THE personal conduct of Barnaby Joyce is of no concern to the voting public. Who cares what personal indiscretions he may have committed, even though some may wonder how. I say that they are matters between him and his wife and that reactions like the "no bonk ban" are just ridiculous in a mature democracy likes ours.
It is a concern that he was in a position of compromise and conflict concerning the employment of his friend and that he apparently failed to manage that conflict with the most basic principles let alone those expected from an elected representative. It is also a concern that he failed to step down on the dual citizenship issue and then again timely when there was pressure for him to resign as the leader of his party.
The major concern though is that of the media to contemporaneously report on these issues. I grew up in the seat of New England, incidentally, under the stewardship of Ian Sinclair. My family, friends and many others in the seat have known about most of the issues since well before the December byelection. It is now February.
I would like to know why the investigative journalists were unable to reveal what many locals in the seat knew.
Craig Doyle, Newcastle
Cost in the governing
DON’T blame the clubs. Soccer governing bodies are receiving at least double the amount of money from soccer registration fees compared to rugby league, union, AFL and others.
Northern NSW Football have increased their payments this season. They receive from junior soccer, ages six to 18 years, 25 per cent more compared to 2017. This means they are collecting more than $500,000 in extra payments across all levels. I don't understand why NNSWF have been charging nine-year-old children to trial for development squads.
Parents, players, coaches and an army of volunteers have been screaming from the rooftops for years now for Northern NSW Football to conduct a well-advertised, open and transparent forum to speak about all things soccer. In my view they do not presently conduct these. Other codes are conducting public forums, why not soccer?
I coach a team of 18- and 19-year-old boys in soccer. They play in a social senior competition. Let’s look at the payment the governing bodies are receiving from this team. The Football Federation of Australia (FFA) gets $340, Newcastle Football gets $681 and Northern NSW Football takes $1758. By my count, in a standard eight-team competition those figures are $2720, $5448 and $14,064 respectively.
What are the governing bodies doing for all this money? Could someone please publicly explain? I believe the army of hard-working volunteers are keeping this game alive.
Tom Ireland, Charlestown
Dam the idea
OH, please, not again (“Damned if we don’t”, Newcastle Herald, 21/2). I’m sure the folks who want to revisit the Tillegra Dam fiasco are doing it with the best of intentions. But, really, even if they had begun to build the blessed thing, in 2010, it would not be finished yet.
The truth of the matter is that the catchment area for Tillegra Dam is only 200 acres greater than that of Chichester. Tillegra would probably never fill. And while it was trying to fill, it would destroy the rest of the Williams River. Look what happened to the Snowy River. Be careful what you wish for.
I hardly think we need to have a divisive thing like that bloody dam brought up at this really difficult time for Dungog. If we could get our roads and bridges fixed it would do more good for all of us. And it would be cheaper!
Tom Boorer, Dungog
No quick fix for dry spell
MICHAEL Dowling (“Damned if we don’t”, Herald, 21/2) is being very naive. Has he read or is he even aware of Hunter Water Corporation's planning and the Lower Hunter Water Plan? Nothing has changed in the last seven years that isn't covered by a contingency plan.
This is a serious dry spell for us locally in the driest country on the planet. But the narrow thinking that putting a massive dam in a drought-prone area (and let's face it virtually what area of Australia isn't) will fix all economic and social problems isn't worth the paper it's printed on. Won't this dam also be in drought? Read the plan. Nor would he have read the economic modelling done on the proposed Tillegra Dam by IPART or the University of Sydney's Institute for Sustainable Futures.
There is just no justification for a dam on regional economic grounds. It is mischievous to raise this red herring. What would be more productive is analysis and debate on why primary producers aren't paid more for their efforts and in such a way as to tide them over in drought years.
David Smith, Alison
Reduce toll, no excuses
SO the NSW Roads Minister, Melinda Pavey, says the NSW government won’t adapt the point speed cameras to monitor cars, as well as trucks as they do now, because she doesn’t want to break an election promise.
What a cop out. The truth of the matter is the National Party (of which she is a member) recently decided against such a move because as one prominent Nationals politician is quoted as saying “Country constituents wouldn’t like the idea”. Well, too bad! NSW is the only state whose point to point cameras only monitor trucks.
I agree there would need to be some leeway, say 10 per cent, in rural and regional areas where long distances are traveled and often lack many passing lanes, so some allowance needs to be made for human error and not keeping a constant eye on the speed.
As for the broken promise excuse, politicians only keep their promises when it suits them. Take Mike Baird’s 2015 promise not to privatise Newcastle buses – we all know what happened there don’t we? With so many rural and regional road deaths and injuries, one would think any government would introduce legislation that has been proven, in the case of trucks in NSW and all vehicles in other states, to be effective in reducing the road toll, not just make excuses to avoid doing so.
Ian King, Warners Bay
LETTER OF THE WEEK
The Herald pen goes to Craig Doyle for his letter about Barnaby Joyce.