Long time coming but a joyous day for all

MOMENTOUS: Magda Szubanski embraces Senator Penny Wong after the vote on the Marriage Amendment Bill at Parliament House on Thursday. Picture: Alex EllinghausenTHE passing of the Marriage Amendment Bill on Thursday was a long time coming but perhaps better late than never.

There have been negatives asserted along the way and it astounds me that church leaders are protesting same-sex marriage to protect religious freedoms when some in their organisations ignored the rights of children who have been molested by members of the clergy.

The threat to heterosexual marriage is not same-sex marriage but more probably the failure of two imperfect humans often resulting in violence or verbal abuse.

Then there’s Tony Abbott. Still pursuing his own personal agenda and certainly not acting on behalf of his electorate who overwhelmingly voted ‘yes’ in the plebiscite.

When the members of the chamber sang I am, you are, we are Australianthat spoke volumes to me. A joyous day for all Australians.

Congratulations to the House of Reps for passing the bill. Now let’s all move forward.

Denise Lindus Trummel,MayfieldPROTECT THE CORRIDORIN my opinion, the Greater Newcastle Transport Plan, a high level, long term plan, emphatically does not meet the commitments placed on the government by council in resolutionof October 13, 2016.

Achievement of these commitments was intended to assure council that theextreme traffic congestion, longer less reliable journey times and severe disruption to business arising from trams in Hunter Street, predicted by Document 71, would be overcome.

It would be disturbing if councillors think that the plan willmeet those commitmentsandthat they can proceed happily to rezone the corridor, without provision for light rail on that corridor.

The planemphasises protectingtransport corridors for the future.

We still have a very effective rail transport corridorand councilis in the unique position to protect that corridor.

All council has to donext Tuesdayis retainthe zoning SP2 Infrastructure Rail, not for the entire corridorbut for a strip 10 metres wide which will be sufficient to enable two rail tracks to operate. For that one third of the corridor where it may be necessary to run tracks under buildings, zone to require any buildings to be constructed to enable light rail vehicles to run underneath.

Alan Squire,Convenor, Hunter Transport for Business DevelopmentDRIVING THROUGH SPINIT’S little wonder James Warburton wants to thank Newcastle (‘Supercars thanks ‘amazing’ Newcastle’, Newcastle Herald,5/12). Supercars have had the exclusive use of Newcastle parks for three months, using our parks as storage for their race infrastructure. This is a private company that made a fortune out of the race at the expense of Newcastle’s parks and trees. They even brought their own contractors in to both build the infrastructure and operate the food outlets.

To make matters worse, I thinkthey are treating us with contempt by repeating this myth of 190,000 people attending the event.

For the Newcastle event, I understand a minimum of 10,000 tickets per day, 30,000 in total were given to residents and businesses – six per day to most households and up to 10 to businesses. How many other tickets were given away? The question James Warburton needs to answer is how many people actually paid for tickets?

A previous audit of the event in the ACT estimates their attendance of 152,000 over three days equates to 77,000 individual spectators through the gate when taking into account the number of people who bought three day tickets. Added to this we had Jimmy Barnes to boost sales.

If we are to have a real cost benefit analysis of the race let’s make sure we don’t get conned by these expert spin masters. Let’s have some true independently analysed figures, then we can decide if the hype matches the reality.

I believe our lord mayor needs to give us our parks back, stop listening to the spin, start doing what is best for all Newcastle and not be blinded by extravaganza and fancy ratepayer-funded lunches.

John Hudson, Newcastle EastNO SHELTER THROUGH PRAYERDON Wilson’s account of how his church was establishedstates good reason why it didn’t pay tax. Itcertainly has merit in this circumstance, with most small congregations being the same (Letters, 8/12).

However this doesn’t excuse the larger corporations, and l use the wording corporations because that is exactly what they are, knowing they rank in the higher level of the most wealthy organisations.

If all churches both large and small submit a loss and profit balance sheet, showing no accumulation of wealth or profit, they like every one else, do not have to pay tax.

I believe we have advanced past the reason of not taxing God and his servants as being ungodly, and if they wish to be seen as a pillar of society, they can start supporting society. Not only spiritually, but also financially. Praying does not provide food, shelter, and the necessities of life, never has, never will. Money from taxation is the key to the survival of society, and churches should pay and play their part.

Carl Stevenson,Dora CreekWHAT A HUGE WASTEAFTER watching federal parliament turn into a theatrical melodrama I wonder in which direction Australia is heading.

Allow me to explain, first there was the academy award performance from Brandis then there was the marriage proposal yelled from the floor of the house.

Add to this the plebiscite that cost $122 million– a total waste of money, our pollies should have had enough intestinal fortitude to vote on it themselves.

I wonder what they would have said if the vote was negative? Lots of self congratulatory pats on the backs from everybody involved in it. What about all the pointless money spent on advertising the marriage equality plebiscite? Wouldn’t it have been better to spend all that wasted money on more child protection officers or build houses for homeless Australians both young and old?

Australian values really are veering the wrong way. When all this self indulgent rubbish is over maybe a thought could be spared for hungry homeless children.

Nick Ryder,BooragulLETTER OF THE WEEKTheHeraldpen goes to Don Wilson for his letter about the Sandgate church.

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