IN every NRL game you watch at least two players are sent off for a head injury assessment (HIA). League is league and it's a rough sport. Impact is what it's all about, but in recent times due to the speed that the games are now played at, the amount of head knocks has increased; thus increasing the risks for players, young and old.
I wouldn't want league or union players forced to play in helmets similar to American gridiron, but to protect juniors and seniors I believe the compulsory wearing of the soft headgear, like Johnathan Thurston wore, should be a step in the right direction. The design needs to change; thicker and of a material that is more impact resistant. Understanding that it's the brain bouncing off the skull can never be resolved by any protective headwear, but softening the impact externally may reduce brain velocity internally.
Sport should be enjoyed, but the safety and wellbeing of players should be paramount, no matter their age. Surely someone can come up with suitable headwear.
Graeme Kime, Cameron Park
Nothing illegal in seeking refuge
YOUR correspondent Margarietha Owens (Letters, 18/6), seeks to perpetuate the falsehood that people who come to Australia by boat, seeking refuge, arrive here "illegally".
That falsehood seems to persist, despite it being corrected ad nauseum over the past many years. People seeking refuge have a right to seek asylum under international law and are not to be penalised for their mode of entry.
Even the current government has changed its language in respect to boat arrivals in recent years; boat arrivals, who used to be "illegal immigrants" are now described by the Department of Home Affairs as "irregular maritime arrivals". Incidentally, in the financial year 2012-13, which was about the time that Priya and Nades Murugappans arrived in Australia by boat and sought refugee protection, there were 8308 applications for refugee status by people who arrived in Australia by air. Were these all "illegal immigrants" or do we only reserve that tag for those who are forced to risk their lives on boats?
As to whether the Australian government should allow Priya and Nades and their two Australian-born girls to stay in Australia, does anybody really think that if this humanitarian course was taken it would "open the floodgates" to more boat arrivals and that hundreds of people would drown? Does anybody really think that the "people smugglers" are sitting on the beaches, their leaky boat engines revving, sweating on the decision about this poor family?
John Ure, Mount Hutton
Lockouts weren't free of harms
MICHAEL Bowler (Letters, 17/6) I respectfully disagree with your assertion that my statements about the economic cost of the lockout laws are "grossly exaggerated". Especially considering the hundreds of businesses right across NSW that have closed as a result of the laws. The loss of hundreds of businesses also inevitably leads to the loss of thousands of jobs.
Yes, the lockout laws have reduced the numbers of injured patients admitted to our hospitals, but I would strongly argue that this is largely because the laws significantly reduced the numbers of patrons attending licensed premises. I too am sure that there will be opposition to the proposed changes from people who have moved to inner-city apartments, but perhaps they should have pondered such possibilities before moving into the inner-city. Such areas are synonymous with pubs and nightclubs after all, and are very rarely known for "peace and quiet at night". In answer to your question about where the opportunity was for some community discussion on this matter, there was a protest meeting about the changes to the laws at St John's Church in Cooks Hill on April 22. Less than 60 people attended.
Adz Carter, Newcastle
Late nights don't have to be boozy
I AGREE with Michael Bowler's letter; the lockout laws should stay.
Lockout laws make Newcastle safer and reduce significant injury to a significant number of people. The proposed removal of the lockout laws completely ignores the advice of police, ambos and emergency room doctors based on hard facts gathered since 2008. They all, without exception, show that violence and the costs of violence have been significantly reduced in Newcastle since 2008. All of them.
There was no real community consultation, either. I believe the people who make money from the sale of alcohol, primarily in pubs, want the lockout laws removed so they can make more money, period. The safety and health of our city is not their concern. That is "supposed" to be what council is for, but they, too, in my opinion are primarily interested in the revenue the pubs provide, and remain in wilful ignorance of the human and financial costs of alcohol-fuelled violence and anti-social destruction of public and private property. There are ways music venues could remain open in the wee hours of weekend nights that do not involve continuing to serve alcohol. Removing the lockout laws is wrong.
