I AM appalled at the significant changes to our local high school buses. My son attends Callaghan College, Wallsend and is “in zone”, yet has to wait 35 minutes after school finishes to catch a public bus home. School finishes at 1.30pm on a Friday and yet he must wait until 3.35pm for the bus. Prior to the recent changes there was a bus provided shortly after finishing their school days. I do wonder if this was a different area or school, whether there would have been such significant changes to their bus route.
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Claire Stanners,WallsendCORRECT Jeremy Bath. Newcastle has so much immense potential, as the most Australian destination, it defies belief it is no longer the destination of the nation’s leading trunk rail corridor, taken off global Sydney’s train network, (Weekender, 3/2). Where’s the policy for frequent 90 minute inter-cities, to 21st century-ideal Newcastle station, to tap Sydney’s wealth? Light rail can carry 1200 an hour, not even a train load.

Graeme Tychsen, Rankin ParkBLUE moon? Nonsense! I was reluctant to purchase some brie for the second time in the month in case it turned to blue vein. The moon is made of cheese, isn’t it (according to Trivial Pursuit).

Allan Milgate,ValentineWE were all hoping that the University of Newcastle’s academic Dr Xanthe Mallett was finally going to solve the mystery of the disappearance of the Beaumont children when it was wildly publicised that she was one of the key scientific minds behind the “breakthrough” in the disappearance.Police have now called off the search as a new dig sight yielded nothing. Those involved say they desperately wants to find the missing children so their parents can give them a decent burial but, like so many other false leads in this case, all this new theory did was give the Beaumonts false hope.

Margaret Priest, WallsendBLAISE Joseph and Dr Buckingham (‘It’s time to stop fixating on Finland’s ed system’,Newcastle Herald,31/1), should note that NAPLAN testing takes a full week out of the school year. Losing one week from 40 to 39. That’s not education, that’s a week of exam coaching.So yes, blame NAPLAN.

Peter Devey,MerewetherOH those poor humbugs who couldn’t see the fun side of Ferry McFerryface and its possibilities. It could have been scheduled for the runs to Taronga Park and Luna Park. As a May Gibbs fan for the past 70 years I can see openings for her with the next two ferries off the boards: Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.

Donald Matthews,Fennell BayTHE POLLSDo you agree with the removal of the Lombardy poplar trees on Maitland’s Long bridge?

Yes 50%,No 50%MESSAGEBOARDFIRST aid highlights, a course forparents of children and babies is on at Belmont Neighbourhood Centre on Monday, Feburary 19.Time: 1pm-3pmWhere: 359 Pacific Highway, Belmont North.Cost: $10 per family.Bookings essential. Call 4947 0031.

TO Niko Leka (Short takes, 9/11) –the refugees on Manus broke the law and were costing Australia too much. Too bad the lefties did not have same compassion for many disadvantaged people in Australia.
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Warren Parrey, TelarahTO Niko Leka (Short Takes, 9/11) – I get that you genuinely care deeply for the welfare of the Manus Island asylum seekers but to accuse our government of mass murder is over the top. The asylum seekers have been offered alternatives. If our government caves in to their demands we will, I believe, undoubtedly see the people smugglers back in business with hundreds more deaths at sea. Will those who pushed our government into softening its policies be guilty of mass murder for those deaths?

Dave McTaggart, EdgeworthYES,Tony Cooper (Short Takes, 9/11) –if only Malcolm Turnbull would target the thousands of his supporters who keep the superannuation payments of 2.8 million workers (tax Office figures). In the coming economic crisis, Australia will have to find hundreds of millions for the extra full and part pensions of those who had retirement stolen from their pay packets by greedy employers. If only Malcolm would pursue those thousands with the same effort and disproportionate expense he has of the few in the mostly innocent union movement.

Colin Fordham, LambtonHOW about the Jets. Top of the league. I hope the Knights are paying attention.

Bill Slicer, Tighes HillI HAD the most wonderful lunch with a group of talented, creative, compassionate women recentlyand our conversation turned to the Lisa andKarl issue. Why, we were asking, is she worth 24 per centless than him?.Sorry, but that is not OK. My lovely friends who are doing some of the most important jobs for our community seem to be terminally underpaid. Caring for our disabled and aged for some reason is not as important as some tradie putting an electric eel down your dunny. How do we change this?

Megan Askar, WaratahHAD enough of Manus Island, dualcitizens, yes votesand the Newcastle train issues. Someone send me a blanket. I am moving to Antartica with the penguins. Wake me when Trump has haircut.

Michael Casey, MerewetherI BELIEVE it is high time that the federal member for Port Stephens, Meryl Swanson,took a more aggressive role in defending the residents of Port Stephens in their fight for justice over the ongoing pollution scandal.Although Labor is not in government, she must take the fight right up to Turnbull and his ministers in preparation for the election of a Labor government and the greater responsibilities that will entail for her in the solution of this terrible injustice.

Brian Crooks, SconeSO I might get 25 per cent back of the 100 per centrise of my power bill in the next 10 years? Not good enough Malcolm. I think a class action againstunrealistic bill rises is in order,seeing as Malcolm won’t do anything.

Craig Burden, Hamilton

REGARDING Stockton beach erosion problems (‘Meeting planned to discuss Stockton eroison’, NewcastleHerald,1/11), maybe Simon Jones should arrange to have a car race at Stockton.It seems to get some action in other suburbs plus the parking arrangements have already been organised.
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Graeme Galvin,WarabrookNO passenger drop off zone at Newcastle Interchange? What a failure inplanning not to have a safe place to drop off passengers.

Tim Roberts, NewcastleSO decorations and presents are OK for Christmas (Letters, 1/11)? Surely this is the epitome of commercialisation of a religious holiday. Ask most kids, they probably can’t tell you what Christmas means or that it is a religious holiday. Americans often say Thanksgiving is the best holiday, because the only expectation is that you get together with family and friends to give thanks.

Chris Bench,HamiltonMANY smokers must think their finished cigarette butt must disappear into thin air like their cigarette smoke after they discard them, usually on the pavement, road or a pot plant. It astounds me the amount of you seen doing this, it’s very annoying.

Neil Coutts,Martins CreekMAY well you say “God save the Queen”, because nothing will save an Aussie politician who holds British citizenship.

RichardRyan, Summerland PointCAN anybody tell me who the bright spark was that has allowed six extra car parking spaces to extend towards Whitebridge on the eastern side of Dudley Road on the corner with Bula Street? We now have a situation with anybody turning right into Bula Street from Dudley Road now stopping all traffic headed towards Charlestown. I watched it bank back almost all the way up to the roundabout. Maybe they are preparing the residents for congestion when the new estate opens in Whitebridge. Nah, that would be a conspiracy theory.

Ian Reynolds,ForsterRAY Davidson (Short Takes, 1/11) regarding insurance ads –do as I do when the ad comes on, phone and complain. They might get the message if everyone bugs them.

