Burning Bridges – The Liberal Party attack a community group

Posted: January 29, 2014 in Local Politics, Politics

Protecting this country’s history is vitally important as it helps show Australian’s who we are as people and how we came to be where we are today.

What also speaks loudly of who we are as people is how we go about protecting our culture and history, and how we treat those who make the effort to look after our past so that future generations can enjoy it as well as learn from it.

I have written previously on the efforts to save Thompson Square in the historic NSW town of Windsor on Sydney’s outskirts.

Thompson Square is Australia’s oldest Town Square and sits next to Australia’s oldest pub The Macquarie Arms Hotel. It is a place where the community gather to celebrate Australia Day as well as many other events. Any risk to this much-loved and historic part of both the town and our heritage is an unnecessary risk.

Wendy Harmer shows her support for Thompson Square

Wendy Harmer shows her support for Thompson Square

However there is no doubt at all that an alternative is required to the current bridge over the Hawkesbury River, which sits just below Thompson Square. The current bridge is two lanes, and as traffic in the area increases the bridge is becoming less then adequate.

The bridge itself is also quite narrow with I’m sure many a truck driver sucking in a big breath before passing another truck on the way across and no doubt many a mirror has been lost in the process. On top of that the bridge is quite low-lying which has meant it has had to have been closed due to flooding on many occasions.

While there is little debate about the need for a new bridge, there is however a raging debate over the options.

The NSW government and RTA have looked at several options and chosen to support what is the cheapest alternative. This they have done after what the local Liberal Party members have described as years of public consultation, public displays and interaction with interested parties.

When it comes to public consultation none of these MP’s Ray Williams, Kevin Connolly, or Bart Bassett have ever attended one of the community events in Thomson Square when the community have rallied against the proposal. These are not the people they wish to consult with.

There have been public displays, however feedback that did not fit in with the government’s plans was ignored.

I am not sure who the interested parties are, but given those whom the cowardly politicians won’t meet, I would assume that those consulted with were likely developers.

The plan backed by the Liberals involves the destruction of the current bridge, and a new bridge put in its place.

In what can only be described as utter lunacy the new bridge will only be marginally higher than the current bridge, which will mean continuing closures. The approach road to the bridge will still be two lanes meaning that the increased traffic issue has not been addressed at all, and it will be bulldozed through Thompson Square as it currently sits.

Thankfully there are a dedicated team of locals who are doing something about this and are seeking to have the government back a plan that would involve a complete bypass of the area.

An example of why a bypass is a better option

An example of why a bypass is a better option

This plan would involve a higher bridge, a wider road to cope with increased traffic, yet leaving locals with the current historic bridge as an alternative crossing. Also this plan would divert heavy vehicles away from the town centre which will not only improve the atmosphere, it will be far safer for the many visitors who flock to the area.

Best of all it protects the towns heritage for all to enjoy.

This group of locals is known as CAWB, Community Action For Windsor Bridge.

CAWB is made up of independent, local people from a wide variety of backgrounds including lawyers, engineers, financial advisers, business owners, teachers, architects, builders and academics. CAWB is also made up of families who have passion for the Hawkesbury and their local community. Many also have ties to the very early settlers in the Hawkesbury and are proud and protective of both their long-standing family ties to the area and the historical significance of Windsor.

These people have been rallying for the community for years and have even been occupying Thompson Square 24 hours a day since 21st July 2013.

These people need our support, their website can be found via this link or their Facebook page via this link.

One of the members of this community group, Kate Mackaness was interviewed by Channel  7 in Sydney after a currently vacant heritage listed Pub was burnt down in a suspected arson attack. That Pub, the Jolly Frog sits on Windsor Rd right at the entrance to Windsor.

Kate expressed what many felt, she said that she feared the loss of the Jolly Frog would pave the way to a four lane road through Windsor. The impact of this on the town would be catastrophic.

The remaining shell of the Jolly Frog

The remaining shell of the Jolly Frog

For voicing her concern and for raising the concern of many in the community one would expect the support of the Local Member.

How could one be so wrong?

As mentioned before the area involved is covered by three State electorates and their MPs all of them from the Liberal Party.

