I CONFESS that I have never had much time for canon lawyers. Father Tom Doyle shows that once a canon lawyer always a canon lawyer (‘Cleric urges government to be bold’, Newcastle Herald, 4/1).
Making tax concessions contingent on the Catholic Church classifying child sexual abuse as a crime in canon law does not achieve much in terms of changing hearts or helping survivors. Classifying child sexual abuse as a crime is no substitute for empathy and nor does it guarantee moral integrity.
Child sexual abuse is evil because it is enabled by a lack of empathy. The survivors want to make sure that what they endured is not inflicted upon another.
The best way to prevent further abuse and to show empathy is to remove the perpetrator from the office of ministry that made the abuse possible.
If Rome remains ambivalent or tardy about such removal then we need local leaders prepared to make a stand on what should be non-negotiable.
Mark Porter, New Lambton
Thrown to wolves
MALCOLM Turnbull is accusing the Victorian government of being 'soft' on African gangs in Melbourne. It's a sign of the shock tactics and no-holds-barred approach the Coalition is planning for the Victorian elections this year.
That there is a blow-back on the Sudanese community never enters Mr Turnbull's mind. That Mr Turnbull is demonising another minority group with a blowtorch means nothing with an election in the air.
While repeating Australia's focus must be about jobs and growth, Mr Turnbull doesn't hesitate to play the fear/race card if it will turn voters to the Victorian Coalition. His comments this week are shameful and a disgrace to a man who professes to practise a moderate approach.
He's turned his back on many of his stated political platforms. Mr Turnbull has thrown a fragile refugee community to the wolves to help his Liberal colleagues in Victoria.
Dylan Tibbits, Raymond Terrace
Police are under-resourced
HERE we go again. Every new year we hear how the government – and anyone else who has a say in how the road toll is going to be reduced – have their little around-the-table discussions and, guess what, nothing changes.
Every year the road toll deaths and injuries become more horrific.
The police are doing all they can but are just banging their heads up against a brick wall. It was in the news that they were going to saturate the roads with highway patrols etc to try to catch as many of the morons who don't want to obey the rules of the road like every other responsible driver.
Well, in a one week period over Christmas, I drove from Gateshead to Maitland and back several times and I saw one highway police patrol. What this says to me is that the police are grossly under resourced.
Another couple of hundred more highway patrol cars and officers are needed. Then again it doesn't matter how many of these morons the police catch, it all goes out the window when they go to court because they are given a tiny fine and a slap on the wrist.
Well it's time these magistrates, judges, governments and anyone else involved with safety on the roads got tough. If caught using a mobile phone there should be a $5000 fine, 12 month loss of license and the car they are driving impounded for 12 months. If caught driving while suspended, give them 12 months in jail.
As the driving offences become worse, then the penalties become more harsh. But while the morons are only being given a slap on the wrist they will continue to cause carnage on our roads and innocent families and others will continue to lose family and friends who are just out on the road going for a drive or going on a holiday.
Melville Brauer, Gateshead
Port chance to diversify
IF Port Botany was the world’s largest coal port, investors would be bailing out like rats from a sinking ship. Newcastle, which is the world’s largest coal port, has the opportunity to diversify into containers and rail them to Sydney, thereby removing container trucks from Sydney’s roads.
A report by Deloitte Access Economics shows that replacing container trucking with rail from Newcastle – there is virtually no scope to rail more Port Botany containers – will generate $2 billion in economic benefits every year for the rest of the century.
Privately building a dedicated rail freight line between Newcastle and Sydney not only is a major infrastructure investment opportunity, but also the most profitable.
Greg Cameron, Wamboin
Bus is not so close
AT East Lambton we have lost our 231 bus service. According to the map on the web, the nearest stop from the top of Illalung Road is at Lambton High School (“three minutes walk”).
Has anyone actually walked this? It might look close on the map, but for someone in their 80s it would take at least 40 to 45 minutes.
These changes, instead of improving services, will cause loss of patronage, especially from elderly or disabled persons.
Elizabeth Patrick, Lambton
Rescue chopper needs both
I FIND it difficult to understand the present comments regarding rescue helicopters.
As a result of frequent media exposure, we are all aware of the wonderful service that paramedics are able to give in the pre-hospital environment.
ICU nurses are trained to look after seriously ill patients requiring continuous monitoring and care. They get involved in helicopter work when a seriously sick patent requires transport over long distances, from one facility to another, which is more suitable to give the treatment required or from an emergency section in a regional hospital to an ICU section.
ICU nurses have had different training to be able to do their work, which is not comparable to the work of paramedics.
So it really comes down to what you have trained for. Would you get a plumber to do your electrical work or would you get a Hunter Water employee, responsible for providing water, to do the job of a fireman using the water?
I believe the existing discussions do ignore that the two types of health workers do entirely different, non-interchangeable work.