Letters to the editor: May 18, 2018

CRITICAL: Reader John Butler argues the Coalition's budget hit against the national broadcaster seems geared towards hampering its ability to question the government.
CRITICAL: Reader John Butler argues the Coalition's budget hit against the national broadcaster seems geared towards hampering its ability to question the government.

THE Coalition appears to be running another vendetta - not to protect the trusted banks, but to cripple our national broadcaster. The broadcaster that dared to question the Abbott government. Tony's answer - no Coalition MPs to talk to the ABC.

The ABC now challenges Mr Turnbull, and his answer is seemingly to cripple the ABC with cost cutting. In my opinion it looks like the Coalition wants to silence all critics, and who could blame them?

The polls are stubbornly placing Labor in election-winning mode. I believe the guise of ABC cost cutting is a sly, underhanded backstab into our great Australian broadcaster who won't stop questioning a government that aggressively supported the banks while they ripped off millions from ordinary Australians. The Coalition now wants to cut taxes for banks! 

If government was serious about cost cutting, they would raise the GST and Medicare levy. But no, it's much easier to instead attack our ABC. 

I predict the blowback will be worse than when they were protecting the banks.

John Butler, Windella Downs

FORGING SOMETHING NEW

MIKE Sargent's suggestion that the ex-BHP land could have other usages (Letters 11/5) has merit, and it’s about time something happened. How long has it  been sitting idle? More than 20 years.

That’s 20 years in which it could have been developed into park land and sporting fields, including a new entertainment centre with enough parking. Even the roadway could be designed for a quick conversion to a car race circuit, with cross-overs allowing the other sporting fixtures to operate at the same time.

The BHP shipping wharf would make a great place for a cruise ship terminal, and it could even host a four-lane highway in three directions for traffic dispersion. Albert Park, although very well used, would not even compare. Or will we wait another 20 years saying what should have been?

Come on, Newcastle City Council, and rethink your wish list (‘Light rail, art gallery on council’s wish list’, Newcastle Herald, 15/5). The $20 million for an art gallery that very few would use could instead go a long way planting trees, grass, and fixtures that every one would use. 

Take a drive up King Edward Park at weekends to see how much people need and use a bit of nature. Imagine the same, ten times as big, with parking no problem and thousands enjoying themselves. It sounds far better than a cold, boring art gallery.

Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek

HARD LOOK AT TESTING TIMES

TEACHER John Venegas’s approach to NAPLAN provides his students with an excellent, practical lesson in cognitive dissonance (‘Students tackling NAPLAN keep their eyes on end of test prize’, Herald, 14/5). His stated aim to “lessen the hype” around NAPLAN is somewhat at odds with the approach.  Inviting students to bring trauma bears to the test and planning a party to say “we made it through this” is lessening the hype? In my opinion that is an exercise in mental gymnastics that would defy the greatest of philosophers.

NAPLAN is a diagnostic tool. A poor one that has been poorly implemented, but it has no bearing on Year 5 students’ school grades. It is a non-event in the grand scheme of things. If you ask me, schools that make a big deal out of nothing have nobody but themselves to blame when they complain about its impact on their students.

Scott Hillard, New Lambton 

A MEATY BIT OF PRAISE

NEARLY 22 years ago I was diagnosed with a form of motor neurone disease called Kennedy's Disease, a slow progression with the same symptoms - weakness in arms, legs and in swallowing.

On Thursday May 10, while eating dinner, I swallowed a piece of pork chop that got caught in my wind pipe. I remember my wife saying she would phone an ambulance.

I came to after the paramedics resuscitated me with a bag and forceps down my throat to retrieve the pork from my wind pipe. To the paramedics, the staff and doctors in the John Hunter Hospital:  thank you. A very, very big thank you to the paramedics who saved my life. I can’t thank you enough for your expertise and bringing me back to life. I have come to realise when asked “are you allergic to anything?” my answer has changed from a simple no to “yes, pork chops”. Once again to all concerned, especially my wife, thank you for bringing me back from the dead. 

Alistair Fyfe, Warners Bay

DON’T LET IT GO TO DOGS

I JUST saw a news report this evening showing the official opening of Speers Point Foreshore Park for dogs (‘Release the hounds in safety at new fenced pooch playground’, Herald, 17/5).

I’m a dog lover and love that they have somewhere leash free to run, but it’s disappointing that at Toronto they are taking away our foreshore area for commercial development so that children are restricted with the amount of free area to run, let alone dogs. Toronto has the least foreshore park among Lake Macquarie towns. 

As much as I love dogs, the residents of Toronto deserve foreshore access.

Sue Jansson, Toronto 

A HISTORY OF NON-VIOLENCE

JOHN Queripel is correct (Letters 16/5).  We should consider China’s actions and intentions in historical context   

If we accept that behaviour is a guide to future behaviour, it is worth noting China’s near-consistent lack of territorial ambition over two millennia.

China has taken aggressive action to protect its borders, particularly along the Indian subcontinent, and Genghis Khan and his successors wreaked havoc during the thirteenth century, principally to gain control of trade routes - and without occupying the conquered territories. 

China has shown no evidence that it covets Western Europe, the Russias, Africa, the Americas or our region.  In fact, the borders of China have barely changed and China has not colonised any external territories (their right to Taiwan is a separate issue).  In contrast, over recent centuries European nations such as Britain, France, Spain, The Netherlands, Belgium and France have conquered, exploited, enslaved and impoverished peoples across the globe.  

Much of the current unrest and violence in the Middle East and South-East Asia can be traced back to territorial decisions made by European colonisers in earlier times.

John Ure, Mount Hutton

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