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Highlands share their thoughts on topics that are close to their hearts. Photo: file
Highlands share their thoughts on topics that are close to their hearts. Photo: file

Australia has ‘blood-soaked hands’

‘To encourage the others’ is one of the most cynical expressions in the English language.

British Admiral John Byng was executed in 1757 because he did not kill a sufficient number of Frenchmen. Voltaire in Candide gave the words their notoriety: ‘in this country it is found good, from time to time, to kill one Admiral to encourage the others’. 

Now it is Australian government policy ‘to encourage the others’.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has demanded that Australia restore food, water and health services to 400 asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

The UN has pointed to Australia’s responsibilities under international human rights law and the 1951 Refugee Convention to protect the men from harm and ensure they had access to shelter, water, food and sanitation.

The agency has described Australia's offshore processing centres as unsustainable, inhumane and contrary to its human rights obligations.

The UN has urged the Australian Government to transfer the men to mainland Australia where their claims can be processed.

At the same time, new New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern offers to accept 150 refugees from Papua New Guinea.

But Australia has rejected that offer, claiming that it would ‘encourage the others’. 

Young and free? Boundless plains to share? For those who've come across the seas? Fair?

No way. Australia has washed its hands of these fellow humans and we will need to keep washing and scrubbing those blood-soaked hands for a long time to come.

Shame!

Pamela Bennett

Bowral

‘We are the losers’

More than 300 train services a week will be added to rail lines between western parts of Sydney and the CBD this month when the new timetable is rolled out.

Asked whether the changes would come at the expense of services on other lines, Sydney Trains chief executive Howard Collins said: "[With] every timetable change there might be a few losers”.

Well once again we are the losers with many rail commuters now having to spend four and a half hours a day commuting to work.

The popular 6:19 pm service from Campbelltown to Goulburn is cancelled adding half an hour travel time and our local member Jai Rowell blames the federal Government...rubbish!

The problem is that our spare train has gone to the Hunter leaving us with the bare minimum of old and out dated trains and there are no overnight storage facilities for the train at Goulburn.

The first of 24 new suburban trains for Sydney's network will arrive late next year, which the government has estimated will cost $1 billion, do we get any...no because we are losers, just ask Sydney Trains chief executive Howard Collins!

The NSW transport minister Mr Constance said everyone is going to win and this new timetable is going to be a revolution in terms of the way in which people will be able to enjoy the benefits of train travel across the network" ...I don’t think so!

Kim Clayton

Tahmoor