On October 16, I pulled from my letterbox a somewhat curious full colour postcard funded by the Parliamentary Budget. I know who funded it because it was printed in the bottom, right-hand corner, white on light blue, in the tiniest of writing, barely a millimetre high. I took this to mean it was taxpayer funded.
The major item above it was a list of recently announced government and other projects including the funded Wonthaggi Hospital at $115 million, the Wonthaggi Secondary College and indoor sports stadium at $32 million. There was also the unfunded election promise of a rail extension to Clyde at $487 million. An odd mix, I thought. Why would the Parliament spend taxpayer money advertising this to me and many others, this on the eve of an election campaign and why such a mix of projects; some in delivery and the other, an election promise of nearly half a billion dollars, by the opposition no less?
All was revealed upon turning the card over, because there was Brian Paynter, all 10 images of him. As our Member of Parliament, he was letting me know that he had secured commitments to these projects. But hang on, it’s the government of the day that secures the commitment to spend multiple millions. Brian is not in government. Brian may advocate for the projects, just like the 10s if not hundreds of unpaid community volunteers who for years doggedly pursue the aim of a new school or hospital. No wonder in a couple of shots he looks a little sheepish, as the only well-paid advocate; it’s a bit rich to advertise, at taxpayer expense, that he extracted the commitments.
I have no doubt Brian is authentic in character, but this message is inauthentic. What sort of an organisation puts their local man of undoubted good character up to such claims?
The one project I know a little about that Brian claims credit for in one of the ten photos is a speed reduction to 40km/h in Inverloch. Despite repeated requests by volunteers of the school over years the initiator of this development was no one other than an unfortunate prep year student and a car. The rest of us, including Brian, were after the incident, by-standers.
Brian you have much to be proud of and it puzzles me as to why you sully your credibility with such odd assertions when it is a plain fact that neither you as an opposition back bencher nor your party in opposition set the priorities and allocate the money.
Why are you not instead advertising your crucial role in voting with the Labor government to pass the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017? This was a true game changer for us all. Ironically it was on October 17, 2017, almost a year ago to the day that you made your speech to parliament in support of this important change. This is something only you as our paid representative could have done. Thank you.
Ed Thexton, Inverloch.