O’Brien family stands by Teo
I refer to an article published in last week’s paper as “Charlie’s sheen” by Martin McKenzie-Murray (April 22-28). The article misrepresented my late father, Chris O’Brien. My dad is not here to defend himself or reflect on the entire course of his disease and how it played out to his death. That’s one reason why these statements are so distasteful. But perhaps I can speak for him. My father was not in denial about whether the glioblastoma multiforme, a type of brain tumour that has one of the worst survival rates among all human cancers, would eventually kill him. But while he was alive, he had a choice: continue treatment that could be described as conservative and preserve quality of life, or pursue more aggressive treatment that would sacrifice quality of life in exchange for more time. My dad chose the latter. Neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo operated on my father’s brain four times. Despite being originally given six to 12 months to live, Dad survived two-and-a-half precious years. While I do not represent other patients or families, I can say that my dad and our family got exactly what we were promised, if not more.
– Juliette O’Brien, Hunters Hill, NSW
This is about children, not politics
Positioning the Safe Schools campaign as a political war is a right-wing conservative strategy (Mike Seccombe, “Inside the war on Safe Schools”, April 22-28). Of course for Lyle Shelton and the Australian Christian Lobby, they have not, at least since the Roman Empire, been on the receiving end of bigotry or bullying, and this, together with same-sex marriage, simply does not suit their ideology. It is a direct threat to the free rein they have had to control the agenda through their socially engineered religion and the deep state power of the church. Theirs is a power so deep in fact that it has allowed and, one could believe, exonerated Christian brothers and Catholic priests, and those shielded behind a wall of religious piety, to perpetrate the vilest of crimes against the most innocent for hundreds of years. But the Safe Schools program is not a political one, it was designed to define and protect young people – and their rights as individuals – who are at risk from the very bigotry and racism perpetuated by organisations such as the Australian Christian Lobby and other “at conflict” social organisations that demonise people who are different from them. This self-righteousness and extreme sense of entitlement holds power over the political elite and influences decision-makers, as with the Liberal–National NSW state government, to act contrary to the general wellbeing of the people, in this case children.
– Ian Ossher, Dover Heights, NSW
Kennett asset selloff not forgotten
Reading “Out of the blue” (Jill Stark, April 22-28) brought back extremely unpleasant memories of the effects on Victorians brought about by Jeff Kennett and his Victorian government in the 1990s. He oversaw the selling of public utilities owned and operated by the people of Victoria to overseas multinationals whose sole objectives were to make profits for the owners. The State Electricity Commission (SEC), the Gas and Fuel Corporation, Victorian Railways, Metropolitan Tramways and public hospitals were all sold. Health services were gutted, councils were amalgamated, more than 300 schools were closed and the land sold to private developers while thousands of teachers, auxiliary staff and cleaners were made redundant. Kennett knew the cost of everything and the value of nothing. His actions to further his privatisation agenda caused widespread depression and anxiety throughout all communities. The consequences can still be felt today. It doesn’t surprise me that he set up beyondblue, however I shall not forgive his actions until he apologises and leads a campaign to return to the public those assets that were stolen and sold off.
– Rod Oaten, North Carlton, Vic
Still in the fight
Wendy Bacon’s “State of the radical” (April 22-28) genuinely brought me to tears. As an activist in my early 20s, the article spoke volumes to the melancholic present of our democratic system, where for many the disenchantment and detachment from political expression normalises the injustices once loudly rebuked. I have personally felt intense powerlessness and exhaustion in acknowledging the conditions and liberties lost to fear-inducing rhetoric and a victim-blaming culture. As the experiment of neoliberalism has left communities divided and despondent, a spectre of hopelessness haunts the visions of a future yet to pass; but through even this, we still find a committed and determined group of global citizens ready to stand up, lock on and speak out. This chink in the armour of manufactured inhumanity is the hope that may guide our society to true equity and accountability. Take heart.
– Thomas Levick, Hamilton, NSW
Wordplay adds to the mix
I like a dash of wit with my wisdom and thus do not agree with Helen Kaminski’s po-faced letter (“Not amused”, April 22-28) reprimanding the headline writers for allegedly “trivialising” serious articles through clever headline wordplays. Thunderous applause from me. And keep up the good work.
– Anne Ackroyd, Melba, ACT
Headlines ahead in poll
Re Helen Kaminski’s letter of April 22-28. I am about to turn 78 and those play-on-words headlines make my day. To the editors, I say, “Don’t you dare change your clever headlines”, and to Helen Kaminski, I say, “Get a grip, love.”
– Patricia Smith, Burleigh Waters, Qld
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Apr 29, 2017. Subscribe here.