Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Tuesday, February 27, 2018

UNWELCOME: By saying reduced immigration will improve things for Australians, Tony Abbott has blamed the group for his government failures, argues one contributor.
UNWELCOME: By saying reduced immigration will improve things for Australians, Tony Abbott has blamed the group for his government failures, argues one contributor.

TONY Abbott said to the Sydney Institute: Australia's employment, dismal wage growth, housing prices and even traffic congestion could not be blamed on migrants.

Very commendable. He did say that we need to slow down our immigration program because it was damaging Australia in many ways. Seeming not to blame migrants, Mr Abbott made it clear that we must change our immigration policies. In fact, I think he took a sledge hammer approach and basically indicated that when you see an ethnic Australian, you can blame him for everything from traffic jams to unaffordable housing. 

The truth is Mr Abbot's own party eroded wage growth, allowed home ownership to remain a dream for younger Australians and built roads while ignoring the value of integrated public transport.

Why didn't he come clean? The reason is that it's so much easier to blame migrants than admit to systemic government failure when he was prime minister. 

John Butler, Windella Downs

Traffic light bulb idea

I TRAVEL regularly on one of the Hunter’s most congested roads between Hexham and Sandgate.

Yesterday, the traffic was stopped about 8 kilometres prior to the Hexham bridge traffic lights. After those lights, thousands of cars travelling towards Newcastle are stopped frequently and for an extended period to allow a few cars to cross the highway.

It appears to this commuter that the traffic light sequence remains unchanged whatever the traffic conditions.

I wonder if the clever people at the RMS could study the traffic flow during peak periods and adjust the traffic lights to assist in easing the congestion each morning.

Sue Lodge, Ashtonfield

User-pays to save water

HUNTER Water has one option to get people to save water and treat healthy drinkable water with respect. Remove the service charge from bills and make it fully user-pays for every litre you use. 

Pricing would mean the average user using an average amount of water would pay the same amount as last year. But if you choose to use lots of water by watering lawns, hosing paths, washing cars, long showers – you will pay double. There is no incentive for people to get into better habits with the per litre cost of tap water so cheap. Change is inevitable: will people change to use less water or more water?

Dan Endicott, Islington

Time to move on, everyone

CAN the media now move on to more important matters? They have had two weeks of fun at their scapegoat’s expense.

We plebs are all too familiar with marriage breakdowns being the norm, whether religious or not. Some people do exude a sense of honour, esprit de corps, esteem for others and would now be called Saints. If they were honest, many men envy the Muslim faith which allows four wives (if they can afford to keep them).

How many of our religious politicians are divorced and have re-married? Believe it or not, there are some women who have refused to come between a husband and wife, especially if they have children. I grew up in a time when films and books were censored and therefore did not know what was going on in the “real world”. 

Perhaps the present generation are given too much information and not encouraged to take responsibility for a code of conduct for themselves – “this above all be true to thine own self.” 

Why is it that the film Casablanca is still the favourite film for the younger generation? I encourage them to also read the book and see the film Now Voyager which was my bible in my youth!

June Porter, Warners Bay

Sex ban will fail

THIS latest from Canberra requiring politicians to control their social life, including sex, has to be the most ridiculous rule ever attempted. Politicians, both male and female, especially ministers, are the alpha species of society, and the way they carry on in Parliament has to be up there with movie star celebrities, and we know the trouble they have in keeping their pants on. In other words they are not expected to be angels.

Come on Malcolm, l suggest you ask them to be more cautious and less obvious, but to say stop having sex would be like waving a red flag in front of a bull.

We expect our representatives to think and act as we would, and to put them on a pedestal of purity won't fool any one. They are what they are, it's what they do and whether people approve or disapprove. It's what we have come to expect. It's called  "being normal".

Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek

Is a lower intake needed

TONY Abbott has the opinion that immigration is too high and should be cut back to about 100,000 per year. Treasurer Scott Morrison claimed that cutting back immigration to about 100,000 per year would cost the budget up to $5 billion over four years. That looks like a rubbery figure plucked out of the air by the Treasurer. 

But even if correct, that money is not for us. It would be for service to the approximately 300,000 extra immigrants that would live here. That's equivalent to about $4000 per head per year. That would be to provide government, welfare, health, pensions, education, defence etc. That is a paltry sum to provide all those services to the new citizens. 

Perhaps Abbott is correct and Australia's economy would do better with a lower migrant intake?

Peter Devey, Merewether

Word of appreciation

THE Newcastle Conservatorium presented Musica Viva's first 2018 concert on Friday evening and what a concert it was! Acclaimed clarinettist Sabine Meyer partnered with the Alliage Quintet to play a program called Fantasia. Musical fairy stories by many composers gave us a wonderful soundscape from the four saxophones, the piano and the clarinet. Dukas' Sorcerer's Apprentice, Stravinsky's Firebird and Borodin's Polovtsian Dances had the audience smiling as the concert evolved. Storms of applause at the end of the night brought the musicians back for a rousing arrangement of America, another highlight of a special concert. Newcastle was honoured to host this occasion to a full house of appreciative listeners, including myself and my granddaughter Lucy Almond.

Denise Braggett, Hamilton South


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