Tony Cooper,BelmontTHE law is an ass, taking the Constitution on who is an Australian to the Nth degree. People who think they are Australian and never seek benefit from another country and who for years have acted in good faith for Australia are ousted. What a joke, only it’s on us. Common sense? Moral reasons behind words written decades ago ignored. I am sick of the pointless, time and money wasting exercise played out in Parliament.

Betsy Watson, SwanseaTHE POLLSCLOSING Newcastle Grammar for one day during the Supercars race is:

An outrage 36.45%,A storm in a teacup 33.09%,A non-issue30.46%CAN Newcastle learn something from the Baltimore renewal model?

Yes 68.42%,They are unrelated 21.05%,No 10.53%

I WOULD like to know what party thought it a good idea to export water from the driest continent. And with zero day approaching in South Africa I say nobody or no company will take not 1 litre of water away from this land – the people own the water. Now if that ain’t a reason for treason.
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Craig Budden,HamiltonSO Barnaby is slipping back to the backbench with Tony. Will this mean more tantrums in the sandpit now? Who will get the spade and who will get the bucket?

David Quinn,MayfieldCOLIN Geatches, you stated that when Newcastle introduced the lockout laws they were a success and “it worked” (Letters, 21/2), but what are you basing that on? Statistics showed problems for both patrons and publicans became worse after some bright sparks had the genius idea to introduce laws that saw all patrons turfed out onto the street at once, proving the “Newcastle solution” was a solution in name only.

Adz Carter,NewcastleBARNABYJoyce’s greatest enduring legacy may not only be to political history but Australian slang. So and so has done a “Barnaby”

Tony Brown,NewcastleANOTHER good win for the Jets. Not such a great start for the Knights but I’m sure they will have their excuses ready.

Bill Slicer,Tighes HillTO John William Hill (Short Takes, 24/2), glad you agree that thousands of acres of land are taken up by vineyards and thousands more by the horse studs, the biggest gambling industry in the world, and that hundreds of thousands of acres that are used for mining are unsuitable for farming. I think hypocritical Greens and do-gooders encroaching on our every day way of life is far more concerning than a few coalmines encroaching on a few vineyards.

Brad Hill,SingletonTHE most important thing Newcastle needs to do is tidy the place up, it’s disgraceful. The cruise terminal should have been built five years ago. Too much talk almost no action! Wake up. Get out of the stone age.

John Wrightson,HamiltonBARNABY Joyce has no right to sit in parliament. He is an achiever who gets things done, a job creator who works hard to represent the people who voted for him. Barny’s hands don’t shake on pay day unlike the useless self interest mob that wastes our time and future.

Steve Barnett,Fingal BayTHE POLLSWHICH would be your tourism priority?

Stockton 13.42%,Glenrock 4.53%, Foreshore 38.76%,Broadmeadow 13.76%, East End 9.9%,King Edward Park 6.38%,Conference centre 13.26%MESSAGEBOARDA FREEBlackalls Swing Band concert is being held on Tuesday, March 6,atToronto Community Hub, 99 The Boulevarde, Toronto from 2pm.Revive memories of music from the ’50s.Admission: Free. Afternoon tea:$5. Contact:4959 3821.

THEremoval of change rooms at Nobby’s Beach seems to be the latest step in a long line of stupid decisions to discourage people from going into Newcastle.
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Scott Dwyer, Cameron ParkI SUGGESTall families who are using in-homechild care tolook at the effect the new child care subsidywill have onyour care.Can you afford to work after July 1, 2018?

Amanda Johnstone,MayfieldTHEUSA, Cuba, North Korea, Haiti, Somalia, Italy, Serbia are just a few republics we can try to emulate.With Paul Keating as president we could not fail to have the odd revolution. It would only cost a few hundred million dollars to start with and be of no real benefit. Bring it on.

John Maxwell Hollingsworth,HamiltonISJulie Robinson confusing Jesus with Moses(Short Takes, 29/12)? According to some, Joseph (from the line of David) and Mary were betrothed, and the Roman Emperor had decreed a census would be taken, of men only, who had to be counted at the place of their birth.So Joseph had to travel from Bethlehem to Nazareth.He took Mary with him as she was expecting a child.Because of overcrowding in his family home, the couple were allowed to sleep in the barn with the cattle, where Mary gave birth.As Mary and Joseph were not married, would Jesus be illegitimate rather than a refugee?

June Porter, Warners BayTHINGSmust be slow in your shop if you just look at hindquarters all day. It could be worse, they could do a hambone in front of your place, or they could be mutton dressed up as lamb. Don’t be a silly sausage, they can’t all be big heifers.

Gary Edman, Adamstown HeightsIFeveryone is concerned about paedophiles, as I am, is it safer to get changed in the open? I believe not, as privacyis important to all but especially the ageing and the very young.Our beaches in Newcastle are our showpieces and tourist attractions, so perhaps money couldbe spent on these areas in lieu of moving council offices or councillors pay raises.

Denise Lindus Trummel,MayfieldLORDMayor Nuatali Nelmes – listen to the community re Nobby’s change rooms, instead of giving yourself a pay rise.

Michael Casey,MerewetherINreply to Olwyn Edwards (Letters, 2/1). Whilst travelling through a country town, I noticed outside one shop a sign which said ‘Bored Husband’s Seat’. I thought that this little gem could apply to anywhere.

DaphneHughes, MayfieldWITHthe Nobby’s Beach changing facilities the centre of controversy at the moment (‘Hot under the collar’, Herald, 3/1), the public toilet/changing facilities at Merewether Beach should also be added to the mix.The shower/change (if it can be called that) spaces were an afterthought and definitely cannot cater safely during the summer months.How they have missed being complained about in the past is anyone’s guess, but they definitely need being brought into the 21st Century.

David Barrow, Merewether

I THOUGHT these people doing the light rail were only going to close a section at a time. Now they have closed another stating the first should be finished by the end of the year. Light rail will never work we’ve been there, done that with trams. I just hope I wake up soon from this nightmare. C’mon Gladys, incompetence at its best.
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Dash, WaratahBEING a gold member of NIB (joined in 1967) I find the comments by the CEO (‘Hunter fund’s big decade’, Newcastle Herald, 4/11) to be disturbing. I have in the past week made inquiries with another fund to transfer my membership and found I would be better off leaving.

Greg Parrey, AshtonfieldTO Shannon Kemp (Letters, 4/11), I live on the racetrack and I’m neither for nor against it, but get your facts straight. It’s actually 10 weeks a year, sixweeks to set up and fourweeks to dismantle. That’s 70 days per year my friend, not three. Another ill-informed individual.

Tony Padgett, Newcastle EastREGARDING Jeff Corbett’s comment “that’s why our society sneers at unemployment” (‘The failure of success’, Herald, 4/11). Sorry Jeff, you’re off the mark. People just don’t like their hard-earned taxes paying others to sleep in. If they don’t collect welfare, relax under the trees by all means, but not if I’m paying for it.

