Shire officers’ reports should be open to scrutiny
If and when [Mornington Peninsula Shire Council] officers write a report, irrespective if it highlights misconduct, waste of resources, incompetence and, if allowed constructive criticism of procedures, office mismanagement and the like, from the CEO down to lower ranks of employees, they should all be subject to scrutiny and KPI performances.
These officers reports should and must be able to be questioned and face scrutiny without fear or favour in an open public meeting.
As paid officers of the shire their wages are paid out of ratepayers’ funds, and indeed from CEO down should all sing from the same hymn sheet.
I complement those councillors who were honest enough to vote for Cr David Gill’s motion (“No public questioning of shire officers” The News 12/9/23).
Open honest government is the corner stone of democracy, hiding behind privilege smacks of closed regimes.
Gerard van de Ven, Mount Martha
Why was an opinion piece by Mr Hugh Fraser located in the general news section of the The News next to the article titled, Questions ruled out (“‘Democratic right’ to question shire officers” 13/9/23)?
What role did the The News have in procuring Mr Fraser’s opinion piece?
As a single representative opinion, why was Mr Fraser’s opinions not published under Letters?
The News has shown favouritism and a bias towards Mr Fraser’s opinions please explain why The News have adopted this position and will the The News allocate a similar location and word count in the general news section of the The News to any other correspondents that want to provide an alternate view to that of Mr Fraser’s?
The News’ masthead reads, “An independent voice for the community”. How does the treatment of Mr Fraser’s correspondence represent independence?
Gordon Hollonds, Capel Sound
Editor: Hugh Fraser, as a former Mornington Peninsula Shire councillor and barrister, is uniquely qualified to present an alternative view on council matters. The News always has and will continue to publish contributed content as it sees fit, with the aim of best informing our readers, and supporting discourse that improves the outcomes for peninsula residents. Agreeing with that content is not compulsory, but excluding it would be a dereliction of our duty.
I think about the future of Australia, what sort of people we are now and what we might become if we listen to and learn from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
I wonder what possibilities lie ahead for us if we choose to work closely with them to create a better future for us all.
I think about the next generations of Indigenous children and what sort of Australia I want for them. What opportunities do I want them to have?
I wonder what it will mean if the people of Australia – once and for all – stand up and declare that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people:
- Must not be silenced any more.
- Must be able to speak on their own behalf.
- Must be allowed to shape and determine their own destinies.
- Have the same opportunities and benefits that most of us take for granted.
I want to wake up on Sunday 15 October, look at myself in the mirror and be glad, not ashamed and sorry.
Diane McDonald, Mount Eliza
Yes can help
I’ve lived on the Mornington Peninsula most of my life, have gone to school, worked, and volunteered here.
I believe in fairness and equity. When I volunteered at the libraries to meet with disabled and elderly people to borrow and deliver books to their doors, I knew that offering this service wasn’t taking away from other able people. When I volunteered at Habitat for Humanity’s op shop, providing houses for those less fortunate, I trusted the team was working hard to ensure that people who needed shelter were able access it.
I never thought there were government departments doing this, so my effort was not needed. I recognised the disconnect between government and what people on the ground truly need and played my part in improving things.
When I donated food and packed hampers for Food for All I didn’t ask who would be receiving this food and why they needed it. When I host annual beach clean-ups and tree planting days I never consider it as “someone else’s” responsibility.
I believe in taking my place in this society, my home on the peninsula, doing the things people are unable to do and giving a helping hand when I can.
I’ve never stopped to question what the people I am working with have done to deserve help. I never critiqued their heritage or their worthiness for help.
I am the sort of Aboriginal person that the No campaign does not want you to know about. There are many of us, and we care for everyone.
On 14 October, I’m asking for you to write Yes. Say Yes, just as I have done for this community. Say Yes because it doesn’t take anything away from you and because it means a great deal to the people experiencing voicelessness.
Kayla Cartledge, McCrae
No ‘easy option’
The No campaign has come up with the shameful cop out “If you don’t know, vote ‘no’”.
It is a blatant attempt to encourage those who are unsure to take the easy option and vote No.
