VAL JEFFERY(OA) – Candidate for the people

ACT Election 2008
Age – Experience – Loyalty – Knowledge
Bushfire hero of the 2003 Canberra inferno, Order of Australia medal and the salt, of the earth Australian is just the short list to accolades bestowed on Val Jeffery.

There is no substitute for life experience and a dedication to return faith in parliament of the people that has been eroded by greed, corruption and nest feathering by the present political rubbish dictating to Canberra.

On October 18th polling day it is vital to return to the people THEIR voice in parliament and Val Jeffery is a representative of the people who understands has the experience of living in the mess made by the ACT Government and will allow that to continue.

Over decades, Val has seen the peoples rights and voice be removed for political agenda which has armed him with the age and ability to throw it right back in their faces when we must see people power put Val into the ACT Parliament to “Keep The Bastard Honest”.



My parents came into the Tharwa shop in 1926, I was born in Queanbeyan in 1934, youngest of four.

Lived always in Tharwa, schooled at Tharwa and the old Canberra High.

My father died when I was only 14, made my way into carrying, fuel distributorship, farm contracting and courier businesses as well as cattle raising locally and wheat growing on the black soil plains in northern NSW.

Initiated some development projects and copped the Keating and Whitlam 24% interest rates.

Been involved with community issues for as long as I can remember.

Married for 45 years to my wonderful wife Dorothy, one son, two lovely little grand daughters.

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Val Jeffery’s,OA, Launch Speech

Welcome everyone and thanks very much for your support and for coming along on this cold Tharwa night.

Here we are tonight to get Val Jeffery out and on the road to the ACT Legislative Assembly, the election the outcome of which will effect the future of the whole ACT and region. I am going to be part of it, I am on the road again. I am going on the road again to build bridges that need building. Not just road bridges but bridges between government and communities, bridges over troubled waters that are full and flowing with treacherous currants swirling around the Stanhope government’s legacy of arrogance and attitude.

I see myself a bit like the old grey bridge builder in this poem that goes something like this:

An old man traveling a lone highway,
Came in the evening cold and grey,
To a chasm, vast and deep and wide,
Through which was sweeping a swollen tide,
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The swollen stream had no fears for him,
But he stopped when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.

“Old man” said a Pilgrim standing near
“Why waste your strength with building here,
Your journey will end with the close of day,
And you never again will pass this way,
You’ve crossed the chasm deep and wide,
Why build you this bridge at eventide?”

The builder lifted his old grey beard,
“Good friend, in the path I have come”‘ he said
“There follows after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm which has been naught to me,
To that fair haired youth might a pitfall be,
He too, must cross in the twilight dim
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him”.

I need you all to help me build a bridge for the whole Australian Capital Territory and regional community.

The result of this election on the 18th of October is vital for our neglected territory and we must seize the opportunities. We must choose new leadership and new government. Not only a new government but new policies, a new Chief Minister and a vision for Canberra’s future. The Stanhope majority government has been nothing but a sad failure. I am standing up here tonight to launch myself on the road to being an exciting part of bringing back, honesty, integrity, accountability and respect into ACT governance. On the road towards building bridges for the community, your community.

An inspiring group of men and women with experience and vision, confidence and boldness have come together and formed the Community Alliance Party, a party destined to reshape the future of Canberra, and not before time. Our vigorous competition has attracted outstanding community support and reinvigorated interest in Canberra’s governance. I am proud to be part of that vision. Lord only knows, neglected Canberra needs the Community Alliance Party more than ever. We all believe and know that “Your Community Counts”.

It is well known that long tenure in the ACT Assembly is not the same as judgment, wisdom and vision. Sadly it is akin to complacency, arrogance and unaccountability.

The Stanhope government seems to think that their tenure and so called experience are the factors that will work in their favor during this campaign. But our shared experience of a lifetime of community values tells us otherwise for their tenure has been an abject disaster. We have been accused of being naïve and inexperienced and do you know what? They said the same things about John F Kennedy in the United States presidential campaign in 1960 when he was attacked for lacking experience. And as they say, the rest is history.

