Letters to the editor July 9 2018

Helensburgh: Gloworm tunnels by Debbie Edmonds. Send us your photos to letters@illawarramercury.com.au or post to our Facebook page.
Helensburgh: Gloworm tunnels by Debbie Edmonds. Send us your photos to letters@illawarramercury.com.au or post to our Facebook page.


"Waltzing Matilda" and "Home Among the Gumtrees" resounded through Riga Central Library, Latvia last week as Australians from the Shoalhaven and Melbourne celebrated a unique cultural event.

The group of fourteen, inspired by Peter Jirgen's memoir, 'Out of Latvia' written by David Kerr, combined with The Melbourne Latvian Male Choir under the direction of Sandra Birze. The Choir performed three stirring Latvian songs supporting the visual presentation of the book by Peter and David.

The event drew an enthusiastic audience of over 150, the largest gathering for a book launch in the history of the library.

Tears flowed as Peter related his story, typical of relatives of the many Latvians present. The emotion continued through the power of music, a wonderful celebration of Australian and Latvian culture during Latvia's Song and Dance Festival, held every five years.

The Festival commenced with a procession of over 42,000 choir members, dressed in national dress, dancing and singing to the applause of thousands of spectators. International choirs join with local choirs in a week of cultural celebration in a land that wrenched itself free from Communist Soviet control in 1991.

Australia is represented at the Festival by five choirs, including two from Sydney, of which Gerringong veterinarian Andrejs Medenis is a member.

Peter is leading the Latvian pilgrimage to the land of his father Arnold, who immigrated to Australia after the war.  

Peter and his wife Margie and their three adult children joined the emotional tour, visiting family and friends, the ancestral home and the grave of Peter's grandmother and uncle, that now contains the ashes of his mother and father.

David Kerr, Gerroa


It would be good if our political representatives could just speak honestly.

I received a missive from Ann Sudmalis today. It contained information about something that interests me - retirement age. The mathematics had me confused.

Some statements from the letter  _

  •  Currently, you must be 65.5 years to qualify for the Age Pension
  • The pension age will start going up in 2025.
  •  From July 2025, the qualifying age to receive the Age Pension will increase by six months every two years, until it reaches 70 years in 2035.

The only way I can achieve a calculation of 70 years retirement age in 2035 at the increasing rate quoted in the letter is by starting the increase right now and continuing through 2025.

What does she mean "pension age will start going up in 2025"? The letter is full of numbers and dates that don't all appear to have any connection to each other.

It feels like it was written with the deliberate aim of confusing or obscuring. 

Ann, I may be happy to support you, but don't send me rubbish.

If you intend to provide information please forget the political junk and just send me clear, simple truth. This letter just made me annoyed and diminished trust in you.

Mark Wilson, Kiama



It’s pathetic how people gather around and waste all these resources on a dying animal but they don't lift a finger to help a homeless person in need of food and shelter.

_ Devado

Who we are to decide and take the life of this poor animal? It was created and designed to survive in their natural habitat. If it was very ill, it could have been treated then sent back to the sea or even put in zoo or something till it grows to an age in which it can be resent back to ocean … but as humans, we tend to decide for the short cuts and what serves our pockets the best!

_ Besma