Newcastle Herald letters to the editor November 15 2017

AVOCADO: Scott Bell-Ellercamp argues that free trade agreements have removed price drops from some Australian markets including natural gas and avocados.
AVOCADO: Scott Bell-Ellercamp argues that free trade agreements have removed price drops from some Australian markets including natural gas and avocados.

The prices of avocados won't fall according to Avocados Australia chief executive John Tyas ("Avocado prices will not drop, industry expert says", smh.com.au 13/11). The gas pricing example provides the true reason.

We now pay export prices for gas and avocados as well as strawberries. At the peak of the season for fresh fruit we should be seeing significant price reductions, but instead we see prices rising. 

Exporters will be tickled pink as our fresh fruit is now being traded overseas and we get the short straw. Our markets are in competition with those of foreign countries.

Free trade agreements and the opening of markets in the US, China, Japan and Korea and other nations are costing us consumers. The Reserve Bank will be happy though as this will contribute to higher inflation and export figures.

With wages growth stuck so low that we are feeling short changed, consumer confidence falling and retail figures slowing, it’s clear our economy is in the doldrums. The rich get richer, and you know the rest.

Scott Bell-Ellercamp, Clarence Town

TIMES FOR AN INTERVENTION

PETER Dolan (Short Takes, 11/11) asserts that “The ethics of the Christian God are tried and true” (not the Muslim God or the Jewish God, mind you, just the Christian God). Really?  

Over the millennia, “our father in heaven” has stood by and watched the slaughter of innocents, death by disease and neglect and has not raised a finger to put a stop to man’s inhumanity to man. 

The Holocaust is just one extreme example. Don’t bother trotting out the fallacious argument that, having given humankind free will, God could not interfere.  

As parents, we all want our children to learn to exercise free will, but if we saw our child turning into a monster and harming other children, what would be our ethical response? Would we just stand by wringing our hands and declaring that, having given our child free will we could not interfere? Of course not. We would use our power and authority, and follow our ethical beliefs, to intervene in that situation. 

Why doesn’t God, “our father in heaven”, intervene if he/she is all-powerful and the standard-bearer for ethics?

John Ure, Mount Hutton

HAND OVER THE REINS

IT is beyond a joke now. One federal politician a day drops out because they couldn't follow the rules, and one person who replaces a drop-out got 19 votes at the last election. I don’t believe either of the major parties is looking for a real solution, so let's just have another federal election.

Let's clear them out. Apparently no party or politician is looking after Australia's interests at the moment. 

Anyone who nominates to run in the election has to sign a statutory declaration stating they do not have dual citizenship. If they are found to have lied, they are out and they pay a fine of $100,000 with no parliamentary pension. If this requires a piece of legislation, recall Parliament now and pass it in one day - no MP or senator can go home until it's done. In the meantime, why don't we let a group like the well-organised and well-respected Country Women’s Association get on and run the country? They couldn't do any worse.

Lorraine Davies, Mayfield

WHEELS SPINNING NO MORE

IN response to John Beach’s piece (“Plenty of spin but no traction for jobs, business”, Opinion 14/11): with Newcastle slowly deteriorating even more over the past 20 years, it took for the Supercars to announce they were coming here and all of a sudden the town gets a new transport network and road improvements in the space of  six to 12 months.

From my view as a 28-year-old woman born and raised here, it has done nothing but given Newcastle a much needed facelift as well as putting us on a global stage. I believe it will continue to do so for the next five years. 

In my opinion I think it’s great, and encourage everyone to think of the positives.

Lara Kearns, Mount Hutton

A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE

WARREN Parrey (Short Takes 13/11) writes that "the refugees on Manus broke the law". Does he mean before they were imprisoned on the island or after?

If before, would he please list the offences that were committed and explain why no charges have been laid.

If after, can he assure us that if he is ever unfortunate enough to be imprisoned for an extended period without being accused, let alone convicted, of any offence, that he would never react by committing an unlawful act despite the injustice and frustration of his situation?

Ian Roach, New Lambton

IT’S ALL RELATIVE

I AM interested that Kevin McDonald should quote a religious teacher to support his argument for secular humanism.

I wonder how he would react to a quote attributed to the Maori who, in conquering the Chatham islands, eliminated the existing Moriori population in December 1835: "We took possession ... in accordance with our customs and we caught all the people. Not one escaped. Some ran away from us, these we killed, and others we killed - but what of that? It was in accordance with our custom." That quote is from Jared Diamond’s 1998 book Guns, Germs and Steel, and offers but one example of the agreed rules of a society not aligning with the golden rule that Jesus taught and amplified in his parable of the Good Samaritan to overturn contemporary thinking on "who is my neighbour?"

Stuart King, Toronto

THE TRUTH THAT’S OUT THERE

THANK you for that article, Damon Cronshaw (“How a flying saucer landed at Lambton”, Topics 14/11). I lived across from the park from 1953. Yes, there were flying saucers and rocket ships and witches and demons in Lambton Park and I saw most of them back in the day.

They were all the creation of local barber Jack Rendall who, every Guy Fawkes Day, would explode his latest cracker, rocket man or space ship to the delight of the crowd. We used to sneak up to his garage in Turner Street for a preview.

The reason for the "burnt circle" could have been from the annual circus that used to play in the park. After the tent, caravans and cages of lions, tigers and elephants left the ground was bear. What about the droppings, you say? Scooped up by the locals for their gardens.

Neil Sullivan, Sydney