16 January 2018

Page 37


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: team@mpnews.com.au

Council should have transparent ‘gifts’ list I thought I was reading part of the “Yes Minister” scripts when I trawled through the answers on the gift register issue given to the by Mornington Peninsula Shire CEO Carl Cowie (“Call to open gifts list” The News 9/1/18). Sir Humphrey Appleby would give his seal of approval to the gobbledegook that Mr Cowie offered to the reasonable questions asked of him. On top of that we had the accompanying report of all the councillors running for cover on this issue. What is wrong with this council that it cannot, or will not, publish details of gifts received by councillors and senior staff? Why are they hiding behind the Local Government Act? The act may well say that a council has no legal obligation to publish a list of gifts but any council that has a genuine commitment to transparency would happily disclose such information. MPs in both state and federal parliaments are required to disclose gifts and there are penalties if they fail to do so. It seems that Mr Cowie and his councillors think they should be subject to a much more lenient level of public scrutiny. I suspect that the majority of ratepayers of the shire would think otherwise. Robin Cooper, Mt Eliza Editor: A long term councillor with the former Shire of Mornington, Robin Cooper was elected as the Liberal MP for Mornington in 1985. In 1987 he was appointed arts and police and emergency services minister before moving to local government and tourism and then public transport in the Kennett government in 1990. Mr Cooper retired before the 2006 state election.

Trouble ‘exaggerated’ As a member of many a community group committees, with nary a coloured face among them, given the pristine WASPness of the Mornington Peninsula, I would really like to know where [Flinders MP Greg Hunt] and his colleagues gain their knowledge of African youth and the issues they may face. I have made a point of finding out about our local indigenous people and tribal groups in Africa, as well as Islamic groups. Have they? An examination of crime figures by youth shows that approximately one per cent are committed by Sudanese youth. I believe support by Mr Hunt of [Home Affairs Minister Peter] Dutton is disgusting, given his equal lack of knowledge and his attempts to stir up trouble by exaggerating issues of young people on the streets of Melbourne. Unfortunately, having worked for over 50 years and now being on income close to the poverty line, I cannot afford to go to the restaurants of which Mr Dutton spoke with his broad knowledge of what happens in Melbourne. The few I have been to have certainly not caused me any fear, nor have I ever been scared of the few people of colour with whom I have travelled on the trains. I am more fearful of white young men who, as a former psychologist, I judge have mental issues which are not being addressed by the poorly supported outreach services. How dare MPs think they express the views of all Australians. As with their lack of humanity in solving the issues of Nauru and Manus, their political expediency is “unAustralian” and repulsive. One could almost imagine there is a state election in the offing for which a beat up of law and order issues is paramount over the fact that most crime rates are down. Barb Rimington, Balnarring

Poisonous politics Brian A Mitchelson, stop digging, we all know by now that you may have become older, but you surely have not become wiser. [Home Affairs Minister] Peter Dutton is now trying to give the liberals in Victoria a helping hand by criticising another disadvantaged group of immigrants. I wonder if [state opposition leader] Mathew Guy is appreciating it? It seems Dutton has already conceded the next federal election to Labor and the Greens, so the only thing he thinks he can do is to help keep this poisonous brand of politics alive in a

Victorian Liberal government. No thank you Mr Dutton. Rupert Steiner, Balnarring

Action needed “Lock yourself in a bathroom and dial 000,” we are told. Meanwhile, your house is ransacked and if you’re lucky you are not bashed, or worse, before police arrive. Defend yourself with a weapon or even simply point a legally registered firearm, despite many of these thugs having guns, then you are charged with a crime. It never used to be like this. Our current insane legal system has seen us degenerate from a rough ‘n’ ready laid back mob to a society of cowering victims. We are told that Melbourne as an unsafe place is “absolute garbage”. It must be very reassuring to the dozens of innocent victims whose lives have been changed by violent invasions to their homes and businesses. Talk is cheap. Somebody do something. Austin Sadler, Mornington

