Twelve observations from the Queensland Election

vote

 

DavidPascoe

The following is a post by Dr David Pascoe BVSc PhD OVH Repro, originally posted on facebook, reproduced here with permission. Dr Pascoe, who runs a veterinary clinic in Oakey, Queensland, has been successfully exposing the political and corporate greed and corruption behind the destruction and sale of our farmlands for quite some time now.

 

1. That the media had little or no idea what really happened on Saturday night – they knew as much as a flock of galahs. Their convenient fall-back position was to blame it on Abbott – a theme that came directly out of the Canberra Press Gallery – “so it must be right”.

The media have no clue about the real issues that affected Qld and what really drove the rage of the election. The truth is that both the state and national media have never shown either the spine nor the stomach to expose it.

The role of the Courier Mail and the Sunday mail in desperately trying to protect the LNP and keep them in power was shameless – and needs to be publicly condemned.

2. That Tony Abbot is the real cause for the rout in the Qld election is completely ludicrous : Abbott hardly had a clue what was really going on in Qld, no matter how many times it has been warned to him . In July last year, for instance, in a speech at the LNP State Conference he stood up and called Newman “’a great leader”:

3. That Bruce McIvor, President of the LNP and a primary architect of the whole election disaster told the media that he “’feels for the families of the politicians”. So why didn’t the apparently compassionate Mr McIvor have anything to say about the families of farmers being terrorized off their farms by miners and banks? Did he feel for them the same way? Or was that reserved for the comfortably off families of politicians because they were known to him?

4. That Newman shamelessly pork barrelled his own electorate – the suggestion is between $16 to 24 million – while the rest of Queensland was begging to have potholes filled in their streets. His matter was constantly abrasive, abusive and arrogant. Right across Qld, people reported what they called ‘The Hitler factor”- when ordinary working people struggled to express their rage and enunciate the right word to describe Newman. Inevitably, the word ‘Hitler’ was repeated over and over. Ordinary people felt as if they had no say, that they didn’t matter.

5. That Newman – in his farewell speech – only showed a glimpse of emotion when he mentioned his police protection detail. Why? Did he explain that this “police protection detail” consisted not of one or two police but rather, he was surrounded by several police at all times? Why did he really need so many? And why did he suddenly feign surprise that the public didn’t like him?

6. That in every community – right across Queensland – someone knew about something they believed to be corrupt. These cases were not linked. They were not discussed. The electorates were not linked – but the rage and the size of the swing was consistent. This is what is called ‘uniform’- even if the political experts don’t understand it themselves.

7. That the Party system is clearly controlled by the Corporates, the Unions and big donors. The party system is dedicated to destroying any emergence of quality Independents. They were not able to get a story in a local paper: they simply refused to publish them. Was this an editorial decision? So who controls the editor? Who owns the newspaper? What is the real relationship between the corporate owners and the political parties?

8. That the LNP targeted certain seats and shamelessly spent from their massive secret stash to literally pulverise their opponents. One of their primary targets was Dr Alex Douglas (Independent Gaven), a man of great integrity and ability who knew where many of the LNP skeletons were buried. Some reports estimate that the party spent close on a million dollars in spam, phone calls, texts and advertising to smash the vote of Douglas – and that was only in the last few days before the polls.

Other targets included the seat of Lockyer – where the belligerent and abusive Ian Rickuss was re-elected – and Toowoomba North – where ‘Steady Eddie” Trevor Watts was elected – and Nicklin – where they failed to destroy Peter Wellington.

9. That Deb Frecklington managed to increase her vote in Nanango – which proves the seductive power of a charming liar. While the entire nation now understands what really went on with New Hope State Three and the massive cash donations paid to the LNP, Frecklington nonetheless still managed to convince a trusting country community that she was the one left smelling of roses.

Now she has lost both the mentoring of Newman – and the pleasures of being in Government – and so her own particular Pollyanna story is about to change.

10. That Rob Katter and Shane Knuth still managed to win massive majorities in traditional Labor electorates – such as Mt Isa – or formerly rural electorates such as Dalrymple that are now dominated by large Labor communities such as Moranbah – is amazing testament to their performance and credibility .

