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132 responses to “Queensland Labor wipeout and LNP-slide #qldpol”

  1. thomas paine

    I think when they rolled rudd again along with more character assassination it was a message to any soft qld labor supporters to give up on labor altogether.

    I think the message was and is that labor is more obssessed with internal power plays and gaming than the public good. And they would be right.

  2. Terry

    Will anyone hold Alex Scott to account for his flirtation with the Katter Australian Party as QPSU State Secretary?

  3. Fran Barlow

    The Galaxy Poll today has the LNP poised to win up to 70 seats, with the most likely Labor representation between 10 and 15 in the 89 member Parliament.

    Two things …

    1. It wasn’t so very long ago that teh Libs-Nats were in disarray and on the wrong end of a seat deficit of comparable magnitude. Politics today is a lot more volatile, so I wouldn’t be assuming that teh LNP will get more than two terms. If the ALP can use this defeat to recompose themselves with a coherent set of constituencies with an investment in policies that the LNP won’t be keen on, when this interesects the moment that Queenslanders stop giving the new regime a pass because the old regime was responsible, the ALP will be competitive again.

    2. 60-40 should mean the 60 gets roughly 54 seats and the remaining 40 get the other 35. It’s scandalous that this is not the case, regardless of who appears to benefit. It’s part of the reason for the political bankruptcy of both parties. Even if The Greens are only getting 9% they should be getting about 8 seats. As it goes, the only party insistently standing up for equity and sustainability in public policy is silenced in the parliament by the vagaries of electoral arrangements. That’s not democratic and it’s not even good for the longterm health of the ALP because it hands control to the most conservative pro-business elements of the party, who must carry the can for what seems like an imminent rout.

  4. Tyro Rex

    We’ll see a whole raft of really nasty anti-union legislation and plenty of environmental destruction even if the LNP are limited to only two terms.

  5. Paul Norton

    Terry @2, I would if I was a member of that union. Funnily enough, I had always thought of Alex Scott as someone from AWU central casting like most of his fellow QPSU officials.

  6. Paul Norton

    Tyro Rex @4, and they won’t be able to help themselves from having a go at the Anti-Discrimination Act, and will be tempted to unpick what the famously bent Justice Connolly referred to as “the Fitzgerald experiment”.

  7. Fran Barlow

    On the other hand, Kim, Tyro, it’s hard to feel great sympathy for the ALP. It’s not as if they’ve gone down fighting the good fight — waving the Red Flag, fighting for equity in public policy and ecological sustainability. Had they spent the three years since 2009 aggressively doing that, one suspects they’d be a heck of a lot closer now — perhaps even in front. They’d have had a core constituency who felt they had something to lose, and more — the constituency would have stood up for them away from the elections. Instead, it seems, as usual, that the most compelling reason for returning the ALP is that the LNP will probably prove to be worse. That’s classic hostage voting because all it means is that you get to endorse what you don’t like at all. There have to be positive reasons for returning the regime. The regime has to stand for something. Diffuse fears of LNP rule just won’t suffice in the necessary temporal window. This is a problem the ALP is having all over the country.

  8. Paul Norton

    Fran @8:

    It’s not as if they’ve gone down fighting the good fight — waving the Red Flag, fighting for equity in public policy and ecological sustainability.

    Or reforming the abortion laws. Amongst everything else which was appalling about the Tegan Leach case was the kind of lesson Anna Bligh taught young activists (whether pro-choice feminists or some other kind of social movement activist) wondering whether they could effectively pursue their goals by joining the ALP and working for change through it, or whether, as Bob Brown has said presciently in another context, Labor would change them much more than they would change Labor.

  9. Tyro Rex

    There will be terrific attacks on the rights of all people in QLD, Fran. The LNP are still the unreformed National party with the ineffective Liberal rump. It truly will be a horror – make Howard look like a proper wet lib.

  10. Fran Barlow

    There will be terrific attacks on the rights of all people in QLD, Fran. The LNP are still the unreformed National party with the ineffective Liberal rump. It truly will be a horror – make Howard look like a proper wet lib.

    If that’s true Tyro, then that’s something that can only count against the LNP when it materialises i.e after the election, which is rather my point. That is why “diffuse” is the right term for such fears. Most people do cognitive dissonance {maybe it won’t be that bad?} when they lack the stomach for a fight, or think they can’t win. It would of course entail the ALP actually taking an expressly oppositional stance on the matter, not because it might momentarily give them scope for a swing but because it is part of building a coherent and stable rival constituency.

    The numbers of active members of the ALP are at an historic low, and that’s hardly surprising. The members don’t really have much say over policy, and even less say over how the Parliamentary party acts in public. On the occasions I’ve lobbed up to meetings of the ALP in recent years (admittedly in Sydney, and just for curiosity’s sake) it has resembled nothing so much as those meetings run by Reg one saw parodied in The Life of Brian, save that at least in those, they seeme to at least talk about doing things. These were like some bizarre lodge meetings attended by people doing their civic duty rather than fighting for public policy. Little wonder that the party’s actual processes are run by sharply dressed spivs.

  11. John Edmond

    @Tyro Partly true, at the moment the “LNP are still the unreformed National party with the ineffective Liberal rump.” After the election they will become the ineffective Liberal party with an unreformed National rump. Which is why this forthcoming LNP majority, no matter how massive, may not last that long – they hate each other, there will be infighting, there will be blood. The Nats have been effectively waiting for power for twenty odd years, to win the election and then see it taken off them by Liberals will cause brain explosions all around. And that’s if Newman, as he probably will, wins Ashgrove. If he doesn’t….

  12. John Edmond

    @Kim A legacy of Ronan Lee’s? Unlikely/hopefully not.

  13. Paul Norton

    Kim @13, I was commenting purely on behalf of myself. You nonetheless raise a fair point. Senator Larissa Waters and other Greens were certainly on the platform at pro-choice rallies during the period of the Tegan Leach case, and Greens members were at those rallies, but suffice it to say that I’m not going to die in a ditch opposing a comradely and constructive criticism to the effect that the Greens could have done more.

    Having said that, I don’t think this detracts from the point I was making @10 about the ruinous effects of Labor’s and Bligh’s stance on that issue on young activists’ perceptions about the effectiveness of joining and working through the ALP. That the Greens might have fallen short of being very good does not excuse Labor for being very bad.

  14. Geoff Henderson

    We see in the Federal Houses how negative an adversarial partisan climate can be. Not in the national best interest at all.

    Now we are facing a change of government here in Queensland. There seems to be general agreement here on that point. I also get the impression that many are spoiling for a fight, and expecting that the new government will take to the State with a big stick, undoing many good policies.
    I see the same sort of negativity seen in the Feds ready to raise it’s ugly head in Queensland.

    IMHO that is a crap approach to any new government. We need a good government, whatever it’s left/right position, more than anything else.
    If the government does change, lets look for the upside, not crucify them just because they are not Labor. If we get stuck with the LNP for two terms, lets get the best out of it. And re-build Labor into a credible new government-in-waiting.

  15. Wantok

    In my electorate of Dalrymple, the incumbent LNP member jumped ship to join KAP: I fear his once in a lifetime opportunity to be in government has been lost. Labor, somewhat typically, selected a university student who has yet to complete his bachelors degree; he will not need to interrupt his studies. LNP sensibly, selected a no nonsense mature lady who has been running the family business; she will be off to Brissy I think. And then there’s the Greens…………….

  16. tssk

    At least through Queensland we’ll get a nice preview of a fully operational Abbott government.

    I’d like to think all the fears expressed here is just drama but….we all know the dark history of QLD.

  17. Fran Barlow

    Geoff Henderson said:

    If we get stuck with the LNP for two terms, lets get the best out of it.

    State governments, for good or ill, are just a larger more complex version of local councils. The best for which one can reasonably hope is that they don’t leave the “Council of {NSW, Victoria, QLD etc}” in a worse condition than it was when they found it. You especially don’t want them to do serious damage in areas which would be hard for a subsequent regime to remedy at acceptable cost. Most stuff is fixable, but in areas like Planning and Development, the Environment, Laura Norder, Community Services, there is massive scope to do irreparable damage.