Solo swimming The commentary from Carol Dickman (“Pool support” Letters 19/12/17) highlights how we now live in a community where an individual’s personal interests seek to override what is in best interests of the broader community. Ms Dickman swims regularly at the privatelyowned and operated Colchester Rd, Rosebud swimming centre and I commend her for that. However, she is not satisfied with that facility and wants a 50 metre pool to better suit her requirements. Ms Dickman encourages others to review the business case and back the 50m pool option. Clearly her self interest overrides the need to actually read the business case herself, as she would have then seen that for a 50m pool to be functionally viable, you need a catchment area of at least 100,000 people. The southern peninsula catchment area has just under 57,000 people and is projected to grow to about 68,000 over the next 13 years. Why should the ratepayers of this shire fork out an extra $700,000 each year (as explained at page 45 of the business case) from its rate base, just so Ms Dickman and other lap swimmers don’t have to make as many tumble turns. Ms Dickman’s letter also thanks Cr Antonella Celi for her “continued passionate representation of the case for a much-needed 50m indoor pool”. Surely this can’t be the same Cr Celi who, just a few years ago, was both a vigorous and tearful champion of a 25m pool complex on the foreshore? Irony is not lost on some that Cr Celi is now solidly backing the Besgrove St, Rosebud location for the pool; a location that she so belittled during the “SPA on the foreshore” fiasco. Had she not decried Besgrove St back then in favour of the monument on the foreshore I believe we would all be swimming now. Ian Bennett, Fingal

Selective regulations While it is extremely positive for the Hastings area to receive an economic boost from the recent [Under the Southern Skies]music event on Hastings foreshore, one question which needs to be pointed out is how did the organisers manage to close local roads without any public notification? As a member of the volunteer team who ran and managed the Western Port Festival last year, our committee of management received criticism from VicRoads and Mornington Peninsula Shire, despite spending thousands of dollars on variable message sign boards, hand delivering 1750 notices to letterboxes, and other activities to notify the general public of road closures. If both VicRoads and the shire can find the inclination to critique a local not-for-profit volunteer group which spends significant time planning to make sure it meets specific legislative requirements, then surely they should be doing the same for a private company that runs events to make money.

It would be a shame if VicRoads and the shire were to turn a blind eye to the activities (or in this case, lack of activity) of a private company running an event, while on the other side of the coin, attacking and creating financial burdens for a community group which runs the largest free entry, multi-day event on the peninsula. Will VicRoads and the shire hold the organisers of Under the Southern Skies to any form of accountability by asking why the public was not notified of road closures, or will they only decide to uphold rules and regulations for easy targets such as volunteers and community groups? Chris Fisher, Hastings

Popularity problems We have had a house in Dromana for more than 40 years and each year the peninsula has become more popular as a holiday destination. However, each year I’m becoming further disappointed with the number of people sleeping overnight and illegally camping. For example today, 6 January, the same family as in other years is camped out near the pergolas across the road from the Dromana Hotel. They do this each year and nobody stops them. Each year the tents are becoming bigger, the family takes up all four tables and refuses to share with anyone. What hope do we as ratepayers have of enjoying the pristine area we so deserve to enjoy over the summer period? Walk around early in the morning and you can see people illegally camping and sleeping in their cars. The amount of rubbish they leave behind is a disgrace and nobody from the [Mornington Peninsula] council or police do anything about it. It’s such a pity with what our area has become. Can’t something be reported or done? These people should be stopped. Name and address supplied, Dromana

Council neglect It is so disheartening to see Mornington Peninsula Shire again put visitors before residents. Once again this summer the population has tripled yet council turns a blind eye to the mess left behind by visitors and the total disregard for the pristine environment we as residents choose to live in 365 days a year. How does this council fail to be proactive knowing that there will be an increase in rubbish left behind by this swelling population. It is the responsibility of council to increase the number of rubbish bins at this time of year along the foreshore to avoid rubbish being left by people too lazy and too ignorant to take it with them. Council also continues to turn a blind eye to illegal parking which on a number of occasions has left residents being blocked in their own streets. The council needs to listen to the residents and stop looking to simply appease the summer visitors. I do not understand how the council fails every summer on the same issues causing on going inconvenience for the residents who support the local area every day of the year and not just during the summer months. Nadia Wilson, Safety Beach

