Illawarra Mercury, May 12, 2017

A tale of chicanery

For many years our E toll account has been in my wife’s name and the RMS has had authority to debit her bank account for all incurred E Toll charges. My wife is now in her late Seventies as I am. We both live in Wollongong and use Sydney toll roads less and less each year.

I opened the latest E tag statement to find my wife has been charged an extra 55 cents (10% of the toll charge) for the last time I drove through Sydney’s cross-city tunnel. It appears the tunnel’s camera failed to read our E tag.  The 55 cents extra-charge is described on the account as a “video processing fee”.

My wife and I have only one car and a single E tag which has been permanently fixed to the car’s windscreen for the past five years.  Clearly the failure to read the E tag could have only occurred because: the camera in the tunnel failed or the RMS E tag failed.  As my wife is not responsible for the performance capability of either of these two devices, it is hardly an ethical act to charge her for the failure.

Of course there is a more cynical take on the situation. My wife or I were clearly not trying to rip off Transurban. Transurban through the RMS was able to identify our car details and the E tag account holder through a simple and automated process.

This is clearly a back-door way to add another 10% to an agreed toll charge and is being abetted by a State Government Authority.  It certainly gives rise to the question of the reliability of aged RMS E tags.  Hi-tech, electronic devices such as the RMS E tag have a finite life, and maybe it is time that the RMS be made responsible for the regular replacement all aged E tags.

Richard Burnett, Wollongong

World needs penance

A hundred years ago (May 13, 1917) three uneducated Portuguese children experienced a mystical apparition. A Lady – whom they took to be Mary the mother of Jesus Christ – visited them six times, on the thirteenth day of each month, May to October 1917.

On October 13, a crowd of perhaps 70,000 assembled. Many reported seeing a spectacular phenomenon in the sky — referred to as the Miracle of the Sun. The Lady’s message took the form of three “Secrets”.

The First predicted forthcoming events involving Russia. The Second foretold the soon-coming World War. The Third remained literally secret until disclosed by Pope John Paul II after his 1981 near-assassination.

It referred to that shooting and to ever-increasing persecution of Christian believers - the message being introduced by a angel crying, “Penance, Penance, Penance!”

In recent years, “Fatima” has become almost an industry. But its basic message is simple: What this world needs is Penance - admitting our sins to God and letting him re-make our lives and our world. First up, Christians must start going to Confession regularly.

Arnold Jago, Nichols Point

Another HECS view

Response to the page 14 article by Agron Latifi, "University students to 'speak out'" Mercury, Friday May 5, 2017. So, the changes to HECS debt announced on Monday by the Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham "was an assault on our right to an education". As a person who never gained the qualifications to study at university level, I admire those who can. But with all due respect to Wollongong University student Chloe Rafferty, you need to appreciate the fact that taxpayers are covering the HECS loan of you and every other person at university who is using the HECS program.

There is no assault on the right to have an education. Jobs that require university qualifications in respect of the person and the position usually pay very well, and thus paying the HECS loan will be of little trouble. This is one example of how "the left" have infiltrated our centres of learning, because students are programmed to believe they can demand university degrees for free.

Adrian Devlin, Fairy Meadow

Natural high: "HiSun setting on Mt Keira." Picture taken by Colin Markham. Send us your images to  letters@illawarramercury.com.au of post to our Facebook page.

Natural high: "HiSun setting on Mt Keira." Picture taken by Colin Markham. Send us your images to letters@illawarramercury.com.au of post to our Facebook page.

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