    I’m as willing as anyone to give credit where it’s due, but it’s hard to imagine that the incoming regime will improve on the very low standard of the outgoing regime, because both have been driven by pretty much the same dynamic — to pander to the wealthiest stakeholders in the state. Given that the LNP is even closer to this crowd than was the ALP, it’s easy to see who is going to be getting the rails run in the first two areas above, and covering that with populistic stunts will require grandstanding on Laura Norder and Community Services as well. That’s how it always goes, sadly, and why in the longer run, I’d like to see state governments (and councils) done away with entirely to be replaced by regional government.

  18. Fine

    Isn’t this change also due to the ‘It’s time’ factor. Labor has been in power 20 out of 22 years. How long can a government keep going?

  19. Chris

    tssk @ 21 – yes at least an arrogant LNP government with a huge margin in QLD should help the federal government get re-elected….

  20. John Edmond

    Out of curiosity, how does replacing state and local governments with regional governments change the dynamic you describe Fran?

    It’s almost all to do with the “it’s time” factor. The wipeout will be massive because Labor survived what should have been a medium sized wipeout last time. Newman is a remarkably weak candidate, he comes across like a combination of Latham and Abbott, but without their charm or mental discipline. Yet QLD is so tired of listening to Labor that Bligh has been forced to yell crazy dreams just to cut through.

  21. Terry

    Newman is a remarkably weak candidate, he comes across like a combination of Latham and Abbott, but without their charm or mental discipline.

    I think Newman will enjoy spending quality time in the Cabinet room with the Big Hats in the NP as much as Latham used to enjoy getting advice from ex-union officials.

  22. Fran Barlow

    John Edmond asked:

    Out of curiosity, how does replacing state and local governments with regional governments change the dynamic you describe Fran?

    It makes it possible for governance to match more closely communities of interest. Almost by definition (Tasmania is probably an exception) state governments are remote from the communities they have to serve and any attempt to reconcile these things tends to be a pretty poor compromise at best. On the other hand, if you had a regional governments such as Sydney Region, MidCoast, Murray Darling and so forth you could get genuinely local decision-making over all things peculiar to them (and perhaps allow them to share some things with neighbouring regions where that was sensible, but fund most of it from Canberra.

    And while Canberra has not exactly covered itself in glory dealing with Big Dirt, Big Filth and Big Spin , it’s certainly better equipped than any existing state to do so, and without the states to run interference, would have a much freer hand. Likewise, it seems to me that in a jurisdiction such as ours, policing and prisons and at least the criminal courts should be done at national level and funded that way; ditto the major elements of the health budget.

    Swapping two levels of dubious government for one with a clear brief and proper funding would save money and avoid duplication. It would also sever the nexus between purely local politics and Federal politics so that people campaigning for national office could stop pretending they were running for Premier, as happened in 2010.

    Obviously I want a lot more than just this. I’d like to redesign the whole election process to make it inclusive and deliberative, but getting rid of state government would be a big step forward.

  23. joe2

    tssk @ 21 – yes at least an arrogant LNP government with a huge margin in QLD should help the federal government get re-elected….

    One can only hope so, Chris.

    Victoria is copping a National Party regime, under Ryan, when I suspect they thought they voted for a small “l” liberal Baillieu government.

    The cracks are beginning to show and I will be surprised if that population will happily move any further to the right with Abbott.

  24. Joe

    I kind of agree with Fran. Local government representatives are often not really fit for office and then not really held accountable by an ignorant or uninterested constituency. And yet local governments are very important, as they are in charge of services, which we deal with on a daily basis- trash, water, etc. State governments also regulate critical infrastructure.

    I think the reason for the three-tier system is redundancy– there’s suddenly a lot more stability in governance with three tiers. So, I guess, I could understand saving the current system, but increasing the number of states. I think it’s a valid grievance that states are dominated by their capitals. Regional development in Australia has stalled…

  25. John Edmond

    @Fran Tasmania/Gunnland (and imagining what a FNQLD government would be like) is why I don’t support regional governments – they’re as easy to capture as local governments, but with the powers of a state government to do damage. You see them as best sort of sweet spot, I see them as the worst sort of sweet spot.

    Plus if you compare the running of the AFP, the ADF or Immigration with the state-run policing, health or education (all more important/harder) it becomes fairly obvious which level of government is better at providing services, and it’s not federal. Also state run services allow inter-state comparisons to see what’s working, something that’s especially important in an isolated country like Australia.

  26. Joe

    Also agree with Fran at 3!

    Quite possible that the new Qld government will drive full-speed in reverse “through the review mirror”– implementing a slew of reforms in an attempt to try and recreate some mythical past.

    But the lack of any real concept for society will lead to the polls swinging back to Labor, who, in their current guise, will try and return to some kind of status-quo.

    My dad, said on the phone a couple of days ago, that “when you vote, you should have what’s best for your neighbour in mind.” My, but haven’t we come along way since then.

  27. Joe

    John said:

    Also state run services allow inter-state comparisons to see what’s working, something that’s especially important in an isolated country like Australia.

    Yeah, but that’s an argument for an increase in the number of states. A FNQld should not be written off so lightly– it’s a very good example of a region in Australia and there’s a good argument that they should be in charge of their own futures. It might also help to clarify the relationship between Brisbane and FNQld?

  28. Fine

    You’re right about Victoria joe. People thought the urbane Baillieu couldn’t be to bad. But, we’ve got the hunting and fishing mafia instead. But, there’s only a one seat majority, which is very different.

  29. John Edmond

    @Joe True on both accounts It’s just I see states as balancing comparison and efficiency of scale. At least balanced enough that re-arranging the entire system for the possibility of a slight improvement seems dubious. Regarding FNQld, true but I don’t think it’d provide an outcome that appealing to Fran. Or to the environment. Or to (a hundred other things).

    Personally I think that rigid form of regional identity over-rated/unhealthy. A government shouldn’t be too aligned with local interests, because then it is the interest.

  30. John Edmond

    And I say that thinking FNQld is the most viable regional government – how would you even begin to divide South or West Australia? Broome, the capital of Far North West Australia? NSW and QLD are the only states that lend themselves to some form of functional division. Unless you believe in the regional government of NotMelbourneYouBastards Victoria.

  31. Craig Mc

    My dad, said on the phone a couple of days ago, that “when you vote, you should have what’s best for your neighbour in mind.”

    Vote 1 Patronising!

  32. Hoa minh Truong

    People have no surprise the opinion poll in the Queensland election is going to vote next week, so the LNP should claim the landslide victory. The Labor failed the support by many reasons:
    -Labor being in power so long.
    -The recent consequence of Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd’s fighting is still effecting the voter. Actually, after they criticised to take back and protect the top job, both sides appraised each other, likely a chicken fighting in herd, so people have no trust Labor politicians from state and federal level.
    -The federal government has driving by Greens and three independents that has became the voting lesson, so the Greens and independents should be punished by voter.
    The Australia Party of Bob Katter should be gained more support, moreover, he has not work to Labor if the hanging parliament repeats.
    Hoa Minh Truong.

  33. Joe

    How’s that patronising, Craig Mc?

    (Unless you’re referring to the fact, that a father said it to his son?)

  34. Fran Barlow

    @Fran Tasmania/Gunnland (and imagining what a FNQLD government would be like) is why I don’t support regional governments – they’re as easy to capture as local governments, but with the powers of a state government to do damage.

    Hence the other part of my desire — to reconfigure the election system to favour inclusive governance. In any event though, the Gunns-style stuff would be National, not regional. There would be national policies on forests, which would take account of regional wishes but not be dictated to by them. There would have to be a plan for a proposal to fit into. The same goes for riparian areas or littorals.

  35. Jon

    Anybody else sick to death of this ’20 years of Labor’ stuff? What about the Borbidge Government which was only beaten through Peter Wellington siding with Peter Beattie? Was it so bad that even the LNP won’t claim it?

