Cootamundra Herald letters to the editor, August 11, 2017

ANSWERS: Peter Batey has questioned the intentions of the self-appointed community group, the Gundagai Council in Exile.
ANSWERS: Peter Batey has questioned the intentions of the self-appointed community group, the Gundagai Council in Exile.

MP has fallen on sword

So, our local Member Katrina Hodgkinson has realised the folly of her ways and has fallen on her sword. By supporting the hated forced council mergers she has realised that it was just a matter of jumping before she was pushed, because her stocks in the electorate were at an all-time low.  Unfortunately, Ms Hodgkinson had misjudged the mood of the electorate. 

She had got offside with the electorate when she said that she was 100 per cent behind both the Cootamundra and Gundagai Councils in their fight against their forced merger. However, it is common knowledge now that Ms Hodgkinson and her National party colleagues all voted against releasing of the KPMG Report to the councils affected by the mergers. The report would have shown that the entire forced merger policy was incurably flawed. That was strike one against her. And when she publicly stated that she would not cross the floor in support of both councils efforts to stand alone, that was strike two against her. 

And what further eroded her credibility is the fact that when one of her former leaders, Andrew Stoner broke his party’s written pledge that there would be no forced amalgamations, there was not one word of protest from our local member. Her silence was deafening and implied consent. That was strike three against her.  And, as everyone knows, strike three means that you are out. 

But to her credit she has done the right thing by resigning. Hopefully, her replacement will work to restore democracy to both our towns and will be more upfront when any future crisis may arise. Ms Hodgkinson has learned the hard way by not realising that the interests of her constituents always takes precedence over party policies.

Geoff Field


Which side are you on?

It appears to me that the Gundagai Council in Exile is morphing into the Gundagai Council in LaLa Land, with the self-appointed community group planning to sue the NSW Government.

At the same time, three of this group’s most impassioned amalgamation opponents, whose ambition it is to destroy the Cootamundra–Gundagai Regional Council, are asking us to vote them in as councillors in the forthcoming election.

What a bloody insult! Gentlemen, do you think we are all dumb? What hypocrites.

I ask you now to categorically state in this newspaper that, if elected,  you will do all in your power to assist the growth and development of the council by being loyal to its principles and to those whom elect you.

When the amalgamation hullabaloo first erupted there was much howling about Democratic Rights but strangely the community appears to condone this activist group although there has been no official democratic appointment of it.

Who is going to pay the legal costs of the court challenge? The community – without being asked? Or a self-promoting philanthropist? Perhaps it would all be simpler if Gundagai were to secede and become a kingdom? (King Abb and Queen Pip sounds rather fun). That way we could all feel very special and hand out Order of the Dog Awards to everyone who turns their back on the Chair of a public meeting and sing (badly) American protest songs like ‘These boots are made for walking – all over ourselves’.

It’s all a bit like Gilbert and Sullivan, isn’t it? “Not the Pirates of Penzance” but “The Gullibles of Gundagai”.  

But back to the forthcoming Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council election. I, for one do not want any Rats In the Ranks, nor White Ants munching on the council table, so come on chaps, show us your hands.

Are you for or against?

Peter Batey OAM


Editor’s note: Peter Batey is a candidate in the Cootamundra-Gundagai Local Government election.