Letters to the editor - December 1

Palliative care not euthanasia

The euthanasia bill recently passed the upper house with the support of local MP James Purcell. Lower house MP, dairyfarmer and one-time nurse Roma Britnell also supported the bill. I want to thank both MPs for graciously meeting with me prior to the vote. However, I also want to put on the public record (for my descendants seven generations hence) that I literally begged them both to vote no to what I believe is an extremely dangerous, misguided medical experiment and societal recalibration. The specific issue I put to both MPs is that wrongful, intentional, state-sponsored deaths are 100 per cent certain in systems of euthanasia. That’s why euthanasia is everyone’s business, not just the business of the individual. The specific question I put to both MPs was – How many and what percentage of wrongful deaths in a state-sponsored program are you willing to accept?  At worst, people will die due to coercion from people who are meant to care for them, with elder abuse becoming increasingly recognized and likely rising in our community. Subtle and non sinister external pressure can occur when carers are not coping themselves with a loved ones situation. Even in the most supportive families, the terminally ill will now forever have to decide if they should "do the right thing” and end it all for everyone’s sake. The right to die for a multimillionaire euthanasia advocate is the obligation to volunteer for the vulnerable. Medical mistakes occur in systems of euthanasia, just like any medical system. People with undiagnosed and potentially treatable mental illness (as well as a terminal illness) will die wrongful deaths under this program. People with the incorrect diagnosis and incorrect prognosis will also die when they shouldn’t. Up to five per cent of post mortems reveal a different diagnosis to what was proposed prior to death. No system, safeguard or legislation can allow for the state-sponsored deaths of some in the name of compassion, whilst claiming to simultaneously prevent the wrongful deaths of the vulnerable, which are certain to occur as part of such a process. Euthanasia can’t be made safe,​ no matter how many “safeguards” you put in place. It is naive, arrogant or both to believe otherwise, with something so complicated as the human condition. Unfortunately for Victoria our own MPs have collectively reached a different conclusion. Emotion trumps reason. At present palliative care is not available to 25 per cent of Victorians. Your government will help you kill yourself but will not give you the care you need to relieve your suffering. We are then supposed to believe this is all about choice. Mr Purcell recently described himself as a “Spring Street deal maker”. It would be good if he could tell The Standard readers if he has indeed made a deal with Daniel Andrews with regards to delivering euthanasia and what that deal may involve. Local voters need to fully understand they actually Voted 1 "euthanasia" when they thought they were voting for local jobs. I also wish to ask Ms Britnell to stop complaining about the Andrews government and the local train. If she thinks Mr Andrews can run a euthanasia program for our fellow citizens it stands to reason he should be left alone to run the more than occasional late train. 

Dr John Daffy, Infectious Diseases Specialist, Kew (formerly Camperdown)

Power privatisation failure

Privatising of the power generation and distribution system for the public has failed. The original system that worked brilliantly and had evolved over the years and would have continued to evolve can only be reinstated at a huge cost. It was run by engineers who knew the ins and outs of the system and whose primary concern was delivering power to their consumers when and as they needed it. When our politicians and economists took over they sold the publicly owned assets to companies whose primary concern was to make money, the result of which is that power prices are rising rapidly while distribution is sporadic and unreliable. Who is now trying to fix this situation?  Not the engineers who so successfully ran the power system for many years but the politicians who sold off the assets in the first place. 

Peter Webb, Warrnambool

Shop local

With Christmas time upon us now it would be a welcome relief if shoppers gave assistance to the shops in the CBD after their long drought from peak custom. It will have been a while since those shop owners have seen a busy street and fair payment for the service they have continued to provide through the road works they have had to deal with. I am not saying buy something just for the hell of it but make a determined effort to start at the CBD and if you don’t see what you like then go elsewhere. We do live in a wonderful town and we need to keep it vibrant and I understand that. Let’s keep supporting each other and head into 2018 with our heads held high in the knowledge that we did the right thing by our own in tough times. Country Australia is well renowned for doing the right thing in a crisis. I think those crossings at every round about are going to lead to traffic congestion through the summer season.  Personally I think there are too many of them now but I guess we wait and see.  I have already heard many people complaining on this issue.

David MacPhail, Warrnambool 

Celebrate volunteers

I am disappointed with The Standard's outlay of 'Outstanding Efforts' November 25. This article celebrated the volunteers and sports award of our local community. Both photos (badly constructed with not every one visible) did not identify any or our amazing community just our local member. Any one skimming through the paper just looking at the photos would of thought the article was about him. This is a good news story and should be shouted from the tallest building. These awards show what an amazing community we live in. I would hope that The Standard's coverage of awards to our dedicated community members and young enthusiastic sports groups get more coverage than crammed into 3/4 page in the middle of the paper and higher up the online list.

Lynda Avery, Peterborough

Political progress

What an extraordinary time in politics. I write this letter as a proud Australian, a proud Victorian and a proud member of the Greens political party. More than a decade ago the Greens stood in the federal parliament fighting for marriage equality, now with the majority support of Australians (and a majority across our electorate here at home) it looks like we’ll have marriage equality by Christmas. A decade ago the Greens stood in the Victorian Parliament fighting for the right of terminally ill people to have voluntary assisted dying. This legislation has passed and will be in effect from mid-2019 onward. The Parliament is getting its act together on medical marijuana, a levy on the big banks (derided by the Coalition in previous elections) is in effect - and it appears we’re now getting a royal commission into the banks and other financial services, something we’ve been fighting for long before Labor changed position and the Liberals were dragged kicking and screaming. Might I recommend the Lib/Lab/Nats also look at our policies on bringing an end to homelessness, waste reduction with a 10c bottle refund scheme, banning/limiting alcohol/gambling advertisements, building sustainable energy infrastructure, water security, dealing with corporate tax avoidance and every other policy area where Australia could and should be doing better. 

Thomas Campbell, Warrnambool