Dirty deals done dirt cheap: @Qldaah #qldpol weekly wrap

David Marler

David Marler

Queensland reporter at No Fibs
David is a full time carer for his son and in quiet times contributes to NoFibs. More at: http://nofibs.com.au/meeting-david-marler-nofibs-twitter-activist-by-griffithelects
David Marler
- 26 mins ago
David Marler
http://nofibs.com.au/meeting-david-marler-nofibs-twitter-activist-by-griffithelects
The wrap from the sunshine state with @NoFibs #QldPol reporter, @Qldaah.May Day staying in May
The cash poor
Qld unemployment hits 6.3pc
Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek sprung in secret deal
Dirty deals done dirt cheap
Palmer vs Newman Government
CMC dealt a mortal blow
Campbell Newman’s D-G Jon Grayson off the hook
Heartbreak in Newman’s Qld: Struggling dairy farmers seek export to Asia
Tweet of the week: Tim Nicholls the living treasure

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May Day staying in May

ABC News Qld: Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk used May Day march to pledge a return of the public holiday to May.

ABC News Qld: Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk used May Day march to pledge a return of the public holiday to May.

On Sunday, around 25,000 turned out for the May Day march and celebration in Brisbane, however, the traditional Labour Day public holiday, which would have fallen on Monday, was denied by the Newman Government, who moved it to October.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk used the occasion to again pledge her commitment to returning the holiday to its rightful place.

On Monday, construction workers walked off site to march down George Street in Brisbane for Labour Day and to protest the Newman Government’s prohibition of right-to-entry laws without twenty-four hour notice.

How this came about was the subject of fierce debate between the Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie and Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk, with accusations of Bolshevism hurled at the Labor Party. How Labour Day was moved and why it’s important to Queenslanders.

In a sign that the LNP has upset everyone that isn’t LNP, Bob Katter even turned up to support the workers.

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The cash poor

Forget the government’s gross debt, it’s household debt that is holding back Queenslanders. With home ownership rates falling, those who actually have one are the working cash poor. Left with $50 in cash per week out of an average income of $112,000, seventy-five per cent of Queenslanders are feeling the pinch as cost of living rises despite the Newman Government’s 2012 election promise to lower it.

The government chose to ignore the report this week.

ABC News Qld: Treasurer Tim Nicholls is not so open to increasing gambling taxes and mining royalties despite suggestions from Queenslanders.

ABC News Qld: Treasurer Tim Nicholls is not so open to increasing gambling taxes and mining royalties despite suggestions from Queenslanders.

However, it couldn’t escape scrutiny over its Strong Choices campaign this week when it was revealed that the interactive online program showed Queenslanders preferred to increase in gambling taxes and mining royalties rather than sell assets.

Qld Treasurer Tim Nicholls moved quickly to rule the suggestions out as miners were offended by the suggestion that they should pay more in royalties.

This begged the question: what was the point in a $6 million dollar Strong Choices campaign if options were all ready ruled out?

Perhaps the answer lies in Premier Campbell Newman’s signing of the federal government’s asset recycling program at COAG last week. Sell an asset like a bridge and receive funding from the federal government for your next infrastructure project.

The government wasn’t commenting on this either. Seems like asset sales are a done deal in Queensland.

Qld unemployment hits 6.3pc

Queensland’s unemployment rose again for April to an equal record high under the Newman Government of 6.3pc. The jobless rate last hit this figure in December of 2012. The LNP pledged to lower unemployment to 4pc within four years of being in power. Unemployment was left at 5.5pc by the Bligh Government. More graphs and stats on Qld unemployment here.

Queensland Rail, now named Aurizon, flagged 480 job losses this week as part of a restructure of heavy maintenance operations. The utility was made famous by the Bligh Government who announced a part sale shortly after taking government in 2009 and breaking an election promise. The Newman Government continued the sell-off.

