Heavy handed

The State Government last week softened penalties for truck and bus drivers caught speeding on the freeway’s downtrack.
Previously, first offenders faced an automatic six-month loss of licence, a $1036 fine and a loss of six demerit points.
Punishments were harsher for subsequent offences.
But on Friday that loss of licence was removed and a raft of other penalties reduced. After being introduced in May the penalties were consistently labelled by industry groups as too harsh – particularly for first offenders – and Friday’s changes indicate common sense has prevailed.
But if the Government concedes the rules are too harsh now, they were surely too harsh when they were introduced.
Why the softened penalties can’t be backdated to take into account drivers hit with the original punishments is unclear and could be deemed unfair.
Perhaps the harsher penalties were introduced with good intent, but over-zealous lawmaking has resulted in drivers losing their licences and likely their livelihood for relatively minor offences.

Council conduct

Mt Barker Councillor Samantha Jones’ frustrations with a fellow elected member boiled over onto social media last week.
Responding to Facebook comments, the Deputy Mayor implied at least one other councillor lacked intelligence, thoughtfulness, consideration and respect towards other councillors.
The comment was made as a result of ongoing issues with a particular elected member and a resident, Cr Jones said.
She said that councillor recently leaked a confidential email to the resident to irritate her and she has since lodged a Code of Conduct complaint against them for their actions.
Irrespective of whether the complaint is valid, Cr Jones’ comment indicates that social media should not be used to air private grievances. Issues such as these are among the reasons ratepayers lose faith in local government.
Elected members should discuss any differences in person and perhaps social media awareness courses should be mandatory for all councillors in order to avoid them airing dirty laundry on public platforms.