Spend $2b on essential services not rebuilding stadiums
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Spend $2b on essential services not rebuilding stadiums

That Liberal Party PR campaign to raise the profile of the Berejiklian government ("Berejiklian on the road to who knows where", October 17) will be a waste of time and money as long as stories of billion-dollar sporting stadiums ("$2b stadium revamp") are juxtaposed with reports of savage cuts to disability support groups ("NSW disability groups face funding wipeout"). PR campaigns are pointless when the hard facts suggest they amount to little more than putting lipstick on a pig.

Garth Clarke North Sydney

Illustration: Cathy Wilcox

Illustration: Cathy Wilcox

I am gobsmacked to read Stuart Ayres' proposal to demolish and rebuild not one, but two sporting stadiums. Why is there such an emphasis to make sporting venues "Taj Mahals", when basically they are just somewhere to occasionally go to watch a sporting event? Surely patrons can put up with the existing facilities for the few hours that they are present, otherwise stay at home and watch from the comfort of their own lounge rooms. The proposed figure of $2 billion would be much better invested in NSW hospitals, schools and many other necessities.

Terry Wooldridge Mona Vale

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Two billion for two new football stadiums, one less than 20 years old the other only about 30, so they're hardly decrepit. Meanwhile, the Rape Crisis Centre looks like closing down for lack of funds and the government has axed a whole swath of women's refuges and gives peanuts, comparatively, to fight domestic violence. Nice to know where your priorities lie, Gladys! Roll on the next election.

Merona Martin Meroo Meadow

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg has apparently threatened to "take the NRL grand final to other states" if $2 billion is not spent upgrading Allianz and ANZ stadiums ("The fate of Allianz and ANZ stadiums expected to be announced on Thursday", October 17). Quite frankly, if that's the cost then I'm quite happy to pay it. Spend the money on hospitals, schools and public transport and let people watch the match on the telly.

Scott Pfaff Eastwood

We live in scandalously selfish, greedy and stupid times when a government chooses to spend $2 billion knocking down and rebuilding two huge sport stadiums while it struggles to fund hospitals, schools and public transport, and is even cutting funds for disability advocacy services. Who would have thought Australians could sink so low in failing to look after their own?

Tom Mangan Woy Woy Bay

Energy evidence

The Prime Minister and the Minister for Energy stated in Parliament that our energy bills were going down, as were emissions ("Coalition to rewrite the rules on energy", October 17). The evidence disputes this. Now, the clean energy target, the most significant factor in the Finkel report, is being trashed and labelled "just one" of the 50 recommendations. What are we left with? Nothing but more promises – a circular, absurdist situation.

Vanessa Tennent Oatley

Politicians in this country wonder why they garner so little respect or appreciation from the public. The policy is obviously designed to appease the lobbyists and factions within the Coalition when it should be setting the country for the future. No matter that they've spent millions on a study by the chief scientist. What the factions and vested interests want, they will get. The policy is only a Band-Aid fix, won't future-proof the country, will eventually cost more, and will leave Australia flailing behind the rest of the world.

Jon Sloan North Narooma

In view of the continuous string of policy failures culminating in energy, it is clear that the country gained no advantage in the change of leadership in the Liberal Party in 2015. Sure, Malcolm Turnbull has about nine more losing polls to face before he attains his nemesis and is rolled from his job. But the question from the Liberal and National perspectives is, should he be allowed such lengthy death throes? The trend of policy paralysis simply means death at the polling booth for the whole government.

Chris Rivers Port Macquarie

Despite promising forecasts, it continues to be dry in our neck of the woods. So it is time to appeal to Jupiter Pluvius. A sincere rain dance, washing the car or planning a family picnic are just a few possibilities and, as our brave Malcolm Turnbull struggles with the twin demons of renewable energy and climate change, probably right in keeping with Coalition ethos as well. Certainly couldn't be any sillier than what we are being offered.

Nola Tucker Kiama

Membership of UN council a nail in satire's coffin

I've long thought that the UN as an entity is past its use by date and now that view is confirmed ("Australia elected to UN Human Rights Council", October 17). The illogical and hypocritical election of Australia to the United Nations Human Rights Council, with the illegal and inhuman treatment of refugees by the current and previous governments in Australia, must give great comfort to the governments of nations where the treatment of refugees and dissidents is worse than it is here. I'm embarrassed. I hope I'm not alone.

Robin Humphrey Springwood

So Australia has gained a place on the UN Human Rights Commission. Questions regarding our actions on refugee detention, indigenous incarceration, detention without rights for 10 year olds – the list is long. Perhaps the appointment is based on the old adage, it takes a thief to catch a thief.

Nedra Orme Neutral Bay

Australia will push for tougher scrutiny of countries with appalling human rights records, says Julie Bishop ("Australia elected to UN human rights council as criticisms surround Congo election", October 17). About time. Our Nauru and Manus Island gulags are well overdue for closer inspection.

Steve Cornelius Brookvale

Another day when the Australian government makes its contribution to the death of satire. Australia joins the Republic of the Congo and Afghanistan on the UN Human Rights Committee. The Hon Josh Frydenberg remains the Minister for the Environment and Energy and the Prime Minister says he'll treat Australian as intelligent individuals.

