As long as the trains run on time – The Qld Weekly #qldpol: @Qldaah

Galaxy poll – TPP 52pc to LNP.
Newman Government’s top traffic offender.
The political biz of high-vis.
Newman’s D-G Jon Grayson spends big.
Drought relief – ‘Lying bastards’.
CM misleading on Qld debt figure.
Tweet of the week – Crane index overload.


Ten News Qld: Premier Campbell Newman has laughed off suggestions he should step aside due to poor Galaxy polling.

Ten News Qld: Premier Campbell Newman has laughed off suggestions he should step aside due to poor Galaxy polling.

Galaxy poll – TPP 52pc to LNP

The latest Queensland state Galaxy poll conducted for The Courier-Mail shows Premier Campbell Newman’s ruling Liberal National Party (LNP) is on 52 percent in a two-party preferred basis. Surprisingly, on preferred premier status Newman fell 6pc to 42pc and opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk jumped 8pc to 41pc. 17pc of people remain undecided.

Palaszczuk began her term as opposition leader with a preferred premier rating of 15pc. The poll also showed Newman losing popularity with 78pc seeing him as arrogant, 66pc clueless and 62pc accused him of not listening.

However, Labor’s primary vote remained at 36pc in contrast to the LNP’s 39pc. 12pc remains held by Palmer’s United Party (PUP).

In an interview with 7.30 Queensland, Qld state Labor President Dick Williams said a win by the party at the next election would be ‘unbelievable’ but stressed that the primary vote would need to lift by about 5pc to the achieve the desired 40pc figure. Post 2012 election, Williams had famously commented that a return to government for the party would be a ‘two-step process’.

“Things have moved a little bit quicker than what I was expecting, there’s no doubt about that,” he told 7.30 viewers.

“I don’t think anybody in Queensland could have predicted that Campbell Newman would throw away such a great lead that he had in a short two and a half years. However, all of the polling indicates that we’re still about 5pc off away from the magic 40pc primary vote that we need. That’s a huge task.”

Asked by the media if he thought he should step aside as Premier, Campbell Newman laughed off the suggestion.

“That’s just… hah ha ha…, look I’m just going to continue to do what I was elected to do which is, you know, get this state going,” he said.

Another separate Townsville based Galaxy poll showed the three sitting LNP MP’s from the region face a 10pc swing against them. Townsville MP John Hathaway, Thuringowa MP Sam Cox and Mundingburra MP and local government minister David Crisafulli all face a battle to retain their seats.

The LNP hold a seventy-three seat majority in the Queensland parliament with Labor holding nine, Katter’s Australia Party three, one for PUP and three independents.

Also, in an unrelated federal Galaxy poll, support in Queensland for the Abbott Government is also waning with Labor taking the lead on a 51pc two-party preferred basis and suggesting the Coalition would lose some of its’ Queensland base.


9 News Brisbane: New laser guided speed cameras 'ladar' are set to be rolled out on Queensland streets.

9 News Brisbane: New laser guided speed cameras ‘ladar’ are set to be rolled out on Queensland streets.

Newman Government’s top traffic offender

The Newman Government’s top traffic offender is none other that Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls whose own department, the State Penalties Enforcement Register (SPER) processes fines.

In October of 2013, Nicholls was fined $151 for speeding. Seven weeks later in December, he ran a red light incurring a fine of $341. Nicholls has paid both fines and lost four demerit points.

Nicholls recently announced a plan to recoup more than $1 billion in unpaid fines across Queensland by outsourcing to debt collectors.

Also this week, police announced the rollout of thirteen “ladars” or laser guided speed cameras at a cost of $1.3 million. The cameras are mobile and can catch up to six speeding cars per second across multiple lanes and in both directions. With the recent lowering of Queensland’s speed tolerance level, an average of $500,000 a day is being collected across the state.

To avoid a fine in the mail or a debt collector at the door, the only thing motorists (and politicians) can do is drive to posted speed limits.

9 News Brisbane: Campbell Newman in high-vis in Bundaberg says rising power prices will be fixed by asset sales.

9 News Brisbane: Campbell Newman in high-vis in Bundaberg says rising power prices will be fixed by asset sales.


The political biz of high-vis

Whether it’s standing at a construction site, in a factory or by the side of the road, as the Queensland election draws nearer the prevalence of Premier Newman and his ministers donning high-vis is increasing. This week was “Transport Week”.

Ignoring the bad Galaxy polling, Newman spent Monday riding a Brisbane train and held a presser to declare the trains were running on time.

