IT is pleasing that Newcastle City Council has finally got its act together on the future of the former master gunner’s cottage at the Shepherds Hill heritage military site (‘Pitches for cottage’s industry’, Newcastle Herald, 14/2).
What is inexplicable and unconscionable, however, is that, after the rear of the building was unroofed in the April 2015 storms, it was left in that state with not even a tarpaulin to help to protect it for well over a year.
This was particularly urgent, given its challenging environment and because the complex has been listed on the NSW State Heritage Register for being state significant since 2010 and given, according to a government media statement, “the state’s highest level of heritage protection”. But then, so is the former Newcastle post office.
Keith Parsons, Newcastle
NOTHING TO LOSE IS A WIN
MOST of the working conditions like annual leave, long service leave, sick leave and the 40-hour week were won in days gone by with the unilateral withdrawal of labour by the mining unions.
Their strength was in their meagre living conditions, often living in bush-hewn humpies on the mine owners’ land. They owned nothing and had just their families and the camaraderie of their fellow workmates, and so when they voted to withdraw their labour over unsafe company practices, poor working conditions and wages that were not in line with cost of living pressures, what could the company or the government do? You couldn’t fine them when they had nothing. Lock them up, and who supports their families?
Anyone who decided that they’d fare better by accepting a single-handed sweetheart deal for themselves was quickly hounded out of town, branded a scab for life.
A lot of the working conditions we take for granted today were won with hard fought battles where families had to do without until the next pay packet arrived.
Politicians of course, then and today, just cast a vote among themselves to obtain a pay rise. It is unfair but they do not seem to see it that way. I believe they have a sense of entitlement. So what can the average worker do, now that we are apparently not allowed to withdraw our labour?
I don’t profess to have all the answers, but one thing we can do is cut our spending. Every dollar you save is a dollar pay rise. The people that do not want to give you a pay rise are the very ones that want you to spend.
As we have made ourselves vulnerable by owning homes and having possessions, I can see no other way.
Dallas Bellamy, West Wallsend
BANK ON US TO PAY DUES
WANTED: A small or large financial institution to come and open a branch in the busy local shopping strip in the beautiful village of Elder Street, Lambton. Your branch will be rewarded by the patronage and smiles of the many local, small businesses, their employees and their customers, clients, patients and patrons.
Unfortunately the bean counters at the head office of the Newcastle Permanent have deemed the Lambton branch to be unviable and are closing it. This will leave the businesses, shoppers and residents nowhere local to bank, thus sending them to neighbouring suburbs or giant shopping centres. It seems to me the Perm’s slogan of ‘Here for good’ is just an irony.
Jason Smith, Lambton Barber Shop
BARNABY CASE NO LANDMARK
SHOCK horror! A married man has had an affair with a consenting adult woman and has left his wife and kids. This must be the first time in the history of the world that this has happened. No wonder it is front page news in every newspaper and the lead story on every television news bulletin!
Every minute of every day affairs happen between consenting adults who are married or single. This is a fact of life and it always will be. To put the record straight, it is not only the male who instigates these affairs, much to the dismay of all the hateful feminists. Some of the biggest hypocrites in all this mess involving Barnaby Joyce are the television stations that are making it their headline news stories.
Have a look at their so-called stars that have done exactly the same as Barnaby. You can bet there are plenty, but they sweep it under the carpet and it goes away pretty quickly. Whatever has happened, that is between Barnaby Joyce and his family. The normal person in the street understands that these things happen in life. Then there are the grubs who think they can advance their reporting or political careers by making this whole saga appear as grubby as possible and destroying a person’s career and life.
Melville Brauer, Gateshead
IF MEAT IS MURDER...
BARNABY'S estranged wife should be delighted now that she is finally rid of her obnoxious husband. Who wants to be married to a man who is responsible for the murder of millions of animals who are sent overseas to be brutally slaughtered for the live export trade?
Honestly Natalie, it is time to rejoyce!
Julia Riseley, Swansea
CHURCH HAS LOST ITS WAY
AS far as I am concerned Vic Austin (Letters, 14/2) the churches deserve all the flack they get. This is because they have wandered far from the simple, radical Christianity of Jesus Christ and become nothing more than hierarchical, conservative clubs.
In most churches, people turn up on one day of the week, listen, sing, talk and eat but nothing much happens. Most churches are run by men, with women doing ‘women’s work’. The wealthy, and highly educated professionals are favoured and people who rock the boat are driven out.
In fact, if the real poor Jesus walked in, he too would be given short shrift because the only Jesus they recognise is the fair-haired, fair-skinned Californian one.
Julie Robinson, Cardiff
STOP ROT AT TURNING POINT
YESTERDAY I had to travel home down Merewether Street, past the Civic Theatre and left to Auckland Street. It took 25 minutes to complete that short distance.
The irony is that it can be made much faster if they stopped cars turning right into King Street at the lights. Beyond that, both the federal and state members’ offices are in that area. Do they not see this, or do they think this inconvenience is good propaganda against the light rail?