Posted by: jkirkby8712 | November 12, 2010

The local electorate

It seems we have just four candidates who have nominated for our local State seat of Macedon, for the State election on the 27 November.  The Labor candidate, MP Joanne Duncan, has held the seat for 8 years. The seat covers the township of Sunbury and adjourning towns such as Lancefield, Gisborne, Wooden and Romsey. Her main opposition will hopefully come from the Liberal candidate, a policeman named Tristan Weston, whom I admit to having communicated with and wished him luck, as I believe it is time this part of Victoria had a different perspective at the political level placed upon it. For too long now, our politics has been dominated at the Federal and State level [and to some degree, unofficially at the local government level] by the one political viewpoint. I believe those representatives have become too comfortable, and over recent elections, have not had to work very hard to retain their seats, thereby becoming complacent, and perhaps in some areas, not crediting the electorate due respect.

Not surprisingly, Tristan’s emphasis seems to be on law and order, and to a degree, concern for the gaining of appropriate infrastructure to adequately meet the needs of a growing community.  Joanne Duncan has had plenty of opoortunity to support these things when it suits her, and to claim responsibility when gains are made, it’s all very well saying she will support everything now, just prior to an election, things that could have been pushed for with more effort during her 8 years.  I think she has been an effective member in term of her regular presence within the electorate, and in attending mosrt functions and activities that it is appropriate for her to do so, but I feel that a much more effective and  stronger political voice is needed in the actual parliamentary scenario. I wonder whether many people in other parts of Victoria are even aware of her existance, because of what to me seems to be a relatively low profile in Parliament House. A popular local member I don’t doubt, but your motto promoted as ‘Making It Happen’ – well, I see that as appplying more to the party machine rather than the efforts of the individual member.

Of the other two candidates, we have a young 21 year old student, Nicky Haslinghouse, standing for the Greens  – deserved or not, she will pick up quite a few votes, simply because the Greens are the ‘flavour of the month’ currently. She too talks about transport and infrastructure. The 4th person is an Independant candidate, Lorraine Beyer, who was the only onje of the four, to make direct reference to the future use of the Victoria University site here in Sunbury – where, amongst other community organisations, our radio station is located. That site has been under a cloud for over a year now, since the university vacated it, and while the present Labor Government has just announced a new major educational project for the site, one has to wonder whether this is just a sweetener just prior to the election. On this issue, I’m not sure at this point, what the Liberal’s attitude to the site is, so that is certainly an aspect that Mr Weston needs to be queried about.  Jackson’s Hill, as the area is known, is a focal point of the Sunbury township, an ideal location with it’s many heritage buildings and structures to develop major community and educational facilities, and to encourage those that currently exist, to maintain their presence. Our management team is currently working very hard to try and get some more precise answers in respect to their future plans for the university site.  As for the law and order aspect [a major component of both major party’s approach to the election], I see there is a community forum planned here in Sunbury for next week on that subject, to which it is hoped to attract all four Macedon candidates. I hope they will all be encouraged to attend.

Anyway, those are just my views, and I will be content to support whoever wins the seat, I just feel a change of personality and focus is needed. I see that one of our local lads, who attended the secondary college that my daughter attended a few years ago, and also had a brief role at the radio station, has got himself on the Upper House ticket for the Labor Party. While I may not agree with his views, I do wish him well in the beginnings of a parliamentary career that he seems destined to eventually achieve.

Meanwhile yesterday, we were speaking briefly of Remembrance Day. On the TV tonight, there was a documentary entitled ‘As It Happened: The Last Day of World War I’.  This was a British production, and basically dealt with the number of casualties [deaths, wounded, missing] that occurred on that last day – the 11th November, 1918 – and in particular, the six hours from the signing of the Armistance in the railway in the French woods at approximately 5.10 am that day, and the official cease fire, at 11 am. Some estimates have quoted figures of up to 10,000 casualties that day – 663 Commonwealth forces [men & women] died that day [and perhaps many others in the days, weeks and months thereafter], and up to 3,000 Americans were killed. Some of the American generals were not prepared to accept the Armistace, and led their troops into situations and towns on the offensive, when in just a few hours time, they could have walked in peacefully. The attitude in some quarters was that Germany had to be proved to have been defeated, and their forces driven back to Berlin, with the rather prophetic claim, as it would eventuate, that Germany had not lost, merely agreed to a ceasefire. There were repercussions back in America at the high number of late casualties, but the reports of subsequent investigations were not released, with the feeling that to do so would tarnish the victories that had been achieved by their Americans from the time of their late entry into World War I. Interestingly, many of the French deaths on the 11th, were to be officially recorded as having died on the 10th November!

In conclusion, the comment was made by the program presenter, Michael Palin, whose great uncle died at the Somme, earlier in the war –  what does it matter what day a soldier is killed – it is all a waste of life, and for what real purpose!  A bit like a death in the family on Christmas Day – it seems more of a tradegy because of the date, but the loss to those around, is just as great, whatever the date!

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