NEVILLE Briggs, ("Accountability policed by public", Letters, 20/8), correctly questions the assertion of NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller, pictured, that he will disregard any letters of complaint that he receives concerning police actions relating to the lockdown. But it gets worse.
In a video message to all police exhorting them to put community policing aside and get tough on possible lockdown breaches, Commissioner Fuller said: "If you write a ticket and get it wrong, I understand, and I won't hold you to account for it".
This is very dangerous territory. Yes, a stern, consistent response is needed to those who flout lockdown rules, but for the police commissioner to arbitrarily instruct police that they will not be held to account for errors, which may include issuing unjustified infringement notices and possibly even extend to persecution of particular people or groups, places the burden of proof of innocence onto the public and also exceeds the commissioner's authority. It is not up to him to declare an amnesty, in advance, over the actions of police who inadvertently, carelessly or recklessly issue infringement notices that may turn out to be unjustified or unlawful. This action could also have long-term repercussions on the relationship between police and communities.
John Ure, Mount Hutton
COVID accountability matters
I JUST received a highly concerning newsletter from our local state Labor MP. Firstly, it had in bold red capital letters "IMPORTANT NOTICE" about the mandatory mask wearing rules. This is alarmist and fear mongering, and not helpful for the community, when the vast majority of us are already doing the best we can to reduce the spread of the virus. The newsletter contains no advice whatsoever about the only long-term solution to this medical crisis - the vaccine.
This has been going on for far too long now. The people need medical help for this medical problem, not restrictions on freedom and police enforcement. We do not want to live in a police state.
Where is the opposition party in NSW? Who is holding the government to account? Parliament is closed and whilst it is, so is democracy and transparency.
This is a very slippery slope, and it seems that due to a complete lack of political opposition, we are plunging down it head-first. This ends in autocracy and totalitarianism. It is a very dangerous day for our democracy when the major opposition party in NSW is side-stepping with the government imposing these archaic restrictions. This is the 21st century, not the plague in the middle ages.
Joshua Davis, Charlestown
Nothing sacrosanct in science
CALLING climate science "the new religion" is, it seems, all the rage. So much so that it might also be called the same thing. It seems Ian Kirkwood is a follower ("Warming outside and in climate chatrooms", Opinion, 21/8). Presumably, the purpose of labelling climate science "religion" is to disparage it. That is, to disparage believing in something to the exclusion of other possibilities without scientific evidence to do so; to conjure the imagery of groupthink imposed by sacred texts and ecclesiastical hierarchies. If so, at one and the same time those who do so denigrate pretty much all true religions, and their followers. Which is odd, when you consider that some of the most truculent climate sceptics profess to be ardent Christians.
We should reject such false equivalence. Science is the antithesis of faith, and it is unambiguously telling us to act urgently on the climate crisis we now confront. If we really want to label something a "secular religion", it's believing we can have infinite growth in a finite world. Unless we can stop worshipping at that altar, and make sustainability the key organising principle for human activity, we will really need a God.
Michael Hinchey, New Lambton
Theories aren't all created equal
OH, for a vaccine against superstition and conspiracy theories. Ian Kirkwood likens the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report to an ancient church encyclical or a "Papal Bull". By the use of his analogy, I believe Mr Kirkwood is trying to reduce the science of climate change to a form of superstition, ("Warming outside and in climate chat room", Opinion 21/8).
He doesn't deny the reality of global warming. He accepts that human CO2 emissions may have accelerated global warming. But he suggests that the present global warming episode is largely natural, and that there have been many other such episodes in Earth's recent geologic history, some of them even more sudden than the current episode. It would then follow that he thinks that humankind should therefore do little or nothing about the current episode of global warming.
Mr Kirkwood is not a scientist, he is an articulate journalist. I am also a non-scientist. As a non-scientist, I would rather accept the opinions of the vast majority of scientists, rather than the opinion of Mr Kirkwood.
Scientific theory changes in the light of irrefutable new evidence, but superstition doesn't. People who love their superstitions and conspiracy theories deny plain evidence or explain it away.
