Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Monday, June 19, 2017

CHANGES: Any debate about climate change needs to use reliable data and evidence, such as the changes to bird and animal migrations, rather than personal recollections.
CHANGES: Any debate about climate change needs to use reliable data and evidence, such as the changes to bird and animal migrations, rather than personal recollections.

JIM Gardiner writes that there has been no change in the climate that he can notice during his long lifetime (Short Takes, 17/6).

Every good barrister and scientist knows that personal experience and memory are the least reliable of all forms of evidence. This applies to all of us. I have some very clear memories from my childhood that reliable information recorded at the time shows are quite inaccurate.

To know with any confidence what has really happened we need to accurately observe, measure, and record data at the time the events take place. Records obtained in this way show, among other things, that the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere is increasing, that the average temperature of the atmosphere and of the oceans is increasing, that the sea level is rising, that the quantity of sea ice at the poles is decreasing, that fish populations are moving slowly away from tropical waters towards the poles, that bird and animal migrations are occurring at different times from in the past, and that the cycle of life of crops and wild plants is changing.

I take much more notice of this evidence than of Mr Gardiner’s memory, or of my own.

Ian Roach, New Lambton

Nothing superior here

THERE was our Prime Minister in parliament attempting to dodge the fact that Australia's debt is about to become half a trillion dollars by attacking Labor because at the last election Labor promised more debt as part of its platform.

This is a mystifying approach but it is also true. It is also true that the Liberals campaigned on a balanced budget. It's also true the Liberals raised the debt ceiling and are still hell bent on giving the top end of town a $65 billion tax cut. Scott Morrison asked us to imagine how high the debt would be if Labor were in power. This is the same Scott Morrison who, during his May budget, declared wage stagnation is the biggest threat to our economy as his government presided over the slashing of some of our lowest paid workers’ penalty rates.

I'm not saying the opposition has all the answers but our current government is certainly dispelling the myth that conservatives are superior economic managers.

John Lawton, Belmont

Show us the reasons

PETER Sansom's Letter to the Editor (Letters, 14/6) referred to a recent information session with Keolis Downer who spoke of their experience with light rail around the world.

When the benefits of the light rail to be truly effective and safer by running in the rail corridor was raised, the presenter used the example of the Melbourne trams running in narrow streets in conjunction with road traffic. However, a recent release of statistics by Melbourne (Yarra) Trams indicated that the running times of Melbourne Trams with an average speed of 16km/h are among the slowest in the world and a major part of the problem is shared roads and time lost due to collisions between trams and vehicles.

From the NSW government’s figures, the average running speed of the Newcastle light rail will be 13.5km/h and with an estimated minimum cost of $100 million or $37 million per kilometre. This would make the proposed light rail possibly the slowest and most expensive system in the world. Now the government proposes to include a cycleway in the remaining section of Hunter Street that is not used for light rail which will create more congestion and remove more parking.

The regular announcements from the government about the massive road and rail projects in Sydney invariably include the claim that "this project will improve travel times and reduce congestion".

Running in Hunter Street will increase both travel times and congestion. If it is good enough for Sydney why is it not good enough for Newcastle? Installing the light rail and a cycleway in the rail corridor meets this claim and is the only way to have a safe and efficient system. 

Before any further work is done it is time the government presented to the people of the Hunter the business case, cost justifications and their reasons for ignoring their experts’ advice and not utilising the rail corridor.

Geoff Jolly, Whitebridge

‘Reds under beds’

WITH all the hype and carrying on about who gets what from the “Chinese Communist government”, has anyone, especially from the Coalition ranks, ever thought what their founding father, Sir Robert Menzies must be thinking?

I can still remember his famous catch cry of “Reds under the beds”, which he used with great success against the Labor party in the 1950s.

Today it seems that Menzies’ all powerful quotation has been the genesis of the modern day three-word jingles so aptly used by his successors today. 

And it seems that the “Reds” have now come from under and are now firmly ensconced our beds.

Ah, so much for Menzies, beds or history; today it’s simply called business.

David Barrow, Merewether

Political blame game

I LISTENED to an interview with Treasurer Morrison recently and for half the time he was talking about and blaming Labor for the country’s debt.

After more than four years in power and a second term government that is quite extraordinary.

Under the LNP the country’s debt has more than doubled and we have now breached half a trillion dollars debt. The debt has grown faster than at any other time in our nation’s history and he still blames Labor.

They have more than doubled the debt in just over half the time and they tell us that the debt is falling. They have not had a GFC to deal with, as Labor did.

The Treasurer now talks about good and bad debt but castigated Labor when they did similar.

He talks about building roads and train lines and airports and that is infrastructure debt and that is good debt. He is correct, now. However we have all this debt yet not a single road, airport, train track, hospital or school has been built. 

When a government has been in power for as long as the LNP and still blames the previous government you know they are a desperate rabble and the majority of Australians are not that dumb to fall for it, we do not believe them anymore

Joe Roskell, Charlestown


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