D. Kirkpatrick, KaruahI WOULDlike to ask Lake Macquarie council have they forgotten all about Hillsborough Road upgrade or are they just blowing smoke up people’s backsides and have no intention of doing anything about it?There’s going to be another death there soon –are you going to take full responsibility for it? Seriously, there are more suburbs in your electorate than Warners Bay and Glendale.

Colin Geatches, MayfieldTHEREare people who mistakenly believe MrShorten is unpopular with the public.I think they prefer not to look at a child star all grown up.So to see Bill in that bus is not the same as when I saw Smiley get a new bike.

Dave Wilson, Bar BeachRe: the Telstra outage in Sydney on Sundayand Monday. If Telstrastopped off-shoring jobs to India and the Philippines, maybe they’d have more qualified staff back in Australia, who could have taken care of the problem more quickly.

David Davies, Blackalls ParkTHE POLLSTHEslow rental price increase is…

Great news! Tenants can finally afford to pay the bills 50%Nothing to worry about 29%Terrible news for investors 21%Message boardTHEBoolaroo Uniting Church community is holding a garage sale fundraiser between 8.30am and 1pm on Saturday, November 11. The event, at 53 Main Road,will feature stalls of craft, cakes, white elephant goods, plants and books.

CAN someone in the know please explain why the rugby league goalposts at Maryland’s Bill Elliott oval were removed, and when (or if) they will be returned? The AFL ones across the road are still there. The season must be due to begin soon, and I assume the Wallsend-Maryland Tigers still exist, and are still intending to play there?
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Jan Caine,MarylandI WAS talking to a mate the other day and I said, they reckon that “taking Sunday penalty rates off hospitality workers did not create any jobs at all”. His reply was “I don’t know about that but the coffee price certainly didn’t come down”. So now I ask what and who were the winners in that exercise?

Fred McInerney, KaruahTHE council wants tourism in Newcastle when at Nobbys beach the seats are very dirty, soft drink spilled over seats and tables; ice cream, ice blocks all over the seats and tables; sticky mess very uncomfortable to sit down. Council supplies the seating and tables, how about the council clean the place? It will help tourism and the general public. Nice place, but dirty.

Alan Ackroyd,HamiltonBILL, Bill, Bill all you have to do is shut up and you’ll win the next election by a mile. Bad enough the last Labor government pushed back my retirement age by two years and you want to abolish negative gearing, which will lower the price of my home, making it harder to get into an over 60’s village. Now you want to abolish tax credits on my very modest share portfolio, which I had hoped would supplement my pension and cover a few crafties each week.

Dave McTaggart,EdgeworthSTREWTH Jeff Corbett (‘Driving rest of us crazy’, Herald,10/3), you had better pack the van and take off to my home town of Hat Head. I know you like the joint despite the barnacle-encrusted old yokels and a 40km/h speed limit.

Steve Barnett,Fingal BayGIVE poor old Jeff Corbett a break. His mostly tongue in cheek articles are hilarious, and he is only giving voice to what most people think anyway. Keep it up Jeff. The wowsers need to take a chill pill!

Tony Morley,WaratahTO Ross Edmonds of Waratah (Letters, 14/3):whilst I do find it irritating that it seems to take a while for the queue of cars to move when the light goes green, I’m happy to take all day in my Honda Prelude to get to where I’m going. The tailgaters can just go around me; that’s what the accelerator is for. And with four-wheel steering, my ‘89 model car is sure to get a 90 degree angle park right every time, the first time.

Bryn Roberts,New LambtonREGARDING beating the big end of town, Darryl Tuckwell, (Short Takes, 14/3). Rugby league runs 26 weeks until the pointy end of it starts. Don’t start doing cartwheels yet, there’s a long way to go, another 25 rounds.

Gary Graham,Raymond TerraceTHE POLLSAREyou surprised bus patronage rose?

LITTER: More needs to be done to clean up the streets of our cities, argues one contributor who had a most unpleasant experience. Picture: Dominic LorrimerLAST week my wife and I travelled into Newcastle to enjoy an evening with friends, stopping in the East End to visit our daughter. We parked our car in Wolfe Street just up from King Street and went to our daughter’s house some 50 metres away.After about half an hour, we returned to our car to find the passenger side window kicked in and my wife’s purse stolen.
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We have learnt a lesson that despite the heavy tinting of the windows and the bag tucked under the seat; we should not have left it. It was, however, 4.30pm with heavy pedestrian traffic and we did not expect such a brazen attack in broad daylight.

At this stage a neighbour advised us that he had seen the offender and immediately rang the police and informed us that the police would be here soon.

After 90 minutes and still no police, I walked in the direction the offender was last seen heading, in the hope he had only taken the cash and had discarded the purse.I travelled down Wolfe Street and ventured into the laneways and pathways that abut the old David Jones building and car park in King Street and what I saw was nothing short of a disgrace. The area is littered with rubbish, evidence of drug use, graffiti and many squats used by the homeless.

East End resident groups and state and local politicians are often arguing about light rail and V8s, infrastructure and events that will only benefit our wonderful city. Why is no one championing the underlying social issue, which is apparent in the East End? Authorities and property owners have an obligation to the broader community to keep property and public space in a satisfactory condition and in my view, they have both failed to meet this obligation.

With rain threatening, a broken window and no police in sight we went home disillusioned with the events of the afternoon.

Garry McLachlan,RedheadBigger and better on wayTHE council has made clear to the Newcastle Herald that a standalone change room for people with mobility challenges (Short Takes, 10/1) and fully accessible toiletwill soon be built at Nobbys, in a substantial enhancement on what was available.

This work will also include a standard parents’ room sized for a parent and theirchildren to change privately. Later a hoist will be installed as part of a lift and change room facility for beachgoers requiring assistance, which will allow them to transition into a beach/water wheelchair if required. Council understands it would have been ideal to have the upgraded public accessible facilities constructed at the time of the refurbished pavilion,but delivery timeframes tied to grant funding prevented this.

Separately, regarding recentsuggestions that a tourist information centre be locatedat the former Newcastle station, Iencourage Herald readers to visit the Newcastle Shop, located in the former cafe at the Newcastle Museum. There is plenty of parking for small and large vehicles, walk-up access from Honeysuckle Drive, freewifi, light cafe facilities and plenty of tourist information. The Newcastle Shop also serves as the head office for the NEW Crew volunteers, the city’s team of specialist visitor guides who promote Newcastle as a leading tourist destination​.

Jeremy Bath, chief executive, Newcastle City CouncilListen to the peopleRECENTLY an academic on the radio said her research into people’s desire for legalisation of euthanasia revealed it was not so much for release from unbearable pain, but loss of dignity,quality of life and being a burden after a life spent onworking hard and giving for the good of Australia.

