In rush to remember, don’t forget those lost

HEARTBREAK: The Bragg Holt family plaque at the Palmdale cemetery. Roslyn Bragg, Adam Holt and their children Jasmine and Madison died during the storm. Thank you Dan Proudman for acknowledging the loss of lives in the storm of 2007 and the impact on those families left behind rather than focusing on “celebrating” 10 years after the Pasha Bulker (‘We can never forget’, Herald,6/6). It astounds me how disasters are remembered in the media with very little empathy and consideration for the families that have lost loved ones.
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While radio stations are asking viewers to ring in and say where were they on that day I wonder if the families of those that lost their lives are listening and how they are coping.

Anniversaries are an opportunity to look at lessons learned and our own preparedness for these herculean events that are happening more frequently. People are still driving through flood waters, making poor choices about their personal safety and putting others at risk through ignorance.

Take time this weekend to sit with your family and have a conversation about preparedness, talk to your child’s school about their emergency plan, ask your boss at work what plans they have to ensure your safety in an emergency.

We must begin to take personal action and learn from these events and place preparedness and awareness of risks on everyone’s agenda.

Karen Maloney,DungogSteamrolling our cultureTHE East End surf season is ruined. After enduring one of the worst summers ever, surfers were looking forward to a good season of surfing, April to November.

The East End has been taken over for the construction of the unwanted V8 Supercars circuit. I call on the Environmental Protection Agency to monitor air pollution around Nobbys beach. Recently, with light winds, the air quality was disgusting as machines relentlessly tore into the foreshore and coastal parks throughout the day. People who attempted to access the beach were herded into inadequate parking space as most car parks are now closed-off, and in the confined spaces available the air was thick with black smog from heavy machinery.

The thumping and grinding and vibration of construction machinery continued all day. The smog drifts out over the ocean into the line-up where it pools on the surface of the water like poisonous ooze. It is suffocating, particularly for surfers with lungs working hard to supply oxygen. The beach is a beach. It is not a race car track. It is not an amusement park. It is not a motor cross track. It is not a construction site.

V8 Supercars talked of locals “putting up with a bit of noise”. There is no monitoring of pollution during this construction. It is disgusting to see the tree stumps where trees had stood for 40 years. Supposedly new trees will be planted but we will be dead long before they’ve grown. What a disgusting imposition the V8 project is. Zero respect for our heritage, for our community, for our trees and parklands and our lifestyles.

The East End was the best part of Newcastle, and now it is a place not worth living in. This project should be stopped. No one from the East End wants it. We all hate it. We hated it from the beginning and we hate what it represents, a rich corporation steamrolling everything we loved about our lifestyle and our traditional beach culture.

Get off our East End. Pack up and go away and don’t come back.

Jeremy Flanagan,Newcastle EastAn apology, sort ofFOLLOWING Mitchell Griffin’s request (Letters, 6/6) that NICRA apologise to Jeff McCloy for stating in its letter (Letters, 5/6) that Mr McCloy was a Liberal, NICRA would like to set the record straight.

Mr McCloy was, according to electoral records, an independent.

It was Liberal politicians in the state seats of Newcastle, Charlestown and Swansea to whom Mr McCloy admitted he had illegally donated funds, as heard in the ICAC inquiry.

NICRA does apologise wholeheartedly to Mr McCloy for confusing him with a Liberal.

Brian Ladd, spokesperson, Newcastle Inner City Residents Alliance,NewcastleBusiness already sufferingI HAVE been trying to fight my way through Supercars and Newcastle City Council spin for several months now.

Recently, in a bid to gain clarity on conflicting information about traffic disruption and accreditation, I tried again to email Supercars.To my surprise, I received an immediate response which contained an invitation to meet with the respondent. The first available date for this meeting could only be after July 10.

Meanwhile, businesses in Watt and Hunter streets are already beginning to struggle from the disruptions and closures on Watt Street.

It is not credible that the Newcastle 500 is good for businesses and I think Supercars are clearly not interested in real communication with residents and workers of the East End.

Not good enough, Supercars.

Cecily Grace,NewcastleLeading, not followingLIBERAL PM Turnbull and Queensland Premier Palaszczuk bump heads, not seeing eye to eye over wanting respect for each other; I’m surprised when they see eye to eye about the Adani coalmine while opposition leader Shorten skirts around the issue with two bob each way. The Premier’s excuse for the mine is jobs, when most will be automated. If it’s jobs she’s after she should think out ofthe square asthere would be plenty in the renewable energy industry.

