I have been made aware that Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association is concerned by my reference to them when addressing the Indigenous Voice to Parliament in my speech in parliament on 22 May (“Elders ‘misrepresented’” Letters 6/6/23).
In my speech, I said: “Today, the Indigenous people of the Mornington Peninsula include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders from across the nation. It makes for a warm, inclusive, wise, curious and open community with remarkable cultural leaders, like Peter Aldenhoven and Lionel Lauch, and those who embody that warmth and welcome in their every breath, like Uncle John McLean and Aunty Helen Bnads. I’m grateful for their advice and guidance, as I am to those who have agreed to meet with me across Flinders to discuss their passions regarding the Voice on all sides and from all perspectives.”
This was an expression of gratitude to these remarkable people who do so much for Indigenous cultural understanding across the peninsula. It was also an expression of my personal gratitude to those who were willing to share their time with me and explain to me their passion and hope of what a Voice might achieve.
It was not a misrepresentation of their position on the Voice, which I know to be one of support. These individuals agreed to meet, when many more organisations and individuals did not, despite my repeated attempts. For that reason, I thanked them publicly.
It is important that this debate remain civil, open, and to the extent possible, respectful both of words and intentions. This is a commitment I make to the debate, and hope others will do likewise.
Zoe McKenzie, MP for Flinders
Walk supported Voice
First I’d like to say thank you to The News for providing a forum for both [Willum Warrain CEO] Peter Aldenhoven and [Flinders MP] Zoe McKenzie to write about their support or not for the Voice (“Make reconciliation a shared journey” and “A risk to executive government” 30/5/23).
It was good to hear from Peter, the Indigenous CEO of Willum Warrain, the Aboriginal gathering place in Hastings. As Zoe suggests, an open and respectful discussion is what we need to encourage people to make informed choices about the Voice.
I understand she only met the Willum Warrain crew twice and had not made the time to consult with them about the Voice.
As Peter Aldenhoven said at the [Sunday 4 June] Reconciliation Walk a No vote will mean that mainstream Australia is saying to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples that we have decided that we don’t want our government to listen to you.
It was very sad that Zoe didn’t come to the Reconciliation Walk as her predecessor did and listen to the speakers who all supported the Voice.
That would have been respectful and even perhaps allowed her to listen to their Voice.
Marg D’Arcy, Rye
Although [Flinders MP] Zoe McKenzie and I do not share the same political views, my interactions with Zoe during the 2022 election campaign were always respectful.
So, it came as a shock to learn that Zoe not only misrepresented Helen Bnads and Peter Aldenhoven, but she also allegedly misrepresented Kenneth Hayne, former Justice of the High Court of Australia when she spoke in parliament on 22 May against the Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
In my view, Zoe should apologise to Helen Bnads and Peter Aldenhoven and also the former High Court justice. Also, when parliament returns, she should apologise to the House and correct the record.
Sarah Russell, Mount Martha
Families were split
A few comments in response to two odd letters (“Voice not local issue” and “Voice splits families” Letters 6/6/23).
In “Voice not local issue” the writer stridently states that the proposed Voice to Parliament is not a local issue and suggests those likely to vote in the affirmative visit Euston or Wilcannia to see “what their (First Nations Peoples’) living conditions are like”. Pardon? Then, “At no time in recorded history is there any evidence that there was an Aboriginal nation”- past and present members of the Kulin Nation may like to differ.
Next, we have in “Voice splits families” a fevered warning that these “bleeding hearts” should be wary lest their homes be “compulsorily acquired”. It may have slipped the writer’s mind, but McCrae is Bunurong/Boon Warrung land going back at least 10,000 years. It was compulsorily acquired.
To be clear, displaced, stolen and massacred Indigenous people had their families split. Yet the writer dares to question ancestry.
David Martin, Mount Martha
Yes for just society
Uninformed ravings against a Voice for the First Nations people are following in the steps of an opposition that seems to say no to almost everything in parliament (“Voice not local issue” Letters 6/6/23).
Assertions that there were no first nations before the arrival of the first fleet is so laughable it smacks of wilful ignorance.
There were hundreds of first nations in our continent before occupation and they traded with each other across the whole continent.
That’s what the Uluru Statement from the Heart is all about. It was a very thoughtful process of many Aboriginal nations that came together at Uluru and produced a document that most were happy with. Sadly, it was disregarded out of hand by the then government with all the same erroneous arguments the No campaign still bandies about.
The almost hysterical assertion about people losing their homes if our First Nations people ever get a voice to government and the executive, is just that, the usual hysteria put about by some in the establishment to keep the status quo, and that is simply not good enough in our time and age.
Vote Yes for a more just society in Australia.
Rupert Steiner, Balnarring
A hidden mystery
The National Audit office has completed an audit of the National Indigenous Australian Agency (NIAA) for 2021 and 2022. Among other things it identified that this agency has been provided with $4 billion in funding yet cannot fully account for $1.03 billion. Nobody knows.
All those luvvy Yes supporters might not be aware of this because the compliant media has not mentioned a word. This outfit is one of the successors to the now disgraced ATSIC that was put to death in the face of outrageous corruption.
Those running NIAA are among the same people who will be in charge if the Yes vote gets up.
Are these Yes advocates ignorant of what went on with ATSIC or were they too young to be conscious of it?
Barry James Rumpf, McCrae
I would like to congratulate the organisers of the Willum Warrain Reconciliation Walk held on Sunday 4 June.