Exodus is coming I’ve been whinging about the January influx (invasion) for years now; time to list the pleasures. Two quiet Sunday beers around 4.30pm at the RSL, almost empty, a lull. The first Sunday in January is always that little bit better; the second Sunday better still, third Sunday almost heaven but, best of all, is Sunday the 28 January, two days after Australia Day. Every Sunday evening, knowing a percentage are leaving to go back to work, thinning out nicely, gradually. Yes, they all return for the horror of Australia Day, but like the odd single day of 40 degree heat, there’s a calm in knowing the next day is mass exodus (arrivederci) day, and no carnival as a bonus. There’s a degree of sadness for our shopkeepers, some in tears no doubt, softened likely by the oodles of cash retrieved from the till. Cliff Ellen, Rye

Times have changed I see Brian A Michelson’s answer in reply to Heather Forbes-McKeon (“We’re all equal” Letters 9/1/18) as being pathetic, archaic and misogynistic. To refer to Ms Fobes-McKeon as a “silly girl”, is downright rude.

This guy claims that there are female sexual predators out there. I am yet to read of a bloke being gang raped by a group of women. I have yet to hear of a male being raped and murdered by a female. Brian, there are no ugly people out there. They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I feel sure that Mrs Mitchelson, if there is one, found you attractive at some stage. To call people plain is just an unfeeling attitude to your fellow man. I don’t know where Brian met up with women who are sleaze bags but, in my 75 years, I am yet to meet one. Women have historically been pursued by men, but some blokes still are of the belief that they have the right to bang the woman over the head and drag her off to the cave. The Old Testament (if you like to read fanciful garbage) that was written by some old farts who obviously had a bad experience with women, made sure the female population was treated as second rate humans (humans, not chattels). I bet if there had been a Mrs Methusla, she would have been tied to the sink for 700 years. For years males have gotten away with sexual predation and, thankfully, women are starting to find their voice and prosecuting some of these low lifes, whether it has been years of suffering at the hands of these people or just recently. Finally, to quote Brian A Mitchelson, he and others like him, are slightly imperfect. John Cain, McCrae

Dangerous views At first glance one could be forgiven for thinking that Brian A Mitchelson’s letter (“We’re all equal” Letters 9/1/18) was an attempt at humour or perhaps a poorly crafted caricature of a man firmly stuck in the dark ages. Indeed, readers could be forgiven for thinking that they were reading not the letters column, but that other fine feature in the same paper, “100 years ago this week”. Sadly, based on his past correspondence, the reality would seem to be that Mr Mitchelson’s letter isn’t intended to be humorous but accurately reflects his firmly held and deeply offensive views about women. It would be tempting to ignore his misogyny, but the danger is that such views, given an airing in the public domain, may become a focus for others who might relate to his flawed beliefs. All that is needed for such an objectionable regard for women to become acceptable is for them to go unchallenged. Mr Mitchelson’s ideas come at a time when women around the world are protesting against sexual abuse, bullying and harassment from men in their workplaces. That he should seek to justify and minimise the devastating effects of such behaviour is hugely disappointing. Hopefully there will be sufficient reaction to his comments from other men that will encourage him to consider challenging his ideas about women, or if that fails, to keep them to himself. Geoff Selby, Moorooduc

Starved on the range What benefit is a free range life if you are starved of food and harassed by unfriendly neighbours? Is that why the “free-range” eggs we have been buying have such fragile shells, watery albumen and yolks that break when the eggs are cracked into a cup, let alone a dish of boiling water Yesterday I decided to buy a dozen of those bad-mouthed “cage” eggs. Lunch today was poached eggs on toast. The “caged” eggs broke sharply, pale yolks admittedly, but the enclosing membrane held and the albumen was firm. What are they doing to those poor free- range chooks. Pop them in a bare paddock with thousands of others, throw a bit of crushed seed about and let them root for themselves? Any thoughts anyone? Henry Broadbent, Somers

Blue over hotel Hotel developer Julian Gerner states that “The magnificent limestone [Sorrento Hotel] building is deserving of restoration and preservation” (“Partnership to restore hotel” The News 12/12/17). Pity he didn’t have the same concerns before he painted his heritage listed limestone fish and chip shop in Sorrento bright blue. Ken Hailes, Sorrento Mornington News

16 January 2018


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