Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Monday, July 17, 2017

COPPED IT: Activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied has become the subject of personal attacks from many in the public domain who disagree with her views. Picture: Andrew Meares
COPPED IT: Activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied has become the subject of personal attacks from many in the public domain who disagree with her views. Picture: Andrew Meares

JULIA Baird (‘Fear of Islam burns women in greasy spit of public life’, Herald, 15/7) highlights the ignorant intolerance of too many fellow Australians when it comes to Islam and women. It seems that Yassmin Abdel-Magied, a woman of Muslim faith, has unleashed an often venomous torrent of prejudice, most particularly, but not exclusively, among some of the conservative commentariat.

Her most noticeable misdeeds include her assertion that Islam is “the most feminist religion” on a Q&A program last February, and an Anzac Day tweet in which she suggested there were other issues worthy of our attention besides our own fallen soldiers, namely Manus, Nauru, Syria and Palestine.

It seems that it is not enough to disagree with another’s views unless one’s own position is wrapped in personal toxic vitriol.

Only last week we heard once again from a serial offender, radio broadcaster Alan Jones, that the Premier of NSW was putting her head in a noose – a usually fatal position – because she disagreed with his views relating to the Liverpool Plains.

Sadly, it is increasingly common that disagreement with the expressed views of an individual results in disparagement of the person rather than engagement with the issues they raise.

John Buckley, Floraville 

Time to speed up travel

REGARDING Tony Proust's contribution on the state of train travel between Newcastle and Sydney (Letters, 13/7): I totally share his dream of a fairly fast train. 

Taking a train journey to Sydney is an extremely tiring experience of two-and-a-half hours, stopping at stations in Sydney that are well-serviced by suburban trains. 

The NSW government managed to shorten the Newcastle line whilst increasing the travel time; great effort, offering a pathetic service to thousands of commuters. 

Perhaps Malcolm Turnbull, who seems to be a regular user of public transport, needs to step in and give the green light for the construction of a fast train service along the east coast. The $50 billion spent on 12 submarines would have been a great start to get things rolling, offering employment opportunities for our local manufacturers and ongoing economic benefits to the regions such a line would connect. 

Do we have any intelligent politicians with foresight and initiative, or are they all entangled in party muck-raking and trivial blame-games?

Martin Schlaeger, Eleebana

Silent on noise assessment

FOR more than six months residents have been asking what noise levels can be expected inside homes and businesses during the Supercars event. For more than six months, residents have been calling for Supercars to conduct a full Environmental Noise Assessment for the Newcastle race. They continue to refuse. What is Supercars afraid to reveal?

There is no precedent for running loud racing cars just metres from people’s homes, through narrow streets where the noise will bounce and reverberate. Homes and businesses will be exposed to excessive noise for lengthy periods; noise that exceeds safe workplace levels. Hearing damage and the effects of prolonged loud noise on anxiety-based conditions is well known. 

The only response Supercars will give is that they are working on a sound management plan. What is that? How do they intend to manage the sound? I think the community knows a Noise Assessment will disclose that the noise cannot be managed and have put Supercars, NCC and DNSW on notice that the race poses serious risks to health. If authorities and Supercars are convinced there is no danger, they must issue a public statement saying so. If not, then I think authorities are knowingly endangering an entire community. Add this to the growing list of costs the community is expected to bear in the name of private profiteering.

Karen Read, Newcastle

Licence to assault

IT seems verbally attacking senior members of Parliament is put down to a “robust and colourful discussion and just another day at the office”, or so says Premier Gladys Berejiklian after an interview with radio shock jock – Alan Jones (‘The bitter and brutal politics of NSW coal,’, Herald, 14/7). 

The principles of the matter are one thing, the “bad guys” that built the stage for this incident are now receiving their just rewards, but let an ordinary member of the public speak like Alan Jones did and see where they finish up. It seems Jones has a free licence to verbally assault whom he pleases if he/she differs from his view. Remember his disgusting attacks on Julia Gillard and his comments on the death of her father? I am no fan of the Premier’s, but she is trying to undo the wrongs of others and nobody should be subject to a public verbal attack.

David Barrow, Merewether

When were bills cheaper

IT’S a bit rich coming from the Coalition government’s influential Craig Kelly that renewable energy is making electricity prices so high it’ll be the likely death of people who can’t afford to turn their heaters on.

We, I think, all remember terrible Tony and his government promising lower power prices when they got rid of the “toxic carbon tax” because it was a python strangling everyone and everything. I call on Craig Kelly to tell me how much my electricity bill has reduced in the time since the carbon tax was banished.

Fred McInerney, Karuah

Great solar swindle

HOME owners’ solar energy is being stolen, then sold back. Roof top solar panels are being flogged as a way of saving money, and helping Australia meet its renewable energy targets. I believe that having no option other than sell to the grid, for a lousy six cents a KW, then repurchase it back for up to 30 cents a KW, is extortion. Considering the six cents is at a peak time cycle, only reinforces it’s a dud deal for consumers. 

Why can't the solar energy provided be fed back into the distributor's power meter, to reduce or slow down the meter's calculator, especially since the saving will be at the most expensive period of day.

With today’s digital technology, this would be so simple, so why is it so hard? To add salt to the wound, those who choose to support renewable programs by buying what is thought to be renewables, are actually paying more. Considering the amount of houses with roof top panels is approaching two million, this is no little scam.

Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek