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Bill offers some dignity

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November 18, 2017

(The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill) if introduced, will allow an extra dimension for consideration by and on behalf of those who are dying.

It is good to hear Jaclyn Symes and Steph Ryan voicing their concerns, but where are the voices of the olds? What are their opinions?

For those of us who are in at least our eighth decade, it is an issue of great concern.

One hears the specious argument that ‘‘because we did not ask to be here in this world we have no right to determine when we leave it’’.

Leaving any religious implications aside, that argument assumes that it is the duty of we olds to hang in there, possibly despite suffering and misery, until our inevitable final gasp.

But what if that final gasp is preceded by constant dreadful pain, and the only acceptable alternative is stupefying drug doses (palliation) which leave a still-living body unconscious and barely functioning, with no way back except into that uncontrollable pain?

This bill is not a licence to kill. It’s a licence to allow a diagnosed terminal sufferer (as diagnosed by doctors) an inevitable and dignified death when the alternative is prolonged suffering for the patient and the loved ones.

— Lee Stephenson, Kerrisdale

Tank water rebate

I just want to put a suggestion forward for concession holders who buy tank water.

They’re entitled to three fills per financial year. All they need to do is, when they get a delivery, get a receipt from the driver, which they can fill out with the receipt number on the form, send it off to the DHS in Melbourne with all their details, and then get a rebate with money into their bank account.

I don’t think many people have heard about this — it’s an entitlement to people on the land, only on tank water.

I was on it before I retired, and I haven’t had a problem with it.

My last load cost me $300, and I’ll be filling out the forms in the next few days.

— Dennis Govey, Tallarook

McEwen overlooked

I write in response to Communications Minister Mitch Fifield’s letter to the editor in your November 8, 2017 edition, regarding ‘‘falsehoods’’ in my assessment of this government’s dismal record on mobile black spots.

We thank Mr Fifield for pointing out the error in our tower numbers; upon seeing this, we checked back through the records to see that it was 28, not 27 towers built in Barnaby Joyce’s seat of New England during Round 1 of the program — a round the minister seems to have forgotten.

So, with the additional five towers from Round 2 the minister helpfully pointed out in his letter, there are actually 33 towers for New England and crickets here in McEwen.

It’s worth noting that in Mr Fifield’s response, he talked an awful lot about New England, with not one word about our needs.

The minister is also well aware that under Labor’s policy, all NBN fixed wireless towers were built with mobile phone capability, making smart use of this infrastructure and saving the taxpayer hundreds of millions.

All Mr Fifield’s letter served to do was strengthen our argument that the Turnbull Government’s Mobile Black Spots Program is nothing more than blatant pork barrelling for government-held seats.

Perhaps if the minister spent a little more time focusing on the communications needs of communities like ours and a little less time on shady political cover-ups for his colleagues, we would all be better served.

— Rob Mitchell,

Member for McEwen

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