Letters to the editor

September 15, 2017

Amazing evening

I would just like to thank the wonderful staff and pupils at Benalla P-12 College, along with members of Benalla Rural City and Benalla Health, for their time and effort in making the Rural Women’s Girls Night Out so much fun last week.

More than 20 women were pampered with hand, head and shoulder massages, new hairstyles, newly polished nails, plus classes in pilates and rolling, and we each came away with a goodie bag full of health and wellbeing tips and treats, as well as feasting on an array of mocktails and munchies during the evening.

What a fabulous idea this was, and this event tied in with Women’s Health Week — what better way to spend a cold evening than networking and chatting with a group of ladies from outside the Benalla township.

Well done to all concerned, especially the students who stood outside in the freezing cold to welcome everyone in.

I hope there will be a similar one next year.

— Anne-Marie Greenway, Goorambat

Intriguing figures

Last week’s Ensign featured an article on the likely impact of a rise in interest rates and housing.

A comparison of the 2011 census data with the 2016 census data reveals some interesting housing and population statistics.

Benalla’s (township) population has declined by 0.1 per cent to 10323.

The median house price is $240000, an increase of one per cent.

The number of 15 to 24-year-olds has declined by 7.6 per cent, whereas the number of 65+ year olds has increased by 21.2 per cent.

Mansfield (township) tells a different story.

Mansfield’s population rose by 10 per cent to 4794.

Its median house price rose by 11 per cent to $357000.

The number of 15 to 24-year-olds declined by 1.6 per cent, whereas its number of 65+year olds grew by 20.5 per cent.

Yarrawonga is another story.

Yarrawonga’s population grew by 12.3 per cent to 7925.

Its median house price rose by 19% to $316500.

The number of 15 to 24-year-olds increased by 8.9 per cent and its 65+ age group increased to 20.5 per cent.

Why are three townships of similar size in neighbouring locations performing so differently?

— Neville Webster

Plebiscite might become divisive

On the ABC this evening, a retired politician (Pat MacNamara) said that it is right that the Australian public should be consulted on major political decisions.

And he mentioned the conscription plebiscite, which happened during World War I.

I would like to point out a few inconsistencies.

During that war Doc Mannix, an Irish Catholic priest, led the anti-conscription campaign.

He obviously had a strong social conscience and full credit to him.

Conscription for military service in a democracy is the type of thing our soldiers fight to defeat.

However, I’d also point out that in 1916, an uprising in Dublin was brutally suppressed by the British Army.

In the 1960s Bob Menzies, who led the Liberal Party/DLP coalition, introduced conscription for our 18-year-old kids to fight National Liberation Front communists in Vietnam.

There was no plebiscite or even a vote in parliament and no call for volunteers.

It was simply ‘‘a captain’s call’’.

That involvement cost 521 Australian soldiers’ lives and 3000 injured.

In France during the 1890s, the Dreyfus case split the country down the middle into two factions — the army and the Catholic church, the other was the artists and communards — it was about anti-semitism.

What came out of it were much stronger laws about separation of church and state.

I don’t think our same sex marriage debate would go down well in France.

There is also a religious component in the same sex marriage debate, which might make it hang around for a long time and it might become very divisive.

— Alan Cotterell, Benalla

Power of God’s love is strong

Is Australia really prepared for what could occur if the Marriage Act was changed?

There is a lot of media talk at the moment about marriage equality and people who love each other being treated equal.

They want Australia to change the law book and allow them to marry because they love each other.

Our laws are our boundaries we know what we can do and what we can’t.

If we change the law book for one group we leave ourselves open to change the law for another group who want equality.

But are we prepared to change the laws for those who come from overseas countries where they are able to have many wives and produce many children — do we want this for Australia?

Jesus reminds us in John 15:12 ‘‘to love one another as I have loved you’’. It doesn’t mean we have to agree with the choices people make or the way they live their lives, but we can still love them and treat them with respect.

Sometimes as parents we say no to our children.

We do this because we love them.

The power of God’s love is so strong, it can bring change to people’s lives.

— Joanne Henderson, Benalla

Council encouraging dumping?

No tip vouchers for residents this year makes it more expensive to dispose of hard waste.

This will only encourage illegal dumping, which then attracts additional dumping as a collective.

Less service again for Benalla residents and a rate increase on top of that. Value for money spent on rates.

— Lisa Grover

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