Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Monday, November 28, 2016

HAND IN HAND: Sarah Taylor. of Merewether, writes that Australia is now officially a backwater in terms of socially progressive policies such as euthanasia.

HAND IN HAND: Sarah Taylor. of Merewether, writes that Australia is now officially a backwater in terms of socially progressive policies such as euthanasia.

ONCE again the terminally ill and those suffering unbearable pain have in my opinion been abandoned by the politicians and the doctors.

A bill before the South Australian Parliament to legalise doctor-assisted dying was defeated last month and the latest survey has shown that doctors also want the status quo.

Australia, compared to the rest of the developed world, is now officially a backwater in terms of socially progressive policies such as euthanasia and marriage equality - changes that enjoy support of a majority of the population in poll after poll. 

I can only surmise that doctors do not wish to to relinquish the power and control they currently have over dying. Deaths due to increasing the dose of morphine happen every day in hospitals. I have been witness to such a death but it was at the behest of the doctor not the patient. They decide when the suffering will end.

This sad state of affairs exists as two elderly sick people take their own lives every week. These people have come do not want more palliative care nor do they want to remain lingering in some half life.

The suicide statistics must separate out these cases of rationale suicide from the ones where good mental health services could help people go on with their lives. People might get angry at what is happening if they knew. If we left an animal in the state many of these people are in we would be before the courts for animal cruelty.

Meanwhile Philip Nitschke, probably the only Australian doctor offering real choice at the end of life, has  settled in the Netherlands where euthanasia is legal. In my view, he is one of the few voices of compassion on this issue and will be missed by the thousands of Australians who have sought his counsel.

Sarah Taylor, Merewether

Lifeline: 13 11 14

WATER on the brain 

ISN’T it wonderful we are using less water and we are conscious of our water use.

So wonderful that, as far I can work out, we have reduced our consumption to a quarter of what we used to use while Hunter Water has increased its revenue by a quarter to $39.1million of which they have kindly donated $37.3million to the NSW Government. No doubt, IPART will grant any increase requested in the future.

For years now, water utilities have been directing their charges away from consumption to the fixed charges, such as sewer access. The rate per kilolitre is immaterial.

They, the utilities, receive the bulk of their revenue from those fixed charges.

As regards to the "Water Wise Rules", well Hunter Water is of the opinion that this also has contributed to reduced consumption. I believe that the consumer has nothing else left to give.

Back in the 1980s, it was certainly much more pleasurable to drive through a neighbourhood that displayed green lawns and nice flower beds.

Furthermore, I subscribe to the theory that the more evaporation that occurs, the greater the precipitation. The idea that it is better to have this confined to a dam where there is less evaporation, I believe, results in less evaporation leading to less precipitation.

John Alterator, Lorn

beware negative thoughts

I WAS watching TV and happened to hear various people discussing negative gearing.

Some of those involved were Rob Stokes, Anthony Albanese and Chris Bowen. As I knew little about the subject, I decide to carry out some research on the internet and I must confess that I was surprised at the number of articles on this subject.

If these presented facts are true, it is easy to see why our politicians in the Coalition don’t want it abolished. It was interesting to read Bill Shorten’s comments at the end of one of the articles wherein he stated that Malcolm Turnbull owns seven houses.

I particularly noticed another report that at least 97 politicians and their partners own investment properties. Another article said politicians and their spouses, from both houses and a range of parties, own a total of 215 investment properties.

Now I understand why so many politicians were so loud in their condemnation of Labor’s proposal to abolish negative gearing – although I believe that this would only apply to new houses and would not affect the status quo.

Having been appraised of these facts I agree that negative gearing should be abolished.

Tom Edwards, Wangi Wangi

race to the finish 

MUCH concern has been expressed by letter writers about Donald Trump winning the US election, including from Fergus Hancock (Short Takes 24/11).  

But many writers are mistaken on some facts, especially when they claim the US college voting system is slanted towards small former slave-owning states in a racist way. 

Actually the smallest states include Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island and Hawaii. All except Hawaii are in the far north east of the US, did not have a significant history of slavery and all voted for Clinton who got all their college votes in spite of Trump still getting sizeable minority vote in those states.

Former slave states in the south voted strongly for Trump and have sizeable black populations. Trump himself said that if total vote was to be used to decide the outcome he would have campaigned more in California and New York, where Clinton took all the college votes, and would have won anyway.

Peter Devey, Merewether 

taxing solutions 

IT was good to read your suggestions, Lyn Rendle (23/11). It seems that Scott Morrison from his rhetoric does not consider revenue as important as cutting spending. 

It also seems that many good ideas to increase revenue come from ordinary people like yourself and not our politicians.

For a start, let’s tax all big business at 10 per cent of their incomes. At least we can get some money from them.

And with our brilliant "economists" in Treasury, they should be able to look at taxing the "profits".

It also time to look at those wealthy Australians and their accountants who use tax-avoiding methods such that no or little tax is paid. Many lower-paid workers are striving to survive each week after they pay their taxes from their wages.

It certainly is a two-tiered system in our society.

Donald Mennie, The Entrance

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