Letters to the editor - August 18

No January 26 celebration

Good on the Yarra City Council for its courage and reconciliatory leadership in no longer taking part in Australia Day celebrations held on its traditional date of January 26. All Australians should celebrate our nation's values, achievements and what it means to be Australian, of course, but not at the exclusion of any section of its population. It's perfectly understandable that the Aboriginal community considers the current date as invasion day, is offended by it and sees it as a major road block for reconciliation. It is absurd to effectively exclude indigenous Australians who have lived here for some 65,000 years on such a highly significant national day. Surely, our historians can find a suitable date for all of us to celebrate, maybe Federation Day. I'd like to call on our Warrnambool City Council to stop our Australia Day celebrations as from next year and send a clear message of our genuine respect for our indigenous community and our willingness to stand up for an all-inclusive Australia Day on a national level. Yarra City Council may have got the ball rolling on a long-overdue change which will help with all Australians feeling part of this nation.

Anton Maurus, Warrnambool

Respectful debate please

Just four days after the announcement of a plebiscite on same-sex marriage, and already we see the depths to which anti-gay activists will sink. The letters to The Standard last Saturday disturbed me, so I can only imagine how they made the LGBTQI community feel.  If there is a coherent argument to be made against the legalisation of same-sex marriage, it seems its supporters cannot make it without resorting to insinuations that same-sex attracted people are somehow subhuman (as are those raised by single parents, apparently). And what can I even say to the foul allegation that “encouragement of same-sex marriage could be seen as an endorsement of an undeniably high-risk life-style”? Only that I am deeply ashamed of my fellow human beings, ashamed for all who call themselves Christians, and disgusted in a government that would give open airtime to hate speech which could - no, will, cause untold harm to the people at which it is directed. Shame, The Standard, for publishing this filth.

Siobhan Simper, Warrnambool

Focus on other issues

Dear Mr Turnbull, most people don’t care about who is sleeping with who in the privacy of their bedrooms. Can you please stop wasting my money on plebiscites and postal votes on gay marriage. I would much prefer if you and the finest minds in the country spent my money and your time on more important issues such as unemployment, climate change, Aboriginal health and affordable housing. And by the way.  I am not gay.  “ Not that there is anything wrong with that.”

Dr Selby King, Warrnambool

No horses on beaches

Last Sunday I walked my dogs on a Port Fairy beach. There was one fisherman and 10 or more horses from a racing stable. I can be fined for not picking up after my dogs but 10 racehorses can churn up and foul the beach and upset wildlife with impunity. They do this on a regular basis now, so the dune buggy enthusiasts and the motor bike riders would be right to ask why can't I use the beach? The inconsistencies are mind blowing. Also the insurance industry and risk management people would be amazed to see 10 racehorses sharing a narrow walkway with pedestrians, and loading horses into trucks and floats in a tight public carpark. If there is a serious injury to someone when a horse spooks, (and it will happen one day) who is to blame? Parks Victoria, Moyne Shire, the horse owner or the victim? It makes no sense at all to have race horses training on a public beach until you understand the influence and power the horse racing industry has in the south-west. The Energy Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D'Ambrosio has chosen to look the other way. Why?

Heather Wood, Port Fairy

Beach process ‘stinks’

The process stinks when wishes of a community and decision of a council are overridden by government changing the Crown Reserve Act relating to Belfast Coastal Reserve and permitting racehorses on our beaches. Mr Purcell please explain and Mr Mayor please tell us how our beaches are not affected. The arrogance of the WRC won't be forgotten locally.

Mike Raetz, Port Fairy