It was well attended, and the welcoming hospitality, food and drink shared with everyone, together with the speeches, dancing and singing were all well received.
There was an excellent article in your paper by [Willum Warrain CEO] Peter Aldenhoven on and I hope many people follow his advice (“Make reconciliation a shared journey” The News 30/5/23).
Slainte Kerry McInerney, Mornington
I have had the pleasure of living on the Mornington Peninsula for the past seven years and am totally frustrated by a succession of local councillors who live on a different planet than the rest of us.
Do they really want to charge an absurd fee to park on the peninsula (“Six-month paid parking trial” The News 6/6/23)? Do they really want to close pubs, restaurants, cafes and local shops? Do they want more boarded up shops and charity shops?
Do they realise that people do not have to come here, they can go to the Yarra Valley, Dandenongs, Bellarine Peninsula and elsewhere.
Do they want people to park in local side streets and destroy the grass on the reserves, clogging up local roads which will result in lots of no parking signs and no go areas? This will drive local businesses into bankruptcy.
Have our local representatives been affected by long COVID or some other virus?
I am at a total loss to understand these absurd decisions and many others made in the past. Do these people really have the best interests of our local community or are they so selfish that they want the peninsula to themselves and are trying their very best to destroy our local business and environment?
Perhaps our local councillors should just put up a large sign on the freeway and say, “tourists are not welcome here, go away and spend your money somewhere else”.
Honestly, what is going through their minds when they make these decisions, because they are not acting in the best interests of our businesses. I realise this and I am retired.
Please Mornington Peninsula Shire Council think again before you destroy the livelihoods of our local businesses and destroy the streetscape of our neighborhoods.
Michael Appleyard, Mount Martha
Paid parking to fail
The paid parking pilot is suspect in that rather than pay, tourists will just clog up our side streets more than they do now (“Six-month paid parking trial” The News 6/6/23). And as they find alternate parking in private lots, my finding a park at the Dromana supermarket lot will change from near impossible to impossible.
Has the self-fulfilling prophecy, it will not work, been set up to prove that there will not be enough net revenue gain to pay for it?: “Popularity of our beaches especially during the summer months makes access a challenge and puts increasing pressure on existing public car parks and related infrastructure.”
This scheme does not address the parking congestion on our side streets. Let’s change the paradigm and change the concept to a tourist tax where non-peninsula residents contribute to the costs they generate.
For several years I have been putting forth a plan that would make sure that everyone who does not live on the peninsula would contribute to the cost they create, like the 11 per cent increase to the $400 waste service charge which is not covered by the rate capping scheme making it a sock it to ‘em program directed at residents. Ever see the “clean team” when the tourists are not around?
The plan I have suggested also puts forth a litany of follow-on charges to raise revenue for the shire. If anyone would like a copy of this proposal or have their say, go to: mornpentaxtourists.blogspot.com/
Joe Lenzo, Safety Beach
Sorrento sand trap
I read with surprise Sorrento is among 17 finalists competing for the 2023 Victorian Top Tourism award (“Towns seek top tourism award” The News 6/6/23). Sorrento is a coastal town with beautiful bay views. The only path along the foreshore to enjoy the bay view is always in parts covered in sand (pictured left), denying people in wheel chairs or families with strollers access to the path and the views.
Report this to Mornington Peninsula Shire Council and it takes weeks to be cleared. Sometimes half the sand is cleared still denying access.
In seaside towns in Japan paths are cleared of sand every day. In my opinion the only award Sorrento deserves to win is for not being inclusive.
Josephine Brand, Sorrento
I watched the livestream of the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council meeting on Tuesday 30 May. The streaming is done via YouTube, which means it is really easy to access.
I was most impressed by how professionally this meeting was run by the mayor Cr Steve Holland, and by the debate which showed that all councillors had researched and reflected on the motions put and were prepared with ideas and opinions.
The topics are complex, and I am sure preparation for the meetings is time consuming. My thanks to all councillors for their efforts.
Erica Churchill, Bittern
The Mornington Peninsula is fast becoming a mecca for protecting nature and living sustainably (“At home with the environment” The News 6/6/23).
The Eco Living Display Centre at The Briars, for example, offers fun and engaging activities for all the family. My kids and I have previously enjoyed nature-based scavenger hunts and tree planting activities, but I am also inspired to learn how to improve indoor air quality and use induction cooktops.
Congratulations also to those involved with the newly opened South East Water discovery lab (“Keeping check on water’s health” The News 6/6/23). Surveying water quality will no doubt allow community members to engage with protecting local ecosystems.
Thriving ecosystems, living sustainably and good health all go hand in hand.
Amy Hiller, Kew
How much I have enjoyed recent chocolate advertisements on TV.
For many years food advertisements have often been based on greed and immediate gratification. For example, one person sealing another’s food because the first person just has to have it now. There are many I could quote.
The good thing is that the chocolate company I am talking about decided to make the ads with a very unselfish, giving theme. There are four I can think of:
1) The little girl wanting a present for her mother and a generous shopkeeper.
2) A little boy on a bus recognising a young woman’s sadness and offers some chocolate.
3) The daughter whose father leaves a block of chocolate for her at the counter, a peacemaker.
4. The father in the car, nervous about a promotion at work and the son has left him a cake of chocolate in the glovebox and on the phone tells his father how proud he is of him.
I love chocolate anyway, but the advertisements have moved me because of the “niceness and decency”.
Well done, I hope the company can sell heaps of chocolate. Thank you and congratulations
Mary Lane, Mornington