Last week a number of examples were raised in the media over the alleged misuse of the federal government’s rural partnerships program. The colloquial term is ‘pork-barrelling’, but this morning I want to raise a blatant and serious misrepresentation.
The current federal member for Wannon and Speaker of the House of Representatives, David Hawker, has produced a newsletter funded by taxpayers and distributed with newspapers throughout Western Victoria. In an article on the opening of the redeveloped Balmoral Bush Nursing Centre he portrays the rural partnership program as the sole contributor to the redevelopment of the bush nursing centre. He also claims that he opened the centre.
The facts are: fact one, over $450 000 was raised by the Balmoral and district community; fact two, over $412 000 was contributed by the Brumby government; act three, $82 500 was contributed by the rural partnerships program; fact four, I attended the opening along with the ALP candidate for Wannon, Antony Moore; and fact five, on the day — 6 September 2007 — I represented the state Minister for Health in another place, Daniel Andrews. I spoke to the well-attended gathering at Balmoral, I formally uncovered the plaque and I opened the new centre.
The people of Balmoral, the electors of Wannon, deserve better — an elected representative who does not blatantly distort facts, and is prepared to give due credit to those in the community who work hard at making a difference.