Bega district letters to the editor, September 5

Soul searching

Regarding the upcoming vote on same sex marriage, firstly, at the risk of my parents rolling over in their graves I must congratulate the government on going ahead with the public vote.

Reason being that for the first time in my life and no doubt many others, I have had to give serious and honest thoughts to my feelings and beliefs on the topic.

I admit that previously the limit of my concern was "it’s none of my business as long as they keep it private".

Such selfish arrogance on my part is not something I am proud of.

Ultimately such soul searching, I believe, will provide more public acceptance towards gay people than otherwise would have occurred had  the government simply pushed it through.

By bringing it to the people to decide, it highlights their plight and the persecution society has being subjecting them too for centuries. Now I find myself questioning many preconceived beliefs and I find that such marriages do not offend me nor my religious beliefs. In fact I find the views of many "straight" people that marriage is just a piece of paper far more offensive.

I am married and my wife is my best friend. We survive our differences partly due to the sense of commitment that marriage provides, thus we tend to try harder to "get over it" rather than simply "walk away".

Why should gay people not have the same feeling of commitment that marriage brings to a relationship?

With the vote rapidly approaching, the gay community would be better off promoting their love and commitment to each other and thereby demonstrating they are not evil or abhorrent people as some would have us believe.

To continue down the line as some more radical gays have come out and said and mount a high court challenge should the vote go against them is most offensive and will turn many voters against them. I personally would be outraged at such a challenge.

Win or lose the vote the gay community must embrace this opportunity to open the eyes of the general public thereby slowly but surely gaining greater public acceptance of their needs to be simply another Aussie couple. Surely this in itself is a huge step forward to achieving equality. As I see it they have the opportunity to achieve a win win.

Peter Wilson, Bemboka

Ignored by Centrelink

Hilary and I had changed financial circumstances in April. In spite of many attempts, and more recently almost daily visits to the Bega Centrelink office, nothing changed.

Then I was told that no-one had assessed our affairs since April, not even to look at them. We were disgusted by their callousness and inefficiency. So much for privatisation.  

So we requested help through our local member, Mike Kelly, and on the same day, within hours, we were called by Centrelink and the whole matter has been resolved!

Thank God for a democracy and a caring member of Parliament. Thanks, Mike!

John and Hilary James, Brogo

Crown management

The NSW Government wants to hear from Crown Land managers, tenure holders and the wider community on the draft Crown Land Management Regulation 2017.

The draft regulations follow the Crown Land Management Act, passed last year, which marked the start of reforms to ensure the Crown Estate continues to meet the needs of the community.

The draft regulations protect Crown Land for now and the future, and gives land managers clear guidelines for managing that land. Comment on the draft regulations is open until Sunday, September 24.

For more information visit www.crownland.nsw.gov.au or phone the Department of Industry on 1300 886 235.

Paul Toole, Minister for Lands and Forestry

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