We have Ray Williams the member for Hawkesbury, Kevin Connolly the member for Riverstone, and lastly Bart Bassett the member for Londonderry.

A request had been made to meet with these MPs by CAWB in a bid to raise their concerns and to discuss options openly.

After watching the Channel 7 News after the Jolly Frog fire an email was sent to the CAWB via their spokesperson Dail Miller from Bart Bassett the member for Londonderry.

Bart Bassett - Mr Happy

Bart Bassett – Mr Happy

In his email Bart Bassett claims to speak for Kevin Connolly MP also. Ray Williams has wisely kept himself distant from this correspondence.

The email to Mr Miller from Bart Bassett is nothing short of disgraceful.

The full email is linked below and is worth a read but it should be read in the context of a member of parliament addressing a local community group that is both independent of any political party and has the support of local residents and local businesses.

Bart Bassett Email

Bart Bassett’s tone in his correspondence borders on offensive. His email misquotes Kate Mackaness and then proceeds to question not only her credibility, but also her background. He even goes to the point of trying to insinuate that she has been involved in corrupt practices as she was once an advisor to Tony Kelly who was named as corrupt by ICAC. He then goes on to say that Mackaness is an active member of the Labor Party.

Bassett then refers to CAWB as

”…nothing more than a stalking horse for the Labor Party…”

and then continues by saying

“I cannot respect your organisation…”

Bart Bassett also referred to Kate Mackaness as a “Labor Party Operative” on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. This is a term I’ve been hearing a lot of lately and every time I’ve heard it I have noticed it has come from the mouth of someone I’d describe as an in-operative, or someone of little consequence, desperately trying to put someone else down to make themselves feel more important than they are.

Well there are a few things that Bart Bassett should be mindful of, and perhaps think about before sending correspondence in misdirected anger.

Bart Bassett

Bart Bassett – In-operative

Firstly Mr Bassett these people are your constituents, it is not only wise to listen to the concerns of your constituents it is your job, it is what you were elected to do and have thus far failed at.

Secondly Mr Bassett check your facts. Just because Kate Mackaness was an advisor to the former NSW Planning Minister Tony Kelly on heritage issues does not make her a Labor Party member, and certainly does not make her a part of corrupt practices.

What you may not realise Mr Bassett is that advisor’s to a Labor Minister are hired on merit and can come from any background, even from a Liberal or National Party background. The Liberal Party are the ones known for hiring their Liberal Party mates, Party donors, or even lobbyists.

Kate Mackaness is an honest person voicing the concerns of your community, she is in no way connected to any allegations of corruption.

In fact, when it comes to ICAC and corruption Mr Bassett would do well to remember that his colleague and current NSW Planning Minister Brad Hazard was recently accused of misleading parliament, and was also forced into referring himself to ICAC over coal mine extensions. It was Brad Hazard that made the decision to go with the cheap option that has so angered the community. We await the ICAC outcome.

It may also interest you to know Mr Bassett that Kate Mackaness has never been a member of the Labor Party either. Not then, not now, not ever.

I can also tell you Mr Bassett that Mr Miller whom you sent the offending email to is traditionally a Liberal Party voter I’m sure he won’t mind me saying, although I’m not sure now.

The other thing that Bart Bassett’s correspondence and online comments tell us is that unless a member of his community voted Liberal or National then their opinion doesn’t matter to him. As far as Mr Bassett is concerned if you don’t agree with him then you may as well be a Labor operative.

Those who voted for Labor, Greens, Clive Palmer Party, Katter Australia Party, even the Christian Democrats or Independent in Londonderry must be disappointed to know their view doesn’t count for crap and should think hard about where to place their preferences next time around.

Kate Mackaness has responded to Mr Bassett and I understand has also sought legal advice, below is a link to her response.

Kate Mackaness response to Bart Bassett

It would seem that those Mr Bassett relies on for research leave a lot to be desired and if his research into the background and motives of members of CAWB is anything to go by I would take any research on the Windsor Bridge plans done by him with a huge grain of salt also.

