NOT THE AUSTRALIA I USED TO LOVE ALL THESE YEARS
All good things in life come to an end sooner or later. Some would argue Australia is a prime example. I lasted 51 years, from age 19 to 70, without getting any fines. (I did get one parking ticket though).
Now 73, I have vivid memories of that day in Tully in 2013 which changed my life as I moved my Landcruiser. It was an absolute head turner. Well, that spoilt my 51-year record. Since then, fines have been raining down on me.
I’m still the same, I haven’t changed. Australia has. And not for the better. Nowadays the country I loved for the first 25-30 years is a lost cause as I see it, overgoverned, overregulated and overpriced.
Plus, it’s so hopelessly in debt – the Chinese must be laughing all the way to the bank.
The response from state governments to their appalling financial positions? Hit people out there and hit them hard for even the most trivial offences.
OK, I did blow .1 that night at Tully and I’m not suggesting that’s trivial. But, at age 70, it was my first offence and earlier that day I did learn that two relatives of mine in Denmark had died.
I was fined $1200 plus Offender Levy. That took the whole thing up to more than $1300, paid out of my pension, all I have now. My super’s gone, my savings too.
I am currently paying off another fine, worth $450. I learnt my lesson and this time, last November, I did not hire a lawyer and represented myself.
I got off lightly and have the utmost respect for the magistrate who showed compassion and leniency.
Come late February I have another court appearance coming up. My relatives in Denmark think I’m kidding.
This one is because I took my seatbelt off too soon, a few metres before parking my car at Mt Carbine. I was doing less than 20 km/h and didn’t see the constable behind a truck. The scene was electric, the atmosphere revenuecharged and under the circumstances I didn’t see the point in telling him the seatbelt was cutting into my injured shoulder.
Just as a I thought I could see a bit of light, I’m now staring at yet another fine ($545), from the Victorian Government, threatening to cancel my car registration unless I cough up. It’s tantamount to
extortion. I challenged the fine at the time because I thought I had a fair case.
Vicroads didn’t get back to me until now via the Sheriff’s Office. The fine has put on weight, considerably.
I’ve had enough. All I want is to go back to Denmark, so I can see out the last few years in peace, and with quality of life, no longer possible for a lot of pensioners here.
Erling Petersen, Julatten
rebelling at the treatment by the local council and the reduction of their allowance.
A first class production perfectly presented — accolades to all the cast and crew.
Peter Merrick, Mossman
Paws president Michael accepts a cheque from Greg Potter. Inset: The bowlers representing Bally Hooley: Daryl Hoskin (left) and Charlie Toohey