Queensland Politics

March 7th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Another guest post from :

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.

13 Responses to “Queensland Politics”

  1. straya (207 comments) says:

    These guest posts are superficial and full of errors, and I can’t believe you pollute your blog with them. If any of your readers have a serious interest in Australian politics, there are plenty of online columns they can go to. I recommend the various columnists in the Australian (subscription required for some not all) including Peter Brent (Mumble), Paul Kelly and Jack the Insider (blog). If its elections per se that are of interest, try Peter Brent (again), Pollytics and of course Antony Green.

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  2. straya (207 comments) says:

    p.s. and ridiculously biased to Labor!

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  3. St Hubbins (26 comments) says:

    If I want analysis of Australian politics, I’ll go elsewhere thanks – this guy Freedman has no idea.

    For example…

    Current Premier Anna Bligh is very impressive and gave such a stellar performance during the floods that …. etc.

    Freedman is either a diehard ALP supporter or seriously deluded if he believes this.

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  4. Shazzadude (587 comments) says:

    “If I want analysis of Australian politics, I’ll go elsewhere thanks”

    DPF often blogs on politics globally, so if you don’t like that you probably are best to carry out your ultimatum.

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  5. St Hubbins (26 comments) says:

    Shazza – I’m not referring to DPF commenting on Australian politics. I like his posts on Australian and other foreign politics.

    When I say “go elsewhere”, I mean he should find someone more knowledgeable than this Freedman person to use as a guest commentator.

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  6. gryfon (44 comments) says:

    I’m a politically-savvy (note, NOT ‘progressive’) Kiwi resident in Australia and I echo straya’s and St Hubbins’ perspective.

    Freedman’s post is neither authoritative nor unbiased. I suggest that, just like DPF does with his Disclosure Statement, Freedman comes clean on his background, because both his Queensland posts to date have been made up of glib half-truths with a side-order of gloss and spin.

    And straya is also right about where to find real information – The Australian’s Peter Brent (Mumble), Paul Kelly and Jack the Insider (blog) are gold.

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  7. gazzmaniac (2,842 comments) says:

    Hi Peter,
    Are you the same Peter Freedom as this guy?

    BTW I think you’re spot on with Campbell Newman, I’d like the LNP to be the government but I don’t want Newman to be the premier.
    You’re also right about Ms Bligh getting a boost for a month or so after the floods – her greatest chance of getting reelected is to remind as many people as possible about her performance last year, and getting that speech on the TV as much as possible.
    She wasn’t meant to win the last election but somehow did. Maybe Campbell Newman is her greatest asset this time.

    St Hubbins you don’t know what the fuck you are talking about, why don’t you talk to somebody who was in Queensland at the time? The state had a very bad run over a month or so (regional flooding, followed by a major cyclone then the suburban flooding in Toowoomba, Ipswich and Brisbane). Anna Bligh performed very well, as did Newman as Brisbane’s mayor.

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  8. Meg23 (2 comments) says:

    Please can we see articles from someone who has a clue about Queensland! Save the rusted on ALP & LNP who seriously need to combine their acronyms to form the A-LP (the N for Nationals was only a con to make them think they still existed) – most respondents consensus is that the guy is living on another planet.
    I have been down the east coast of Queensland over the past month and have asked people along the way one question. What difference would there be if the Newman fellow gets in with an LNP government? No one can tell me one thing that will change from the mess this beautiful state is now in with Can’t do as Premier. His record of overspending in Brisbane City Council is enough to scare anyone off.
    Time for a real change and some real people, not seat warmers and egomaniacs. I’ve had more than enough and God Bless Bob Katter for taking a leap of faith that leaves me in awe of your integrity and courage. A leader in every respect and a man who rightly defends another great leader in Sir Joh and his wonderful wife, Lady Flo Bjelke-Petersen. Those of us who remember you will never forget your devoted hard work for the people of Queensland. Nor will we forget how the rest of the states lost residents and businesses by the thousands every week…because everyone wanted to come to Queensland because the hospitals were FREE (funded by the Golden Casket), the electricity was cheap, the fuel had no state taxes, the nurses got paid, we were educated in rural and city schools and graduated as literate and capable citizens, our farmers and fishermen were treated with the respect they deserved for the job they do, our rail was Qld owned and we were rightly proud of that too, we went camping and fishing and were proud to call ourselves Queenslanders.
    Back then, Queensland was a sound strong economy and we weren’t enslaved in debt or sold out to foreign corporations that bled the country of its natural resources and left us with little more than the wasted residue while the wealth went into the election coffers of the LNP and ALP and overseas to the corporate shareholders.
    I’d be interested in hearing what Newman’s LNP have done for any Queenslanders. I remember well the sellout over telstra, the destruction of Queensland’s fruit heartland with Truss’s mishandling of the Citrus Canker. I remember their destruction of the dairy and sugar industry and manufacturing industries through deregulation.
    My prediction is that both the LNP and ALP will get the long awaited consequences of their treachery towards us the people of this once great state at the coming state election when people have the first real opportunity for change from a man who has proven his integrity over 40 years in state and federal parliament, Bob Katter.
    I predict that Katter’s Australian Party will decimate both the other ego driven ALP & LNP and send them a message they are unlikely to forget…and I can’t wait to send them mine through the ballot box come election day! 🙂

