AS we watch the states drag their feet in joining the national redress scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse, let us not overlook the retirement of Justice Peter McClellan (“Retirement for champion of survivors”, Herald 9/2).
For five years he led the royal commission. Under his stewardship, the commission has done ground-breaking work to determine the necessary and sufficient conditions for such abuse to occur. The fundamental principles in the final report pinpoint the need for education and transparent policies for dealing with complaints.
With the benefit of hindsight, these things now seem obvious. Alas it was not always so. I am very disappointed that no room was found for Peter McClellan in this year’s Australia Day honours list.
Mark Porter, New Lambton
DON’T JUDGE US BY WORST
FROM my reading of Letters to the Editor and Short Takes over recent weeks, it would appear to be open season to disparage the faith of us of the Christian faith. The major themes of attack are (a) our faith is based on myths, (b) Christians mindlessly accept what we are told to believe or are delusional, and (c) we are all tarnished by the findings of the recent royal commission.
The major figures in the infancy of our Christian faith were all real historical figures – refer to the writings of Tacitus and Suetonius (both non-Christian, Roman historians) – Jesus himself, the apostle Peter, and the apostle Paul who started out capturing and killing the early Christians. They were all martyred, and why? Because they proclaimed Jesus’ message of love. So, when did they become figures of mythology? And what was in it for them – no fame, no fortune, no personal glory. And many thousands have been martyred through the centuries for exactly the same reason – bishops, church leaders like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, laypeople – they all proclaimed a gospel of love. Please don’t tell me they were all delusional.
The royal commission exposed dreadful crimes and failures in many institutions, not only churches. Condemn those who perpetrated these vile acts and those who covered them up, but please do not condemn the churches and other good organisations and the probable 99 per cent of their good members for the acts of the few.
I will defend the churches and the faith of all who truly follow the teaching of Jesus – faith is something that can only be tested and judged by the way we live our everyday lives. As a Christian, I try to do my bit and do my best.
Vic Austin, Kotara South
WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH
NEWCASTLE council has repeatedly claimed the new Watt Street roadwork (“Dump $3.7m tip fees: council”, Herald 3/2) was both entirely council's responsibility and council work already specified to be done - just brought forward.
According to council's website, advice about contaminated land is available from its environmental services unit. In addition, council's Site Waste Minimisation and Management Plan provides guidance for the planning of sustainable waste management, including disposal of such, from development sites. Why then, if council 1) merely brought planned work forward and 2) followed its own waste management procedure for developments, have Newcastle ratepayers now incurred a $3.7m tip fee?
Joan Browning, Newcastle
TRANSPORT IS PERSONAL
IT is obvious that the usage of public transport will always be a highly personalised one depending on the way we use it, whether it’s bus, ferry or train. This means that there will always be varying opinions on how the service is operated. But when there is a collective grievance of the size as that with the new timetables and routes implemented by Keolis Downer, it’s clear that the new system isn’t working.
Anyone who has examined the way Newcastle’s buses are being operated can now see that some routes have become truncated and illogical, often hybridising old routes. It means people who live in – or commute to – certain areas are now no longer in service and are left without buses, or are forced to compensate by making transfers.
As someone in their early 20s who is able bodied and lives in Georgetown, I am in a position where these changes can be managed, but they have caused a level of inconvenience. I can only imagine the toll it has taken on those who have seriously lost out from these decisions.
Thomas Hamilton, Georgetown
INTRUSION IS UNPLEASANT
I BELIEVE Barnaby Joyce has shown that he is a hypocrite. It raises the question: should we hold our politicians to a higher standard? He stood firmly against same-sex marriage and stated that he was attempting to protect his daughters, wanting them to find a man and marry so that they could enjoy the protection that traditional marriage would provide.
Traditional marriage does not seem to have protected his wife and four daughters. I'm sure that most people understand that some marriages just end because people are imperfect, and we get that, but when chronic Catholic Barnaby stated on television that he was hurt by the intrusion into his private life, I must wonder about his compassion.
After Barnaby spoke at rallies with the backing of the Australian Christian Lobby and the Australian Family Association against same-sex marriage, he appears to have none of the principles of those groups. When the question arises regarding politicians and their private lives and whether it should be of any interest to their constituents, the answer should be yes, especially if the public purse is involved.
The gay community must feel angry, and yet they are showing a lot more class than Barnaby. So is his family.
Denise Lindus Trummel, Mayfield
REVEALING HIDDEN JEWELLS
AFTER reading Mike Scanlon (“Suburb search”, Weekender 10/2), I might have a bit more to add.
When we moved here in 1960, we lived at Jewells Crossing which was the local name for the area. On the railway station were two signs, one saying Jewells and a southern one that read Wommara.
I also have an old map (1938) that clearly shows the Wommara estate. Also on the map, Blacksmiths is shown as The Blacksmith. Thank you Mike for your interesting stories.