Bendigo Advertiser letters to the editor

Australians finding it hard to pay bills

So acting Prime Minister Tony Abbott is going to cross the floor if there is any attempt to introduce a clean energy target.

Most would say, Tony, while you are at it, keep going straight out the door, through the security fence, get on your bike, and wander back to your electorate where 70% disagree with you on most things. Your record is abysmal. You ran a scare campaign against the carbon tax and look at the result, a complete turn about with a 100% increase in energy bills in the last 5 years. The LNP sold off our power stations, collected the loot, ignored the repercussions, and now want the taxpayer to build coal fired power stations to clean up the mess.  I thought we had a budget emergency. 

Is there anybody in this government that has any idea what is required to guarantee ordinary Australians that their power bills will not exceed their bank balance. So, we have known for the last decade that the looming crisis was coming, but as usual with the political process, the interference of lobbyists,vested interests, and political favours, this crisis has been ignored. The chief scientist was requested to do a repot on this issue. The government has this report and have done nothing, except argue about its contents. The situation has hit crisis point, because all of those people who could not afford to turn the heater on during the winter, risk being fried to a crisp when the summer heat arrives, because they cannot afford to turn the air conditioner on, let alone turn it off for a short while to get a reduction in your bill. Yes, we are talking about Australia.

Ken Price, Eaglehawk

Right to secret vote

I was concerned when I read the report of the latest City of Bendigo council meeting (Advertiser 21st Sept), when some councilors answered, when asked how they had voted in a recent secret ballot. Over the years many generations have fought to gain universal suffrage culminating in a secret ballot in order that they may vote free of intimidation.

Now we have that right, some people believe that, either for self-publicity, or in order to appease an intimidating crowd they give them the answer they demand by divulging their vote. Is our hard fought for democracy facing a challenge to be transformed into a public spectacle rather than a secret ballot?

Imagine future elections, where candidates/parties could set up tables in a hall and voters told to attend the candidate/party of their choice, and sign a form signifying their vote allowing all to be subject to bullying and intimidation. Later the press could publish the names of those who voted and for whom, after all that's what some people seem to crave these days. It could be in the form of a footy league table , or perhaps "births deaths and marriages, after all democracy would be dead, and that, surprisingly is what a number of people seem to be fighting to achieve.

After an election conducted by secret ballot I would have to question the motives of anyone having the audacity to ask anyone how they voted, and the ethics of anyone giving an answer to such an intrusive question. The fundamental reason behind the creation of a secret ballot is that unless someone is in the booth with you when casting your vote, no one can dispute or verify your answer, so you can give any answer you like, and no doubt many do. At least one councilor was capable of comprehending the meaning of the word secret; I suppose one out of nine is not too bad.    

David Arscott, Kangaroo Flat