For the first time in the history of the planet, an intelligent species has evolved with a capacity to influence the planetary environment. We need to slow or reverse global warming for our own welfare, and the survival of other species.
Maybe, our COVID vaccine producers can come up with a vaccine for superstition and conspiracy theory. But would some people become outraged, as they perceived that their right to free speech was being infringed? If a superstition vaccine were invented, religion would be doomed. Would religionists accept such a vaccine? Maybe the number of antivaxxers after this vaccine would rise exponentially.
Geoff Black, Caves Beach
Taxes the price of climate fervour
THANK you, Ian Kirkwood, for shining a science-based torch on the lack of science in the climate debate.
The ideological climate debate seems blind to a balance of facts and reasoning ("Warming outside and in climate chat room", Opinion 21/8) but the real tragedy is the cost to the poor Australian taxpayer.
First we subsidise renewables to the tune of many billions over more than two decades to make renewable electricity's price competitive with coal.
As a result of the huge subsidies for renewables, coal powered generation is not economically viable. The coal power stations are slated for closure as soon as their maintenance becomes uneconomic.
Now it is realized that without coal we won't have enough reliable, dispatchable electricity. So us poor taxpayers will be subsidising the maintenance of the coal power stations so that they can compete with renewables and provide the reliability that is so essential to everything in our lives.
Bruce Williams, Merewether
I WAS one of the unfortunate ones that visited Costco last week. I now have to self isolate until I get the results. A big thank you to Gladys for once again not doing her job and locking Sydney down. In my opinion sending workers up from hot spots on a train for training purposes is not essential. We will remember you when we vote at the next election, that's if you last that long.
David Smith, Belmont
IMAGINE having enough time on your hands to write to this paper about someone taking 'your' car park while you went shopping, ("Nabbing a space no walk in park", Letters, 21/8).
Matt Endacott, Newcastle
I'M sorry, but how could Costco think that importing a worker from one of the state's worst hotspots to an area that had the virus almost under control was acceptable? I believe this shows a complete disregard for the people of Newcastle. When we think of Costco the first thing we'll think of is the risk they exposed us to. Not good PR for a new company who presumably wants us to view it favourably. I won't be going there, thanks very much.
Ruth Burrell, Merewether
DON Fraser, aren't you forgetting Billy McMahon, budgie smuggler Abbott, all the way with LBJ Holt to name a few?
William Pryce, New Lambton
IN the 1600s Venice caught the Black Plague from traders. A brick building on an island was built, and anyone who had symptoms, was sent there to live or die. They were buried in the thousands on the island one on top of the other. It all sounds familiar doesn't it? Then in the 1800s it happened again. Prevention is better than cure.
Amanda Johnstone, Mayfield
LAST night, I witnessed former Victorian Liberal Premier Jeff Kennett verbally attack Premier Dan Andrews for locking down parts of Victoria again. Mr Kennett, watch the TV, read the newspapers; this virus is killing people, overloading our hospital systems and is a national crisis. Please , if you have nothing positive to say, zip your lip.
Darryl Tuckwell, Eleebana
I BELIEVE that a majority of white Australians object to the fact that Australia has a fair bit of racism attached to our history and it continues today, so it's not surprising when an element of our local community, including councillors, are up in arms over the change to a small island's name. The name Coon Island came about because a white coal miner's face was covered in black dust and he was given the nickname 'coon' as a result. If that is not a racial slur in this day and age, I don't know what is.
Daryl Frost, Eleebana
I BELIEVE that a majority of white Australians object to the fact that Australia has a fair bit of racism attached to our history and it continues today, so it's not surprising when an element of our local community, including councillors, are up in arms over the change to a small island's name. The name Coon Island came about because a white coal miner's face was covered in black dust and he was given the nickname 'coon' as a result. If that is not a racial slur in this day and age, I don't know what is. Daryl Frost, Eleebana
CONGRATULATIONS to Josh King on his two year contract with the Melbourne Storm. What a great opportunity for Josh to be coached by the great Craig Bellamy. If only Bellamy coached me when I played for Kersley in the 1980's! Goodness knows what heights my football career would've been.
Brett Scott, Cessnock