  36. paul walter

    I wish I could feel sympathy for Anna Bligh and her government. As with a couple of other people here, I’ve grown old and sad at watching their headlong flight from issues of principle.
    I agree that the succeeding government will be little short of fascist, so the Qld people will get what they deserve if they vote them in, for believing they’d be any better, particularly if the thing is just a sulk about Rudd.
    But it doesn’t exonerate Labor for its sheer gutlessness and treachery on fundamental issues.
    To sum up, will cheer loudly on an other wise depressing night when the real grub in the cane heap, Andrew Fraser, loses his seat- it’s there that people must look if they seek answers to Labor’s collapse

  37. Iain Hall

    Oh you lot are amazing!
    I have had the best time just reading your “woe is us” from all of the usual suspects , most of whom are not even Queenslanders and have not had to cop the worst ravages of the Labor government.
    If you had then you would not be lamenting the expected passing of a very bad administration or making dire prognostications about the future under the LNP you would be criticizing the despicable smear campaign run by the ALP that will be long remembered by the people and that will be a millstone around the neck of its future leader.
    When will the ALP learn that when a loss of power is inevitable that it is better to go down fighting clean than to stoop to such nonsense that never works and often backfires?

  38. Tyro Rex

    despicable smear campaign run by the ALP

    Sorry Iain, what? Newman and his family are in thick with developers and there’s much back-scratching going on there. It goes straight to his fitness to hold office. It’s right to highlight this in a political campaign.

    The LNP have for 20 years dragged up every grubby half-truth and tawdry lie under parliamentary privilege without repercussion. They dragged Bligh’s husband into it last time. They bring up all sorts of disproven cactus conspiracy theories every second fucking week in parliament.

    But the ALP, courtesy mind you of The Australian newspaper who discovered and kept on discovering this stuff, which goes straight to the heart of “fit and proper to govern”, chooses to run ads about golden boy Newman, its suddenly “despicable”?

    That’s the Tory logic right there. Pour on all the sexual deviant style allegations you can in parliament against all and sundry and then whine loud and long about something when the media finds out out your dodgy business deals.

    I understand that some people seem to buy Newman’s weak equivocating defences of those actions by his family and the developer at face value, but I’d say that’ because they are predisposed to hear what they like. Just like you.

    I for one can’t wait for our new Fascist Tory Overlords.

  39. Eric Sykes

    What Tyro says at 43.

  40. Occam's Blunt Razor

    The Queensland CMC must be working for the LNP then – given they have cleared Newman of all allegations.

    Didn’t Bligh say Newman would end up in Jail/Gaol – not a smear? Statement of fact or truth?

    There are further inplications at the Federal level – everyone here fervently believe the Primary and 2PP will improve for the ALP – it didn’t in QLP and it is unlikely to Federally.

  41. Ruth Bonnett

    I have been critical of Newman in the past, and there is an ‘it’s time’ factor.
    I had the opportunity to address the Politics in the Pub, and to start the debate about civil rights, and how the Labor-Green preference deals have allowed urban votes to be used to strip fellow Queenslanders of their civil and political rights.
    http://www.samuelgriffith.org.au/papers/html/volume17/v17chap2.html

    I think it is wrong for any party to say they champion human rights, and at the same time take a wrecking ball to basic democratic rights.

    The VMA does not meet the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

  42. PM

    Does anyone else see a bit of a parallel between Campbell and Rudd?

    Both emerging from nowhere with no real base of support in their respective parties. Both suddenly uniting their fractured and warring parties with a fair bit of good press and a sudden rise in the popularity of their personal and party support levels. Both having a public persona which appears nice and rational but both also having a reputation for private authoritarianism and easily lost tempers. Rudd to have swept to power and Campbell appearing very likely to sweep to power…

    We know that Rudd lost the confidence of his party once he lost popularity with the public. Does this sound like a possibility for Campbell should he not fulfil everyone’s ideas of what he should do post election?

  43. Ruth Bonnett

    @PM
    Yes. and Yes.

  44. Chris

    Tyro @ 43 – from afar I get the impression that Bligh has just gone too far. Its fine to bring up issues of potential influence or potential corruption with the developers, but doing things like claim that he’s going to end up in prison or that a developer was based out one of his properties when in reality it was just a postal address for an accounting firm just make her silly and less believable on other topics.

    And they’ve been targeting Newman’s wife too so, can’t complain about Bligh’s husband being brought in.

  45. Fran Barlow

    Iain Hall said:

    When will the ALP learn that when a loss of power is inevitable that it is better to go down fighting clean than to stoop to such nonsense that never works and often backfires?

    I can’t think of many things at all that you’ve said with which I’d agree, but here you might have found something, though I’d say it ought to apply to anyone in office. Regrettably, everyone does it. It’s the cheapest of cheap shots and it often works because it is one of those things that transcends politics and is fascinating to media.

    While I’m certainly not indifferent to conflict of interest questions — good process is important — poor process (including corrupt process) is most common when the ruling group has no clear vision of what it wants to achieve beyond staying in office, and has consequently become demoralised. This happens in almost all long-lived organisations, not merely governments. That’s why it is in general far better to focus on substantive policy than arguing who had lunch with whom.

  46. Sam

    The long campaign has proved to be a mistake, and the highly personal nature of the assault on Newman over-egged.

    And yet there were so many on this very blog who said that the long campaign would be to Labor’s advantage, as would a forensic gaze on Campbell Newman.

    Oh, well.

    Commenting on the internet means never having to say you’re sorry.

    Cheer up, chaps. Newman is not the re-incarnation of Joh. He supports gay marriage, after all. It won’t be so bad (unless you’re a public servant, in which case it will be very, very bad).

  47. Alex

    The Kater rednecks held a get together at a local club in town, and I took great satisfaction in noting that only 10 people attended. There were actually more press. Other than that, I just echo Fran’s earlier comments about the obsenity of our voting system, that the Greens with 9% of the vote won’t win a seat.

  48. calyptorhynchus

    #30 John Edmond “Plus if you compare the running of the AFP, the ADF or Immigration with the state-run policing, health or education (all more important/harder) it becomes fairly obvious which level of government is better at providing services, and it’s not federal. ”

    Which country are you writing from?

  49. Sam

    the obsenity [sic] of our voting system, that the Greens with 9% of the vote won’t win a seat.

    Neither will the Katters, with 8%. Count your blessings.

  50. Geoff Henderson

    Fran @ 50
    Nicely said Fran

  51. Craig Mc

    How’s that patronising, Craig Mc?

    The trouble with “when you vote, you should have what’s best for your neighbour in mind” is that you’ll have people like me voting for what I think is best for you and vice versa. The likely outcome is that both will be unhappy with the result.

    Best not to assume we know what’s best for each other, don’t you think? Vote for whose needs you know best – your own.

  52. Fine

    That’s selfishness Craig Mc. My father taught me that people like us (educated, prosperous, stable) would survive no matter who’s in government because we have skills and resources. The important thing is to vote for the Party which is going to do best for the poor and the marginalised, because they’re the people who most need support.

  53. Fran Barlow

    Best not to assume we know what’s best for each other, don’t you think? Vote for whose needs you know best – your own.

    I suspect that Joe’s father may have been of religious inclination or at least raised in that fashion. Love thy neighbour is a key idea in most religions. Interestingly, Howard often asserted this idea in secular form, with his appeal to ‘mateship’ as integral to Australian identity. It always occurred to me that this sat rather oddly with the broader paradigm with which he was more commonly associated — the Thatcherite assertion that there is no society and the associated Randian conception that we are each competing economic units who can assume being self-serving is a foundational virtue and right. One suspects Howard’s invocation ‘mateship’ was a nod at the fact that most people doubted he set any store by it at all, and was designed to mask the self-serving character of his policy preferences — privatisation, upper middle class welfare and a solicitous attitude to the interests of the big end of town.

    Joe’s father was probably saying no more than that human communitarian solidarity should inform his voting practice.

  54. Geoff Henderson

    Fine @ 57 The outstanding group under that condition – “the people who most need support” would likely be the first Australians.

  55. Craig Mc

    Ah, but what support? Is your idea of supporting the poor & marginalised what they actually want? Are the poor & marginalised even as you imagine them?

    Unless you can name them, it’s unlikely you have the faintest idea who they are, and what they want or need.

  56. John Edmond

    @calyptorhynchus

    A country where the Federal Police received a massive increase in its budget, and used this funding to maliciously prosecute innocent people for political purposes while missing gangs in airports. A country where the defence force is run like a frat house, is heavily rumoured to spy on its political leaders, has a sacrosanct budget and maintains a pointless war. A country where legitimate refugees resort to sewing their mouths shut.

