Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Saturday, May 20, 2017

DOWNGRADE: In a move criticised by fans, Knights coach Nathan Brown dropped Nathan Ross, pictured, to reserve grade after the winger made a plea for a fair deal.

DOWNGRADE: In a move criticised by fans, Knights coach Nathan Brown dropped Nathan Ross, pictured, to reserve grade after the winger made a plea for a fair deal.

I DON’T know if Nathan Brown realises that by downgrading Nathan Ross against the Panthers on Sunday, he is really punishing the whole team and all the avid Knights fans who really deserve another win (“Knights axe fan favourite after plea for ‘fair’ deal”, Herald, 19/5).

Without Ross, another win is so unlikely as he inspires the rest of his team mates and usually plays a big part in any win we manage to get. It makes it very hard to be in a tipping competition when one of the best players is suddenly withdrawn just hours before cut-off time for tips to be lodged.

I am not saying that Ross approached the matter in the correct way, but surely there was another way for the coach to react rather than leaving Ross out of the side and making it hard for the rest of the team to get a back to back win?

Elizabeth Giles, Ashtonfield

When killing is murder

I’M not a lawyer, nor a psychologist or psychiatrist, so perhaps I am suitably non-qualified to make this observation. But one would have to presume that in order to seriously hurt or, even worse, murder another human being, you would not be of a sane and logical mind, and your thought processes are not those of a calm mind.

So, based on this presumption, should we not simply eradicate the charge of “murder”? It appears to me that I constantly read of people doing serious harm to other human beings that are then having their charges “downgraded” because the perpetrator was either jealous and upset, or that they were full of meth or alcohol (or both).

Or, rather than downgrade these charges, we say “sorry Mr Perpetrator, your substance abuse (or whatever), is no excuse for doing harm to another human being”. Therefore, if you have killed another human being as a result of your deliberate actions, then “murder” it is, isn't it?

Antony Bennett, Bar Beach

Thanks to Robyn

THANKS Dan Proudman and Newcastle Herald for giving this tribute to Robyn Cotterell-Jones (“Voice of for the victims”, Herald, 18/5). There's so much more to say about her achievements in helping victims and also about her personal talents and attributes and skills.

Sorry I can't express adequately how wonderful and valuable she is and how her empathy and practicality – not to mention her great sense of humour – got so many people through trauma.  

On behalf of Justice for Children Australia and all the people – especially children – that she helped, I nominated Robyn three times for the Justice Medal. The fact the Law and Justice Foundation didn't award her this honour is perhaps a reflection on my poor writing skills. And also perhaps an inability of the foundation to recognise in Robyn a person who absolutely matched their criteria for the Justice Medal: "The Justice Medal is presented to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in improving access to justice in NSW, particularly for socially and economically disadvantaged people.”

One of her most exceptional achievements was the creation of the Family and Child Safety Victim Support Unit: VOCAL Inc NSW dealing with family law issues. She is not only one of the very few people who understand the horror of violence and abuse, she also understands the abuse perpetrated by this unaccountable, secretive and irrational system and the damage it does to individuals – children in particular.

Thanks Robyn for trying to save some of us from being destroyed by the “justice” juggernaut. Love from all of us.

Ariel Marguin, Elizabeth Beach

TAFE support critical

THE federal government has cut close to $3 billion from TAFE and vocational education since 2013. There are now 130,000 fewer apprentices and trainees, and individual TAFEs are at breaking point.

Shamefully, the 2017 Budget goes even further, ripping an extra $600 million out of TAFE, skills and apprenticeships over the next four years. If these cuts proceed, we will have fewer courses, higher fees and lower course quality.

Labor has committed to reversing these cuts and guaranteeing that two-thirds of vocational education and training funding goes to TAFE. We will also invest in a new $100 million Building TAFE for the Future Fund to give regional communities like Newcastle high-quality facilities and training to meet local needs.

A strong TAFE system is critical for building skills and supporting local jobs.

Sharon Claydon, Federal Member for Newcastle

Paying, not subsidising

COLIN Fordham’s and others’ claim that “private school parents actually subsidise the public sector” is not supported by data from the government’s My School website (Letters, 13/5). Just one example: Warners Bay High School and St Paul’s High School at Booragul are virtually identical schools in terms of their socio-educational advantage. Warners Bay received a total of $10,966 per student in combined federal and state recurrent funding while St Paul’s received $12,475 per student. The taxpayer is paying no matter which school the student is in.

I urge readers to do their research. Go to the My School website, choose two virtually identical schools in terms of their advantage/disadvantage as measured by their ICSEA, make sure they have the same profile and add up the federal and state funding figures. You will find that while there will be minor differences either way, the costs to the taxpayer per student are very similar. The taxpayer is paying, not subsidising.

Greg Archbold, Eleebana

Release noise strategy

I WRITE to support the call made by John Beach (Letters, 15/5) for the release of the noise management strategy which has been promised for so long by the Supercars representatives. With the noise levels such an issue, surely it is in everyone's interest to clear this up, by having the noise abatement measures put on the table, where they can be examined by others with scientific skills and if necessary rejected or improved.

It seems that failure to produce this strategy by Supercars not only shows contempt for residents, but also gives the impression such a plan either does not exist, or is inadequate to ensure the safety of residents.

Joan Browning, Newcastle

Letter of the week

The Herald pen goes to Sarah Taylor for her letter about waste.

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