“I’ve just got to get out there and work hard every day. I’m creating jobs for Queenslanders and getting front line services going and talking about things like today where the trains now are running on time.”

On Tuesday, Newman chose a roadside venue on approach to the new Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital to pledge a road upgrade at a cost of $440 million. Of course the catch was it could only be funded if Sunny Coast voters agreed to asset sales at the next election.

On Thursday, he was speaking from the factory floor in Bundaberg on the extension of a gas pipeline. He was challenged by the media on the rising cost of Queensland power prices in contrast to Origin Energy’s announcement of a 40pc rise in profit, partly from a reduction in taxes paid.

Newman immediately launched into another plug for asset sales and privatisation.

“Competition drives down prices, keeps a lid on the excesses of business in terms of profit making,” he proclaimed in a classic populist response.

QCA: Percentage of power price rises in Qld. Most of the cost is in the network.

QCA: Percentage of power price rises in Qld. Most of the cost is in the network.

This of course is not the main source of the problem. As Fairfax economics editor Ross Gittins explained, we’re all using less electricity because the prices keep rising.  The catch is the industry was traditionally geared on the assumption that we would be using more electricity going forward. As a result, the network providers are guaranteed a maximum return by governments. When that target isn’t met because we are all using less power, the industry seeks to recoup its losses in the next round by hiking prices.

Newman finished the week on radio ABC Capricornia where he told listeners he liked to be seen as “Mr Dams” before donning high-vis and attending a roadworks site. There he pledged to make sure speed limit signs were removed when work was not being conducted on the roads.

The big issues.

However, Newman had no answers for Queensland taking worst place in the nation on youth unemployment. On a twelve-month average, the three worst areas were Cairns at 20.4pc, Ipswich at 20.1pc and Wide Bay at 16.8pc against a state average of 13.7pc.


7 News Brisbane: In 2012 Campbell Newman's Director-General spent thousands of taxpayer dollars as Queensland public servants were sacked.

7 News Brisbane: In 2012 Campbell Newman’s Director-General spent thousands of taxpayer dollars as Queensland public servants were sacked.

Newman’s D-G Jon Grayson spends big

A right to information inquiry by 7 News Brisbane has shown the excessive spending of Campbell Newman’s top man. In 2012, while Newman was axing public servants and slashing services, his Director-General Jon Grayson was spending huge amounts on catering and transport. On meals for meetings in his office he spent a total of  $14,423 for the period April 2012 to May 2014. Food included slices, premium sandwiches, hot finger food and sushi. In contrast, at the 2013 Christmas party he spent $163 on his staff.

He also spent $5,714 to stay in top class hotels and $2,906 on limousines to get himself around.

Grayson earns almost $700,000 in his position. He’s rarely seen in the media but we do know from one of the menu requests that he is particular about this sandwiches.

“Could I please get all the sandwiches cut into points?” he wrote.

Newman’s media team released “a Labor did it first” response with details of the previous Bligh Government’s spending on its’ Director-General expenses. Catering under Labor was $19,700 compared to the LNP’s $14,423.

“Well all departments have cut their expenditure and the Director-General’s expenses are 33pc lower than the former Labor Government’s,” a pleased Newman told the media.

Regardless of party, voters will always grizzle about politicians and public servants spending taxpayer money in this way. However, in this instance it was made all the worse against the back drop of public servant jobs losses.


ABC 730 Qld: 'Lying Bastards': With 79pc of Queensland drought declared graziers are angry at government red tape.

ABC 730 Qld: ‘Lying Bastards’: With 79pc of Queensland drought declared graziers are angry at government red tape.

Drought relief – ‘Lying bastards’

With 79pc of Queensland now drought declared there are claims that promised funding is being tied up in Canberra red tape. Cattle owner Mick Pemble described to 7.30 Queensland viewers the pledges from the Abbott Government on drought assistance were coming from “lying bastards”.

“They get on TV and they tell the population of Australia how much money they’re handing out and they’re going to give all this money to the farmers and the farmers will be right they’ll be able to see this drought out and everything but nothing ever shows up,” he said.

The situation is made worse through the bureaucratic red tape graziers need to wade through to apply for funding.

Tess Pemble told viewers, “When you actually start looking into it and the processes you’ve got to go through and I think they make it so that, you know, you do, you just throw your hands up in the air.”


The Courier-Mail’s misleading figure on Queensland Government debt

On Monday, PANPA Newspaper of the Year for 2014, The Courier Mail ran an editorial lambasting Queenslanders for not accepting the selling of public assets which the LNP intends commencement when it is returned to power in 2015.

