Black lives do matter. Not just now, at this time of unprecedented international concern, and not just in regard to the high incarceration and deaths in custody rates of Aboriginal people, but in regard to the quality of their everyday lives.
The time for change has been with us for 240 years, but now is an urgently opportune time to make change. The thoughtless police brutality against the young man in Surry Hills is just one incident among the many. Since the Royal Commission of 1991 there have been more than 400 deaths in custody and, I understand, no convictions have been made.
I’ll suggest two key reforms: firstly, better training for police and correctional services officers in relation to Indigenous people; secondly, the wholehearted and joyful adoption of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Better training should lead to a greater respect for the culture and humanity of all. The Uluru Statement is an invitation from Indigenous Australians to join them in a better future. It is not true to say that Indigenous people are just one more group among the many in our multicultural nation; they are uniquely the original custodians of our land, and they are uniquely the ones the rest of us invaded and dispossessed.
All of us would benefit from a wholehearted embrace of our first Australians.
Roland Bannister, Newcastle
We must look at bigger picture
The current blame game is totally understandable. I was thinking long and hard about all that has been said. Duty of police, bend the knee, protest, don’t protest. Blame the police, blame the demonstrators, blame society.
When will we look to all that contributes to these problems?
Police, nurses, doctors, ambulance services, military persons all do hard and often thankless jobs. People, Indigenous or disadvantaged also suffer the conditions at the seat of the problem. Idealism is replaced by anger and cynicism due to aggressive or abusive treatment from others. This leads to PTSD and a culture of defensiveness on all sides.
There is no excuse for abuse of power by others, but there are explanations.
When governments or commissions look into averting deaths in custody or abuse of power, be aware please, of the need to value our public servants and help them to be able to be better. Look to improve quality of life and education to all citizens. This more than anything should help improve everyone’s lives. Our responsibility now is to learn to do it all better.
This is the first time I have felt afraid to express an opinion. So I absolutely needed to do so. Please accept it in the way it’s meant.
Lyn Rendle, Rankin Park
Lawyers the only winners in saga
The only winners in this are the legal profession.
The sad part about this case is that litigation should not have been required.
If the people affected had been treated as human beings instead of being totally ignored there might have been a better outcome.
These people now have to live with contaminated properties, possible long-term health effects and grossly devalued properties. Shame on the Commonwealth Government for allowing this matter to end so badly.
Terrence Chedzey, Glendale
Supercars dividing our community
It says a lot about Supercars supporters that they are happy to allow the Foreshore Park to be closed for eight weeks.
This means access to the beaches is restricted for eight weeks, over 200 trees to be cut down without the promised 2000 per cent increase in shade (remember that promise?), the majority of businesses to lose trade, heritage homes to be damaged (documented), for local traffic to be slowed to a crawl for eight weeks and for millions of ratepayer dollars to be spent subsidising a private company and cleaning up after the event.
If that’s not enough, we are then subjected to the discredited and ridiculous claims about attendance and viewing figures all so that they can feel good for three days.
To add insult to injury, they follow the well-documented big business tactic of denigrating anyone who dares to question them.
Supercars came to Newcastle with this tactic of dividing the community and we’ll never get a true cost-benefit analysis of this race while they still have influence over this council.
John Hudson, Newcastle East
Uncomfortable viewing for Hunter
Those of us who are fortunate to have a comfortable place to live and a warm bed to sleep in may find the SBS program, “Filthy Rich and Homeless”, challenging.
Former councillor and businessman, Aaron Buman, has been providing safe havens for homeless men for many years. His clients speak highly of him and government agencies constantly refer people to his service.
MORE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
Mr Buman has attracted his fair share of criticism over the years. He is outspoken, doesn’t suffer fools gladly and doesn’t mind taking on a challenge. But he provides safe shelter and a listening ear for those most of us choose to ignore. He has battled City of Newcastle regulators on several occasions to ensure his service can continue.
I would be more impressed if the council offered him support while he is providing for the disadvantaged and marginalised who would otherwise find themselves on the streets.
Kaye Duffy, Bar Beach
Overlooking residents’ issues
Adz Carter (Letters, 9/6), it is obvious your livelihood depends on live music and therefore you have a financial and personal interest in this pursuit.
Development applications which are made by the licensees buying or leasing into premises along with strata laws of the building are there for a reason and the licensees are fully aware of these conditions when entering into a contract of sale or lease for their premises.
Speaking to some original and long established residents of developments in Newcastle, these mixed use developments were set up as a deliberate creation with the attempt to give fairness to both venue and residents. Where such deliberate mixed use exists and the need to balance commercial drives of the venue, the issues of residents who actually own the building are often overlooked.
Denise Pollock, Newcastle
Share your opinion
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a text message to 0427 154 176 (include name, suburb). Letters should be fewer than 200 words and Short Takes fewer than 50 words. Correspondence may be edited and reproduced in any form.
REGARDING the PFAS settlement, what an absolute disgrace that Aussie residents have to fight their own government for compensation because a government department knew they were poisoning the locals, but did nothing about it hoping it would go away. Disgusting is about the only thing I can say in print. Hang your heads ScoMo and Gladys, you should be ashamed of yourselves.
Graeme Bennett, Warners Bay
John Fear Newcastle East
Mark Creek, Adamstown
YES, “We need to come together”. One death in custody is one too many. We need all Australia onboard and I believe we can do that, but in the middle of a pandemic is not the right time.
Phill Payne, Gateshead
REMEMBERING Ricky Slater’s family at this time.
Colin Robinson, Cardiff
AS much as I understand and support the marches, there are too many lives at stake with a possibility of a second wave. Months of people isolating to be destroyed by a wave of emotionally propelled marches. Lives could be lost. Like Anzac Day there are still ways to send powerful, if not more powerful messages through solidarity and silence. Why do all protests have to involve loudness and violence? Silence can be a powerful tool.
Therese Davies, Adamstown
ALL the problems which lead to the weekend’s protests were down to one single cause: in the 200-plus years of European settlement, the settlers have never bothered to assimilate.
Peter Ronne, Woodberry
WE will know in two weeks if there is a spike in COVID-19. I wonder if an elderly person dies in Kempsey from the virus (some travelled for the protest march) will they be able to sue the organisers of the march when medical and legal sources advised against the gathering?
John Hollingsworth, Hamilton
WHAT a torrid time to be a prime minister or a president. Thank goodness the sensible people of the world voted with common sense and integrity.
Brad Hill, Singleton
FORMER US Secretary of State Colin Powell says the reason he supports Joe Biden over Donald Trump is because Donald is a liar. I wonder if Colin ever reflects on his own statements to the United Nations on the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.