Joanne Jay, Cooks Hill
Grammar rules made to be broken
I'M as much a pedant as Judith Delbridge (Letters, 18/6).
I cringe each time I hear "between you and I". I'm offended when a politician claims to have refuted an allegation, when he has merely denied it. Hearing "hone in" when the speaker means "home in" provokes mild amusement. Personally it bothers me when people can't remember the difference between "lay" and "lie".
But languages change. (You couldn't start a sentence with "but" when I were a lad.) We no longer speak the English of Chaucer, or even of Shakespeare. No rule lasts forever, and the only static languages are the dead ones lost to history.
Moreover, some of the things we once learnt have turned out to be superstitions. Remember when a preposition at the end of a sentence was something up with which we should not put? Or when we were not supposed to spl-boldly-it an infinitive?
Those "rules" turned out not to match English as she is spoke. Similarly, some other rules that we now follow will one day be dismissed as "so twentieth century".
My teachers are all dead by now. Let us leave them to spin slowly in their graves.
Peter Moylan, Glendale
Faith and fact are not opposites
IN reply to Neville Aubrey (Letters, 17/6) there is an alternative view on science and religion. They need not be seen as mutually exclusive. They can be seen as enriching each other.
Science and technology are very good at explaining how things work. Religion offers an explanation of why things are as they are, beginning with a study of human nature. And my experience shows that both people of religious faith and other people of good will are rational and are working together passionately for universal peace.
George Garnsey, Morpeth
KNIGHTS fans had a few reasons to be very proud of our club on Saturday afternoon ('Inner sanctum', Newcastle Herald 21/6). First and by all means most importantly was the amazing effort of Mark Hughes and his supporters. A good footballer, a legendary human. The win in those conditions was nice but it was the players making the effort after the match, to do a slow lap of the ground, to thank fans for the support that showed that playing for our club is more than just a job to them.
Dave McTaggart, Edgeworth
I'M in the NDIS and I've already had my COVID-19 vaccine shots. I got my first Pfizer vaccine shot in March and my second Pfizer vaccine shot in April. All the other residents in the aged care centre I live in have got their vaccine as well as all the staff here, including all the aged care nurses and boss. But I don't think anyone in my NDIS group has received the vaccine yet.
John Barker, Norah Head
THE Knights are lucky they unloaded Nathan Brown ('Staying alive', Herald 21/6). In my opinion he proved again yesterday, with conditions suiting the Warriors and playing against a 12-man team for ten minutes, his team could not secure a win with the odds stacked in their favour. I cannot see him coaching the Warriors out of the bottom eight as they have lost several games which should have been wins. The Knights showed a lot of grit, but it will take more than that to beat any of the top five. At least with that win we are keeping away from the dreaded wooden spoon.
Allen Small, East Maitland
NOW with Mark Vaile's appointment as chancellor of the University of Newcastle (''Best candidate' was selected: chancellor', Herald 19/6) and Alexander Downer's former comfortable position as High Commissioner to the UK and now Executive Chair at King's College London, both leading men in the Australian Wheat Board/Iraq scandal have their reward. It seems that their severe memory lapses at the time of the enquiry were no handicap for their current cushy prestigious positions.
Colin Robinson, Cardiff
WHILE some people pour scorn on the Tamil family, Peter Dutton included, I would like to point out these people are the victims of war. Australia was plunged into the Vietnam war thanks to a Liberal government, we had refugees. Australia was plunged into the Iraq war, as John Howard danced in tune to USA war tom toms. We had refugees. War and its actions cause reactions, and one of those is refugees seeking safety for their families. That is the spin off of war. Now we have the invaders of Afghanistan leaving, like rats leaving a sunken ship. More victims are on their way. Now we have a government trying to deport Australian born children, shame on you Peter Dutton, in my opinion you are a disgrace.