I think coal is out of date and so are the politicians pushing it. Most politicians have onlytemporary minds and are out of touch with their natural instincts of survival; they don’t have their ear to the ground and are blind to the fact that half the Barrier Reef has been bleached and the permafrost is melting at afast rate, due to climate change.We need a new breed of politicians who will listen to the scientists for a holistic approach for the needs of people and the planet.

I think we are at a critical stage for theplanet, we need to act now. A good start would be for the federal government to take back control and ownership of all Australian rivers, natural resources, power stations, water, transport, hospitals, essential services, schools and investment in solar and wind energy, water tanks for every dwelling, a water meter for every home unit, all inlet tides to be tapped for power to surrounding communities and list goes on.

I have no confidence in world climate change summits as vested interest will always rule the day.I believe the people and scientist must come togetheras one, Australia must be a leader not a follower.

MaureenO’Sullivan Davidson, Swansea

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It’s time we all stopped buying this rubbish

DAMAGING: Our reliance on plastic is completely unnecessary and is hurting the environment, but perhaps long-term change needs to be driven by consumers.FORdecades supermarket chains have been trying to push up veggie sales by putting items into plastic trays and wrapping them up in even more plastic (‘Plastic planet’, Topics, Herald,8/6).
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The idea is to encourage customers to pick up and buy more veggies than we need. The veggies then go off as the packaging stops air circulating around the food and encourages mould, bacteria and fungi to grow. So we end up throwing away more food than if we bought only what we need.

Supermarkets have also been in the habit of putting all our groceries into flimsy plastic bags, and putting fewer items in each bag.We can bitterly complain to supermarkets about their bad habits but it is ultimately down to us consumers to refuse to accept so much packaging. We can easily take our own shopping bags and we can choose to buy only items without plastic packaging – although it is getting harder to buy many items without packaging.

Excessive use of plastics is having a serious, deleterious effect on our sea life and waterways. It’s time we stopped buying so much rubbish.

Scott Bell-Ellercamp, Clarence TownSpeaking of apologiesWHILE it is correct that Brian Ladd (Letters, 6/6) erred in the description and timeline he attributed to our former lord mayor, it was an understandable mistake. Perhaps the correct description would be ‘Liberal-leaning’ lord mayor as there is no evidence that ‘ATM envelopes’ were received by independent candidates in 2011. Also the alleged offences against the electoral laws although committed in 2011 were not exposed until the ICAC investigations after Mr McCloy was elected lord mayor.

I think if anyone deserves an apology, it is the taxpayers and voters who bore the cost and inconvenience of the various state and local council byelections.

Lindy Henderson, The HillIf the evidence stacks upTHERE’S more to this EPA app verification than just a number plate and brief description (“Arguing the toss’, Herald,7/6).If the number plate, make, model and colour of a car all match and the offence is committed in the region the car generally resides then you have to start to question the grounds for disputing the offence.If you didn’t commit the offence then you have to ask who else has access to the car and do they match the description provided to the EPA?If the owner matches the description then the list of coincidences is getting rather long and it’s unlikely a stranger would bother to lodge a false report.

Perhaps there are some who would use the EPA app to settle personal scores?

David Kavanagh,GlendalePlaying parachute politicsI WRITE in regards to the Editorial (‘Fascinating council election is taking shape’, Herald,6/6).The NSW Labor Party’s Newcastle branches have every reason to be nervous of Jeff McCloy entering the race for Newcastle council’s coveted lord mayoral seat. But I do have quite the solution.

I believe incumbent mediocrity in the state seat of Newcastle has been the convention for some time. How about doing what NSW Labor are renowned for and parachute the popular anti-Anzac walk, pro-gay rainbow crossing, Mint Slice admiring and pay-raise loathing Nuatali Nelmes into the safe state seat of Newcastle? It will: saveNSW Labor from the embarrassment of local defeat at the next state election;allow them to blame the loss to McCloy on ‘lack of name recognition’ on the replacement Labor candidate, and; allowthe incumbent in parliament to exit gracefully in 2019.

Seems logical enough to me.

Brendan Tate,MerewetherFuneral worth coveringON JUNE 7 a state funeral was held in Melbourne for Anthony Foster. The only TV network to cover this was ABC. We all know Anthony and his wife Chrissie were largely responsible, along with our own fantastic journalist,Joanne McCarthy, and Julia Gillard, for the royal commission into child sexual abuse by church clergy and other organisations.

I don’t think I have to elaborate on what the Foster family have endured, but I am surprised that Anthony’s state funeral has largely gone unreported by the media.

