Newcastle Herald Short Takes: Saturday, November 11, 2017

THE refugees on Manus Island all have somewhere to go with all the services they require. They refuse to go. That is their choice. It has nothing to do with the government. They knew that site was being shut down. And since that site is a military base (not currently used as such) the military are well within their right to use force to remove the trespassers if they choose to do so.

Scott Dwyer, Charlestown

IN a council brochure I received about Blackbutt Reserve it praises late former lord mayor Joy Cummings for her tireless campaigning to save the site from developers and also a proposed motorway. Without her efforts there would be no reserve today. Another project she was passionate about was the beautifying of the foreshore for the community and visitors to enjoy. So while this council praises her for all she did to save Blackbutt, they are destroying everything she wanted for the foreshore. This is hypocrisy at its best .

Barry Reed, Islington

JOAN Lambert (Letters, 10/11) misses the point. Dr Michael Jensen said: “without God how can we meaningfully speak of the ethical” and how can right and wrong have any meaning? As Dostoevsky put it: “If there is no God, everything is permitted”. Science explains how things work, not what they mean. Science can show us how to build an atom bomb or clone a human being, but cannot say whether we should do these things. Joan asks which god is the most ethical. I suggest we can discount the panoply of man-made gods. The ethics of the Christian God are tried and true, but belief alone, as Joan correctly observes, does not guarantee ethical behaviour.

Peter Dolan, Lambton

STOCKTON beach is disappearing! The beach has been eroding for years, since the breakwalls were built to improve the harbour entrance for shipping. The sand that was previously destined for Stockton now ends up at Nobbys. The situation could be fixed by the state government using some of the money that comes from the port. Surely there is an obligation here.

Kate Johnson, Stockton

SO Tony Cooper (Short Takes, 9/11), the next time you see the terms “sick pay”, “long service leave”, “annual leave”, “full pay for injured on the job”, “superannuation”, “compensation”, “public holidays”, “penalty rates for overtim”, “pensions”, and any wage over $10 an hour, just remember we didn’t get these benefits from the likes of big-hearted Mal and co. These were fought for by union members who just happen to be the “unions” you are so happy to see attacked.

Mick Miller, Salamander Bay

THE POLLS

DO you think the dumping of toxic soil at Summerhill tip is the right solution?

No 56.78%

Yes 29.66%

I don’t know 13.56%

Message board

CESSNOCK Prostate Cancer Support Group meets November 23 at Cessnock Leagues Club at 3pm. Guest speaker: Dr Martin from Calvary Mater Hospital. Free.