Father's call to approve daughter's wedding

The postal votes have been mailed out across the Coffs Coast with sample polls indicating over 50% of people in the Cowper and Page electorates could vote yes.
The postal votes have been mailed out across the Coffs Coast with sample polls indicating over 50% of people in the Cowper and Page electorates could vote yes.

THOSE of us who thought, like the old song, that "love and marriage go together like a

horse and carriage" have had a lot of confusing information thrown at us recently about

same-sex couples and the way their non-marriages give them all the same rights as married people.

My wife and I were surprised, therefore, to attend the Roads and Maritime Service Centre last week to change our car registration, where we were asked to produce our marriage certificate.

This led me to wonder what other equal rights might not be there, particularly when my

daughter, currently unable to marry her long-time partner, gets to our age.

Will she be asked for a marriage certificate if her not legally recognised wife is in hospital, or worse? Australia Post apparently charges hundreds of dollars for a name change, but not if you can provide a - you guessed it - marriage certificate.

Those who oppose same sex marriage are resting their hopes on the oldies like me.

But if you think we are going to support discrimination against our own kids and grand-kids,

you are about to be very disappointed.

My daughter doesn't need my permission to get married. But she needs yours.

Please join me in voting yes.

Desmond Bellamy


Reader describes what the Same Sex Marriage Bill will mean in next of kin circumstances.
Reader describes what the Same Sex Marriage Bill will mean in next of kin circumstances. dolgachov

Why the yes vote is important to next of kin

I KNOW we are all running a little thin on the SSM Debate and the way in which our government is spending our tax payer dollars.

As a gay man I myself am tired of seeing all the advertising and debates based on the right to be able to marry or not to be able to marry.

But in all the advertising and guff I have been subjected to I have seen very little based on the actual reasons behind the want to marry as a SSM.

As a gay male in a relationship of 28 years I do not need a piece of paper or to be blessed in the name of god to show my love and commitment to my life partner.

We have been through many tough times and many good times but we have always worked together to ensure this relationship lasts and stay committed.

The high divorce rates we already have for the current legal system of marriage shows that neither paper, law or god can keep a marriage, partnership or relationship together.

I will be voting yes to the postal ballot but not for marriage but for the opportunity to have same rights as married couples.

As it is if either my partner or I are hospitalised and in a situation of grave health then we have to obtain permission from the next of kin to be able to be in the room or even get information. We are not in our current relationship truly in the eyes of the law classed as next of kin.

We have to fight every step of the way to be able to be by our loved ones side to love and hold them in these dark times. But however the government seems too deem our relationship as a true relationship based on being defacto.

This means everything we own and everything we earn is taken into consideration as a couple when Centrelink and the ATO set my partners pension.

They have one law for how they can profit or save money the most from people in same sex marriages but they deny us the right to be a next of kin.

No matter what the outcome of this postal vote we will always be together and will fight to ensure we get the same rights.

Mark Smith

Reader questions how the vote was imposed on Australia?
Reader questions how the vote was imposed on Australia? Jae C. Hong

Is it a vote against the nation's wishes?

FIRST of all, I am not a mechanic, but for the purpose of this letter let's just pretend that I am. I own my own workshop, and I love to work on old VW motorcars.

Now imagine a driver coming into my business, he owns a nice old Austin motor car.

He asks me to perform the annual service on his car. I say to him "I don't work on Austin motor cars, because I don't usually do that kind of service."

Now think this through should we hold a referendum to decide whether I should be forced to service that particular car (against my will) and think again, would you vote against my rights, (by voting yes), in such a referendum, or would you vote no and allow me the right to run my own business the way I see fit?

Neville Williams


Woolgoolga has seen many small business closures in recent times.
Woolgoolga has seen many small business closures in recent times. Trevor Veale

Seniors are running low on shopping options

AS Barbara Gilkes says (Your Say, September 13) closure of the Woolgoolga IGA is sad and extremely concerning. 

Not only is the food purchasing choice reduced to Woolies alone, but because of its site a few kilometres out of town, coupled with the almost total lack of public transport, it is something of a mystery as to how seniors, at the Retirement Village or in homes around town, without car or licence are to get groceries etc at distant Woolies and go to the chemist, doctor, PO, bank, hairdresser or indeed conduct any other business in the CBD.  

It will clearly take two days to complete the shopping by gopher or phoning a friend.   

It is no less of a mystery as to how the businesses in the CBD are supposed to survive, let alone flourish. 

Woolgoolga is largely a tourist town so I am willing to bet that any tourist in the caravan park who needs groceries, will simply hop in the car, go into Coffs for the day and do all their shopping at Park Beach Plaza. 

Gwyn Austen

A community session discussing the growth of the blueberry industry will be held in Coffs Harbour next month.
A community session discussing the growth of the blueberry industry will be held in Coffs Harbour next month. Contributed

Blueberry expansion information night

IN response to growing concerns about the proliferation of blueberry crops and lack of monitoring and regulations for intensive horticulture, The Bellingen Environment Centre is inviting residents, industry representatives and groups from across the region to attend a public awareness and solutions focused meeting at the Cavanbah Centre, 191 Harbour Drive, Coffs Harbour 2450, on October 5 at 6.30pm.

We look forward to your input on the night and ask that you RSVP for catering purposes.

Inquiries please call Wendy Robson 0434 607 830.

Angela Phillips-Gow

The Nauru facility.
The Nauru facility. AAP

It's saving more than money

IT IS understandable that many of your readers like Mr Piper of Bellingen are concerned to protect their hard earned income and savings.

They may therefore question government spending on refugees.

In particular they are often opposed to refugees on Nauru and Manus Island being settled in Australia. Perhaps if they look at the statistics on the costs of detention they may be surprised. It costs over $500,000 per year to keep one asylum seeker in offshore detention. 

By contrast it costs $40,000 per year to resettle and support them in here in Australia.

So the taxpayer is paying 12 times more each year to keep refugees off the Australian mainland and on Nauru and Manus Islands where they are detained indefinitely in appalling conditions.

We cannot as a country ignore international human rights laws. These refugees have a right to seek asylum and we are obliged to resettle them somewhere.

Surveys demonstrate once refugees have settled here they contribute greatly to Australian communities. Let's not forget that many of them are highly skilled professional people who have fled war-torn countries where their lives were in danger.

The legitimacy of their claims to asylum is often questioned. 

If they were brought to Australia they would only be allowed to stay if, at the end of a statutory assessment process, they are found to have a legitimate claim to our protection.

If the greatest concern is the cost of our government's present policy they should be pressing for the closure of hugely expensive offshore detention centres and supporting the resettlement of genuine refugees in Australia where they can rebuild their lives and contribute to society.

Marlene Griffin 

Topics:  letters to the editor opinion reader opinion

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