Letters to the editor

New England by-election: Nationals candidate Barnaby Joyce.
New England by-election: Nationals candidate Barnaby Joyce.

Joyce boycotts public debates

Barnaby Joyce refuses to participate in public forums organised by reputable local organisations in the lead up to the New England by-election. 

He gives as his reason the fact that there are a number of “out of towner” candidates. It is my view that Barnaby Joyce is wrong in this decision.

His failure to participate and the reason he gives also shows an ignorance of Joyce’s own history as a politician. 

From 2004 to 2013 Joyce was an unconstitutional Queensland Senator. His only connection to NSW in 2013 was the properties he owns at Gwabegar in the middle of the Pilliga gas exploration area. Even so Gwabegar was outside the New England electorate. 

In 2013, the National Party nominated Richard Torbay as their first choice candidate for New England. It was only after Torbay pulled out that the Nationals decided on Queenslander Joyce. The Nationals failed again in 2013 to check that Joyce had New Zealand citizenship.

Joyce’s failure to debate other local and legitimate candidates in the democratic process shows a lack of courage and a lack of respect for the New England Electorate.

Rick Johnston

Tamworth

I note from reading the press that the decision by the National candidate to boycott public debates and forums is due to the number of "out-of-towners". 

What a short memory he has! When he first stood as a candidate for New England he was a resident of Queensland, driving a Queensland registered vehicle.

I am disappointed that he does not have the decency to debate the issues which affect us as residents of New England.

This lack of positive interaction appears to have been passed on to his volunteers as well, because none that I spoke to would shed any light on issues such as renewable energy and the lack of action on the Murray-Darling water thefts, to name just two.

I certainly will not be voting for a candidate that displays such utter dismissal of his constituents and I would advise voters to think very carefully before casting a vote for "unknown agendas" which Mr Joyce appears to want to keep secret.

Wayne Cannon 

Armidale

New England by-election

This by-election is confusing and I think this is a ploy by the Coalition government. To start with no parties are listed on Mr Joyce's 'How to vote card' he has numbered them, with the National Party listed as no.1.

I found this disconcerting as many people will blindly follow his numbering without knowing which parties are in this by-election.

Somewhat patronizing I feel, 'Born to Rule' mentality perhaps.

I pre-polled and I had to get a second ballot paper as I numbered them wrong.

So if I can do this, imagine with my experience, how people will make honest mistakes and our informal vote will increase.

Requesting a postal vote is OK but the pre-poll office didn't have any available last Monday. Yet I queried the one sent from Mr Joyce's office as the return address was not the AEC and they asked for the town we were born in?

I got one off the net and through a helpful AEC officer. The one I got from the AEC did not require this.

How to vote papers are a suggestion only, but please number them correctly. Rob Taber is No 2 on Mr Joyce's selection, but Rob as an Independent does not give suggestions other than vote 1 for him but number 1-17 please. Rob could be seen as Barnaby's biggest threat. Although the ALP have a strong candidate also.

Lastly, Mr Joyce I don't want any chemical companies/factories near me, if you don't know already, we are trying to become sustainable and chemical free.

You said this for the reason you have for opening that empty Ag office in the Mall.

Take care voters.

Pat Lightfoot 

Armidale

Main Street, Guyra proposed changes

I owned and managed the Guyra pharmacy for several years. The pharmacy is a place for sick and elderly people to visit.

Many of these people/patients are unable to walk long distances and require close parking. Quite often we would even take people’s medications out to the patient in their vehicle as they were unable to walk into the pharmacy.

One of the key attractions of shopping in Guyra is the convenience of getting close to the shop. It will destroy the value of the commercial premises on that section of the street.

It is absurd that the council thinks that reducing the number of car parks in the section between Moore St and Nincoola St from 16 to 4 is a great move forward.

One disabled car park out the front of the pharmacy is not acceptable. Pharmacy customers require good parking and access.

Guyra’s climate precludes alfresco dinning as the western side of Bradley St is very cold for most of the year. Those selling tickets on street stalls will confirm this.

Whilst turning Bradley into a street that resembles that in Sawtell looks lovely on paper it is not practical and not what our main street needs. Cutting out all those car parks is a sure way to close our businesses down.

For those that came up with this proposal I urge you to think again about the demographics of our community and our climate and leave all the car parking space as it is.

Jenni Jackson

Guyra