Letters to the editor

BIG JOB: A reader wonders if the Canadian-style electric trolley buses were considered as an alternative to light rail in Newcastle (pictured). Artwork: Supplied
BIG JOB: A reader wonders if the Canadian-style electric trolley buses were considered as an alternative to light rail in Newcastle (pictured). Artwork: Supplied

Alternative to light rail

WE recently returned from Vancouver, Canada, where we rode on one of their electric trolley buses. These look similar to diesel powered buses, except they run on electricity via twin-overhead power lines accessed by long poles on the roof.

Unlike trams, or light rail, they do not run on rails but on rubber tyres and are steerable. This gives them the advantages of being able to pull over to the kerb out of the traffic stream and their rubber tyres are quieter than steel wheels.

Without tracks, there is no need to dig up the roads to lay tracks nor do they require any maintenance or removal costs.

Steel tracks buried in the roadway can be hazardous to motor bikes and push bikes as well as a trap for ladies’ shoe heels.

Anyone who has had the misfortune to ride on a wet tram track will soon find themselves sitting on the road, as I did once on Broadway.

The modern single and dual ‘bendy’ trolley buses in Vancouver had features such as “kneeling” at the kerb to allow easy access, wheelchair facilities, electric and acoustic warning of approaching stops, and air-conditioning.

Why they would want to dig up the streets of Sydney and Newcastle to run trams seems crazy when there are such alternatives as these.

- George Aungle, Morisset Park

Abuse in the defence force

THIS government is committed to supporting current and former members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) who may have been physically or sexually abused.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) has introduced measures to make it easier for those affected to access compensation and to receive the mental health support they need.

The department has broadened the acceptance of statutory declarations as part of compensation claims, making it possible for such declarations to constitute sufficient evidence to establish that abuse took place.

This change will benefit those who may not have reported abuse at the time it occurred or who have never previously spoken about it.

A dedicated team has also been established to manage all new claims relating to sexual and physical abuse.

Treatment for all mental health conditions is now free for anyone who has served just one day in the full-time ADF. The Veterans and Veterans’ Families Counselling Service also provides specialist free counselling and group programs.

This service is available by phoning 1800 011 046, or via their website: www.vvcs.gov.au. I encourage anyone who may have suffered abuse in the ADF to contact DVA to access the support and benefits the Department provides. Further information can be found on DVA’s website or by calling 1800 555 254.

Dan Tehan, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Why no plebiscites?

WHY is it so? We did not need a plebiscite to invade Iraq, a war based on American lies, nor a plebiscite to invade Vietnam, a war also based on American lies as Australian politicians danced in tune to American war tom-toms. How strange, then, that we do need a plebiscite for same sex people to marry. 

- Richard Ryan, Summerland Point 

Same-sex marriage

I HAVE no antipathy towards homosexuals, including marriage. They have a perfect right to devote themselves to their partner; as long as it is via a civil service. My objection – and I will vote, NO - is against changing the marriage laws, which state that marriage should be between a man and a woman. By voting YES you may feel avant-garde in some respects, but what you are doing is changing the Bible, which has been in existence for many hundreds of years and has served the masses adequately in all that time.

- Tom Edwards, Wangi Wangi