Several people have been very kind to inquire if I’m okay recently.
It seems that the ruckus in the paper a couple of weeks back, over James Harker-Mortlock’s decision to run for Hume and my related editorial and the ensuing responses, primarily from Hume MP Alby Schultz, had people a little worried that I had been upset.
First of all, thank-you to those who have contacted me for your concern.
I took some annual leave the week after that all happened (which was all booked and arranged weeks ago and was not at all related), which is why I have been ‘quiet’ on the editorial front.
But I’m certainly not upset or even daunted by the attack on my personal character and fitness to do this job from a retiring politician.
I believe Mr Schultz has done some very good work for individuals in the electorate of Hume. I have heard many stories of people he has gone into bat for, and I’ve witnessed it myself. I also know that he spends most of his weekends (and weeks when Parliament is not sitting) travelling up, down and around his electorate (which by the way is bigger than Belgium apparently).
His political career has been long and successful and he can rightfully lay claim to having been a popular and respected office holder, as he has retained his seat over several elections.
But that doesn’t preclude him from criticism.
Nor am I protected from criticism; I’ve always known that if I am going to dish it out I have to take it on the chin when it is thrown back at me.
I still stand by my comment that Mr Schultz has a temperamental nature and is likely to lash out at times. His letter to me published in this newspaper on November 23 is a record of that.
However, through the argy bargy of debate, there can be positive outcomes. I am encouraged to see two Hume candidates commit to making the duplication of the Barton Highway their top priority. We’re on the agenda, and should remain so.