Border Mail letters: Border Mail readers have their say on the issues of the day

RUTZOU REUNION: A picture of Howlong's Punt  Hotel in 1905. The pioneering Rutzou family will have a family reunion at Howlong on Saturday, April 22.
RUTZOU REUNION: A picture of Howlong's Punt Hotel in 1905. The pioneering Rutzou family will have a family reunion at Howlong on Saturday, April 22.

Lib-Nats tough on crime

More and more country Victorians do not feel safe in their own homes, and it is no wonder.

Victoria’s crime rate has skyrocketed 20 per cent since December 2014 – it is clear the Andrews Government’s soft touch isn’t working.

In the past year alone, assaults have spiked 11.8 per cent, while robberies have increased 24.4 per cent.

Daniel Andrews has watered down bail laws, weakened sentencing, closed police stations and cut frontline police numbers and now our justice system is at crisis point.

Victorians have had enough of the Andrews Labor Government being soft on crime – it’s time for a different approach.

It is important to address the factors that lead people to crime, but it is equally important to have a tough law and order system.

If a Liberal Nationals government is elected in 2018, violent re-offenders would face mandatory minimum sentences for 11 violent crimes.

These include aggravated car-jacking and aggravated burglary, which would carry minimum jail time of 10 years, while rape or manslaughter (one punch) would have mandatory sentences of 15 years.

Violent re-offenders found guilty of murder would face a minimum of 20 years in jail.

No more excuses, no more second chances – it’s two strikes and you’re in.

Youth re-offenders, emboldened by the Andrews Government’s soft approach to crime, would also face tougher consequences under a Liberal Nationals government.

To put public safety first, our courts would have the power to name and shame those young re-offenders who disrespect our justice system and commit serious offences while on bail.

We would also seek to make three significant changes to fix our broken bail system and make Victoria safer.

These are the presumption of remand, not bail, for violent crimes; a one strike and you’re in policy for anyone breaching bail; and reinstating the offence of breaching bail for youth offenders.

An elected Liberal Nationals government would put the rights of victims before criminals and make sure the penalties for violent crime reflect community expectation.

Daniel Andrews’ soft touch isn’t working. It is time to do something different to keep our communities safe.

Peter Walsh, Leader of The Nationals

Member for Murray Plains

Rutzou family reunion

The pioneering Rutzou family will stage a family reunion at the Howlong Golf Resort on April 22, 160 years after their ancestors Ferdinand and Eliza built the historic Punt Hotel.

Today their achievements are recognised by the plaque Rutzous Bridge on River Road, Howlong. As well as building and operating the Punt Hotel, Ferdinand was also responsible for a punt across the Murray River as there was no other river crossing in the area in that period. He was also the official Victorian Customs Agent as the two states were then at odds over goods coming across the river and charged duty on many items.

One family mystery that will be raised at the reunion is whether The Kelly Gang used the Howlong Punt to cross the river after their raid on the Jerilderie Bank.

Ferdinand Rutzou, who was born in Kolding, Denmark in 1827, arrived in Melbourne on the Albinus in 1853 and married Edinburgh born Eliza McVicar Kemp in 1863.

Eliza died in 1888 and is buried in Albury while Ferdinand passed away in 1889 and although he was buried in Howlong Cemetery, his grave was unmarked until the Rutzou Family erected a headstone in 2014.   

They had six sons, many of whom also operated hotels in the district including the second youngest son Ludolph who was the proprietor of The Star in Albury for many years and Perce who was the licensee of a Corowa hotel and the old Walbundrie Hotel.  

Dennis Rutzou, Lindfield