Beverly Page, Adamstown HeightsBleating in the eastAS reliable as the sun coming up in the morning, so is the never-ending bleating coming from sections of the East End community. Now they are targeting all aspects of the construction happening in the area from parking restrictions, air pollution, etc, all of which happens in any normal construction zone (Letters, 8/6).

What they fail to want to recognise is that these major works have been brought forward as a result of the Supercars event, and they are the major benefactor.

With respect to the type of trees being planted, native gums (widow makers) are not logical for public space.

I can understand why the event organisers are reluctant to speak to any of the complaining residents, no response other than ‘we are cancelling the event’ would be acceptable to these multiple million-dollar residential owners.

Tony Mansfield,LambtonNot such a smart cityAS a proud Novocastrian I would dearly like to congratulate lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes and Newcastle City Council on receiving recognition from the OECD for the “progress as a fledgling Smart City”.

However it is impossible to reconcile the lofty ideals and noble sentiments for the future, as expressed in the Draft Smart City Strategy, with the ugly reality of the present, particularly regarding the disgraceful decision to hold the Newcastle 500 in Newcastle East.According to the strategy, council aims to “improve well-being, liveability and amenity”, particularly in its “open waterfront space … and heritage building stock”.

How exactly is the Newcastle 500 contributing to this? Newcastle East, one of the most attractive areas in our city, is now a building site; access to parks and beaches is restricted; any confidence that elected officials will consider residents’ concerns has evaporated; and stated economic benefits remain unproven.

Perhaps Newcastle the “Smart City” exists somewhere in a parallel universe, but there is nothing smart about holding a motor race through a historic residential area.

Judith Chen,The Hill

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Short Takes

UNFORTUNATELY,due to our spineless politicians and pathetic councils we are giving away our way of life and security to appeasethe minority and religious groups. For the life of me I cannot understand why any politician hasn’t stood up and said ‘this is Australia, live here by our rules and conditions, if you don’t accept our way of life and freedom you are not wanted here’. Donald Trump is on the right track.
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Brad Hill,SingletonI BELIEVE the time has come. I speak for myself and make no apologies. I am sick to death of being tolerant of minority groups. Let’s start with the so-called communities that exist within Australia. We are Australian; this is first and foremost. Islamic spokespeople get more media coverage than indigenous people. Politics has not been kind to our Aboriginal brothers and sisters but the powers that be will kiss the butt of the Islamic community. Aboriginal Australians and the blue collar working families deserve better.

Steve Barnett,Fingal BayI’M putting in a suggestion all councillors: Put in an account for everything they have done as a councillor. So many seem to just turn up to meetings add their complaints, play with their phones then think job done. If McCloy is going to try to get back in – what’s he after this time? Last time it was remove trains and put trams down the road but now he’s realised that idea was wrong. Thanks – bit late.

Donna Norris,GlendaleREGARDING the death of Bernie Sessions: I think I met Bernie about seven or eight years ago when I got tyres next door or just around the traps. I introduced myself as Dash and he never forgot. Whenever he saw me it was ‘G’day Dash, how ya going?’. Maybe we should all take a couple of minutes out of our overly exaggerated lives and just have a chat. RIP Bernie.

Darryl Horne,WaratahI DON’T mind admitting when I get it wrong Col Fordham (Short Takes, 10/6), I get plenty of practice. But no I’m not confused when I say Mr McCloy’s charitable donations were bitterly criticised. All I’m calling for is balance, something we don’t always get in this pro-Labor region.

Dave McTaggart,EdgeworthWITH Qantas CEO Alan Joyce receiving a gong in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, who will Margaret Court boycott now? It’s time for the tired old voices from the past like Mrs Court and other old fearful conservatives to pipe down and take a nap.

Mac Maguire, CharlestownTHE POLLSIS the Game II Maroons side a better outfit?

Yes 72.22%,No 27.78%MESSAGEBOARDTHE next meeting of the “From Central to Hunter Ex-students’ Association” will be held on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 at the Hunter School of the Performing Arts, Broadmeadow, from at 4.30pm. Former students are invited to attend. For further details please phone 4952 2705.

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Short Takes

ON Tuesday I drove around our once beautiful foreshore. I was horrified – all those beautiful trees cut down for a car race. Disgraceful. I encourage all Newcastle people to visit this site.The lord mayor and the council should be dismissed immediately.
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Jenny Porter,Nelson BayC’MON Tony Mansfield (Letters, 9/6): You purportthat (all) native gums are ‘widow makers’and are therefore “not logical for public space”. Yes, a handful of the hundreds of eucalyptus and corymbia species have this reputation – but most of others don’t. “Fake news”Tony m’lad – at best.

