February 8th 2003

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Old-growth forests and wildfires

COMMENT: Iraq's last chance to avert war

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Howard turns eyes to NSW poll

HIGH COURT: A further improvement in the High Court

STRAWS IN THE WIND: False Dawn / Iraq another Vietnam? / UN: ideal and reality

AGRICULTURE: Deregulation and low prices see sugar investment collapse

The fatal flaw in economic rationalism (letter)

Why men avoid fatherhood (letter)

Cattle grazing to cut bushfire risk (letter)

Firefighters deserve our thanks (letter)

Canberra's tragedy (letter)

Case against Saddam not established (letter)

Full story (letter)

Cane farmers' survey (letter)

PROFILE: Solzhenitsyn: the conscience of modern society

ASIA: China launches massive infrastructure expansion

VICTORIA: Taxpayers bankroll alternative lifestyles

ASIA: Taiwan's rural finance in trouble

BOOKS: ANSETT: the Collapse, by Geoff Easdown and Peter Wilms

BOOKS: Human Cloning and Human Dignity: The Report of the President's Council on Bioethics

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Firefighters deserve our thanks (letter)

by Alan A. Hoysted

News Weekly, February 8, 2003

Having lived in a regional city, Wangaratta, Victoria, for the first 24 years of my life, I have always had a high regard for firefighters. I knew some who lost their lives , and others who suffered terrible burns, carrying disfiguring scars for the rest of their lives.

When I see pictures of the monster fires of Ash Wednesday, and the more recent Sydney fires, now the incredible conflagrations in Canberra and Northeast Victoria, not far from Wangaratta, I simply stand in awe and tearful admiration of these superb and courageous men and women who put their lives on the line to protect the community, our homes and other property.

Their bravery and unselfish dedication is an inspiration and example to every one of us. Such unselfish community spirit must be encouraged and rewarded.

Firefighters should not be sacked by hard-hearted, mean-spirited ungrateful employers as happened in Victoria this week. Their jobs should be protected by law.

They should not suffer financial hardship. Mortgage payments, etc., should be waived or deferred during the month they fight the fires.

Firefighters' views on management of bushland including National Parks must take precedence over book-learning "conservationists" who are careful not to take part in the practical defence of the bush when danger comes in the form of these fearful fires. What courage these firefighters have! Let's do something practical to show them our admiration, our esteem and our everlasting gratitude.

Alan A. Hoysted
Thomastown, Vic.

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