Andrew Webster - Channel 9 cricket commentary - Paul to SMH, 6 Jan 2017

There are two well-worn buttons on my TV remote, Mute and Off. They enable me to cope with all sports commentary except NRL, where I want to listen to Gould and Sterling but not Warren.

Dr T K WHITAKER - Paul to SMH, 11 Jan 2017

​Ireland is today mourning the passing, at the age of 100, of Dr T K (Ken) Whitaker, being described in tributes as 'the architect of modern Ireland' and 'as fine an Irishman as there has been'. In 2001 he was honoured as 'Irishman of the 20th century'.

Dr Whitaker was a public servant, who rose from the position of clerk to become Secretary of the Department of Finance at the age of 39, in which rôle he transformed the Irish economy, as politicians came and went.

In later life he became a Senator, and headed numerous cultural and academic bodies.

As 'a Finance man' Dr Whitaker saw his rôle as 'a trustee for the taxpayer'. Would that those in public life in Australia might think and act likewise.

NSW has its own problem with politician entitlements - Paul to SMH, 13 Jan 2017

​I hope Sean Nicholls has Part 2 of this excellent piece in preparation, (NSW has its own problem with politician entitlements, 13 Jan), outlining the policies which have lost Mike Baird support.

Like the back-flip on greyhound racing, seemingly at the behest of Alan Jones. Like his obsession with privatising anything that isn't nailed down. His rough-shod bullying of local government. The lack of adequate assessment of major infrastructure projects to ensure value for money. And, above all, the mad, uncontrolled, tasteless, destructive, developer-driven "growth at all costs" stampede to cram more and more people into already over-crowded Sydney.

Mr Baird should prioritise the enhancement of the quality of life for people, and the preservation of the natural world we live in, rather than his materialistic, philistine focus on GDP.

Make NSW a better place, not a bigger place.

NSW CABINET RE-SHUFFLE - Paul to SMH, 29 Jan 2017

​Let’s hope that Brad “Lazarus” Hazzard, our new Health Minister, will be more careful about the choice of location for any new hospitals he may build in future than he was in October 2013 when, as Planning Minister, he signed the Order designating Frenchs Forest to be the site for the Northern Beaches Hospital, after ‘robust qualitative analysis’ had ranked that location a poor third amongst the six sites considered. The same study had budgeted $21.3 million for roading works which are now costing $500 million.

The fact that the study was about 8 years old didn’t cause Mr Hazzard to pause to review and update the information. Nor, clearly, did he remember telling a public meeting in early 2011 that he would be debarred from involvement in the hospital process by a perceived conflict of interest, he being the local Member and a local resident.

Gladys was obviously unaware of this background when she chose Brad for Health.


The member for Wakehurst has a sophisticated approach to the research of such important matters as housing. (Call for higher density near new hospital MD March 2nd 2017). He asks medical specialists at one hospital, Westmead, where their associates live and then goes with their answer. I'd like to know the name of these medical specialists so that I can avoid them if I'm unwell. It seems they might be better suited working in the real estate business where their true expertise apparently lies. ​

Meanwhile the honourable member ought to consider taking gardening leave. How dare he utter such a glib and stupid justification for his opinion. He's paid to think on behalf of his constituents not simply to utter ill-informed inanities.

HAZZARD - Paul to MD, 2 Mar 2017

Has Brad Hazzard forgotten that it was he as Planning Minister who signed the 16 October 2012 Order designating French Forest as the site for the new hospital? Does he now regret not reviewing or updating the NSW Health 2005 Development Options Business Case on which the choice was based, whose “robust qualitative analysis” ranked Frenchs Forest a poor third of the six sites considered, and calculated that the roading upgrades would cost $21.3 million, a far cry from the current figure of $500 million? It was he who put the hospital in the location he belatedly realises is unsuitable.

Has he also forgotten the public meetings he attended in 2010/11 when the community vociferously rejected the 'Frenchs Forest State Significant Site Proposal’, the “second Chatswood” concept he seems determined to impose on us?

