It is early days yet, but there is already much to like about Victoria’s new premier, Denis Napthine, starting with the fact that he is not Ted Baillieu. The polls suggest this is not an appraisal restricted to the Billabong, as it is now possible to conceive of the Coalition actually winning a second term. The state’s latest budget, just revealed, also has some very encouraging items, not least a firm and large investment in the East-West tunnel, which will burrow under Fitzroy and the Old Melbourne Cemetery to unite the Eastern Freeway with the Bolte Bridge’s entre to the Westgate. At the moment, as vexed motorists are all too well aware, the drive from Springvale Road to Hoddle Street takes about 20 minutes. Then comes 30-minutes of stop-start-stop city traffic, followed by a crawl through Royal Park on single-lane Elliott Avenue. After that a short haul to the Bolte’s access ramp and, finally, the delayed delight of feeling the transmission slip once again into top gear. On a journey from, say, Donacaster to Geelong, crawling that short, inner-city gauntlet may well consume half the travel time.
Not only does a tunnel make sense, it will drive to apoplexy the sprout nibblers and hipsters who detest cars so much they want them clogging their streets in perpetuity. As those black-clad luvvies on their bloody bicycles represent what the deluded Baillieu imagined to be his party’s natural constituency, the fact that we now have a premier prepared to incur their ire is a wonderful thing. Napthine is not Henry Bolte, to be sure, but he is a definite improvement on his predeccessor. Mind you, that would not be hard.
Less encouraging is another budget item: a 13 percent increase in speeding fines, which it is likely will soon incur a penalty of around $200 for being 3kph over the limit. This is smaller than the margin of error allowed for a typical, and legal, vehicle’s speedo; moreover, a higher- or lower-profile tyre can easily make the dashboard reading expensively incorrect. Worth noting, too, is that this year’s progressive road toll is below last year’s, so it is not as if Victoria’s motorists need further reminding of the need to behave themselves.
Now here is the thing: why do we Victorians continue to put up with this racket? Speed cameras are mounted on low poles at hundreds of intersections throughout the state. And on top of that, flying squads of revenue leeches operate mobile cameras, especially in spots where downhill gradients make the business of money-grubbing entrapment so much more lucrative.
Arise, citizen! See a speed camera, come back after dark with a spray can and paint over the peeping window. Two seconds work and it is done! As for those parasites in their cars, usually parked illegally on nature strips or in No Standing zones, what is the point of having a rich and vibrant Criminal-Australian community if its members act responsibly in the face of provocation? A few panel-kicking exercises and spirited expressions of contempt by those temperamentally suited to such outbursts and the mobile cameras would be withdrawn for their operators’ peace of mind.
By way of example, the Professor has already taken a small step toward helping Premier Napthine understand that, while annoying Fitzroy pseuds is a good thing, stealing from decent people is not. Several old fence palings studded with nails are now waiting in the hidden, flat, grassy area beside a nearby road where mobile speed cameras set up every two weeks or so. If the state government is going to rob innocent motorists blind, let it spend its filched lucre on new tyres and tow trucks.
The speed revenuers are low, filthy bastards. If Napthine persists with this latest stepped-up shakedown, he might as well join Tossed Out Ted at the next Brunswick Street poetry slam.