I SHOULD not bother to reply to Hardy Draheim's letter in the Oberon Review on July 11, as I am sure this is what he is looking for (having his name in the paper once again), but I feel I must make some points clear.
I do not nor would I ever stop him from writing to the paper. I only suggest there are better ways to handle that which he thinks is incorrect or mismanagement (and I stress these are his thoughts), and I am sure he is fully aware of the avenues open to him. It is my opinion he rather enjoys making mischief.
Mr Draheim's letter said I seem concerned that he criticises "Oberon Council from time to time". I have no such concern, other than that I believe the criticism should be accurate and truthful. He should check his accusations are correct, especially if he makes accusations of maybe wrongdoings.
He wrote: "There is a group of us in Oberon who believe where there are waste, errors and mismanagement in council, it is best for all of us that such matters are addressed publicly." I believe if he or that group believe this is how it should be handled, perhaps he should speak outside of his group.
There are many whom I speak with who are saying that when they see Hardy Draheim's name at the end of a letter, they don't even read it. They say they have heard enough from him. Perhaps it may well be better that if this group believes there are issues to be resolved, the group might address them with council before going public.
There is an old fable: he who cries wolf too often . . . and you know the rest of the fable. My thoughts only.
Mr Draheim is correct that in a free society, any person has the right to speak up. With the right comes a responsibility and the responsibility, when going public, is to ensure research and inquiries have been made to ensure the reporting publicly is accurate and does not make wild assertions without substance.
Mr Draheim also mentions that should he ever form a formal group for the ratepayers of Oberon, he hopes many will come and join him. Yet he has a Facebook page which mentions association: this suggests in one's mind there is a group already. Should he ever decide to formally form a group, it should be done with integrity and democratically, giving the whole community the opportunity, should they wish, to become part of this group.
Mr Draheim says he admired me for my work I did for the anti-amalgamation. I was but one of the people on the committee. I am sure the other hard-working members of the committee would also like to hear him say what a great job they did.
Praise and flattery is wasted on me. I have no aspirations to be anything more than myself - one who has a passion for this wonderful community of Oberon.
I do understand from experience that local government is vital for small communities such as Oberon. It is good when people become interested and involved in the decision-making, but it does not help if it is always or only negativity.
In terms of the comments about criticising our state member Paul Toole, he should know the committee always carried out their tasks both ethically and with integrity. The committee knew the only chance of stopping Oberon being amalgamated would be a political one and this was proven to be true. Having Oberon stand alone was a victory for the whole community of Oberon.
It was Paul Toole, initially Minister for Local Government, who was part of the amalgamation mess and he did absolutely nothing to help or even consider Oberon.
The committee had accurate information to criticise Paul Toole and the State Government. Many other communities carried out their strong wish to not be amalgamated.
Mr Draheim, if you have reason or simply want to criticise our local government, all that is asked of you is to ensure that which you are complaining about or criticising is correct. This can be easily done. Before making assertions of misconduct or worse, check before you jump on to your computer.
Consider perhaps working positively for this wonderful community and if you believe there are errors, mismanagement or worse, check it out prior to making a public statement.
As for thee or me, Mr Draheim, I also ask is it only for thee or me. I am entitled to my opinion just like you and many others in this community. Oberon is where I live. It is my home and has been for my whole life. I love and appreciate living here and accept the community chooses those we want to represent us.
I am happy for Oberon to benefit from those who have wonderful ideas to share. But if I believe someone is making comments/statements that, when checked, are not correct and create the impression there is another agenda at foot, I will become concerned.