Dear Beagle Editor,
The hunting horn has sounded and we’re off!
Retained by a wafer-thin margin of some 1,600-or-so votes, this reality flags as clear as daylight that in the Eden-Monaro Federal by-election the catchphrase literally holds true: That every single vote counts. Bad news for any candidate with an overdeveloped sense of their own entitlement (it’ll be no easy ride and they’ll have to really sing for their supper): But, much more to the point, an excellent prospect for the voter!
With all that our region has gone through since the bushfires, and the opportunity this has given to match actual concrete actions on the ground against glib rhetoric and media grabs, the electorate is in an unusually good position to call the shots. Some might even venture that it is the politicians who need to be quiet and do the listening? Now there’s a prospect! But it is possible. We have one in the neighbouring seat of Gilmore who is already acquiring a strong local reputation for doing just that. So Eden-Monaro Eurobodallans take heart, it can happen if you really want it to be so.
All the inhabitants, in Bodalla through to Nerrigundah, Cadgee, Eurobodalla, Dalmeny, Kianga, Narooma, Mystery Bay, Central Tilba, Tilba Tilba, Akolele and Dignam’s Creek, are in the box seat. Though, for fear of them getting contagious ideas in their heads, some party spinmeisters and minders will of course be anxiously downplaying this fact!
But this is extremely interesting because it means that it only requires roughly an additional fifth of, say, Narooma’s residents alone to vote solidly in a particular direction for that candidate’s electoral success to be sealed!
Sorting out the wheat from the chaff. One simple question all Eurobodallans should be putting in front of each and every one of their candidates which would immediately reveal how much their welfare and best interests are truly at heart, would be around the New Level 4 Eurobodalla Hospital on whose construction the State Premier and Local Member for Bega promised they would “get cracking” and the Minister for Health anointed as “Full Steam Ahead”……during the State elections in a distant 2018! The new Level 4 Eurobodalla Hospital has also long had the support and funding commitment of the present and outgoing federal incumbents of Gilmore and Eden-Monaro respectively.
So ask the direct question of them all, as you have the perfect right to do, and watch the responses like hawks. Any dithering, any qualifications or baulking, or reluctance to fully commit will tell you all you need to know about where your fundamental Healthcare rests in the pecking order of their priorities and whether they really care.
With no proper local Critical Care facilities over decades, beyond local GP surgeries, every resident will still have fresh in their memories that access out of Eurobodalla during the devastating bushfires was completely cut, West, South and North! This is partly why 90% of our region’s GPs, including from Narooma, have openly appealed for an immediate start to construction of a proper base Hospital for a population bigger than the two closest equivalents in Goulburn and Bega. Succinctly summarised by one senior local medical figure as “a no-brainer”, we hope that all Eden-Monaro candidates have the humility and intelligence to accept the experts’ call on this issue.
Fitzroy and Marie Boulting.