Com­mu­nity good will

Seymour Telegraph - - NEWS - — Dave Palmer, Seymour — Alan Ed­wards, Broad­ford — Peter Walsh, Leader of the Na­tion­als and Shadow Min­is­ter for Re­gional Vic­to­ria

In 2011, I had an idea to con­duct a com­mu­nity Christ­mas tea for those who live alone, who are iso­lated or are house­bound in Nagam­bie and district.

I ap­proached the four church groups in Nagam­bie and the Hub Com­mu­nity House and the Lake­side Larks choir and the idea spread across the town and showed Christ­mas good will to those who were alone at Christ­mas.

In 2017 — the sev­enth year since the idea took heart — the com­bined churches and com­mu­nity groups are still spread­ing their Christ­mas spirit to those who may not have fam­ily near them this Christ­mas time.

The Golf Club looked fes­tive with its Christ­mas ta­ble dec­o­ra­tions and there was plenty of Christ­mas cheer on Thurs­day, De­cem­ber 14.

More than 80 at­tended the Christ­mas Com­mu­nity din­ner and en­joyed the meal pre­pared by vol­un­teers and the ev­er­green Christ­mas Carols led by Rev­erend Alan Lock­wood and Sally Fy­field on their gui­tars and Fr Gary Ather­ton with on vo­cals.

Au str ali aTn­wSeeodl es is m Rep dr Go ramp es ptu choir s joined the mu­si­cians and en­cour­aged the guests to sin­ga­long. St Johns par­ish pri­est Fa­ther Gary Ather­ton and his wife Karen and Hamish the Scot­tish pup­pet en­ter­tained guests with a Christ­mas play.

The visit by Santa was pop­u­lar and all the guests who at­tended said that they had a great time and looked for­ward to com­ing again next year. They thanked the or­gan­is­ers of the

Ausp­traali­ran ty Ke­natPnum d pkitnhe lo­cal busi­nesses and gen­er­ous donors who gave food, Santa gift packs, and prizes for the raf­fle.

I thanked ev­ery­one who made the night a suc­cess; those from the four churches, Nagam­bie Lakes Com­munAuistt yr ali anHSeoe du less seR,GN rap aegs am­bie Lions Club, ed Mar­lene Brew, Cham­pi­ons IGA su­per­mar­ket, Nagam­bie Golf Club, Nagam­bie Health­care vol­un­teers, and those who shared Christ­mas good­will with Aus­tralian those Cos who Let­tuce live 2 Pack alone or are iso­lated in our com­mu­nity. — Diane Grant, Nagam­bie

Fu­neral safety

Sadly I at­tended a friend’s fu­neral last week and shared with three oth­ers the duty of pall bearer.

Upon reach­ing the grave site with the other pall bear­ers we had to stretch an ex­tremely un­safe dis­tance, hover­ing over the grave to place the cof­fin above its fi­nal rest­ing place. Speak­ing to the fu­neral direc­tor af­ter­wards I was ap­palled to learn that this is com­pletely out of his con­trol and that he had raised con­cerns about this is­sue on pre­vi­ous oc­ca­sions with the rel­e­vant au­thor­ity only to be ig­nored and even it seems an­tag­o­nised. There is no easy way to raise this; but some­thing has to be done be­fore there is a ter­ri­ble in­ci­dent.

Who­ever is in charge of dig­ging the graves at the ceme­tery, it does not have to be 3 m wide.

Thank­fully we were able to send our friend off with­out in­ci­dent but if this un­safe prac­tice con­tin­ues it is only a mat­ter of time be­fore a disas­ter oc­curs.

The fact that the rel­e­vant au­thor­ity has been made aware of this and con­tin­ues the un­safe prac­tice is ut­terly de­spi­ca­ble and dis­re­spect­ful and they should hang their heads in shame.

I'm un­aware of any cri­te­ria re­gard­ing the size of the hole or any re­quire­ments per­tain­ing to such things but I have at­tended many funer­als in my life and never have I seen any­thing like what we were faced with on Tues­day. Every­body there that I spoke with com­mented on it af­ter­wards.

Funer­als are never easy but ev­ery ef­fort by the peo­ple in charge should be made to make them safe and prac­ti­cal rather than use them to wage some sort of vengeance war that has ab­so­lutely noth­ing to do with the de­ceased or their mourn­ers.

Make them ac­count­able

I am amazed by the fact that the Royal Com­mis­sion into In­sti­tu­tional Re­sponses to Child Abuse ac­tu­ally suc­ceeded. I am also one of prob­a­bly many who had a story to tell, but whose deep dis­trust of the links be­tween reli­gious or­gan­i­sa­tions and au­thor­ity, meant there was no way I was go­ing to risk hav­ing them ‘work me over’ again.

I have been grat­i­fied to read Tom Ke­neally’s opin­ion piece on the im­pact of the com­mis­sion at a per­sonal level, and it prompts me to speak out about an is­sue barely men­tioned in the pro­ceed­ings, if at all.

I am re­fer­ring to the ques­tion of psy­cho­log­i­cal abuse as­so­ci­ated with try­ing to in­doc­tri­nate vul­ner­a­ble but un­will­ing chil­dren in their charge, with the tenets of what­ever faith was in­volved. In my own case this in­volved con­stant ver­bal abuse, sleep de­pri­va­tion, re­moval of privileges, and even a sav­age flog­ging, all in the per­pet­ual and un­re­lent­ing ef­fort to make me be­lieve.

I was lucky in that their ef­forts only made me more de­ter­mined to re­sist. The whole ex­pe­ri­ence did mess with my mind how­ever, un­til I was 25; be­cause I was un­able to equate that ex­pe­ri­ence with the ex­is­tence in my life of a few won­der­ful, caring, and sin­cere reli­gious be­liev­ers.

Un­til I un­der­stood that I could be a good per­son with­out any reli­gious be­lief, the reli­gious ef­forts to make me hate my­self, and think that there was some­thing wrong with me, did have an ef­fect.

Reli­gious lead­ers can no longer ‘sell’ the ‘few bad ap­ples’ ex­cuse. The preva­lence and the scale of the prob­lem of abuse across vir­tu­ally all re­li­gions is clear and con­clu­sive. Ac­tion must be taken to re­move reli­gious or­gan­i­sa­tions from pro­vid­ing so­cial ser­vices to the needy and/or vul­ner­a­ble, We need the open­ness and con­trol of hav­ing ac­tual gov­ern­ment ac­count­abil­ity.

Fair go for all

Coun­try Vic­to­ri­ans don’t need a web­site to tell us re­gional and ru­ral roads have been se­ri­ously ne­glected by the An­drews Gov­ern­ment.

La­bor re­cently an­nounced a bold plan for re­gional roads, but in­stead of spend­ing money fix­ing coun­try roads, La­bor has spent money build­ing a web­site and named it ‘coun­try roads’.

The only bold part of La­bor’s plan is its ab­so­lute de­ter­mi­na­tion to ig­nore the needs of our coun­try com­mu­ni­ties. A web­site won’t fill a pot­hole. And it doesn’t fix dan­ger­ous road edges.

Daniel An­drews is pre­pared to spend more than $1.3 bil­lion not build­ing a road in Mel­bourne, but he won’t in­vest in fix­ing our coun­try roads.

Daniel An­drews is a Premier for Mel­bourne, not for all Vic­to­ri­ans.

At the next elec­tion, coun­try Vic­to­ri­ans will have a choice. More of La­bor’s ne­glect or a Lib­eral Na­tional gov­ern­ment that will bring spend­ing back to coun­try Vic­to­ria.

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