    You may argue that some of these problems are political, but when services are carried out by the symbolic wing of government, where the culture wars are fought, this is inevitable. You cannot separate them. To argue for federally provided services is to argue for services to be more politicised, it is the nature of the beast.

  57. alfred venison

    dear editor
    just for comparison, alberta (which reminds me of queensland in some ways) has had the progressive conservative party (tories) in gov’t since 1971 – 42+ years. next scheduled election is some time next year. before the progressive conservatives were swept in, alberta had social credit from 1931 to 1971. in alberta terms that’s a two party system. and from the record, it would appear incontrovertable, they don’t vote there, they stampede – last election results (2008):- conservatives (82%), liberals (10%), ndp (2%) with the lowest ever voter turnout of 40%. and that was a good year for the opposition parties. it was the same under social credit. best my family hopes for / dreams of for next year is a hung parliament.
    yours sincerely
    alfred vension

  58. Fran Barlow

    John Edmond said:

    A country where the Federal Police received a massive increase in its budget, and used this funding to maliciously prosecute innocent people for political purposes while missing gangs in airports.

    This mixes up what should be unpicked. There are two quite separate kinds of policing required — the local kind which relates to activity in which investigation and charging can be done almost entirely within a regional jurisdiction. That could continue to be run at regional level. More complex matters — cross-jurisdictional crimes such as trafficking in contraband of one kind or another, high level corrupt activity and so forth need a body with access to data across jurisdictions and a remit to work around local law enforcement, which may itself be compromised.

    Saying that the AFP isn’t very good doesn’t really help because even if it is true, you can’t expect regional governments (or state governments for that matter) to do their jobs as well. So it is a red herring. We just need a better-run AFP. One may say the same of your complaints about the ADF. It seems likely that it is in need of a reboot and a clear out at the top and a new brief but unless you propose its abolition, I don’t see why you raise it. Certainly, the states couldn’t run defence forces.

    A country where legitimate refugees resort to sewing their mouths shut.

    Again, this would be true even if the states were running these things. The problem is the nature of the brief. Brutalising vulnerable people principally in the hope that bigots on the fringes of the major cities will not get it into their heads that Australia is enticing non-Europeans to jump the welfare queue and thus not punish the regime politically can only produce this result — and doubly so when this ugly business is contracted out so it can be done on the cheap. This says nothing about which jurisdiction is doing it.

    To argue for federally provided services is to argue for services to be more politicised, it is the nature of the beast.

    It depends on which services we are talking about. We could have a uniform health & hospital system or education and training system. All taxation and charges could be federal. All industrial awards could be federal. All traffic licences could be federal.

  59. Glenn

    The Christian moral crusaders of the LNP are my big concern.

    Whether the LNP repeals civil unions and turns back the clock on a whole bunch of other sex and gender-related reforms – such as surrogacy – will I think depend on how well new Premier Newman can fend off LNP President Bruce McIver. That man is the religious conservative you really have to watch – bigoted, powerful and very persistant in trying to impose his will on MP’s.

    The return of Joh-era social attitudes to QLD politics is surprising to me. But maybe I’ve just been naive. Fundamentalist Christians have remained alive and well within the LNP since those dark years. They just haven’t had that much of a voice due to the media largely ignoring them until now, with the LNP better organised and certain election victory at hand.

    *Shudder*

  60. Alex Scott

    @Terry 2, @Kim 5, I’m not sure what you mean by “flirtation”. Together hasn’t endorsed or donated to any parties or candidates and we remain politically unaffiliated. We have engaged productively with the Greens, KAP, LNP, and ALP on their plans for the public sector and their formal responses are available here – http://www.together.org.au/buildingblocks.

    NB. The QPSU has not existed since July 2011 – our union is now known as Together.

    @Paul 6. Our union remains politically unaffiliated. I myself quit the ALP in June last year; my resignation letter is available here: here.

    Alex Scott
    Secretary
    Together

  61. John Edmond

    I wasn’t arguing for these services to become state run – they’re a natural fit for federal government. Just pointing out that there is no federal miracle. Canberra bureaucrats are just as inept or ept as state level bureaucrats. Any higher degree of scrutiny is balanced by the increased politicisation that this scrutiny brings. The only reason federal government is considered to provide superior services is because the services they do completely control have no impact on the day-to-day life of the average Australian.

  62. Sam

    Glenn @ 64.

    Relax. Queensland is not Mississippi. It’s not even Alabama. And it’s not 1983 any more. Unless Newman is a complete blithering idiot, he’s not going to let the fundamentalist Christians turn the clock back. Newman will win the kind of majority that gives him complete authority over his party room.

    It’s quite unlikely that the Special Branch will be shutting down exhibitions at GOMA.

    It’s not unlikely however that GOMA will be starved of money and lose its hard won reputation as a gallery of excellence.

  63. Spana

    Labor has brought it on themselves. They have alienated their base. They have attacked multiple unions, privatised state assets, banned teachers from striking, mucked up nurses pay. These are largely ALP voters. They were told they did not matter in the ALP’s policies. I am an ex ALP member. I will be voting independent but preferencing LNP. It has been hard. But the ALP cannot trade on its worker/social justice links and then abandon them. The ALP docked my pay and stopped me striking. Why would I and 40 000 teachers thank Bligh by voting for her. Labor deserves to be comprehensively thrown out this poll.

  64. David Irving (no relation)

    Sam, I think you give Newman too much credit (or something). Remember that Queensland doesn’t have an upper house.

  65. Bette Streep

    I think all Queenslanders who want to stick it up Anna Bligh and Julia Gillard should take a good long look at what has happened to Victoria.

    John Brumby and the ALP were a woeful state government – with the Myki and third world public transport system being one of the main reasons they were turfed out.

    However after barely one year in office – Ballieau and the LNP have actually proven to be far worse than Brumby and co.

    Gillard has been attacked for breaking one election promise – but Ballieau has broken many many many many more than she did – and for some reason the media has given him a free pass on all this.

    He promised he would be more transparent than Brumby was – yet has done exactly the same by refusing to release important information that impacts on ALL Victorians.

    He has caused great problems with the nurses, the police, the paramedics in trying to destroy unions in Victoria.

    He has refused to consider a much needed rail link to Tullamarine Airport but wants to build one to Avalon instead!

    He has literally given the finger to climate change – allowing grazing in national forests, expanding brown coal industry and pushing ahead with more freeways.

    Send a message to Bligh, Gillard and the ALP that you aren’t happy – but DO NOT – I repeat DO NOT – give the LNP a huge mandate to do whatever they wish.

    You will be very very very sorry.

    And don’t forget – when Tony Abbott is PM in 2013 – and the LNP is in charge in all the states – he will have the opportunity to increase the GST!

    You worried about a carbon tax? Well get ready for a GST of 20 or 25%!!!

  66. Helen

    What Bette said!

    Even as someone who wouldn’t vote or preference the Libs even to teach Labor a lesson, in the last Victorian election Labor policies and political behaviour were SO bad, I found myself wondering whether the Libs could possibly be any worse. It has been an interesting, if painful experience, to find out that yes, they can – much worse! Their environmental policies, in particular, can only be described as incredibly destructive, and they have managed to take money OUT of the public education system – to name just two areas of destruction.

  67. Hal9000

    Sam @67

    I suspect elite institutions like GOMA won’t suffer too much. The Brisbane glitterati, among whose ranks are many with close LNP connections, love dressing up and sipping bubbly at gallery openings and the like. Program funding for community arts, theatre, film, school curriculum and stuff like that will however be savaged, most likely.

  68. Geoff Henderson

    Helen & Bette – I am disturbed by the Vic governments performance and worried by NSW, albeit that I am a long way from either state.
    I see no defence (or sense) in the Victorian wind farm actions in particular.

    But to say stick with the Bligh government is not a solution either. You might as well suspend elections, because (presumably) the challengers will always be worse if elected as a new government than any abysmal Labor government. Plainly ridiculous. Thanks for the warning though.

    Nor should we forget the depth of spin that “experienced” governments develop. They mask/hide their errors, deflect blame and generally distort any reality that reflects adversely upon them. A new government is likely to be less adept at this initially at least, and this could lead to a more candid view of what is happening as opposed to a manipulated picture issued to a willing press.

  69. Paul Norton

    I agree with Bette and Helen, with an important qualification.

