A chance for dignity
I am deeply moved by Kerry's legacy ("'She left with courage and grace': Daughters farewell Victoria's first person to access assisted dying", Bendigo Advertiser, August 6, 2019). I only wish my partner and best friend and soulmate of 20 years had the same choice given to him.
He suffered terribly with a rare and incurable cancer. When we were first told of the terrible news the oncologists told us that maybe he had about 18 months and that chemotherapy or radiation would not work with the type of cancer he had.
This was definitely not what we wanted to hear but went down the path of trying Keytruda immunotherapy, but this had no effect.
Watching this wonderful man going downhill so fast and in so much pain was heartbreaking for him as well as the people who loved him.
It would have been so much better for him to have a choice because there were many times I heard him tell me "I cannot do this anymore".
But as hard as it was for me to see the man I love more than life itself in so much pain, I can only imagine how sad and frightening it was for him.
I still miss him every day and wish this legislation had been passed sooner for him not to have suffered so much. It is dignity and giving back to the people who have a right to go to God's garden when they choose to end their suffering and say their goodbyes to those they love.
Brenda Long, Golden Square
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders challenged the Australian legal system from 1982, with the High Court in 1992 recognising aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the traditional owners of their land together with the legal extinguishment of Terra Nullius.
This case was labelled the Mabo decision, which then led to the Native Title Act (1993), allowing their laws and customs to be maintained.
In the lead-up to and subsequent to the High Court decision, scaremongering by extreme right conservatives abounded, with mining companies asserting that a 'flood' of land claims would inhibit mining and Jeff Kennett claiming that Australian backyards were under threat.
Ugly extreme prejudice bubbled to the surface as anti-Mabo activists attempted to derail claims for justice by the traditional land owners.
The Mabo decision was an historic victory for these peoples allowing the torment of their previous powerlessness to give way to hope and opportunity for empowerment and self-determination.
Now 2019, and we as a nation may soon have the opportunity to support a successful referendum on the matter of constitutional recognition.
To begin the process the Uluru Statement from the Heart calls for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the constitution.
This is a very passive, modest proposal, not threatening at all, and one loaded with goodwill. Sadly, we see racial prejudice again surfacing from the conservative right in an attempt to shut down any progress towards positive constitutional reform.
The description "third chamber" is designed to torpedo the concept of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the constitution and to shamelessly preserve the status quo of white dominance, divisiveness and marginalisation. No goodwill here and no heart-felt desire to heal the devastation and incarceration we have caused throughout the previous 200-plus years.
There remains an illusion that "the blacks have it all", which is far from reality. Incarceration rates are unacceptably high and disproportionate, youth suicides are double the national rate, and there remains glaring deficiencies in effective health services, education, training, and employment opportunities for indigenous youth.
Australia-wide, their feeling of powerlessness continues as they remain shunned by our constitution and continuing racism as revealed in the recent documentary The Final Quarter. Yet despite ongoing irrational divisive language used against reform efforts, the Mabo outcome demonstrates that together we can remain aspirational on reform efforts through public discussion, acknowledgement of our fractured history, acceptance of truth, and development of respect.
So come on Australia, we have a moral responsibility to open our hearts to this opportunity for constitutional reform; ignore the bigots, ignore the scaremongers, and heed not the extremists. We must demand and support what will be an historic referendum of momentous and positive unifying outcomes.
Ian Cooper, California Gully
Library a part of the community
I used to work at the Goldfields Library in Bendigo and once a week at Kangaroo Flat. I loved the location of the Kangaroo Flat Library.
I went back to Australia a few years ago and visited both libraries. Kangaroo Flat was lovely as always. However, the Bendigo Library didn't even look like a library.
Read more: Library's possible move divides community
It was not the library that I was proud to work at. It looked cheap and the nasty, not at all like a library.
When I was there, it was big, had a wonderful children's section and was light and airy. What happened to it?
I hope whatever happens to the Kangaroo Flat Library, it remains an important part of the community.
Sonja Nielsen, South Dakota, USA, formerly of Bendigo
Families are the basic units of the nation. The stronger is the bond between them, the stronger and more united is the nation
Of course there are exceptions to it as to everything else, but they are confirming the rules.
United families and nations are more likely to overcome any hardships and live more peacefully, than the ones divided into sections fighting each other.
Hostilities between different races, nations, social classes and religions are disturbing the global peace and forcing millions of people to leave their homes.
Jiri Kolenaty, Rushworth
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