Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Up to the job: Eric McKenzie writes that he believes paramedics should staff the Westpac Rescue Helicopter to avoid lengthy changeover times. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
Up to the job: Eric McKenzie writes that he believes paramedics should staff the Westpac Rescue Helicopter to avoid lengthy changeover times. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

I DON’T think anyone is arguing that ICU nurses are not up to grade. One heart attack and I can testify to their efficiency. But paramedics are employed to endeavour to get injured patients to hospital, whether being transferred by road or air.

Wanting to have ICU nurses on a rescue helicopter is putting lives in danger because of the 45 minute change (reconfiguration) of the helicopter (‘Caught in a stand-off’, Herald, 28/12). The first choppers used to retrieve persons injured was in World War II when British Chindits attacked the Japanese in Burma.

Time and time again, time has been proved as of the essence in all injury situations. 

The time was improved on in Korea and perfected in Vietnam. Yeah, I am a Vietnam Veteran. It might be nice to have an ICU nurse in a rescue chopper but it is not critical. The 45 minute changeover time is critical. Let the paramedics do their job.

Eric McKenzie, Dora Creek

Take care running near traffic

WITH a new year beginning and many new year’s resolutions to lose some of that extra Christmas pudding around the waist, we will see many pounding the pavement by walking, running or jogging.

A little tip that should be observed when using the side of the road: unless you have eyes at the back of your head, don't walk with your back facing oncoming traffic.

To put faith in all motorists to see you and not be distracted momentarily,  or not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs – especially in narrow streets where two cars need the whole road when meeting and passing – is simply out of the question.

The need to see what's coming and able to side-step off the road is a no-brainer. A simple fact is if you can't see them, how do you know they can see you? Too often l see people on the wrong side of road, in their own little world, unaware of every thing around them, either listening to something or on their mobile.

Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek

All employment types have a place

BACK in the days when I worked, well, not full-time but five hours – from 3am to 8am – as a security guard, then drove for eight to 10 hours as a courier, I noted an interesting phenomena.

We had some 25 to 30 bodies turn up for the early shift and about 10 of those were casuals. 

Of those, about 50 per cent were the same guys week in and week out, some of them arriving by foot from a bus stop on the main road, some by bicycle and the odd one driving a crappy unreliable car.

As management changed, it was decided to employ most of the long-term casuals as permanent part-timers, with all the privileges and benefits this implies. 

And guess what: Within a week the buses and bikes were ditched, replaced by shiny, reliable motor cars. On my count, probably $100,000 worth of them.

Now imagine if this was replicated throughout Oz, what a boost to the economy this would be.

At the same time, my wife changed from full-time to permanent casual with four or five shifts of five hours which, after some juggling of shift times by management and herself, enabled her to keep working until a stroke at 79 years of age meant retirement. 

I don’t foresee any of our pollies beginning a sensible discussion from these observations.

Erwin Zehentner, Singleton Heights

Fireworks should have been better

ON New Year’s Eve, I was on Newcastle Harbour. Like everyone else, I was there to see the fireworks.

Now, I haven’t a clue as to what the rest of the thousands who were there – on the foreshore and on the water – thought of the display.

But I have to say, I thought the whole thing to be pretty underwhelming. With all the obvious wealth that leaves the Port of Newcastle, out through the heads at Nobby’s, you could be forgiven for expecting a bit more of a show than that on Monday night.

The fireworks would have been pretty impressive at say, Wards River, maybe, but in Australia’s fifth city? 

C’mon, Newcastle City Council, can’t you lean on some of the folks in the mining industry (who are so busy despoiling the rest of the Hunter Valley) to sponsor a better show than that? 

And with any number of great vantage points to set the crackers off from… just Stockton? Please, you can, and should, do better.

Tom Boorer, Dungog

Not enough notice before New Year’s Eve show

WHILST I commend Newcastle City Council for the wonderful fireworks on New Year’s Eve, I believe that council should have shown more courtesy to the residents of Stockton than they did. 

The council would have known months ago that the fireworks were going to be launched at Griffith Park, Stockton, yet it was not until Thursday, December 28 that CEO Jeremy Bath mentioned in a media release that Stockton was the site for the fireworks.

Local residents only received a letterbox drop on Friday, December 29 (two days before the event). Simple common courtesy is all that is needed instead of lumping something that big onto people at the last minute.

Phillip Mallows, Stockton

Religious education is parents’ choice

SORRY Allan Earl (Short takes, 1/1), but parents have the final say about religious education. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 18), ratified by Australia in 1980, respects the liberty of parents “to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions”, subject only to those limitations “necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others”.

As for religious belief not accepting new evidence, religion deals with eternal, unchanging truths, not the changeable truths of observation and experiment.

Not all religious beliefs can be right, but science often gets it wrong too, and not all science is ‘genuine’, often being in thrall to ideological bias and vested interests.

Peter Dolan, Lambton