In the mid 1950s (post war) the government decided to combine the high income tax and the pension tax (the working person’s superannuation tax) to form the PAYE tax, which ended up in consolidated revenue. There was no “nanny state” then, with baby bonus, child allowance, child minding facilities, etc. and 15 per cent upwards for home mortgages if one were eligible – no first home buyers’ allowance, etc. The pill gave women a choice from being “barefoot and pregnant”, but not equality to men. I always earned more than my husband, but that was not even considered when it came to a bank loan – no credit cards then either!

Surely now is a good time for our religious politicians to take note of what the people want and grant them the right to decide when they quit their “ slough of despond”.

June Porter,Warners BayWhat’s there to celebrateAS we near what has become one of the most contentious days in our public holiday calendar “Australia Day”, “should” it be a day of celebration or just another anniversary in our history, but one where we can take stock of where we are now and what have we learned from past mistakes, and what we done to rectify them?

Just two of the many things that are worthy of some thought: First, how well have we done in closing the gap with indigenous Australians? Second, how have we looked after and future proofed our fresh water in this country?We have thrown billions of dollars and held many inquiries into both these objectives, sadly we are no further ahead. Quite shameful really.One could almost say, the way the governments handle these problems it seems they are pursuing Albert Einstein’s theory of insanity.

Allan Earl, ThorntonServing the communityTHE response from the chief executive of Newcastle City Council (Letters, 9/1) about council’s level of support for sporting clubs was not surprising. Typical mundane political speak around what a council is supposed to do but, I think, far from the reality.

Line marking once a year, or top dressing etc.is really ground management that we as ratepayers should surely expect for our sporting fields at no cost. If paying $20k, clubs could fund all of your aforementioned “features” in the private sector or themselves and still have change.

Grant allocations are limited to the very few. If you truly believe that you are leading an exceptional team Mr Bath, and that $20k is a reasonable fee, set out a ground by ground, club by club feedback forum and make it public.

Better still, open the books, who gets what and why … put your ground management staff forward to answer questions ito evidence that NCC does its job well. I’ve had so much response this week from parents and residents supporting my comments.I intend to contact state and federal members also.

Your job is to serve the community.

Lucinda Crane,Kotara

SENSATIONAL: Novocastrians live beside some of the best beaches around, but one contributor questions why buses don’t go there. Picture: Max Mason-HubersHOW many times have I heard that Newcastle has some of the best beaches in Australia yet we still have no bus service for them?
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Can you imagine no bus service to Bondi, Bronte and Coogee etc? We now have a bus service, Route 21, which goes past Nobbys beach, but no bus stop.

You either have to walk from the Hunter Street Newcastle Transport Hub or double back from a bus stop in Parnell Place. The closest bus stop to Newcastle beach and Newcastle Baths is either Parnell Place or Church Street. Bar Beach and Dixon Park Beach fare no better. It is too far to walk in hot weather. I think very little imagination or foresight is shown by Newcastle Transport or the council. This is a service that should have been available years ago.

I bet that a bus service stopping at these beaches would be profitable. We will soon have a cruise liner terminal and no way to show visitors our beautiful beaches, walk over the Anzac memorial bridge or get off a bus and walk up to Nobbys lighthouse. Newcastle council has done a wonderful job in beautifying the foreshore and beaches but has lost sight in how to show it off.

Jim Overton,Garden SuburbsPaying for crimes of fewI ENCOURAGE Tony Brown to carefully consider the comparison he made between the current review of Newcastle hotel licensing conditions and speed restrictions in school zones and RBT (Letters, 5/1).

But since he brought it up, let’s take a look. The road safety initiatives mentioned by Mr Brown ensure motorists who break the rules are punished. And great initiatives they are, because they do just that. They penalise offenders. They don’t impact other motorists who are driving safely.

That’s why, even though we sadly lost 392 people on NSW roads during 2017, those of us who did not break any rules are still allowed to drive. At any time, to any place.

But that’s not the case with the current licensing restrictions imposed upon Newcastle. We are all penalised for the sins of the minority. Some of us broke the law, but we all must pay.So I believe one of two things have happened: Either Mr Brown penned a letter that makes no sense, or he believes laws like speeding and drink-driving that directly punish wrongful drivers are the same as, or comparable to, licensing conditions that impact everyone regardless of whether they did anything wrong.

Surely it can’t be the latter?

That would mean if people were caught drink-driving, then we would all have to be punished. Would we all have our licences revoked?Imagine the flow on effects. Those locally associated with the motor vehicle industry would suffer immensely.

But credit where it is due to Mr Brown. There is some merit to that theory.

If everyone was punished, their licences revoked, and they started staying at home because it was just too complicated to head out, there would be a significant decrease in road-related incidents, but only because there would be a lot less people … oh wait.

Rolly de With, The JunctionReview rezoningI THINK the treatment in the business papers of submissions and the Reachtel push poll have led councillors to squander an opportunity to have both reasonable development and a vital transport corridor.

Despite a resolution inviting submissions on whether people wanted light rail on the corridor under buildings and the lord mayor saying she was with what the community wanted, I believe the business papers summarily dismissed all submissions. Council ignored our advice that a 10-metre strip of corridor land is available for two light rail tracks which for two thirds of the corridor would not need to go under buildings.

To claim this dismissal was because of decisions on truncation and construction of light rail in Hunter Street being beyond the authority of council was outrageous.Council’s authority is over zoning. Those government decisions do not prevent council from rezoning to preserve the rail corridor.

Document 71 predicted extreme traffic congestion from Hunter Street trams and recommended light rail in the corridor.Population increase and significant development indicates corridor preservation would be prudent.Far from enabling feedback on the resolution concerning zoning for light rail under buildings, I think the Reachtel poll stymied feedback by not mentioning rail under buildings.All this has lost a vital rail corridor and councillors should review their decision and zone to preserve 10 metres of the corridor for light rail under buildings where necessary.

Alan Squire, convenor, Hunter Transport for Business DevelopmentGift of unconditional loveI READ, with interest, Jeff Corbett’s opinion (‘It’s a dog’s life, all right’, Herald, 6/1). Reading between the lines, it appears as though Jeff unfortunately has not enjoyed the unconditional love given by our canine friends. He has, in earlier opinions, mentioned that he is a grey nomad so probably enjoys the caravan lifestyle. Yes, there are irresponsible dog owners; however, I have found most to be respectful and obliging.

As one caravan park manager once told me “I have never had a problem with a dog, only people”. Says it all. I enjoy reading Jeff’s comments, however, in this instance; he possibly would have minimal supporters.

Michael Stevenson,Warners BayWhat basin biasSO disappointing to see an academic join in on the rather childish idea that the NSW government has a bias toward funding for the Sydney basinPhilip O’Neill, (‘Outsiders not getting best deal’, Herald,8/1).Mr O’Neill misses a few salient points, such as:

1. The number of people in NSW living outside the Sydney basin is closer to 2.1 million than 2.6 million.

2. The 7.8 million population of NSW is spread over 800,642 square kilometres; a fact that tends to magnify works conducted in the major area of population.

