Letter to the editor: Listening, not confronted

By Country News

Bill Baxter, Nagambie

I thought the headline ‘Keelty confronted’ on page one of last week’s Country News (March 3) was a bit over the top.

I attended the event in question and found it anything but confrontational.

No cat calling, no ironic laughter; questions and opinions respectfully asked and listened to and answered fully.

I was very impressed by Mr Keelty. His candour was refreshing and, while he is still to get his head around some of the intricacies of the water allocation process, I believe he may well shine a light into a few dark holes and come up with some sound recommendations by his end-of-March deadline.

I cannot say the same about Chris Brooks. His blatant attempt to push his own barrow by piggy-backing a meeting of his own on the coattails of Mr Keelty’s forum fell flat.

Only about 25 per cent of the audience stayed on to listen to him.

My impression was that most were disappointed by his personal attacks on individuals and his unsubstantiated criticism of the VFF and The Nationals. Fortunately, he was called out by members of the audience and had to back track.

His aim to form yet another lobby group was hard going. He had to plead and cajole and eventually gathered about 10 names, but it was pretty obvious that nearly all were very reluctant conscripts.

Most in the audience knew that yet another committee is not the answer.

Moreover, it flew in the face of advice from Mr Keelty, who had earlier warned against the proliferation of little groups squabbling among themselves. As he said, that lets politicians off the hook.