Windsor Bridge closed due to flooding - Get used to this if the Liberals have their way

Windsor Bridge closed due to flooding – Get used to this if the Liberals have their way

Bart Bassett is described by many in his electorate as a totally ineffectual member and an utter waste of space, in fact until now he was best known for his drink driving conviction shortly after taking office. His actions on this matter have seen his popularity in the community sink even lower.

It is no wonder that Mr Bassett is hoping that he can run in the safer seat of Hawkesbury next state election, he must know his performance will see him lose his Londonderry seat.

However while we are waiting for Mr Bassett to lose his seat, we will live in the hope that he can lose some of his arrogance for long enough to take a bite of humble pie and apologise for his actions and statements.

Bart Bassett, your actions and words have spoken at volume of your character.

And nobody likes what they’ve heard.

Like Wixxyleaks on Facebook here

Like Wixxyleaks on Facebook here

  1. Steve says:

    Well these Libs sure have form on this Wixxy. Good on you for calling this guy out. Our Liberal mayor in Hornsby has also disgraced himself ( in my opinion ) in a recent letter to the Hornsby Advocate by trying to conflate the tragic death of Daniel Christie and the previous State Labor government “years of deteriorating government and neglect by Labor” What a shocker !

  2. Michael says:

    the liberal party also attack the integrity of the Save Beecoft & Cheltenham Alliance as running a political agenda..This is a tact that the NSW Liberal party is using against residents standing up for their community & heritage. They just don’t get it, it wouldn’t matter who was in power, ALP, LNP, Greens. All these issues are about the worth of a community, not a party. The sooner elected representatives put the community 1st & party 2nd the better. They need to remember, Sophie Mirabella lost her safe liberal seat to an independent because she ignored local issues. As Bruce Baird a Liberal said (paraphrasing) “if you ignore your community & local issues you can expect to lose your seat, regardless how safe it seems”. This is especially pertinent in an age of social media.


  3. M. R. says:

    For Quentin Dempster, Wixxy ?

  4. joy cooper says:

    Unbelievable. Why are the Liberals so keen to destroy things? Is it that they have no intelligence or vision? Certainly have no community spirit or empathy, just greed & shonky development.

  5. Tinkers says:

    Well done for calling him out. He’s oozing arrogance from every pore. What the Hawkesbury (and Londonderry) needs is someone who will stand up and fight for them, not a backbencher who takes their votes for granted.

  6. Fed up says:

    Labor builds

    Liberals demolish

    This si al that one needs to know.

  7. hannahquinn says:

    It’s becoming an old theme, Liberal representatives not meeting with constituents and all too often insulting or even defaming them. One has to wonder if he was ‘informed’ as he claimed, re ALP membership, or used it to ‘cover’ himself. It’s the type of response you expect from a RWNJ troll on auspol. It’s not good enough in either State or Federal electorates.

  8. Take a look at what’s happening to Tasmania’s Oldest Public Park. The heritage-listed Regent Square in George Town at the head of the Tamar River in northern Tasmania was also planned by Govr Macquarie (Dec 1811) as the central square in a grid of streets and drawn up by James Meehan in 1812. After four years of opposition from the majority of the town’s people (ignored by the local council), the state LABOR govt has now called tenders to build a large HUB for govt services on this public recreation reserve – to be awarded a week before a state election on March 15. RMPAT upheld an appeal when the bdg was found to be prohibited under the local planning scheme in 2012, but all stops were pulled out to push it through, despite petitions, public meetings, rallies, etc – and the terms of two 99 yr Crown Leases that were last signed in 1974-5 and prohibit building on the site. See:

  9. Liz Rowan says:

    Love reading your editorials. It appears there is a “rebellion by the people” happening in the Hawkesbury. Perhaps a story on the Hawkesbury council and their lack of community consultation. Examples are: REDBANK 1400 homes at Nth Richmond, (that nobody wants except the developers and the Liberal councillors) the rate redistribution that found high rate rises for residential blocks and decreases for acreages, the notice of motion that was passed, so residents can not speak at notices of motions, the mayor’s loss of licence (caught speeding 128 kph in a 60 zone), and his refusal to resign or apologise, and of course their support to replace a 2 lane bridge with another 2 lane bridge. Their constant block voting at council meetings allows for anything anti-liberal to get through. It appears the Liberals think they are “Gods” in this area.

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