Letters to the editor - November 10

No to enclosed harbour

We are surprised to see reports in The Standard calling for a scientific investigation into constructing a fully enclosed harbour. A thorough technical investigation was conducted by experts in 2016 and is available from Warrnambool City Council. Last year's comprehensive technical studies and community consultation led council to decide that the harbour should be developed in a staged way, with safer boat launching facilities being the priority. Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare Network supports this option.  A proposed second stage, if required, was to construct a relatively small spur off the breakwater to create conditions for safer moorings. This option was computer-modelled and showed the relatively low impacts it would have. A proposed third option for a fully enclosed harbour was explored that showed there was no business case for it and that its impact on wave patterns could cause dramatic changes to the Worm and Lady Bay beach areas, including beach erosion to the swimming beaches east of the harbour. Furthermore, this option would highly likely lead to the introduction of marine pest species into the harbour where they would then threaten the Merri Marine Sanctuary. Marine pests in Portland and Apollo Bay harbours indicate this outcome is highly likely. Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare is opposed to this third option due to these likely environmental impacts.

Bruce Campbell, Chairman, Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare Network

Vote no

Providing people with a secure job is a worthy aspiration. Having to vote on "Assisted Dying" legislation was not what Vote 1 Local Jobs MP James Purcell envisaged when elected to the Victorian Parliament. But as the American statesman Thomas Jefferson wrote: The first responsibility of government is to protect human life. When considering the amendments which Mr. Purcell suggests will persuade him to vote for this legislation, can he assure us protection from what is happening in Holland, since euthanasia was legalised there? Last January the UK Daily Mail reported that a female Dutch doctor who drugged a patient 's coffee, then asked her family to restrain her as she administered a lethal injection while their mother fought not to be killed, "didn't break the law". Much is made of safe guards in this Victorian bill when every day we read of malpractice in public institutions. Realistically, how confident will Mr Purcell be of convictions for medical malpractice when "assisted suicide" gets underway? The dead don't talk. Dr Noel Bayley (The Standard 28/10) only wants euthanasia for difficult cases. He should know "hard cases make bad law". And that another Dr B, Dr Alec Bourne, who instigated the UK Abortion Act in 1967, only wanted abortion legalised for hard cases. A year later, to his horror, 22,000 abortions were performed, escalating to 200,000 annually. On October 27 British pro-lifers marked the 50th anniversary of that legislation, gathering to mourn the staggering 8,894,355 unborn babies who have been aborted since then, one death for every three minutes, 20 lives every hour. When the euthanasia  genie is out of the bottle, will Mr Purcell be around to put it back? Better to not let it out at all.

Denise Marion Cameron, President,  Pro-Life Victoria (Inc)

Help refugees

Most people would agree that we all need to be able to live in peace and develop skills for a happy life. Twenty-five years ago I became an Australian citizen. At that time I would never have imagined the inhumane treatment that would be meted out by a Coalition government to vulnerable refugees. If I were to deprive an animal of food, water and essential health care for a period of even a few days, I would rightly be reported to the RSPCA, taken to court, and have to pay the legal penalties. If my treatment of several animals resulted in death, then I would be put in jail. Australia is treating refugees worse than anyone is allowed to treat domestic or farm animals. To our shame, refugees have died in off-shore detention camps. On Nauru the teaching staff come back to Australia with lung irritation due to the phosphate dust in the hot, dry quarry area where the refugees have been forced to live. On Manus the drinking water supply has been limited. Children are still in detention centres on Nauru and have been psychologically harmed by their experiences there. Some adult refugees have burned themselves to death in order to attract attention to the plight of fellow refugees on Manus and Nauru. Australia needs to rescue its reputation, find its compassion, and allow the people on Manus and Nauru to be settled in countries such as New Zealand, Canada, and perhaps quietly in Australia. Some of the refugees have families or family members already living and working peaceably in Australia. It makes no sense to keep these family members apart in the name of political expediency. The turning back of boats has not stopped the deaths at sea. Boats still come. The millions of dollars spent on sub-standard accommodation, poor food, limited drinking water, hot tents, and inadequate medical care on Nauru and Manus would have been better used in helping people in overseas camps. Those on Manus and Nauru could have been safely settled here and become valuable Australian citizens. As a wealthy nation, Australia is doing very little to make the world a better place. Many countries that are a lot less wealthy are doing much more to help refugees.

Gillian Blair, Panmure

Donation thanks

The Friends of St Brigid’s Assoc. Inc. wishes to publicly thank Pacific Hydro for a grant of $10,000 we received last Friday at a ceremony at St. Brigid’s Church in Crossley, as a part of the latest round of Pacific Hydro’s Great South West Sustainable Communities Fund. We were a part of a total of 30 organisations across the south-west who were presented with grants totalling $160,000. The $10,000 presented to St Brigid’s, together with a recent grant of $20,000 from Moyne Shire Council, will enable our organisation to proceed with the repair of the church roof and ceiling, as part of our ongoing restoration plan for the building. 

Michael Lane, Tower Hill

Gun law changes

I think we should all be panicking when the President of the United States says that the recent church shootings in America have nothing to do with US gun laws. Straight away it smacks of the President’s fear of losing the vote of the gun wielding lobbyists who refuse point blank to admit that there are a number of them nuttier than a bag of Nobbies. Granted the person who shot up the church had some major mental health issues but guess what. If the gun laws had been tighter he would not have had a gun. Show me a person that mass murders people with a gun who is in their right mind. But no, the President goes on to say that many more could have died if a hero who shot at the offender didn’t have a firearm so the shooter might have returned to the church and shot more people. I’m sorry, what? Who is writing the president’s scripts, Monty Python? It’s ridiculous that he would even suggest that. The families of those poor church people are not stupid although it appears he thinks he can say whatever he wants and he will be believed. Come on now people, this guy is seriously rocking the right to bare arms correctness boat and just saying the first thing that comes into his head to justify a position on a policy that he is not prepared to move on. The simple truth that everyone is aware of is that the gun laws in America are not safe with many people being shot and injured over many years. It is my opinion that every American president elected is too afraid to address the issue of gun laws for fear of losing votes. That’s it in a nutshell and it’s embarrassing and shameful to watch them attempting to squirm out of a situation that is so wrong and it’s a slap in the face to all the good Americans who have lost loved ones to maniacs with firearms. Someone has to get serious about this in America soon. The time for action on guns would have been when a proper police force was formed to protect people.

David MacPhail, Warrnambool