7 News Brisbane: Exposed: Langbroek-Cavallucci deal to take from BCSS public school to give to private school Terrace.

7 News Brisbane: Exposed: Langbroek-Cavallucci deal to take from BCSS public school to give to private school Terrace.

Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek sprung in secret deal

Qld Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek has been caught in secret talks with St Joseph’s College over a land deal that was earmarked for Brisbane Central State School’s (BCSS) expansion.

Following Langbroek’s closure of Fortitude Valley Sate School (FVSS) last year, 26 students had been forced to transfer to BCSS adding more pressure to the over capacity school.

The Newman Government had pledged to purchase land from Qld Health to append to BCSS. However, the ‘Terrace’, as the elite school is colloquially known, was in negotiations to grab the land.

Langbroek denied everything as, “complete fantasy and it’s disappointing that these rumours are being circulated and propagated to the detriment of students.”

However, LNP MP for the seat of Brisbane Central and former Terrace student, Robert Cavallucci, told The Courier Mail that the BCSS P&C chair had been informed of all options being discussed. The chair denied this.

Cavallucci had also stated multiple times that the land expansion for BCSS would definitely go ahead.

BCSS P&C member Peter Zunker said: “We felt a bit like we had been left right out and kind of like this has all just been a set-up.”

Late Friday, with Langbroek on leave, it was left to acting Education Minister, Ian Walker, to reassure the community that the land would be going to BCSS.

ABC Lateline: New Hope coal donated $700k to LNP, gave Rugby tickets to two ministers & plans expansion of Acland coal mine.

ABC Lateline: New Hope coal donated $700k to the LNP, gave rugby tickets to two ministers and plans expansion of Acland coal mine.

Dirty deals done dirt cheap

When coal mining companies buy up a town and buy the government what hope is there for the people of Acland to fight back? That’s the question being asked by local graziers Tanya Plant and Nicki Laws on Queensland’s Darling Downs.

In an ABC Lateline interview, it was revealed that the federal Liberal Party had received $700,000 in political donations from New Hope, the owners of the Acland mine and now the town. Likewise, they’d also donated the same amount to the LNP in Queensland.

The town of Acland is largely deserted except for a lone man who refuses to leave. Graziers live outside the town, around the coal mine and appear powerless to stop its expansion.

Of concern is the coal mine’s use of water at a time when Queensland is suffering severe drought.

In 2013, 133 kilometres to the east in Brisbane, New Hope treated two Newman Government ministers to their corporate box to watch a Wallabies rugby game. Qld Energy Minister Mark McArdle and Environment Minister Andrew Powell accepted the invitation.

McArdle responded to the Lateline report Mark Willacy stating that it was not up to him to decide on the expansion of the Acland mine and referred questions to the Queensland Co-ordinator General.

After lapping up media attention last week in his stance against Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, Powell went into hiding from the media.

The week also revealed more donations to the LNP.

A 2012 $120,000 donation to the LNP from QCoal saw its head of corporate affairs, James Mackay, become the developer of environmental policy for the Newman Government. Opponents described this as  Newman giving the ‘keys to the blood bank to Dracula’.

ERM Power has also donated $42,500 to the LNP ahead of its 2015 election campaign. The LNP is currently raking in an average of $70,000 per day in donations ahead of its asset sales election agenda.

The LNP has also resorted to selling raffle tickets. The ‘donate & win a BMW’ scheme uses the art union lottery system which may not be disclosed by purchasers of the raffle books due to a loophole. Qld LNP President Bruce McIver described the scheme as being “ahead of the game”.

@Broelman

@Broelman

Palmer vs Newman Government

Another week saw the escalation in the dispute between Clive Palmer’s Palmer United Party (PUP) and the Newman Government.

A writ was lodged in the supreme court to sue Premier Campbell Newman for defamation to the tune of $1.1 million over his allegations against Palmer.

In a separate case, lawyer Chris Hannay is also suing Newman for allegations he made, for $1 million.

First to his feet in Queensland Parliament this week was LNP MP for Burleigh, