Letters to the editor Friday February 23 2018

Rage: There was a huge turnout of angry public transport users at a meeting calling for a review of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie's new bus timetable on Monday night.
Rage: There was a huge turnout of angry public transport users at a meeting calling for a review of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie's new bus timetable on Monday night.

THE huge number of protesters demonstrating against a dysfunctional public transport system at Belmont 16s on Monday (‘Bus anger at boiling point’, Newcastle Herald, 20/2) would normally come with an expectation of prompt recognition that a serious problem exists in our Hunter transport system.

However, these concerned citizens must recognise that they are dealing with a government with a long history of throwing governance procedures out with the bathwater. Contempt for the electorate's view seems to have become the norm as protest is accepted by government representatives with abject contempt.

In days of old before 2012, there existed a relationship between government and the electorate based on mutual respect and recognised procedure. When thousands of people marched through Newcastle, it was inconceivable that a responsible government would continue with clear public disapproval to continue with developer-driven demands to destroy our rail connection with Sydney and the wider Hunter Valley.

But they did.

These government representatives have been confidently arrogant and dismissive of the views of Hunter citizens because the numbers tell them the Hunter electorate can be easily eclipsed by the Sydney electorate. However, even Sydney is seriously realising that this government's contemptuous arrogance is intolerable. The day of reckoning is fast approaching. 

George Paris, Rathmines


I’M hoping Barnaby Joyce stays as the Nationals leader. The Nationals deserve Barnaby. With our regions experiencing lower employment, higher suicides and lower school and hospital performance, Barnaby is just the man to lead them to oblivion. As well as Barnaby, the Nats have 'comedian' George Christensen. He's been reported to the federal police for his pathetic take on a Dirty Harry movie. This man is a perfect fit as Barnaby's 'comic' relief.

Mr Christensen timed his little Greens 'joke' to coincide with another appalling gun massacre in the US. It seems the National Party not only has a death wish for themselves, they seem hellbent on taking the Liberals into the political desert with them.

Australians voted for Mr Christensen, and the National Party voted Barnaby Joyce to lead them. This is truly a marriage made in hell and punters are voting with their feet as Labor picks up a six per cent swing in the polls. They did nothing to deserve the swing except sit in the audience and watch the Coalition Comedy Show roll on.

John Butler, Windella Downs


MARK Fitzgibbon, managing director of NIB health insurance, proudly published how he helped support public hospitals by paying for 24,000 private patient admissions to public hospitals in just half a year (‘Growth despite ‘soft market’ for insurance’, Herald, 20/2).

Hold on, am l missing something here? I thought private cover was to direct patients to private hospitals, not to take priority at public ones. Waiting time at public hospitals is the number one problem, not money saved. Considering the growing wealth of private commission agents, l reckon they should put this money to better use and build more private hospitals. I find it hard to believe Mark has the gall to make such a statement.

Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek


JOEL Fitzgibbon's article (‘Restoring trust the only hope for fragile deal’, Herald, 21/2) makes interesting reading, as it demonstrates how greed and management supervision by state governments are combining to ruin the Murray-Darling river system. This system is a national asset and as such does not belong to any state government.

The states, leftovers from a colonial past, do not have a good record at managing anything, not even the money they get for selling of assets such as the Port of Newcastle or royalties they receive from the miners who will leave the community with more than just a dust problem. But national assets such as the Murray Darling River system should be managed by one authority: the Commonwealth government.

Even that would be no guarantee the basin would be well managed, but at least there would only be one authority to blame when things went wrong. Scientists have identified the volume of water that the whole river system needs to survive environmentally and just how much water can be extracted for irrigation. The management of water extraction must be equitable for irrigators in the whole river system.

We need to have a river management system that is environmentally sustainable, as well as financially viable for the whole system, and the whole system needs to be well managed by a single authority. Let the Commonwealth manage this national asset.

Bob Kear, Charlestown


WITH all the hyperbole surrounding Barnaby and his bedroom shenanigans, heaven forbid, he wasn’t the first and he won’t be the last to be caught out. 

History is littered with accounts of bedroom infidelity, especially at the very top of social strata. 

Why, didn’t one of our prime ministers wake up one morning in a hotel room in America, minus his pants? What we the public are fed up with is the lies, deceit and suggestions of backroom “skulduggery” of this particular affair, and the Deputy Prime Minister and Ms Campion surely had to know what the fallout would be if and when the affair surfaced. It had to at some time. So, as it stands at the moment, Barnaby and his issues are keeping a large portion of the Australian public entranced.

David Barrow, Merewether


ON Sunday around 10.20am, we went to the Newcastle interchange to catch the loop bus. It was very hot, so we took shelter in the shade at the front of the interchange. After a few minutes, a 110 bus came along, only to go straight past into Honeysuckle Drive.

We took this to mean that we should have been standing at the bus stop, so we went and stood in the heat. After around 15 minutes another 110 dropped passengers off at the front of the bus stop, and then stopped halfway along. The driver took a book out and read for 10 minutes before moving to us and other passengers. Could he not have let us on earlier instead of letting us fry?

Derek Thompson, Wickham


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