Hope for the future
The letter, “Celebrating an inclusive Australia” (Bendigo Advertiser, January 20, 2018) from the Grandmothers Against the Detention of Refugee Children (GADRC) left me feeling greatly saddened.
What kind of a country are we living in, where people who wish only to assist and support those in need, feel constrained to choose between two groups of equally desperate children?
Where is the inclusiveness in that?
No doubt, in the name of Australia Day patriotism, there will be those who have very precise ideas about who should and who should not be included in a definition of “Australian”. But I suspect that these ideas would prevail no matter what day is chosen as our national day.
So on that level, I fear that the GADRC ladies are correct – their small protest will not make a big difference.
However, the important point their letter highlights is that resolution is not impossible.
As they suggest, Australia Day celebrations ought to be about affirmation, acknowledgement, and inclusiveness.
Perhaps, in the not too far distant future, groups like GADRC may not have to make such terrible choices.
Perhaps, in the best of all possible Australias, GADRC and other such groups may even find that their work is done and they can rest from their labours. Now that would indeed be cause for celebration.
The best of all possible Australias – this is my hope for my country.
Happy Australia Day, everyone.
Julie Hopper, Bendigo
Dog park dilemma
I visit the dog park three days a week with my two cavoodles. My dogs love the freedom to run and play with other dogs. I enjoy meeting the other regular park visitors that come at our usual time.
The dog owners have become a "family". We share information about caring for our dogs. We also look after each others dogs if one of us needs a bit of help.
The dog park is well-maintained and improvements are made by the council departments from time to time. It's a wonderful place but there in lies the dilemma.
The park is overcrowded usually in the evenings and on weekends. Some dog owners don't watch and make no efforts to pick up their dogs' poo. Some dog owners are unwilling and/or are unable to control their dogs' behaviours. Aggressive and badly behaved dogs are not muzzled and roam uncontrolled.
Some dog owners get aggressive when you try to protect your dogs from these "problem" dogs with an attitude of "I have just as much right to be here" and "how dare you try and discipline my dog".
So what can the considerate and respectful dog owners with their mostly well-behaved dogs do? Avoid the times when there are too many dogs; avoid the times when there are "problem" dogs; and avoid the times when there are "problem" dog owners.
So every trip to the dog park is a dilemma.
A lot of previous visitors choose to no longer frequent the park because of a bad experience or a story of a bad experience. I have to ask the question every time I go to the park: Will my dogs and I be safe today?
I still choose to visit the park but I have decided we will leave if I believe there might be danger.
It's such a pity to have a wonderful resource that cannot be used by everyone all the time.
Theresa Smith, North Bendigo
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