Take the gag off our great city

Geelong Advertiser - - NEWS -

GRRRR! Can some­one please ex­plain why every politi­cian we elect — ex­cept Gee­long coun­cil­lors — can have the ba­sic hu­man right of free speech?

That’s right, free speech. Demo­cratic free speech. But not here in Gee­long. Why? Be­cause Vic­to­ria Premier Daniel An­drews is ter­ri­fied Gee­long’s coun­cil­lors might some­how threaten his ter­ri­ble gov­ern­ment’s chances of re-elec­tion.

As if he hasn’t done enough dam­age on that front him­self. The CFA, the bil­lion-dol­lar East-West Link fi­asco, the de­sal plant we don’t need, La­bor MP ex­penses scan­dals, La­bor MP cash for branch stacks, Safe Schools, Hazel­wood … you know the story.

Now, his ap­pointees run­ning the City of Greater Gee­long like a to­tal­i­tar­ian state are crack­ing down on fu­ture coun­cil­lors speak­ing on any key city an­nounce­ments, con­tro­ver­sial mat­ters or coun­cil out­comes with­out prior ap­proval of the mayor. What!? Your fu­ture demo­crat­i­cal­ly­elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives — af­ter your pre­vi­ous demo­crat­i­cal­ly­elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives were sacked — are go­ing to be gagged.

Where the hell does Daniel An­drews think we’re liv­ing … com­mu­nist Rus­sia, Red China, North Korea? Maybe some tin­pot ba­nana repub­lic dic­ta­tor­ship?

What on earth makes him think he has the right to talk but other politi­cians don’t?

This is out­ra­geous. It is an abuse of power, a po­lit­i­cally-mo­ti­vated as­sault on free speech. It is a bla­tant at­tempt to serve his own La­bor Party’s self-in­ter­est.

Make no mis­take, Daniel An­drews is panic-stricken about po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents in Gee­long. And he doesn’t want any op­po­nents that might emerge from a new coun­cil talk­ing him, his gov­ern­ment or his poli­cies down.

Gee­long is cru­cial to any state or fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s chances of win­ning of­fice. Lose Gee­long and you’re all but guar­an­teed of losing the elec­tion.

That’s why he sacked the coun­cil where I served as mayor on trumped-up charges of poor gover­nance and bul­ly­ing.

But guess what? Our books were good, un­em­ploy­ment was fall­ing dra­mat­i­cally, in­vest­ment was pow­er­ful, pos­i­tive pub­lic­ity for the city had never been higher — yep, pretty poor gover­nance.

And another thing, he’s never named the coun­cil bullies. Not even un­der the coward’s cas­tle priv­i­lege of Par­lia­ment.

Funny how there’s been a mass exit of se­nior staffers from City Hall, though. Won­der how many got fat pack­ages to clear out? Didn’t hap­pen to the coun­cil­lors.

Come on, Daniel An­drews, don’t try telling Gee­long it has to shut up.

Gee­long needs its voice more than ever now.

It needs that voice to shout down the as­sault on free speech, the po­lit­i­cal abuses of power and the ob­vi­ous self-in­ter­est com­ing out of Spring St.

But wait, it gets worse. Not only does Daniel An­drews want to shut up your coun­cil­lors, he’s ap­point­ing two hench­men — sorry, one of them is a hench woman — to sup­pos­edly re­store good gover­nance.

Ob­vi­ously frustrated that he couldn’t keep his com­mis­sion­ers in and put the elec­tion off, he’s now putting Jude Munro and Peter Dor­ling in as school pre­fects. It’s about the cheap­est, most trans­par­ent, po­lit­i­cal stunt pos­si­ble.

Jude was on the com­mis­sion of in­quiry that ul­ti­mately turfed out the coun­cil. And for God’s sake, Peter Dor­ling is one of the com­mis­sion­ers.

And Gee­long do you be­lieve they are be­ing paid $1200 per day of your money to be ma­ture, elected coun­cil­lors’ babysit­ters?

This is be­yond the realms of un­be­liev­able and an ab­so­lute dis­grace and in­sult to every de­cent ratepayer in the com­mu­nity of Gee­long.

These kind of ac­tions from the An­drews gov­ern­ment beg­gars be­lief and that’s why they need to be sacked at the next elec­tion for wast­ing your money.

He’s been welded at the hip for­ever to the big end of town that Gee­long needs to es­cape if it’s ever go­ing to get any­where.

Oh, did any­one no­tice how the com­mis­sion­ers will al­most triple Gee­long coun­cil’s debt over the next four years, from $45 mil­lion to $125 mil­lion?

That’s called cre­at­ing a po­lit­i­cal li­a­bil­ity in Gee­long. It will suit La­bor in the lead-up to the 2022 state elec­tion af­ter it’s thrown out of of­fice next year.

It’s an old po­lit­i­cal trick when you’re on the nose … lump the in­com­ing gov­ern­ment with as much debt as you pos­si­bly can.

Gee­long is be­ing set up to fail. It’s de­plorable.

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