Letters to the editor June 11 2018

OFF THE RAILS: Reader Robert Morris compares the train service between Sydney and Newcastle to something from the developing world. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
OFF THE RAILS: Reader Robert Morris compares the train service between Sydney and Newcastle to something from the developing world. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

I KNOW it's like flogging a dead horse but I would like to have a say about the state of the train service between Sydney and Newcastle. The 10.45am train trip to Newcastle today (Friday) was like a third world experience.

The suburban train used was totally unsuitable for the 3 hour trip. Many passengers had large suitcases and there was no suitable provision for this type of luggage so vacant seats needed to be used. Added to this, there was no working toilet on the entire four-carriage train. Thank goodness the train staff were considerate enough to allow passengers enough time to leave the train at Morisset to use the facilities there. 

If I was a visitor, Australian or from overseas, I would be very unimpressed. Gladys, judging from the comments made by the other passengers in our carriage, you're not doing yourself any favours. 

Robert Morris, Clarence Town

CREDIT WHERE IT IS DUE

ALL that survivors of institutional abuse have ever asked for is justice. Access to the justice system is essential and has been effectively denied to survivors up until now. The Ellis defence has been a big part of this. 

I want to acknowledge all of the survivors who at great personal cost have shared their pain with the Australian community through the royal commission. Without them, the wonderful work of the commission and the opportunity for the NSW government to take up the challenge to reform access to justice in this state would not have come about. 

I also acknowledge the proactive stance of the NSW government. In 2014, the government announced guidelines for responding to survivors who had been harmed in state care which reversed decades of adversarial persecution of those who had the temerity to come forward.

In 2016, it acted to remove time bars on claims by survivors and now in 2018, it has acted promptly to join the National Redress Scheme and implement the key legislative reforms mandated by the overwhelming evidence before the royal commission that institutions such as the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, and to a lesser extent parts of the Anglican Church, the Uniting Church, the Salvation Army and other institutions have used and continue to use legislative barriers to deny justice to survivors while at the same time brazenly denying the need for legislative reform. 

It would be remiss of me not to give credit to those institutions, and there have been many of them (including the NSW government itself and some of the constituent entities of the Catholic Church such as the Marist Brothers and the Christian Brothers) who have adopted a compassionate, just approach to survivors and who have eschewed the archaic and immoral technical legal defences that may have been available to them. The leadership of these organisations is to be applauded. 

As the Ellis defence is confined to the annals of legal history, we can look forward to a society in which child protection and accountability of those who take the sacred trust of caring for children are given their rightful prominence. 

John Ellis, Sydney

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

ON THE matter of parking (“Parking ‘reality’ sinks in for traders”, Herald 9/6): we go into the beach a few times a week at about 5:30am. There’s never a problem getting a park, and it usually takes about 15 minutes from our home at Mayfield.

On a couple of occasions, we made it later and ended up accidentally going down King Street. What a mistake! More than 30 minutes in a weird traffic jam to get from around Perkins Street to Darby Street traffic lights. That’s crazy! No matter how much you want to say “city”, Newcastle isn’t Sydney or Melbourne or even Geelong. There shouldn’t be a half-hour traffic jam.

Kelly Gamage, Mayfield

IT TAKES TIME TO FIX POWER

REGARDING the Tomago Aluminium article (“Grid crisis”, Herald 9/6): if the grid only had coal-fired power stations for power production, blackouts on the grid would have been a certainty last week. The instantaneous loss of huge amounts of generation from the coal-fired power stations would have taken too long for other operating coal-fired power stations to make up the grid’s large loss of power given it takes many hours to get the stations’ boilers to increase their steam output to the required level to drive increased output. I believe the saving grace for the grid from the coal-fired power stations’ loss of generation was the Australian Energy Market Operator was able to have huge amounts of power come on the grid in minutes from hydro generation power stations and the starting up of gas-fired generators, as well as Tomago Aluminium smelter reducing its power taken from the grid.

Agner Sorensen, Teralba

BOTH SIDES BLAME THE OTHER

"ANTI-coal advocates will likely paint this week’s power shortage as an example of the problems with coal fired power but the parties in this situation say this is not the case, as it’s the amount of power available, not the way that it’s generated, that is the issue here" (“Grid crisis”, Herald 9/6)

And yet if it was caused by renewables, pro-coal activists would blame the way it was generated. It absolutely goes back to the reliability of the generation. The old coal power stations are failing and renewable energy will be a major part of the replacement to ensure greater reliability, mostly due to cost drivers.

Matt Mead, Cardiff

JUDGE NOT LEST YE BE JUDGED

WHAT A disgrace to religious people and protectors of human life these anti-abortion protesters are. They should be ashamed of religion and the suffering it has inflicted on humanity. Anyone who stands for God, who ever he is, should not judge others while turning a blind eye to the mistreatment and horrific abuse of children in the name of a fictitious being. Barnaby Joyce’s support for emotive zealots must be the last straw. Hang it up, Barny, you have got to go.

Steve Barnett, Fingal Bay

 CURTAINS ON NIGHTS OUT

I WILL not go into town until the roads are re-opened as it is a nightmare. I used to go into town with the family on occasion but now I look elsewhere. I cannot be bothered looking for a park. The Civic Theatre area is the worst, and it takes the edge of a good night if you can't park.

Dianne Fisher, Belmont North

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