I read the Letters to the Editor to see which of the offerings have been submitted by grumpy old men (and women too for that matter) who fall into the category of people with too much time on their hands.
When I was in the Assembly, I got belted frequently by the same old bunch of GOMs and I did a search of the electoral roll to see the age cohort that most of them might fall into. Guess what! All over 70 years old.
Most were retired professionals who thought they knew more than the current crop of preschool aged professionals, particularly in the town planning professional and the transport industry.
They used to, and still do, get my blood boiling because nothing is ever good enough for them, they have to criticise and whinge. Someone ought to tape all their fingers together to stop them using a keyboard, typewriter or cave wall. Or at least slow them down.
A glance at the authors of said letters will reveal the same old group. Perhaps they should all get together for a communal Bex and a Good Lie Down. But that would take away their raison d’être.
But you know, every Pancake Tuesday, someone writes a letter with which I thoroughly agree and which is brief, succinct and gives these GOMs a smack in the gob! Such a letter appeared last Thursday morning.
The author is a T.J. Marks who dispelled the notion that the Legislative Assembly is a town council and exhorted those pedalling this simplistic and naïve notion to spare the rest of us, “the persistent and ridiculous allusions”.
I’ve written on this before and feel compelled to do so again because to the frequency of the appearance lately of this idiotic notion.
Mr/Ms Marks challenged the purveyors of these falsehoods by saying “show me the town council which bears responsibility for matters like health, education, some taxes and duties and numerous other functions performed by state and territory government.”
Those other functions would include public safety, corrections, industrial relations, legal systems, motor registry and compliance, just to name a few.
To Marks’ points I would also say that it was a state government which amalgamated the councils in NSW and WA because they were financially unviable. No real consultation, just enforced amalgamation. Just ask the Burghers of Bungendore how they feel about amalgamating with Queanbeyan, how the Bastions of Braidwood feel about the amalgamations. How would it be if we were part of NSW and that state government decided to merge the ACT with Queanbeyan?
Anyway, the real point here is that there are overarching responsibilities which require representation in the fora where funds are distributed from the federal purse. There is a need to be in the conversation when policy is developed. Otherwise, we here in the ACT would be subjected to whims of the NSW State Government or the return to the past attitudes of the Commonwealth Government and we see with the APVMA move to Armidale how much the feds care about us.
When people whimsically recall the good old days when the streets of Canberra were paved with gold, they forget what happened when we received the self-determination we deserved. We had taxation without representation, the very antithesis of democracy.
When the states and the feds gather in a room to talk about the housing issues facing Australians, it is the ACT which is in the room with the NSW State government, not the Queanbeyan City Council.
When the issues of sham contractors, third party representational rights for unions, industrial safety and industrial manslaughter responsibilities are discussed, the local councils don’t get a look in. But it was the ACT who blazed the trail on industrial manslaughter across the nation.
I would also quote the achievements of Simon Corbell in his trailblazing solar energy capture programs, a leader in the country and something councils just don’t do. They whinge about those ugly wind farms but do bugger all else. And in the forum where the Environment ministers chat about water issues, the Murray Darling flows, sustainable energy supply, be it gas, wind, hydro or whatever, the ACT has a voice.
So, top marks to Marks for saying as it is. We have matured as a community, we are not a semi-rural community within NSW, we are a stand-alone jurisdiction which now has taxation with representation, we have a seat at the table in all national and sub-national decision-making and on occasion, have the opportunity to lead the country.
To those who would wish a back to the future approach, to take us back to the days when we had a Minister for Territories, like Ralph Hunt, a grazier, or Michael Hodgman, the mouth from the South; when the decisions affecting the people who live here were made by someone who didn’t live here, get with the program!
Stop calling us a local council! We are a mature sub-national jurisdiction, equal to the States and other Territory!