Queensland Politics

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Queensland politics is different from those anywhere else in the world.

First they produced Joh Bjelke Petersen, probably the only interesting human being ever to come out of Dannevirke.

Joh was a crook, no two ways about it. When the law finally caught up with him and he was charged with perjury, Sir Joh beat the wrap by somehow smuggling one of his most fervent supporters on to the jury. The young man obediently refused to accept the plethora of evidence against his idol and caused a hung jury.

The authorities somehow managed to find Sir Joh was too gaga to stand trial a seconed time, so the crookest polly in Australian history died without a stain on his black character.

But Joh wasn’t alone. One of his Ministers, a man mountain named Russ Hinze. was once stopped for speeding. He pulled out a map of Queensland from the glove box, pointed to some spot in the middle of the state amd inquired of the cowering cop: “Now, sonny, how would you like to be transported to THERE?”

Hinze’s favourite saying was “never conduct an enquiry until you know for sure what the outcome will be”. Like his mentor he died just soon enough to avoid going to prison.

Sir Joh, whose wife Flo was famous for her scones but little else, also had his share of saws. Conducting press conferences was “feeding the chooks” and his consistent reply to any awkward question was: “Don’t you worry about that…….”

He also once told the London Spectator Queensland would be far better off it banned the media. That way, he declared “No-one would know anything”. Hard to argue with his logic, anyway,

Queenslanders go to the polls again on March 24, but even that isn’t certain. There’s a cat amongst the pigeons – a Katter to be precise.

Only Queensland could produce a man like Bob Katter, a mixture of Joh and Winston Peters in a ten-gallon hat.

Katter may single handedly delay the election because after registering his party as the Australian Party, he humbly changed his mind and decided it should be called the Katter Party. So he toddled off to court demanding that 2,000,000 voting papers be destroyed so the correct party name could be included in the new ones. Australians are a nation of gamblers, with more racecourses than any other nation, but the odds on Bob aren’t good.

The chances of a change in Government are, however. Labor is trying to win its ninth consecutive election, which must be some sort of record everywhere but in Singapore, so the “let’s give the other mob a go” syndrome is well and truly at work. But the other mob are not in great shape.

They had so much faith in their Parliamentary leader that they dumped him shortly before the election and replaced him with someone who wasn’t even an MP!So exit Jon Paul Whatsisname and enter stage right Campbell “Can Do” Newman, Lord Mayor of Brisbane, surely the only Parliamentary leader in the world who has to watch the proceedings of the House from the public gallery and cannot utter a word without being evicted.

The move was understandable. The Labor Premier, Anna Bligh, great-great-great-greatgranddaughter of William Bligh of the Bounty, is every bit as stubborn as her illustrious predecessor and equally liable to flog her underlings if they don’t perform.

But she inherited a mess from Peter Beattie, including a ticking time bomb called the Queensland Health payroll which is such a dog’s breakfast it overpaid some workers up to $300,000 and now wants its money back.

But “Can Do” also has his problems, it seems that if anything crooked can be done in business “Can Do” has already done it. Dodgy little tricks like his family setting up a company to flog flood protection software just a few days after South East Queensland was inundated (as it was US software, the FBI is showing an interest) or helping a property developer gain permission to build two high risers on the Gold Coast in return for seven donations to his election coffers, under seven different names. This could only have been leaked by someone within the LNP, probably one of the current Liberal MPs, all of whom refused to give up their seats to allow Newman to slip into Parliament by byelection.

So Newman is standing in the Labor-held seat of Ashgrove in Brisbane, and he has a fight on his hands against the popular Kathy Jones. His party could win, but Newman could be defeated, giving Jon Paul Whatsisname a chance to return in triumph.

Current Premier Anaa Bligh is very impressive and gave such a stellar performance during the floods that, albeit briefly, her party gained in the polls. It has since fallen back, and defeat looks very likely.

Somehow, down there in the bowels of Hell where he belongs, I can hear sir Joh saying with a grin: “Now, don’t you worry about that……..”

I love the description of Bob Katter – it’s perfect.

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