LETTERS: It’s enough, community housing, Porter defence
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
When will it end.
Some of my friends may wonder why I March 4 Justice ('Enough is enough': Coast rallies against sexual assault, March 15).
I'm 68. In my early teens I was assaulted and shamed at my school by a teenage boy. I was in shock. I had no words.
Travelling on public transport I was sexually harassed. No words.
Likewise while walking home from Christmas shopping a similar incident with two assailants. I hit them with my shopping and stormed home.
Again I was harassed at my tram stop and follow.
In my late teens I was sexually assaulted by a work colleague at my home. My head hurt. I couldn't find my wallet or speak.
I did not speak or eat for three weeks without assistance. Few understood why, nor I, til later.
All before I was 20.
Twenty years later when my son was four I remembered more. I understood that the time limit for reporting was passed but I wanted the police to know in case he did it again to someone else. The female police officer was empathetic but she said: "The detectives won't believe you. It will be your word against his."
So on we go, still.
Hit by a housemate in my 20s and again by my husband in my 50s.
Sounds very familiar to now, almost 50 years later?
Do you think these events have affected me, cost money in counselling and wages lost?
Do you think some people have interpreted me as having a mental health problem or do you think perhaps I have some emotional residue issues resulting from support delayed or situation misdiagnosed or misunderstood?
Do you think three suicide attempts are the result of these cumulative incidents or will you stigmatised me further as having a mental health issue?
I know what I believe and I'm glad everyone is speaking up, clearing the air and making space for historical relief.
So. I write to encourage open dialogue.
HOTEL APPROVAL AN EMERGENCY ISSUE
I refer to the recent articles regarding the approval of what is a block of units to be used as a hotel or short term accommodation (Coast hotel high-rise bid hits stumbling block, March 11).
An issue that has not been raised that is more concern is that a unit block is approved under the Building Code of Australia as a Class 2 building that has certain mandated requirements.
A hotel or short term accommodation building is a Class 3 building that has different and in many cases more stringent conditions, particularly regarding fire protection and escapes.
Arguably, this building should not be approved for short term accommodation unless it complies with those conditions.
Fire and Emergency Services who are responsible for ensuring compliance with these conditions would be able to confirm this.
Bruce McDiarmid, Maroochydore
UNLESS GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT
Regarding 'Trial by media' another weasel out of responsibility (March 10), only the police are able to investigate allegations of criminal conduct in these circumstances.
Christian Porter is entitled to the presumption of innocence, the same as any other person who is alleged to have committed a criminal offence.
His position, his job, his title, is irrelevant.
Christian must be afforded that presumption unless and until a jury of his peers finds that he is guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
That is the only acceptable standard of proof.
To use any other would tamper with a system that has stood the test of time for over 800 years.
We simply cannot have a rule for one person and a rule for someone else if we don't like the outcome.
Not one person has pointed to an independent inquiry being undertaken where someone is alleged to have committed a criminal offence, because it has never happened in this country.
Nor should it ever.
Andrew Wallace, Federal Member for Fisher, Bokarina
COMMUNITY HOUSING SELECTED AT STROKE OF A PEN
Housing Department Minister Leeanne Enoch says her department "takes its responsibility as a landlord very seriously and all tenants are expected to respect neighbours' rights by not disturbing the reasonable peace, comfort, or privacy of neighbours" (Problem tenants 'terrorise' residents, March 5).
I'm sure that most tenants in community housing are law-abiding and considerate of their neighbours and the community in which they live.
However, when the department placed a family known for prior anti-social and criminal behaviours into our neighbourhood, they abrogated the "fundamental responsibilities" of a landlord to follow due diligence in checking their history efficiently.
Consequently, during their tenancy, the number of break-ins to homes, stealing from homes, break-ins to vehicles and stealing from and trashing vehicles increased dramatically.
When this family was finally evicted, the 14-year-old son by himself had over 100 convictions recorded including theft of guns.
Over a 12-month period, as the crime statistics skyrocketed, residents' sense of security was shattered, and the community became hyper vigilant and angry.
However, although tenants can be placed into a community house at the stroke of a pen, removing or evicting them for repeated disruptive, anti-social and criminal behaviours took a year of gathering complaints and crime statistics by multiple agencies.
Since the eviction of this particular family, the suburb has returned to the quiet, conservative, family neighbourhood it used to be, but with a greater determination to protect our rights to live with reasonable peace, comfort, privacy and security.
The Watch has invited Ms Enoch to visit our suburb, to hear personally the experiences of residents living in fear or fright or anger when they live next door to tenants with no respect for the law or anyone else.
Perhaps then the Minister will consider the effects on the community before deciding on the selection of prospective tenants and their placement into community houses.
Jenny Allan, Wurtulla West Neighbourhood Watch secretary, Wurtulla
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