Newcastle Herald Short Takes September 4 2017

A SCENIC DRIVE: Tony Lawler queries whether Supercars racing through Merewether and Adamstown would not have drawn similar criticism to the Newcastle East course.

A SCENIC DRIVE: Tony Lawler queries whether Supercars racing through Merewether and Adamstown would not have drawn similar criticism to the Newcastle East course.

Many Novocastrians would agree to disagree with Mr. Creek (Letters 1/9). Some wonder if whether the Race We Didn't Know We Were Getting started at Merewether Beach, then travelled up Scenic Drive and down through Adamstown Heights and finishing in Adamstown might not be a better track. The Lord Mayor could wave the 'chequered flag' to start and Mr. Creek could do the same at finishing, or vice versa.

Bathers' Way is finished there. Think of the money we could save, and as a bonus Merewether will be “revitalised”. That route would really showcase our city.

Agree or disagree? Depends on your postcode, I suppose.

Tony Lawler, Newcastle

IT ALL ADDS UP IN THE EAST

Lord Mayor, I understand that at the mayoral forum on Thursday you indicated there were only 15 people who oppose the Supercars event (“Council debate plays safe”, Herald 1/9). This is not the case and I'd be very surprised if you really believe this.

If this is what you said, I am really surprised. There is massive opposition to the Supercars particularly from people in the areas grossly affected by the incredible destruction of the area: trees lost, sections of parkland concreted over; dreadful waste of funds to put in infrastructure in unseemly haste. If it was just for infrastructure renewal and being done in a timely fashion that is fine, but the cost must be astronomical because of all the overtime. Heritage areas have been ripped to pieces, public money is going into private hands … and the list goes on. I am very much opposed to this race. It is really bad for Newcastle, and horrendous for the residents and businesses of the east end. 

Marion Bannister, Newcastle

COUNTING COST PER HEAD

It appears that we are to have another snout on the welfare teat at the federal level of politics with the announcement that their number is to be increased by one, (“Federal Parliament to gain one more MP”, Herald 1/9). For our sakes let us hope in the first instance they are not of dual citizenship.

And don’t let us forget the additional costs that are entailed in this exercise, a first class office and fittings and then staff and all the other fringe benefits. All this when we are being lectured on the cost of running the country’s welfare by the mandarins of that very system.

David Barrow, Merewether

RELIGION IS OLD HAT

Peter Dolan (Letters, 30/8) asks why Jacqueline Haines (“Line crossed when religious belief defines social policy”, Herald 29/8) and atheists should be free to impose their beliefs and dictate public policy but not believers.

We live in a complex and challenging real world and we need people to utilise every bit of their intelligence and common sense in making life decisions and social judgements in this all too real world. Mere belief and blind faith are not good enough.

Minds muddled by religion’s fantasies of a god making a woman pregnant, heaven and hell and so on, are not best suited to the clear and critical thinking required of the human animal in the 21st century. And words written in old books like the Bible by members of the priest class of limited wisdom 2000 years ago are an inadequate basis for a modern moral code or ethical system.

Rather, these old words give us Bible-based bigotry, finger-pointing, judgmentalism and even modern-day witch-burning, though happily no longer literally. You can’t run a country on religion, as the saying goes, and it is my conviction that we should keep social policy gods-free as well.

Les Hutchinson, South Maitland

$122M BY ANY OTHER NAME

It's been said that a public survey to decide whether a high risk security possibility for the entire nation is not necessary, while a public survey to decide whether less than 4 per cent of our population who may, or may not, want to use the word marriage is a necessity. 

It's often said that well educated people such as our leaders are very knowledgeable but not very smart when it comes to common sense. l believe this moreso now.

I believe the simplest method is to forget about a plebiscite and simply replace the word marriage with the word  "union" and apply it to everyone. It is only a word, and certainly not worth $122 million.

I say ban the word, ban the burqa and start doing what they are paid to do, governing for the majority. It's the majority that gave them their job and can just as easily take the job back. l also believe l am not alone when saying that political correctness is way out of control.

Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek

MARRY, BUT DON’T TIE ONE ON

The same sex marriage debate takes me back to the dim dark days of the public service in the 1970s. I was a technical officer in a large state government department with limited contact with the public.

We worked in “the school room", in my case for over 30 years. It was mandatory that male officers wore a tie at all times at work. One fellow trainee was actually reprimanded for entering the building and then putting his tie on.

As the world grew up, sometime in the late 1970s our union, during a raft of negotiations snuck in a call that males behind the scenes potentially lose the neckwear. 

Back before flextime, we ceased duty at 4.30pm sharp after putting our desk covers on and our chairs up. One momentous Friday at 4pm a notice came from the union, proudly announcing we had had our package passed. Oh, and by the way, it included the removal of ties from our dress code.

Everybody gleefully stripped off with all the exuberance of a gay wedding. 

But wait! Our boss, an old school public servant, within moments sternly and via line management ordered a redress. It seems he had not received any such instructions from head office. So dutifully we retied our restrictive shackles of servitude. By Monday morning, of course, it had firmed into the law of the land. So when I see the ongoing bull dusting on same sex marriage it always makes me think of this event. Times are changing, and those opposed really need to just live with it. The no vote mob in the upcoming plebiscite are going to be history whether they like it or not. But they are going to hold onto that power just for that last half hour, just because they can. So same-sex marriage people: when you eventually get married, and you will, do it with style.

Don't wear a bloody tie.

Ian Osborne, Belmont