Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Tuesday, December 5, 2017

WIN: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Nationals New England candidate Barnaby Joyce celebrate the by-election win in Tamworth on Saturday. Picture: Alex Ellinghausen
WIN: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Nationals New England candidate Barnaby Joyce celebrate the by-election win in Tamworth on Saturday. Picture: Alex Ellinghausen

WITH the New England vote now signed, sealed and delivered with a swing in favour of the incumbent, it seems to me the vote is influenced by the fact that most Australians think it is a lot of bull. A bit more commonsense has been needed by all political parties and by now we should have all been headed for a referendum to repair our failed constitution. I didn’t realise, for example, that I fulfill all the requirements of dual citizenship under the descent rule. It’s a nonsense that needs a simple repair.

Simply swear an oath of allegiance to Australia and no other which naturally must exclude the Queen or King or whatever the future may hold. It should easily include “and I hereby renounce any rights to any other country by descent or any other means”.  It is not and would not be fair for anyone forced to resign from their position to be ousted by current voting and I think that the electorate probably feels the same way if they are fair-thinking Australians.

So Campbell, Shorten and the rest, show some ticker and get on with it.

Garry Robinson, Mannering Park

Get hospital built

LET’S have some truth, shall we? Councillor Mitchell Griffin (Letters, 4/12), I believe, left out some details regarding the debate over the site of the new Lower Hunter hospital. It is Liberal councillor Rod Doherty from Cessnock City Council who has been the major proponent of moving the new Lower Hunter Hospital from the Metford site to Kurri Kurri. Liberal councillor on Cessnock City Council, Cr Paul Dunn, moved a motion in March 2017, calling on the government to move the site. In May, Cr Doherty put on the public record that he wouldn’t give up the fight to move the site.

The truth is, the O’Farrell, Baird and Berejiklian Liberal National governments have had the opportunity to put the site selection issue to rest over the last nearly seven years by simply starting the hospital. I think the Liberal Nationals have always wanted a Public Private Partnership (not a fully public hospital), I just believe they haven’t been honest with our community, so it has been delayed again and again.

If Cr Griffin wants to truly support the Maitland community, he should focus on what’s happening here in Maitland and leave Cessnock’s local politics out of it.

I’m focused on getting this hospital built, and for it to be of a size for our rapidly growing community, and for it to be fully public, not some hybrid privatised model.

We’ve won the earlier commencement, we’ve won the larger funding promise, now let’s work together to create a truly great public hospital for our community.

Jenny Aitchison, Member for Maitland, long term advocate for the new Maitland Hospital

Sharing all the facts

I REFER to what I would call the misinformation from Mitchell Griffin, Liberal councillor of Maitland (Letters, 4/12). If he is to make accusations, maybe he should talk the whole facts. Members of his own party in the coalfields area also support a better location for the hospital. Their, like my own, opinion sees the location closer to the Hunter Expressway, but we have accepted this is not going to happen and have accepted at least getting a hospital that will largely only service Maitland and Raymond Terrace to Nelson Bay. The location will mean that Cessnock and Kurri hospitals have to be upgraded because of the traffic restrictions brought by the Metford location. Jenny Aitchison and Kate Washington have been very vocal in keeping this site and have been lobbying to get it started as a "public hospital". The treatment Scot MacDonald gave Ms Aitchison last week was, I believe, grub-like. She, unlike him, has been campaigning for this on a regular basis; Mitchell only has to look in any local publication to get this fact. Yes there is, or was, opposition in the coalfields. it was from all sides of the political fences. 

Glenn Jones, Weston

Stadium spend slammed

PREMIER Berejiklian’s decision to spend $2.5 billion on demolishing and then rebuilding two sports stadiums in Sydney reflects the wrong priorities.

This is money that should be spent on our schools and hospitals. It is wasteful spending that can’t be justified. It is an insult to communities across our state.

Just think what $2.5 billion could do for our schools, hospitals and TAFEs.

Countless rural roads could be improved for a fraction of that price. And what about community sporting fields, showgrounds and other facilities that would benefit from long overdue upgrades? It is shocking that local MPs representing the Liberals and Nationals are supporting this decision. It is out of touch with community values.

Luke Foley, Leader of the Labor Party

Cans for charity

THE return deposit scheme for bottles and cans, l believe, is too complicated, with the cost of these collection units unnecessary, and the amount needed too many.

I would like to see wire caged locked containers placed in convenient locations, like petrol stations, where people can drop off their unwanted bottles and cans for charity collection. Better still, boy Scouts or similar organisations would greatly appreciate this donation, where containers can be towed to collection points where each troop can work roster Saturdays processing the contents.

I, for one, would not bother to process my bottles and would probably continue using council bins, however l would certainly support the charity collection.

Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek

Safety should be priority

DESPITE reassurances to residents by our lord mayor that everything would be put back as it was, or "even better than before", after the race, it now seems that any decision to reinstate speed bumps, pedestrian refuges, raised crossings, and pedestrian "blisters", has been put up for re-consideration.

These safety measures were long-regarded as essential before the race, given the heavy pedestrian traffic, high vehicle volumes, and the concentration of elderly people and children living in the area. Now, with the roads widened and flattened, trees removed, beach weather coming on, and aspiring racing drivers eagerly lapping, suddenly pedestrian safety measures may not be needed? It seems the cynics were right all along – safety does come second to Supercars. If just once council could stand up for its constituents and their safety. And surely somebody thought of all this before the race, or is it another triumph of ad-hocracy?

John Beach, Cooks Hill