NEWCASTLE I've missed you. We have been locked out of your city centre for several months now. As residents of your twin sister Lake Macquarie city we've had to find solace in our city's many and expansive bush walks during the latest lockdown.
But now we are back.
We got on our 13 bus and we came into town. We may live in Lake Macquarie city, but still consider ourselves Novocastrians. Yes, it's our town.
We get off our bus near the Sacred Heart cathedral, walk past the old museum, cross the road and walk past The Store redevelopment and shimmy into the lovely interchange and get on the light rail. The light rail glides us along into town.
What was once the shopping Mecca of the Hunter is now being rebuilt into a cosmopolitan peninsula bereft of department stores, but starting to blossom with restaurants and culture.
Traffic has changed.
The sad old Hunter Street Mall, superseded by its much younger and air conditioned supercentres at Kotara and Charlestown, is slowly being engulfed by forward thinking city of the future planners. The old decrepit train line is gone and development and open spaces have replaced it.
Ah. Newcastle. I have missed you during lockdown. P.S. If you haven't walked the whole city and looked up and down and sideways; had a drink overlooking the harbour; admired the change or had a pie at Harry's your viewpoint doesn't count to me.
Andrew Whitbread-Brown, Cardiff Heights
Whispered slurs become shouts
CHINESE whispers sound to me like a racist slur or racist insult to put down Chinese people. More often misused words generate misleading thoughts, examples of Chinese whispers or rumors that COVID-19 was manufactured in a lab in Wuhan which I believe was a lie spread by the West to cause damage to the Chinese nation, and caused racist attacks and violence towards Asian people here on Australian soil, and overseas. Like an arrow in flight, once a word is spoken it cannot be dragged back. The term Chinese Whispers would have been used during the long gone British Empire days , as was paddy wagon called after the Irish, because of a perception that so many of them were put in them. It is still called a paddy wagon today, not a police wagon.
Richard Ryan, Summerland Point
Give people power to choose
AT the start of the vaccine rollout the prime minister said vaccinations would not be mandated and nobody would be forced to have it. How things have changed, it seems we're all in this together so long as we're fully vaxxed. Now businesses are being forced to have their employees fully vaxxed, only allow customers/clientele that are fully vaxxed, teachers and construction workers have to be double dosed. In my opinion it doesn't say much for the vaccine when those fully dosed can still get COVID and pass it on. We are all now aware of COVID and its possible consequences.
It's time to give the power back to the people, open up to everyone and allow businesses and the community to decide what vaccination and protection protocols they put in place. I believe the issue with the government is not so much about saving lives, but keeping people out of hospitals that apparently can't cope with the burden of COVID.
Steven Busch, Rathmines
Gladys shows watchdog's value
FOR all those sympathising the fate of Gladys Berejiklian at the hands of ICAC, beware. Gladys was elected to govern for all, not only the ones that she allegedly decided to support. The situation that she is being investigated for is providing government funding in support of her secret partner, as well as whether she turned a blind eye to his dealings. These kinds of inquiries are exactly what ICAC was set up for.
The premier when caught out pork barrelling made out it was normal behaviour of an elected government and was sadly correct in what she said, as demonstrated by our federal government. But this does not make it right. This is our money and should be spent where it is most needed. To condone this type of behaviour, if proven, puts us on a very slippery slope and is why we need a strong, well-funded ICAC.
It hasn't taken long for the federal government to come out and criticise ICAC, which I believe is to try and garner support for a much weaker federal corruption watchdog.
Robert Masterson, Adamstown
Action is an antidote to despair
ANDREW Hirst asks, "when has any (climate) modelling been accurate?" (Letters, 8/10). Well, you might like to hear that a couple of 89 and 90-year-old model developers have just been awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics because their 1960s modelling has proved so accurate in predicting today's rising seas, increased extreme rainfall events and stronger hurricanes. Newer models are even more likely to be accurate.
