Credit:Illustration: Cathy Wilcox
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A wonderful life, and now the right to die
Thank you for your editorial on our euthanasia laws (Sunday Age, 12/3). We are supposed to live in a free society where the rights of the individual are paramount, except for the issue of the right to die. We are arguing about the right of terminally ill people to die. Keeping them alive when they want to die is not only a violation of their rights, it is inhuman and, in cases that I have seen, cruel. The vaunted palliative care in some cases is just as bad.
Many 80-year-olds like myself have had a great life but now the spectre of the nursing home is like a dark cloud on our diminishing horizons. Modern medicine is keeping us alive, but can it guarantee a peaceful ending to a wonderful life? As you slowly lose the faculties that you find important, you do not want to die in a way that is demeaning to yourself and all who love you. I have seen this happen and have hated it. You would not treat a dog like that.
When your body is worn out and you have had enough of life, you should be able to end it. People ending their life peacefully among friends is all we 80-year-olds ask for. If you do not want to be part of the process for religious or other reasons then suit yourself, but do not deny we who want a death befitting the way we lived, our rights. We have had a wonderful life and deserve a dignified death.
Spencer Leighton, Torquay
Those who are in pain deserve a dignified death
Too many terminally ill Victorians who need, and are trying to, obtain physician-assisted dying are forced to end their days in pain and suffering because of the failure of the Victorian law to operate in the manner that the law intended.
The lack of trained physicians and the need for this specialist training appears to be one of the major problems, especially in regional and rural areas. In Oregon, in the US, the laws allow any two physicians to authorise procedures. This has created no problems in more than 20years of operation. There is an urgent need to review our state’s legislation to allow Victorians who are suffering a painful and distressing end to die with dignity.
Rod Mackenzie, Marshall
We need to heed the warning from Pope Francis
Euthanasia, voluntary assisted dying or assisted suicide all mean the same thing. A wise and holy person once said, “We must accompany people towards death, but not provoke death or facilitate assisted suicide”. That person was Pope Francis, in February. He also said, “The dying need palliative care, not euthanasia or assisted suicide”.
Philip Ryan, Burwood East
Review must canvas widely, including overseas
“For all the fear and loathing that was generated when the euthanasia laws were going through parliament, they have proven to be remarkably uncontroversial in practice” (Editorial, 12/3). There is evidently a significant etymological shift: we really are talking about euthanasia now, not assisted dying for the terminally ill.
One would hope that the state government’s review, which will be undertaken after June, will canvas widely – and perhaps look to other countries and their experiences. For example, Dr Madeline Li, an active assisted-dying advocate, who has called for a moratorium on the expansion of Canada’s program beyond the terminally ill. Or authorities in Belgium where Genevieve Lhermitte, a mother who killed her five children, was euthanised at her own request.
Fiona Winn, Moorabbin
The battle to get effective palliative care
The account of the last days of Daryl Goodman – who was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer but died after becoming too ill to finish the final stage of his application for voluntary assisted dying (Sunday Age, 12/3) – filled me with dread. I hope he had a palliative care team who tried to relieve his suffering and excruciating pain. Tragically, this lack of palliative care is a bigger problem than any bureaucratic steps in the voluntary assisted dying process, even as cruel as they were for Mr Goodman.
Geoff Sheahan, Wantirna South
Our sub schemozzle
When hostile forces leap frog our submarines and tanks with missiles, drones etc, we will need more and better hospitals, doctors, nurses and ancillary staff to treat casualties. Defence is a wonderful thing until it collapses, then other priorities need to be met.
The whole submarine saga is a schemozzle – far-off delivery dates, cost blow-outs (already), interim capability, staffing, maintenance. My consolation is that I will not be here to suffer the spin, but I feel sorry for my children and grandchildren who will not be able to escape the constant fearmongering, jingoism and chest thumping. But the defence force budget will survive and thrive.
Andrew Moloney, Frankston
We have so much to lose
We have been following the US into ill-advised wars since 1945 for fear it would not support us in when we are in need. It is worth remembering the US’ isolationism and reluctance to engage in both of last century’s major conflicts. We gain nothing by antagonising China, our major trading partner and the dominant player in our part of the world.
