The Border Watch : February 6th 2015
8 opinion EDiToRiAL YESTERDAY’S announcement that the State Government has done a sudden blackflip on the roll-out of bike lanes on Bay Road in Mount Gambier is certainly a win for the notion of people power and strong political lobbying. The decision also demonstrates the weight of the press after The Border Watch ran a prominent story on the bike lane issue on Tuesday. In that story, car dealer Noel Barr and Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell voiced their disgust over the announcement development of bike lane works would begin next week. The Border Watch also ran a strong editorial on the issue calling for the government to halt works and scrap timed bike lanes given the “lack of riding to work culture” in the city. State Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan must now be praised for listening, stepping in and halting the works by the transport department at the 11th hour. It was extraordinary to see the minister revealing he was “dismayed” by the decision by the transport department to move ahead with the works despite him brokering a deal with Mr Bell in December when The Border Watch highlighted the issue to the minister as part of his visit to the region. It is understood the department - which appears to be the driving force behind these inner-city bike lanes - moved ahead with scheduling the works while Mr Mullighan was overseas. Mr Mullighan’s intervention demonstrates clearly he is prepared to listen to the community and explore other options. The minister’s comments also show he is willing to potentially scrap the proposal given his argument that sometimes the principles applied to planning transport infrastructure, such as bike lanes, in the city did not apply equally in regional centres such as Mount Gambier. These comments certainly open up the door for further discussions. While the plan for bike lanes on Bay Road has not been scrapped indefinitely, the minister’s decision gives the community some breathing space to explore other options. ViSiT US onLinE borderwatch.com.au CoMMEnT The drums are beating as voters turn off Tony Abbott ROM THE FRONT PORCH government with Mr Abbott becoming prime minister. Much of the Libs’ success was due to REENWOOD R GRAHAM R , whether in politics, business or sport, is about making tough decisions, regardless of how unpopular they may be. ESTABLISHED 1861 Published by The Border Watch Pty Ltd ABN: 78 007 828 819 Registered office: 81 Commercial Street East, Mount Gambier, SA 5290 Postal address: Box 309, Mount Gambier, SA 5290 Telephone: 08 8724 1555; Fax: 08 8724 1551 Website: www.borderwatch.com.au SMS: 0427 135 114 Proud member of the If you look through the chronicles of history there have been many leaders who made the tough call to become great leaders. Prime ministers such as Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and John Howard are good examples. Bob Hawke successfully negotiated his way through a minefield with unions to strike an accord that while it limited pay rises for rebellious unions, it created greater productivity and eventually produced a better economy. As treasurer, Paul Keating deregulated banks and floated the dollar, opening up opportunities for greater investment and an improved economy. The Border Watch Management: General Manager: Robin Reid Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Editor: Jason Wallace Email: email@example.com Sports Editor: Rod Morris Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Sales Manager: Dennis Jackson Email: email@example.com Pre-Press Manager: Jamie Croker Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Administration Manager: Chelsea Sargeant Email: email@example.com Audited by Audit Bureau of Circulations The Border Watch Telephone 8724 1555, Fax 8724 1551 Responsibility for editorial comment is taken by Jason Wallace, 81 Commercial Street East, Mt Gambier The Border Watch proudly uses 100% recycled paper 661359 8 - The Border Watch, Friday, February 6, 2015 John Howard had the courage to introduce a GST, yet still win an election. All prime ministers were successful because they had an ability to debate, negotiate, were good salesmen and convinced voters it was the correct decision. Prior to the last federal election I wrote that the “jury was still out” in regard to how voters perceived Tony Abbott. Despite his poor popularity in surveys, voters backed the Liberals and they won STREET SWEEpER LUCY BIGGIN Mount Gambier I would use ice as a superpower. Labor’s appalling record, with Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard both failing as prime ministers, leaving Australia with a huge deficit and an even bigger debt. It is a debt that today costs $1b a month or more than $30m per day in borrowed money, just to repay interest. After 15 months in government, the Libs under Tony Abbott, are trailing badly in the polls. Why? Well, basically Mr Abbott and his government alienated itself from so many sections of the community with many poorly thought-out or ill-conceived Budget measures, such as the $7 GP co-payment. With the country facing a huge debt, blind Freddie could see that Mr Abbott’s refusal to dump his $4b per year parental leave scheme was damaging his financial credibility. He finally axed his pet project this week but it was too late. Sure, he stopped the boats, axed the carbon and mining taxes but with so many mixed messages on major issues it helped confirm what the electorate was already thinking - that the prime minister is not a strong leader. His government’s failure to negotiate the Budget through a hostile Senate would not have happened under John Howard or Paul Keating. They were leaders who got things done. But the most worrying point has been Mr Abbott’s failure to “sell” the successes achieved by his government. These include improved relationships with key neighbours such as Indonesia, Japan and China, free trade agreements with Japan and China, the return of an improved live cattle trade, Australia’s strong stand in its fight against terror, led the world by criticising Russia leader Vladimir Putin over the MH17 plane crash and sliced off $150b from the country’s peak debt. And, axing the carbon tax cut power bills by 10pc. In the latest poll, Mr Abbott’s personal approval rating has dropped to just 27pc and during the past week there have been increasing commentary about when, rather than if, the Libs dump their leader. Mr Abbott’s lack of leadership was evident before the election when he should have been honest with voters and said it was obvious that to repay debt, there would have to be pain and new taxes. Instead of having the courage to explain what needed to be done, he lied. Australia and the Liberals right now need a leader who leads. In the coming weeks it will become clearer just how much time Mr Abbott has left in The Lodge. In the meantime, Mr Abbott claims he will not stand down but the Libs can’t and won’t win while he is leader. The drums are beating, the electorate is no longer listening to Mr Abbott, and the Libs must act sooner rather than later so the new team has time to present itself to the electorate as a good, responsible government and one that is worthy of being elected at the next election. As part of our commitment to the City of Mount Gambier Charter for Children, this section will be used to voice the views of youngsters each Friday. If you had superpowers, what would they be? HOLLY ALLISON Mount Gambier I would have ice, fire, water and spiderwebs. ISHIMAHERI BARAKA Mount Gambier I would have water, fire, snow and ice.
February 5th 2015
February 10th 2015