11. That both political parties completely underestimated the power of social media and were unable to shut down its freedom of speech. The suggestion that truth could be told from an entirely different quarter caught them all flat-footed: the LNP had the Murdoch Media – Courier Mail and the Sunday Mail – all stitched up, as they did the APN regional newspapers (the cheer squad for the mining industry because of their reliance on advertising) as well as Channel 7 and Channel 9 (in particular).

12.. That the State of Queensland is angry, dislocated – and the economy is up the creek. Mining has NOT been the saviour that the Queensland people were promised – instead, it has destroyed prime farm land and precious water resources. It has destroyed farmers, families and entire communities. And the voters have responded accordingly.

 

 

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Life is great in the Sunshine State

Today we have a treat for Whispers’ Cellar readers. Regular and well regarded writer for The Political Sword 2353 gives us some insight into the Queensland election – enjoy.

There used to be a town called Acland on Queensland’s Darling Downs near Toowoomba. It’s still there physically, however all but one resident has moved out. The Darling Downs is one of the better farming areas in Queensland due to the presence of large quantities of rich black soil. Unfortunately, the people who originally settled in the area chose to site their town over a coal reserve. The Queensland and Federal Governments have given approval for the owners of the Acland Mine – New Hope Group, a division of Washington H Soul Pattinson – to commence the construction of Acland Mine Stage 3. While the Queensland Government will tell you there are 137 ‘strict’ environmental conditions and the proposed mine was reduced in scope – the fact remains that the proposed Stage 3 mine will increase coal production from 4.8 million tons of coal per year to 7.5 million tons per annum.

Quarrying operations are conducted in the upper reaches of the Brisbane River. Since 2007, there have been calls to close down this operation due to the inimical effects on the surrounding landholders including soil erosion with the subsequent loss of fertile land. On the complaint from a farmer in the local area, the Premier of Queensland advised that there was a requirement for a state issued licence for the quarrying operation – something the current operator didn’t have. The appropriate department then issued a compliance notice, which the operator then challenged. The challenge allowed them to continue operations and some retrospective legislation passed by the Queensland Parliament have allowed the current situation to continue for at least another 5 years. The details of this ‘deal’ are contained in this ABC news article.

Moreton Bay Regional Council is the local government body that manages the area to the immediate north of Brisbane City Council. Moreton Bay’s centres of population include Redcliffe, Caboolture and Samford. On 28 November 2014, they were ordered by the Queensland Government to remove all references in a town planning document to the potential for an 80 centimetre rise in sea levels between now and 2100. Other large Queensland Councils (including Brisbane and Townsville) have used the same assumption in town planning documents without being ordered to remove them. The Local Government Association has asked who will be responsible for the inevitable claims that will result when the land floods – the Council for allowing unsuitable development, or the State Government for ordering the removal of a planning constraint that has a reasonable probability of occurring?

On 24 March 2014, the Queensland Government decreed a rezoning of a caravan park on the Sunshine Coast to allow medium density dwellings. In addition to adding millions of dollars to the value of the property, the rezoning was contrary to the plans of the Sunshine Coast Regional Council and the State Government Department that controls development in the state.

Queenslanders have been bombarded for months with advertising regarding an improvement in ‘wait times’ for those requiring a procedure in the state’s hospitals. While worthwhile, the initiative is promoted as being entirely due to the actions of the current LNP government. The fact is that the initiative is the result of a Council of Australian Government (COAG) initiative from 2011 (prior to the current LNP Government in Queensland) where one of the recommendations was to improve the timeliness of elective and non-elective surgery within clinical guidelines. If you believe the advertising, Queensland made the targets – but wasn’t the worst offender in any case. The full detail is Recommendation 14 from this link.

The Queensland LNP Government points to the ‘anti-bikie’ laws as evidence of making the state a safer place. Newman, prior to the Stafford by-election in 2014, claimed the drop was ‘around 10%’. The reality is somewhat different as explained in this ABC Queensland News report. Manipulation of crime data was a hallmark of the Bjelke-Petersen Government in the 1970s and 1980s. There are a number of issues with the targeting of the ‘anti-bikie’ laws such as :

The looseness of the definition around gang “participants” who could be punished under the laws was highlighted by the arrest of librarian Sally Kuether, a bikie’s girlfriend with no criminal record who faces six months jail for visiting a pub.

Those of a certain age who had the fortune or misfortune to grow up in Queensland might remember a song used across the state in Primary Schools that shares its name with the title of this piece.

