I RECEIVED my rate notice this week and wept. Tucked inside the same envelope, was a pretty flyer telling me that "City of Newcastle is leading the transformation to the next generation of smarter living..."
That sounds inspiring, even though I'm not quite sure what it means, and maybe the claim is valid for the inner city. Out here in the wilds of Merewether, though, the scene is not so rosy.
Foolishly, I thought a priority for council spending was road and footpath maintenance. Obviously I'm wrong. Recently, my only means of independent transport has become a mobility scooter. The law says I must ride it on the footpath. If only!
The footpaths within the range of my scooter, are an absolute nightmare. No two adjoining sections of pathway are on the same level. There are cracks and holes every few metres, and in some cases there are no paths at all. It's really quite scary bumping along, wondering which section of path is going to overturn me. Good luck to the next generation. My immediate concern is for my generation, selfish though that may sound, but where I live there are several scooter folks, and we want to make it there and back in one piece when we take to the footpaths.
Ruth McFayden, Merewether
UNDESERVED MUD STICKS
WHAT a spectacular own goal from a meretricious Murdoch publication (Daily Telegraph 8/5). In my opinion this journalist has attempted to embarrass opposition leader Bill Shorten through an article about his deceased mother. Think what you like about Bill Shorten and Labor, but he doesn't deserve this.
I believe the writer gave Bill Shorten a platform of righteous indignation from which his detractors can see the real Bill, the family man who still loves and mourns his mother and who believes in and is dedicated to a fair go far all through his admiration of this remarkable, intelligent woman.
Secondly, I believe the piece dragged the Telegraph's brand through deeper mud. What a wretched exercise in sophistry.
John Lawton, Belmont
BILL COMES DUE FOR SMEAR
IT is an incredible conclusion that Mr Shorten's narrative on Q&A about his mother tells us he is dishonest and untrustworthy (Daily Telegraph 8/5). However, this far-fetched conclusion does reflect a line of attack used against Mr Shorten by the Liberals and the media outlets that blatantly support them. It's a distraction for the Liberals who are now forced to clean up this distasteful dirty mess.
I believe Mr Shorten's appearance on Q&A tells us that he is an excellent communicator with a face-to-face audience, and the comments about his mother which were cut short by Tony Jones fitted perfectly with the empathetic tone of his presentation.
The whole episode plays perfectly to Labor, with Liberals looking like a desperate mob trying to claw back some credibility in the dying days of their campaign.
John Butler, Windella Downs
CULTURE WARS HAVE VICTIM
AS climate change accelerates, species extinctions explode, native vegetation disappears, the Great Barrier Reef shrivels and the Murray-Darling dies, how does our prime minister try to convince us to vote for him? By promising to cut "green tape" (SMH 7/5). In my opinion the conservatives in this country are no longer merely apathetic about our environment; they are now actively hostile towards it. Why? Because their hatred and fear of the "green" left apparently outweighs all other considerations.
For them, environmental issues don't present a challenge to be met with courage and leadership, but an opportunity to thwart and enrage their enemies. The stronger and more irresistible the case for change becomes, the more they lash out in anger and confusion. In other words, it's become personal and therefore very dangerous.
Michael Hinchey, New Lambton
CLIMATE INACTION ON SHOW
THERE is a prime example of political inaction towards the voters for all to see.
After World War II there was a baby boom. When these baby boomers start to retire, there will be a need for increased funding to pay for their pension. So, for the last 65 years, what have the politicians form all parties done? Nothing, because each and every one thought that they would leave it for future governments to solve the problem while they got the benefits from baby boomers' spending plus revenue from taxes.
Mind you, when they woke up to the fact that their pensions could be affected they soon started a super fund to make sure their pension is well funded. Why do I bring this up? Because if you think of it, they have the very same attitude towards climate change. That is, to leave it for someone else to sort out while we run out of time to make an orderly transition towards renewables.
It is my fervent hope that after the election we see a change and see Bill Shorten become PM to kick-start us to action on climate change. If we get another three years of inaction, that will mean that any change will have to be rushed in and drastic mistakes made simply because we are running out of time. The one big asset is the up and coming generation, as they seem to have developed a better backbone to get this done than any of our generations ever had.
Les Woodard, Beresfield
CREDIT WHERE IT'S OWED
IT seems John Davies (Letters 8/5) confuses franking credits with excess franking credits and confuses us, just as he does with mislabelling Industry super funds as church and union funds. They aren't. Half their boards are appointed by employers and the other half by employees.
Everyone, individuals, all retirees and entities - retail, industry and self-managed funds - will continue to receive franking credits. No-one will get excess franking credits (gift), a tiny minority paying no tax yet sucking in $6 billion and growing in annual tax refunds. It's up to $83,000 each in some cases, and that's on top of their share dividends that generated this $83,000 refund in the first place.
Mr Davies, Bill Shorten did not say he feels no remorse about low-income retirees. Shorten did say two minutes worth of gift could be used to fund a knee replacement operation, 10 minutes worth would pay a nurse's salary for a year, and one hour's worth would fund a hospital for a year. Let's work that out for a year.