Peter Cousins,StocktonTHE weather couldn’t be controlled during Prince Harry’s visit to Sydney this week but somehow he seemed to make the sun shine. Definitely a people’s person.

Daphne Hughes,KahibahTYPICAL glass half empty assessment of the youth of today, Cliff (Short Takes, 8/6).

Grant Conway,LambtonFOR over 10 years now the free world has been fighting a so-called war on terror. When will they declare an official war?Only then will the rules change. The federal government needs to take control of the responsibility of keeping these so-called people of interest off the streets.

Darryl Tuckwell,EleebanaTO Tom Edwards (Short Takes, 8/6):I think you are partially correct. Our politicians have no spine, they are too worried about offending the minority groups, therefore nothing gets said or done, it’s quite pathetic really. I wonder if we’ll ever have a politician that stands up and calls a spade a spade. I’m not holding my breath.

Brad Hill,SingletonNUATALI, you voted against a pay rise for yourself? The only explanation I can come to is that the lord mayor position is up for re-election in September. Are you are scared of losing your seat?

Colin Geatches,MayfieldOF course Jeff McCloy is going to run. His publicity team has started his campaign already.

Reg Howes,ValentineDAVE McTaggart (Short Takes 8/6) must have his facts confused. It wasn’t Jeff McCloy’s donations to charity that were criticised, or the problem.

Colin Fordham,LambtonTHE POLLSWHAT do you think of the University of Newcastle’s ranking?

It’sabout right 48.94%,It’s too high 29.79%,It’s too low 21.28%MESSAGEBOARDYOU’RE invited to Miss Porter’s House open day: Threads and fibres. See arts and crafts made by Florence Porter and her daughters. The house is at 434 King Street, Newcastle West, and is open from 1pm to 4pm on Sunday, June11. Admission: $8 adults, $20 family, $5 pensioners and children five years and over. Free to National Trust Members and children underfive.

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Short Takes

UNLIKE Cliff Rabbit (Short Takes, 8/6), I find the young people of today a delight. I love the enthusiasm they are bringing into a world which faces so many problems. What I really appreciate is that they are happy to acceptpeople for who they are and make a space in modern society to allow them happiness and the freedom to be themselves. Wear what makes you feel happy. Make a statement if you chose. But, most importantly, enjoy life.
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Ann Ellis,MerewetherTO Jenny Porter (Short Takes, 10/6): I live in the East End and think the change is great. This is my back yard and can’t wait for the races. Stay in Nelson Bay if you must.

Tony Padgett, Newcastle EastIF 97 per cent of the world’s aviation experts told you not to get on an airplane because their data predicted it would crash in flight, but rich white men and their media backers with a financial interest in you getting on that aircraft were pressuring you to ‘ignore the alarmists’, would you get on?

John Arnold,SingletonNUATALI, you voted against a pay rise for yourself? The only explanation I can come to is that the lord mayor position is up for re-election in September. Are you are scared of losing your seat?

Colin Geatches,MayfieldWHILE not normallybeing a Nelmes supporter, I’m appalled at the pettiness of the campaign concerning repairs to the mayoral car. The mayor drives herself in a five-year-old Toyota Camry, for heaven’ssake, Not a new Merc or Porsche. It’s even possible thatfive-year-old parts are moredifficult to source than newer ones. Give us all a break, for heaven’s sake.

Kath Goddard, WallsendREGARDING Cliff Rabbit (Short Takes, 8/6):Yes, spot on Cliff. The only difference between our time and now is trying to find a polite teenager who doesn’t act like a “hound dog”.

Colin Atkins,WyongI WOULD like to lend my support to Margaret Court and her right to express her views when asked. Why do Australians care what Martina Navratilovathinks? Is she jealous of Court’s achievements? Court is a champion and deserves respect.

Malcolm Asquith,MaitlandI’VE just seen the artist’s impression of Newcastle rail station. These state pollies are geniuses, basically they want to move the mall to the station. I’m gobsmacked.

Darryl Horne, WaratahIN this world of uncertainty, I believe all of our law enforcement agencies should be able to use deadly force against a perceived threat, and not behung out to dry.

Greg Stewart, BeresfieldREGARDING the repair bill for the lord mayor’s council car, surely they would have their vehicles covered by insurance?

Ian King,Warners BayTHE POLLSSHOULD phone towers be near homes?

