The jig is up

I applaud Peter Kennedy’s column in the Weekly (“Red shirts and red flags” – March 23) but I don’t think he went far enough.
Bendigo has been a safe Labor enclave since what sometimes seems to be the beginning of time.
Even the bullying of the CFA and its management, together with the $1 billion payout not to build a road at the last state election did nothing to stifle the ardour of the hardened Labor faithful in this city.
Labor politicians in Bendigo have always been fabulous electioneers (the cunning strategy of placing “how to vote” stickers on the front page of local papers at election time, for example) and they are prepared to meet the public, kiss babies and “press the flesh” for as long as it takes before election day. Fine and dandy.
Yet there have also been dirty tricks played by all political parties in Australian history as election day rolls around.
But the long awaited unveiling of the so-called “rorts for votes” scandal is surely the “ne plus ultra” of all political shenanigans. Breathtaking in its sheer audacity.
How well I recall the words of Daniel Andrews back in the day when the details of the scam first emerged. “All is well and done according to Hoyle. No impropriety”, said the newly elected premier (or words to this effect).
I have had a number of disenchanted people say to me recently that if an individual or a business had been responsible for such a theft (and theft of public money was surely what it was) then not only would heads roll but cell doors would be slamming and people would be going to jail.
Not so, it seems, if you are the Labor Party. Simply pay back the misappropriated taxpayer funds and “move on”.
The most galling thing of all, and what irks the most, is that Labor, having had its hand caught in the biscuit jar like a recalcitrant child, chose not to “come clean” at the earliest opportunity but instead spent countless more dollars out of the public purse to fight the matter all the way up the ladder to the highest court in the land.
The Labor hierarchy knew that what they had done was patently, morally and possibly criminally wrong, but they chose to bluff it out and attempt to cynically stymie every effort of the ombudsman to investigate the matter.
And when the corpse was finally exhumed, all we got from the premier and the Attorney General were weasel words and a shrug of the shoulders.
Well, enough is enough. Peter Kennedy in his column suggests that a “sincere apology and some responsibilty” be forthcoming from the premier and his minions.
I respectfully suggest that this debacle has taken us far beyond that. Although true justice will probably never be forthcoming, I ask the people of Bendigo (and Victoria) to use the power of their vote come November to make this government suffer at the ballot box; to show them that the ordinary, hardworking citizen will not be robbed of his money or treated like a fool by any political party or government without dire consequences.
Come election day, I am confident that even the most one-eyed Labor voter in this city will realise that the jig is up.
This time Labor should feel the wrath of the people, but hopefully it will be a fateful lesson that other political parties will, and should, take heed of at their peril.

Eric Lakey,


Speak Up process flawed

L Whelan (Letters, Bendigo Weekly, March 23) raised concerns about the Department of Education’s treatment of the Bendigo South East College community and the principal Ernie Fleming.
He also voiced concerns about future implications of DET’s actions.
The Victorian Principals Association is also worried about DET’s “Speak Up” process which guides investigations into complaints about public service personnel in the state education system.
The VPA Position Paper criticises the Speak Up process for treating school communities and principals unfairly and with disrespect as well as denying the principle of natural justice.
The VPA considers Speak Up causing stress, compounded primarily by the unclear and unsatisfactory investigation timelines.
The paper also raises concerns about the validity and reliability of anonymous complainants.
Over the past 12 months I have communicated my concerns to the Regional Education office, Jacinta Allan MP and the Minister for Education James Merlino, .
These concerns were primarily related to the extreme length of time of the investigation and the negative impact of this on areas of education delivery in Bendigo,
I hope the situation can be resolved very soon.

Phillip Ellison,
Kangaroo Flat


A lost dream?

Australian retirees must have their heads spinning this month after yet another attempt by politicians to raid the golden piggy-bank that’s meant to be their superannuation.
Older Australians worked very hard for a long time to build this country into the great nation it is today.
Some of us may also have managed to put aside a little extra for the proverbial rainy day; in the hope that when retirement came we would be able to relax and enjoy our final years; perhaps without burdening the community we created.
If politicians such as Bill Shorten continue to attack our superannuation system it will not only destroy faith in the system but it will rob our younger workers of their dream for a better future also.
Politicians everywhere please – treat Australia’s older citizens with the respect and dignity they deserve? For the sake of a better Australia leave superannuation alone.

Tony Dewhurst,
Kangaroo Flat


Risky roundabout

My congratulations to Richard Liddelow re his letter in the Bendigo Weekly, March 23 highlighting very sub-standard driver behaviour at the Condon Street roundabout.
While I don’t use this roundabout often enough to have seen the issue mentioned in the abovementioned letter, it is utterly infuriating to see drivers repeatedly approach this roundabout in the left lane, indicate right, enter and then proceed to leave the roundabout at exit three or four, not exits one or two as their lane choice should dictate.
I consider this as just another example of people having not the slightest consideration for those around them.
It’s just like those who fail to move left before turning left, or fail to move to the centre line when turning right.
This often means the difference between being able to maintain one’s speed with plenty of room to spare when passing the turning vehicle versus having to slow to something approaching the same speed as the vehicle turning.

Brendan Wright,
Golden Square


Tree hazard

The tree that overhangs the footpath on the Mitchell Street rail bridge seems to be no one’s responsibility.
It has been there for weeks forcing pedestrians to almost step onto the roadway when passing by.
Is it council, VicRoads or PTV who should rectify the problem? I suspect none will fix it.

Stuart Symonds,


We deserve better

Regional and rural Victoria should be grateful to Matthew Guy and the MPs who returned to parliament on Good Friday to block the terrible CFA Bill which would have broken up the CFA and hung the volunteers out to dry.
How hypocritical of Jacinta Allan to try to take the moral high ground on integrity and ethical behaviour in the Victorian parliament after Labor’s recent performance on the rorting scandal, and forcing parliament to sit on Good Friday, after they failed to provide Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins with a pair when she was taken ill.
That’s on top of pushing through equally bad legislation on euthanasia after 27 hours debate.
Jacinta is part of a Labor cabinet that has bullied it’s way through four years of bad government. Victoria, Bendigo, deserves better.

Helen Leach,