Letters / All students need protection, Mr Barr

IT is sad that Chief Minister Andrew Barr hasn’t seen fit to introduce a safe schools program to include all students.

quillStudents can be bullied because of skin colour, ethnicity, religion, physical, mental or social attributes, and even clothing if from a disadvantaged background. It would have been good to also stress these points.

Young people going through puberty can develop some bisexual physical and mental attributes as they develop. They can also experiment, particularly in a same-sex environment. Most end up going with the sexual attributes with which they were born.

However, the sexually explicit nature of the Safe Sex Program can help promote body dissatisfaction and confusion at this vulnerable stage of their lives, leading them to change gender appearance and self harm. Such a program should be reserved for genuine LGBT students.

This caused the NSW government to reject the program and many in Canberra would agree. Columnist Nick Jensen (“Parents lose power to the ‘rainbow ideology”, CN, March 2) has simply reflected this view.

“CityNews” readers are well aware of Jensen’s ideologies and former affiliations. He has not been disingenuous, as one reader would suggest. His views have been expressed in numerous articles previously.

Prof Patrick Parkinson has also done a lot of research on this subject and his findings should also be considered, even if they don’t espouse the views of some readers.

People read “CityNews” because of its balanced journalism. “CityNews” expresses the differing views of all Canberrans, not just the vocal Canberrans.

Rewa Bate, Coombs

Resisting diversity

THOSE who oppose Safe Schools fail to throw up alternative measures that might deal with the very real issues faced by LGBT students who, according to beyondblue, have a 14 per cent higher risk of suicide.

The reality would seem to be that the anti-Safe Schools campaigners would prefer to resist letting kids learn about diversity yet insist that the “identity politics” of their own god is imposed upon all others without question.

Harry Yim, Kingston

Grown-up bullies still can’t stop

CLEARLY, yesteryear’s schoolyard bullies have grown up and found that they simply can’t bring themselves to stop vilifying LGBT people as adults, so now they’re obsessing over the Safe Schools program.

These people should realise that the world has changed and peacefully step aside to let the new generation experience tolerance and understanding in their schools.

Hate and misunderstanding has a toxic effect, but not all should have to be affected.

John Smeeve, Downer

Saved by fearless advice

GED Fitzsimmons points out (letters, CN, March 9) that columnist Nichole Overall’s piece on the Dixon case (CN, February 23) was not the only death sentence handed down by the ACT Supreme Court.

Apart from the 1965 Velonias case, which Fitzsimmons describes, there were several death sentences imposed in the 1960s in both murder and rape cases.

In one particularly nasty pack rape case, it was only the frank and fearless advice of a senior Attorney-General’s Department officer that saved the young men concerned from the gallows.

There was a strong desire in Federal cabinet for the sentences to be carried out until the ministers were persuaded that it was not practical to set up a gallows in Canberra nor take the men to Darwin.

Stephen Brown, Forrest

Degrading deaths of animals

TODAY, and every day, over one and a half million young, healthy animals will be slaughtered here in Australia – animals who, just like your cat or dog, have the capacity for affection, fear, pain and joy.

Not one of them is going to give his or her life, it will be brutally, degradingly taken.

Not one of the worn out dairy cows amongst them ever gave her milk, it was forcibly sucked out of her – after the calf for whom it was intended was also forcibly taken from her.

Not one of the spent layer hens (all of 18 months old) gave her eggs, which she saw as her children. They, too, were taken from her.

None of the meat or other products harvested as human food from today’s dead bodies is essential for our health or wellbeing. Nor is the milk or eggs taken from these animals during their short, miserable existence, necessary for us to live happy, healthy, sustainable lives.

We need to start moving toward more healthy, sustainable, compassionate, plant-based foods.

Mike O’Shaughnessy, Spence

We are not running out of gas!

FOLLOWING blackouts in SA, we are now being told that the “PM declares a gas crisis to prevent this island nation from running out of gas”.

This will be the start of a situation that is predicted to worsen rapidly, even possibly in Canberra. Our Greens Minister Shane Rattenbury says gas is the preferred energy source for heating, cooking and hot water in Canberra. And yet, recently, he is quoted as saying gas reticulation will not be extended into new suburbs.

Besides gas for home use I would suggest every restaurant in Canberra/Queanbeyan uses gas for cooking for obvious reasons.

From the early ’60s, I was employed in the gas and oil business for 23 years. In 1968 I joined the largest energy company in the world, Exxon, known here as Esso, as the Canberra manager to promote bottled gas to build up a base for both domestic and commercial use.

Esso was installing bottled gas for thousands of houses as most people realised it would only be a matter of time before natural gas by pipeline would arrive. Esso was also supplying bottled gas to virtually every restaurant and other industries in Canberra.

Substantial gas discoveries were being made all over the country and it was assumed that Australia would/could never run out of gas for industry and/or the domestic market.

Then greed came into the picture. The big companies saw the opportunity of exporting, in particular to Japan and later China. Now, two thirds of our gas supplies are exported! This isn’t leaving us with sufficient gas for home consumption and now, in desperation, the Prime Minister says it’s time to call the well-heeled executives of our major gas companies to a meeting to prevent this island nation of running out of gas!

We are not running out of gas, we have some of the largest gas reserves in the world and we are selling it off. It is time someone got real and decided that Australia comes first. And yes, Mr Rattenbury, householders and restaurants in the new suburbs will want the option to use gas.

Cedric Bryant, Watson

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