Gold fever hits Victorian Upper House

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Gold is Victoria’s new mineral emblem, whether the state needs a rocky symbol or not.

Upper house Liberal leader David Davis introduced the motion to declare gold Victoria’s official mineral emblem at the Legislative Council sitting in Bendigo yesterday.

“In this case the mineral emblem will signify the history of the state and the contribution of regional centres like Bendigo and Ballarat in the development of our state,” Mr Davis said.

The motion was supported by politicians on both sides of the house, but that didn’t stop members of the opposition from mocking the general idea of a mineral emblem.

Labor MP Shaun Leane was most vocal in his disdain.

“I must be a weirdo, I have never sat down and pondered, ‘what is my favourite mineral?’,” he laughed.

“I congratulate David Davis on that.

“We come all the way down here and the best Mr Davis can do is move a motion, which is basically, ‘yay for gold’.”

When booed for his negativity by the government “gold worshippers”, Mr Leane was ready with another quip.

“You can’t be offended on behalf of gold, because it’s got no feelings,” he said repeatedly, laughing.

Upper house Nationals leader Peter Hall tried to wrestle back the debate when he revealed a 28-ounce gold nugget, worth $100,000.

The prop gave Liberal MP Donna Petrovich “gold fever”, but failed to impress the opposition members.

They clearly had one thing on their minds, repeatedly trying to hijack the gold debate to talk about the government’s vocational training reforms.

Labor MP Jaala Pulford grew up in Muckleford and said she realised the importance of the gold rush in developing the region. But she questioned the need for debate on a new emblem, especially since it had so many already.

“We could spend a little less time on symbols and emblems and a little more time on a regional jobs plan,” Ms Pulford said.

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