Letters to the editor: Saturday October 21, 2017

It’s OK to say NO

I support the No vote in the SSM survey, as is my right as a citizen of this country, and the constitution we all live under. I  am against changing the Marriage Act to include SSM laws, I believe that if SSM or the LGBT1 require additional laws for their de-facto relationships for allowing certain activities, that at present are not available to them,  just make those changes and not change areas that need no change at all; the current Marriage Act needs no change.

Areas that they say need legal attention are; the right to visit their love ones in hospital, the right to make funeral preparations for the deceased loved ones. I suggest the change(s) should be a law to incorporate those needs but keep it outside the present Marriage Act, which is an entirely different environment to SSM. Makes one wonder why the upheaval to wipe out Marriage as we now understand it to be between a man and a woman, when all that is required a law for SSM couples and inclusion in that for their current needs. 

Carmel Metcalf, Moonbi

It’s time for change

My wife and I are grandparents raising two young grandchildren diagnosed with FASD as a result of their mother's consumption of alcohol whilst pregnant.

Both girls have disabilities which impact on most areas of their lives but the NSW Dept of Education does not recognise this as a disability even though the new National Disability Scheme does. 

How can a State Government Department be so behind and out of step with a National Scheme which is being implemented to improve the lives of people with a disability across the nation.

NSW seems to be like a back water compared to other states who do recognise FASD as a disability.

I implore Mr Rob Stokes MP NSW Minister for Education to talk to Senator Simon Birmingham Federal Minister Education to see if the recognised disability FASD can be accepted as a life long disability within NSW Department of Education so NSW children are not further disadvantaged when it comes to the right of receiving an education.

Warren Sullivan, Tamworth

Value our carers

This week is National Carers Week, a time when we pay tribute to hardworking carers who provide ongoing, unpaid support to people who need help because of disability, mental illness, chronic or terminal illness, dementia or frail age. 

National Carers Week runs from 15 October to 21 October. 

The Focus this year is encouraging everyone to take a moment to thank carers for their contribution. Carers are some of the most selfless members of our community.

It is often a thankless job that puts a lot of pressure on individual people. 

At any time, any one of us could become an unpaid carer and as Aussies we need to ensure that we have a carer-friendly community where everyone, including carers, has a fair go. 

It is estimated that the value of carers’ contribution to our nation is $60.3 billion per year, and yet they often experience social isolation and find it harder to maintain employment, enter the workforce or participate in education. 

I urge you to take the time to offer your thanks to carers in our community, show them your appreciation and let them know that they are valued.

Kevin Anderson, Member for Tamworth

Lest we forget

On 23 October 2017 we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the second Battle of El Alamein.

Between July and November 1942 there were three battles fought at El Alamein and Australian forces figured prominently in two of them.

Over five months of fighting, Australia suffered almost 6,000 casualties.

It was the Battle of El Alamein that turned the war in North Africa, where Rommel and his Panzer Army were rebuked and the Axis forces were subsequently driven out of the continent.

On the 75th anniversary of the battle, it will be an honour to welcome veterans of the Battle of El Alamein to Canberra for a reception held in their honour.

I ask all Australians to pause and reflect on the service and sacrifice of these great Australians and of all those who served in North Africa during the Second World War.

Lest we forget.

Dan Tehan, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Ban the bag 

With the Victorian government becoming the latest state to move to ban single use plastic bags it is very disappointing that the Liberal/National Government is now the lone state in Australia still refusing to address this type of plastic pollution.

Plastic contributes to 70 per cent of the pollution in our oceans, our rivers and on our beaches. Millions of seabirds and hundreds of thousands of turtles, dolphins, seals and other sea mammals die every year as a result of ingesting plastic. Over 90 per cent of marine life now have plastic in their systems. Plastic is beginning to enter the food chain.

In NSW 61 million plastic bags are littered every year. This week was an opportunity for NSW to take action however Labor’s bill to ban single use plastic bags was rejected by the Liberal and National party MP’s.

In the past Liberal and National MP’s have stated their support for a ban. I urge them to redouble their efforts to gain support for a ban on plastic bags.

If Labor is elected in 2019, we will take action to free our rivers, oceans, beaches, parks and wildlife from the pollution caused by plastic bags.

Penny Sharpe, Shadow Minister for the Environment

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