Scott Lowe, Highton
Focus on our needs now
Those multimillion-dollar, ugly,stealthy, underwater killers. I am trying not to be horrified by the sight of them in your photo yesterday. What I am seeing are the thousands of teachers, nurses, rural GPs, midwives, psychologists, carers, aged-care packages etc that we need now – with the list growing daily – to enhance the quality of life we are entitled to. What is the point of being here when our extinction is a missile away?
Margaret Skeen, Point Lonsdale
An error compounded
There has been no public debate about the pros and cons of Australia’s purchase of submarines, whether nuclear or conventionally powered. The argument that submarines are an antiquated method of dealing with a 20th century tactical problem has not been considered.
The unit cost means our country will be putting most of our defensive eggs in one basket. For the same expenditure, we could manufacture attack drones, and intercontinental ballistic missiles in numbers that would be unstoppable by a modern aircraft carrier. These items have the advantage of having a very short manufacturing time to produce replacements, and are easier to produce in the first place.
Our government is compounding an error created by a desperate Scott Morrison.
Mike Francis, Fitzroy
Kooyong’s sticking point
Re “Ryan’s woes revive Frydenberg’s lost dream” (The Age, 13/3). I believe Josh Frydenberg lost Kooyong mainly because of the Liberals’ ambivalence/inaction on climate change. If he recontested the seat as a Liberal, he would meet the same fate – unless his party did an unlikely volte-face.
Judy Trinham, Surrey Hills
When ‘aha’ is not enough
Re “Just up and quitting: Victorian schools short 1000 teachers” (Sunday Age, 12/3). The Victorian government has indeed spent millions on the likes of overseas recruiting programs, one-off incentives, fast-tracking outside professions and expensive recruiting campaigns. Surprise, surprise, the problem still persists. Economics 101 tells us that shortages in a particular commodity will inevitably result in the need to pay more. However, the idea of ongoing pay rises to teachers is rarely considered as the logical resolution of shortages.
Instead we are more likely to hear how teachers work for the love of the children and for that warm glow of another “aha” moment. Unfortunately that moment does not pay the bills, or compensate for long working hours, increasing demands and the regular need to deal with highly stressful situations.
Russell Ogden, Inverloch
Ask the teachers, ‘why?’
I am amazed at the number of times this topic has been raised recently but no resolution has evolved. Surely the departing teachers can help. There has been no mention whether the Education Department has sought any reasons from them as to why they are taking such drastic action. What about an exit interview or survey when they leave?
Paul Jackman, Chirnside Park
Nurses share the pay pain
Your correspondent well may complain about teachers’ wages (Letters, 13/3). I was a division one registered nurse for many years until I changed careers in my fifties. I am now retired. My understanding is that if I were nursing now – say in the surgical ward of a busy hospital – I would be earning about $40 an hour.
Nurses have experienced an extremely difficult time over the last few years working through a pandemic. Even this has not seen much recognition given in pay increases for these dedicated and selfless professionals. Your correspondent suggests a salary of $130,000 to $140,000 for “top-of-the salary-range teachers”. This is beyond a nurse’s wildest dream.
Christine Harris, Mordialloc
Melbourne Fashion Festival has apologised and removed images and social media posts promoting a brand that used the Arabic text for “Allah” on its runway garments (The Age, 13/3). Will the Christian lobby get involved in the discussion about words and symbols causing offence when these are used as fashion statements or jewellery?
All too often a crucifix on a gold chain is proudly displayed on someone’s chest. I remember when a jeweller asked a customer if she wanted the cross “with or without the little man on it”. It seems like that if there is a buck to be made, who cares?
Peter Dodds, Montmorency
City’s growing ugliness
It is very valid for Susan Codrington, a visitor from England, to point out the scourge of graffiti in Melbourne (Letters, 13/3). Along with the overgrown, weed-filled median strips, graffiti makes our city extremely ugly. I suspect that years ago it was thought that it would just go away. It has not, and it continues to grow.
There have been some significant efforts by individuals and small groups to eliminate it but the problem needs a state government initiative supported by councils. When visiting Chicago some years ago, we were told that that city had eliminated graffiti. If so, why not Melbourne too? Perhaps The Age could see the solution to this problem as a cause worth promoting.
