Letter: Benalla by-election postscriptby Kevin O'NeillNews Weekly
, July 1, 2000
Reference the Benalla by-election, the Kennett Government was perceived to have spent billions improving metropolitan transport while neglecting the bush.
The sweeping changes in local government was also an underlying factor, and the unresolved matter of the merino industry is never far from the minds of country people.
At the present rate of decline, the merino sheep is going the way of the silk worms unless wool marketing is put on a proper basis.
There can be little doubt that transport, local government and the state of the wool industry were underlying factors in the demise of the National Party in Benalla and elsewhere.
The failure of the Nationals to make their presence felt in these areas of concern has been decisive in recent Victorian elections.
Unless decisive steps are taken there will be a spin-off in the Federal sphere even though the Howard Government is taking urgent remedial measures is respect of rural health.
With some notable exceptions, I am constantly amazed at how little regard for our parliamentarians and aspiring Parliamentarians have for the underlying transport problem of rural Australia and the wool industry.
Both these unresolved problems are of paramount importance to the well-being of every Australian, both city and rural.Kevin O'Neill,
Progressive Rail Association,