on loose cannons …

The Beagle Editor, on loose cannons …

Loudmouth NSW Opposition Health spokesperson, Walt Secord, crashed through the local china shop last week, instantly alienating a sizeable piece of the community with his offensive remarks on the fluoridation issue.

Grandstanding the NSW Labor Opposition’s intention to introduce legislation empowering the Minister for Health to direct the operators of the state’s drinking water supplies to add fluoride to the supplies, Mr Secord ridiculed those opposed to the plan, accusing them of “hijacking community meetings”.

During a radio interview, Mr Secord revealed the strength of his commitment to open public debate by describing those who opposed the fluoridation of the shire’s drinking water supplies of being a “small fringe group spreading lies & hijacking community debate”, while comparing their activities to the “anti-vaccination movement”.

And, in a case of “strange bedfellows”, the Member for Bega, Andrew Constance, immediately leapt to the defence of his constituents with a broadside of deafening silence.

Mr Secord revealed his fake democratic credentials by confirming Labor’s willingness to treat public opinion with contempt, freely acknowledging that the legislation was intended to give further power to the Minister for Health to override public opposition to fluoridation, in particular where local councils refuse to endorse it.

While the Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association (BVSRRA) has not taken a position on the fluoridation issue, it has been highly critical of the process followed by NSW Health & Bega Valley Shire Council (BVSC) in its management of the issue to-date, including the most recent clumsy effort by NSW Health to use a phoney public opinion survey to justify its proposal. And we’re not the only ones ... (see “Sham Survey”).

And while the BVSRRA has readily acknowledged that Mr Secord is as entitled to express his opinion on the fluoridation issue as anyone-else, in publicly disparaging & insulting those who oppose Labor policy on the issue, he has shown himself to be nothing more than an ignorant bully, with absolutely no respect for the rights of citizens to legitimately oppose what they perceive to be abuses of power by some politicians.

The BVSRRA believes that there are many fine members of the Labor Party in the Bega Valley & following a 10% swing, it recorded more than 40% of the vote after preferences at the last state election in 2015. However, the reality is that the Liberal Party has held the seat for 30 years, with the current member, Andrew Constance, safely ensconced since 2003.

The BVSRRA believes that if the Labor Party is at all serious about winning the state seat of Bega, it will need more than good luck.

Letting the likes of Mr Secord loose in the shire won’t help it achieve that.

John Richardson


Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association