Having returned to the Wannon electorate after 30-plus years working in Melbourne, I have been delighted to be reminded of a number of features of the region.
However, I also note what has not changed in that time - roads and rail services being two stand-out areas as just two examples.
While opponents may say there is progress, it is glacial at best, and lip service to the community at worst.
Photo opportunities by local politicians are not progressing.
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It has to be a reflection on people's voting patterns in Wannon that the area is consistently seen as a 'safe seat' which then of course influences federal budget funding.
It is surely high-time that people re-assess their long-held political choices in the upcoming federal election, in relation to how they might be able to contribute to change for the electorate.
Embedded generational voting is clearly no longer effective.
To the first time voters, I'm sure you, too, will make the right choices on May 21 - so that our elected leader truly and effectively represents the needs and interests of the people of Wannon.
Damien Ryan, Warrnambool
I'm not sure if One Nation candidate and the horsing community's Ronnie Graham is horsing around when he tells us fixing the climate (and climate polluting waste) will be as simple as digging a hole, getting the coal out and putting the rubbish in ("Vote for Aussie values", May 11).
You don't have to be "woke" to know every environmental and climate organisation across the world is calling for urgent action on doing the exact opposite if we're to stop the never-seen-before rapid rise in global temperatures.
While Mr Graham wants us to believe he understands "Australian values", his disregard for our environment misses the point that a core value for country people relates to caring for what we've got and preserving it to pass on to our children and grandchildren. Another core value is turning up.
Karen Campbell, Geelong
When Robert Menzies created the Liberal Party in 1944, he said ''we took the name 'Liberal' because we were determined to be a progressive party''.
The Liberal Party has changed a lot since then and today Menzies would not recognise the party he founded.
The commitment to small-l liberal values has collapsed and it is no longer a progressive party.
The Liberals' lurch to the right over the past 20 years has left many conservatives unrepresented and prevented the Liberal Party from making significant progress in addressing climate change, providing affordable housing, improving hospitals and aged care, tax reform or dealing with corruption.
This is despite being in government for the last nine years.
Former Wannon MP and Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser resigned from the Liberal Party because it had lost its "old school" values.
Now, former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has declined to say if he would vote for Liberal MP Dave Sharma in his old seat of Wentworth and has encouraged Australians to vote for independents.
Turnbull proposes independents represent Liberal values better than the Liberal Party.
Peter Martina, Warrnambool
As a new voter in the Wannon electorate, I have been looking with interest at the candidates. I like the Independent Alex Dyson with his youth, connection to community and recognition of climate issues.
The Greens, too, are impressive with their plan to tax billionaires and fund better health, dental and aged care - plus take action on Climate Change. I certainly don't support the tardy, indeed shameful, response of the present federal government to the death and devastation of our recent Victorian bushfires and floods up north. I will vote for someone who holds a hose and has my back - not for someone lazing on a beach in Hawaii.
Cate Cousland, Apollo Bay
The Liberals seem to know electricity from wind and solar alone won't work, but their intention to proceed with coal-fired power will be disastrous in the face of rapid human-induced climate change. I was, therefore, delighted to read Victoria has a Senate candidate who proposes a shift to nuclear energy.
Twenty years ago, the late Colin Keay, doctor of science and associate professor at the University of Newcastle for 24 years, wrote: "Because of relentless propaganda by various groups having anti-nuclear agenda, abetted by gullible media, there is widespread belief that electricity generation employing nuclear fission is unsafe. Not so." The propaganda of the time included the claim reactors would take too long to build, but if they had started then they would now have been operating for at least 10 years without producing deadly carbon.
Graham Keith, member of Sustainable Australia Party, Warrnambool
How despondent many of us feel about this election.
Many Australians are pained and ashamed by the treatment of refugees, despairing of the climate denialism and inaction that ultimately cause more and more suffering in bushfires, storms and floods, worried about the current international conflict - not to mention the national failure to support transition for workers in dying industries, and the shameful neglect of people in aged care atop the continuous eruption of scandals, dishonesty and diplomatic incompetence.
Doing nothing just now doesn't feel like an option when I think about the possibility of waking up to more of the same on May 22. So, for me, taking thoughtful action is an antidote to despair and helps to generate optimism.
Jenny Barrett, Apollo Bay
Forgive me if I don't share the outrage at the threat to the Liberal Party posed by the current crop of intelligent, articulate Independents across the nation.
Independents who are capable of thinking further ahead than the next election cycle.
Former PM John Howard lamented the loss of even one sitting Liberal to an Independent would "play a major role in destroying the Liberal government".
Thanks for your wise reality check, John.
Imagine if this current Liberal government was indeed 'destroyed'. No more empty platitudes on climate change. No more sitting on reports calling for action on equality and safety for women. No more wringing of hands as house prices lock out a whole generation from the housing market.
No more refusal to implement a federal integrity commission which would expose pork-barrelling for what it is - an assault on democracy. Thanks John. What was I thinking?
If ever we need Independents on the floor of the House in Canberra it is now.
Michael Hoffman, Warrnambool, volunteer for Independent, Alex Dyson
The way sitting members of Parliament allocate their preferences tells you which of the other candidates they fear the most - and those with whom they share a common allegiance.
In the forthcoming federal election, the sitting member for Wannon Dan Tehan's preference ticket makes interesting reading.
Mr Tehan is placing Alex Dyson, the Voices of Wannon, the teal candidate, last. Interestingly, Dyson doesn't allocate preferences, stating he has confidence in his supporters to have the intelligence to make these decision for themselves.
Peter Small, Gritjurk
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