Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Wednesday, August 9, 2017

ENOUGH ALREADY: One contributor has had enough of the same-sex marriage debate, arguing there are other, more pressing issues for people to be concerned about.
ENOUGH ALREADY: One contributor has had enough of the same-sex marriage debate, arguing there are other, more pressing issues for people to be concerned about.

WHAT a lot of nonsense this marriage equality issue is. If two people of the same sex wish to play with each other in private and be legally married, then why not let them go for it?

As long as nasty separations and divorces are treated legally in the same fashion as traditional unions then surely, it should be straight forward. As a society we have far more pressing concerns.

Like who are the people living among us that hate us and wish us great harm? Are there any more groups of paedophiles lurking about? Who are the drug peddlers destroying many of our young people? Why are so many of our citizens unemployed and homeless?

Who cares about what two consenting adult humans get up to behind closed doors? Many people have a religious dilemma about this subject but, we know what a moral shipwreck our religious institutions are. So, the answers are not there.

We are currently experiencing a surge in technological advancement but, in terms of social development, it must be argued that we are going nowhere except backwards. Politically, I believe it’s time to weed out the pretenders and recognise who the good people are.

People who actually care about Australia and not just their own ego and status. As a child I always heard that Australia was the land of milk and honey. But now, I am sure, it has descended to the land of greed and money.

Patrick Kiem, Wallsend

Took time but worth wait

A CLEAR link between Cardiff and Glendale is finally set to be established with the extension of Munibung Road (‘Munibung a new road to super hub’, Herald, 5/8). I welcome the news that the federal government is stumping up $2.2 million to assist Lake Macquarie City Council's (LMCC) commitment of $2.9 million, a commitment made earlier in the year following the sale of council-owned land at Bennetts Green.

From what I recall, the council faced internal criticism from some of the Liberal councilors at the time, with an amendment moved that would have seen LMCC allocate the full funding amount thereby putting at risk the grant application for federal funding.

Had council allocated the full amount, the federal government may well have chosen to fund a different project elsewhere in the country, as the project would have already been fully funded by council.

As a regular observer in the public gallery I witnessed the Labor and Independent councilors combine to stare down the short sighted amendment that would have short changed Lake Macquarie of $2.2 million in federal funding. 

This project has certainly taken time to deliver, however it will be worth the wait and unlock the potential of our city. I hope that all councilors in the future have the foresight and wisdom to stick to the plan and be champions for our area.

Matthew McMullen, Mount Hutton

Think of the children

NOISE levels inside our homes are a major health concern during the Supercars event. Levels are expected to reach more than 100 decibels inside residences track-side. Our disquiet has been raised repeatedly with Supercars and council, but no meaningful response has been received. There is a noise study, we are told, but it has not been released despite authorities promising to do so by late July.

In 2015, the RAAF at Williamtown ordered the closure of its childcare centre on the base due to noise levels from aircraft. I understand the levels there were similar to, or even lower than, those we will experience in November. Professor Richard Dowell from Melbourne University conducted the study. Immediately following the publication of his report the Department of Defence closed childcare centres in Darwin, Amberley and Williamtown. The tests found aircraft noise was a potential health and safety risk to the children. 

Professor Dowell said children's hearing was more sensitive and could be damaged more easily, even a one-off exposure to noise over 100 decibels could damage children's ears. 

Why then does Newcastle council refuse to acknowledge the danger for residents and their children, and why does council represent Supercars, rather than its constituents?

No caring parent would tolerate this noise in their homes; and in industry, EPA prosecution would follow. Why should residents be expected to tolerate it for the sake of a private company’s profit-making event?

Joan Browning, Newcastle

Perspective on abuse

I READ Pat Garnet’s letter ‘Not all so lucky’ (Letters, 7/8) with a touch of sadness that the actions of a few have come to smear all Christians and congregations, seemingly throughout the ages.

Frank Ward’s good experiences of education by nuns in Armidale (Letters, 1/8) is not exceptional. It was the norm in my experience and those of my contemporaries involving many religious orders in many place in the 1950s-1960s. The abuses that are now well documented were committed by a few perpetrators and the vast majority of priests, brothers and nuns remained faithful to their vows and Christ’s love for all in their care. They were dedicated people. They worked for no pay. Some were great mentors. Sure some were a bit keen on punishment, but that was how society was then.

It is important therefore to put things into perspective and context. Down through the ages there have been great charitable organisations spawned by good people in churches – the St Vincent de Paul Society, the Samaritans, the Salvation Army, Uniting Care, the Wayside Chapel, Lifeline and many others. If everyone today follows Pat’s thinking, we run the risk as a society of tarring all good people of God with the same brush. The results could be that these good people give up. Who will then provide for those in need when these organisations fail?

I agree with Pat that sexual abuse is a monstrous crime but it was perpetrated by a few on a significant number of very vulnerable victims. No, it should not have happened and all Christian people are deeply shamed. Yes, the victims deserve every compassion and support. But let’s hold back from “black listing” all Christian people. Let’s acknowledge that a small minority decided to abuse positions of power. If we give up believing in the “essential goodness” (godliness) of people, then there is not much hope for our society, especially for the vulnerable who need care. Perspective and context.

Adrian Price, Belmont