3. The Sydney basin provides around 80 per cent of NSW income.

4. Regarding infrastructure funding, the only people who could genuinely complain of being short changed are those living in the Sydney basin who receive less that 80 per cent of infrastructure funding.

5. The reason for there being fewer manufacturing workers outside of Sydney is that Sydney is where the majority of the industry customers are. Macquarie Street can hardly be held responsible for a downturn in mining jobs.An academic should know better that to ‘cherry pick’ facts.

Mike Sargent,Raymond Terrace

IMAGINE, Centrelink taking steps to garnish the over-payments of invalid politicians wages, as they do with the common persons of our society.
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Richard Ryan,Summerland PointI WONDER –what part of “if you want to be a member of the Australian government you have to make the effort to ensure you are not a dual citizen” did they find so hard to understand or difficult to do?If that is beyond their capabilities, then running the country is not the job they should be in.

Allan Earl,ThorntonIT is quite laughable to see the leader of the Greens demanding a full audit be carried out on the citizenship eligibility for all senators. Personally, I cannot see why the good old taxpayer should have to pay for this. If they can’t check their eligibility themselves then should they really be there? I could help make a decision and suggest as others do and just get rid of the Senate and that is the problem solved. The House of RepsMPs who get elected after not being eligible then they pay any money back and disappear into the sunset.

Kerry Redman,WaratahREPORTS say the Coalition’s Michael Sukkar is working on an alternative same-sex marriage bill that discriminates against same-sex marriage. Just when I thought the government couldn’t make a bigger mess than holding the plebiscite, they look ready to trump that with a bill that could take us back to where we started.I thought these kinds of antics were over when Tony Abbott got the boot but the powerful ‘no’ campaign coalition seems ready to out do Tony’s mad tactics. This proves what a stupid idea the plebiscite was in the first place. All we get now from this government are mixed and confusing messages. At least Tony Abbott made no apologies for his follies.

John Butler,Windella DownsMAL thought he was the High Court and delivered his missive – lie low if you’re in doubt. She’ll be right. Trust me “I’m the PM”.

Mark Bowen,BroadmeadowTHE dual citizenship is becoming a bit of a fiascoegyou are born in Australia and your mother also, OK your father was born in NZ but became an Aussie. Gosh you’d think OK, you’ve declared your loyalty to Australia and your intention (not your ancestors) to serve Australia OK. The law needs to be changed to reflect the intention of the person and their loyalties to Australia. If they have never declared any loyalties to another country that should beall that matters.

Robyn Burtinshaw,Nambucca HeadsTHE POLLSTHE internet connection at my place:

Gets me by, but it’s not great50%,is buffering 26.92%,is excellent23.08%MessageboardWARNERS Bay Public School is holding its 125th Anniversary Spring Fair Markets on Saturday, November 11, from 1pm-6pm at the school onMills Street. There will be kids rides, market stalls, food and refreshments, face painting, raffle prizes, music and entertainment, kids creative stalls and games, a race car and a fire truck. All welcome.

Young: Hunter woman Teigan, 31, who had a pelvic mesh device implanted when she was 22 to treat incontinence. Complications have left her needing to lay on her back in a warm bath to urinate at times. Picture: Marina Neil. TEIGAN was 22 in 2008 when she was implanted with a “gold standard” pelvic mesh slingdevice for incontinence, less than two months after the birth of her second child.
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Nine years later there are times when she has to lay flat on her back ina shallow warm bath to urinate because of the pain of “strangury” –an inability to void caused by the interaction of the mesh and her bladder.

Urinary tract infections are frequent. The boundaries of her life are marked by the availabilityof toilets no more than an hour from her home in the NSW Hunter region.

“This is what I have to do now. I’m scared of what I’mgoing to have to do in 10 years. I’m scared, especially because I haven’t reached menopause and people are saying the complications can get worse with menopause.

“That’s a long way away for me,” said Teigan, 31, who agreed to speak about the devastating consequences of mesh surgery on her life, but asked thather surname be withheld because of their intimate nature.

Teigan, 31, who had pelvic mesh surgery at 22

On Thursday Australia’s peak drug and medical device regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, quietly announced on its website that from December, 2018 all new pelvic mesh devices will be classified high risk requiring evidence of safety and efficacy, while currently available mesh devices will have until December, 2020 to meet new evidence standards.

The changes were announced as a Senate committeeprepares a final report into how mesh devices were approved for use in Australia despite serious questions about the evidence used to support them, and as women in countries including Australia, the United Kingdom, Americaand New Zealand have initiated more than 100,000 legal suits, in a global push where claims are estimated to top more than $20 billion.

Teigan is one of more than 800 Australian women registered in a Federal Court legal class action against Johnson & Johnson that started in July and will continue into 2018. Another 500 women are registered in a class action case against a second mesh manufacturer, American Medical Systems.

The Gold Coast specialist who implanted her Johnson & Johnson TVT device, Dr Malcolm Frazer, is scheduled to give evidence at the class action in early Novemberas an expert witness engaged by legal firm Clayton Utz, which is representing Johnson & Johnson.

In a statement in June the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said the use of slings to treat incontinence was “a safe and effective treatmentand regarded as the ‘gold standard”’for incontinence surgery.A Senate inquiry in September was told complication rates after sling surgery ranged from 2–5.6 per cent.

Teigan’s GPreferred her to Dr Frazer in 2008 after she complained of “annoying” incontinence when she coughed or tried to move quickly following her second baby’s birth.

Her hospital notes show she was in pain and unable to urinate after surgery to implant the device, was “very uncomfortable” a day after surgery because she was unable to void, was “in tears” while trying to catheterise herself, and went home after four days with a catheter in place and a urine bag strapped to her leg.

“I was pretty miserable as I only had a new baby. I felt like an old woman. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all,” she said.

“In hindsight I probably just needed time to recover from the pregnancy.”

Teigan moved from the Gold Coast to the Hunter and did not see Dr Frazer again after a six-week post-surgicalcheck up.

She described the following years as a gradual increase in regular urinary tract infections and pain, incontinence,increasing difficulty urinating and going to general practitionerswho did not connect the complications with the TVT sling tape.

In September Royal Australian College of General Practitioners representative Dr Magdalena Simonis told the Senate inquiry there was “no excuse” for the experiences many Australian women had had when they sought help from doctors because of mesh surgery complications.

Those complications were “a new issue” for general practitioners “in terms of making the association” with mesh, Dr Simonis said.

“It has not been in our heads up until relatively recently, unfortunately.”

In April this year Teigan had a third baby by caesarean because of the TVT tape.

“The pregnancy was difficult because it was really painful to walk and I’d get shooting pains up my groin at times,” she said.