Insurance companies know that if their premiums are too expensive they will lose customers but have no desire to have debts beyond their capacity to cover, so they have their own carefully designed models. Deloitte is Australia's largest insurer. I read yesterday that its models suggest Australia can anticipate $73-94 billion worth of infrastructure damage each year from climate change disasters by 2060.
Mr Hirst is correct that the media is full of scary stuff but I recommend a dose of some other wisdom from the 1960s. Singer-activist Joan Baez advises action is the antidote to despair. Climate action groups are full of forward-looking people with the courage and energy to try to protect us. Join one.
Lesley Walker, Northcote
Political climate won't change it
The rhetoric is heating up in the lead-up to the COP26 climate-change meeting in Glasgow, but facts haven't changed. We're told that we are facing runaway climate change. But the latest satellite data from HadCRUT (Hadley Centre Climatic Research) and UAH (University of Alabama Huntsville) both indicate no global warming trend for the last seven years. Whatever is happening to our climate, is there any need to rush to Glasgow to pledge net-zero emissions by 2050 and an end to coal? After trillions were spent over the last two decades on renewable energy, just 3 per cent of global energy comes from such energy sources. Much of it is now due for replacement so that level of investment would be needed over the next 20 years just to maintain that level, and rise 100-fold to get to 100 per cent from renewables as the first was by far the easiest to develop.
But even if we do all that, what evidence do we have that the climate will be changed? There is no evidence anywhere at any time that humans have been able to change the weather (climate). Even reducing CO2 emissions by 17 per cent in 2020 has not reduced atmospheric CO2 levels. There will be a lot of hot air emitted at Glasgow and Australia may be coerced into pledging a "net-zero by 2050 target" but the climate won't be changed. A lot of talk but nothing will be achieved for climate change. We should leave the last word to Greta Thunberg - "talk of climate-change - blah, blah, blah".
Peter Devey, Merewether
ONCE again we were challenged when trying to enter club premises over phone vaccination proof and we were questioned about the authenticity of our hard copies of our AstraZeneca injections. Are hard copies going to be accepted even if this so-called vax app ever gets off the ground?
Graeme Kime, Cameron Park
EDWARD Duc's piece ("Housing crisis needs solutions, not despair", Opinion 3/10) was a valuable addition to public understanding. Anyone who has seen the Huf house episode on Grand Designs will know that factory-built housing can be every bit as desirable and luxurious (and expensive!) as site-built housing.
Karel Grezl, Charlestown
Give us a break Newcastle Herald, the last thing I want to read is a review of the year the Knights had after being blasted every day throughout there season. Give another sport a go for a change.
Peter Rossetti, New Lambton
WHEN religion in this state can discriminate on religious grounds, no one's taking their church to work.
Dave Wilson, Bar Beach
HELEN Douglas, (Short Takes, 8/10), if you think Supercars is such a buzz and should be extended beyond 2022, let's move it to Stockton so you can enjoy it firsthand.
Joanie Wade, Carrington
I FIND Jeff Black cheering for ICAC totally wrong. ICAC was set up to investigate political corruption which is when an office-holder or other government employee acts in an official capacity for personal gain. In my view Gladys has no charge to answer, just mud-slinging from people who want to make themselves look important. Now Mr Black finds that supplying large amounts of vaccine to highly infected areas to save lives is pork barreling. Now that is ridiculous.
Phill Payne, Gateshead
I JUST read Dr John Tierney's opinion, ("Reform crucial; Berejiklian victim of unjust ICAC model", Opinion, 6/10) regarding ICAC and its powers. What I would like ICAC to find out is how Wagga Wagga got a clay pigeon shooting complex and why.
Maria Pye, New Lambton
SO Prime Minister Scott Morrison can race off to America to talk about things to destroy the planet, but can't find time to go to Scotland to talk about ways of saving it.
Kevin Dunne, Edgeworth
SCOTT Morrison says of ICAC that "people can go there, not say who they are, destroy people's lives, and say the most foul and offensive things to people, and do so with impunity" ('PM rejects NSW-style corruption body', Herald 6/10) He could be talking about parliament.