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Sunday, July 14, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Liberals hide behind ‘cop-out’ conscience voting

Letter writer SUE DYER, of Downer, says: “All Liberal candidates for the forthcoming election should make clear their commitment, or otherwise, to ensuring that the timely operational implementation of the final form of our VAD system is adequately supported and resourced in the next Assembly term.”

When Assembly debate on the ACT’s Voluntary Assisted Dying bill started in mid-May, a majority of ACT Liberal MLAs showed antagonism to the bill and what it stands for, by not supporting the bill moving to the in-principle stage for debate. 

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Unfortunately for ACT and surrounding residents, this was not because these MLAs were unhappy that the bill’s eligibility requirements will still not enable many to have their personal end-of-life wishes and decision-making recognised and carried out in a timely and humane way. None of them has indicated publicly that they have constructive and progressive suggestions for improving the coverage of, and access, to VAD, including working on these matters in far more collaborative ways in the Assembly.

Statistically, older women suffer most from cruel neurological, non-curable diseases and, as the bill stands, they will still be seriously disadvantaged by the bill’s eligibility requirements.

While the shadow minister for women voted for the bill’s in-principle stage, this is her last term in office. The limited number of moderate Liberal MLAs clearly hold no sway in opening the eyes of their more conservative and religiously influenced colleagues about the need to better recognise and accept others’ personal wishes and related requests for assistance. 

Since the ACT Liberal Party continues to hide behind “cop-out” conscience voting on such a long-awaited and necessary social reform, all Liberal candidates for the forthcoming election should make clear their commitment, or otherwise, to ensuring that the timely operational implementation of the final form of our VAD system is adequately supported and resourced in the next Assembly term.

Many voters would also wish to know if each candidate would work to have the legislation reviewed much sooner, with the aim of enabling adoption, well before the early 2030s, of broader eligibility and decision-making VAD related improvements that would alleviate the suffering of a growing number of Canberrans. 

No-one should be forced to endure unwanted levels of suffering when afflicted with terminal or other conditions that have already eroded, and will only continue to destroy, a person’s functionality, quality of life and independence.

Pertinently, the federal constitution of the Liberal Party contains a key objective about “the freedom of citizens to choose their own way of living and of life, subject to the rights of others” ( 2017, section 2 (d) (iv)).

Not hearing the Liberal candidates’ positions on these matters will only suggest they will be adept at running away from addressing or promoting key issues of public interest and demand for four years, should they be elected in October.

Sue Dyer, Downer

Haven’t we had that promise for two elections?

Hold the phone! Stop the presses! Breaking news; Andrew Barr discovers we have a health problem. 800 new nurses, doctors and associated specialties. This year. Fantastic!

Hang on? Haven’t we had that same promise two elections in a row?

A bit like the widening of William Hovell Drive – polished up for every election.

Well, you cannot dig up London Circuit and keep the hospitals functioning at the same time.

Twenty three years and the same old rubbish. And Andrew, us “old busybodies” do remember some things that matter.

Bill Brown, Holt

I counted seven passengers who didn’t pay

I totally agree with Colin Lyons (Letters, CN May 9) about the blatant fare evasion we witness regularly on the buses. 

It appears to be rife, with many passengers now jumping on the bandwagon because they know they can get away with it. 

I’ve witnessed passengers, mainly school students but adults, too, walking past the driver with no attempt to use a MyWay card or even offer an “excuse” to the driver as to why they can’t or won’t pay their fare! 

This displays a sense of entitlement. On one bus trip alone, I counted seven passengers who didn’t pay. No wonder Transport Canberra is losing money. 

Let’s hope when the new system comes in later in the year there are measures in place to stop these fare evaders. One measure until then would be to have inspectors come on the buses to check that every passenger has paid their fare (unless there is a concession).

Sandra Mostyn, Calwell

Kangaroo claims are ‘beyond ridiculous’ 

How can the Labor-Greens government claim the recent kangaroo management review was independent when it was conducted by the Invasive Species Council? 

The CSIRO, the nation’s peak science body, conducted a review into the culling program and found it unnecessary. 

To imply that kangaroos are causing grasses to go extinct is beyond ridiculous considering these animals have survived and thrived for millions of years in this country. 

Developers paving over green spaces and nature is the biggest threat to grasslands, not kangaroos.

Whitney Anders Richardson, via email

Light rail to Woden not worth the cost

In criticising me about the projected cost of light rail stage 2B Dave Rogers (Letters, CN May 23) overlooked some important details. 

The figures I used were from a range of publications on the subject too numerous to cite formally without excessive complexity and verbosity blurring the message. 

They were also the totals of expenditure over the full construction period, estimated at between about four and nine years.

Furthermore, the quoted estimates did not take into account the cost of the planned demolition of the northbound span of Commonwealth Avenue Bridge announced in the latest edition of “Our CBR”, nor the cost of a replacement road bridge and new rail bridge. These costs alone would be in the multi-billions.

The fundamental question has to be: is light rail stage 2B really worth it in terms of direct financial cost of construction, and the indirect costs of up to nine years of severe road traffic disruption between Commonwealth Park and Woden Town Centre?

I, for one, think not.

Dr Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin

No-one’s asking the hard questions

Undoubtedly columnist Rob Macklin will be swamped with complaints from Labor stalwarts for his conclusion that the treasurer’s budget speech was a “disgrace” because of its lack of consideration for indigenous Australians (CN, May 22). 

I have to say I largely agree with him and not just on behalf of our indigenous communities. Governments and oppositions generally find it too easy to make promises, declare they are actually moving forward on important issues, and generally “getting the balance right” but too frequently failing to produce the goods. 

They get away with it because very few in today’s media seem to have the ability to knowledgeably quiz them and, especially, demand evidence that what they say is true. 

This is especially so with TV journalists, sadly, including those at the ABC. Not once in post-Budget interviews with the treasurer, ministers and opposition leaders, did I hear any of our top TV-guns seek such answers in any fully-informed and really probing way. 

Thus, spokespersons side-slip easily into their carefully orchestrated “messages of the day”. I don’t usually live in the past, but it would be heaven if Kerry O’Brien, Richard Carleton and Nine’s formidable Laurie Oakes were still around to show their current counterparts how it’s done. 

Eric Hunter, Cook 

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