Letter to the editor

Bendigo Weekly | Bendigo Weekly | 09-Nov-2017


Uniform approach

The spectacle of the next level of cruelty visited upon the hapless Manus refugees by the Australian government is more than I, and my friends, can stand.

One of my friends, usually a tough cookie, burst into tears of shame, rage and pity at a restaurant after she heard the news of the abandonment of these innocent men by the Australian government. 

Why are politicians of the major parties afraid to break ranks and stand up for humanitarian values, the values we as Australians used to think our country stood for? 

There are many practical options they could take without losing face. For instance, we should provide food and clean water to these men. They are our responsibility. Open the medical centre on Manus again, for them and for the locals if necessary. 

Or better still, accept the offer of New Zealand to house these refugees within their community.

The refugees could be prevented from coming to Australia still, although if I were them I’d never want to even visit such a heartless place, let alone live here. 

We must act now in line with our conscience. The Manus refugees are innocent people and we must not use them as scapegoats. Pauline Hanson can’t be allowed to rule the roost. 

If you feel the same way, please write or phone our political “leaders” and ask them to take immediate action to alleviate the plight of the Manus refugees. 

Wendy Radford,

Mandurang South

Reviews fall on deaf ears

There can be no doubt that the decision by Planning Panels Victoria to approve an East Bendigo development had already been

After attending a number of meetings their story changed from one meeting to the next and it was clear that this was no more than an exercise to take the heat off council and their greedy grab for rates under an ill-conceived compact city agenda

The parcel of land under the current planning laws allowed for around 60 dwellings and now will see more than 100 and will surely open the door for other developers to argue for the same or even more.

The review into the council rates, fees and charges also pointed to council getting back to its core business and abandoning these development ideas. 

With our rates already around the highest in the state and double Victoria’s average, to claim our rate payers support others outside our region is a ridiculous argument to put forward. 

Stuart Symes,


Backhaus Estate disappearing

The advertisement for the auction of two Backhaus Estate properties in Bendigo’s CBD, Bendigo Weekly, November 3, recalls the controversy associated with the sale of 32 parcels of land in rural areas in 2009.

When the pioneer Bendigo priest Dr Henry Backhaus died in 1882, he left his very large holding of real estate to a charitable trust forever, the income from which was to go to the local Catholic church. 

At that stage, the real estate consisted of 90 parcels of land in Bendigo and suburbs and 156 parcels more than 2800 hectares (7000 acres) in rural areas. 

This situation prevailed until the late 1950s when the Supreme Court authorised the trustees of the estate to sell some 55 parcels of land for the benefit of the estate. Further court judgements since then have allowed about 150 additional parcels to be sold.

The stark reality now is that the estate holds a mere 40 parcels of land, of which 19 have churches or schools on them and produce no income. 

In a court judgement in 1976, the trust was said to be primarily one involving real estate and the trustees stated in court papers in 2007 that they had no desire to alter the character of this. 

The trustees also stated that a major reason for the sales was to provide funds for reinvestment purposes. However, it would seem that if sales continue as in the past, it will not be very long before there is no land remaining in which to invest.

If the trust is desperate for funds, perhaps some of the annual distribution which it makes to the beneficiary – $850,000 in 2012 – could be used for reinvestment, in other words a little short term pain for long term gain.

Mal Nolan,


Be seen and stay alive

As a member of the lycra brigade for close on 60 years I worry about the health of road cyclists now, with so many more cars on our roads, it becomes more dangerous. Drivers texting and using hand-held phones are a frightening added hazard.

One big problem is the fact that cyclists are relatively small fragile objects and at times difficult to spot, particularly where black is often the predominant colour for cycling apparel manufacturers. Add to this mix, poor or no lighting, and you have a recipe for disaster.

I would encourage all roadies to wear extra bright colours, use excellent lighting on their bikes, whether night or day, respect all road users and for drivers to put away those mobile devices while at the wheel.

Michael McKenzie,


What goes around

Re: “Poultry firm has bare bird” Bendigo Weekly, November 3, the recent pandemic of deaths from the flu this year is a timely reminder of “What goes around; comes around.” 

While the flu is a viral disease and antibiotics work on bacteria, overuse of antibiotics still affects one’s immunity and thus makes us susceptible to other micro-organisms.

The Bare Bird promotion by Hazeldenes and Coles is a small step towards, assisting bacterial and viral resistance. 

However, we should be pushing to abolish all unnecessary antibiotic usage in agriculture and replace it with humane husbandry. 

This is a prime example of pure greed.

Maria Lieu,


Don’t blame the animal

I read the letter from Rachael Goldsmith, Bendigo Weekly,
November 3.

Rachael is obviously very frustrated by her neighbours allowing their cats to use her garden as a litter box. I would be too.

She then reminds us of the harm that cats can do to wildlife, which kind of negates her argument. 

We are either looking at domestic cats who have such a small environment that they must use garden beds as a toilet, or, we have cats which are ranging and murdering the wildlife. They are not both.

I agree with her, the expectations of what is expected of people deciding to own an animal are much greater than they used to be. When I was a kid, you bought home a kitten and a tin of Jellymeat, job done. Not any more.

Earlier in the year we lost our greatly loved cat, at age 16. My wife spent hours looking at adoption sites and found a young cat at a cat refuge, so we drove to Melbourne, and came home with Flynn.

We take our responsibility as parents of the cat very seriously. He spends all night and much of the day inside. 

Our home is fully fenced, but we only let him out when we are able to be outside with him. He enjoys pottering around when we are gardening or doing jobs outside. 

Not everyone has the interest in their animals to do that. That is not the animal’s fault.

Murray McPhie,


Literary test needed

In response to calls for an audit of members of parliament that would include the local member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters on their citizenship status, the federal treasurer Scott Morrison has scoffed that the government will not establish a Minister for Genealogy.

Perhaps it would be more appropriate for the Minister for Education to carry out a literary test to see if they can read.

What is at issue is the Attorney General’s poor judgement in placing the parliament at odds with the judiciary.

Mick Sandiford



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