The truth is completely different. During the 1960’s and 1970’s when this song was used, the conservative Governments of Queensland were overseeing the decline of the state into the laughing stock of the country through graft and corruption – as ‘discovered’ during the 1980’s in the Fitzgerald Enquiry. Should you be interested in the gory detail – the full report can be downloaded from the link above.

From the end of the Fitzgerald Enquiry, the ALP had formed the majority of Queensland Governments. The Liberals and Nationals never seemed to be able to shake off the ‘stigma’ of the corruption exposed by Fitzgerald. The Fitzgerald Enquiry looked at the actions of a number of ‘crime figures’ and National Party politicians of the 1970s and 1980s including Joh Bjelke-Petersen (who was never acquitted of corruption charges as a result of the Fitzgerald Enquiry) and Russ Hinze – who died in 1991 prior to Fitzgerald Enquiry charges being made against him.

It is now history that Campbell Newman ‘resigned’ as Brisbane’s Lord Mayor at just the right time so the chosen successor, Graham Quirk, didn’t have to endure the uncertainty of a by-election. The ‘arrangement’ is discussed in this Queensland Parliament Factsheet. Newman then became the “Leader of the Opposition” from outside Parliament. Newman led a ‘newly married’ Liberal and National Party, known as the LNP – Newman came from the ‘Liberal’ side of the marriage.

Jeff Seeney was elected to State Parliament in 1998, after serving on the local council and the National Party state executive for a number of years prior. Seeney assumed the role of Leader of the Opposition inside Parliament (and Deputy Leader of the Opposition outside Parliament) as Newman was not a Member of the Queensland Parliament. The deposed previous LNP Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek and his deputy Lawrence Springborg (who both had seats in Parliament) resigned their positions as a protest over the arrangement. Since the 2012 election, Seeney has been Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development.

While the general consensus was that the ALP couldn’t win a chook raffle around the time of the 2012 Queensland Election, it is probably fair to suggest that nobody predicted the actual result – available here at the Electoral Commission Queensland’s website.

Some reading this would probably suggest that the NIMBY’s on the Darling Downs, Moreton Bay and Sunshine Coast should accept that time change and this is progress. However, there is a connection here. The owners of New Hope Group have contributed over $700,000 to the Queensland LNP and Federal Liberal Parties and that the operator of the quarry in the upper reaches of the Brisbane River is also a big donor to Queensland’s Liberal National Party, in recent years contributing $75,000. The owner of the Sunshine Coast Caravan Park has attended LNP fundraisers. In addition, all these decisions were made by Deputy Premier and State Development Minister Jeff Seeney. As an aside, prior to the 2012 election, then Premier Anna Bligh accused Newman of accepting contributions from developers when Lord Mayor of Brisbane.

The Guardian looks at the upcoming Queensland Election and observes that there is daylight between the policies of the LNP Government and the ALP Opposition on three issues – environment, law and order as well as privatisation. Their article discusses other environmental damage the Newman Government is in the process of inflicting such as the potential for irreversible damage to the Great Barrier Reef. They also suggest that while librarians have been arrested for being the girlfriend of a motor-bike club member, no ‘kingpins’ that may be or have been ‘into’ extortion and drug dealing have suffered the same fate. The Guardian also questions the wordplay that converts asset sales (something the ALP Government was rightly caned about) into 99-year leases with the Government of the Day being required to pay for any improvements to the infrastructure funded by the lease.

However, the election is on and when asked who would be Premier if he lost his seat (possible despite being held on a 5.7% margin), Newman claims it would be Annastacia Palaszczuk, leader of the ALP. The ALP needs a statewide swing in excess of 11% to win Government – which is a hard ask. Madonna King suggests that Newman can’t stop lying and the answer to the question is any one of a number of current LNP Ministers. The problem for the LNP is they have built a “presidential aura” around Newman – and there is a significant proportion of LNP voters that will only vote LNP because of Newman. To an extent, the federal coalition is in the same boat as it has built its image around Abbott.

While the ALP and Palaszczuk are being criticised for not ‘releasing policy’, I wonder if the real issue here is that the ALP (after recent federal history) has realised the failure of the ‘presidential’ system – in that a government is more than the leader? After all, it is difficult to suggest what action that would be taken to address a problem that becomes apparent in 2 years time – which is what we expect our governments to be capable of doing. It also makes it harder to run a FUD (fear, uncertainty, desperation) scare campaign or a ‘you’re a liar’ campaign if the other side won’t release specific items that will be implemented on the timetable demanded from the ‘other’ side. The strategy seemed to work in Victoria late last year – and for Abbott federally.

