Sympathy and prayers

Christchurch was horrendous. And  then, late Easter Monday the death toll in Sri Lanka was over 200 and 500 plus were confirmed injured.

This scale of destruction would nearly wipe out the Sri Lankan community of Bendigo, affecting the 50-plus years of quiet prayer and intersession of the Poor Clare Nuns in Edwards Road, to the grand service provided by the many health professionals and others practising in our city.

So many of these good people fled to our shores as refugees to avoid the troubles that began in the time of Mrs Bandaranaike, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka in the late 1950s.

Our deepest sympathy goes out to the Sri Lankan community, which in our city reflects the religious and cultural make up of their homeland.

St Anthony’s Church targeted so deliberately on Easter Sunday was home to all. It had provided a place of worship and intercession for all Sri Lankans, particularly the fishing families who viewed that seaside church as their place of refuge.

The Bendigo Interfaith Council urges all Bendigo citizens to join with us in expressing our support for the Bendigo Sri Lankan community.

We ask them to offer sympathy and prayers to their relatives and friends back home in Sri Lanka.

Mons. Frank Marriott 

 Chair, Bendigo Interfaith Council

What an Easter

On behalf of our family I’d like to give a big shout out to the City of Greater Bendigo for providing such a fabulous event for our city over Easter.

We live in the centre of the city so it’s right at our front door.

Thousands of people having fun, sharing in dozens of happy, family activities.

A sensational event such as this doesn’t just happen. It takes enormous effort by many people to organise and implement such a fantastic festival.

Of course the crowning glory is the parade.

Wow what a parade.

It was worth getting up at 5am to line up the chairs for a great position.

The spectacle of Loong, Sun Loong and now our exquisite new Dai Gum Loong brought tears to many eyes of the estimated 80,000 watching the parade.

The vision was breathtaking.

The buzz was spine tingling.

The cheering was deafening.

The pride of Bendigonians was palpable.

Congratulations to the Bendigo Chinese Association and the Golden Dragon Museum and the hundreds of volunteers on a supreme effort.

Thank you to everyone involved, you give our city a truly wonderful Easter to share with so many.

Margot Spalding,


In tribute

I write to pay tribute to two outstanding Bendigonians on their respective retirements in the last fortnight.

Last week Keith Sutherland finished his successful time leading the New Bendigo Hospital Appeal by holding his last charity auction.

The appeal raised more than $4 million towards life-giving equipment at our new hospital.

Keith has served Bendigo and supported so many charities over the decades with distinction.

This week Russell Jack retired from the Golden Dragon Museum directorship. Russell has been an outstanding supporter of Bendigo Health. The Bendigo Chinese Association have donated time and funds to the Bendigo Hospital since our respective 1800s beginnings.

The huge donation the Bendigo Chinese Association gave to the new hospital is testament to Russell’s energy and drive.

Bendigo Health salutes Russell Jack and Keith Sutherland.

Thank you for your contribution to Bendigo and Bendigo Health.

Bob Cameron,

Bendigo Health Chair

Nail on the head

Wow to Paul Penno, President Vietnam Veterans Bendigo sub Branch.

That was the best letter I have read on any subject in the history of the Bendigo Weekly opinion page. You hit the nail on the head with a sledge hammer.

From my family,  we would like to sincerely thank you and all other service men and women who fought and died to uphold the way of life and freedom we have come to enjoy.

Mr Penno you and those you represent  are our  true and correct  “heroes”.

Peter Lesuey,

Obvious approach

It is possible to estimate the impact that burning coal is likely to have on climate.

In summary, any decision to limit or even eliminate coal use in Australian power stations can have no discernible influence on the progress of climate change.

To justify this claim, in 2017 a total of 57 million tonnes of black coal and 19Mt of brown coal (dry basis) were burned in Australian power stations.

By comparison China consumed 3050Mt, India 806Mt and the USA 560Mt (International Energy Authority).

Overall the world used 7550Mt, meaning that Australia contributed roughly one per cent of the total greenhouse gas emissions from coal.

In terms of temperature rise, the global increase was almost linear from 1979 to 2019 at 0.5oC (satellite data from the University of Alabama) ie 0.125oC per decade.

The portion of CO2 emissions due to coal burning is at most 25 per cent of the worldwide total.

Assuming that all the temperature rise was due to man-made emissions, Australia’s contribution over the 40 years would have been 0.5×0.25×0.01 = 0.00125oC, and will be less than 0.0003oC per decade in the future.

At this level, namely three 10 thousandths of a degree every 10 years, the effect is minute.

As a country we need to move away from fossil fuels where feasible, keeping in mind that we are miniscule players on the world scene.

The charter given to power generators should be to provide electricity in a safe, reliable and affordable manner.

Obviously there must be trade-offs in meeting these conditions, as they pose some conflicting demands.

It would be prudent to retain some fossil-based generation to keep the true (unsubsidised) costs down and to ensure reliability.

Since the major cost component of fossil-based generation is fuel, AEMO (2015) has listed the relativities for gas, black coal and brown coal.

Pressure on natural gas supplies has raised its unit price of energy to $8 – $10 per GJ, whereas black coal averages $2 – $3 per GJ and brown coal $0.4 – $0.5 per GJ.

The attendant carbon dioxide loads would be swamped by petroleum use and “uncontrolled combustion processes” namely, the large scale agricultural and bushfires which occur every year in Australia.

It appears that this obvious approach to the problem is being lost amid all the clamour.

Brian Stanmore,

Define the term

There is a tendency among certain people to label others who disagree with them with an unpleasant tag – racist, bigot, various “phobes”’, or whatever else is the current epithet du jour.

Now, there is a new popular all purpose put-down for anyone who dares to vary from politically correct dogma.

Hate speech.

Unfortunately a fair few people are confused about the meaning of the term. They obviously think that if they hate what some one else says, it is hate speech. That is totally wrong.

Hate speech is obvious. Attacking a person or group simply for being of a certain race or religion or whatever, simply because you don’t like them, is not on.

Having a different opinion on a matter is not hate speech. If you express a strong opinion on a matter, you must accept that someone else may express an equally strong different opinion.

Stating a fact that does not mesh with someone else’s world view is not hate speech. It might be a fact that makes you uncomfortable, but that does not mean that it is hateful.

Simply, it isn’t hate speech, if you are the one doing the hating.

Murray McPhie,