"THAT'S Mayfield for you," I heard this week. What? What a thing to say when a woman is allegedly attacked by a man at her job ('Stabbed in the kitchen', Newcastle Herald 17/5).
Who are you to look down your nose at an entire suburb? Where do you live? I'm in a suburb close to the city. It's a nice place. But believe me, it's up its own rear.
I never lived in Mayfield, but I worked there for a long time and I miss it all the time. Every community has its negative elements, but how dare somebody take this week's tragedy and use it to chock up their own self-righteous indignation. It must be close to rolling down the ramp if they need to snipe at the dignity of a whole town.
Mayfield doesn't pretend to be Surry Hills or Bondi. I reckon it has more character than any suburb of Newcastle - you'll find it in the businesses, the parks, playgrounds, sporting fields and footpaths.
I've witnessed/experienced trouble there, but when I think of Mayfield it's about a thriving and welcoming community full of family, friends and friendly faces. Right now I'm thinking about how afraid they must have been on Wednesday, and how sad they have been. I'm also thinking about how Mayfield will come together in the wake of this. Anyway, I'm hanging onto those thoughts. Please try it out, and consider what you say.
Josh Hewitt, Newcastle
Give credit where credit's due
I THINK Greg Hunt and Carl Stevenson (Short Takes, 10/5) are unduly harsh on Barry Swan (Letters, 7/5) for being so comprehensive in his critique of the Coalition government. When you live, as we now do, under a kakistocracy, there's just so much material to work with.
Michael Hinchey, New Lambton
A budget is all in the delivery
REGARDING the budget ('Shoot for the boom', Herald 12/5) don't be alarmed, don't be afraid. It is only an announcement. This government has displayed over and over, announcements are what they do well. Delivery is another matter.
The last big announcement on the nation's economic future that come with much fanfare and chest beating was "we are in the black". It should have been "we are going to be in the black", and even then it didn't happen. Debt was a big no-no for the current government from before they came to power eight years ago, and they have managed to increase the debt that was inherited threefold. I have seen nothing in the fiscal management by this government that I would be proud to call my own, and so will await the outcomes and at this time will not make a call on the budget until some of the announcements have been delivered.
Fred McInerney, Karuah
Change can starts at by-election
THE Nationals are using their usual strategy in the upcoming by-election to replace a disgraced Upper Hunter colleague: unrelenting promotion of gas and coal, with anyone thinking differently accused of arrogance and treachery.
There appears to be no understanding of the climate emergency, the urgent need to transition to renewables, or the massive employment opportunities in industries attracted to unlimited ultra cheap power. There's no acknowledgment of the crime of consigning future generations to landscapes blighted by gas infrastructure, open cut mines and an overheating climate. Sure, coal and gas have fuelled an industrial revolution, but we are moving on from the age of steam propelled by immense technological advances in optics, engineering, computing, robotics and so on. Satellites are powered by photovoltaics, not coal or gas turbines. Clinging to the old ways is like doctors offering patients treatments from the 1800s instead of innovations developed within the last generation. Like our allies in the UK, EU and US, it's time to leave fossil fuels behind and to embrace, not avoid, the challenges and opportunities ahead. The road we choose starts here in the Hunter.
Michael Schien, New Lambton
Food for thought in shortage
RESTAURANTS and small food outlets are concerned about the lack of usual overseas backpackers not available to fill their job vacancies, and apparently the local unemployed are not filling the void.
What seems to be the reason behind these shortcomings? Is it that those that apply for these positions are being offered the appropriate wages, or are they being offered a lesser wage, minimal conditions or security that may have been offered to overseas backpackers? I'm not saying that is the reason, I just can't believe that these positions aren't being snapped up. These reasons need to be made clear, rather than businesses closing due to lack of employees. Is profit the driving force or are possible employees still adjusting to JobKeeper allowances being cut?
Graeme Kime, Cameron Park
Coal shoulder due for fossil fuel
RATHER than making cheap and snide comments about Malcolm Turnbull ('Paddle of wills', Herald 11/6), Mr Barilaro and indeed all major parties should show leadership on the major challenge of our time.
