NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro is furious that former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull was photographed with Independent candidate Ms O'Connell and supported her, ('Nats furious at Turnbull's invervention', Newcastle Herald 10/5).
The National Party and also the ALP chose candidates for the byelection on May 22 who voiced strong support for the expansion of coal mining in the Upper Hunter. Not surprising, since Market Forces claims data released in February shows that last financial year the two major parties received total donations of $1,353,202 from the fossil fuel industry and in return the industry received total tax breaks of $12 billion. I believe those who are opposed to the expansion of coal mining and desire the future be realistically addressed must therefore look beyond the major parties for a viable plan.
Money could be diverted from coal subsidies and used to develop industries and retrain workers currently dependent on a declining coal industry as well as providing finance for health, education and low rent social housing. In addition valuable agricultural land would be protected and air quality improved. Ms O'Connell is opposed to the expansion of coal mines, believing the region is at tipping point and in need of a comprehensive plan for the future ('Parties 'fear' coal debate', Herald 12/5). In my opinion, it's a good reason for many voters to support her at the ballot box.
Hilda Hughes, Whitebridge
Narrow focus borders on omission
ARE the candidates in the Upper Hunter by-election aware of the electorate's boundaries? All I have seen and read about the candidates refer to Singleton, Muswellbrook, and the surrounding towns. Nothing about other towns in the electorate like Gloucester, Stroud, Clarence Town or Paterson.
Kim McHugh, Cooks Hill
PM's top gun moments backfiring
ONCE again Australia's prime minister Scott Morrison has indulged in egoism and hubris. On this occasion he has sought to project himself as a presidential wartime leader with his recent visits to RAAF Base Williamtown ('Flying high', Herald 8/5). The first of his last two visits to Williamtown had the theme from Top Gun blasting out on his arrival. This contrived flummery was followed up with Morrison photographed sitting in the open cockpit of an F35 kitted out in a 3rd Squadron flying jacket ('Top funds', Herald 9/2). For Morrison, it was an eat your heart out,Tom Cruise moment.
His most recent Williamtown visit was so over the top in its pomposity and blatant use of the armed forces for political purposes that former commanding officer of the 1st Australian Battalion and the Royal Australian Battalion, Colonel Ray Martin was moved to make critical comment of it. Colonel Martin said that "in 40 years in the Australian Defence Force, with eight prime ministers, during that time I never saw one receive a red carpet and honour guard for an internal visit to a base". He described it as poor form and noted that "diggers detest bull-sh**". An opinion I suggest is shared by many other Australians.
Barry Swan, Balgownie
Commitment is a key Aussie value
MICHAEL Hinchey (Letters, 10/5), you were incorrect in some areas. Firstly you hinted that I was racist; buddy, I have lived and camped with Aboriginal people in Arnhem Land, worked in Greece on architectural digs with every nationality, and enjoyed and respected all. So skin colour and religion doesn't come into my comments, I am a proud Aussie and I will have my say no matter if I do offend those who don't care about fellow Australians.
Many people in our country were denied visitation to funerals, weddings and sick relatives, but they all took it on the chin and adhered to the government's COVID rules. So, if my concern about the safety, health and well-being of those in Australia offend you, so be it. Let's agree to disagree and hope this pandemic does not take hold here like that in India.
Your question about what is truly Australian; it's where people of this country put their hands up and get them dirty in times of adversity. I believe all have to make sacrifices when it comes to fighting this pandemic. As far as the brackets and chipping; nearly all outbreaks have come from hotel quarantine breaches, so if these devices will prevent outbreaks then so be it. What are your suggestions to contain quarantine breaches?
Graeme Kime, Cameron Park
Plan to contain quarantine woes
THIS government is being socially responsible with increased funding for domestic violence, aged care and child care. All politically popular causes pre-election popular causes, and definitely deserving. It's interesting they address long term problems with a four to 10-year funding plan that may or not use the allotted funds, NDIS being the typical example.
