Sunday, July 27, 2008

It's Jeff all over again

The first few letters to the editor here respond to the 'Brumby Superhero' article of last week.

Click here to read them in The Age.

A sample :

Melissa Fyfe's profile of John Brumby could be boiled down to one sentence: "John Brumby is a grimmer, more humourless version of Jeff Kennett."

Melissa Fyfe's profile of John Brumby ("It's Action Man to the rescue?" 20/7) could be boiled down to one sentence: "John Brumby is a grimmer, more humourless version of Jeff Kennett." Brumby has the same disdain for due process that Kennett had, using the "commercial-in-confidence" tag to hide questionable deals with the big end of town.

Brumby has the same blind faith in privatisation that has led to massive degradation of the public transport system. Like Kennett's environmental record, Brumby's is poor (as evidenced by the hugely expensive and debatable desalination plant and the north-south water pipeline). And Brumby possibly out-Kennetts Kennett in the nastiness of his political campaigning, as shown by the blatant lies told recently in Kororoit.

It is appropriate to conclude that nowhere is Brumby more disliked than by the people closest to him - the ALP rank and file in Brumby's own seat of Broadmeadows.


Your editorial (20/7) accurately describes the state Victoria is experiencing with Premier Brumby at the helm. It's difficult to assess who profits from the $850 million myki ticketing debacle, or the bay dredging, the desalination plant, the extensive freeway construction, the PPP development projects (such as the St Kilda Triangle) and so on - certainly not us, the electorate. I think that the "man of steel" reference is prophetic. If Mr Brumby wants to avoid a political demise like the previous "man of steel", John Howard, it is not too late for him to preside over a more transparent government and listen carefully to the rising murmur of discontent from his constituents.


Melissa Fyfe refers to John Brumby as "Action Man, can-do leader, superhero" etc (20/7). Like many Victorians, my perception of the man is of bumbling buffoon, environmental assassin or whatever complements Tory Ted's "Inaction Man". Fyfe's piece fails to thoroughly examine the Colt's credentials and, when put under the microscope, they come up short in a big way.

As the downturn in the state's main economic drivers, manufacturing and agriculture, declines, so does the economic outlook for Victoria. Brumby's reaction to that is to bet our money on fool's gold - projects that will be of no lasting value to the state or the country. I refer, of course, to the desalination plant, the north-south pipeline and Rod Eddington's transport plan. And, of course, now the Colt wants to build another coal-fired power generator.

Under the Premier's definition (as an opposer of the north-south pipeline), I am a liar. Leaders lead, they make the hard decisions. When they make these decisions, however, they consult with those whom the decisions affect, they show compassion and understanding. Leaders are not given to fits of petulance, they don't bully people, they don't name-call people who may disagree with them and they don't demean those people by undermining their civil liberties.


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