Yes 35.26%,No 64.74%

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Short Takes

LAST Thursday, June 1, saw our family utterly devastated by the tragic death of a family member through suicide. Just two days before his death he was turned away from a mental health facility because he was deemed to be not sick enough, denying him the help he so desperately needed. We, his family, have been trying to raise awareness of mental illness via social media and elsewhere but so much more needs to be done. Please be mindful this disease is widespread and can happen to anyone. Some knew him as The Man in The Doorway. I knew him as a kind and gentle man. His name was Bernie, and he was my brother. Lifeline, 13 11 14.
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Michael Sessions,WaratahGOODBYE Bernie, always a wave and thumbs up. God bless.

Michael Casey,MerewetherBRING back Jeff McCloy (‘McCloy coy on mayor plan’, Herald,2/6). He actually donated his entire earnings to charity, where our current mayor eats smashed avo and lobster lunches. Shame on Nelmes.

Tony Padgett,Newcastle EastTO Steve Barnett (Short Takes, 5/6): Yes, gone are the days when you could go to your local pub with a few mates to actually engage in intelligent conversation and catch up on the iconic Aussie bands being the likes of Aussie Crawl, Cold Chisel, The Oils, The Mentals, just to name a few. The youth of today seem to be hell bent on frying their brain on chemicals never heard of in the ’80s, whilst texting or snapping a quick selfie to the mate on the other side of the table. Aahhh give me the ’80s any day, doof doof.

Freddy Fox,SingletonTO Trump, Abbott, Joyce and devotees: I have noticed the wattle coming out on the fourth day of winter. Usually early spring. Nothing strange?

Tony Lawler,NewcastleHERE we go again – the friends of King Edward Park, complaining about the Bather’s Way. Do they want to leave it like the old bowling club on the headland and just rot away over time? Newcastle is a place for everybody to enjoy.

John Gallagher,JewellsTO my old mate Colin Geatches; once again you are 100 per centcorrect about the lollipop Liberal Party (Short Takes, 3/6), however I beg to differ on the tram line on Hunter Street. I think it’s a great idea, the concerning factor is whether either party can bring it to fruition. Worst case scenario, if all fails paint the trams white, add a trunk and a big set of ears. The sight of empty white elephants trundling down Hunter Street could turn into a tourist attraction.

Brad Hill, SingletonI WAS astounded to read the article about Joseph Maxwell(‘Bravery, courage honoured’,Herald,2/6/) as there was no mention of the biography on him by John Ramsland. The book had excellent reviews and was published in 2013. Its title is, Venturing into No Man’s Land: The Charmed Life of Joseph Maxwell VC, World War I Hero.

Ross Edmonds,WaratahTHE POLLSWILL David Klemmer come to Newcastle?

Yes 32.79%,No 67.21%

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Short Takes

REGARDING Tony Cooper and greenies being hypocrites for turning on heaters and lights (Short Takes, 31/5):I hope in the late 2030s, say 2038, Tony can explain to his grandchildrenthat Santa can’t live at the North Pole, it disappeared after an unusually hot northern summer. Santa will not be coming this Christmas as there is nowhere to make toys to allow children’s dreams to come true because we burnt too many fossil fuelsin the last 100 years.
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Michael McGready,Tighes HillVERY sad to read about the passing of Bernie Sessions. I had to travel to Newcastle often to see my specialist when I was diagnosed with melanoma. Bernie was always sitting there, beer in hand, giving a wave. I never knew his name, but would wave back. His small gesture took my mind off my issues for a while and left me with a smile. Here in Nelson Bay, we have a man called Stefan; the locals look out for him. We, at the butchers, have become good friends with him, making sure he is OK. If you see Stefan say hello, he’s part of what makes the Bay great.

Steve Barnett,Fingal BayA QUESTION for the Prime Minister and the leader of the Opposition: Why do you, when making an address to the nation after some horrific terrorist event, pay tribute to the 41 of our soldiers who have paid the ultimate price in Afghanistan, yet refuse to acknowledge the more than that number (very hard to get accurate numbers) of our soldiers who have came home and taken their own lives as a result of the horror they have witnessed in this one-and-a-half decade long, ill-conceived and failing incursion in a civil and tribalwar? Their sacrifice should be valued no less and recognised than if they had died on the battle field.

Allan Earl,Thornton GETUP is worrying the Big Wigs in the Establishment. They fear that their power to run the country is being taken away from them by a community-based popular movement. They will be looking for a way to discredit the organisation. GetUp will have to watch their back.