By June an ultrasound showed why she experienced serious pain if her bladder filled, but also why she often cannot sit to urinate if more than an hour passes between toilet breaks. The ultrasound showed the TVT sling was “the likely cause” of “kinking” of the bladder over the mesh sling –like a kinked garden hose -resulting in “strangury”,which both increases the urge to urinate and restricts the ability to do so.

“I get the stinging urge to go but nothing comes out. That’s when I have to lie in the bath,” Teigan said.

“I feel quite limited. I don’t go anywhere because I need to find a toilet before it reaches that point.”

Dr Frazer said he could not comment on an individual patient.

The Herald, Newcastle

Once the police ceased investigating Nathan Broad and he returned from Bali to face the music there was little doubt in the minds of the AFL and Richmond what had to be done as a result.
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The 24-year-old defender did not deny claims from a woman he photographed topless wearing his premiership medal that he had passed around the photograph to a social media group without her consent. Nor did Broad deny that the woman in question had every right to believe the photograph had been deleted at her request.

Involving other Richmond players or other individuals in the investigation proved messy and complex and given the original transgression by Broad and its significant reach also largely irrelevant. Broad in fact had admitted very early in the piece to the club – in the week that followed the Grand Final – that he was guilty as accused and according to the Tigers remorseful.

But they knew he had to be suspended, not anonymously fined, and the game had to take a stand on his horrific breach of trust which saw the woman’s shattered Richmond-supporting father approach Brendon Gale shortly after the Grand Final and demand the photograph be taken down from all social media.

Of course it was all too late by then. The AFL and Richmond say the only obstacle in punishing Broad was revealing his identity because he and the woman already had a relationship of some form and she was alarmed that naming him would identify her.

Fairfax Media was warned by her legal team Maurice Blackburn against naming Broad when the story first broke and again last week, saying they feared for her well being. They still do. That changed over the weekend and although all parties on Monday insisted the punishment and its announcement – coming at the end of what has been a most unusual and highly sensitive investigation – was mutually agreed to; heavy-handed media management certainly played its role.

So the investigation into Broad and his subsequent three-week suspension was relatively simple.

Tougher was the negotiation between three sets of legal teams – the one representing Broad, the woman’s and Richmond’s. She was desperate to keep his name out of it and therefore did not want him punished. The AFL judged there was a bigger issue at play. That negotiation saw the woman come to understand that a public apology from Broad and a Richmond-instigated penalty would hopefully put a full stop on the speculation and – again hopefully – help her start to return to her normal life.

Neither the player nor president Peggy O’Neil took questions at the woman’s request. Personally I think the suspension – ultimately ratified by Gillon McLachlan and Andrew Dillon at the AFL after being put forward by Richmond’s Gale with Neil Balme and Daniel Richardson – could have been longer.

Having predicted two to four weeks for Broad my view is four to six would have been more fitting. But in football terms this punishment could prove more devastating for him than it first appears. Not only does he miss the flag unfurling in round-one, the round-two grand final rematch along with round-three but – given his performance-related contract – he is stripped of the associated match payments as well.

And then comes the battle to regain his spot given the list of challengers led by Oleg Markov and Ryan Garthwaite. Broad was a great contributor to the premiership – only his 12th game for the Tigers – but he will have to fight to return to the side now.

Richmond bosses are privately insisting they will not make that return hard for him. Broad played his best game for the club on the last day of September. Devastatingly for him but significantly more so the woman concerned he followed up with a dreadfully misjudged act. He has spoken with individual on field leaders but will not face them as a group until the more senior players return to pre-season training on December 4.

Broad, who shares a house with team mate Brandon Ellis, is expected to now return home to his parents in Perth before returning to the club with the first-to-fourth-year players on November 27. And he has to live with the disgraceful deed he committed by violating the woman’s trust.

And then thrusting scandal on the entire club at a time it could have hoped for some unfettered access to scrutiny-free celebration. Quite apart from the trauma he inflicted on an innocent woman Broad has created some murkiness around the premiership.

In the end Broad had to be named because he had to be punished and you can’t anonymously suspend a player. Also not naming him was casting suspicion on undeserving team mates. Whether, as Peggy O’Neal stated with as much hope as conviction, whether there will be lessons learned from this damaging cautionary tale remains to be seen.

As she spoke along with Broad at Monday’s televised media announcement, Channel Seven’s almost live report used half its screen to feature the topless photograph – albeit censored – in question. This as Broad urged people to stop sending around the photograph.

The Seven decision demonstrated yet again that he acted so irresponsibly in unleashing a monster which fell out of his control weeks ago. The insidious nature of social media and the profound and crippling effect it has had on young people’s lives and lifestyles is explored in a disturbing new film starring Elizabeth Olsen: ‘Ingrid Goes West’.

Closer to home delisted Bulldog Travis Cloke, driven to distraction and a mental health breakdown due to hateful anonymous attacks, suggested in a radio interview on Saturday that he may have become addicted to social media and that ignoring Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and so forth was not as simple as it sounded.

He likened the addiction to alcohol and gambling related illnesses. Photo theft is not new to the AFL.

Brendan Fevola did it to Lara Bingle and Nick Riewoldt deals with his own horrendous invasion of privacy in his new autobiography – when an end-of-season photograph showing a part of his anatomy along with two team mates was downloaded and sent around without his knowledge or consent by the so-called ‘Schoolgirl’.

Trust has been an issue in relationships for an eternity but the stakes are so much higher now as the woman who probably thought she was sharing an intimate funny moment with a friend has found out.

And despite some irrelevant and inaccurate finger-pointing this has occurred through no fault of her own.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

GOING, GOING: The eroding shoreline at Stockton beach. The current management of the issue has been slammed as a Band Aid approach. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers MORE than 150 residents of Stockton turned out for the public meeting on the Stockton beach erosion issue, which is now very serious after years of inaction.
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The meeting was attended by some of the Ward 1 councillors and Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp with presentations by council. While the breakwaters are essential for a viable Newcastle Port, they prevent the natural flow of sand along the coast, trapping it on the Nobbys side of the breakwater.

This results in a failure to replenish the sand on Stockton and the beach has been eroding several metres a year and is now at a critical point. The port generates many millions of dollars for the state government and there is a need to use some of this money to address the damage the port breakwaters do to Stockton beach.

The lack of funding and action to support Newcastle City Council in addressing this critical issue was brilliantly portrayed in a Lewis cartoon acouple of weeks ago in the Newcastle Herald,showing an eroding beach with a tip truck dropping a couple of cents onto the beach.

That’s about it for NSW government support. The community has contacted Scot MacDonald, the parliamentary secretary for the Hunter, requesting a meeting on this issue and funding from the state government and we are waiting to hear back.

Temporary works undertaken by council,scraping sand from one part of the beach to cover the eroded area near the surf club is a Band Aid approach and has limited effect. A rock wall would basically protect assets but destroy the beach and is not a solution.

With more than 300 little Nippers each Sunday morning and many local, interstate and international visitors staying at Stockton Holiday Park each year and enjoying the beach, it’s time to protect this important asset from ongoing erosion. The problem is solvable and the NSW government needs to step up urgently and fund the important work needed to address this vital issue.

