Musings of a morbid mind

The general ravings of Scott Baldwin

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Open Letter to Peter Batchelor

Peter Batchelor,
I am a concerned citizen. I am a big believer in public transport as a real sustainable alternative to the car for personal transport. So passionate is my commitment to sustainable transport that earlier this year I sold my car in order to pursue my ideal of a car free existence. I believe we all should have the choice, but I feel that there are serious insufficiencies in our public transport system that don't give everyone in Melbourne the choice to live a car free existence.
Firstly the choice wasn't overly difficult for me as I live in North Carlton which is serviced by no less than 3 tram lines, and a few different bus services, however, people living in outlying areas of the city and indeed even some living in certain areas not so far from the city, are left with extremely sub-standard services. Although this doesn't affect me getting to and from work, it certainly did delay my decision to go car free for a number of years as I have friends living in suburbs that are quite difficult to get to via public transport.
Something that does affect me directly, however, is the fact that the vast majority of public transport ceases not long after midnight. The night owl service is a very poor substitute for a real off-peak service plan, not to mention that it adds significantly to the cost of a night out on the town encouraging people to drive into the city rather than risk missing the last train home. This is also a concern from the point of view that a lot of people drink when going out late at night, and we should be trying to make our roads safer. Better late night transport would achieve this.
I feel that the state government has been concentrating far too much on improving roads for personal car use that the choice of the individual (if they realise they even have one) is so strongly weighted in favour of having to own a car and use that car for the vast majority of their journeys. It seems to me that your goal of 20% of journeys made by public transport by 2020 is in stark contradiction to your current policies of improving roads and extending highways.
I would be interested in your thoughts on how you plan to reach your goal, and encourage people to use more sustainable means of transport.

The above letter was sent to Peter Batchelor as an email, I will keep you posted with any response, til then if you want to express your concern to him(or at least one of his assistants), his email address is

The Rise of Family First

In the Age today, Peter Harris from family first is quoted as saying "Our vote says we have a message that resonates with the Australian community". Family firsts result has absolutely nothing to do with "resonating with the Australian community", and has a hell of a lot more to do with some "shady" (yet politically astute) back room preference deals that were fostered because of the major parties fears that the Greens are becoming a real political force, and also (at least on behalf of the Labor party) the belief that Family First weren't a real contender, and that they would simply be able to pick up their preferences over the Greens to win another Senate seat. In an article in the Age it shows how the Family First candidate Steve Fielding is likely to win the Victorian senate seat even though only a little over 45000 people actually voted directly for him, where as the Greens candidate David Risstrom received over 205000 primary votes. It all comes down to Labors and the democrats preference deals backing Family First ahead of the Greens. There are a lot of dissatisfied voters who voted Labor expecting to get a Labor senator and realising that instead they will have a Family First senator, I will go out on a limb here, but I would bet that most Labor voters would have preferred a Greens senator over a Family first Senator.
Peter Harris, you cannot claim a mandate from the nation when your win is based solely on preference deals from the major parties, deals that your average Labor or Democrat voter was most likely unaware of at the time they placed a "1" in the top section of the senate ballot paper.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Campaign for a Better City

I have decided to get active about some of my ideas on sustainable transport policy, and as such wish to direct any readers attentions to the following web sites
Campaign for a Better City
The Public Transport Users Association