Am I alone in supporting the O'Farrell government's cautious approach to the alcohol-fuelled violence problem ("Crackdown looms", January ?13)? It appears from even a cursory reading of the available facts that these cowardly attacks aren't caused by overly indulgent revellers who party in late-night hot spots, but rather by muscled-up thugs going to these precincts specifically looking for a “fight”. These steroid-enraged goons are drunk before they set out, and are looking for Ultimate Fighting Championship-style “glory”, rather than entry to nightclubs.
Of course, the public is demanding action, but draconian restrictions will only work by getting the victims off the street, rather than the criminals. Any solution should address the real problem.
Paul Tenison Eastwood
The NSW government's actions on licensed venues have resulted in a series of perverse effects. Increased licence fees, taxes and compliance costs have dramatically raised the cost of alcohol in the inner city.
This has led to the increase in pre-loading, resulting in large numbers of inebriated revellers arriving in the city already drunk. The requirement that clubs and pubs turn away any people showing signs of inebriation turns these revellers' Saturday night into a very long walk between establishments, combined with hours in queuing only to be turned away at the doors. It's enough to make a guy want to punch someone.
What is needed instead is to have more establishments that serve alcohol at a much lower price and for every establishment to provide an alcohol-free area with meals, entertainment and comfortable seating.
It is the discrimination against drunks that is causing the violence. After all, it has been demonstrated that when people are having fun they do not fight. Let's bring the fun back into the city.
John Biasutti Colyton
Four deaths in the insulation industry forced the government to announce the "pink batts" ?royal ?commission. There have been four deaths directly related to the 24-hour alcohol nightmare in Kings Cross (Wilson Duque Castillo in 2010, Calum Grant in 2011, Thomas Kelly in 2012, and now Daniel Christie). When will the government announce a royal commission on the impacts and costs to society of this boil on the face of Sydney, and lance it once and for all?
Patrick McGrath Potts Point
When former Liberal Party chief fund-raiser Paul Nicolaou was appointed chief executive of the Australian Hotels Association (NSW) in 2012, he admitted he was hired for his political connections. He told industry mag The Shout: "Well look, it's a Liberal government. Let's be upfront and honest, it's no good beating around the bush – you're not going to put a person with Labor ties in as the CEO." Mr Nicolaou is also a prominent fund-raiser for Sydney Children's Hospital. It's a shame then that he's lobbying against changes that could help keep kids out of hospital later in life.
Lee Duncan The Channon
All sorts of statistics have been quoted about the effects of the so-called Newcastle solution. However, one piece of important information is lacking. Could someone inform us how many of the hotels involved in the restrictions have gone broke.
Clive Williams Lavender Bay
Rebecca Wright (Letters, January 13), Kings Cross is a vibrant daytime community and, dare I say, village, where junkies, rough sleepers, nursing home residents, gay couples and young families mix happily – each going about their business untroubled in this microcosm of tolerance.
Speaking as a resident for more than 10 years, Kings Cross does not need to be rebranded, any more than Vegemite did. Policing needs to change from eight police and a sniffer dog on a lazy Tuesday afternoon arresting a backpacker for carrying a joint, to more active policing on the streets at the weekends, when our out-of-village, out-of-control visitors treat our home as boxing ring and/or toilet.
Luke Fairbrother Kings Cross
Kings Cross is not a person who hits people. It is a suburb, peopled, to the best of my knowledge, by peaceable, law-abiding citizens. A trip to Kings Cross for booze and porn is a modern day rite of passage for young Australian men, and has been for years. This is Aussie culture. I live out of town for a reason.
Diddy FitzGerald Windsor
Nino Culotta (the late writer John O'Grady) had the right name for Kings Bloody Cross more than 50 years ago.
Richard Morony Pymble
Get used to taxi shortage if you can't behave yourself
As a former cabbie, I look at the issue of shortage of taxis from the drivers' point of view ("Fare increase fails to tempt late-night cabs", January 13).
Even as long ago as the 1980s, when I was driving night shifts, it was very obvious that passengers picked up in Kings Cross, Manly, Bondi or the George Street entertainment precinct were highly likely to be drunk, incoherent, abusive, agitated or violent – indeed, some passengers were all five. You also stood a decent chance of not being paid, and/or having your taxi soiled by vomit, urine or even – on one occasion in my experience – faeces.
No amount of fare increases could compensate for risking such encounters, and I soon decided to avoid those four areas late at night at all costs.
Why would any driver except the most inexperienced or naive take such a risk when there are plenty of better-behaved passengers in other suburbs? Start behaving better and the cabs may return. Until then, if you have to wait a long time, stiff cheese.
Steve Cornelius Fairlight
Statistics fail to tell single-parent story
I would have thought Paul Sheehan would have more sense than to defend Cory Bernardi when even the government has distanced itself from his deplorably divisive views (''So ready to throw book at Bernardi without reading it'', January 13).
As Melinda Tankard Reist (who has read Mr Bernardi's book) shows, some women raise children alone for reasons which are beyond their control (''Dear Cory, start to address inequality and then let's talk'', smh.com.au, January 12). To Melissa's examples can be added the death of a parent, whether through accident, illness or war.
The issue is not that children of single-parent families statistically tend to fare worse in life than children who are raised by two parents, because the statistics alone do not explain why this is so. They do not, for example, countenance whether the household income of a single parent may be lower than that of two parents, and therefore that such children may not have access to the same benefits and enculturation as their wealthier peers.