Jennifer Raines Newtown

Maintain the rage but lest we forget

I do so wish to see an Australian republic in my lifetime, but I do tire of partial histories regarding the origins of our current nation. Peter FitzSimons rightly bemoans the role of the British Crown in the dismissal of the Whitlam Government in 1975 ("Monarchists can't pretend royals are just a symbol now", SMH October 17). It is no new thing to have powerful countries interfering in the sovereignty of other nations – there's the US and various Latin American countries, Russia in the recent US election, Indonesia in Timor L'Este and West Papua, as a few of many recent examples. We must always remember that the colonising feats of the British Crown - and perpetuated by subsequent Australian colonial and federated governments – stripped sovereignty and lands from literally hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations over the last two centuries. Even our beloved Gough, while progressive on land rights, did not return that stolen sovereignty. Yes, maintain the rage, but lest we forget.

Russ Couch Woonona

In his article today the Chairman, Peter FitzSimons, is again coy about the method of the election of an Australian President favoured by the ARM. I'm sure a lot of voters who support the change would like to know the recommended method, if there is one, before they vote to change our current system. If an initial vote favours change is it to incorporate a second vote to decide whether the method would be a nomination by the ruling party, as currently for Prime Minister, or by the American system where candidates are finally whittled down to two, as for Hilary Clinton versus Donald Trump and all voters have a say? The latter method a drawn out and very costly process as we saw. Or if the ruling party has the right of nomination then it could be a reward for services to the party e.g. President Howard or President Rudd. And if parliament is almost hung as at present the cross-benches might insist on their nomination being President. So while there are lots of variables one would think the ARM would have a strong view on the necessary method of election as an integral part of the change they recommend. So don't be coy, Peter, tell us what your Movement recommends.

William Williams Manly

US should pull back

In Port Moresby on the afternoon of September 15, 1975, the eve of Papua New Guinea Independence, the Australian flag was lowered for the last time as the flag of the Territories of Papua and New Guinea ("British officials flew in to meet Kerr", October 16). Thousands of residents and many visiting dignitaries witnessed the ceremony at the Sir Hubert Murray Stadium, including Australian Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, Prince Charles and Lord Mountbatten.

It was an emotionally charged moment. There were many tears of sadness for the past and of joy for the future amongst the huge crowd of Papua New Guineans attending.

That evening Sir John Kerr was the guest of Sir John Guise, at Government House. At midnight, PNG became Independent. Eight weeks later, Sir John Kerr dismissed Prime Minister Whitlam.

At Independence, I was appointed Secretary of the National Executive Council (NEC). After each NEC meeting, I delivered to Sir John Guise, recommendations on statutory regulations and appointments that would be brought into effect by the Governor-Generals' signature. In practice, I briefed Sir John on the background to these matters. After the first such session following the Whitlam dismissal, Sir John Guise informed me on a personal basis that he thought Sir John Kerr had made the wrong decision. He went on to tell me that, on the night of Independence Sir John Kerr discussed with him at great length the powers of the Governor-General to dismiss a Prime Minister. Was Sir John Kerr simply briefing his PNG counterpart on his powers under the new constitution? Or did this discussion indicate that Sir John Kerr, two months prior to taking action, was already intensely interested in his own powers of dismissal? While we may never know for sure, the recent disclosure (SMH, October 16) that senior UK officials met with Sir John Kerr a month before the dismissal, could be seen to reinforce the latter view.

Mark Lynch Merewether

US provokes North Korea

Peter Hartcher's article might have canvassed the possibility of an end to decades-long US war games up and down the Korean peninsula, as advocated by Richard Broinowski this week ("No good options for strike on N Korea", October 17). He is a balanced observer of the world scene. The US has provoked North Korea long-term and should pull its horns in. And how could North Korea refuse such an offer?

Barrie Smillie Duffy ACT

Making a quid

Children collecting bottles for refunds (Letters, October 17) reminded me of the time in the early forties when I used to walk from Neutral Bay to the zoo. I used to enter by climbing into the bison's cage and then collect empty bottles for refund. I cannot remember the amount I received per bottle but my take was sufficient to give me pocket money for a week.

Graeme Berman Manly

Little sympathy for $1m-plus Lisa

Can't help but feel sorry for poor Lisa getting only $1.2 million a year ("Lisa calls time on mornings with Karl", October 17). I have had a solid 40-year career as an administrative assistant-receptionist and I now find myself unemployed for six months as a result of being made redundant. I am having to live off $200 something per week with living expenses of more than that per week. Now having to dig into my super to make ends meet. Do I really feel sorry for Lisa? Not likely.

Wendy Hearn Scarborough Qld.

Congratulations to Lisa Wilkinson on her new job at Channel Ten. Unfortunately very few women are in a position to vote with their feet when denied equal pay. Most have to grin and bear it to keep the job they have rather than join the Centrelink queue.

Stephanie Edwards Roseville

Hopefully Pauline Hanson will demand to know how much Channel Ten will be paying Lisa Wilkinson.

Ross Langford-Brown Randwick

Making waves

If Tony Abbott can't accept the science of climate change, where on earth does he stand on gravitational waves? ("Revelation of cosmic secrets triggers a frenzy of science", October 17).

Rod Hughes Epping

Enough of Mehajer

Surely we can drop covering the cringeworthy, embarrassing activities of Salim what's-his-name ("Crash stops Mehajer from reaching court", October 17). Is that all we have to talk about? Meanwhile in Sudan...

Craig Moore Bondi

Weinstein's day job

With more and more revelations about Harvey Weinstein's busy sex life, how did he ever find time to do his day job making films? ("Four more rape allegations", October 17).

Della Strathen Bowral