“It seems amazing that three out of four Queenslanders still can’t accept the selling off of public assets,” the title read. It went on to add, “having left the Newman Government with $85 billion of state debt and a mounting interest bill which diverts resources away from health, education and public safety, the Labor Opposition continues to run a populist line by simply opposing asset sales.”

Wait. What was that, $85 billion of state debt? Yet, only weeks ago, Campbell Newman and the gang were blaming Labor for $80 billion of debt. Could it have jumped $5 billion in a matter of weeks?

Queensland Treasury documents show Labor’s last Mid-year Fiscal Economic Review (MYFER) in 2011 left the borrowings at $65 billion. The most recent budget of the Newman Government, 2014-15, shows the borrowings at $79 billion with a projected figure of $82 billion by 2017-18.

Photographed by 9 News Brisbane’s Katherine Feeney on Sunday, the figure was on an advertising truck parked outside the yearly Queensland Labor conference.

Extract from Qld Labor's final Mid-year Fiscal Economic Review (MYFER) in 2011 showing borrowings at $65 billion.

Extract from Qld Labor’s final Mid-year Fiscal Economic Review (MYFER) in 2011 showing borrowings at $65 billion.

Extract from Newman Government's 2014-15 budget showing borrowings at $79 billion.

Extract from Newman Government’s 2014-15 budget showing borrowings at $79 billion.


Tweet of the week – Crane index overload

From Brisbane Times state political reporter, Amy Remeikis on the Sunshine Coast this week. Cranes working on the new Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital commissioned by the previous Queensland Government.

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  1. What can you say about Newman and his government?

    As with Abbott & Company at the federal level, the main theme is duplicity. On the one hand they claim to be “better” governments working for all the people; on the other they claim that their failure to do so is because the previous ALP governments left everything in such a mess, providing various factually inaccurate figures (lies) as to the amount of debt they were left.

    Newman’s government has attacked the judicial system in the state to the extent of appointing an incompetent Chief Justice who is such a poor choice that even the other Justices argued against his appointment. The Newman government has been responsible for some of the most targeted and biased legislation in Queensland’s history, even to the extent that the style of it is much reminiscent of dictator Petersen and his draconian attacks on public gatherings. One wonders whether there are also brown paper bags being passed under tables at the moment.

    Ironically, Newman and his colleagues, as well as blaming the ALP for problems, even after over 2 years in office, also accuse the ALP of populism. This from a Premier who’s major talent is arranging the photo-opportunity and making speeches that epitomise appeal to populist sentiment.

    This government does not work for all Queenslanders. It works (if it works at all) for its own interests and those of its big business collaborators. It is derisive of environmental concerns and accepts responsibility for nothing that isn’t working, which it claims is because of the ALP, yet at the same time it is happy to make much of successful programs that were instituted by the previous ALP government.

    If the Newman government has anything in common with the previous ALP government it is what seems to be a continuing curse on our society – that of the promotion of self-promoting, career-climbers to senior pubic service posts. In the main, the Senior Executive Service and other senior positions are held by those who have devoted their careers to self-promotion, sycophantic adherence to the edicts of the influential, and participation in “glossy-brochure” band-aid programs that have achieved little but provided great publicity for themselves and their masters.

    The Newman government ministers and, not least, the Premier himself are amongst the highest paid politicians not only in Australia but in the World. That some ALP ministers and public servants were as guilty of frittering taxpayer funds on their own entertainment, travel and other expenses in as irresponsible a way as does Newman’s ministers and SES, is no excuse. If the Newman government were honest and serious about being accountable and making Queensland a better and safer state, then they would have outlawed these practices in which they are so indulgent.

    The Newman government is one of the worst in Queensland’s history. It takes us back, as Abbott’s government does nationally, and under a thinly veiled cover, aided and abetted by the Murdoch press, particularly, is intent on drastically changing the nature of the state and altering its dynamics in a way that will benefit no one but the already well-off and wealthy. The only mystery is that so many Queenslanders don’t appear to see it or are so similarly greedy and self-centred that they go along with it, expecting (naively) that they themselves will benefit and join the other pigs at the trough. History would suggest that the opposite is more likely to be the case.

    How sad, that a state which gave birth to a proud Australian Labor movement can have sunk to such a low, where materialism, money and power are now definitions of success and real human values of caring, sharing, compassion and equity are seen as “soft” and redundant.

    In the time of Newman and Abbott, I feel ashamed to be Queenslander and Australian.