John McLennan,CharlestownTHE subject of Tooheys Old was quite a topic in the mid ’70s, owing to the fact the original “Black” beer, that was brewed in Sydney and shipped to Newcastle and the Hunter, was replaced by Hunter brewed product from Cardiff brewery (‘Hunter beer history and old long necks’, Herald, 6/6). This beer was rejected initially by the Coalfields “Black” beer drinkers owing to suspect taste difference. Actually a couple of the Coalfield pubs insisted that their black beer came from Sydney. Eventually they acclimatised to the “Hunter Old” with newer generations opting for a greater selection of the now popular range of beers available.

Ted Gore,ChisholmTHE POLLSARE you happy with the changes due to Supercars?

Yes 52.85%,No 47.15%DO you believe animal cruelty penalties are sufficient?

Yes 9.62%,No 90.38%

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Short Takes

MAC Maguire (Short Takes, 13/6): If Alan Joyce’s ‘gong’ qualifies him to speak about same-sex marriage, Margaret Court, with both an AO and an MBE, must be doubly qualified.
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Peter Dolan,LambtonAFTER five days without precious electricity 10 years ago when the Pasha Bulker grounded, I have never begrudged paying my bills. But when learning that there are reputed to be 23 retailers of electricity, only one of which is Australian owned, I have changed to that company, after being told my previous supplier of many years is now owned by a Hong Kong company. We have labels on most foods now with country of origin and I endeavour to support Australian-owned suppliers as much as possible, but feel guilty for not having discovered where my money has been going all these years. Where ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise.

June Porter,Warners BayAFTER advising the Tories during their recent election disaster, will our very own Sir Lynton Crosby be obliged to return his knighthood? I wonder, will he be added to the official list of British “knights in disgrace” like the Kaiser, Mussolini, the King of Italy, Mugabe, Thomas Cromwell, Emperor Hirohito, etc?

Keith Parsons,NewcastleLES Hutchinson (Letters, 13/6): We should give animals the right to bare arms. Cows with Guns, that song is a butcher’s nightmare.

Steve Barnett,Fingal BayPATRONISING speeches to the nation following each act of terrorism overseas is not what we want from our Prime Minister, or anybody else. Talk is rarely effective unless supported by appropriate physical action. Gallipoli and Kokoda can’t keep hacking it. They were then,this is now. We need less Chamberlain and more Churchill.

Ron Elphick,Buff PointTHE Prime Minister insists on claiming we are equal to the best in the world for protection. The Lindt Café siege inquiry proved that to be a false claim. Of all the number of people killed by parolees or people on bail, it has taken the minute fraction of people that have been killed by terrorism from that number to finally jog the government into realising that something is wrong with the system. This shows that there is something very wrong with the judgment used by governments in their protection of people.

Allan Earl,ThorntonAUSTRALIA has brought terrorism on itself. Australian troops invading Muslim lands, breeds terrorism. Take Iraq for example, an invasion concocted on American lies. Thanks to our warmongering commentators and politicians, Iraq is now a terrorist state. Australia has not yet experienced a major terrorist attack on our soil. Invading Muslim lands is to invite terrorism on our soil.

Richard Ryan, Summerland PointTHE POLLSHOWoften do you update your home insurance coverage?

Annually 58.5%,Rarely 35.2%,Whenever I make a big purchase 6.3%,Every six months 0%

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Man up because ignorance can be deadly

TAKE ACTION: Today, at the start of Men’s Health Week, Hunter Region men are being encouraged to smash stereotypes by listening to their bodies and getting help.SOME men will agree with this information while some others will not.
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That is, men need to lift their veil of silence and to express their feelings instead of saying “I’m good” because it’s a fact they will talk about cars and sport but are not prepared to discuss the workings of their own body;they think by talking to others about their health problems may be a sign of weakness on their part.

Men need to change their way of thinking because it’s very important for those men who have health problems that they don’t succumb to the temptation to just bury their heads in the sand and pretend there is nothing wrong.

Women on the other hand tend to be more open about their health issues, whereas men will clam up and go about their normal lives denying a problem exists. I think it’stheir defence mechanism against feeling insecure because of an inability to cope in coming to terms with the issue.

This kind of thinking can also manifest itself in other ways often, like keeping their health problem a secret from their family and friends.

However at the end of the day men need to “man up” and accept they are not bullet proof, their human bodies at some stage in life may have health issues and to be aware of the consequences and the risk associated by not acting on what their body is telling them.

At that point in time men should take heed to those warning signs and consult with their doctor about their concern. Not next week, or the week after, but right away – and take note of all the information their doctor is telling them. Remember seeking help is not a sign of weakness. You cannot change the past what you have or have not done, but you are in control of your future.