    What happens when utterly cynical right-wing Labor governments and backroom denizens, taking their cue from the sentiments you have expressed, decide to embark on a game of Chicken with progressive constituencies (as the Queensland Labor Government did in 1992-95)? Do you then rule out the Superchicken option, no matter what?

  70. Terry

    Returning to Alex Scott’s earlier email, the answer is not KAP, and viewing homophobia as the necessary corollary of workerist values.

    I think that after Monday we will have a better sense of the influence that QPSU/Together have managed to have over the LNP and its attitude to public sector workers.

  71. Helen

    Paul, that train of thought always ends in thinking that if enough of us vote Liberal to punish Labor and bring them to their senses, the new government will just interpret it as an endorsement of their policies and values, thereby driving Labor still further to the right as they vainly chase Aspirational votes. It’s a bind isn’t it?!

  72. Sam

    Helen 76

    Bligh is not going to get the mother of all kickings because she’s alienated the Aspirationals. She’s going to get the mother of all kickings because she’s alienated everybody. Alienating everybody is rarely a good political strategy. It didn’t work for Hosni Mubarak, and he didn’t even have elections to worry about. It certainly isn’t going to work for Anna Bligh.

    As for the bigger question — how do you punish a right wing Labor Government without handing the place over to the barbarians? — you can

    a) try to reform the Labor from within. This strategy has failed for over 100 years

    b) shift the zeitgeist to the Left, so the Labor has no choice but be somewhat accommodating, despite itself. Labor does respond occasionally, e.g. Bligh on civil unions, but it’s hard for individuals to shift the zeitgeist

    c) help to sustain a real political force on Labor’s left. For almost its entire existence, Labor has been able to ignore the voters on its left because it has reasons, correctly, that they have nowhere else to go. When they do have somewhere else to go, the dynamic changes hugely.

  73. Sam

    Mods: could you please fix my formatting?

    [Done. Just remember it’s <tag>text</tag> – the slash closes the end-tag of the formatted text. ~mod]

  74. John D

    I am married to a rusted on Labor supporter who used to be a Tafe teacher. The reality is that she was much better off under the Borbridge government than the Bligh government. I think you will find that a lot of public servants would say the same thing. Both Bligh and Gillard have spent too much time pandering to the concerns of people who are never going to vote for them rather than the people that need a true Labor government.

    Both Beattie and Howard knew when to backflip. Anna should have backflipped over rail privatization and simply managed to piss everyone off without really solving the longer term budget problems. (She should have increased rail charges to the coal mines and/or increased royalties.)

    Hardly surprising that no-one seems all that committed to saving Labor.

  75. Helen

    Sam @77, I’m trying with b) and c).

  76. Darryl Rosin

    [email protected] “Does anyone else see a bit of a parallel between Campbell and Rudd?

    Both emerging from nowhere with no real base of support in their respective parties…”

    Campbell Newman is the son of Kevin Newman, who was a Minster in all the Fraser Governments and Joclyn Newman, who was a Minister in the Howard Governments from 1996 – 2001. He hardly ’emerged from nowhere’.

    d

  77. Sam

    Both Beattie and Howard knew when to backflip

    Beattie was a political genius, who won one (or was it two?) elections by running against his own party.

    Hardly surprising that no-one seems all that committed to saving Labor.

    Labor has won eight general elections in a row (being out of office between 1996 and 1998 only because it lost the 1996 Mundingburra by-election.). The last time Labor lost an election was 1986, the height of the Bjelke Petersen reign of terror and corruption. That was 26 years ago.

    Queensland Labor, ever since the last election, has been one big bag of hubris. They deserve to lose and lose big.

  78. Des O'Neill

    It will be interesting to see the fallout from Saturday 24th March poll. I believe the Galaxy poll will be proven to be correct with Labor reduced to a cricket team – plus possibly a drinks carrier. The next ALP Premier hasn’t even been elected to parliament as yet. Expect a by-election in South Brisbane with Bligh being forced out. Not because she wanted to leave but because she will be facing charges and one convicted can’t hold a seat in parliament.
    The new LNP government has promised to hold an inquiry into child abuse. One of the big losers here will be Bill D’Arcy – not over his previous conviction, but as a result as his activity as the ALP pimp who supplied boys, girls and young women to his ALP mates. The former Childrens Commissioner, Norm Alford, will come forward with some startling information. THe Heiner Affair will come forward to nab Bligh and Beattie and both will be facing very serious criminal charges. Quentin Bryce and Kevin Rudd will also fall as a result of Heiner.
    The CMC will be gutted also as aresult of Heiner.
    All in all it will be bad news for the ALP with the 24th March only the start of the downfall. The ALP will be gutted as a result of a Fitzgerald type inquiry.
    One good outcome will the re-introduction of Qld’s Upper House to act as a check on this type of corruption. About 70 individuals are facing criminal charges as a result of The Heiner Affair. The Rofe Audit prepared by David Rofe QC is very detailed and comprehensive and the results of the Commission of Inquiry will be out very quickly. With Kevin Rudd and possibly Wayne Swan facing charges the Gillard government will probably fall. So expect to see Tony Abbott as PM late this year or early next year.

  79. Martin B

    The next ALP Premier hasn’t even been elected to parliament as yet.

    To be fair, the same is true of the LNP. 🙂

  80. Jacques de Molay

    For anyone thats interested ABC News 24 will be showing all the fun of the QLD election on Saturday night starting around 6:30/7pm.

  81. David Irving (no relation)

    Des, Des, Des. The Heiner Affair has been conclusively shown to be bullshit many times over the years, and apparently you and Piers Ackerman are the only people who still take it seriously.

    Nice company you’re keeping.

  82. Fran Barlow

    ‘Des O’Neill’ said:

    THe Heiner Affair will come forward to nab Bligh and Beattie and both will be facing very serious criminal charges. Quentin Bryce and Kevin Rudd will also fall as a result of Heiner.

    Heiner? Beattie and Bligh on criminal charges? LOL, and I don’t say that lightly.

  83. Martin B

    Really, though, if the highest priority for the incoming government is a fishing expedition against the first Goss cabinet – and that is what yet another Heiner enquiry would be – then predictions of a two-term LNP government might well be overstated.

    Sadly, I expect they will have more sense than that.

  84. Paul Burns

    Jocelyn Newman is his mother?! Gawd, you guys in Qld. are in for a shit time. She used to make Howard’s evil policies sound normal and nice. Apple falling from the tree and all that.

  85. Helen

    Campbell Newman is the son of Kevin Newman, who was a Minster in all the Fraser Governments and Jocelyn Newman,

    Oh RIGHT…!!! *Sound of ageing brain cells clicking into place*

    Eep.

  86. Sam

    Campbell Newman is the son of Kevin Newman, who was a Minster in all the Fraser Governments and Jocelyn Newman

    I’d be more impressed if he was related to the Newman from Seinfeld.

  87. Des O'Neill

    David Irving,

    The Heiner Affair is far from dead. Look at this web site http://www.heineraffair.info/

    The charges against about 70 individuals have been meticiously examined by David Rofe QC. Both Beattie and Bligh failed to act when evidence was put before them relating to criminal activity involving The Heiner Affair and they did nothing. Both Beattie and Bligh had an obligation to act under the CJC and CMC Acts.

  88. Meeee

    Re the raising of the Heiner Affair. One of the LNP’s first 100 Day priorities is “Develop Terms of Reference and appoint a new ‘Forde Inquiry’ to review progress of outcomes related to the ‘Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions’ and the report of the CMC Inquiry to chart a new road map for child protection for the next decade.”

    Wonder what that’s aimed at? I could make a good guess at where they end up.

  89. Alex Scott

    Terry @75.

    I reject homophobia and believe it is incompatible with union values.

    Our union’s policy supports equality for our LGBT members. This includes the legal right of all adult couples in Australia to be married regardless of their sexual orientation or gender.

    We encourage all parties to have better policies – if we refused to talk to a party on the basis that we disagreed with some of their policies we wouldn’t talk to anybody.

    It is because we don’t agree with all parties on some issues that we don’t endorse any political party.

    Alex Scott
    Secretary
    Together

  90. Terry

    Sorry Alex, but I don’t buy the “They’re all as bad as each other” line.

  91. Fran Barlow

    Alex Scott may have chosen his words carefully, but there’s a lot with which one can agree in his linked resignation letter.

