LETTERS 30.6.18

A lightweight
IS Fremantle’s political interest best served by the likes of Labor MP Josh Wilson?
At best he could be ranked as a lightweight populist.
If you look at his track record as deputy mayor of the Fremantle council he presided over one of the most dramatic declines in the city’s economy.
A total loss of business confidence with businesses large and small packing up and moving out.
A big rise in unemployment and a corresponding big rise in crime.
But yet as a politician he pontificates in areas of fishing and sheep farmers when the most serious issues in Fremantle are right at his feet.
Mr Wilson’s reported comments on Roe 8 – “silly highway and highway to nowhere” are immature.
Since when was Fremantle a nowhere?
Try and tell the 75,000 motorists who use the Roe Highway daily what they think of his “silly” band-aid fixes as they negotiate the dangerous, overtaxed roads on their way to the coast.
John Douglas
George Street, Alfred Cove

It’s time to shut down the zoos
THE death of Puan the orang-utan at Perth Zoo is a sad day, that marks the end of an even sadder life.
Puan had been confined in zoos for most of her life, and was moved from Malaysia to Perth when she was only twelve years old.
Zoos deny animals everything that makes their lives worth living.
Animals born in captivity still have the innate desire to move about and roam freely, to seek out mates and friends, and to engage in behaviours that aren’t possible in a zoo.
Genetic imperatives don’t somehow disappear just because an animal isn’t where he or she is supposed to be.
Zoo breeding programmes also give the public a false sense that something meaningful is happening to save animals, when in reality they serve no conservation purpose, because animals born in zoos are rarely returned to their natural habitats.
In fact, Puan gave birth to 11 babies during her captivity, most of whom are confined in zoos around the world.
Today’s incredible technology, virtual field trips, IMAX movies, and wildlife documentaries are a far better way to teach children about the wonders of the animal kingdom than visiting depressed animals held in captivity.
We urge everyone who genuinely cares about orang-utans and all the other animals serving life sentences in zoos to recognise these institutions for what they are – prisons with living exhibits. Let’s refuse to patronise them, and instead donate to campaigns that actually protect animals in their native habitats.
Desmond Bellamy
PETA, Byron Bay

Who is the shadowy minister?
I AM expressing my thanks to Marion O’Leary for drawing attention to Australia’s responsibility for the care of our offshore detainees in her Herald letter, “We did this!”, published last week.
I want to draw attention to the invisibility of the Opposition’s shadow minister for immigration and border protection.
Recently the ABC’s Tom Ballard rang a few people in the public eye asking if they knew the name of the Labor minister. No one knew.
Do you editor? Do any of your readers?
It is surely a big mistake that the Opposition does not have a minister with this portfolio who would badger the government in question time, harass the media into seeking explantations and asking countless questions about the inhumane treatment that is dealt out on Manus and Nauru.
What is the deal that the government has with Taiwan that it can send surgery cases there and not deal with them in Australia?
We need much more muscle in the position to achieve resolutions for these endangered people.
I will leave readers to Google the answer – Who is he?
Bev Hollyock
Blinco Street, Fremantle

ANDREW ROSS’s Thinking Allowed, “Protesters sunk?”, in last week’s Herald is certainly biased and one-sided.
What he does not mention is that the Melville councillors and the mayor who endorsed the Wave Park project could be “sunk “at the next election in 2019.
He fails to ask why council CEO Shane Silcox is retiring at this critical stage in the development of the Wave Park?
Also that council are being investigated by the local government department [over their governance].
How can Mr Ross say that the majority of the community are behind the Wave Park project?
At the 2017 council election senior councillors supporting the Wave Park were voted out; leaving the mayor at a council meeting to use his casting vote to negate an elector’s motion to defer all expenditure relating to this project at Tompkins Park until the government inquiry is finalised.
Perhaps he should also remember that in 2015 the mayor was re-elected with 35 per cent of the vote.
Mr Ross please don’t underestimate “people power” to fight for what they consider is right.
Karl Kelers
Clydesdale St, Alfred Cove
Ed note: Last week’s Thinking Allowed incorrectly called Mr Ross “David” – the second time we’ve done that. Sorry, Andrew.

