Letters to the editor

Hart has no Heart

I read with disgust the hurtful and harmful comments attributed to Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart on the front page of the Sunday Age 20 August, stating that Australia's Catholic church is threatening to fire teachers, nurses and other employees who marry their same-sex partner if gay marriage is legalised. Frankly, this shows just how out of touch the Catholic church is. Little wonder its congregations are dwindling at a rapid rate. As a Catholic and a gay man, I find it difficult to go to Mass when I know of the prejudice, and dare I say hate, that is being threatened by Australia's so called most senior Catholics.

The upcoming postal vote on equal marriage continues to generate passionate responses from the community including fears of  how it will isolate some people.

The upcoming postal vote on equal marriage continues to generate passionate responses from the community including fears of how it will isolate some people.

It's also a bit hypocritical of the Catholic church to think that it has the moral authority to lecture people about same-sex marriage when many of its own priests and brothers failed to follow the church's teachings. The widespread child abuse that has occurred in the Catholic church is one terrible example prominent in people’s memories. Perhaps the church should concentrate on fixing this before getting involved in the marriage equality debate.

It is time those like Cardinal George Pell and Archbishop Hart, who occupy positions of power in the Catholic church resigned and allowed decent priests with excellent pastoral-caring qualities to be in charge. A recent Galaxy Poll of regular church-going people indicates that over 60 per cent of them believe churches should keep out of the issue of marriage equality. There are many good men and women at the grassroots of the Catholic church. My issue is not with them but with the belligerent hierarchy that is the cause of so many issues affecting the church today. The church also says "suffer the little children". Haven't they and we all suffered enough?

Ron Egeberg, Soldiers Hill

Thank you MalcolmTurnbull, for disenfranchising me, a voting citizen of Australia as I am out-of-country when the postal plebiscite occurs. I have no fixed addresses for the duration, no place to ensure I'll receive my ballot.

The plebiscite is bizarre: voting is not compulsory; results therefore will not represent the view of Australians; too many mobile people like me will be disenfranchised, with no way to receive a ballot and electronic voting not allowed; the results are *not* binding on Parliamentarians.To-date, Parliament hasn't indicated the question on the ballot. Will the question be appropriate or unambiguous?

A waste of time, resources, millions of dollars. All this for what? Our Constitution asserts: The Parliament shall…. have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to ... marriage ... " If our Parliamentarians continue to shirk their responsibility, it is they who should be disenfranchised by removing them from office!

Judy Bamberger, O'Connor

Space needed for food

Competition for land use is fierce and thanks to the population growth, land for food production has never been more important. It is why we need to review the planning laws and legislation to protect the right to farm. Early submissions to the Parliamentary Committee looking into the Sustainability and Operational Challenges of Rural and Regional Councils have called for a return of the Planning Flying Squads introduced by the previous Liberal Government, then dumped by Dan. The Squads helped Councils bogged down with planning issues - providing real help on real problems. Awkward and poorly considered environmental overlays need review - as do the clunky, often unworkable, native vegetation laws. None of this is to provide farmers with carte blanche to do whatever they like. Quite the opposite - farmers need the environment in beautiful shape - and want to keep it that way. Put simply, our impact on food producers needs to be kept to a minimum. 

Simon Ramsay, State Member for Western Victoria.