  92. Terry

    My point isn’t about whether there are principled reasons for leaving the ALP. Of course there are.

    It is instead about the important leg up when it mattered that KAP got through Katter and McLintock being able to be seen with key union officials such as Alex Scott and Dean Mighell. it said to their core male working class constituency, “See, we’re not a bunch of haters or fringe One Nation types. We have union support.”

    Unfortunately, for other union members, that gave licence to straight out homophobia on the election campaign trail. And its not like Bob Katter didn’t have a lot of prior form on that front. Check out his 2011 address to the Australian Christian Lobby, to cite one of many examples.

  93. Ambigulous

    Clive Palmer claims that a campaign against Qld coal mining “is funded by the CIA”.

  94. Terry

    Keep talkin’, Clive!

  95. David Irving (no relation)

    Hey, Merc, d’you reckon Clive would tell us who he buys his drugs from? That’s industrial-strength hallucinogens talking.

  96. David Irving (no relation)

    Sorry, Ambigulous. Senior moment. (Perhaps that’s Clive’s problem too.)

  97. GregM

    Clive Palmer claims that a campaign against Qld coal mining “is funded by the CIA”.

    But not only that. There’s more.

    They’re in a grand conspiracy with the Greens and environmentalists.

    Come on down Bob Brown. You may have only been 19 years old at the time but the name of the second shooter on the Grassy Knoll is finally revealed.

    Pure Comedy Gold.

  98. Fran Barlow

    Clive Palmer claims that a campaign against Qld coal mining “is funded by the CIA”.

    Drew Hutton should bank that one for the next time someone says he’s anti-western … 😉 Discuss that with Clive ….

  99. Fran Barlow

    Sorry Alex, but I don’t buy the “They’re all as bad as each other” line.

    It may not be true that ‘they are all as bad as each other’ but if the data you’d need to discriminate between them is unavailable until after a decision needs to be made then the difference, if it exists at all, is moot.

    One might add that while in theory John Howard was less reactionary than, for example, Pauline Hanson, Howard and Hanson were simply parts of a whole. One can’t begin to be relevant without the other — part of their identity is the trade between them. Similarly, the ALP is really just a facet of Australian conservatism, different and complementary to the Libs and Nats. To ask which of the parties is least repulsive is a bit like asking which of the heads of Cerberus you’d sooner be bitten by or in a more contemporary reference, which of The Knights Who Say ‘Ni’ was the least offensive. It’s a silly question that admits no useful answer because they only have meaning in relation to each other.

    Campbell Newman is against gay marriage because he’s at the softer end of a coalition that needs Katterites. Gillard the ostensible agnostic insists that marriage is between a man and a woman because she’s in a party that insists on pandering to the city version of the Katterites and because like her party’s official right-wing, Abbott threatens to grab a slice of the catholic vote. And so it goes.

  100. Mercurius

    I step outside for a few days and get back to read about Clive Palmer’s CIA conspiracy theories and the @#$! Heiner Affair?

    Fark.

    This is why we can’t have nice things!

    All on top of KAP’s nasty little ad last week.

    Queenslanders, why do you keep hitting yourselves?

  101. Darryl Rosin

    Sam @54 ” ‘the obsenity [sic] of our voting system, that the Greens with 9% of the vote won’t win a seat.’

    Neither will the Katters, with 8%. Count your blessings.”

    That’s not a blessing, it’s a major problem and needs to be redressed. If 8% of the people want Katter’s team, Katter’s team should get 8% of the seats. Full stop, end of story.

    I’ve said this before, but in my many goes as a Greens candidate, I have always come out of an election feeling enthused about the strongly held democratic sensibilities of voters (all of them Queenslanders, by the way). I cannot count the number of times I have had chats that finish with ‘well, I cannot support your position on anything, and I sincerely wish the Greens would go away, but good on you for standing up for what you believe in’

    Australians don’t particularly care about politics, but we take *voting* very seriously. And casting your vote depends on knowing who and what you’re voting for, which is why I have a somewhat perverse respect for Katter – you know you are going to get what it says on the tin, and I respect that. I certainly prefer him to those ‘Liberal’ types who dress themselves up as ‘personal supporters’ of ‘gay marriage’ but are ‘tragically’ bound to support their party’s platform.

    Let me be absolutely clear and say that I find much of Katter’s platform abhorrent, and it is stirring up very nasty behaviors from the nutters-at-large. I also think it’s important that these behaviors are tackled head on, and not swept under the carpet by mealy-mouthed centerist platitudes, where they can fester in an officially unnoticed subculture until next time. And what better place to keep them in the spotlight, then by representation in the Parliament.

    Blah blah and good night,

    d

  102. Terry

    Fran @ 104 helpfully reminds us that the theory of social fascism remains alive and well in some circles.

  103. zorronsky

    Bob Brown this AM “Queensland, the loopier end of Australian discourse.”

  104. Geoff Henderson

    [email protected] Nice to see you, but after your disdainful comments on the state election round table topic (“Hello little round table etc.”) I am slightly surprised to see you here. You might have noted that this topic at the time of writing this, has some 100+ contributions, suggesting a reasonable level of interest.

    Just saying mate…

  105. Sam

    Daryl 106

    If 8% of the people want Katter’s team, Katter’s team should get 8% of the seats. Full stop, end of story.

    Well, no, it’s not full stop, end of story. The idea that only proportional representation is consistent with democracy is a long hop that has been dispatched to the boundary many times. There are legitimate arguments for and against PR.

    Only extreme PR systems have a rule that says x% of the votes = x% of the seats. This is what Israel has, with the result that tiny minority parties have influence far in excess of their vote. Or you could look closer to home, at the NSW Legislative Council.

  106. Fran Barlow

    Only extreme PR systems have a rule that says x% of the votes = x% of the seats. This is what Israel has, with the result that tiny minority parties have influence far in excess of their vote.

    Above a certain threshhold — say 3%, I’m comfortable with a very close match between proportional support and seats in parliament. If there are finely grained differences between major constituencies that smaller parties can use as leverage to get ideas up and implemented, then I don’t see that as a failure of the system.

    Before small parties with retrograde policies can exploit this, at least one major party has to endorse this retrograde policy. The responsibility lies with them and ultimately that party’s support base.

  107. Dave McRae

    I saw a bit of ABC Breakfast TV this morning – yeah I know – and their claim was that the ALP is going to get a canning, esp Toowoomba because people are unhappy with Labor regarding the floods. The last line threw me

    Of course, in true modern reporting style – they didn’t say why or anything to back the assertion.

    Is it true that Qlders blame Labor for
    a) the floods (inadequate infrastructure, rather than divine wrath, hopefully)?
    b) handling of the floods?

    And if a) and/or b) is true, where did Labor fail? (dot point or link would do – I’ve no idea and not can find anything via search engines – so would be much obliged)

  108. Fran Barlow

    Fran @ 104 helpfully reminds us that the theory of social fascism remains alive and well in some circles.

    No, Fran doesn’t, Terry. Fran does not regard either of the major parties as ‘[email protected]’, still less ‘socil [email protected]’. A proletarian revolution is not, IMO, imminent in any jurisdiction of which I’m aware. Nor does Fran reject, as the Third Period Stalinists did, the idea of tactical alliances between working class organisations and even with non-working class organisations where these aim to restrain some boss class interest impinging on the rights of workers or the oppressed. Fran is, as you ought to know, a member of The Greens, which would scarcely possible were Fran a Third Period adherent.

    Yes, both parties see themselves as instruments for the safeguarding of boss class interests, but that view is not peculiar to Third Period Stalinism. It’s simply obvious.

  109. Geoff Henderson

    Dave @112 I’m remote from those floods but I can offer an opinion.
    I don’t think people actually blame the infrastructure per se, and only a few might cite Divine Intervention. Someone might consider that the decision not to proceed with the Traveston Crossing Dam might have put pressure on government to assign a greater water-saving proportion to Wivenhoe, and so maybe set up the later problem.

    I do think there is a sense that the Wivenhoe dam water release management was mishandled, and that attempts were made to obscure the facts. This juxtaposed to what IMO is a generalised loss of trust and confidence in the Queensland government that has been building over time. Just another brick in the (dam) wall.