Can I point out to him that those who chose to live in this “peaceful back-yard environment” were here first? Telling us that we can simply piss off and go somewhere else is not the appropriate attitude for an elected representative. Perhaps we will leave, Brad, but not until we’ve got our own back at the next State election.

WHAT HOUSING CRISIS? - Paul to MD, 6 Mar 2017

Brad Hazzard tells us (Manly Daily, 2 March) that a casual conversation with a couple of doctors at Westmead convinced him of the need for additional housing around the NBH. On the other hand, multiple in-depth studies by expert consultants during the hospital planning process failed to identify any such issue.

If the viability of the hospital depended on providing staff accommodation, NSW Health should have said so at the time, and that would have become an explicit condition of approval, or might have resulted in the hospital being relocated to the preferred site in Dee Why.

It would appear to be only developers and not the medical and planning professions who share Mr Hazzard's opinion. Local residents certainly don't.


​As a resident of the Warringah (federal) and Wakehurst (state) electorates, I can be forgiven, I hope, for thinking that democracy is a failure.

But I am heartened to see that the citizens of Western Australia are intelligent enough to reject utterly the propensity of many of our so-called leaders to stoop to whatever depths (eg grubby, unprincipled preference deals) they feel are necessary for them to retain or win power.

People don't react well to being blatantly and cynically manipulated, or to being ignored, to suit politicians' self-interest.

​LETTER - Paul to SMH, 12 Mar 2017

Politicians and planners please note, it isn't just flora and fauna which are at risk from the eradication of our green natural environment, humans suffer as well. ("Nothing Safe", and "Sydneysiders willing to pay a premium", 12 March). " Health benefits ... come from living close to open green spaces and trees".

And Anthony Roberts obviously missed Economics 101 - price is the interaction of supply and demand. Housing prices cannot be a factor of supply alone; this country's mad obsession with unsustainable population growth in limited areas lies at the root of many evils, housing un-affordability included. If you must have more people, create a new city.

SPORT SPONSORSHIP - Paul to SMH, 25 Mar 2017

We've seen off tobacco, and now alcohol. Hopefully Cricket Australia will resist the temptation to follow many other sporting organisations into the welcoming arms of gambling.

Cricket has already had enough match-fixing scandals to prove that sport and gambling aren't a good mix.

ADANI, Paul to SMH, 13 Apr 2017

Congratulations, Dean Sewell. Your photos of the Adani pollution should end once and for all any thought of approving, far less funding, any expansion of that company's operations in this country.

Adani has amply demonstrated that it is not a fit and proper entity to be allowed to operate here.


Hi, I'm the Easter Bunny of Frenchs Wasteland.

On so-called Good Friday, I revisited what used to be my home before those humans and their big machines came and destroyed it. Now there's hardly a tree in sight, not a blade of grass to eat, and all my old mates have gone. It broke my heart. I just hung around in the rubble under a new bridge they're putting up, wondering if the world has gone mad. Unless you're classified endangered, no bugger cares, so we rabbits and humans alike just got bulldozed out of the way to make room for something which was actually supposed to be in Dee Why anyway!

Above me was this monstrous cantilever-type thing, utterly dwarfing the slim, elegant, low-line bridge which has given excellent service for decades. My mates and I used to use it occasionally to go over to raid Forestway Shops. It's a lovely bridge. Why the new one needs to be so big and ugly beats me. The sides are metres-high steel mesh more suited to a concentration camp. What's that for?

But it was good to see that someone still has a sense of humour of sorts, despite the wanton devastation all around us. On the end of the new bridge section was painted its delivery address, "Forest SA.2". The delivery contractors must have understood what "SA.2" meant, because to use the description "Forest" is a sick joke.

I dread to think what things will be like next Easter. Apparently a lot of our human neighbours feel the same way. I hear on the rabbit-vine that the Council intends to make things even worse, and that my rellies over on the High School side of the road are in real danger.

Not much Easter joy, eh?

