A mediaeval death

Between 2013 and 2017 I have had three loved close family members pass away.

I have been honoured to sit beside each of them for the long hours, days, nights, weeks and months in hospital as they struggled slowly until their inevitable passing from terminal illnesses.

They all loved life although they were unable to go on with it in the end.

Eventually no amount of palliative skill and compassion could truly help their situation.

As a result of my experiences I now even more deeply respect the sanctity and processes of both life and of death and why it is important to legislate in this area.

Before the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 was provided by our Victorian Labor government, as a society we were acting in a more caring, kind manner toward our pets.

Modern medicine has advanced through our God-given intelligence and loving natural wish to help mankind to cure, care and ease us in miraculous ways from prenatal to birth through life then death to the best of the medical skill of our compassionate and dedicated doctors and nurses.

It would be strange indeed if we were to suddenly deny full use of our medical care and skills shortly before the end when patients are most in need.

In fact at what point do we decide to remove this lifelong medical care to allow an agonising mediaeval death?

My recently passed relatives would laugh, if it wasn’t so serious, at the simplistic and paranoid ideas put forward by some minorities.

To label this rigid, judgemental, unloving and negative position as “pro life” is such a travesty, it should be more accurately named “anti-humane mediaeval death”.

Name and address supplied

Plan for tagging

I certainly don’t condone the graffitiing and vandalism of royal trams but I wish we could get the same level of public outcry, press interest and police activity for the constant graffiti and mindless tagging that has almost become an accepted feature of our Bendigo civic landscape.

I rarely hear anyone comment on it or offer a solution or plan to combat it.

I am the first one to admit that it is almost impossible to apprehend offenders in the act but it is still vandalism and some of it is being inflicted on domestic residences.

I live in the vicinity of the old Gillies factory which has been a constant canvas for tagging.

Any hopes of restoring or repurposing this historic building with its original artwork and signage intact are long gone.

It has been scribbled on for years now. Do paint retailers have a tight process for sales? Do parents suspect that their children are engaging in this? Are these spray paints concealed in bags or backpacks as they head off into the urban landscape?

Do taggers know each others’ tags? Is it only occurring at night-time?

Is tagging satisfying some frustrated need to leave a mark that taggers cannot achieve in other ways?

Tagging has reached epidemic proportions in some areas of Melbourne. They climb to great heights on buildings and freeways to achieve good exposure for their scribbles.

I am a big fan of street art. It has a huge following. My birthplace of Benalla was early onto the scene with their annual festival.

Up the top end of Mitchell Street there is now a huge wall picture by Minna Leunig.

She commented to me that taggers seem to leave legitimate street art alone.

I regard tagging as lazy, selfish “I was here” scribble and I don’t have a solution except vigilance and reporting. Do police or the City of Greater Bendigo have a plan or any thoughts?

John Morton,


Tribute to Kennedy

This month marks 50 years since David Kennedy was elected to federal parliament. David also later represented Bendigo in state parliament.

At a function last week former premiers John Cain and John Brumby joined 100 guests to pay tribute to David’s service over the past half century.

David established Community Health. He won funding for many things we now take for granted, including the Chinese museum, a host of school projects, health funding, job projects and the Capital Theatre.

He still continues to teach, support and mentor so many. His enthusiasm and energy for life, and Bendigo, is infectious.

Bob Cameron,
former member for Bendigo West

More harm than good

RECENT letters in response to Sally Anne Petherbridge’s warning about Victoria’s euthanasia laws show that a lack of knowledge never stopped some people from attacking those with a real understanding of an issue: in this case writers Hopper, Symonds and Proctor.

Many palliative care specialists and other members of the AMA have warned the Victorian government to no avail and now are trying to prevent WA from going down the same unethical path.

In their experience of treating the dying they maintain that assisted suicide is “not necessary for terminal symptom control”.

And it is not part of medical treatment; especially not palliative care. And it most certainly is not “dignified”.

“Choice” by some has a huge price to be paid by the community in lowering such ethical standards and putting many other vulnerable souls at much higher risk – of having that choice eventually eroded.

Good law should serve the whole community; the common good. Euthanasia laws worldwide have done more harm than good and led to the slippery slope of a widening of the criteria needed to access assisted suicide, with infants and incapacitated persons involuntarily euthanised.

Elder abuse is already a problem. Coercion is often subtle but effective, and the main reason for requesting assisted suicide is said to be a fear of being a burden, or loneliness; not pain.

Critics of Sally Anne Petherbridge can wail all they like, but the evidence is there: why would so many doctors and other medical personnel be objecting so ferociously?

They don’t want to be a participant in taking the life of their patient and believe that more taxpayer funds should be directed to palliative care, where the symptoms of dying patients are treated till death in a supportive environment.

So, instead of navigating the dying towards a quick fix, perhaps the state government could direct more funding to the care of the dying and the training of palliative care doctors?

How long will it be before suicide clinics are set up in Victoria, as in Europe and elsewhere? How long till health funds and bureaucrats agree to pay the lethal suicide dose but not palliative care?

No, Sally Anne is right. Recent letter writers are not.

Helen Leach,


Twenty years behind

I Read the article on the front page of your paper, which was mainly about planning for industry to come to the Bendigo area.

Most industries would want to have good access. Draw a line between Ravenswood, Lockwood South, Lockwood, the edge of Maiden Gully, Marong, Myers Flat, Eaglehawk, Epson, Huntly and Goornong.

This could be a good route for a much needed ring road. I believe we are already 20 years behind.

Don’t let us get like Melbourne where basically everything has to go into the city to get back out again.

Frank Robinson,

CFA questions

With Bendigo being a union town, I have been waiting with baited breath for all the exciting news on what is now going to happen to the CFA brigades in the area.

But not a peep, that I have seen.

What is happening?

How much are all of these changes going to cost, monetarily, and in manpower and equipment for the CFA?

Where are all of the facts and figures?

The sheeple want to know.

Rob Johnson,