It is our responsibility
THANK you Marion O’Leary for your letter, “We did this!”, in last week’s Herald.
I agree with all you say.
After years in our prison-like offshore camps, the inmates are increasingly desperate and depressed, but appropriate mental health care is not available.
There will be more suicides.
In April, 12-year-old Ali on Nauru made a public plea for help: “I feel helpless because there is no-one to help us.
There is no-one to see how we are suffering. My mother is very sick and my brother is totally depressed.”
Ali is the brother of the man, 26, who committed suicide in his tent this month.
My heart goes out to Ali and his mum.
Helpless indeed.
Marion you had one error. Your figure of 29 children comes from the federal department of immigration’s monthly statistics, which refer to those held in the the regional processing centre on Nauru.
There are over 100 more kids under “open centre” arrangement on Nauru, a tropical island the size of Rottnest.
We forced them there, we pay dearly to keep them there, they cannot leave, they are surely in detention.
And surely our responsibility.
Betty McGeever
George St, Cottesloe

It’s torture of children
IN the US, republicans and democrats alike condemn the cruel separation of babies, infants and toddlers from their parents, the executive order being signed off with a flourish by triumphant Trump.
The Pope, president Macron of France, the UK prime minister Teresa May, everyday Americans and many others worldwide have condemned this appalling act. The United Nations has called it for what it is – the torture of children.
Meanwhile, back in Australia:
The UN Human Rights Committee has repeatedly told Australia it’s cruel and inhumane mandatory detention policy for men, women and children is unlawful.
The committee found that on Manus and Nauru where both adults and children are detained indefinitely, there are inadequate health services, serious safety concerns and instances of assault, sexual abuse, self-harm and suspicious deaths.
Young children and adults attempt suicide, stop speaking due to trauma, display severe mental health damage as a result of over five years in indefinite detention.
A UN report states ‘One of the cruellest parts of Australia’s refugee policy is the indefinite separation of husbands from wives, mothers from children. Families are permanently separated simply because they arrived and sought Australia’s protection on different dates’.
The Australian Border Force forced the Biloela asylum seeker family to sign documents agreeing to their ‘voluntary removal’, telling them that if they did not sign, they would be denied access to a phone, and forcibly deported separately.
It costs Australian taxpayers over half a million dollars a year for each of the 750 refugees on Manus and Nauru. $375,000,000 for Australian schools and hospitals is forfeited.
The above is just the tip of the iceberg of Australia’s inhumane treatment of some of the most disadvantaged people on the planet.
I am utterly appalled and disgusted at the way we treat refugees. Are you?
Pamela G Leeson
Hulbert St, South Fremantle

One response to “LETTERS 30.6.18

  1. I write in response to Desmond Bellamy’s letter, “A sad end to an unnatural life” regarding the passing of Perth Zoo’s beloved aged orangutan, Puan. It is sad that PETA has used the death of a loved zoo animal to denigrate a modern zoo like Perth Zoo, which is committed to conservation. Saving Wildlife is not just Perth Zoo’s brand, it’s what we do, every day of the year.

    Increasingly the role of zoos extends beyond the gates and into the wild. The Living Planet Index reveals we could lose two-thirds of the planet’s wild animals by 2020, and a 2010 study by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature found that conservation breeding in zoos and aquariums played a role in the recovery of 28% of the species listed as threatened in the wild.

    Perth Zoo breeding programs have been responsible for bringing animals back from the brink of extinction including local amphibians, Numbats, the Western Swamp Tortoise (Australia’s rarest reptile), and the Chuditch, which has improved its conservation status thanks to the Zoo’s breed for release efforts.

    Perth Zoo is very proud to have recently released its 4000th zoo bred animal back into native habitat, helping to rebuild struggling wild populations. In Puan’s case, three of her descendants were released to the wild within a protected area of Sumatra, where Perth Zoo also funds a rehabilitation program for ex-pet and trafficked orangutans, giving them a second chance at a wild life. In the same region we financially contribute to anti-poaching patrols and community education programs. It’s a 360 degree conservation approach.

    Perth Zoo has contributed more than $2.8 million over the past 7 years to projects outside of the Zoo. We fund anti-snaring teams to protect African Painted Dogs, empower Zambian children to become wildlife ambassadors, and provide Papua New Guinean villagers with alternate livelihoods to reduce hunting of tree kangaroos. We work with TRAFFIC, the international wildlife trade monitoring network, to gain intelligence on sophisticated wildlife poachers, we fund researchers on Komodo Island to learn more about the world’s biggest land lizard, and we’re helping gibbons out swing extinction, funding wildlife patrol units in Pu Mat National Park in Vietnam. Within Australia, Perth Zoo’s Wildlife Conservation Action fundraising program has helped build the predator proof fence at Mt Gibson Sanctuary, Australia’s second largest feral cat-free area. When you donate to Perth Zoo, you are directly helping animals in the wild.

    Surpassing the life expectancy of her species and earning a Guinness Book of Record for being the oldest verified living Sumatran Orangutan in the world, Puan led a full and healthy life, with a team of experts dedicated to her care. Her contribution to her species was unparalleled. We are in the midst of a global extinction crisis. Perth Zoo may be one of the most isolated in the world, but we have a big agenda, SAVING WILDLIFE. Come and visit us to help save wildlife together.

    Wendy Attenborough
    Executive Director
    Perth Zoo

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