Freedom of speech is an abstract idea, the same as democracy. In the real life it is often being suppressed, or the truth twisted in an misleading way. Totalitarian regimes are indoctrinating children with radical (one-sided) views from an early age. By the time they grow up, they become dedicated to the cause. Democratic countries are not always candid either. They cannot trust the totalitarian ones and have to keep secrets away from them. If they shareall the knowledge, it may be used against them. Only naive people believe promises and propaganda made by radical regimes.
Jiri Kolenaty, Rushworth
Hope for swans to return
Hepburn Council's decision to remove domestic geese from Lake Daylesford is consistent with its biodiversity strategy that was produced after exhaustive community consultation. The days of introducing exotic animals into public land have surely passed, for the dire consequences are just as surely known. The lake is not a private zoo or farm yard; it is a public reserve and its native inhabitants will now be protected from the capricious dumping of animals, be they geese, carp, goats, turkeys or whatever other species some individual may inflict upon them. I look forward to the day when black swans return to the lake.
Greg Pyers, Daylesford
Recognising chronic pain
Chronic pain - pain that doesn't go away after the injury or illness has resolved and lasts at least three months - is arguably Australia and the world's fastest growing medical condition and is a significant issue affecting Australians.
Living with ongoing pain can lead to feelings of hopelessness and can all too often lead to isolation, mental health issues and a declining ability to effectively manage pain - an extremely vicious and heart-breaking cycle. Pain is often invisible and people face the additional burden of not being believed. National Pain Week (22 - 28 July 2019) is an annual initiative of Chronic Pain Australia, the voice of Australians living in chronic pain. It aims to destigmatise the experiences of people living with chronic pain and provide an outlet to share their stories and experiences with the wider community. This year's theme is 'Equal Partners in my healthcare' to highlight the need for people with chronic pain to be included in the decisions and policies that affect their lives.
During National Pain Week, people living with chronic pain are encouraged to share their experiences and ideas on the (https://chronicpainaustralia.org.au/forum) or on social media using #NPW2019, #nationalpainweek, #equalpartnersinhealthcare. We appreciate your support.
Jarrod McMaugh, Chronic Pain Australia
Set them free
Reading about the death of Abdul Aziz in detention saddened me. Having spent many years teaching English to refugees from Afghanistan and Pakistan, and hearing their stories, gave me a deeper understanding of the pain and loss of family that many suffered at the hands of the Taliban and other extremist groups. These young people's desperate need to live a life of "freedom" in a new country has, for some, resulted in a life of captivity. The boats have stopped. The assessment process should be fast-tracked. Set these people free.
Georgina Manger, Deans Marsh
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