Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Wednesday, April 26, 2017

REMEMBRANCE: Anzac Day is a time for reflection, but also an opportunity to consider what forms of conflict warrant intervention and the price we will pay for liberty.
REMEMBRANCE: Anzac Day is a time for reflection, but also an opportunity to consider what forms of conflict warrant intervention and the price we will pay for liberty.

THE words which appear on the plaque in Spring Street Melbourne commemorating those who died in the Sudan War 130 years ago would be appropriate for many of our war memorials. It states: "We did not fight to take anyone's territory; we fought to set the captives free, and to set at liberty those that are bound" (Isaiah 61 and Luke 4).

The history of World War I and Australia's involvement in similar activities verifies this motivation. England made a promise to Belgium that if they were invaded England would stand with them. This promise was honoured in 1914. Australia was involved as German naval vessels attacked Australia's shipping conveying our produce overseas. The Anzac participation in Turkey, commemorated on Tuesday, was not a complete failure. It subsequently brought liberty to parts of the Middle East. In 1934 president Ataturk of Turkey paid a tribute to the Anzac incident as it brought him to power and enabled him to establish a democracy.

Every free country at the moment has very difficult decisions to make. When an aggressive dictator decides to conquer smaller nations, should we stand by and let that dictator grow in power, or should we do our best to protect that smaller nation's liberty? When Saddam invaded Kuwait and his soldiers were raping women and harming children, the United Nations decided action should be taken. We must appreciate the difficult job our leaders, whether Labor, Liberal or other groups, face.

Ron Gibbins, Adamstown Heights

Dignity through choice

REGARDING the editorial (‘Palliative care a path to dying with dignity’, Herald, 20/4). It is excellent that palliative care services may be improved in the Hunter and made more readily available. However, I do question the sentence: “Whether in a hospice, a hospital or at home, palliative care can make dying with dignity a reality, and not just a hope.”

The reality is that one in six patients in the terminal phase of their terminal illness report moderate to severe distress from pain and one in six report moderate to severe distress from breathlessness. While palliative care is excellent at controlling most symptoms, there are some for whom adequate control is impossible. Then palliative care may use the last resort of terminal sedation, also known as slow euthanasia, whereby a patent is put into a coma until they starve or dehydrate to death. Many would prefer to have the option of a dose of fatal medication that would enable death within minutes rather than having their families watch a slow deterioration and death by starvation.

Anglican Canon Rosie Harper of the UK describes the assisted death of her uncle in Switzerland: "My uncle had a beautiful death, with his family around him – good music, good wine, and a pain-free end. The days that would have followed as he struggled through the end stage of a brain tumor would have been terrible. He had no choice about dying. He did have choice about the manner of his death.”

To make dying with dignity a reality, excellent palliative care and the legal option to choose an assisted death are both required. 

Ian Wood, national co-ordinator, Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Euthanasia 

Sure, it will be fine

WHILE I can understand many of the residents in the East End being worried about the Supercars races in November, let me reassure them that everything will be fine. There will be a lot of noise but, with your ear muffs on, it won't be too bad. There will also be noise from the apartments which have been rented out due to late night parties. Once again, just put on your ear muffs. Even if the loud parties go on after midnight, it’s unlikely the police will intervene as that, apparently, is the type of tourist we need to keep the cash registers ticking over. And any deafness you suffer is likely to be temporary. If not, buy a pair of hearing aids.

There may be a few crashes during the race but the safely barriers are very good, so its unlikely you will end up with a Supercar in your front room. However, it would be prudent to check your home and contents policy, just in case. If you live inside the "race zone" you won't be able to drive but this won't be a problem as the new light rail, as well as buses, will be providing a world class service, according to the Premier.

So, chill out, enjoy the smell of high-octane fuel, and think of all the money local businesses will be making. With any luck this will go a long way towards covering the cost of the road alterations and other costs to be paid for by the ratepayer.

Ross Edmonds, Waratah

Still haven’t heard plan

DEAR Supercars, Newcastle council, lord mayor, Destination NSW, anyone. Is the noise management plan for the Supercars event ready yet? We were told at the first consultation in October that a noise expert was being engaged to develop the plan. Seven months after the announcement, and still nothing.

Our questions are simple, really. What noise levels will residents be exposed to in their homes three metres from the track? Is it harmful? What should be done with children and the elderly? What monitoring will be in place? What actions will occur if levels are exceeded? Do we need hearing protection? Is it wise to remain in our homes? And no, I haven't been to a Supercars event – I shouldn't have to attend a race to do my own due diligence. That's the job of Supercars.

If you think this is an over-reaction, have a look at findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine and reported by Fairfax Media looking at the community health impacts to residents living near the New York Marathon. And I'm sure the Supercars event will be several magnitudes greater in its impacts to residents.

Over to you Supercars. We're still waiting. Where's the plan? Construction works should not commence until the noise management plan is properly dealt with.

Dominique Ryan, Newcastle East

Stop suburban spying

GARRY Linnell (‘We've surrendered privacy to the drones’, Herald, 22/4) is concerned about a lack of action to protect our privacy from drones. He may not be aware that flights of the type he describes have been illegal for years and this is true even if no pictures are taken or no camera is carried. Remotely piloted aircraft are not permitted to fly over a populous area or within 30 metres horizontally of people not involved in its operation. If operated in accordance with Civil Aviation Safety Authority regulations they could not effectively spy on a suburban backyard or bedroom window.

Ian Roach, New Lambton


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