Letters to the editor: April 3, 2018

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SOMETHING TO SAY: Cameron Smith speaks to referee Matt Cecchin. Reader John Lehman argues strong words used on the field should be less obvious in broadcasts.
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IT HAS become increasingly noticeable that the production managers of our TV networks are hell bent on educating our children on language used on the footy field.

In a highly charged, emotional game such as rugby league language it is obviously part of the game and should stay on the field, hence no audio.

But the powers that be these days seem to be taking great delight in zooming in on every explicit word on slow-motion replays expressed by the players and the coaches’ box. Is this necessary?When my grandson asks about the word they use starting with F, I just explain they are sayingfire truck.

JohnLehman, MerewetherCLARITY ON FORTNIGHT PLANA NINE-day fortnight (‘Nice work if you can get it’, Newcastle Herald, 31/3), if implemented, would not deliver 26 long weekends a year for Newcastle City Council staffas claimed.

The article’s rubbery mathematics fails to account for staff’s four weeks of annual leave. It also fails to acknowledge if staff worked 70 hours per fortnight over the course of 9 days rather than 10, the number of days of sick leave and annual leave would be reduced. This is because a work day would amount to 7.8 hours, not seven. While the total hours of paid work remain unchanged for council staff, this would mean annual leave would reduce from 20 days to 18. Personal (sick, bereavement, carers) leave would also be reduced from the current 15 days to 13.5 days. Furthermore, the article incorrectly assumes a “day off” would become a “long weekend”.

If council employees took every second Monday or Friday off, we wouldn’t have enough staff to provide basic services. Hence why a nine-day fortnight would only be supported where customer service levels were not impacted.

The article quotes a current Newcastle City councillor suggesting that a nine day fortnight would “effectively double the number of paid days off a year that council employees could have when compared with most day workers.” This statement is totally incorrect. If a council employee elected to complete their 70 hours of paid work over the course of 9 days rather than 10, then the tenth day is unpaid, and treated the same as a weekend, or for that matter, reduced work weeks when some mothers return from maternity leave.

A nine-day fortnight would almost certainly reduce council costs. Support for a nine day fortnight is strongest among our outdoor workforce. A nine-day fortnight means that for every onein 10 days, travel time from our Waratah depot to a work site, along with actions such as unloading, undertaking a site inspection for safety, setting out signage, and conducting a safety brief, are all avoided. Instead this time (approximately 90 minutes per day), is used for on the ground work activities. Furthermore, the one day per fortnight less of driving would reduce fuel and maintenance of council vehicles, machinery and tools. This will reduce these costs by up to 10 per cent.

These errors have created unnecessary ratepayerconfusion and staff concern.

Jeremy Bath, Newcastle City Council chief executiveBANS WILL CHANGE LITTLEHELEN Murray (Letters, 29/3)added some balance to the outrage over the ball-tampering scandal. Does it take a woman to do that? Those n cricketers clumsily and ineptly tampered with a ball during a Test match.They brokea golden rule of sport: if you are going to cheat, don’t get caught.n officials and fans exploded with outrage.But were thoseofficials defending the sport or their credibility as administrators? Were fans truly concerned for the game or just angry that their fantasy of cricket purity was shattered?

History has shown that coming down very hard on sport cheats has had little impact on incidence of cheating. Drug abuse in the Olympics and the Tour de France has continued in spite of shameful expose of high-profile offenders. Smith, Warner and Bancroft were handed extreme penalties that could be career-ending for one or more of them. They committed no criminal offence. still lost the third Test.

A driver of this scandalhas beenthe obsession with winning. Winners are heroes and losers are zeroes. That’s strong motivation to go over the line.Destroying the careers of offenders wont stop it from happening.A cultural change is needed before any real change will happen.

Peter Devey, MerewetherA TEST OF LEADERSHIPLEADERS are human, they make mistakes. The higher the pedestal on which they are placed, the more they are expected to be perfect. They are not. When they make mistakes, and leaders always do sooner or later, look and learn from their responses.

Genuine shame and contrition is the most we can expect. Those individuals who continue to seek further punishment, look seriously at yourself first. If you are an angel, are you really human?Otherwise try to understand, then forgive but not forget and move on whilerecognising a genuine leader. All leaders need support when they make isolated bad decisions, particularly if tired and stressed. Again, they are human and not perfect.Steve Smith, you have support. You are not completely alone, and in time let your leadership and successes be remembered beyond your failures. Learn, gain strength, and as we all can, move on.

Al Stephens, DudleyIT’S JUST ABOUT CHOCOLATEIN MYview Bishop Bill Wright is kidding himself and usif he believes ‘Easter is about believing that human beings matter’to the Christian god (Herald,31/3).Jesus’ promise of new and eternal life is only for those who can put aside reason and believe the incredibly unlikely Easter story, and who, in the opinion of the Christian god, try to live good lives.But for the rest of us, the Bible promises we will be discarded into a lake of fire. That doesn’t sound like a god who believes human beings matter. But it gets worse. God’s “justice” (reluctantly, since God seems to be conflicted between his “justice” and “love” here) demands that we suffer in that lake eternally.The fire isn’t quenched and the worm doesn’t die. Eternal spiritual (and physical) torture. Is that a caring god who loves humans or a sadistic monster?Your Christian god isn’t like that, you say? Read your Bible carefully. You can’t believe some parts and discard other parts.I prefer an Easter that is about chocolate eggs, family and relaxation.

Geoff Black, Caves Beach

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