Letters to the editor | December 2, 2017

HARMONY: The crowd at Launceston's Carols by Candlelight in 2016. Picture: Scott Gelston
HARMONY: The crowd at Launceston's Carols by Candlelight in 2016. Picture: Scott Gelston

Holy night

IN A year of so much political correctness' for which  most of us think borders on stupidity, let's hope it doesn't affect your Christmas. For this special time of year, is what you make it, so let's enjoy family, friends, pets and all.  

On Christmas Eve in 1818 in Oberndorf, Austria the small congregation at midnight mass in St Nicholas Church heard for the very first time a composition by Franz Gruber and assistant pastor Joseph Mohr, (which he had written the lyrics to, some two years earlier) that would wing its way into the hearts of people right around the world, to this very day; thus was born the carol Silent Night. If you’re like me and love those beautiful Christmas carols written by some of the world’s greatest musicians, I say bring ‘em on.

Robert Lee, Summerhill.

Religious Freedom

WITH all the talk about the need to include religious exemptions as well as preserve the feelings of the faithful with regard to same-sex marriage legislation, the question must be asked as to what concessions the no campaigners would have given the yes camp had the no campaign been successful in the recent survey? I kind of think that the attitude of the religious right would have been something to the effect of “you lost, get over it”.

David Broughton, Legana.


I HAVE been member of Medibank Private a total of 37 years. I have been admitted to the excellent Launceston General Hospital this year as a public patient several times just like everybody else would be from a factory worker to the Minister for Health, Michael Ferguson. Everybody is treated the same. I always declare my private health information because the public system is able to make a claim and some funds are returned to the public system, where they are needed. 

I rang Medibank Private recently to find out how much had been paid for my last admission, but was told this was not available to me.

Some private health insurance holders deliberately do not declare their membership as they think they will be charged at a public hospital. They will not, but may not be aware that the large health insurance providers do supply a newspaper every morning and free television, a bonus.

We are very lucky to have a public hospital with all the fabulous teams of doctors, cheery nurses and allied health professionals as well as the magnificent John L. Grove Rehabilitation centre, where I am currently.

Rosalie Watson, Scottsdale.

Villainous Tree

IT WAS with great interest, and some distress, that I read Elsa de Ruyter’s letter regarding the conservation of water in Tasmania. Yes, Tasmania is likely to have a ‘water problem’ but the evidence for “willows” being “super thirsty” water wasters is just not there. Ms de Ruyter, and readers, might like to consider just how much water, by comparison, willow trees take up by comparison with say towering river edge eucalypts, wattles groves, tee-trees etc, indeed any river edge plants, collectively or singularly. While they might ‘take up’ water from a waterway it is not being wasted. The apparent assumption this water might be ‘lost’ or ‘wasted’ is a quaint idea to say the very least. All plants expire the water they take up and return it to the water-cycle where, typically, it eventually finds its way back to earth as rain. It’s never lost or wasted. So far as willows as a species is concerned, there are very good arguments for these trees being taken off the weeds list.

New Zealand has a “poplar and willow research trust” that promotes the roles these plants have in their landscape and is far, far from promoting their irradiation. Imagining Tasmania’s willow as illegal noxious weeds and as ‘water wasters’ is just silly. 

Ray Norman, Trevallyn.

Olden Days

AN OLD saying that gets around that really irks me is “to make sure you’ve dotted the ‘i’s and crossed the ‘t’s”.

As if doing so was an afterthought.

In the 1960s we were taught how to write using a fountain pen, which had a lever on the side for re-charging the ink.

As monitor, it was your job to fill up the ink wells in all the old wooden desks.

Using such a pen was an artform in itself, but we were taught to dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s as we wrote them rather than going back and doing so.

I can remember children blowing on their paper and waving them in the air trying to dry the ink.

Smudges were a plenty and ink-stained clothing brought out the best in mothers.

A.R. Trounson, Needles.

Groundhog Day

FUNDING for mental health together with alcohol and drug services must be contingent on the acceptance that both organisations offer an integrated and mutually dependant service.

Drug and alcohol addiction manifests itself in many cases of mental illness and unless this is addressed in a cohesive way any underlying issues will have no opportunity to be addressed.

Rather than a set menu and the offer of ‘the soup for the day’ there must be a genuine effort to refer drug and alcohol-affected hospital patients to a smorgasbord of services - both government and non-government - that are available.

A one-off menu in dealing with the complexities of drug and alcohol addiction will create a groundhog day situation where the same behaviours are repeated time and again and different results are expected.

This is the epitome of madness.

Ed Sianski, West Moonah.

Hurricanes and Climate Change

FLORIDA has had almost 200 hurricanes since 1850.

Why, according to the left, was the last one due to climate change?

Jack Sonnemann, Lucaston.


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