I have just obtained a copy of the syllabus for the community leadership program being conducted by the shire. Remember this concept was a concept of the Belts and Roads Labor state government. The Chinese leadership run a totalitarian state where one has to accept what the government decrees.

The community leadership program being run by shire employees is pushing for similar behaviour by our future leaders. Just accept what “Big Brother” (read shire administration) says you need to do. Do not ask critical questions and do not rock the boat. We have seen this in action already where the proposed Community Engagement Policy is being presented to the people of the shire without any real input from the community. We have a policy which suits the administration and not the residents.

Our current way of life and progression as a society has much to do with the Royal Society, established in 1663 – some 358 years past. “The Royal Society’s motto ‘Nullius in verba’ is taken to mean ‘take nobody’s word for it’. It is an expression of the determination of Fellows to withstand the domination of authority and to verify all statements by an appeal to facts determined by the experiment.”
Whilst this has led to the concept of peer review in scientific circles, the ability to apply critical thinking to issues is just as relevant in other areas of society. The community leadership program does not present any need for critical review or focus on good economic outcomes.

For instance, we depend on people casting a critical eye over expenditure and hopefully avoiding cases of fraud or wastefulness. We look to a collection of minds to provide good governance outcomes otherwise we might just as well have a dictatorship. Our history is littered with poor outcomes from dictatorships. We depend on broad representation to consider all areas of the community.

At present the shire is being governed by most of the leadership who do not live in our community. These people are on a guaranteed salary whether they work effectively or not. There will be plenty of spin that they are doing a good job and have some empathy for you but do not get in the way of their ideas about what is good for you. Similarly, do not have any desire to input into decisions which impact you.

I urge the participants in the Community Leadership program to reflect on the values of the Royal Society and the benefits of critical thinking. Don’t just rubber stamp the ideas presented to you.

Lindsay Love, Secretary, South Gippsland Action Group