At Mary MacKillop’s beatification in 1995, Pope John Paul II said, “Mary MacKillop embodied all that is best in your nation and its people: genuine openness to others, hospitality to strangers, generosity to the needy, justice to the unfairly treated, kindness and support to the suffering” (Blessed Mary MacKillop by W. Modystack, 1995). When I consider that in 2019 we freely voted for “leaders” who, for example, denigrate asylum seekers; seek to punish our homeless and those on Newstart; menace people via Robodebt; and belittle and berate our young who dare to campaign for their future, I struggle to think what the Pope could say in Australia’s favour today. – Paul Attfield, Mount Colah
Kings Cross streets less lethal after lockout laws
Elizabeth Farrelly is wrong about the lockouts on so many counts (“Cross to bear legacy of lockout lunacy“, October 5-6). According to her, only “two deaths in 2 years” make the lockouts a “psychedelic overreaction”. No, there were five deaths in four years: Calum Grant in 2011, Tom Kelly and Wilson Duque Castillo in 2012, and Daniel Christie and Lucio Rodrigues in 2013. Ms Farrelly shouldn’t so blithely dismiss these tragedies. Then she reports an “80 per cent drop in foot-traffic” in Kings Cross: is that down from the unsustainable and downright dangerous 25,000 revellers Council counted on residential streets on a typical Saturday night? Something had to give. Finally, she writes, “the Coke sign presides over empty streets”. Really? Visit the Cross now during the day and evening – it’s packed and thriving. Sure, it may be quiet at 4am, because most people are sleeping. The fact is the Cross veered too far in one deadly direction, resulting in awful violence and lifelong cost to individuals, families, and our social conscience. The lockouts performed an essential correctional shift, and the Cross today is better and safer for it, more civilised, and worthy of a visit – not a dismissive scolding from Ms Farrelly. – Patrick McGrath, Potts Point
I doubt Ms Farrelly ever visited St Vincent’s Hospital emergency department on a Saturday night prior to the introduction of Sydney’s lockout laws. – Riley Brown, Bondi Beach
Ms Farrelly writes a challenging piece in attacking the legitimacy of the current lockout laws. To suggest that “two deaths in two years” appears to be a “psychedelic overreaction” is abhorrent. Ms Farrelly quotes Nicholas Molnar, yearning to “see and experience Sydney as my brothers knew it . . . as my parents knew it”. I’m sure the parents of Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie yearn for the same experience for their deceased sons. – Peter Haggarty, Cranebrook
Applying terms such as “universal freedoms” to the right to public drunkenness demonstrates the extent to which individualism has eroded any sense of social responsibility. I am surprised that Ms Farrelly did not paraphrase Commander Spock: “logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many to party outweigh the needs of the few to be safe.” – Philip Cooney, Wentworth Falls
Perhaps Ms Farrelly and Matt Barrie need to spend a few Saturday nights in St Vincent’s emergency ward? Let’s see what their attitude on lockout laws are after the experience. – Peter Miniutti, Ashbury
Rubbery rights for some citizens
I read “Battling to bring IS brides home” (Ocobter 5-6) with interest. Where is the public outrage about what has been happening to these 66 Australian women and children for the last five years. I am sickened by Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton and Marise Payne leaving these people in such dangerous and appalling conditions. Bring them home now and sort out the finer details here. Don’t use security reasons and dangerous conditions to delay the process; these are just words to say “I don’t care”. I am certain the SAS if need be can bring these people home and the federal police monitor them here. For our Christian PM, it’s time to show some heart and soul. A great man once said “Whatsoever you do to the least of your brothers and sisters, you do unto me”.