Men’s Health Week runs from June 12-18.

Barry Preston, chairman, Cessnock Prostate Cancer Support GroupSpeaking of donationsI WRITE in response to the Newcastle Inner City Residents Alliance (NICRA) spokesman’s antipathetic ‘apology’ to former Newcastle Lord Mayor Jeff McCloy (Letters, 9/6).

The spokesman again impels bias by implying it is easy to ‘confuse Mr McCloy as a Liberal’. My opinion is that Mr McCloy is a clever independent businessman and a passionate Novocastrian.

If anything, he backs a winner when he sees one and,as ICAC proved, asked for nothing in return.

What I want to bring to the NICRA spokesman’s attention is the electoral disclosure of the NSW state election, 2007. The disclosed contributions received by donors show a donation of $27,500 paid to the Australian Labor Party (NSW Branch) from the J R McCloy Family Trust.

I’m not interested in the legalities of the non-disclosure of the 2011 NSW state election. I would however greatly like to see the NICRA spokesman amend their Liberal bias agenda setting theory to include the Labor Party at their pleasure.

Brendan Tate,MerewetherNothing left to tightenWHILST I am outraged by the news that wholesale electricity prices have doubled in the last 12 months, I am in no way surprised (‘Power Shock: bills could soar by $660’, NewcastleHerald,8/6).

As Treasurer, Gladys Berejiklian was Mike Baird’s chief architect in the privatisation of our poles and wires.

At the time of the selloff, Labor argued that privatising a state-owned asset would guarantee price hikes, adding to the cost of living for people in NSW.

Not only did Ms Berejiklian ignore this warning, but I believe the Liberal government went to extreme lengths to maintain artificially high wholesale energy prices in order to fatten up the pig for market day.

The reality is Energy Australia have now increased their hardship program tenfold and St Vincent de Paul are warning consumers to “hold on to their seats and get ready for a bumpy ride” when it comes to power prices in NSW.

There are people in my community who simply can’t draw their belts in any tighter and it is clear to me that the Berejiklian government could not care less.

Yasmin Catley, Member for Swansea,shadow minister for innovation and better regulationA very important minuteWATCHING a sporting event is Australian as meat pies, Vegemite and rhubarb. When there is a tragedy everyone stands for a minute’s silence before the game as a sign of respect and solidarity, to show the deep concerns that translate deeper than their own plight and honour the dead and the suffering of those affected.

Watching the Socceroos last Thursday night stand shoulder to shoulder in unison to pay respect to the victims of the London terrorist attack that killed eight people, two of which were young Australian girls, I was overcome with pure rage.

The rage I felt was for the contemptuous act of the 11 so-called sportspeople representing Saudi Arabia in the World Cup qualifier.

Why was I so enraged? After all, some might say it is not their custom to acknowledge the time-honoured custom. I believe everyone has their own opinion and is entitled to voice that opinion whenever they choose.

I must be getting senile in my old age or just a cranky old man. After all when a Brazilian plane crashed last year the whole word united to remember those that perished in the disaster. Yes, even these same bunch that stood for a minute’s silence in a friendly soccer match against the Brazilian national side.

It is a sad reflection on not only these sad 11 souls, but their whole country and in effect the religious beliefs they hold so dear.

Sixty seconds is only one minute out of their precious lives, but it will stay with me a lifetime.

John Undery,Kotara SouthQuestioning the callsNATHAN Brown should take a leaf out of Geoff Toovey’s book and call for an investigation.

It appears to me that all the referees are treating Newcastle like second-class citizens – every time the Knights score a try it is an inquisition for five minutes to find a way to disallow the try.

The only time this season they got a fair go was when they beat the Raiders and they got some 50/50 calls.

I think the bunker referee on Friday night should be given his marching orders.

Allen Small,East Maitland

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A campus crisis only Kissinger can solve

STRIKING: The university’s new Hunter Street campus has been hailed as CPR for the Newcastle CBD, but there is still the one, tiny issue of parking to overcome.HENRY Kissinger once famously stated that he only dealt with crises “when they were hot”. Perhaps his not-so-good eminence could be invited for the imminent opening of the Newcastle University’s new city campus. Some of his past skills may be needed.
Nanjing Night Net

The building itself will be a colossal success. Its architecture is already the greatest head-turner in Newcastle. Internally, it will house such a large influx of students and lecturers so as to permanently drag the city’s heart out of its cultural backwater status. This will be CBD CPR at its finest.