They reckon that I am too bloody old for the ACT Legislative Assembly, but do you know what? John McCain is lining up to be President of the United States and he is just one year younger than me!

I feel strongly the determination after seven years of the Stanhope government’s arrogance and disrespect that elections matter and this election on the 18th of October matters and matters even more than ever.

Stanhope in 2006 proposed to close almost 40 schools including our own 100 year old precious community school at Tharwa. Stanhope and Barr inflicted stress and uncertainty on all these communities although Stanhope only intended to close a quarter of those schools, using an old political ploy to make himself and his bunny, Barr appear to look good. Pulling a bunny out of the hat as the saying goes. A $360M education budget made a farce of closing vital community schools, traumatizing kids, families and whole communities. If you are a member of the school closure communities, you know that this election matters!

Stanhope keeps telling us that our hospital system is being fixed despite him having 7 years in government to do so. If you are fearful of Stanhope’s hospital debacles and if you or your family have endured his long delays in emergency or on trolleys in the corridors, you know that this election matters!

If you look at your rubbish riddled roads, pathetic neglected sporting ovals, pot holed streets, dieing trees, rotting dead kangaroos and you mourn the death of our garden city but yearn for green gardens again you know that this election matters!

on Stanhope stood in front of cameras after 500 houses were burnt, four lives lost, hundreds injured, hundreds of thousands of acres of our beautiful environment massacred, heritage destroyed forever and boasted that he would take the blame because he was Chief Minister Jon Stanhope. Stanhope did just the opposite, using legal ploys at your expense whilst taking all steps to forestall responsibility. So much for governmental integrity. If you were a victim of the 2003 firestorm or you are potential victim of the Stanhope government’s next conflagration caused by his deliberate destruction of the Emergency Services Authority you know that this election matters!

If you believe in accountability you would be shattered that Stanhope has condoned the risk to ourselves and our families by accepting that even the Minister charged with the responsibility for Police and Road Safety, did breach the prescribed limit and he did not deny he was a drink driver yet Stanhope just lets it slide. If you believe that Ministerial responsibility to setting standards for our younger drivers should be accountable then this election matters!

If you yearn for green gardens, ovals and sports grounds, you know that this election matters!

If you live in a quiet leafy suburb of Canberra and you are fearful of a noisy power station or something similar being landed at your back door or live on a rural farm and some unknown facility alien to rural pursuits is launched on a neighboring farm, you know that this election matters!

If you think that it’s about time for a bit of consideration for rural communities in relation to roads like the Boboyan Road which is the gateway to the Snowies, the Brindabella and Smith’s Roads, feral pests, failed park managements, lease inadequacies and lease manipulations etc., you know that this election matters!

If you believe that your beloved village of Tharwa and its surrounding community have been deliberately screwed into the ground by the Stanhope government you know that this election matters!

If you are a motor sports supporter and know that our young drivers must have and deserve a place off the main roads for their sport and your hairs are standing up on the back of your neck at the blatant and cruel steps that Stanhope took to destroy this vital sport and tourism opportunity, you know that this election matters!

And this election matters more than ever because the ACT needs change more than ever. After seven years of incompetence, arrogance, neglect, disrespect and failure, we need change.

To those who want to continue making the same mistake over and over again indefinitely, it is important for us to say loudly and clearly with our votes on the 18th of October, we need change. We in the Community Alliance Party intend to have change. The Stanhope government has passed its use by date so we must have change. Listen to me loud and clear and get this firmly into your head and don’t loose sight of it because this election matters!

That is what my party and myself are here for. Change and change for the better because, believe you me, this election matters and that’s why I am on the road again!

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ABC Stateline Interview
CATHERINE GARRETT: If you can’t beat them, join them or at least that’s Val Jeffery’s plan. The unofficial mayor of Tharwa and long-time government critic is about to announce he is standing in October’s Territory election. Melissa Polimeni with this exclusive report.

RESIDENT: We were actually told not long ago by one of the local poly there’s not enough voters out here.

RESIDENT: Very few governing bodies really understand what community is.