Andrew Sciberras, Kogarah
This government has taken a self-righteous stance by deporting people without Australia citizenship back to their country of origin if they have committed a serious crime. In some cases, the person has lived in Australia since childhood. Their current refusal to repatriate Australian citizens who are trapped in refugee camps in western Asia reveals the arrogance and hypocrisy that characterises their governing style. – Sandra Pertot, Diamond Beach
Labour efforts take a spin
Parliament House may well be a lonely place to work but I’d rather put up with the private kitchen, bathroom and other perks of high office than risk life and limb as a fast-food bike courier in Sydney’s congested traffic (“Tough gig: delivery riders caught in calamitous cycle“, October 5-6). And I understand that an MP’s pay and conditions are a little better as well. – Peter Mahoney, Oatley
It is a pity and shameful that few know the reason why we have a Labour Day holiday. Today is the day we should be remembering those unionists who fought to improve conditions and give us the 8-hour working day we now take for granted, along with annual leave, sick leave and penalty rates before they were cut by the federal government. Surely it is a day as important as Anzac Day? – Con Vaitsas, Ashbury
Growth needed on climate change
It seems those tree-hugging hippies were right after all (“Seeds of planet’s salvation lie in curing our plant blindness“, October 5-6). – Meredith Williams, Dee Why
Bret Summerell reveals that plants are “fundamental for our existence”. And that the environment that is central for our existence is being affected by climate change. We need to reread Bruce Pascoe’s well researched work Dark Emu. Indigenous Australians had lived this knowledge for over 60,000 years. The voice from “Uluru Statement From The Heart” needs to be urgently heard in parliament. – Reg Wilding, Wollongong
Raining on a prayer
The premise of Tony Walker’s article (“Lack of drought strategy a scandal “, October 5-6) is incorrect. Scott Morrison does have a drought policy – it’s called prayer. At the Hillsong Conference on July 9 2019, he prayed for drought-breaking rain. Yet again, no miracle. God must have a tin ear. Perhaps Scott should develop a Plan B? Take the issue out of the hands of God and put it into the hands of scientists. – Neil Purcell, Matraville
Risks of horseriding outweigh sport
Statistics tell us that the most dangerous animal in this country is the horse (“Deaths of ‘beautiful girls’ prompts change“, October 5-6). The sport of horseriding wrecked my daughter’s spine and she had her first spinal surgery at 16. Reforms and the introduction of better procedures will not change the fact that a sport that involves a 500-kilogram animal is a highly dangerous one. – Genevieve Milton, Newtown
Star power lacks shine
They are not “influencers” – they are advertisers and they should be subject to the same rules (“Instagram stars accused“, October 5-6) – Brenton McGeachie, Queanbeyan West
What’s good for the goose…
The Catholic Church is apparently demanding further exemptions from anti-discriminatory policies for religious hospitals and aged care facilities as well as for schools (“Church calls for major change on bill“, October 5-6). Society should surely have standards and rules, including punishment in more egregious cases, for inappropriate discriminatory behaviour as well as for anti-social behaviour that incites hate and violence. However, it is not clear why there should be different standards and rules for discrimination and other forms of anti-social behaviour for people who believe in the supernatural and for those of us who do not. – Peter Abelson, Mosman
Rollercoaster of emotions
The Herald reports that Nicole Brett “confesses a fear of some of the scarier rides, including the Wild Mouse” (“Luna Park: the ‘gateway to holiday fun’“, October 5-6). No wonder – on my regular morning walks past this icon, I can’t help but notice at the start of the ride, along its upward tracks to its peak, these signs in ascending order: “Sit back”, “Hold On”, “Good Luck”! – Edward Loong, Milsons Point
A matter of matter
I’ll leave the inevitable outrage over the phrase “just philosophy” (Letters, October 5-6) to other correspondents, but if a “which academic discipline is king” argument has just begun, here’s my best shot: without linguistics, neither philosophy nor science nor engineering would ever have got off the ground. – Steve Cornelius, Brookvale
Don’t worry, Warwick Spencer, the engineers (and tradies/farmers) will soon have their very own “reality lifestyle” experience on display – when the wheels fall off and we descend into the mere survival imperative of the doomsday preppers. It will be those who can scavenge, design, repurpose and repair, whose families have some running water, a subsistence crop, shelter, warmth, night-time illumination and skills to barter. They will be the stars of this situation, but it will not be a comedy. – Ronald Elliott, Sandringham (Vic)
And without mathematics, neither engineering nor science would even exist. – Margaret Grove, Abbotsford
Your correspondents who praise engineers need to be ready to admit that engineers generally think aesthetics has something to do with the Olympic Games. – Kent Mayo, Uralla
An extra hour of rain, perfect!
As I listen to the rain on our tin roof and read my Good Weekend, I realise that daylight saving is also part of this ritual. An extra hour of rain, perfect.
Peter Phillipson, Fingal Bay
Damn. Tragedy has struck. All my garden solar lights are now thoroughly confused.
Bob Selinger, Eastwood
Recipe for heartburn
According to “The Readers’ Panel” survey (October 5-6), 50 per cent of respondents feel that music in restaurants is a blight. The question is, how do we stop the blighters?
Paul Doyle, Glenbrook
Hunting for help
But was Ronald Watts’ assistant in Myer able to help him (Letters, October 5-6)? I hunted one down recently but he knew nothing about the product I required. Good luck in the parrot search.
Jan Perry, Chatswood West
Simple pleasures best
The simplest activities during school holidays often afford the greatest happiness to children and carers alike. On a Mosman to the Quay ferry trip the sight of my seven-year-old granddaughter holding onto the ferry rail with eyes closed and face uplifted to receive the sea spray and wind will stay with me forever. – Elizabeth Maher, Bangor