IN response to Mr Carter's letter (Letters, 12/6), I am sure there are some valid points to be made in respect of the economic cost associated with the lockout laws, however claims of "mass unemployment" and "destroyed businesses" are grossly exaggerated.
The lockout laws have significantly reduced the numbers of injured patients admitted to our hospitals; each one coming with high financial and personal costs to individuals and the community.
I can speak from some experience having spent many years treating patients, mostly young males, with maxillofacial injuries resulting from alcohol-fuelled, late-night violence in Newcastle.
I am sure there will be justifiable opposition to the proposed changes to the laws from several groups, particularly the large numbers of older people who have moved to inner-city apartments. Not many of these residents wish to be out until 3.30am partying and most would prefer some peace and quiet at night.
Few would believe the drinking culture has greatly changed and residents of Newcastle should be very concerned about the imminent trial of changes to the lockout legislation. Where was the opportunity for some community discussion on this important matter?
Michael Bowler, Charlestown
Scott on the sidelines
I BELIEVE it is highly unlikely the Australian taxpayers received value for money with our prime minister, Scott Morrison's "sideline" appearance at the G7 meeting ('Australia and UK finalise free trade deal', Newcastle Herald 16/6). Unless of course our prime minister, for his return to Australia, fills the RAAF Airbus aircraft he used to go to the UK with Australian citizens stranded there due to COVID-19 .
Watching our prime minister hovering in the background as often as possible when photographs were being taken of the G7 leaders, had me reminiscing about my younger years. Back when a tent in the bush close to a beach was the best holiday many a working-class family could afford. With the tent up, Dad would dig a "drop pit toilet" for use during the holiday. You soon learned "drop pit toilets " and hovering clouds of blow flies were synonymous. Seeing our prime minister Scott Morrison hovering around world leaders at G7 had me realising the similarities he and "drop pit" blow flies have in common. They too hovered around awaiting their chance to stick their nose into someone else's business.
Barry Swan, Balgownie
Climate wars have real casualties
GREG Hunt and Kevin Miller join Steve Barnett in gleeful public displays of their wilful ignorance of climate change on this page, reveling in the populist nonsense that winter cold and snow contradict the whole science of climate change. Meanwhile it has been reported that Torres Strait Islander Australians are desperate for our federal government to intervene on climate change as rising sea levels consume their island homes despite sea wall barriers. Mocking climate change from the soft luxury of suburbia might be a bit of fun for privileged white males but it has real-life consequences for a growing number of Australians.
John Arnold, Anna Bay
It's more than just the weather
RECENTLY some correspondents to the Herald have seized upon the recent cold snap to pour cold water on climate change and global warming. The cold snap is a weather pattern; short term.
Climate is the average course or condition of the weather at a place over a period of years as exhibited by temperature, wind velocity, and precipitation - longer term.
To suggest that a cold snap disproves climate change and global warming is like saying one afternoon shower will break a decade-long drought.
John Pritchard, Blackalls Park
Secrets live at home and abroad
HUMAN Rights Law Centre senior lawyer Kieran Pender asserts that secret trials are the hallmark of authoritarian regimes. He accuses our federal government of hypocrisy. Foreign Minister Marise Payne has criticised China for conducting secret trials.
But our federal government has done the same thing under the National Security Information (NSI) Act. The NSI Act was hurriedly passed without judicial scrutiny in 2004 by the Howard government. It was passed to deal with whistle-blowing over Australian espionage conducted against East Timor. This espionage enabled Australia to establish an unfair maritime border and to gain the lion's share of any undersea resources between the two nations.
Since that time, in 2018, a fairer maritime border has been established. But as a legacy of the original whistle-blowing, Witness J has been subjected to a secret trial under this Act, and is now imprisoned for three years. Bernard Collaery, a barrister and former ACT Attorney General, is set to challenge the type of secrecy that this Act imposes in the High Court.
Whose "national interests" does this Act serve? Is it the average Australian, or is it a multinational oil and gas company, or federal politicians who acted for them?
Should the High Court be subject to the NSI Act? If High Court judges largely ignore this Act in the "national interests", would they be dismissed or imprisoned? If so, Australia would really have become an authoritarian regime.
Geoff Black, Caves Beach
Biloela family symptom of system
IT'S entirely understandable that the focus of public attention is on the Murugappan family's immediate plight. However, we should never forget where this really all began. Our country's appetite for cruelty as public policy was first cultivated and nurtured during John Howard's term in office. While responsibility for subsequent events is collective, as I see it, Howard more than anyone else is culpable. Our country changed for the worse because of him, as did his side of politics.
Michael Hinchey, New Lambton
Changing of the guard in faith
THE old gods of religion and superstition are being replaced in our time with the new gods of science and technology. The old gods were accessed by faith. the new with rational enquiry. The old gods offered life after death. The new are satisfied with life before death. The old gods had laws about divorce, marriage and euthanasia etc. The new gods leave such things to the individual.
The old gods warned of reward and punishment. The new gods regard such claims as nonsense. The old gods are responsible for wars and hatred. The new seek universal peace. So, which will you choose, yesterday's religion or tomorrow's enlightenment, security or truth?
Neville Aubrey, Wallsend
IT is obvious that some Australians are hesitant about the COVID vaccination based on negative comments by various "academics", and rightly so in my opinion. It is also obvious that the different COVID-19 management systems currently in use by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the state premiers are not working. It is my opinion that the PM should seek the services of an independent third party agency qualified in quality control and quality assurance (QC/QA) management to develop a documented plan and procedure manual to clearly identify individual and group responsibilities on a standard national basis.
Bruce Kershaw, Kotara
CLEAR Paws ("Clear Paws lending a hand", Weekender 12/6) is awesome. We've taken our pup there twice since learning about the business earlier this year. Great service and groom each time. The smiling faces from the NDIS participants who've looked after him are just brilliant.
Blythe Scully, New Lambton Heights
I BELIEVE the federal government's Coalition members would do well to measure the seats of the opposition benches in anticipation of losing the next federal election. Their lack of compassion towards the Tamil family of Priya and Nades Murugappan and their two children Kopika and Tharunicaa in refusing to let them settle permanently in Australia ('No end in sight for Biloela family plight', Newcastle Herald 16/6) will lead to decent empathetic Australians withdrawing their election support.
Ian Stewart, Elermore Vale
HERE we go, just when we thought the Morrison government had a smidgen of decency regarding the Tamil family, they blew it. Hard-nosed yes, but add lily-livered, stiff-necked with a heart of stone that enjoys punishing people.
Julie Robinson, Cardiff
THE image of that child Tharnicaa Murugappan in hospital, crying and in serious distress imprisoned by the Morrison government with no future makes me ill. I will never vote Labor or Liberal ever again.
Gary Hayward, Cardiff
THE Knights have no attacking ability at all; the second half against Souths ('Not the best', Herald 14/6) was atrocious. There is no way they are going to score points without taking some risks. It might be time for O'Brien to give his mate Bellamy a call and ask for some friendly advice on how to attack with the ball because at the moment the team seems to be devoid of any ideas. If Bellamy cannot help, just replay a section of play near the end of the Souths game. There were a few offloads and they managed to get 30 metres upfield with a chance to score. This sort of play should not be restricted to when it is all over.
Allen Small, East Maitland
WHY is it so, that when I am driving my little car safely along Honeysuckle Drive, at the speed limit of 30km/h, I can have Tour de France types passing me on their bicycles? Is the limit there for everyone or are cyclists a protected species? Pity the poor pedestrians crossing the road.