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Emergency workers need a helping hand

SUPPORT LACKING: Emergency services workers are called upon to help community members in distress, yet many do not receive the right support when they need it.

SUPPORT LACKING: Emergency services workers are called upon to help community members in distress, yet many do not receive the right support when they need it.

I WOULD like to thank the Newcastle Herald for the recent articles on our emergency services personnel regarding post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We need our politicians to become more involved to have legislation changed so that the insurance companies have to abide by a doctors’ (specialists’) decision. If they send the client to see more than one or two of their doctors, then it should go to an arbitration of doctors set up by the government.

They must have the right to challenge a decision but to send a person off to see 11 different doctors to get the result they want is nothing short of criminal. Harassment in the workplace is not tolerated so why can the insurance companies do this?

Why do we allow people who have served us so well to be treated so badly? If we continue allow this sort of treatment to be dished out to these service persons we will have trouble in attracting others into these positions in the future. It won’t be a problem for the insurance companies but it will be for you and me when we need help.

Recently on television it was reported that in accident in Queensland a car and a semi collided and it took an hour to cut the car to pieces to release the body of the young lady. Police, ambulance, fire brigade and emergency personnel were all involved. What must they have endured? What will they have to endure later years?

Think about it. This happens time and time again and all over Australia.

PTSD is real. It will not go away. We need to support our service personnel. We need our politicians to support them too.

Jim  Overton, Garden Suburb

Prices not due to supply

SHORT supply is not driving house prices, bank speculation is (‘Short supply not the big driver of house prices’, Herald, 29/10). The government says “there’s nothing to see here” when referring to the major banks, yet Scott Morrison’s “shortage of supply” claims are talking up a temporary, intravenous lifeline for the banks. Increasing property supply – sales, mortgages, and mortgage-backed securities which the banks trade into the global over-the-counter derivatives market – won’t make houses more affordable.  

Reserve Bank reports show, in the June quarter alone, Australian bank derivatives expanded a record $6.2 trillion, to an all-time high of $38 trillion – around 23 times the Australian gross domestic product, and many times more than total bank assets and deposits. This exponential growth is underpinned by rising property prices. In 2008, Australia’s exposure to derivatives was $14 trillion while before bank deregulation in the 1980s it was virtually non-existent. Houses will become affordable again once banks are rid of this derivatives cancer.

Regulation of the banking system: separating their divisions along Glass-Steagall lines; sending criminal bankers to jail; and announcing a target date to cancel all bank derivatives, so that banks can begin to “net out” their positions to excise derivatives speculation in an orderly fashion is what’s required, not more gambling chips.

Ann Lawler, Citizens Electoral Council state secretary, Maitland

No functional ‘city’

PROFESSOR Brewer’s interesting opinion piece is to be welcomed  (‘Now’s the time to build a city with a conscience’, Herald, 1/11). There is a problem with his article however – there is no such “Newcastle City”, when objectively defined according to a range of globally recognised urban criteria.

There is no functional Newcastle “city”. With deepest respect to Professor Brewer’s understanding of ‘physical structures’, in so far as what he has written, there are few more important interconnected measures and indicators of urban system dynamics than the net directions of person and capital flows (what the Harvard/MIT analyst Meier built into his communications theory of urban growth) on a minute by minute through to year by year basis.

The UN city to which Professor Brewer refers does not include Lake Macquarie, it is therefore a non-place, a place without ‘common’ times or spaces. Urban Research undertaken at Newcastle University more than 40 years ago made very clear the urgent need to integrate the councils of Newcastle City and Lake Macquarie (northern part) as properly also forcefully recommended by an independent government requested report in late 2014, chaired by a Professor at Sydney University. A semblance of the exciting, vibrant place that Brewer has in mind, will happen. Political games in recent times have not assisted Brewer’s underlying goals to be reached. It is time for our university to climb over such political impediments to an exciting future.

Professor Brewer claims that ‘on average our houses are the largest on the planet’. I think the United States has that position, and has had it before. The Herald also confirms that on page 10 (‘Australia cedes largest houses title to US’, Herald, 1/11).

Don Parkes, New Lambton Heights

No need for name calling

AT a time when bullying is rife why would our government present an anti-litter campaign that calls on people to name call others? The “Tosser” campaign requires responsible people to criticise others, which is often interpreted as bullying, as well as risk the wrath of those they identify as litterers.

Surely the object of the exercise is to encourage all of us to pick up after ourselves and seek to keep our environment clean and safe. We need to foster an attitude that each of us is responsible for our own rubbish and that the resulting clean environment is worth the effort.

The old “Do the Right Thing” campaign encouraged responsible behaviour rather than humiliation.

Judith Hadley, Jerrys Plains

Different views allowed

I DETECT an anti-democratic, indeed sectarian, subtext from June Porter (Letters, 2/11). Conviction in politics is fine, the Greens for instance, but not religious, particularly Catholic, conviction.

And if MPs are supposed to present to Parliament the wishes of the majority of their constituents, rather than their own views, where does that leave the Greens, a minor party with some extreme views for many? Because the Greens make a claim about euthanasia doesn’t mean it’s true.

Popular support for euthanasia, like same-sex ‘marriage’, depends on how you frame the question, and like same-sex ‘marriage’, I suspect most pushers for change don’t believe the people would get it ‘right’ in a popular vote and would oppose one.

Peter Dolan, Lambton

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