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  9. Meg23 (2 comments) says:

    gazzmaniac…you prove more is lacking about yourself and your own arguments than your ‘opponent’s’ argument, when you resort to expletives in your post…keep it civil please and clean…in a democracy, everyone has a right to their say, hopefully this is something we all value and we won’t lose it and disintegrate into anarchy as other countries have.
    BTW there were Kiwis flocking to Qld in the Joh days too…by the thousands.
    Even Peter Beattie, an ALP Premier, acknowledged the vision and extraordinary hard work of Sir Joh and his government. Eric Deeral, was a member of Joh’s government and the first indigenous member of the Qld Parliament. Joh had capable women chosen for their ability, not for tokenism or patronisingly and he respected them.
    If you want real history don’t get a bitter twisted ALP or LNP who are about to get a flogging at the elections to write your articles…get the facts from someone who tells it like it is.
    Ask the people of Grantham if they appreciated being used ‘like a political football’ (their words) in Bligh’s election adverts – Bligh shed some tears over the floods and cyclones, so did the rest of Australia. I had family affected severely by both and talk is cheap, the cyclone ravaged north was mostly ignored and much is still left in tatters…no credit for action or sincerity by the Premier at the time or since.

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  10. Peter Freedman (127 comments) says:

    Gazz, I’m Peter FreedMAN, not FreeDOM. Easy mistake.

    Happy to come clean about my background.

    Born in Napier, joined Daily Telegraph (not the UK one), headhunted by The Dom, then promoted to Wellington as regional editor. Shared the industrial round with Paul Jackman, occasionally filled in in the Press Gallery.

    Served two terms as National President NZJU. Stood on a platform of resolving 7 year pay dispute and kept my promise. Was then voted out of office, by three votes if I remember right.

    Then worked at FinSec (insurance and banking union), recruited by Angela Foulkes. Rose to be senior advocate. Then suffered from burnout and took early retirement. Ran the Foodbank and Budget Service in Wainuiomata and wrote free lance for various publications.

    I have co-written a book on poverty in NZ and have had articles in both Listener and Truth.

    Contacts who would tell both good and bad about me would include Trevor Mallard (a long time sparring partner) Ken Douglas, Paul Goulter (now with NZEI, I think) and, of course Angela F herself.

    Of course I am from the left. The democratic left, not the extreme left. Have been a member of Lab Party, but resigned in protest during the Douglas years.

    Normally I have voted Labour, frequently with strong reservations. Worked to get Geoff Braybrooke elected in Napier, a decision I have regretted ever since. Acted as scrutineer for Alick Shaw, another mate from way back, never regretted THAT.

    Married 42 years, two grown up kids, one granddaughter, 7 other grandkids we have picked up along the way, and two great grandies similarly acquired.

    Interest: Writing, cooking, good food, good wine, good friends. And backing the odd winner at the races.

    Anything else you want to know that doesn’t cover my sex life, just ask.

    So long as David wants me, am happy to continue guesting here.

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  11. Peter Freedman (127 comments) says:

    Meg, of course Sir Joh did some good things. Flo’s scones were legendary. Even Hitler got people into work and biult great roads.

    PS: I am NOT comparing Sir Joh with Hitler…….Sir Joh was, by all accounts, a good guy in many ways.

    But he was also corrupt and led a corrupt government, But nobody’s perfect.

    Meg, I agree about Bob Katter. He is a bresh of fresh air and with a few seats will give Qld politics a much needed shake up and really piss off the Libs and Labor. If I could vote here, I’d consider supporting him myself.

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  12. gazzmaniac (2,842 comments) says:

    gazzmaniac…you prove more is lacking about yourself and your own arguments than your ‘opponent’s’ argument, when you resort to expletives in your post…keep it civil please and clean…

    I write the word “fuck” once and I am pulled up for not keeping it clean? Come on, many of the other commenters and even the owner of the blog himself use expletives a lot more than me.
    St Hubbins was pretty direct in saying that Peter Freedman (sorry about that by the way…) was wrong in when he wrote that Captain got a lift in the polls during and immediately after the polls. I pointed out (apparrently too explicitly for some members of the audience who have obviously never read any other thread post) that St Hubbins was wrong, and that that person was obviously not in Queensland at the time.

    I don’t regret writing “fuck” but I am terribly sorry that Meg23 is so precious to be offended by it.

    And for the record, I don’t think Newman will be any better than Captain and I certainly don’t think Katter will definitely be a positive either (he’s far too much about reregulation for my liking), but he might make the government pull its head in and take a more conservative approach to some issues if he holds the balance of power. Somebody does need to make Queensland the Low Tax state once again.

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  13. Peter Freedman (127 comments) says:

    Latest news: “Can Do” has slipped on yet another banana skin when it is revealed that one of his candidates instigated a pornographic website. The candidate maintains that it was a site for motorcycle lovers that was hijacked by…..well, by someone or other. Sensibly CD is sticking by his man.

    CD must wake up everything morning trembling at the thought: “What the fuck can go wrong today?” Any moment another of his good men and true may be found naked in bed with a troupe of Girl Guides.

    Kathy Jones now leads him in the Ashgrove polls. Oh, dear.

    Bob Katter, as predicted, lost his court case and probably won’t appeal. You heard it first here.

    Meanwhile, Captainess Bligh sails regally on, kissing babies and avoiding scandal. Could the impossible happen after all?

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