If that is the case does the conservative side of politics have the answer to the marketing issue as it is expensive to target a different person in each of 89 electorates? The recent history of the ALP in Queensland would suggest that some of their members aren’t much better than the LNP’s – although they did jail their minister who was found guilty of taking illegal payments.

Is the answer a loose confederation of independents, such as Peter Wellington and someone like Liz Cunningham who has decided not to stand this time around? It could be, provided the independents can see the larger view of representing the entire Queensland community and don’t necessarily make all their decisions through the prism of local sectional interests.

In any case – we’ll know on 1 February.

2353 is a mid 50s male who lives in Brisbane. He is one of the many bank staff who was culled in the mid 1990’s who has gone on to build a career in a completely unrelated field (in this case building and construction). He has a Bachelor of Business degree, a school age family, a mortgage and a fluffy dog.

He has served on a number of Community and Service Organisation committees over the past 30 years – all of which have the basic objective of helping the community that 2353 is living in at the time. 2353 has never been a member of a political party – although his community service work has given him a good grounding in the politics of society.

Meet the average Australian on January 2 2015. They are feeling very angry.

Farms

The following is a post by Dr David Pascoe BVSc PhD OVH Repro, originally posted on facebook, reproduced here with permission. Dr Pascoe, who runs a veterinary clinic in Oakey, Queensland, has been successfully exposing the political and corporate greed and corruption behind the destruction and sale of our farmlands for quite some time now.

DavidPascoe

It’s enough to break your heart.

The Australian people are only beginning to realise what our politicians have really done to us.

They have already sold most of our prime farmland to the big foreign owned mining companies and the giant corporations of the world.

The fact is, nearly every inch of our best farmland is going to be mined; maybe not now, but certainly sometime in the future.

Here on the Darling Downs – the nation’s finest food bowl – around 92% of the land is now under a mining lease.

There are some 32 open cut coal mines planned, and 40,000 coal seam gas wells.

Down in NSW, the coming apocalypse of farming will be just as bad: Santos announced to shareholders recently where it will be developing its new fields: – from Tamworth to Gunnedah and the Liverpool Plains, across to Narrabri, Moree and right up to Goondiwindi.

Farming will be eventually be obliterated, delicate aquifers destroyed and all the precious moisture sucked out of the soil.

Governments have already decided that we are no longer an agricultural and farming nation but rather, an energy producing one. They just didn’t bother to explain that to the Australian people.

Slipped it straight past the wicketkeeper, you might say.

Why didn’t they make it clear what they were really planning and give the nation a say? Lets just say that they had their reasons. One day we hope those reasons will be fully exposed to the people of Australia.

We have been fighting this battle to save the farmland for four years, and so many of our fellow soldiers of the soil have been in the trenches a great deal longer. We are all battle hardened by now, but our hearts still break.

We wish it wasn’t true, that we could all wake up one morning and discover it was simply a bad dream.

At least now that Australian people are beginning to understand the reality of it – and how horrifically bad it is.

In twenty years time, our prime farmland will resemble the Western Front in 1916. And probably worse.

At least the Australian people are beginning to realise that we are all in this together, and that’s a good thing.

Today one of our readers wrote a poem and sent it to us.

We’d like to share it with you.

Political and Corporate Lies.

They stand there in their pinstriped suits
while smiling through their teeth of gold,
with tarnished tongue they talk the talk
ignoring what they have been told.

They spruik to Aussies “things won’t change”
and care for all the farming lands
while wearing their ‘Berluti’ shoes;
gold and diamond rings upon their hands.

The farmers and the pubic now
will fight the fight and publicise,
how corporates want to take their land
then sell to foreign enterprise.

There’s way to much at stake,
it’s our own homeland they’ll destroy,
this ancient piece of history,
our future children won’t enjoy.

We’ve heard these lies before,
results are there for all to see.
View photos where they’ve mined,
they leave behind catastrophe.

We all now have to stand as one,
fight to stop this corporate greed.
Don’t let them sell Australia,

Stand tall —

Don’t let them succeed.

David J Delaney
02/01/2015 ©