On the other hand, the Yes campaign’s message, with [singer John] Farnham’s “you’re the voice, try and understand it”, is positive and encourages us to be responsible and find out.
The electoral commission’s referendum booklet is in our mailboxes and online at aec.gov.au/referendums/files/pamphlet/referendum-booklet.pdf
It’s all that is needed.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn
Did [Mornington MP] Chris Crewther consult with his electorate before publicly supporting the No campaign for a Voice to Parliament?
Did he meet with the Bunurong Land Council or any of the elders and First Nations community living and working in his electorate.
Many of us wonder if his choice, as a member of Liberal Party of Australia, is a truly representative one or part of a political strategy? If the latter, he may need to be reminded that he only scraped in with a 150 vote margin.
Janet Street, Mornington
No goes too far
Even though I can actually empathise with some of the rational arguments of the NO campaign, they have gone too far.
They have brought the worst of the worst right wing QAnon campaigning to Australia to create doubt, the great divider which does not have to be true or accurate, just outrageous enough questions to sow the seeds of doubt is enough to counteract the truth which always stems from the poisoned tree that cannot yield bountiful fruit with conviction and must be undermined with dubiety or its energised cousin, fear.
For that reason alone, I cannot comprehend why to vote against the Voice. Makes it impossible to separate the wheat from the chaff in trying to make their points.
And then there are too many Trumpian alternative dumpster fires being lit to divert attention from the real issue, which is really quite simple.
Now that Australia has embarked on this path of political psychopathy there will be no return to sanity and truth. It will only get worse until it emulates the USA.
Joe Lenzo, Safety Beach
Gateway for Dromana
I believe we should take the opportunity to turn the entrance to Dromana (and the Southern Peninsula) into a beautiful Australian native garden, with sculptures and a welcome sign. Perhaps a ‘gateway’; something worthy of the beauty of our region.
Currently, visitors are welcomed with an uninspiring entrance to Nepean Highway towards the beach road.
The entrance to Dromana pier (the beach) is less than inspiring with unsightly storm water drainage.
We should not have to accept the present situation of cesspools (dangerous to children) and an ugly, exposed drainpipe.
This area should give one a sense of beauty. Not a sense of dismay!
Gerry Shepherd, Dromana
Meat eaters add risk
With the weather bureau now confirming an El Nino and warning of severe heat in the coming long, hot summer, being prepared for the bushfire season is more important than ever, given that each of the last four decades has been hotter than the one before it. Plans should include all members of the family, including furry, feathered, and finned ones.
A companion animal disaster survival kit can be packed right now, and then grabbed if there is a declaration of emergency. Dogs need a secure harness and leash, and a sturdy carrier for cats or other small animals should be nearby. Pack some bottled water and dry or tinned food, together with bowls. Take medical records in case they need care while away from home, and favourite toys or blankets will offer reassurance during stressful times.
Store your disaster kit somewhere easy-to-access, especially if you know an emergency is likely.
And don’t forget that an Oxford University study revealed that meat eaters generate nearly two and half times the volume of dietary greenhouse gas emissions as those of vegans. The most powerful individual action that you can take to address the climate catastrophe is to stop eating meat, eggs, and dairy.
Mimi Bekhechi, campaigns strategist, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
No sign ‘disingenuous’
It was extremely disappointing to see Mornington MP Chris Crewther in the front row at the Victorian launch of the No campaign. He was holding a sign saying: Labor’s risky voice. Vote no.
This sign is disingenuous. An Indigenous Voice to Parliament is not Labor’s idea. The idea comes from the Uluru Statement of the Heart: “We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country. We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.”
On 14 October, we are simply being asked whether Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be recognised in the Constitution as the First Peoples of Australia and make representations to the parliament and executive on matters that relate to them. It is neither complicated nor risky.
For Chris Crewther to reject the request to enshrine an Indigenous Voice to parliament in the Constitution, it is once again white Australia insisting that they know best.
Sarah Russell, Mount Martha
Editor: The News received an automatic email response when it emailed Mr Crewether for his reaction to Sarah Russell’s letter.
Letters – 300 words maximum and including full name, address and contact number – can be sent to The News, PO Box 588, Hastings 3915 or emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org