STEVE WOZNIAK ARTICLE - Paul to SMH, 18 Apr 2017

​In case our planners and politicians missed it, Steve Wozniak's predictions for the world in 2075 included: "New cities. Deserts could be ideal locations for cities of the future, designed and built from scratch".

Australia already has plenty of desert, and given current inaction on climate change the area of desert is sure to increase, so I would strongly urge that this idea be seriously evaluated as a potential answer to our population growth problem.

NEW ZEALAND LEADS AGAIN - Paul to SMH, 18 May 2017

​Not content with beating us to female emancipation, GST, same-sex marriage, and rugby, our Kiwi cousins are beating us hands down on high-speed broadband.

Yesterday my daughter Facetimed me from Dunedin to let me know that she had been connected to their version of the NBN. She can expect maximum speeds TEN TIMES the fastest we are offered here. Admittedly Dunedin is a special case, nevertheless the rest of the country which we like to deride as a backwater can have 2x the NBN max of 100/50 Mbps. And it will cost her LESS than she has been paying for ADSL. The connection was clear as a bell.

Little wonder then that the main outcome of Turnbull's visit to Trump seems to have been articles in the NY Times and Forbes magazine ridiculing Australia's performance in this area!

Is this to be the legacy for which history remembers you, Malcolm?

HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT - Anne to SMH, 26 May 2017

Many letters this week have posed the question as to why Monis was out and about on bail despite everything the police and courts knew about him. Meanwhile an article in Friday's Herald informs us that Abedi had been reported to the authorities on several occasions as a person to watch including a warning from his local mosque. After 9/11 we learned that authorities in America had information about the suspicious behaviour of the men who flew the planes into the WTC. After the terrorist incidents in France security services moved swiftly to round up perpetrators and their known associates.

What is going on here? ​

The men who commit these acts of violence often seem to be "on the radar" but no preemptive action is taken to get them out of circulation before deaths and injury occur to innocent people. I'm wondering why that is.

JULIA BAIRD ARTICLE - Anne to SMH, 15 July 2017

I'm in total agreement with Julia Baird's support of Yassmin Abdel-Magied. I'm totally opposed to the behaviour of the aggressive shrew and bully she mentions in her article. I'm feed up to the back teeth with ignoramuses who mistakenly believe the ideal of free speech confers to them the right to shoot their mouths off in abusive and offensive ways to others. ​

It's time for those of us who want a humane and progressive world to shove these troublemakers back down into the dark underworld from which they have emerged.

BOOMERS NOT TO BLAME - Anne to SMH, 13 Aug 2017

​"These people are cruising through their senior years but they are sitting on a huge amount of unused real estate," Mr Pawson said "You can't wait for the baby boomers to pass away to get those houses on the market," said Mr Coates.

I'm angry at the vilification, yet again, of the Boomer generation. (Solo residents occupying six bedroom houses. SMH 13/8/17). The campaign to blame "greedy Boomers" for various ills of society including the housing shortage is insidious and relentless. It's also irrational, damaging, offensive, hurtful and downright evil.

I get the feeling that developers, frustrated by the shortage of available land, are behind this sneaky propaganda. It irks them that prime realestate is "tightly held" by people who may wish to live there another 30 years.

There are many reasons for the housing shortage not the least of which is Australia's aggressive immigration policy which I imagine is entirely supported and encouraged by developers and their donations to political parties.

How long before we hear suggestions for the compulsory acquisition of property? How long before we boomers are coerced into making way for others? How long before the younger generation entirely accept this damaging propaganda?

Boomers take heed. This campaign of blame and vilification isn't likely to go away until the faceless vested interests get their way or we fight back with equal determination.

SYDNEY IS FULL - Paul to SMH, 9 Oct 2017

Mr Roberts' claims that the development of Sydney is being done "with careful consideration for maintaining local character" demonstrate that he is clearly unaware of what is planned for Frenchs Nullarbor, the devastation of a once-verdant residential suburb resulting from the Planning Minister's decision in October 2012 to locate a major new hospital in what NSW Health's Development Options Business Case rated as a poor third amongst the six sites considered. Go figure!

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