From the Desk of Cr Peter Cairney – Coastal Sun Feb 14th 2002

Coastal Sun – 14 February 2002
Articles associated with the Charcoal plant issue
Published with permission
In my role as Mayor, I am not allowed by Council to comment on the charcoal factory. I will of course keep on voicing my dissent as one of your nine representatives.

My personal views no longer coincide with those of the majority anyway. Council no longer is unanimous in saying no.

I will however comment on the fact that as Mayor, I was given the responsibility, by a majority vote, to speak on behalf of council regarding unanimous decisions. I will continue to do so.

I am guilty of having the temerity to criticize a political leader. When I did this, I did it with the knowledge that Council had voiced an unequivocal no. When faced with the fact that this Shire was being forced to accept something we did not want and when faced with the fact that our request for rational discussion of the matter was ignored; I spoke out, vehemently. Sometimes you have to make noise to get attention.

Some of the other councillors do not agree. They think that if they speak out, the state government will wreak vengeance on this shire.

If their fears are true then it is a sad, sad world we live in. To live in fear that we may be punished for voicing our views in a vehement manner is scary.

I do not believe for a second that any government would punish innocent people for standing up for their rights. We live in Australia – a democracy. Australians have a unique and rather endearing trait. We do not stand on ceremony when it comes to voicing our opinions about our governments and their leaders – especially when we perceive indifference and wrongdoing. We see examples of this every day when our various parliaments are in session. Insults fly thick and fast across the floor.

Debates tend to inflame tempers so we use words to emphasize our beliefs. Sometimes these words are inflammatory but then sometimes they have to be in order to make the point.

We are quick to criticize absurdity but we are equally quick to praise inspiration.

Australians are very lucky to live in a country governed by democracy. Over the years many have fought to retain that democracy and with it the right to speak out. I for one will keep on doing so.

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