Redemption story should serve to inspire

Michael Coutts-Trotter should be respected for his rehabilitation from drug addiction (“From drug smuggler to head of the justice system”, August 2). Those that would condemn him, and use his past against his wife Tanya Plibersek, should look at their own life and realise it is far from perfect. His story should be told so it can give hope to others whose present life is in a dark place. John Cotterill, Kingsford

It takes an exceptional person to rise to the top echelons in the NSW Public Service and Coutts-Trotter has done this in numerous departments over the years, providing advice to governments of both persuasions. To do this with an early history of drug abuse makes for a remarkable achievement. Well done Michael, and Tanya for the support you have given him. Alan Ventress, Manly Vale

Illustration: Matt Golding

Illustration: Matt GoldingCredit:

Lifestyle, be in it

Your article omits to mention the paramount importance of lifestyle on gene expression (“Screen for genes to prevent cancers”, August 2). Lifestyle in this context means the combined effect of one`s long-term response to nutrition, environment, disposition, chronic stress management, movement, sleep cycle. This predicates an active role for everyone to maintain their peak health from an early age. Timely advice from a competent professional is crucial. Vojislav Ilic, Oatley


Irritated Bowral

For years a group of residents has been trying to hold Wingecarribee Shire Council to account (“‘The logging of Bowral’ cops a flogging”, August 2). A proposal has been on its books for more than 40 years to help alleviate traffic. Suddenly there is a desperate rush to push through a very different proposal to the original. As your article states a number of historic pin oaks will be destroyed to make room for something that the community does not want, will not improve traffic, will remove half of the commuter parking spaces from the Bowral station, and severely compromise pedestrian safety. The Minister for Local Government and the local MP have been approached on numerous occasions – both have been totally oblivious to our pleas for assistance. The present situation relating to the pandemic makes public rallies somewhat difficult. What else can we do? Suggestions welcomed. Jan Wilson, Bowral

Shark nets work

While the bycatch is unfortunate, the evidence for shark nets saving human lives is irrefutable (“Shark nets take growing toll on wildlife”, August 2). In the decade leading up to their installation in 1935, nine people, with a median age of 17 years, were killed by sharks off Sydney ocean beaches. There have been no fatalities in the 85 years since. The probability that this occurred by chance is less than one in a million, even more extreme when one considers the huge increase in ocean swimming and surfing, including (unwisely) at dusk and dawn.

Since it is not possible for the nets to be exclusive, it is unclear why they have been so successful. The most likely explanation is that sharks avoid setting up colonies in areas where they have been caught in nets. This is supported by published data showing a gradual reduction in shark numbers off Sydney beaches. While all marine life matters, as a physician and volunteer surf lifesaver, I value nothing above the protection of human lives. Graeme Stewart, Palm Beach

Old Balmain was better

This octogenarian almost choked on his Weetbix as he read that Balmain is now one of Sydney’s best-off suburbs (”Sydney suburbs striking it richer”, August 2). When I grew up in its grimy streets in the 1940s the suburb was anything but. To quote Monty Python, it was ”shoe box in middle of the road” territory. I’ve since discovered online that the now gentrified two-up, two-down terrace my family once rented for five bob a week recently sold for one and a quarter million. Those narrow streets where the boys once played cricket and the girls hopscotch now provide parking for Porches and BMWs. The only scenic thing in our street was a horse trough providing water for the milkman’s cart. Today’s Balmain millionaires don’t know what they’re missing. Garth Clarke, North Sydney

Postbank not new

The “Postbank” concept which seems to be being proposed as a novel idea has, in fact, historic precedents in Australia (“Postbank idea gets ALP stamp of approval”, August 2). Back in the 19th century, various colonies had “post office savings banks”, owned by the colonial governments and operated out of post offices – NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania. NSW did not include “post office” in its bank’s name, because the shipping master in any port of the colony was also authorised to accept deposits. Of course, back in the colonial era, there were post offices in almost every community, no matter how small, and they were often run by a local store. Judy Butlin, Lindfield

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