Time to order the dragon

Sharon Kemp | Bendigo Weekly | 02-Nov-2017

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GOLDEN Dragon Museum’s bid to raise $750,000 has ended like a firecracker, suddenly and with an element of surprise.

Independent senator Derryn Hinch and Liberal colleague Jane Hume visited the museum yesterday and committed $250,000 from the federal government.

The donation took thetotal raised to the amount required to make a brand new ceremonial dragon for Bendigo’s annual Easter parade.

The campaign to buy a new dragon was inadvertently caught up in the dual citizenship controversy with former Nationals senator Fiona Nash due to visit and conduct due diligence on the project the day before she stepped aside, leaving the decision about her representative eligibility with the High Court.

The court last Friday declared Senator Nash was ineligible and she formally resigned.

Senators Hinch and Hume therefore enjoyed the credit yesterday of contributing to the dragon on behalf of the Commonwealth, in the process declaring the importance of the project to community pride.

Senator Hume said she received a call about the dragon contribution from prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s office.

But Senator Hinch appears to be the main driver after visiting Bendigo as part of his regular touring rounds of Australia.

City of Greater Bendigo mayor Margaret O’Rourke said the project captured the attention of Senator Hinch when he visited and his staff had called regularly asking for details before surprising her and councillors yesterday with a visit and $250,000 commitment.

Golden Dragon Museum manager Anita Jack said with the funding in place, the next step was the call for tenders to make the dragon.

The funds will preserve existing Chinese imperial dragon Sun Loong which will perform at this final parade next year, and create a new dragon Dai Gum Loong for the 2019 festival.

Ms Jack said she hoped to put a camera in the Hong Kong-based workshop that wins the tender.

Residents could watch Dai Gum Loong being created.

While he gets credit for the dragon contribution, Senator Hinch also called yesterday for MPs to be audited to pick up any further discrepancies in citizenship eligibility.

“In the senate, the Greens and I and eventually all crossbenchers, we all voted in favour of referring this to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee to appoint an independent auditor for all politicians,” he said.

“This was months ago and it should have been done then, it is even worse now.”

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