I WAS rather bemused whilst reading Jeff Corbett’s weekly opinion post on Saturday (‘Nothing to shout about’, Opinion 3/11).
As I worked my way through it, there were many statements that didn’t read true to my beliefs of the present. It was only at the conclusion of the article, that everything fell into place with the disclosure that it was a previous comment from August 2011.
Things have changed since that time. Recent statistics have the largest consumers of alcohol being from older generations. Also, within my circle of family and friends at least, having an alcoholic drink with a meal is the norm.
If Jeff’s account at the time was accurate, and I’m not suggesting that it wasn’t, Newcastle, and indeed Australia, may have gone through quite a change in that period of time.
Michael Stevenson, Warners Bay
THE WORLD WAS OUR OYSTER
I REMEMBER a time when I was younger, so much younger than today, when as the trains pulled into Hawkesbury River station the oyster man would stand on the platform crying out, selling thin glass bottles sealed with a cork and containing the local product (‘Aw, shucks, oysters are back on the menu’, Newcastle Herald 3/11).
We would rarely buy bottled oysters. Instead, Dad and I would head down to the railway line alongside Brisbane Water at Gosford and knock off the oysters, which Mum would batter for Sunday dinner.
Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook
ADVANCED AUSTRALIA IS FAIR
ALAN Metcalf (Letters 30/10) and Allan Earl (Letters 31/10) have written thoughtful critiques of my letter of October 26, which claimed that the good old days were not very good.
I believe I made it quite clear that I do not consider the present day to be free from problems and I accept that most of the ills that I listed from the past are still with us to some extent. For example my critics are concerned about alcohol fuelled violence and false advertising, and so they should be.
Statistics that I have seen show that there is a downward trend in nearly every category of crime including violent crime, and the per capita consumption of alcohol has been declining for many years. So, bad as things are, they used to be worse.
We now have laws against false or misleading advertising. There have been many successful prosecutions, and some very large fines have resulted so things are heading in the right direction.
These are just two examples. I believe the rose-coloured glasses are on the noses of those who believe that 60 years ago there was a golden age where most things were far better than they are today.
Ian Roach, New Lambton
WE’VE BEEN CLICKED FOR SIX
WHAT? I have to pay to watch cricket on the telly? In Australia? Liberal minister Mitch Fifield is responsible for this. He's sold out the cricket loving public to his corporate master Rupert Murdoch. Presumably for thirty pieces of silver. Please can we call a federal election right now so we can be rid of these big business lap dogs?
John Lawton, Belmont
FUELLING A POWER CHANGE
THE RenewEconomy website reports Australia’s chief scientist, Alan Finkel, the CSIRO and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), are working on the emerging opportunities for Australia to produce hydrogen fuel using our enormous potential for wind and solar power.
The fuel could be produced when excess renewable energy was available, liquefied and stored. It could then be used locally to supplement renewables when required, or exported to countries like Japan, China and Korea. Japan, keen to close down their nuclear power plants and reduce their dependence on coal, but lacking renewable potential, is seen as the key customer.
Up to 10 per cent hydrogen can be simply added to our existing natural gas networks, and I understand a five-year trial of this is planned to commence in 2020. It is estimated this could lead to exports worth up to $1.7 billion to Australia by 2030. Hydrogen produces only water vapour and energy when burned. It is worth a read.
Richard Mallaby, Wangi Wangi
CONCERNS BUBBLE ALONG
I CAN’T help comparing reports of treatment of the public by two councils. Concerned citizens at a Newcastle council meeting re car spaces for the Regal Cinema were treated with the utmost courtesy and respect, having exceeded the amount of space for the public in the gallery. Many were late because of the lack of parking space in the city.
Lake Macquarie council citizens were allegedly not so lucky in their attempts to be heard about plans for Toronto Foreshore. Is the Canberra “bubble” method of government spreading to the other two tiers of government in Australia where people are beginning to feel their votes not their voices are more important ?
June Porter, Warners Bay
IT’S INDEPENDENTS’ DAY
WHILE parties ponder the ramifications of the Wentworth by-election and the rise and rise of good independent candidates, it appears Lake Macquarie councillors push ahead with the Bath Street high-rise development.
This local development may seem small when compared with climate change and kids on Nauru, but the basic issue is the same: the elected representatives are not listening to the people, and they are then deciding that they know best when all the time the people in big numbers are saying ‘no’. I would suggest that Lake Macquarie councillors take note of what happened in Wentworth and, at the same time, reflect on what happened when the NSW Labor Party tried to put a coal mine in Awaba. The voters from this area turned a safe Labor seat into an independent seat, and it has stayed that way ever since.
This community has shown that we willingly vote for good independents when we are ignored by the mainstream parties.
Henry Wellsmore, Carey Bay
A STATE OF OVER-GOVERNING
THE article (‘Councils feel cost shifting’, Herald 2/11) seems a perfect illustration of how we are over-governed in Australia.
If only we could eliminate State Governments and move to a two-tiered system, much of the cost shifting that is now enforced would be eliminated with only two parties "sharing the pie" instead of three. Of course this is "pie in the sky" as State Governments are not going to vote themselves out of a job. I believe this is what is called Empire Building.
Eric Roach, Croudace Bay
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