Af­ford­able power sup­ply is crit­i­cal

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

The on­set of bit­terly cold con­di­tions across the re­gion in the past week has pro­vided us with a stark re­minder of how im­por­tant it is for peo­ple to be able to afford to stay warm.

De­bates about the cost of elec­tric­ity, gas and power in gen­eral oc­cur ad nau­seam.

But it is when the cold starts to re­ally bite that you get an un­der­stand­ing of why this is im­por­tant.

Anyone un­for­tu­nate to have bro­ken a gas or elec­tric heater or who has run out of wood in a house with in­ef­fi­cient

in­su­la­tion dur­ing the past week would have gained an un­der­stand­ing of what it means.

In some cir­cum­stances it can be just as hard for some, re­gard­less of how many lay­ers they ap­ply, to keep warm in­side a cold house as it is out­side in the el­e­ments.

Be­ing con­stantly cold can be as threat­en­ing as it is un­com­fort­able.

In the el­derly in par­tic­u­lar, the in­abil­ity to afford house­hold heat­ing can af­fect ev­ery­thing from gen­eral health to in­de­pen­dence.

This means the cost of energy to the house­hold, be it to cope with life hot or cold con­di­tions, can be more than a sim­ple bud­get­ing is­sue for the av­er­age con­sumer. It’s imperative that our lead­ers re­mem­ber this when con­tem­plat­ing de­ci­sions sur­round­ing es­sen­tial ser­vices.

* * *

One of the most dis­ap­point­ing,

if not damn­ing, sta­tis­tics com­ing out of the Fed­eral Elec­tion ear­lier this month is how many peo­ple voted ‘in­for­mally’.

In­for­mal votes, whether by choice or caused by vot­ers mak­ing mis­takes on their bal­lot papers, don’t count in a fi­nal re­sult.

We’re not sure how Wim­mera-mallee peo­ple de­ter­mined to have a say with their vote would feel know­ing the equiv­a­lent of a small re­gional city voted in­for­mally in their elec­torate.

But that’s what hap­pened in the di­vi­sion of Mallee.

The votes of more than 10,000 peo­ple, in a vot­ing pop­u­la­tion of about 100,000, did not count. In Wan­non, it was about 4000. We again re­mind vot­ers, re­gard­less of how dis­en­fran­chised they might feel about their po­lit­i­cal po­si­tion or cir­cum­stance, that they elim­i­nate any philo­soph­i­cal right and phys­i­cal chance of hav­ing any le­git­i­mate say of gov­er­nance if they place a ‘don­key’ vote dur­ing elec­tions.

His­tory shows, in all its bloody de­tail, that peo­ple have sac­ri­ficed lives to ei­ther win a vote or be able to vote at all in demo­cratic so­ci­eties.

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