Letter to the editor

Bendigo Weekly | Bendigo Weekly | 18-Aug-2017


Uniform approach

For many years there has been a push to redefine marriage to include unions other than one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

The discussion has often become emotional and sometimes disrespectful on both sides of the debate.

The Catholic Church’s concern is first and foremost the wellbeing of all people. 

While our definition and teaching on marriage is well known, indeed our view has been clearly defined for almost 2000 years, our view is that each person, regardless of their ethnicity, creed, gender, sexuality, age or ability  is worthy of dignity and respect.

As the secular society seeks to answer the question as to whether it redefines marriage, I pray that we treat each other with respect and not resort to emotive or insulting language or behaviour. 

I believe this is the best way forward for society to hold a meaningful and fruitful discussion. 

By restricting ourselves to emotional arguments, we ignore exploring the deeper effects of changing the definition and restrict ourselves to a superficial level of debate.

For a detailed explanation of the Catholic Church’s view on marriage and why we believe the current definition should remain, read the Pastoral Letter “Don’t Mess with Marriage” available on the Sandhurst Diocese website at: www.sandhurst.catholic.org.au/sandpiper/DMM

Bishop Les Tomlinson,

Bishop of Sandhurst

Private ratios not fixed

In 2015 the Victorian arliament passed the Victorian Safe Patient Care Act which enshrines in legislation nurse/patient ratios in our public acute care hospitals, legally mandating a minimum number of qualified nurses on each shift to ensure the safest quality of care for every patient in the public health system.

The 1:4 ratio is the minimum nurse to patient ratio on an acute medical or surgical ward in a public hospital on morning and afternoon shifts. 

On a 20-bed ward this means that a minimum of five nurses, plus the nurse in charge are rostered to work on both shifts, with the charge nurse having the flexibility to allocate nursing staff to patients based upon patients’ acuity.

Detailed empirical evidence tells us that the number of patients allocated to a nurse on a shift is directly related to patient safety and mortality, and the quality of care they receive. In short, ratios save lives in Victorian public hospitals. So, what happens in Victorian private hospitals?

Legislation for private hospital minimum nurse staffing was removed from the Health Services Act by the Kennett state government during the 1990s. 

The 1:4 nurse/patient legislation applies only to public hospitals in Victoria.

This means that, as a patient on a private hospital general medical or surgical ward, you may not benefit from the public hospital best practice 1:4 ratio. 

You may, in fact, be one of up to 10 patients for whom only one registered nurse, with the assistance of an enrolled nurse or an assistant in nursing, is responsible. 

A registered nurse is, as a minimum, degree-qualified. An enrolled nurse is TAFE diploma qualified, and an assistant in nursing is a certificate qualified personal carer. 

As a patient in hospital, the level of skill and training of those caring for you may not always be immediately apparent, but in a public hospital you can be assured that you will be under the direct care of a degree-qualified RN at most times. 

Many people pay a premium for private health insurance expecting to receive premium care within the private hospital system.

When considering your options regarding hospital care, it is not unreasonable to make enquiries as to the particular nursing ratio and skill-mix you can expect as an inpatient. 

Michelle Goldsmith, RN


Divide and conquer

As if we have not enough problems in Australia, the LNP, not satisfied with dividing the country over their unfair treatment of ordinary people compared to the top, are now going to attempt to go the whole hog, and completely divide the country with this “mickey mouse,” non binding, non compulsory postal vote, courtesy of the Australian record holder of broken promises Tony Abbott, with claims of restriction of religious

Given the religious rhetoric that is gradually being introduced by the political right of the Liberal party, surely he is not seriously expecting us to believe that this waste of time and money postal vote is going to do anything other than create one hell of a dust up in the community. 

Is this what he wants? Divide and conquer. 

Most law abiding people have no problem accepting what others choose to believe, all I would say is, hasn’t religious interference caused enough trouble throughout the world for centuries already?

This decision by the LNP is totally irresponsible, completely exposing their lack of respect for all Australians, and is going to cause irreparable damage far longer than this wasted charade, or a vote in parliament.

Ken Price,


Name the pool after Faith

I read with disappointment that council would not endorse the naming of the new aquatic centre at Kangaroo Flat after our famous citizen Faith Leech.

Faith was not only Bendigo’s Olympic gold medalist but she had many more qualities.

She was a highly successful business women running Leech’s Jewellery shop in the Hargreaves Mall.

She was instrumental in coaching many young swimmers at the Bendigo Swimming Club.

She assisted young people with disabilities by teaching them aquatic sports.

She was also the first woman to be admitted to the Bendigo Sports Star Hall of Fame, and the Sports Star Inspiration Award is named in her honour.

Surely this wonderful lady deserved to be recognised by all Bendigonians by naming our new facility the Faith Leech Aquatic Centre.

Robert Cook,


Festival a winner

The Writer’s festival organisers should be congratulated for a very enlightening event and the diverse views expressed by the participants.

I for one spent all day on Sunday listening to opinions from 18c and me, The ethics of Euthanasia and The Moral Tightrope.

The Moral Tightrope was around the history of ethics and the moral tightrope concerning the social needs and political desires in relation to religious thought. 

And of particular interest in relation to the debate on same sex marriage and the proposition to legislate euthanasia law in Victoria.

I found it interesting to read the letter from Helen Leach who is concerned that the real issue at stake with same sex marriage legislation is the lack of protection for basic rights of freedom of religion, speech and conscience, and that nothing should be done until this risk to basic human rights is resolved.

In my opinion we need a Bill of Rights as our constitution does not protect free speech. But I disagree with her assumption that allowing people of different views or needs is an attack on human rights, it is defending human rights and not an attack on freedom of speech and conscience.

Helen Leach has every right to voice her opinion and to be given media oxygen, as have others with a different view point.

What concerns me is that we should not be dragged into legislating to enshrine morality. We need rational answers to the social and political questions of our day, not rhetoric based on old history.

Bill Collier,

Golden Square 

Belief in a fair go

After only a week the civil and respectful debate on marriage equality is dead and publicly decomposing , but a fresh apology to Australian politicians and the public for faith-based hatred is gaining momentum. 

We, the last officers in a dying institution are counting the cost not just of a plebiscite, but of abandoning traditional values at the expense of our community. 

Traditional values of a fair go have been sacrificed by adherence to a social navigation system well past is its use-by date. 

The church has tragically backed the wrong horse on science, slavery, apartheid, votes for women, treatment of indigenous peoples, investigation of abuse and now with miraculous resilience placing all its bets against marriage equality, carrying itself from the field and bankrupting its social credit rating.

The good news is that conservative Christian voices have no more traction in spiritual communities than fanatics of other faiths who drive ancient agendas into the lives of unsuspecting individuals.

The Venerable Peter MacLeod-Miller

Archdeacon of Albury and the Hume


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