Letters 27.10.18

Deny them bail
RECENT changes to the parole laws for murderers that murder more than one person on any day or several over the course of days, do not go far enough to provide a deterrent – all premeditated murderers should be denied bail.
The attorney general talks about secondary victims of murder, we are all victims.
I lost my son who was murdered by five people in 2015. This murder was planned over a six-month period . This left a family and extended friends in a cycle of grief from which we will struggle to recover.
Our grief is no more and no less than others who have been impacted by this heinous crime.
How can anyone judge one murder is less or worse than another? Walk a day in my shoes and then give me an answer.
Lisa Mills
Contact details supplied

HIV a disease, not a crime
I WANT WA attorney general John Quigley to review the laws regarding HIV in Western Australia.
I believe there should be greater clarity in the WA Health Act in regards to HIV transmission and that it should reflect a world in which HIV-positive people can live long and happy lives.
The lack of public education and HIV awareness designed to reduce stigma and discrimination that is still entrenched in the community as has been seen in the letter about Kerryn Phelps in the Wentworth by-election campaign.
The stigma in our own backyard needs addressing: implementing the U=U education campaign in the wider community would be a start to decriminalising HIV and removing stigma which is a barrier to testing and treatments.
The current health act states: “A person who has a notifiable infectious disease must take all reasonable precautions to ensure that others are not unknowingly placed at risk of contracting the disease”.
What exactly constitutes reasonable practices is unclear and currently left up to the courts to decide.
Today, those with an undetectable viral load are believed to be un-infectious yet no court in Australia has ruled that this satisfies the reasonable precautions test.
This ambiguity is concerning and can leave many unclear on whether they could face criminal charges.
While no criminal laws in WA target HIV specifically, it can be prosecuted under assault-based offences, which carry multi-year prison sentences.
While usually only applied to individuals that intentionally transmit HIV, it can be used against those that are only deemed negligent in their exposure.
HIV criminalisation delivers the inaccurate message that all people with HIV are inherently dangerous and that an adequate prevention strategy is to rely on partners to disclose and avoid those who share the information that they are living with HIV.
This overlooks the fact that grassroots HIV+ people are at the forefront, leading the prevention that has stopped AIDS in WA.
Decriminalisation of HIV in WA would help remove the stigma of HIV being a criminalised condition for positive people and would decrease community fear and the discrimination that still surrounds HIV, and lead to better education and a more informed public while making for a fairer legal system for positive people too.
Neil Buckley
Perth 

Like clockwork
IN his letter “Demo-lition” (Voice, October 13, 2018), Trevor Preston wonders what form my pristine absolute democracy would take.
He needs to look no further than the Swiss model.
I have advocated for years for the adaptation and adoption of the democratic Swiss model, where Australian citizens of each sovereign state have the democratic right to popularly elect an executive head from their state.
Those executives form a national executive council with head-of-state powers; an option not offered to us at referendum.
The house of representatives and the senate, both with forward- facing seating towards the speaker and president, remain, and we have the democratic right to elect representatives to them.
Similar to the constitutional right under the crown we now have.
The majority party leader in the lower house then ranks below the speaker of the house (or the leader’s position abolished altogether) and, of course, is not able to seek or hold the office of prime minister.
The governor of each state is then popularly elected and the deputy governor separately popularly elected, not necessarily of the same political persuasion.
The governor then oversees the lower house of their state and the deputy the upper one. Suitable?
In that democracy, political power would be directly invested in the people.
Majority-party or coalition-party prime ministers, by undemocratic royal assent, are not-popularly-elected and only have a minuscule percent of the total popular vote.
Commanders-in-chief of the Australian armed forces, by proxy or default, who can freely take us to war; the appointments of governor generals and high court judges.
We cannot afford elitist party political governance by trick, which can only be described as deMOCKracy and not democracy.
Gordon Westwood
Coode Street, Maylands

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