players get confused. In one sport a player's head is sacrosanct and the slightest contact above the shoulder is penalised. Not so in the NRL, where maybe two or three penalties a match are awarded for upwards of 30 or 40 infringements. Is it any wonder viewers and players at all levels are switching codes?
Garry Robinson, Mannering Park
THE story on fossil fuel subsidies ('Fossil fuel subsidies total $10.3b: report', Herald 26/4) had a cheap shot at the mining industry. The article pointed out $7.8b of this is a refund on the fuel tax, but did not explain the reason. The fuel tax is added to petrol and diesel sales to cover maintenance of our public road system. Miners' fuel usage is all off road on private mine sites, hence the refund. Farmers get the same tax refund. It is not a subsidy to either industry. Now tell readers the volume of taxes and royalties paid by miners.
Joe Clayton, The Hill
I JUST read that 16 per cent of Australians said in response to a survey that they will not get vaccinated (Herald, 28/4). This is not good enough. I am 70, with a few health issues, and got vaccinated on Tuesday. My wife was vaccinated two weeks ago, both with the AstraZeneca vaccine. Come on Australia, let's get vaccinated and get on with life. If I have convinced just one person to get vaccinated, good luck to you.
Peter Selmeci, Murrays Beach
AT last, someone with intelligence told Morrison to cut the flights from India.
Gary Hayward, Cardiff
JOHN Ure (Letters, 27/4) would do better to play the ball, not the man, and focus on the recent arguments I made against "assisted dying" rather than the religious arguments I did not make. To recap, I've queried the claimed polling support figures for euthanasia and assisted dying. I've discussed the myth that pain is an inevitable part of dying, and the myth that euthanasia deaths are pain free. I've pointed to the evidence that voluntary euthanasia tends to morph into involuntary euthanasia, suggesting to me that Mr Ure's "clear limitations" on when assisted dying can be utilised inevitably will become flouted, ignored and overruled where this is not the case already. Greedy impatient relatives are a telling point against legalising assisted dying. But they are not a religious argument.
Peter Dolan, Lambton
DAYNE Steggles (Letters, 23/4): "wake up and remember", inspired by a Tony Brown quote, sounds like an adage soon to be used daily. I would however urge licensed establishments wanting, or even needing, to stay open longer, to lower drink and food prices. This may stop binge drinking prior to journeying out on the town so the young and vibrant can inject more money into the economy or even save more for themselves.
Bryn Roberts, New Lambton
WHEN China whistles, Australia yelps. Who is going to tell heavily populated countries such as China and India to reduce their carbon emissions? It certainly won't be the US while Biden is in the seat. Our country produces very little carbon emissions (25 million people), so why is it we have to show the rest of the world?