In search of Lost time
There is a big clock on the shabby Norwich Plaza building at the foot of Sturt Street. It confronts thousands of Ballarat citizens and visitors every day. Its hands have not moved for months. They had moved only fitfully since the turn of the century.
Time, it seems, is now frozen in this struggling quarter of the CBD. The nearby former Courier building is badged with the name of a firm that ceased in 2004. Broken and faded signage on the facade advertises a political party's local candidates for the State election. That's the 2002 election - just 16 years ago. Ballarat on the move!
It is surely reasonable to ask the owners and managers of these properties, in their own interests and those of the community, to make their clock reliable or remove it, to update their signage and spruce up their buildings. No rush, of course.
Frank Hurley, Alfredton
Inconsistent response on electoral rorting
How is it that in 2014 Daniel Andrews, as leader of the state opposition, said Labor would hold Frankston member of parliament Geoff Shaw in contempt for the misuse of his taxpayer-funded car yet the Labor parliamentarians who were authorising payments to field organisers using taxpayers’ money at the same time were doing nothing wrong.
He went on to say “Geoff Shaw is a rorter; he has no place in the Victorian Parliament”. Does that mean that the Labor politicians, some now ministers, who were involved in the field organisers’ racket have no right to sit in the Parliament as well?
As has been reported in the media, 21 Victorian Labor MPs have been named at the centre of a “Rorts for Votes” scheme and have been found to have breached parliamentary guidelines in the Ombudsman’s explosive report, which found Labor misused almost $400,000 during the 2014 election campaign.
The Ombudsman Deborah Glass found Labor “crossed a line” in the permissible use of MP entitlements during the 2014 state election campaign when it employed a team of field organisers who were paid in part by MPs’ staff allowances.
MPs’ electorate officers are appointed by the Parliament to work as support staff for the MP in undertaking their electoral duties not to be part of party political campaigns.
The Labor Government has also spent in excess of $1 million of taxpayers’ money trying to cover up this serious rort.
This must be paid back by Labor. This says a lot about the way we are being governed in Victoria. What else is the Andrews Government hiding? The Victorian electorate deserves better representation.
Ron Egeberg, Soldiers Hill
What else are they hiding?
It is clear that Labor Candidate for Buninyong, Michaela Settle, has some explaining to do about her role in the Labor "Votes for Rorts" affair that was detailed in the report released by the Ombudsman on March 21.
The report states that Ms Settle was "employed" by former Member for Ripon Joe Helper, but in fact she was working on the campaign to re-elect the Member for Wendouree, Sharon Knight.
While this is outrageous and a clear breach of the rules, this is not unusual for Daniel Andrews and Labor. They've rorted second-residence allowances, they've rorted printing allowances, they've rorted ministerial chauffeur provisions. Rorting is in Labor's DNA.
Ms Settle is now Labor's Candidate for Buninyong, and she must now come clean about what she knew about her employment arrangement during the 2014 election.
Did she know that the arrangement was as rort, or did she just burying her head in the sand not ask any questions? The people of Buninyong deserve better.
Joshua Morris MP