Then why, of all people, should we bring in Dr Kissinger to potentially spoil the party? It is exclusively because his years of “shuttle diplomacy” will make him quite handy as a traffic warden. Essential, in fact.

Due to a miniscule niggle in oversight planning, the campus will have as much parking as is freely available from Sydney’s Centrepoint Tower – but only when accessed from the top, ie. practically none. But with Henry to the rescue, this shan’t be a problem.He’ll certainly endorse the university’s efforts to ferry in 300 students at a time from the Callaghan campus parking. But this won’t account for the overflow. Additional students may avail themselves of the vacant spots at Marketown. Buses from here may then be needed. And then a third shuttle service may be necessitated for the disaffected shop owners. In their desperation they’ll need access to Newcastle’s lord mayor, due to the fall in customer numbers. Their spaces are no longer plentiful. And therein lies the crux.How can these business leaders reach the mayor when she’s busy at the East End’s car races, taking up on her chequered flag duties? Could they possibly navigate through the congestion? Easy, according to the one-time Harvard professor. Without being too circuitous, just keep the transport corridor in Newcastle open.

Now, if he could only stop the Korean Peninsula from going totally ballistic, much less nuclear.

Steven Micevski, DungogGame console missingCOULD the person who found the PlayStation on the wheelchair at John Hunter Hospital on Friday afternoon, May 5, please return it to the hospital as it belongs to my grandson who has been undergoing many months of treatment for leukaemia and had been in isolation for many weeks.

It was left on the wheelchair as they were so anxious to be going home for a few days, and when they realised and returned to get it, only about 10 minutes later, it was gone.Please, please return it as it has been a Godsend to my grandson during his isolation.

Marj Black,ShortlandQuality to boost ratingsMUCH effort by commercial TV media outlets to lobby to change the rules around media TV ownership is misdirected. They have gone all out to prove a case for changing the rules. TV viewers can only dream of this attention being given to them. TV executives must know how sick and tired viewers are because they turn to internet streaming in droves. Viewers know they don’t count at all.

Executives complain they are losing advertising revenue and profits are falling. They must see that serving up endless reality shows, loud, long doses of commercials, infomercials and endless repeats takes viewers to their devices.

They won’t invest in quality entertainment. Instead, they blame internet streaming, the government or the Labor Party. TV executives have the power to turn the situation around. I believe they can draw back an audience that is voting with their feet and finding quality entertainment online.

John Butler, Windella DownsFree speech and fair debateBACK in the middle of last century I had the privilege of taking a small part in the settlement of an Italian man, and later his family, in a NSW country town. We gave him friendship, taught him English, found him accommodation and employment.

Our gain was some wonderful friends. I recollect that in that era in Australia one could respectfully state an opinion in public and have a fair chance of an honest debate, without fear of personal denigration or vilification.At that time we did not have the benefit of anti-discrimination legislation nor the assiduous attention of a politically correct thought police pouncing on any diversion from their agenda.Australia seemed a fairer and better place back then, as now in 2017 it is dangerous to even question the values of our activists.

Alton Bowen, WallsendLessons from BritainI SUGGEST the following take-out messages from the British general election.

Firstly, they show that fewer people are letting the trashy tabloids tell them how to vote.Secondly, a recent terrorist attack does not necessarily favour the incumbent government.Thirdly, parties need to take more notice of the needs of younger people. Here in Australia, for a start, that means goodbye to the proposed Adani coalmine, and negative gearing for investment properties.It’s time for a big rethink by the major parties.

Brian Brown,KotaraEnough with the snipingI’VEnoticed an increasing tendency for Letters and Short Takes that target individuals and certain sectors of the local community.Where once there was relatively lively and intelligent debate regarding local concerns, now we have sniping, personal attacks and an all too frequent ‘us against them’ mentality.Whoever we are, whatever we think or believe and wherever we live, we’re all in this together. Can we, please, give the negativity a break for a while?(Goes into hiding as she’s sure she’ll be the target of criticism for voicing such an opinion.)

Maree Raftos,NewcastleSupport for Frazer-HolmesI WOULD like to comment about the ban given to Thomas Frazer-Holmes by FINA because of an honest mistake by missing a drug test while having a meal with his mother. I have known this brilliant young man since early childhood and can say that one could never meet a more honest young man. He is a credit to himself, his family and his country for his wonderful achievements as adual Olympian. I hope FINA can reverse their decision so Tom can represent our country at the Commonwealth Games.

Jimmy Gain,Caves BeachLetter of the weekTHE Herald pen goes to Karen Maloney for her letter about the Pasha Bulker storm.

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