Don’t force your views

IT was a shame to see the boxing event in Bendigo last month slightly overshadowed by an attempt to prevent the ring girls from doing their jobs.

I am pleased the organisers stood up for themselves, and did not bow to another demand from the politically correct left.

As many people who know me will confirm, I tend to follow events locally and internationally, and have some pretty firm views on some matters.

I express these opinions, but do not ever demand, or even expect that other people will agree with them.

Unfortunately, some people have developed the belief that their opinions and world view are correct, on all matters, and demand that everyone comply with them.

The events at the Battle of Bendigo fight night are another example.

Considering current affairs, forming opinions and discussing them is good. Healthy.

Having a hissy fit if people deviate from what you consider correct, is not.

Murray McPhie,


Well done councillors

Congratulations and thanks to councillors Jennifer Alden and Yvonne Wrigglesworth for their courageous leadership in calling out the obvious inappropriateness of the use of ring girls in 2019, against a societal backdrop of rampant violence against women (New battle of Bendigo, Weekly September 6).

Clearly simply doing the right thing as a female community leader is often neither easy nor popular, and, judging by the abusive and gendered public backlash, neither is it safe.

It seems also that, according to councillor Malcolm Pethybridge, we may now add the charge “self-promotion” to the list of perjoratives levelled against Cr Wrigglesworth.

A true civic leader should have a well informed and clear vision of what constitutes a healthy and fair society, and should be able to articulate that vision from a consistent and considered set of personal values.

Demonstrating such ability actually gets them elected.

Much has also been made of the presentation of the so-called “ring girls”.

Their attire is not the point.

It is their use as passive adornment to male violence which is seriously problematic, whether the woman is deemed to be wearing something “classy” or not.

Female objectification is not dependent upon what a woman is or is not wearing.

On the same weekend Bendigo football fans enjoyed the Central Victorian Football League Women premiership, which showcased genuine female sporting prowess and participation.

Councillors Alden and Wrigglesworth are backed by prominent local women’s advocates, including the Centre for Non-Violence.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Bendigo East MP Jacinta Allan are also in their corner.

To those who continue to assert that using women as adornment to male sport is empowering rather than sexist and derogatory I ask: why is it that organisers chose to employ “fight progress managers” rather than “ring boys” when they decided to briefly suspend the use of “ring girls”?

Michelle Goldsmith


They need protection

Peter Dutton says the Biloela family fighting deportation are not owed protection by Australia.

But 250,000 Australians are asking the government to let this family return to the regional Queensland town where they had lived for four years. Politicians from across the political spectrum agree.

Nades and Priya met in Australia, married and settled in Biloela in 2014.

Nades worked at the meatworks.  Kopika was born in 2015 and Tharunicaa in 2017.

By 2018 they had become part of their community.

Both adults claimed asylum because of former links to the Tamil Tigers.

Priya applied for a “safe-haven enterprise” visa, which lets people work/study in Australia for five years.

Australia accepted Priya was “adversely affected by the civil war”, had “sustained shrapnel wounds, and her parents were seriously mistreated by authorities”.

But they rejected that Sri Lankan authorities would target her now.

Nades said he received death threats from Sri Lankan police.

His protection claim was also rejected.

Priya says her claim (just one phone interview) was rejected because she had not been able to tell her story properly, that there were issues with the interpreter, and, at one point, the Sydney connection dropped out.

A review of Priya’s claim by the Immigration Assessment Authority was only allowed to consider information from that original phone interview.

Though the civil war has ended, the United Nations and human rights groups continue to document “white van abductions” and the torture of Tamils. 

In January 2019, Amnesty International found authorities were still detaining Tamils with past links to the Tigers.

Jan Govett,


Stop with the hypocrisy

There has been an assumption by some media and councillors that the ‘ring’ girls were exploited in some way: that they were victims of sexism, misogyny and gender inequity. 

From what the girls have said they are not, and are insulted by the suggestion they are “trophy women”.

In other words – butt out.

Most people are sick and tired of being told what constitutes proper attitudes to women and girls.

The predictable backlash on social media to a provocative and insulting remarks by councillor Wrigglesworth demonstrate this point. 

Most didn’t appreciate her lecturing us.

When it comes to women and sport, well, where are these feminists when girls and women are being forced to compete against biological males identifying as transgender women? 

That’s not a level playing field when a Y chromosome and years of high levels of testosterone give some an edge over others in the name of ‘equality’ or diversity? 

Where are these councillors then?

Where is the concern for victims of female genital mutilation, child marriage or honour killings and other ‘inequalities’ that occur in some cultures and religions in Australia? 

And where is the concern for girl victims of sex selection abortion?

By all means call out real threats to women’s and girls’ dignity or safety in Bendigo and elsewhere, but please, get your priorities in order. 

Stop with the hypocrisy and lecturing.

Helen Leach,


Back to the buses

The question was raised a few weeks ago why are people not using the buses in Bendigo.

There are plenty of us who do, and our reasons, it is convenient for us, the bus stop is near our homes. 

We have a place we have to be at a certain time (work, TAFE, school, university), and we also finish at a regular time.  Writing as a regular bus user, the buses are great, clean, air-conditioned with good drivers. 

The bus stops are something else.  There is little escape from the elements, rain, wind and heat. 

Who wants to stand on the side of the road in three degree temperatures? 

Bus stops are often dirty, rubbish laying around, smell of vomit and cigarette smoke. 

There is a sign put up by a university in one bus stop asking if bus users want to join their research into smoking ice. 

What is this suggesting about the people who use the buses in Bendigo, that we are all drug users?

My suggestion is that bus stops that cater for a number of different routes have better facilities are cleaned daily. 

This would need to include high pressure water cleaning of the footpath and bus stop floor. 

Improved and additional seating with wind and sun protection, which is also out of the rain.

Unless you do not have a car, it is unlikely you will catch the bus to town for shopping. 

I would suggest that the same could be said for travel in Melbourne.  People generally use public transport to commute, and take the car to go to the supermarket.  I don’t think people in Bendigo are.