I WISH to add my voice to those expressing concern about the asylum seekers being held on Manus Island and on Nauru.
I am an ordinary Australian citizen.
Due to the good fortune of my birth in Australia and the situation of my family, I grew up in circumstances that afforded me food, clothes, education and healthcare.
These things seemed so normal to be that, as a child, I rarely considered my good fortune.
I am now forced to compare my life experiences with those of the people who sought asylum in Australia.
The contrast is stark.
With reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), we all have the right to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
I have had the privilege of enjoying those rights; those on Manus Island and Nauru have not.
The UDHR took shape and was adopted in 1948 under the leadership and guidance of a fine Australian Labor man, Dr Herbert Vere Evatt. Australia was a signatory to the declaration.
It seems to me that in recent years, my Australian government – whether ALP or Coalition – has broken faith with both the legacy of Doc Evatt and with the declaration itself.
If Doc Evatt could draw together representatives of disparate nations and enable them to find common ground on human rights, is it too much to ask that in 2018, we in Australia find a way to honour the rights of those we have sent to Manus Island and Nauru?
Surely this task cannot be beyond us.
I would urge all members of the Parliament of Australia to work with goodwill and humanity in seeking a solution that will find a safe, permanent home for all asylum seekers currently held on Manus Island and on Nauru.
Leonie Foster, Ararat
AS THE only candidate for the state election in attendance at the Stawell and Ararat agricultural shows last weekend, I was very impressed with Sarah De Santis, Labor Candidate for Ripon’s, stall.
She and her team, instead of environmentally unfriendly balloons, were giving away eco friendly pinwheels made from FSC certified materials, made in Melbourne, fully recyclable and signifying Labor’s commitment to renewable energy.
Sarah explained that renewable energy creates jobs, drives growth and protects our environment and most importantly helps drive down power prices.
The Grampians region has emerged as Victoria’s engine room of renewable energy generation and associated economic growth.
Victoria continues to lead the way in developing new energy policy to reduce greenhouse gases, tackle climate change and deliver Victorian Renewable Energy Targets of 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025.
Well done to Sarah De Santis, Team Ripon and Victoria Labor.
Veronica Monaghan, Stawell
Land classification worry
THE Victorian Environment Assessment Council (VEAC) recently released a draft report changing classification of public lands in central Victoria.
The result could see about 80,000 hectares of public land changing status, and in the process excluding current legal users from this land.
The driving forces behind this status change proposal include the usual grab bag of far left green activists.
The implication is that we will be locked out of large segments of public land.
People such as horse riders, trail bike riders, hunters, prospectors, dog walkers, miners, campers, four wheel drivers, firewood collectors, apiarists, mountain bike riders, timber workers and car rally enthusiasts will be negatively affected if this VEAC report is adopted.
It’s not just central Victorian public lands under threat from green activism. The Strathbogies, the Emerald Link and the Great Forest are all targets on the Greens hit list.
Huge areas of bushland will see partial or total lockouts.
Currently an organisation called the Bush Users Group United (BUGU) is fighting these proposed changes to land use in central Victoria.
BUGU has asked all current Victorian parliamentarians where they stand in relation to locking current legal bush users out from public lands.
Responses from the Liberals, Nationals, SFF and most Independents are all positive for retaining the status quo. They support Access for All Victorians to public lands.
Labor and the Greens have not responded, but appear to support locking us out.
With the upcoming Victorian election, BUGU asks all voters to think carefully about who you vote for.
Do you support locking people out of the bush? Or do you support Access for All?
The choice is yours.
Mark Shannon, Muckleford
- Letters commenting on election issues must bear the name and full address of the writer(s). Responsibility for election comment in this issue is accepted by editor Jessica Grimble.