WITH his call for the abolition of state governments (Letters, 7/11) Eric Roach presents an excellent case for a civics program in schools. The federal government exists at the pleasure of the sovereign states, not the other way around. In the past few decades, state governments have proven the least intrusive when it comes to the lives of private citizens.
Compare and contrast with federal government and local councils, who seem to have little to do but dream up new ways of meddling in things that are none of their business.
Bloated and inefficient local councils should be the first in the cross-hairs.
Scott Hillard, New Lambton
INDUSTRY COMES SECOND
THE editorial "Union call for orderly power transition" (Newcastle Herald, 30/10) was an insightful comment on the subject, but it received no comment from readers. Why?
This was disappointing considering the obvious truth of the comments. For example, pointing out how wise Labor was in the past in helping workers who lost jobs in industry transition. That compares to a Coalition government that only wanted to reduce power prices and ignore evil carbon emissions. It was made clear that the shift to renewables was the greater good to save humanity and the planet from being "ravaged" by runaway climate change.
The power industry is already doing their bit. Vales Point station is developing a 45-megawatt solar farm on site (‘Green lights’, Herald, 5/11). If they do that every year, after about 100 years the solar output should match the 1320 megawatts of Vales Point’s thermal output. I can't wait.
The Coalition government should listen to what Australians are saying: save power station jobs by closing down those smoking dinosaurs as soon as possible, replace them with clean renewables and save the planet and humanity.
Peter Devey, Merewether
TIME TO STOP THE RACE
“EUTHANISED”, “put down”, “put out of his misery”. All these polite terms to disguise the fact that the stallion Cliffs of Moher was killed after suffering a fractured right shoulder during the Melbourne Cup.
This was a totally needless death, yet another example of animals suffering to amuse often intoxicated punters. Before they've even finished maturing, these 500-kilogram animals are forced to race at breakneck speeds while being whipped and pushed past their limits, supported on ankles as small as those of humans.
Cliffs of Moher was the sixth horse to die due to the Melbourne Cup since 2013. Two other horses were found to be lame after the race, another suffered lacerations after crashing into Cliffs of Moher, and a fourth horse suffered an internal bleed.
Of course, horses die at lower-profile racing events all the time: during the last racing year 119 were pronounced dead on Australian tracks.
That’s one animal every three days. They die of cardiac arrest, haemorrhaging, ruptured aortas and broken necks, legs, or pelvises. That’s without mentioning the thousands of horses bred for the industry who don’t make the grade and are abandoned, neglected or sent to slaughter.
Considering Australians hate cruelty to animals, a race in which horses routinely die is fundamentally un-Australian. While public holidays give Aussies a break, horses are breaking legs. It’s time for the nation to stop the race.
Desmond Bellamy, PETA Australia special projects co-ordinator
WET STILL HAUNTS WICKHAM
IN REPLY to Mick Porter (Short Takes, 7/11) who was responding to my recent piece disagreeing that Wickham is suitable for high-rise residential due to its inability to stop sea water from back flowing through the drainage system and flooding various parts of Wickham and Maryville (Letters, 3/11).
Having spoken to a former Newcastle council health inspector, he reassured my concerns. His job was to visit these places that flooded and make sure a potential health hazard was avoided by instructing ways for these properties to have the land sloped so water could fall back towards the street gutter and ultimately the harbour when tides receded.
This person also agreed that many shallow mine shafts honeycombed parts of Wickham, with one only 10 metres below the surface. When grouting took place, these tunnels were already filled with water.
My concerns are that many parts of these mine workings potentially missed out on the grout and are still full of water.
The person who replied to my original piece, if a builder as quoted, should know the basic rules of having the need of a good, and permanent building foundation. In my view this is not always possible, simply because Wickham is still below sea level during a king tide.
This former health inspector also mentioned various serious unimaginable health hazards that were created by this stagnant water under and around these houses, and reason why Railway Street and its surrounds was, and probably still is, only suitable for commercial buildings as is at present.
If these warehouses give way to residential living, l believe it would need an explanation from council as to why, or what has changed, to guarantee a health hazard doesn't re-emerge.
I am sure if the Herald were to search its records of king tidal problems in Wickham, they will see photos of children playing, swimming, and paddling down various streets.
Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek
WE DIDN’T LEARN LESSONS
IN DEFENCE of my post (Letters, 31/10) critiqued by Ian Roach (Letters, 7/11) I would make two points.
First: having worked and raised a family in the “bad” old days and having my sons doing it now in the “good” times, I have something to compare with. While it wasn’t easy back then it was accepted as the norm. There was the opportunity for the majority to have constant full time work, get a bank loan, build a house and raise kids.
There was no whinging about our taxes looking after our parents.
Second: now after having had years of gaining knowledge, medical and engineering advances and a heap of past mistakes to learn from, when you have a realistic look at where we are now and all that has been exposed in recent royal commissions and by ICAC, it is quite obvious that we have learned nothing.
Considering what we have at our disposal to remedy past wrongs, I think it can be safely said we are going backwards. I would say it depends on how realistically you look at the situation, on who is wearing the rose coloured glasses.