Single parents and their children should not be marginalised for reasons beyond their control, on the spurious supposition this fact alone determines ''the levels of criminality among boys and promiscuity among girls''. Single-parent families exist, for whatever reason, and those parents should be supported by whatever means possible to ensure that they and their children can live lives which are as happy and fulfilling as those in ''traditional'' families.
Jon Michie Russell Lea
As a woman who was brought up in a single parent home, I agree with the statistics that children fare much better in a home where the two biological parents live. Thank you Paul Sheehan for shedding some light on the attacks which have been aimed at Cory Bernardi and his staff and the fact that many journalists have not had the integrity to even read what they are attacking. Should I duck for cover now?
Donna Green Glenbrook
History wars need to consider fun factor
Your editorial is an interesting critique of the problems of curriculum development in a postmodern context (''Curriculum review must focus on the needs of children'', January 13). The real problem is not just what is appropriate for children to be taught, but above all what children will be able to learn effectively, and enjoy learning.
As a history teacher in a large comprehensive boys' high school, I have no objection to teaching Aboriginal history, but the rights and freedoms component of the history syllabus, in which it sits, is most disliked by the students. Like most boys of their age, they relate well to the wars Australia has been involved in, have no problem with our commemoration of Anzac Day and Remembrance Day, but find it difficult to relate to the study of politics. Big events, war and revolution are their favourites; in other words, meta-narrative, rather than critical awareness of injustice.
I wonder whether we are asking too much of teenagers, who are mostly looking for role models, heroes and excitement in their history.
Educators should think back to their own schooldays and ask what they were most interested in.
Vivienne Parsons Thornleigh
Why didn't the Abbott government appoint a female to review the national curriculum? No woman suitable?
Elizabeth Cameron Salamander Bay
Perhaps Dr Ivan Head (Letters, January 13), could show us how to distinguish between a bad religion, a good religion and a religion that isn't a story peddled by a persuasive person.
Carolyn Foreman Glebe
Parks put under siege
The O'Farrell government has a string of increasingly dopey decisions on the environment under its belt but the latest decision on the Botanical Gardens is more than dopey - it is outrageous (''New cafes and events for Botanic Gardens and Centennial Park'', January 13).
We have already seen how opening Centennial Park to rock concerts can trash the place.
Now these boys and girls want to get their grasping fingers on our Botanic Gardens.
For years, the first two directors, Charles Moore and George Maiden fought attempts by politicians to meddle in the management of the gardens - and fought successfully.
Now the pointy heads have won. Moore and Maiden will be turning over in their graves.
Geoff Lambert Fairlight
Santos plays by the rules
Accusations that Santos is trying to go around the relevant regulatory approvals process in developing or supplying gas from its permits in the Pilliga forest are an attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the community and create concern where it is unwarranted (''Greens MP accuses Santos of commercialisation by stealth'', January 13).
The Wilga Park Power Station has been operating since 2004 with gas from the region, and with the right levels of approval.
Santos is, as always, following the appropriate regulatory approvals to ensure the gas from our exploration wells can be used to supply low-carbon power for the local community, a much better and sustainable option than flaring this gas.
We have been very transparent and open in engaging with the local community and government about our plans, and will continue to do so.
Alan Feely energy NSW manager environment and water, Santos, Sydney
A point about Seidler
Penelope Seidler (Letters, January 13) is offended by some things that have been written regarding architect Harry Seidler. I've really only one comment in response - Blues Point Tower.
Geoff Wannan Dawes Point
Collector punished for his initiative
Trevor Kennedy is being penalised for having the acumen and interest to build a staggering collection of Australiana (''Push to stop Kennedy's $26 million art collection being sent overseas'', January 13). Often the obsession of private collectors gives them a great advantage over paid curators, who necessarily have a thinner and wider spread of appreciation.
If the stuff is too important to export, even to someone who wants it enough to care for it, then maybe it's important enough to buy for the public. Kennedy is being penalised for the importance of what he has done.
David Johnstone Coledale
Food for thought
In other great cities of the world where the standard of cleanliness on trains appears much higher than here, the consumption of food by passengers is banned (''Train cleaners suffering 'reform fatigue' push for redundancy'', January 13) . Most filth on our trains seems to be food related. With such a ban, maybe we would need fewer cleaners.
Victoria Harrington Thirroul
Don't worry Barbara Butt (Letters, January 10), although Margaret Slorach (Letters, January 11) missed it, there are those of us who knew exactly what you were saying - with your tongue firmly in your cheek.
Jim Sabine Bella Vista
A metre matters to all
As an active pedestrian who walks with a child in tow, I would appreciate it if cyclists were prepared to slow down when overtaking and show they understand that a metre matters on the pavement, too (''Call for national law on overtaking distance'', January 13). It would be even better if pedestrian rights were protected by legislation for a minimum overtaking distance. Surely we all deserve a fair go.
Shilo McClean Coogee
I notice reading Monday's paper that 430 ''odd'' state rail cleaners have applied for redundancy and that Theodore Pasialis was the first of 150 ''odd'' young men to retrieve the holy cross thrown into the water at La Perouse (''Train cleaners suffering 'reform fatigue' push for redundancy'', ''NSW to swelter for most of the week'', January 13). Do the odd people know something the rest of us are missing?
Catherine Hoskin Pennant Hills
The story O'Farrell wise to take measured approach to street violence first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.