RESIDENT: We’ve had two body employees to this community and they’ve been almost fatal. The first one is the school and the second is one the bridge.

MELISSA POLIMENI: From the 2003 fires the closure of the primary school in a hard fought campaign to reopen the town’s bridge, Val Jeffery has been the mainstay of Tharwa.

VAL JEFFERY: I believe what I’ve done over my life is fight for the community, particularly my own community because that’s the community I live. But communities are the most important thing in people’s lives and we’re losing sight of that in Canberra, I’m afraid.

MELISSA POLIMENI: Tharwa’s general store has been in his family for decades. It’s where Val Jeffery spends most of his days, but with an election looming he’s in no mood for retirement.

VAL JEFFERY: I’ve been in involved in community affairs and politics on the edge of it all my life. I feel they’ve got something to contribute now with my life’s experience and I believe that the time is opportune now in Canberra with the way things have gone in the last four years of arrogant government.

MELISSA POLIMENI: After toying with the idea for more than a year, Val Jeffery has decided to stand for the Community Alliance Party in the seat of Brindabella.

Why do you want to be an MLA? Haven’t you been far more effective all these years shouting from the sidelines?

VAL JEFFERY: I think I’ve gone past that really. Really, I’ve done the best I can to try to keep politicians honest, politicians and bureaucrats honest. You get to a certain point where you just get sick of bashing your head against a brick wall.

MELISSA POLIMENI: The issues you’ve stood for over the years always been very Tharwa specific. How confident are you that you will get support from the wider community and not just the Tharwa locals?

VAL JEFFERY: The Tharwa problems have really come up in the last few years. The bushfires was not only a Tharwa problem and I have to be very vocal in that. The school was not only a Tharwa problem and I had to be vocal in that.

I talk to a lot of people, a lot of people come into the store and I get the feeling from those people that the time is right, they’re stick of the Stanhope Government, they’re stick of the arrogance of majority Government and they’re looking for an alternative to get in there and for want of a better word keep the bastards honest.

MELISSA POLIMENI: Val Jeffery is perhaps best known for his role in the 2003 bushfires. Tharwa residents credit the experienced firefighter with saving their town.

And in the aftermath of the blazes, he never once shied away from criticising the Stanhope Government.

VAL JEFFERY: I could describe it as nothing less than an insult to the community and the ACT.

NEWS REPORTER: Val Jeffery wants heads to role, starting with senior officers of the Emergency Services Bureau.

VAL JEFFERY: I am not going into this episode as a bushfire candidate but, believes you me, the bushfires are still a big issue in the community and needs to be addressed.

The Chief Minister done the wrong thing with the communities over the bushfires and he needs to still come up with the answers.

MELISSA POLIMENI: His frustration boiled over again last year when he took part in the dramatic blockade of the Assembly, joining dozens of his fellow firefighters in a mass resignation.

VAL JEFFERY: The general public that weren’t involved in the bushfires have got in the back of their mind that we should move on from that. This is hurting a lot of people, this attitude. Because the answers… questions are still out there and the answers haven’t come out of the bushfires that should have done. And there’s still a lot of people bleeding from the bushfires.

I will be going in there as a doer. I am not going in there as talker. I hate talking. But I believe in getting things done and and that’s what I’m trying to get into the Assembly to do.

MELISSA POLIMENI: You said you’re not a big talker. That might come as a bit of a surprise to the Stateline audience.

VAL JEFFERY: (Laughs.) It just developed in me over a last few years when I had to front up in front of the TV cameras as a result of the fires and the Tharwa school and the Tharwa bridge and this sort of thing.

MELISSA POLIMENI: It’s perhaps fitting that Val Jeffery’s announcement to stand for Assembly coincides with the opening of the new Tharwa bridge. A year long struggle for residents is set to end within days, reopening the gateway to the Namadgi National Park.

VAL JEFFERY: I like facing up to challenges and this is a challenge. There is no doubt in the world about that. I will make the best of it.

CATHERINE GARRETT: And we welcome Melissa Polimeni to the Stateline team.

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