Battle lost

The editorial in last week’s Bendigo Weekly describes the cancellation of the Bendigo Bank Fun Run as a “setback”, and a “turning point”, but “never a defeat”.

Umm, actually, with respect, that is precisely what it is. Without so much as lifting a finger, those who would happily wreak carnage among us have won.

The writer of the piece has used “safety” to explain why the event needed not to happen. That does not hold up.

If there were issues with the weather, the surface of the course, crowd control or some other problem which made the event a public safety issue, quoting safety as the reason would make sense.

The real and present danger of a terror attack at a large public gathering is not a safety issue. It is a security issue. There are government agencies dedicated to it.

It calls for certain people to be called to account for wilfully, if not deliberately, allowing the proliferation of elements in our country who are now a constant threat to society.

In the past decade Bendigo, for example, has gone from being a place where all sorts of events took place with never a thought of someone committing a terrorist act, to the point where the cost and logistics of protecting a large gathering from some form of attack are not sustainable.

That has not been because of a lack of health and safety. It has been because people will not even admit there is a problem, let alone name it.

The plotters of terror attacks against Australians have us beaten because people are frightened of offending them.

Of course the organisers have done the right thing cancelling the fun run. They had no choice.

We have lost this battle. If things don’t change, we might end up losing the war.

Murray McPhie,
Epsom

Political paralysis

There is a terrible stagnation at the heart of our traditional two-party system.

The stark evidence of this is that, since the May 18 federal election, which the Morrison-led Coalition won by a mere two seats, we have seen the Labor “opposition” join with the government to give carte blanche to multinational mining companies in the face of the current climate emergency.

We see Labor endorsing the continued torture of asylum seekers by declaring that they are an identical major party of boat turn-backs and offshore detention.

We are witnessing Labor vote for the Coalition’s tax cuts to the wealthy rather than arguing for penalty rate protections and wage increases for struggling Australians.

Labor voters should be aghast at the spectacle of the ALP promising to “work with” the government on new religious discrimination laws. Labor now also boasts a Shadow Minister for Home Affairs.

There is very little hope for social, economic and environmental justice while a craven Labor “major” Party fails miserably to oppose a bigoted neo-con agenda which it should abhor as the antithesis of a fair and decent society.

In truth, the Greens have been the genuine progressive leaders in the Australian parliament for years, with a compromised “major” party in the Labor Party cherry-picking Greens evidence-based policy, then electorally stuffing it up by failing to demonstrate commitment to comprehensive, systemic progressive social change and courageous economic foresight.

Greens solitary lower house MP Adam Bandt, along with independent Andrew Wilkie were the only MPs to vote against the government’s tax-cut package, and the nine Greens in the senate implacably reject it because it will increase and entrench inequality and undermine essential public services.

The images of Adam Bandt and Andrew Wilkie occupying the green leather of the opposition benches against a united LNP/ALP is emblematic of our current two-party preferred political paralysis.

Michelle Goldsmith,
Eaglehawk

Wishes respected

It was no surprise at all to find former councillor Helen Leach weighing in to the debate on voluntary assisted dying (More harm than good, Weekly, July 5), nor was it surprising to read her opinions on the matter.

She begins by saying “a lack of knowledge never stopped some people from attacking those with a real understanding of an issue” – whose “lack of knowledge” and whose “real understanding” is she referring to?

On first reading this, I asked myself, is she actually admitting to a limited awareness of this issue? No, of course not.

She and Sally Anne Petherbridge are the ones who really understand, while Hopper Symonds and Proctor are the ones lacking in knowledge.

What arrogance this is. Aside from the lack of courtesy she shows in referring to us without first names or titles, there is nothing at all in Ms Leach’s letter to suggest compassion for those actually experiencing the ravages of terminal illness, nor for their families and loved ones.

Instead, there are scare-
mongering expressions such as “the slippery slope of a widening of the criteria needed to access assisted suicide” and “navigating the dying towards a quick fix” which are at best insensitive, at worst
offensive, and moreover have absolutely no supporting evidence.

Add to this the similarly unsubstantiated and equally unpleasant “better ways to kill their citizens” and “suicide tourism markets” statements from Ms Petherbridge’s letter (June 21), and I cannot help but wonder, is this the “real understanding” that these two women are supposedly privy to?

If so, then clearly HS&P have missed something, as Ms Leach’s final sentences seem to indicate.

She proclaims that “Sally Anne is right. Recent letter writers are not.” Really? Does this whole debate come down to a simple question of who is right and who is wrong? If it does, then whose business is it to decide, and on whose behalf?

In the Victorian parliament the decision has already been made, not on the arbitrary basis of right or wrong, but on the basis of a more compassionate option for terminally ill persons who wish to avail themselves of it.

If it so happened that Ms Petherbridge and Ms Leach did not wish personally to take this option, then in law their wishes would be respected.

One can only hope that they would show the same respect to those who, also in law, choose
otherwise.

Julie Hopper,
Bendigo

Unlimited services

Recent articles in the Herald Sun posed questions about the roles of Victorian local councils.

Gone are the days when councils concentrated on core activities including roads, rubbish etc.

Now councils have indulged in the pursuit of agendas well outside the local government purview, such as climate change, progressive social initiatives and federal and state political issues.

The interesting thing is the widening of council services seems to be driven by highly paid executive officers who pander to the needs of articulate well-heeled special interest groups.

Average battling ratepayers/residents who are in the majority, have little say in the ballooning range of services on offer.

Acting Premier, Lisa Neville, remarked: “Councils have to be accountable for their spending and they have to be accountable to their communities. Clearly they’re not doing that to the extent they need to.”

Our local council, City of Greater Bendigo, appears to be at the forefront of offering an unlimited range of services to residents.

But do we really want them and should we have to stump up more and more of our limited
resources to pay for them?

Colin Carrington,

Heathcote