Letters to the Editor

April 27, 2017

‘Mentality needs to change’

VICTORIANS from Mildura to Melbourne are feeling the effects of criminals who no longer fear punishment, who see the court as a short-term hindrance rather than an institution of justice.

Youth criminals especially, have a growing sense of invulnerability that sees rampant crime sprees rage across our state.

Home invasions, car jackings, street crime, robberies, muggings, offenders are driven less by wealth and more by criminal notoriety.

And if eventually they do find themselves in a courtroom, the resultant sentencing does little to alter their perspective.

Society has a growing awareness of the stark bias that is emanating from the judicial system as a whole – a system meant to protect the population but which instead reeks of an agenda focused on minimising jail numbers and preferring drug induced, state-of-mind arguments as a viable defence.

This mentality needs to change if we hope to stem the social decline of Victoria.

For those in the country it is hard to find reliable avenues for voicing concern.

But with the help of social media regional Victorians have found a conduit for change in the form of a new social Facebook movement called Protect Victoria.

A home-grown assortment of citizens spanning age, race, religion, political circles and location and in just eight weeks Protect Victoria has grown to more than 15,600 active members, including thousands from country towns.

Protect Victoria’s community is aligned behind the message of its founder Hayden Bradford; a metropolitan father of two who brings a firm message to the Victorian Government.

It must refocus its their efforts on protecting society, or be replaced by those willing to do so.

Like any community group, the real power of Protect Victoria comes from the growth and unification of its members.

Country Victorians are a growing number within the group, and a sector of the population which provides invaluable support in vocalising the message of change across regional media channels.

The ultimate goal of Protect Victoria is to reduce crime and bring a sense of safety back to the homes of all Victorians.

Please join us.

Terry Bray, Protect Victoria

Opportunity to bridge gap missed

THE inaction of the Echuca Fire Brigade by not following the standing orders of the chief officers, which is to deliver on procedures in the Koori Action Plan, means Echuca itself has missed out on a good opportunity to bridge that gap for Indigenous and non Indigenous people within a great organisation such as the Country Fire Authority.

In 2016 the Country Fire Authority put out a notice to all brigades in Region 20 to attend an information and education evening.

Members of surrounding brigades did attend but unfortunately only one member from Echuca attended while other members had a meeting in an adjoining room and only surfaced for a cup of tea.

A great opportunity was missed at that important time.

I personally think maybe the Echuca Fire Brigade has poor leadership – it may be great at fighting fires but have poor leadership skills within.

Now just recently the opening of a new fire station has failed in protocols, as it clearly states what the CFA, through the Victorian Government, is trying to achieve in diversity and that is the Koori Inclusion Action Plan must be followed, such as a smoking or Welcome to Country by traditional owners.

I am disappointed when district operations manager John Cutting said it was an oversight when the opening and protocols were discussed back in 2016, and it is not a two way street for Aboriginal people when the doors are so blatantly shut as they were for this situation.

I thought Echuca had changed in its ways and understanding of the Indigenous people of its area but obviously it has not.

I am sure this does not include all members of the brigade – in fact I hope not.

I do know it does not include the CFA as a body.

Professor Henry Atkinson, Echuca

Brigade had ‘nothing to do’ with opening

RE: RIVERINE Herald article: Lack of Sensitivity.

As a long time Echuca Fire Brigade member and resident, I take the remarks made by Henry Atkinson, as a slight on the integrity on all of the volunteer members of the Echuca Fire Brigade.

The brigade members had nothing to do with the official opening arrangements other than to arrange and pay for morning tea for the guests, and issue invitations to former officers and members of which Henry was invited and declined, and long association with family members.

There is only one flag for all people living in Australia and this is flown with pride for our country.

Any other organisation with their own flag can fly it at their own establishment.

As to the Welcome to Country and Smoking ceremony, I don’t need a welcome to my own country, I was born and bred here, I have inhaled more gum leaf smoke in my career than on a tray.

The door has always been open to indigenous people for a long time, over the last 30 years, not one indigenous person applied to become a volunteer fire fighter with the Echuca Brigade.

Yet, you ridicule today’s members who give up their time to assist all members of our community.

Finally, I have no problem with any group keeping their traditions etc alive but don’t force them onto me as I have my own traditions and beliefs.

AG Eley, Echuca

Proud to watch State Olympic Games

RECENTLY I was privileged to attend the State Olympic Games in Melbourne for Special Olympic Swimming and Bocce.

Twenty-four excited participants and carers left Friday evening for the trip to Melbourne where they were joined by several cars of more excited swimmers, players and supporters.

Saturday morning in a buzz of expectation, off we went to the venue for the march and torch arrival and lighting of the flame, then off to the separate venues to set up team areas, meet old friends and warm up.

‘‘Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt’’ — this is the motto and code.

Let the games begin.

My thanks is to the coaches who train these athletes weekly to improve their strokes and styles of bowling action, their carers and the hundreds of volunteers who helped run all the events, not only for the day but continually giving one hundred percent over and over again, year in year out.

They are the salt of the earth.

Congratulations to all the athletes who swim and play their hearts out and who cheer on every participant until the finish line is reached, for their courage and perseverance on a daily basis to achieve their highest potential.

Faye Berryman, Echuca

‘Poorly informed green zealots’

THERE are alarming similarities with a number of present issues in Australia, whether it is shark attacks, mining development or food production.

Each of these is threatened by environmental ideologists, many living a comfortable city-based life, who don’t have ‘skin in the game’.

When the WA Government tried to control shark numbers in the interests of human safety its proposed actions were abandoned after public protest. But who led the protesting?

As one shark attack victim recently pointed out, the protesters were not surfers or swimmers … their lives were not jeopardised by the increased shark population that was causing a subsequent increase in attacks and deaths. Regardless, the noise of this minority forced a government back down.

The result: More sharks, more shark attacks.

In regional Queensland where unemployment is rampant the $16.5 billion Adani project will be the economic saviour for many communities. Yet the project is threatened by green activists, who again are mostly arguing from the comfort or their city abodes.

As one prominent newspaper stated in its editorial this week: “The environmental objections of green groups to the Adani project are hollow, fuelled by a gullible media”.

Menzies Research Centre executive director Nick Cater described it as “the fanciful claims of the fruitcake fringe”, commenting that “the interests of workers are sacrificed for environmental populism”.

Then we have water policy, which is again led by this same ‘green’ element who are not invested in the affected communities, nor have any genuine understanding of either water resources, food and fibre production, or the link between the two.

They support a flawed Murray-Darling Basin Plan, at a cost of $13 billion to the Australian taxpayers which was recently described by former NSW Director-General of Water Resources Peter Millington as “an inappropriate piece of legislation that expressly prevents integrated river basin planning” and shows “a lack of consideration of food security and food and fibre productivity issues over the short, medium and long term”.

Three separate issues with one common denominator – ill-informed green zealots with unhealthy political clout.

It is time for our politicians to truly represent the best interests of our nation and stand up to this minority, making decisions based on action not spin. We will then all be better off.

Vicki Meyer, Deniliquin, NSW

’Dan has over-stretched’

YET, another of Victoria’s enigmatic (and supposedly pragmatic) Premier Daniel Andrews’ ‘what’s next’ riddles?

Because, just what’s ‘Dodgy’ Dan expect of the well respected former murder specialist detective Ron Iddles?

We all know our Dan’s foibles (not to mention ‘Law & Order’ failures) will surely pass into Victorian folklore!

So, with Ron Iddles’ Crime Watch all the way from Cairns in Queensland, our Dan has over-stretched…‘The long arm of the law?’

Howard Hutchins, Chirnside Pk

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