  110. nasking

    I reckon it was a bit of an overreach promoting us here in QLD as “The smart state”…but we have had our moments under the Beattie and Bligh governments…

    at least they didn’t close down parts of tertiary education to accommodate sporting events…

    nor sack the electricity workers…

    Those who hope Campbell Newman loses in Ashgrove might regret it if a National party conservative takes the  leadership….particularly those associated with Clive Palmer…someone as eccentric and paranoid it seems as Jo Bjelke Peterson…

    MEMORIES:

    In 1972 Sir Joh strengthened the system to favour his own party, which led to his opponents referring to it as the “Bjelkemander,” a play on the term “gerrymander”. Although Bjelke-Petersen’s 1972 redistributions occasionally had elements of “gerrymandering” in the strict sense, their perceived unfairness was more because rural areas were granted more representation than their population would have dictated if electorates contained equal numbers of voters (or population).

    The lack of a state upper house (which Queensland had abolished in 1922) allowed legislation to be passed without the need to negotiate with other political parties.

    Despite public protests, several Brisbane heritage sites such as the Bellevue Hotel were demolished. Thirteen Liberal backbenchers supported Labor in parliament, condemning the destruction of the state government owned Bellevue. Former Liberal Parliamentarian, Terry Gygar, described the early morning scene at the Bellevue demolition; “A large crowd had gathered around the building. There was a cordon of police. They had thrown up a barbed … a mesh wire fence around it. And then the Deen Bros arrived, rolling through like an armoured division, straight through the crowd. People were knocked sideways. Police were dragging people out of the way. Parking meters were knocked over. Traffic signs were bent and twisted on the road. It looked like Stalingrad.” Bjelke-Petersen congratulated the contractors, the Deen Brothers, “on a job well done”

    Relations with the media

    Bjelke-Petersen’s government dominated Parliament, not allowing committees or impartial speech, and ran a very sophisticated media operation, sending press releases out right on deadline so journalists had very little chance to research news items. Journalists covering industrial disputes and picketing, were afraid of arrest. In 1985, the Australian Journalists Association withdrew from the system of police passes because of police refusal to accredit certain journalists. Some journalists experienced police harassment.

    Bjelke-Petersen’s manipulative approach to media at times became visible behind his tangled syntax, which frequently bemused interviewers. It was unknown whether he was joking, confused or saying what he really thought when he said: “The greatest thing that could happen to the state and nation is when we get rid of all the media… then we could live in peace and tranquility and no one would know anything.”

    Joh’s catchphrase answer to unwelcome queries, “Don’t you worry about that,” was widely parodied. Peterson was known to refer to this process of patronising journalists as “feeding the chooks”.

    Bjelke-Petersen responded to unfavourable media coverage by using government resources to sue for defamation on numerous occasions. The Queensland historian Ross Fitzgerald was threatened with criminal libel when he sought to publish a critical history.

    According to Lane, one of Bjelke-Petersen’s closest ministerial allies, Bjelke-Petersen saw street marchers as a menace who clogged up traffic, caused distress to pedestrians, motorists and shop keepers, and were mainly made up of “grubby left wing students, Anarchists, professional agitators and trade union activists”.

    The government transferred 450 police from country areas to suppress anti-apartheid demonstrations. Future Queensland Premier Peter Beattie, then a student protestor, witnessed police violently attacking peaceful demonstrators, including women.

    Brisbane aboriginal activist, Sam Watson claimed the police wanted to “smash and cripple and destroy”. Bjelke-Petersen praised police conduct during the demonstrations and awarded them an extra day’s leave.

    Peter Beattie said that, “…if you went to a protest there was always photos being taken”. “You know, you’d always pose to get your best side. (Laughs) And they had a dossier on everybody”, Beattie said.

    Bjelke-Petersen rejected recommendations by the police minister, Max Hodges, and the police commissioner, Ray Whitrod, who sought an inquiry into an incident in 1976 where a police officer struck a student with a baton during a demonstration.  Bjelke-Petersen told Whitrod that the cabinet, not the Commissioner, would decide if an investigation was warranted. The Queensland Police Union sent a letter of thanks to the Premier and offered support. Hodges was replaced as police minister soon after.

    Secure in the knowledge that they had the Premier’s backing, police officers continued to act provocatively, most notably in a raid on a commune at Cedar Bay later that year.

    The police, who had been looking for marijuana, torched the residents’ houses and destroyed their property. Whitrod sought an inquiry but the results were never revealed.

    After seven years as police commissioner, Whitrod resigned, saying he could no longer tolerate political interference and the police commissioner had become a political puppet. He was replaced by Terry Lewis who had been previously promoted to Assistant Commissioner, against Whitrod’s recommendation, over the heads of 122 officers of higher or equal rank. Whitrod had already told the new police Minister, “everybody in the police force knows that Lewis is corrupt. Now if he’s appointed assistant commissioner, it will nullify all my efforts’, and the new Minister said, ‘I will talk to the Premier’. And about an hour or so later the Minister rung me up and said, ‘The Premier does not want to see you, nor will he allow you to address cabinet’.”  

    Whitrod said that he hoped his resignation would send a message to the people of Queensland; “that something very seriously was going wrong with the Queensland police force and with their Premier”.

    In 1977, Bjelke-Petersen announced that “the day of street marches is over.” He further added. “Don’t bother applying for a march permit. You won’t get one. That’s government policy now!” Liberal parliamentarians crossed the floor defending the right of association and assembly.

    Colin Lamont, one of the Liberals, told a meeting at the University of Queensland that the Premier was engineering confrontation for electoral purposes. “Two hours later, he (Bjelke-Petersen) lunged at me across the floor of Parliament, waving a tape recorder and spluttered, ‘I’ve heard every word. You are a traitor to this Government'”, Lamont wrote later. Lamont said he learned the Special Branch had been keeping files on Liberal rebels and reporting, not to their Commissioner, but directly to the Premier. “The police state had arrived”, Lamont added.

    [edit]Aboriginal people

    In June 1976, Bjelke-Petersen blocked the proposed sale of a pastoral property on the Cape York Peninsula to a group of Aboriginal people, because according to cabinet policy, “The Queensland Government does not view favourably proposals to acquire large areas of additional freehold or leasehold land for development by Aborigines or Aboriginal groups in isolation.”

    This dispute resulted in the case of Koowarta v Bjelke-Petersen, which was decided partly in the High Court in 1982, and partly in the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1988. The courts found that Bjelke-Petersen’s policy had discriminated against Aboriginal people.

    Also in 1976, Bjelke-Petersen evicted a team treating trachoma, led by Fred Hollows from state-controlled Aboriginal land. Bjelke-Petersen claimed that Hollows’ team had been encouraging Aborigines to enrol to vote.

    In his visits to northern communities, Fred Hollows was accompanied by two respected Aboriginal spokesmen and civil rights activists, Mick Miller and Clarrie Grogan. With an election looming, and keen to shut down this source of independent information, the Premier simply ejected Hollows’ team. Electoral office data refuting his claims that there had been a rush of voter enrolments in the wake of the trachoma team, was not released for public consumption.
    (Wikipedia)

    In three years we could be transformed into the backward, loopy, undemocratic state…again.

    N’

  111. nasking

    Another reminder…from January 2009:

    7:30 Report, ABC

    JOHN TAYLOR: Lawrence Springborg staked his political career on merging the Queensland Liberals and Nationals into one distinct party. It was a bitter struggle, but he won.

    LAWRENCE SPRINGBORG: That gives us a really sound base. It doesn’t put us in the box seat, but it gives us a sound base where we can absolutely focus on the interests of Queenslanders and the alternative in this state.

    SCOTT PRASSER: I think it’s superficially united and it certainly has removed a lot of problems that the Coalition forces had in the past. The real test of this party is gonna be if they don’t get up.

    JOHN TAYLOR: One keen backer of the merger was this man, Clive Palmer. He’s a billionaire, a mining magnate, developer and owner of a Gold Coast soccer team.

    CLIVE PALMER, BUSINESSMAN: Well I’m just a Queenslander like you are and hoping we get good government in the next election and trying to contribute to the community that I live in

    ANNA BLIGH: Well, I think there are some very serious and legitimate questions to be asked. Clive Palmer is Australia’s richest man. He has a long history with the National Party.

