Letters to the editor

Train delivers

The 5.13pm train from Southern Cross to Warrnambool has just delivered me home on time. I enjoyed a cuppa on the way, read the paper in peace, did some paperwork and checked my emails, all in comfort. So people of Warrnambool keep using the train or give it a go, especially the new service times, so that we can show the decision makers that we value public transport to regional areas and will use it.

Tina Hancock, Warrnambool.

Change approach

I write to comment on Roma Britnell’s letter (The Standard, April 15) in which she proudly displays her support for tougher responses to serious lawbreakers, especially involving violent crime.

I am not aligned with any political party but firmly believe in the rule of law. Therefore, I agree with Roma that it is necessary to ‘get tough on crime’ but the idea of mandatory sentencing is based on responding to violence with violence; a response that has been used unsuccessfully for thousands of years. Doing the same thing in the same way and wondering why you get the same result is a definition of stupidity. Why do we keep doing it? Why do our law makers go against the evidence that violence-based responses don’t work? 

The cartoon on the preceding page of Saturday’s The Standard was a stark example of what often happens when violence is used against someone who is a nuisance to the community or to the powers that be. The ‘punisher’ gets self-satisfaction from having got rid of the problem, only to find it has returned more powerful than before.

Politicians are not stupid. One reason they talk about getting tough on crime is because that sort of response is the easy way to win votes. Tough politicians don’t do what is easy for them, tough pollies do what they believe is right for the community. Sometimes that means pushing for things to be done in a new or different way.

There are ways that are genuinely tough on crime and could keep many criminals from ever being released into the community, and at the same time be beneficial to the offender. I suggest that if Roma really wants to get tough on crime she could urge her party to blend the idea of Restorative Justice with the Principles of Active Nonviolence to produce Transformative Justice (TJ).

Restorative Justice works very well but is restricted to certain crimes. Transformative Justice, properly conducted, can deal with a much wider range of crimes.  

A cryptic word of warning though: TJ was what JC was promoting 2000 years ago.      

Bob Myers, Warrnambool

Renewable energy worry

I read with amusement Petra Stocks diatribe in Thursday’s opinion page, once again an inner city living climate council backed expert advocating for the masses to suffer the pain of poor power delivery and skyrocketing prices. Unfortunately her piece is riddled with half-truths and misleading statements starting with the laughable statement that we no longer need gas for our secure, low cost low emission future. As has been painfully obviously proven by the energy crisis that crippled South Australia and WA, renewable energy has a long way to go before becoming a stable base load supplier, no matter what the climate council tries to portray. Also therein lies the other issue, we would no more take advice from the chairman of BHP in regards to oil supply and usage so why isn’t someone that works directly for a renewable energy advocate also subject to the same scrutiny? The other glaring issue is the statement on cost of solar and wind installations being cheaper than gas power plants. That may be true as long as the bulk of the cost is born on government supplied grants and rule bending to enable them to be built. The rising costs of existing gas installations is partly in response to increasing government regulation and undue interference designed specifically to push the industry into cost viability crossroads. Once again the issue isn’t one of outdated technology or poor economic viability but greediness by the few with the most. There is also the statement about the readiness of the NSW power grid, blaming the issues that have been thrust on the industry by more regulations and cost cutting forced on the suppliers isn’t fair or a proper indication of readiness. Stating that we are ready to move to full renewables is short sighted and nothing more than naval gazing. We are not ready. And will not be for a few years to go.

Scott Norris, Warrnambool

Question for banks

The latest round of bank closures in rural areas makes one ask was this only because of a deliberate manoeuvre by the banking industry to get people to switch to phone banking and conducting business by use of cards connected to an account or pre-loaded card, instead of cash purchases? And so reduce the need to obtain cash prior to shopping, then use the excuse fewer people are going into a  branch when the actual value of business transacted on accounts conducted via a branch could be vastly increasing so the value and number of transactions could actually be increasing. Provision of cards to customers is a very big income earner to banks since many also have an annual fee payable in advance attached to them.

James Judd, Colac

Reader feedback

Just a few lines to express my interest and mainly admiration for your newspaper.  I thought I should put forward my views in regard for our community paper.  On a positive note, I really enjoy Joanne McCarthy’s column on Saturdays. To my mind there should be more emphasis on philosophy and history and such, rather than the commercial side of things. One thing I don't like is the sleazy ‘adult services’ ads at the back of the paper. Me thinks it presents a 'blot on your escutcheon’. The community family paper should do well without them.

Edward McGinty, Mortlake