Letters to the editor - July 14

Marriage equality support

I write in response to Alec Witham (The Standard, July 8). While I would have liked to have challenged a number of his assertions, I will, however, limit myself to his assertion of traditional, natural and societal definition of marriage. Firstly, I believe Alec has confused the legal recognition of a union of two people in a marriage within a secular legal framework with theologically based marriage rituals. Regardless whether a couple has participated in a theologically based marriage ritual (faith or religious ceremony) or not, in Australia, a marriage is only legally recognized if it has been registered with the appropriate legally binding authorities. Many hope that in the near future this legal recognition will include people of the same sex. Secondly, Alec seems to assert that marriage is both inherently ‘natural’ and monogamous within nature and societal norms. This may be a nice theory, however, history and contemporary evidence debunks this theory as a fantasy of theological dogma or idealism. Only extremely repressive and suppressive closed societies have unilaterally imposed such dogma or idealism. Australia is not such a society. Thirdly, while, I agree that procreation is best (unless cloning is an option) undertaken by people of different sexes. However, the ability to procreate does not make one a good parent, it only ensures the transfer of the DNA of two individuals. Our evolutionary ability to procreate does not specifically include a natural or societal predisposition to be suitable parents. Parenting in humans is, generally, a skill to be both taught and learnt within a whole of societal cultural framework. As such, good parenting is not based on the gender composition of the primary parental carer(s). Good parenting is, however, based on the ability and skillset of parents, regardless of gender. Alec, and many others, seem to have imbued marriage with a ideological fantasy of theological, cultural and societal mysticism. However, traditionally, marriage has been, and is, nothing more than a legally binding contract involving two people for the security and/or acquisition of assets and the transfer (commonly) of such assets to a designated heir(s). I applaud Warrnambool City Council for taking a leading role on behalf of our community on marriage equality, and hope that all peoples come to realise this is not a theological, parenting, ‘natural’, societal, or even ‘human rights’ issue. Marriage equality is, in reality, a legal recognition of the union of two people and all the legal responsibilities that this imposes and entails, the rest is just fluff and nonsense we, ourselves, imbue a marriage contract with.

Vince Haberfield, Ecklin South

Reverse marriage stance

Marriage equality issue at hand aside, after reading the editorial (July 8) I felt the need to respond. The Standard, its owner and the editor have every right to publicize, support and promote its opinion. Warrnambool City Council do not have that same privilege. You are a private entity, the council a public one. You are answerable to the owners of the business and their values, the council are primarily answerable to the Commonwealth of Australia and its laws regardless of what any survey may apparently reveal. Any elected governing body whether local, state or federal have a first and foremost responsibility and commitment to uphold the constitutional laws that are absolutes to the benefit of all Australian citizens.  That's serving our community well. If laws need to be changed for whatever reason there are strict rules and procedures by which this is accomplished and must be adhered to. In my view, council has no right to pass any resolution that is contrary to the commitment they make as Public officers of the Commonwealth to honor, respect and up hold the laws of that document which were endorsed by and for the people. Nor does the council have no right to invest public money in promoting a lifestyle contrary to the relevant act of Law. According to the current marriage act, the use of the term “marriage equality” is both misleading and impossible to achieve without a redefinition of This act of Parliament. It’s clear to me you are very passionate about this issue, referring to an apparent basic human right (for absolute equality of many types of human relationships to be called marriage), stating unverifiable “facts”, referring to false presumptions and shallow arguments made by persons of a differing opinion and your “not to tolerant discrimination” position. Will The Standard no longer hire persons who differ from its point of view, or in some subtle way discriminate against them. Surely not and why not because it’s against the law. Lawbreakers are liable to punishment because laws exist for the safety and benefit of all the citizens of our nation. Our governing bodies are required to set the highest standards of upholding the law, whether they agree with them or not. As a paper by all means try to influence and convince the masses to your conviction, that’s your right to fly the flag but in my view the elected councillors have no such privilege and should reverse their recently publicized position and their intent to encourage other councils to follow their lead. Each councilor may agree with your position on the issue but collectively as public servants they are by principle not free to promote their own personal view on behalf of those they serve and the constitution which we are all subject to.

Jim Hewett,  Dunkeld

Pell funds question

The church family I belong to up till this point in time, has utilized part of our considerable wealth employing the very best and most expensive legal expertise in our country supporting our clerics in their alleged individual cases of shockingly evil crimes against our most fragile innocent family members. For Gods sake why has the church announced it will not be funding the Cardinal’s legal defence? Why on Gods earth should there have been a need for some of us to hastily set up some sort of crowd funding exercise to support our Cardinal. Our church appears to have abandoned one of our most senior members. 

Gerard Kenna, Warrnambool

Flags for other causes

I am wondering if our representatives on the Warrnambool City Council will accept some more suggestions as they seek funds to erect more flagpoles to support various social causes, perhaps one to support lower parking fees or maybe even a flag to support lower rates for long suffering ratepayers (I wish). In fact the more I think about this it is such a great initiative, I would encourage ratepayers to begin sending in their suggestions for flagpoles to support their favourite social cause. Think of the exciting possibilities, I am sure our representatives can’t wait to receive your suggestions and represent us ratepayers.

Leigh McDowall, Warrnambool

Broadband speed test

Many consumers in Warrnambool are in the dark about the typical speeds of the different retail services offered over the NBN, and sometimes left angry, frustrated, and dissatisfied by internet services that don’t deliver.

Four in every five consumers are confused about the broadband speed information they get from retailers. Australians spend over 4 billion dollars per year on fixed broadband services yet complaints about internet data speeds increased 48 per cent during 2015-16, making it the single largest issue for telecommunication consumer complaints during the year.

In response to the unmet need for information about broadband speeds, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is setting up a program that will measure and compare broadband speeds across the country.

The program will install hardware-based devices in the households of around 4,000 volunteers. These devices will perform remote testing to determine typical speeds on fixed-line NBN services at various times throughout the day.

The ACCC’s broadband monitoring program will provide consumers with accurate, transparent, and comparable information about the quality and reliability of the fixed-line broadband services available.

The broadband speeds program will also help to identify whether issues relating to poor speeds at peak times are being caused by the performance of the NBN, or by internet service providers (ISPs) not buying sufficient capacity to ensure you get the speeds you are paying for at peak times.

It is crucial that consumers have access to information about the speed and quality of the broadband services they are paying for in order to compare offers and find the plan that best meets their needs. The ACCC urges all residents of Warrnambool that have a fixed-line NBN connection to sign up to the ACCC monitoring program to help us provide you with just that. 

To sign up visit www.accc.gov.au/broadband by 31 July 2017.

Rod Sims, Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.