Keith Craig,Stockton Community Action GroupRace weekend ‘facts’The NSW government- and Newcastle City Council-sponsored Supercars race weekend ran to the familiar major events script. While 10 major hotels in Newcastle had rooms vacant on the Saturday and Sunday nights, the NSW coastal towns for hundreds of kilometres north and south were either full or near capacity.

Newcastle interim CEO Jeremy Bath, using “major events mathematics”,promised a crowd of 160,000 and a TV audience of “hundreds of millions”. This reminded me of the claims about the Formula 1 grand prix in Albert Park. In my view, Mr Bath’s claims were unsubstantiated and easy to refute. The temporary circuit of 2.6km had only 3760 grandstand seats and limited vantage points for general admission. A reasonable estimate would put the maximum capacity at fewer than 15,000, so the three-day total could not have exceed 50,000 – mostly locals.

As for the television audience, there is no evidence from reputable ratings agencies to support even a million overseas viewers. To me, this resembles the Formula 1 copy book of claims.

Melbourne’s grand prix has a global viewing audience of less than 10 per cent of that claimed by organisers.

With bi-partisan political support for both events it appears these claims are necessary to justify the government subsidies and free access to valuable parkland.

The NSW taxpayers and the Auditor-General need to know all therealfacts about the Newcastle event so that it can be assessed honestly.

Motor racing can be successful if it is run on cost-effective circuits. Newcastle could have one of these just out of town and maybe the hotels and businesses in Newy would be better off. Taxpayers would certainly be happy with that.

Peter Logan,former deputy mayor, City of Port Phillip, now vice president of Save Albert ParkScrap it and start againIT is incumbent upon anyone wishing to stand for election to the Australian government, to do their due diligencebefore accepting nomination. It is a prerequisite that they have read and understood our constitution generally, and Section 44 in particular, which is the section that explicitly prohibits a person holding dual citizenship from serving in our federal government.

The High Court has recently upheld Section 44 of the Constitution and ruled that those members with dual citizenship serving in the Australian parliament are there illegally.I believe those guilty of this offence have been fraudulently serving in parliament, and fraudulently voting on bills and obtaining money and services by fraud. I think this effectively renders all bills passed or defeated no longer legal.

The most efficient and effective solution to the current situation would be to dissolve parliament and hold a general election forthwith.A simple way to expose those who hold dual citizenship would be to check if they hold or have held a passport issued by a country other than Australia. Check their profiles on the computer to see where they say they were born.

Allan Wallington,MayfieldTime limit sex chargesI THINK this appalling witch-hunt against men for assumed sexual assault must stop.

Every man’s reputation is at risk and the higher you are on the social, entertainment or commercial scale the more prone to accusations you are.

We have a law which states everyone is assumed innocent until proven guilty, but that does not apply to these cases. As soon as a man is accused he is automatically assumed to be guilty and his life is ruined.

In my view, there shouldbe a law that limits the time in which such an accusation can be made. We are all aware of the vagaries of the mind. That incident in our youth when a student flicked an ink-soaked piece of scrunched-up paper at a friend turns into a very different story as it ages, where it becomes the entire class flicking pellets at the teacher, driving him from the room.

Also, some of these complaints seem to me to be infinitesimally unimportant when compared to the women of Myanmar. These unfortunate women have been gang-raped, they have had their children plucked from their arms, tossed to the floor and bayonetted. There are millions of women all over the world who are raped and abused – it makes a pinch on the bum or a proposition to have sex seem relatively unimportant, doesn’t it?

I suggest a law that prohibits charging anyone with sexual assault after 10 years.

Tom Edwards,Wangi Wangi

Courage: Tarnya Davis, a principal clinical and forensic psychologist, says abuse victims who have spoken out are “brave men and women who have changed us”.ITwas with shock and disgust that I heard the verbal abuse aimed directly at victims of Brother Christopher at his sentencing for childhood sexual abuse he perpetrated against two primary school aged boys in his care.This man abused two young boys in the most horrific ways, taking advantage of his power – a Brother, a teacher, an adult, a male – to meet his own sexual needs without any regard to the impact upon the child or his responsibility to protect.
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I find it incredibly difficult, although I do try, to understand how a supporter of a convicted sex offender (guilty beyond reasonable doubt) might be so angry with the victim that they taunt and abuse them.“Rotten sods” one woman said to these men, who were brave enough to stand up and report their childhood experiences in a public way.I have sat beside close to 100 men and women as they have made their first disclosures, reported their experiences to the police, waited painfully for charges and mentions and more mentions and committals and trials.These people gave away their precious days, wishing their lives away in the wait for the next court date.Some fear it, all dread it, whilst others wait for the opportunity to tell their story and to be believed.When it is over, there may be some relief in being believed, or devastation in not, but the nightmares continue as does the grief for the loss of the childhood they were robbed of, the potential never met, the life they might have had.

These brave men and women have changed us. Thanks to them, we now know childhood abuse within the church existed and we are vigilant to make sure no more children are exposed to risk.Many perpetrators are prevented from harming others and many other victims have the courage to come forward for support. Many tell me they held the secret horror of their abuse with such shame, but always hoped that once they disclosed they would be supported.People pitting abuse at them is in many ways a continuation of abuse and a re-triggering of their trauma.It’s being shamed all over again.

It is not these men and women who are the “rotten sods” and I thank them all for their courage, which protects the rest of society from child predators.

Tarnya Davis, Principal Clinical and Forensic Psychologist, NewPsych PsychologistsBetter use of fundsIT’S good to know in these tricky economic times that all those NSW taxpayers out there are doing so well. They don’t seem to mind a very large chunk of their money being spent to fund the cost of the street circuit and the ongoing yearly costs of staging a V8 supercarrace in Newcastle for at least five years. Doesn’t anyone care that Supercars will take home profits at taxpayers’ expense? Personally, I’m a bit more picky about where my tax dollar is spent. Maybe education, public health, medical research and development? Something that might benefit the majority of taxpayers?

I had this belief that the public areas of Newcastle – built with some of my taxes – are just that: public. That for 12 months of the year, people would be able to enjoy the beaches, have their wedding or formal photos taken in the parks, see their kids enjoy the playgrounds and the trees. Not so. By November, it will have taken Supercars nine months to strip much of our public land, rip-up the grass and replace it with racetrack, pit areas and large concrete grandstand pads. Then, for at least three months every year for the duration, all those areas are fenced off and given to Supercars. We get it back just before Christmas. Lucky us.

Businesses in Newcastle have been told not to open during the event as the noise will exceed safe levels – but no-one is going to pay them for three days of lost earnings, much less the drastic drop in turnover in the lead-up. And the residents living trackside matter even less.

They’ve been told they have to be accredited to get into their own homes, then sit in the back room of those homes with ear muffs on for three days.

