Newcastle Herald letters to the editor September 14 2017

SYMBOLIC: Neil Fletcher argues there will be few practical changes for most couples whether same sex marriage is legalised or not in the wake of the postal plebiscite.
SYMBOLIC: Neil Fletcher argues there will be few practical changes for most couples whether same sex marriage is legalised or not in the wake of the postal plebiscite.

Maybe I am missing something here. Can anyone please advise me precisely what there is to be gained, other than a piece of paper stating that two individuals of the same sex have been legally married? 

Welfare payments do not, or should not, come into the debate as I believe two single fortnightly payments exceed a family payment. Neither sex can claim newborn child allowance. If the plebiscite were to fail and should a secret vote in Parliament come out against same-sex marriage, what would happen? Nothing! Same sex couples would just continue to live the lives that they have been living in the past. Really, who cares?

To me, a piece of paper in this sense is just plain useless. Perhaps someone out there can inform me that I am missing some important point or points.

Neil Fletcher, West Wallsend

ONLY A FEW GODS OF WAR

Mike Sargent (Letters 11/9) takes my name in vain.

If I had been born in China, I might well be now a Christian, considering that China is on track to having the largest Christian population in the world by 2030.

As for religion being the major cause of wars, Phillips and Axelrod’s ‘Encyclopaedia of Wars’ documenting the history of recorded warfare, lists only 123 out of 1763 wars involving a religious cause, less than 7 per cent of all wars and less than 2 percent of all people killed in warfare.

Estimates of lives lost because of godless regimes of the twentieth century vary between about 170 and 360 million.

Concerning religions 'targeting' gay people, if you mean same-sex 'marriage', there are religious persons and groups in favour, and gay people and non-believers opposed. There are also non-religious arguments against same-sex ‘marriage’.

Peter Dolan, Lambton

APPRECIATE SHOCK FACTOR

Jeff Corbett is a skilled journalist and provocateur.  His skills are evident in his most recent contribution (“Precious in the East End”, Herald, 9/9) where he dismisses the many valid complaints of the “superior neighbours” of East Newcastle residents by comparing them to “the wonderful people of Broadmeadow” who live “in the sticks”.

I’m not without sympathy for the rustic residents of Broadmeadow who must tolerate the regular inconvenience of events at the Newcastle Showground and Entertainment Centre, McDonald Jones Stadium and horse racing at Broadmeadow. But I suspect there are not many now who bought their abode in Broadmeadow without being fully cognisant of these factors. I’m inclined to believe Supercars will prove a positive economic and social event for the city and the region but I have no difficulty in appreciating the significant and substantial inconvenience the event and its preparation is causing those “highly-evolved East Enders” fortunate enough to live there.

John Buckley, Floraville  

RACE DAYS IN DISPUTE

Mr Corbett, I am a resident of the East End.  I suppose there are quite a few comments in your article I would like to take you to task on.  However, there is only one which I think is a serious continuation of misinformation. We accept that most weekends there are a wide range of events in the parks and lots of people enjoying the beach.  It is one of the pleasures and at the same time frustrations, but we do accept this.  When an event might be too loud or disturbing so we as a family will go away for the weekend.  We do not see this as being driven away; they are weekend trips we would take anyway, but we do make consideration of what event might be on.

Supercars is not a three-day event. We could argue that this first year of seven months’ road works, lack of access and just the general frustration of not being able to move around is a one-off.  What is not a one-off is the permanent change to the aspect of a historical precinct. But most importantly, what is not a one-off is that Supercars have planned a 10 - 12 weeks "bump in - bump out". This establishment period is to set up grand-stands, putting up barricades, remove speed controls and adding amenities for food, toilets and more. It is a massive undertaking involving hundreds of truck entering the East End with materials.  The East End is likely to severely restricted from Darby Street. This is nearly three months when the parks cannot be used by other groups, where beach access is restricted and residents will have difficulty accessing their houses.  Although we in the East End will take the brunt, it affects all of Newcastle and the visitors who normally access the area. We might, in your view be precious, but I would not wish this on anyone.  We have always argued that this is not an appropriate place for the race. High-octane sports should be on a race track where everyone can see the race in a safe environment and the facility can be used year round. This event is only about TV rights and promoting an investment which is failing. It has nothing to do with the sport or the sport enthusiasts.

Mark Burslem, Newcastle East 

A QUICK WHIP-AROUND

I don't suppose any of you are litterers, but I'd like your help to encourage people to take care of their own litter in our beautiful area. When walking, I usually pick up rubbish and it would be lovely to be able to walk without needing to pick up after others. Common items of course include take away food and drink containers, cans and bottles, sweet wrappers and bottle caps, even near council bins and recycling containers. 

Pieces of whipper-snipper cord of all colours and sizes are increasing in suburban streets and with summer approaching. Could I please ask gardeners to look out for this and recycle it? Cable ties are prolific around construction fencing and signs attached to fences. Could workers please recycle these too?

As for smokers, what can I say? The sickening discovery of  plastic bottles filled with watery butts and thrown out of passing cars makes me wonder why people can't take it home to their own bin. Those who smoke in the local parks, outside hospitals, workplaces or even on the verge outside their own home could surely take the butts back to the bin: butts are one of the most damaging items in the waterways, and there is no excuse for irresponsible scattering of rubbish and the implied expectation that someone else will take care of it.

Unfortunately I have no great hope that this problem will go away but feel compelled to ask readers to think about this issue. Thank you for your attention.

Wendy Webb, Belmont