Letters to the editor and opinion

One big necklace: One of the sculptures from Sculpture in the Paddock named 'A giant's necklace' swings in the breeze at Cooma Cottage. Photo: Camilla Duffy

One big necklace: One of the sculptures from Sculpture in the Paddock named 'A giant's necklace' swings in the breeze at Cooma Cottage. Photo: Camilla Duffy

WEBS, WEEDS  AND WISDOM 

with ANN HOLMES

How do you help?

This month is National Heart Appeal collection time and I am doing my noble duty of collecting for it. I say ‘noble’ somewhat ‘tongue-in-cheek’- because it is really no trouble to do. I also collect for the Salvation Army. Does this make me a good and noble person? – the answer is ‘no’ because it is no sacrifice for me and actually makes me feel good. Yass is a remarkable town for ‘helping’ others. All my friends do their bit for some needy person, institute or charity and every week there are many Yass volunteers running amazing raffles and street stalls, working with the frail, sick and disabled. And many of these helpers contribute to more than one very worthy cause. Then there are the service clubs – Rotary, Lions and Apex – and many of the churches also support their own charities here and elsewhere. But more help wouldn’t go astray.

I have spoken to a couple of people who say they will not help charities because the government should do this – but this answer is of no help to those in need and their families. Yass must stand by its needy. I am imploring those of you who have a little (or a lot) of time on your hands to join this large band of Yass volunteers as more help than ever is required in this tight economic climate. Some places you could start with are: The Op Shops, Home Living support (driving and helping the frail and disabled), Can Assist (Cancer help), The Aged Care Units (Warmington Lodge and Horton House), Yass Hospital and I am sure that there are plenty of others. It would be a great idea to have a list of organisations looking for volunteers in Yass - I will contact the Council and ask if there is such a list.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Praise for Yass Police

I wish to publicly acknowledge the good work of Yass Police investigating the recent break-in at Mt Carmel School. The quick turn-around from the initial report to the return of the stolen items was welcomed by all concerned. This was supported with accurate reporting by the Yass Tribune which kept everyone up-to-date and informed. We live in a very safe community supported by our local Police and newspaper. Thank you from everyone at Mt Carmel.

Gaye McManus

Options for Civil Unions

As the protracted and increasingly heated debate over same sex marriage continues, perhaps it is time to look at the option of civil unions. Could not the Commonwealth Parliament legislate to change the Marriage Act to the Civil Unions Act, with concurrent changes to other pieces of legislation which refer to the Marriage Act?

Ministers of religion and others, such as celebrants and ships' captains, would still be empowered to act in a civil capacity to formalise a union between two people (as indeed they do currently) but they could not be compelled to officiate at a union involving couples of the same sex if they did not wish to do so. Marriage would cease to be a state sanctioned ceremony but retain its religious significance. The civil union would become the state sanctioned ceremony.

A couple could still be married by a minister of religion (as happens now) after which they would complete the appropriate paperwork associated with the proposed Civil Unions Act (as they do now for the Marriage Act). Alternatively, a couple could opt for a purely civil ceremony with no religious associations. In this way, no person involved in the formalisation of a relationship, including ministers of religion and others empowered by the state, would be compelled to act against their conscience, and the couple would be free to choose the form of ceremony they felt most appropriate to celebrate their union. If Parliament decides to hold a plebiscite, perhaps civil unions could be included among the alternatives presented.

James Harker-Mortlock

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