Whatever happened to the Aussie notion of a fair go for the ordinary bloke? That got blown out the exhaust pipe of a V8 supercar.

Keran Davis, NewcastleNeed faster rail serviceTHE new train timetable to be introduced soon by the state government introduces a really poor trial of the faster train concept that people from the Hunter have been hoping to happen for years.

Besides leaving Newcastle Interchange about 5am, there is no stop between Broadmeadow and Morisset, leaving people from either side of Lake Macquarie with a long drive to catch this train, rather than Fassifern or Cardiff.

Then there are fourstops on the Central Coast –at Wyong, Tuggerah, Gosford and Woy Woy.

Two stops would suffice for a faster train. Plus there are unnecessary stops at Hornsby and Epping for a faster Hunter/Central Coast train.

The Hunter needs faster trains to Sydney that truly cut more time than this poorly planned attempt that only cuts a matter of minutes and doesn’t take passengers to arrive at Sydney meetings/business activities close to 9am.

We really need a state government that has Hunter transport needs to the forefront.

Stephen Dewar, TorontoTake park and ride optionI READ many comments, mostly on social media, about the traffic chaos in Newcastle CBD and what a waste sending buses to the east end is because they are mainly empty and filthy.

I can say that all the buses I catch are extremely clean and when travelling to work in the city are not empty.

Perhaps the traffic congestion wouldn’t be so bad if selfish and snooty motorists elected to use the park and ride option.

Too often I see comments that the only people that use buses are the derelicts etc.

This generalisation is quite incorrect as many workers, including professionals and semi-professionals, are not too stuck-up to catch a bus to and from work.

By catching a bus you will save substantial amounts on parking.

Oh and when the V8 race is on things will only be worse and motorists are being urged not to drive into the city.

One more point, during the current upheaval along Hunter Street, perhaps Newcastle council should relocate the Olive Tree markets from Civic Park as they only make congestion on Saturdays worse.

I can walk between Union and Darby streets quicker than the gridlocked traffic.

Nigel Dale, Adamstown

TOUGH GIG: Forcing commuters to change from trains to buses, or trams, does not attract people to public transport, if anything it turns them away, argues on contributor.THE fact that the Newcastle City Council has come up with a park and ride plan highlights the need for good public transport in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie. Something the people can use.
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Good transport needs to be developed with good sense by people who know what they are doing. In Newcastle, the previous Labor government ruined the bus timetable and the Liberal government ruined the train timetable.

Then the Liberals went one better by closing the railway; mind you the Labor government was threatening to do the same. All of this drove people away from public transport.

Keolis Downer really have their work cut out for them when it comes to getting people back onto public transport. It will be good if they can effectively co-ordinate the buses trains and ferries, but one major problem is that the closure of the railway has made using the trains to get into the city an unattractive option because people have to change at Wickham.

Forcing people to change does not attract people to public transport, if anything it turns people away. I wonder how many commuters or shoppers would be attracted to the prospect of having to catch a bus to a station to get onto a train and then having to change from a train to a bus or tram.

When I think of the train that used to provide a direct service right into the city and when I think of how fast it was, I find it easy to see why so many people abandoned public transport. As I said; Keolis Downer really have their work cut out for them.

Peter Sansom,KahibahNo comparisonIN response to Mark Ryan (Letters, 3/11): I’ve been to Battery Point in Hobart and you cannot compare that to the East End as they are completely different. Battery Point has tons of cafes, little shops and tourist attractions – all the East End has is the fort, two cafes and a fantastic bar/restaurant.

Also future generations won’t shake their heads at the upgrade of roads, lights, footpaths and services as this is called progress.

One final note to all of the East Enders, if the bombing of your area from the Japanese didn’t destroy your homes when a shell landed and exploded out the front (surprisingly exactly where the race track is), I highly doubt that one weekend a year is going to be detrimental to your area.

Shannon Kemp,ShortlandRaving about replicasI HAVE just viewed the current exhibition at the Newcastle Museum:Dinosaur rEvolution, and it is truly outstanding and not to be missed.

The life-like replicas of long extinct animals are extremely convincing, particularly via the animatronics giving them movement, and the accompanying somewhat scary sound effects enhance the experience.

Added to this are the richly illustrated display panels supplying the viewer with intriguing information about the times when these animals lived.

Being impressed by what I saw, I went (via the web) to the organisation that created this travelling display: Gwandalan Studios (based in Tasmania), and found a wealth of detail which I expect other readers may find equally fascinating.Congratulations to the museum and its wonderful staff for arranging for us to have the privilege of viewing this excellent exhibition.

Kevin McDonald,East SeahamWhy an issue nowTHERE is the need for someone to answer a puzzling question about dual citizenship that nobody appears to want to raise, let alone answer. So far we have seen eight members of this current Parliament have their right to sit legallychallenged, and rightly so with possibly many more to come.

However, I believeit is not so long ago that there were 35 members with dual citizenship in one parliament in the 1980s and another 57 in the next parliament who were allowed to remain as members, unchallenged.

One of those was the prime minister of the day the Hon RJL Hawke who, I believe, was in breach of section 44(i) of the constitution which states in part, “Any person who is entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreignpower, shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives”. This was because he had been made an honorary citizen of Israel.

I am not a legal person so I quote:“Professor Tony Blackshield supported the view that the words ‘entitled to the rights and privileges’ raise particularproblems. The Hon RJL Hawke was threatened with a challenge undersubsection 44(i) because he had been made an honorary citizen of Israel.

“Professor Blackshield commented that in fact there is an argument that the conferral of honorary citizenship had entitled the Hon RJL Hawke to the rightsand privileges of a citizen of the state of Israel and that he was in factdisqualified. Significantly, no legal challenge was issued.”

Therefore I ask the question: Why have the current eight members been legallychallenged for their right to sit in the Parliament but not the 57 membersmentioned above back in the 1980s who were allowed to serve their full termplus more?

John Yates,BelmontBikers behaving badlyEVER wonder why so many motorcyclists get killed on our roads? Well, if people had seen what I have seen in the last couple of months then you would understand why.

I am not saying this is the case in all the fatalities but the idiotic acts l have would seen have certainly contributed to some accidents. Recently up at Hexham there was a rider doing 80km/h standing up on the footrests of his bike. One slip or hit a bump and this clown would have been under a car.

Another at Windale coming toward traffic and standing the bike up on its back wheel. Three clowns on motorcycles up at North Broke doing at least 110km/h in a 90km/h zone on a single lane road passing cars over double white lines. These are just a few examples l have seen in the last few weeks.

Let me say this: Most motorcycle riders do the right thing. But there is an idiot element who couldn’t care less what they do on the roads, or the consequences.I feel sorry for the police officers, the ambulance officers, doctors and nurses who have to pick up the mess because of their stupidity.

Melville Brauer, GatesheadLetter of the weekThe Herald pen goes to Darren McDougall for his letter about the Karuah River.