For whom the ballot tolls

Tuesday 12 October 2004 10:16 PM

I hope Robert Hum (Letters, 13/10) is wrong in his assessment that the Mitcham-Frankston tollway issue tipped the scales against Labor in Aston. If he is not, there are disturbing implications for Australian democracy. It would suggest that it's now electorally possible for senior federal politicians (in this case notably the Federal Treasurer) to fuse a state issue with voter self-interest, to influence a federal election outcome. Such a scenario, if correct, would be a poor reflection both on the Federal Government and on residents of the south-east. 

No one likes tollways. But if the public purse cannot afford the infrastructure our common preferred lifestyle demands, what responsible alternative is there? Citylink Tolls have now been a daily fact of life for residents of the north and west, poorer on average than their eastern cousins, for years. Mr Costello's vigorous campaign would have more credibility had he enunciated the same principled cause when the Kennett state Liberal government announced tolls for the then Tullamarine Freeway.