Margery Renwick, Brighton
We all need to care more
We live on the Mornington Peninsula, and after a recent visit to the CBD, were gobsmacked at the amount of graffiti and by extension, litter on the streets. Mindless tags and random scrawlings are an eyesore, and show a blatant disrespect towards property, private or public.
Take a drive down any freeway or major highway, take a look at the side of the road, and yes, this is Australia. Already graffiti is appearing along the Frankston Freeway Extension, a brand new road that we, the taxpayer, funded. Not to mention the mounting litter count. It is our property, our problem to fix. We do care, but I am not sure if enough of our fellow Melburnians give it more than a fleeting thought.
Peter Leonard, Mount Eliza
Taking a strong approach
When I was in London a few years ago, I was struck by the almost total absence of graffiti in the inner city. Not so long ago London too had the kind of problem we have and I was informed by a local that the 2012 Olympic Games provided the impetus for action to be taken.
This Londoner said it was the strong, punitive action of the London County Council that did the trick. Here some councils try to deal with the problem by providing removal services but it has little overall effect, and it would seem the problem only gets worse. Perhaps London’s strategy should be given consideration.
Rod Evans, Parkville
Such a cruel approach
A terrific article by Sean Kelly – “Stop the gloats: exports of shame” (Comment, 13/3). However some would disagree. Scott Morrison once proudly displayed a trophy, in the shape of a boat, with the words “We stopped these” on it. Where is that trophy now?
Mary Cole, Richmond
ALP voters may swing
Daniel Andrews needs to think very carefully about his response to a critical letter to parliament from former Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission chief Robert Redlich (The Age, 9/3). Redlich has been respected throughout the community for his honesty and integrity for many years. The issues raised in the letter cannot be brushed away, and ignored.
I have been a Labor voter for some 60years and have only voted once for the Liberals. Unless this matter is treated by the premier with the respect it deserves, and resolved, the next state election could be the occasion of my second vote for a Liberal candidate.
Michel Antoine, North Ballarat
Re your editorial – “Who will be held liable for robo-debt disgrace?‴ (The Age, 13/3). The robo-debt fiasco brought forth bullying, hidden agendas, lies and cheating, but the worst is that many people felt they could not question the government about the scheme being wrong. The debt notices have been blamed for contributing to several suicides.
And it seems no one is accountable, which is morally and ethically wrong. Most of those responsible remain in parliament or work for the government, and each should receive a penalty proportional to their role. It’s a mess but let’s not kick another financial problem under the table.
Anne Kruger, Rye
Try a little fresh air
I live near a primary school. I am getting quite annoyed at parents who sit in their cars, windows up and with the airconditioning running on mild days. Surely winding down a window would be a better way to stay comfortable and make a some small contribution to lessening greenhouse gas emissions.
Robert Yates, Rosanna
AND ANOTHER THING
Has Frydenberg (13/3) concluded that the Rugg has been pulled from under Ryan’s feet?
Ivan Glynn, Vermont
If the Liberals want to regain seats, they need to stop recycling has-been candidates and examine why they lost power in the first place.
Rosslyn Jennings, North Melbourne
When will the former ministers who were responsible for the illegal robo-debt scheme be accountable and resign?
John Glazebrook, Terang
The only voice to parliament that worries me is that of the fossil fuel lobby.
David Tilley, Aspendale
If armaments manufacturers aren’t already making a killing from the war in Ukraine, they will be if we equip ourselves for war with China. Let’s wage peace.
Helen Pereira, Heidelberg Heights
In 2040, will my submarine tracking app on the smartphone still work?
Dennis Severin, Caulfield
It would be wonderful to give the submarines truly Australian names. What about Bunyip, Yowie, and Kurdaitcha?
Ralph Tabor, Pakenham
Well said, Michael McGirr (13/3). I am tired of priests with a pre-Vatican II, authoritarian mindset.
Betty Rudin, Wandin North
A sense of entitlement by drivers is alive and growing on our roads.
Gerry Lonergan, Reservoir
Anson Cameron (Spectrum, 11/3), you speak for many. Thank you for your unerring and always amusing observations. Only the brave.
Elizabeth Douglas, Melbourne
Can we just let the AFL season start before we predict who’s going to win the premiership or the Brownlow Medal?
David Johnston, Healesville
How can one not expect interest rates to rise after years of low lending rates? That’s our capitalist economy.
Terry Boseley, Moonee Ponds
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