As they say in the classics, “I’m back!” – Pollie Crackers began in 2015 with the intention of giving local residents an understanding of the background behind the then Baird government’s drive to amalgamate local councils. Its scope gradually enlarged to federal government matters such as political donations and anti-corruption bodies, and also important social matters such as institutional abuse of children and non-vaccination. By the end of its life the column had managed to upset occupants of all three levels of government, mainly by reporting the bleeding obvious. This was not the intention, but it seems an automatic consequence of political commentary. So, Pollie Crackers returns. The broad objective is to comment on matters political or social in a manner which provokes thought without deliberately being offensive: however those who wish to be offended may feel free so to do.
Since the last column in 2016 the community has lost a leading figure, former mayor Doug Freudenstein, who proudly wore the pseudonym of Feather Duster No 1. The many who attended his funeral would be aware of how he obtained his title. Doug made a significant contribution to the Weddin Shire over a long period, and it is only fitting that he be acknowledged in this column by a fellow Feather Duster.
What are the issues today? Residents face a by-election this weekend for the seat of Cootamundra, unexpectedly vacated by the Hon Katrina Hodgkinson a few months ago. The candidates are a bit of a mixed bunch. A couple have been in local government which should be a plus. Others have been in business which can also be a plus. Others look to be just hopeful. As to what makes a successful politician, there appears no magic formula. Strength of character and high principles are hard to go past for me, but they are usually trumped by flexibility and wheeling and dealing.
On the national front, the same sex marriage postal vote continues to dominate. Your scribe has no strong view here either way, but in weighing up the issue, my thinking eventually turns to those local people I know who are likely to be directly affected. Invariably they are the nicest, gentlest people, of whom positively contribute to our community. So I find myself asking “Where’s the problem?” Of all the frenetic “Chicken Littles” that have surfaced in this debate, the omnipresent Tony Abbott was surprisingly surpassed by the Catholic Bishop of Brisbane who sermonised about the sanctity of marriage and how important it has been to our civilisation throughout centuries. I suspect he may have been more persuasive if he could have pointed to some practical experience with the subject.
The international stage has the USA is in the spotlight as they cope with another shooting tragedy. As has happened so many times, it will be interesting (but totally depressing) to observe how their politicians rationalise their inaction over some form of gun control. The American psyche seems so welded to gun ownership and availability that no massacre is going to change it, and no politician is prepared to lead the charge against it. They may believe they are the world’s leading civilization, but on this issue, they are a couple of hundred years behind much of the rest of the world. To be fair, there is talk this time, not of controlling guns such as the assault rifles so dear to their hearts, but of possibly banning the bump stocks which convert semi-automatic weapons to rapid fire automatics, akin to machine guns. While the discussion drags on, items under discussion are walking out of the gun shops as shooters buy up just in case they are banned. The cynics among us are not holding their breath.
By – Feather Duster No 3