We all know - and certainly those in the coal mining community whose livelihoods depend on it know - that coal has a limited future as the world transitions away from fossil fuels. Coal is dirty, coal is polluting, coal and gas emit greenhouse gas emissions which are warming the planet and impacting our lives and those of future generations. Coal and gas powered generation is also increasingly more expensive than solar and wind, supported by battery storage and pumped hydro. Yet leaders of the Coalition and Labor appear to be blissfully unaware of what the markets, power generators and media tell them as they wrestle with their internal difficulties and contradictions.
Mr Turnbull did all he could to bring a fractious coalition to its senses over climate change but failed, and to his great credit that he has stuck to his guns and shown support for an anti-mining candidate. How long before the NSW Coalition government, which spouts its green credentials, its federal counterpart and the Labor party, accept that the writing is on the wall, that they need to wholeheartedly address global warming and ease the future for those impacted? A loss by the National Party in the forthcoming by-election could prompt a useful start.
Jeff Fothergill, The Junction
Vaccine hesitation isn't hostility
JOHN Gruszynski (Letters 13/5), I hope your suggestion about cash incentives to uptake COVID-19 vaccinations was somewhat tongue in cheek suggesting if you survive the AstraZeneca vaccine it's well done, but if you're one of the unlucky ones, your family wins the prize. Let's not be too quick to assume that those of us who are over 50 and are slow or reluctant to get the AstraZeneca jab are against vaccinations, but rather are very cautious as to the lucky dip approach to its side effects. Experts are yet to explain why some people have developed blood clots and even die after having the AstraZeneca jab, so if we are to believe this, it is then a "coincidence". We must be very wary. Let's not let Australia's over 50's be an easily dispensable generation for the sake of rapid roll-out programs. Let us have a proper and informed choice.
Sue Perkins, Adamstown Heights
EVERY morning at 9am COVIDSafe reminds me that "We need you". It makes me wonder if Prime Minister Scott Morrison has COVIDSafe on his phone? Perhaps it could remind ScoMo that we need him too. We need him to show some leadership and federal organisation on quarantine facilities, vaccine rollout and opening borders for international travel.
Darren Burrowes, Newcastle East
THE first people to lay off staff when the pandemic started was the hospitality industry. Now the same industry seems to be the first to complain that they don't have enough staff. Karma, in my opinion.
Bill Slicer, Tighes Hill
GOOD to see people with opposing views here respecting each other while still disagreeing despite Steve Barnett (Short Takes, 10/5) telling someone if they don't hold his views, they should leave the country. Seems he's more like the dictatorial Chinese he so often criticises for exactly that.
Colin Fordham, Lambton
A BUDGET for the rich, yet again. Worst treasurer since Morrison.
Peter Moylan, Glendale
THE last time Australia danced to America war tom-toms was the Iraqi war, a conflict based on deliberate lies resulting in the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqi lives. The three amigos; Bush, Blair and Howard in my opinion are war criminals. I rest my case. Australia hangs off America like dags on a sheep's crutch.
Richard Ryan, Summerland Point
SO the state governments, with the exception of WA and Northern Territory, want to impose a fee (tax?) on those households who export excess solar power to the grid ('Aussie home owners won't accept 'sun tax'', Herald 12/5). I see this as a parallel to the attempt long ago by Hunter Water to charge those of us who have bore water. A court hearing decided that home owners owned the water beneath their properties. Similarly, I cannot see the state governments succeeding in this latest move as, surely, they do not own the sun. Are there any boundaries to government greed?
Bill Snow, Stockton
DOES Liz Cambage exude the Anzac spirit? I don't know how sport got to this level of representation, but I have a feeling after last year and the very last minute cancellation of the Olympic Games the same cronies will eventually concede defeat in 2021 too. Gold calls, but hopefully sense wins the day. Japan has averaged 6000 cases each day recently. It's like watching Europe finding its freedom again now there are only tens of thousands of cases each day. It says "we have won" like last year when the holiday season started and we all know what happened then. It does seem that COVID-19 leaves a lasting legacy even if you haven't contracted the virus itself.