Ah­ern ac­count sparks praise and ques­tions

The Courier-Mail - - LETTERS -

YOUR Ed­i­to­rial (Sep, 16) was so right to say that for­mer Queens­land pre­mier Mike Ah­ern (pic­tured) set in train a se­ries of events that helped make Queens­land what it is today and has right­fully earned an ex­alted place in the his­tory of the state.

He led with in­tegrity and com­pas­sion and re­spect for others while hav­ing a clear vi­sion for the fu­ture. And above all he put the in­ter­ests of the state be­fore his own per­sonal in­ter­ests.

He acted with great courage against cor­rupt con­duct by com­mit­ting his gov­ern­ment to the Fitzger­ald re­form, lock, stock and bar­rel. And he is still serv­ing the state in a self­less way, par­tic­u­larly in the char­i­ta­ble sec­tor.

He de­serves to be ex­alted so he can in­spire fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of politi­cians to fol­low his lead. David Muir, In­dooroop­illy HOW many years has Mike Ah­ern had to trot out the Joh/ AIDS/Abo­rig­ine story? Is he feel­ing ir­rel­e­vant? The an­tiJoh band­wagon is more like a full-blown orches­tra, with the most stri­dent mu­si­cians be­ing the ones whose achieve­ments for Queens­land pale in com­par­i­son with Joh’s.

Do they know that his rel­a­tives are still alive? There must be some­thing more im­por­tant, but Joh is an easy tar­get. Claims, in­nu­en­dos, ac­cu­sa­tions – you name it – all bunkum and mean­ing­less. Peter Cor­ran, Manly West MIKE Ah­ern’s “rec­ol­lec­tions” of Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen come through the prism of his own well-doc­u­mented fallingout with his pre­de­ces­sor. As such, they should be treated with the same cau­tion as, say, any as­per­sions on Kevin Rudd by his suc­ces­sor Ju­lia Gil­lard.

Sir Joh never claimed to be per­fect. But he was a leader of enor­mous courage, in­dus­try and vi­sion whose mon­u­men­tal achieve­ments for Queens­land have been pub­licly ac­knowl­edged, even by Peter Beattie.

Where others gave us mount­ing debt, he gave us reg­u­lar sur­pluses, as well as keep­ing the en­vi­ron­men­tal ex­trem­ists in check.

How about a lit­tle grat­i­tude in­stead of con­stant snip­ing and neg­a­tiv­ity when­ever his name comes up. Bren­ton Minge, Can­non Hill MIKE Ah­ern stated that his cab­i­net col­league Brian Austin did not de­serve to be sent to jail for rort­ing his ex­penses.

But when com­pared with today’s politi­cians who are reg­u­larly caught abus­ing their ex­penses, the pun­ish­ment un­for­tu­nately, more of­ten that not, is only pub­lic em­bar­rass­ment and the re­quest to re­pay the money.

Min­is­ters need to be held to the high­est stan­dards par­tic­u­larly where pub­lic funds are con­cerned. Surely the age of en­ti­tle­ment where tax­pay­ers are billed for friv­o­lous ex­penses has to stop. Mil­vio DiBar­tolomeo, Welling­ton Pt

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