Happy to vote for marriage equality
This week we all begin to receive our marriage equality postal survey ‘ballot papers’ and I suppose most people have a good idea how they intend to ‘vote’. For me, with no religious affiliation, it is a straight forward question; I intend to indicate a yes for marriage equality. For those with sincerely held reservations, I can respect that you may have other views, but I would ask you to consider whether you should be imposing those views on others particularly if those others have no or different religious views. The basis for my decision to support marriage equality is simple. It has nothing to do with approving or not approving of homosexuality or marriage equality. Quite the contrary, my approval or otherwise is quite irrelevant. The basis for my support for marriage equality is that I have no good reason to do otherwise. I believe that I have no right to tell someone else how they should live their lives unless some action by that person unreasonably imposes on my life. We have laws against driving motor vehicles when we have had too much to drink. Why? Not because it is inherently evil. We oppose it and outlaw it because it is likely to unreasonably impact on other people’s lives. I cannot imagine how a couple falling in love and choosing to marry could possibly impose unreasonably on my life. Frankly, gay or straight I would be happy for them. We all should be.
Jim Burke, Warrnambool
Leave January 26 as national day
Firstly I should advise that I am not Aboriginal and have no Aboriginal heritage. I do, however, have a belief that all people of the world need to more often adopt the "what if" philosophy to make our world a more peaceful and safer place to live - starting in our own backyard. One subject I think the "what if" applies is in our own history and debate on Australia Day. Honestly, I don't have a personal problem with the current day. But what if history happened a little differently and the Japanese successfully invaded this land and were now running this country in what they considered a peaceful and successful way. I really don't think I'd be very happy celebrating Australia Day on February 19.
Jack Patterson, Warrnambool
CFA move under fire
When you have much to do and kiddies object, one of the easiest ways is to just wait and do it all by stages - they will hardly notice. Our Premier did an undisclosed deal and bought support from the firefighters’ union by giving them authority over the volunteer Country Fire Authority - the CFA. A Minister to the backbench, the Volunteers Representative resigned and replaced with The Chosen Man, strong public objection across the state. It appeared to work, the Premier was silent. But slowly, bit by bit, regulations were adjusted, full time firefighters parachuted into 'places' where they were never seen before, the budget adjusted away from equipment and trucks to wages. And the final straw, we are notified that in short days the Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria constitution will be amended "to remove reference to the four Association nominees (Volunteers) to the CFA Board". Jobs done. Kids like us are easy to handle if you just know how.
Gary Ryan, Colac
Opposition to racehorses on beaches
We are responding to Christopher Watt and Gordon Forth's letters (The Standard, September 9) in support of horse riding in Belfast Coastal Reserve. There is ample photographic evidence collected in the past 12 months of horses being ridden along the higher parts of the beach where Hooded Plovers nest. There is also ample photographic and anecdotal evidence of domestic dogs (not 'roaming dogs') being allowed by their owners to run off leash through Hooded Plover nesting areas. Human activities, including beach horse riding, illegal vehicle access and unleashed domestic dogs do have an impact on Hooded Plovers' ability to live, nest and raise their chicks. Controlling these activities is vital, as is feral animal control. Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare Network is not against properly controlled recreational horse riding in Belfast Coastal Reserve. We are against allowing the continuation of the dramatically increased use of beaches by commercial racehorse trainers.
Amanda Gaffey, Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare Network
Foreign drivers ‘big problem’
Foreign drivers are a big problem on tourist roads in our region and it's an issue I've raised many times in our Parliament.
I was pleased this week to see the announcement of the rollout of multilingual signs along the Great Ocean Road. I hope this will improve safety on this road, where we too often hear tragic reports of driving mishaps caused by international drivers.
While I believe all drivers on Australian roads should be able to read English, this is a step towards much needed reform of our international driving system.
It's pleasing that the initiative came from a local road worker, who had been using a translation app on his phone to communicate with international tourists.
Part of my role is highlight issues from our community in Parliament and offering solutions. The best solutions always come from our community.
James Purcell MLC, Port Fairy
Invest in renewable energy
I received an email from an investment advisory organization, extolling investment in the Australian Government’s “Future Fund”. I have replied, which other people who look forward to a peaceful world for their families may find of interest: It is a fact that the so-called Future Fund invests in nuclear weapons. This is more than disturbing. It is a crime against humanity and against our future. Investment in the Future Fund would be better delayed until the administration of the Future Fund have ceased their promotion of making money out of nuclear weapons. Under President Obama, the USA started upgrading their nuclear weapons, so that they will be smaller and more likely to be used. The other nuclear-armed countries then started to follow suit. There are currently around 44 wars going on and Australian and US involvement in production and sale of weapons, as well as investment in nuclear weapons, is making it more and more likely that there will be a global catastrophe involving all countries. Even countries not a target of nuclear weapons would suffer the effects of any nuclear war. The effects are not limited to country boundaries. There is more in life than money. Now is the time for ethical investment. We Australians would benefit considerably in employment and national wealth if the current government invested in clean energy production for domestic use and for exports. Investment in renewables is now a source of wealth for many countries. Why not Australia?
Gillian Blair, Panmure