Chris, not if you were the last man on Earth

OUT OF LINE: Chris Gayle’s behaviour towards Mel McLaughlin does not qualify as flirting, says reader Maree Raftos.
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IT WOULDappear that Bill Dennis (“Masculinity or absurdity”,Letters11/1), fears that ‘masculinity’(whatever that is) is under attackgiven the reaction to the recent spate of crass behaviour and comments by politicians Jamie Briggs and Peter Dutton and the cricketer, Chris Gayle.

Mr Dennis writes that these episodes [and the reactions to them] “… highlight the feminisation permeating our society”.

I’m not really sure what he means by this but if he means that women have infiltrated the examples he gives (politics, sporting clubs, volunteer organisations, churches, the workplace, homes) and that they are no longer willing to quietly acquiesce to being treated badly by (some) men, I say, good and it’s about time.

Mr Dennis claims that “flirting is an interaction that should be enjoyed by almost everyone”.

The example he gives is of Chris Gayle saying to a female journalist going about her job, “I’ll interview you for a date later”. Sorry, but that doesn’t meet my definition of flirting.

He claims that the journalist and/or her editor could’ve cut that comment but chose not to.

Why would they edit the comment, Mr Dennis? To protect the cricketer?

This smacks of victim blaming along with previousletterwriters who’ve suggested that the reporter’s TV makeup and pony tail almost invited such crass behaviour by the cricketer.

This is 2016,not 1956.Such crass behaviour and outdated attitudes are no longer acceptable.

As for your comment that it is “the woman’s place [sic] to draw the line”, I wholeheartedly agree.My retort would be “Not if you were the last man on earth”.

Maree Raftos,NewcastleA DIFFERENT SPINTO Bill Dennis (Letters, 11/1) andall the men who say Mel McLaughlin was just being flirted with andthat the onus is on the woman to monitor andtemper the man’s behaviour –how differently would this Chris Gayle episode be (and that ofJamie Briggs)if all the parties involvedwere men.

A male politician commenting on the attractiveness of his colleague andfollowing that up with a smooch on the neck. Or a cricketer leering at a male reporter, inviting him out after the game androunding off with “don’t blush baby”.I believe the reaction by the public would be totally different if it was male hitting on male.

Whatever your sexuality, the fact remainsthat this is not acceptable in the workplace.

Suzanne Weller,IslingtonInto the crystal ballJUST a few predictions for 2016.

Nathan Brown is sacked after Knights fail to win the Auckland Nines.The Knights, however, win first prize in the ‘tackiest jersey’competition.

The Jets finally put the ball in the net; at the wrong end but a goal is a goal, eh?

Save Our Rail uses the last of its fighting funds to have a statue of Mike Baird made and a trail of breadcrumbs laidso the pigeons can’t miss it.

Scott Hillard makes a positive statement regarding Bill Shorten and calls for more welfare spending.

Barney Ward calls for Malcolm Turnbull to be Australian of the Year and suggests that Tony Abbott be knighted, or at least something involving a sword.

Finally, after 15 years of writing the most informative and eruditeletters the Newcastle Herald has ever received,Mike Sargent wins a pen.Fat chance. All the best for 2016 all youletterwriters.

Mike Sargent, Raymond TerraceRespect your eldersTHAT elderly people arestruggling to live on the pension is a sad indictment on government policy.

We should be recognizing thatthese are the people who made Australia what it is today. Hardworking men and women who earned, in many cases,minimum wages to support their families.These were people who knew what a budget was and how to live within their means. There was no such thing as superannuation.

At the end of their lives, they need our support for some dignity.I have travelled to many places in the world and I’ve seen the respect many cultures have for their elderly.

Ann Ellis,MerewetherCommunity concernINITIALLY, I had a casual view on the proposed movement of people with disabilities from institutions into home-like accommodation within the community.But this changed to a more focused view.

This is due to an incident prior to Christmas when I was brushed asideat my front door by a man who wandered through the house until he found a toilet in the bathroom. He was followed seconds later by a second man who apologised for the intrusion and mentioned he was a carer and the other man was a patient from the Stockton centre.

Eventually, the patient was coaxed from the house and I was left a little bewildered by the experience and a bathroom to clean after the patient had defecated on the toilet seat and a bath towel.

The situation could have been far more alarming if children werepresent.There has been no response from the Stockton centre which is a concern if these incidents are reported.The government must take steps to ensure the safety and privacy of residents is upheld in areas where patients will be relocated into their community housing.

Richard Jenkins, StocktonTIME FOR PENSIONER PARTYTHERE is little doubt that aged pensioners who rely upon the pension to survivelive below the poverty line andgenerally theydo not make much noise when more and more “benefits”are strippedaway.

In our Senate, we have a motoring enthusiastsenator representing, various independents and the Palmer crowd – and others like the shooters, sex and marijuana Parties waiting in the wings.

But who represents the hundreds of thousands of aged pensioners in this country?I wrote recently to the peak body representing the interests of aged pensioners and asked them what they were doing to put the case for a better deal for those who had contributed to this country for so long and the reply was that they ‘lobby’ the political parties. News flash –no-one is listening.We need pensioners to unite and work towards seats in the Senate. They will listen then.

Peter Smith,Thornton

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