    JOHN TAYLOR: Clive Palmer’s involvement in Queensland conservative politics goes back a long way to Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s Government, when the Liberals were often the enemy as much as Labor.

    PRESENTER (archive footage, 1986, 7.30 Report): But you’re a crony, aren’t you?

    CLIVE PALMER: Certainly not. I mean, what is a crony? Are you a crony? This is a lot of allegations that the Liberal Party throws about because they’re desperate.

    JOHN TAYLOR: He’s been a National Party director and spokesman, he’s an honorary life member and now is a senior official in the new Liberal Party.

    CLIVE PALMER: It’s a beat-up just to say that I’ve got a lot of influence in the party, which I don’t have, you know? That I’m making demands on the politicians, which I’m not. And if you talk to Lawrence or to the President of the party – anyone – they’ll tell you that we’ve never ever made a demand or a request for them to assist us in any way. You know, when you’re the wealthiest man in Australia, you don’t need to.

    JOHN TAYLOR: Mr Palmer has helped out. Lawrence Springborg and his politicians have used the billionaire’s helicopters and had the opportunity to use his DC9 jet.

    CLIVE PALMER: Politics is, you know, it can be an art of what you make it. And the Labor Party’s made a lot out of those things. Of course, they’re lacking in policy and other areas.

    JOHN TAYLOR: In Brisbane’s northern suburbs, Clive Palmer’s teenage son is even running for office. The billboards are authorised by … dad.

    CLIVE PALMER: I haven’t discussed it with my wife and if I put too much money in it, I’d be in a lot of trouble, to be honest with you, mate. I can only do what she agrees to, right? But I think, you know, for my son, for his campaign, I think we’ll probably contribute something like $50,000 or something of that sort of range. I wouldn’t think it’d be that much higher for the party, really.

    JOHN TAYLOR: Last year, Queensland introduced new laws for greater and faster public disclosure of donations to political parties. The Government was keen to know how much Clive Palmer was giving the LNP. The donations register will be revealed next week, but already, it’s known that Clive Palmer has not donated more than $100,000 in the last financial year.

    LAWRENCE SPRINGBORG: But this is just the politics of personal character assassination of Labor. They’re very envious of people that have actually made it despite the best efforts of their Government to actually drag down the business community in Queensland.

    ANNA BLIGH: It’s not unusual for very wealthy people to buy a football team, which Mr Palmer’s done. But in the Australian democracy, it’s pretty rare for someone to buy a political party. And I think the real question is: what does Mr Palmer expect in return?

    http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2008/s2478752.htm

    Hmmm….

    Plus ce change…

    N’
    Y

  112. nasking

    As I wrote @ Cafe Whispers and The Political Sword:

    Ya know, even Newman has had chats with Palmer.

    It’s worrying that such an unpredictable man with so much money and assets could have such influence on our politics.

    Palmer has similar idiosyncratic and bumbling bully characteristics as Jo…

    He really goes ape on occasion if he doesn’t get his way or if opposed…the battle with the Soccer Federation and Frank Lowy a case in point.

    And his threat previously sue Anna Bligh and others.

    Not to mention the silly threat to go to court over the MRRT.

    And Tony Abbott reckons “he’s a character”.

    Yep, just the type catered to by the opportunistic unpredictable weathervane using One Nation/Tea party style tactics in order to protect the privileged supporters.

    Abbott’s a puppet on a string…or leash.

    N’

  113. Fran Barlow

    Although Bjelke-Petersen’s 1972 redistributions occasionally had elements of “gerrymandering” in the strict sense, their perceived unfairness was more because rural areas were granted more representation than their population would have dictated if electorates contained equal numbers of voters (or population).

    Just so. The zonal system built in malapportionment.

  114. Martin B

    There are legitimate arguments for and against PR.

    Sure, but most of the arguments against don’t base themselves on democratic principles but rather on concerns about the stability and authority of the executive government which is quite a different matter.

  115. Terry

    Fran @113, the question of The Greens doesn’t come into my earlier comments. It is about, as you observe in 104, a moral equivalence between the ALP and the KAP, as Julia Gillard does not personally support same-sex marriage.

  116. nasking

    Indeed Fran.

    The conservatives sure know how to pick ‘em:

    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/former-golden-girl-now-a-wanted-woman/story-e6freoof-1226305726659

    Disendorsed back in 2010 …

    There’s been a few…

    and how many have left the LNP?

    Worrying.

    Anna’s looking better by the day to me.

    And The Greens.

    N’

  117. Geoff Henderson

    [email protected] Have any subsequent governments rectified the problem or even made it worse?

  118. Fran Barlow

    IIRC, Wayne Goss partly subverted the malapportionment without doing away with it (areas over 100,000 sqkm got phantom voters) and subsequent boundary changes reduced the value of the gerrymander.

  119. Fran Barlow

    Mods: Duplicate — please delete identical in spam trap

    Fran @113, the question of The Greens doesn’t come into my earlier comments. It is about, as you observe in 104, a moral equivalence between the ALP and the KAP, as Julia Gillard does not personally support same-sex marriage.

    This remark shows that your invocation of ‘social [email protected]’ was frivolous. Third Period [email protected]* (with which the term is associatiated — through backformation with “social chauvinism” which Lenin had earlier used to describe the parties of the 2nd International in warranting the 3rd) had nothing to do with ‘moral equivalence’. Ostensibly, was about the conjuncture and the tasks of the C&mmun|st Party, and the role of alliances in relation to overthrowing the capitalist class.

    My reference to gay marriage was a simple example. I might have chosen any number of things to underline the politically interdependent division of labour between the parties. My position is not about ‘{del>moral}/{ethical} equivalence’ (though that might also be true) but rather about how each party’s political branding and tactics is in part defined and constrained by the other, rather than being largely of their own conscious paradigm.

  120. Occam's Blunt Razor

    @121 – I love a good optimist.

    Look out for the Reality Bus on Saturday night.

  121. Brian

    I just had a phone call from Peter Beattie urging me to vote 1 for Andrew Fraser in the face of this massive LNP landslide!

    This morning I heard a panel discussion with Tony Koch, Graham Young and Janine Walker. They reckon an opposition needs about 25 members just to cover all the committees. Peter is right, the LNP should be able to be held accountable.

  122. GregM

    Does anyone know if there is a minimum number of seats that an Opposition has to hold in Queensland in order to be recognised as such and receive funding for resources such as staffing?

  123. Terry

    Brian, don’t you find the idea of the ex-Premier of Queensland phoning around the electorate like some kind of spurned ex-boyfriend a bit sad?

    Obviously the Queensland Labor Party are in the denial stage of the seven stages of grief. But when they get past that, they may want to reflect on a campaign where they managed to move the 2PP absolutely nowhere over four weeks, but where Premier Anna Bligh’s personal approval ratings fell by 25 points over that period.

  124. Brian

    Terry, definitely desperate, and sad that it has come to this. Bligh on the 7.30 Report tonight was not in denial. Realistic, facing a wipeout and knowing it.

    Clearly the campaign was a disaster. In retrospect if they were going to go for Newman’s integrity they should have saved it for the last two weeks. Bligh in trying to destroy him as destroyed herself and the party. Aren’t they using Bruce Hawker as a strategist? If so, it’s got to be his last gig, with anyone.

  125. Fran Barlow

    Peter is right, the LNP should be able to be held accountable.

    Just so, though if there are ALP voters out there who want this, they should vote 1 Greens. Only The Greens can critique the LNP with the interests of working people in mind. This is the only way that the ALP will ever stop repeating its self-destructive stupidity.

    Voting ALP will be not so much a wasted vote as a misleading one.

  126. Occam's Blunt Razor

    Newspoll tonight has the ALP in NSW territory – Primary 28 and 2PP >40.

    The voters are never wrong.

    Well done Anna and Bruce.

  127. paul walter

    Fran’s last comment has me in mind of the cowboy mentality in Qld- getting rid of the last vestiges of union power, government moderation, and racial and environmental restraint.
    All those antagonistic enviro denialist contractors astride their new bulldozers, just waiting for the signal to hit the button, to rip up trees, plant cotton, pollute bay areas for coal ports, gas frack and build apartment block and tourist white elephants to be later paid for out of taxpayer money.
    It won’t stop now, until the place looks like a giant Alberta tar sands slagheap.