The issues more urgently and immediately in need of action is quarantine care and housing for the increasing number of homeless. I naively have a possible solution.
The states have been given responsibility for quarantine care and they also have access to Crown land. The surplus of shipping containers is common knowledge. Many containers have been shown to be easily converted to habitable use, short or long term. Containers cost $1000 to $5000, and fitting out between 10,000 to 20,000, less if done in bulk.
People coming back from overseas pay at least part of the cost of housing themselves. Security is still essential for this. Hotels have proven difficulties because of cross contamination through corridors and shared spaces.
Portable containers can be located where needed to allow access to fresh air. Waste can be removed in tankers, fences built. The money paid to house folk would instead pay for the containers and their fitout. In the longer term allows these to be relocated to where they are needed to house homeless or vulnerable people, and work flows to some who need it in the set up.
I am one of many who remember the 1950's and 60's with the Nissan huts across Sydney housing our European immigrants until they could find work and other housing. We are better equipped now than then. If no government wants to do it, are there councils or private individuals that would invest in this?
Lyn Rendle, Rankin Park
Opposition by name and nature
WHINGE, moan, criticise, whine. Who am I? Yes, you guessed it, a Labor frontbencher ('Election anyone? Budget counters Labor in big spend', Herald 12/5).
Do they ever have a positive thought? What country in the world is doing better than Australia? No wonder Labor comes in second in most every election.
Don Fraser, Belmont North
I WAS nearly finished unpacking my trolley at Charlestown Square car park when a tall, young man in his early 20s came and stood beside me. "Would you like me to return your trolley for you?" he asked with a smile. "Thank you very much," I replied ... and yes he was just another customer not a 'trolley boy'. I like the young people of today.
Janet Sutherland, Hillsborough
I BELIEVE that we don't have a housing crisis; we have a crisis of short-term rentals ('Fix planning system for more supply', Newcastle Herald 11/5). These are destroying suburbs and for short term profit by investors. For example, one site has 5458 holiday home rentals and the Central Coast has 2037. I believe that is where your rental accommodation issue is.
Rod Doherty, Rutherford
MICHAEL Hinchey (Letters, 10/5): there is no easy solution to the high rate of incarceration of members of our Indigenous community, but surely part of the change has to be an acceptance that those who break the law are responsible for their own poor choices. That will not happen while people continue to make excuses for them.
Dave McTaggart, Edgeworth
MALCOLM Turnbull, if the people of Australia mean anything to you please go away, go live in New York or Potts Point ('Paddle of wills', Herald 11/5). The vast majority of Australian's didn't want you as Prime Minister, accept it. I appreciate you can't cope with rejection, but rejected you were, so accept it. The people of Australia rejected yours and Bill Shorten's views of climate change at the last three elections. Show some level of dignity and disappear from the public eye.
Andrew Hirst, Beresfield
JOHN Barilaro chucked another one of his school boy tanties. Malcolm refused to pucker his lips up to the backside of the LNP Holy Messiah. Instead, Mal backs someone that might actually achieve something.
Gary Hayward, Cardiff
I WENT to Sydney dragway on Saturday night. The staff at the gate all had a lanyard with the QR barcode attached and ensured everyone registered their attendance. Congratulations on their vigilance. It would be good to see restaurants, cafe workers and other hospitality staff do the same to ensure all who attend are registered.
Karen Mitchell, Lakelands
WELL said, Michael Hinchey (Letters, 10/5). Australians come in all skin colours and in these editorials the racism by usually middle age men against anyone who is not Anglo white is rife.
Anne Henderson, Jewells
IT'S exciting to see the progress on the upgrade of the plaza in Beaumont Street ('Hamilton plaza overhaul kicks off', Herald 19/4). The inclusion of a lighting display which will celebrate the rich and colourful multicultural history of Hamilton is a wonderful initiative. However, a solution must be found for dealing with the swarms of filthy birds that screech daily at sundown, and splat their mess all over the footpath and plaza. Otherwise this wonderful council endeavour will be wasted.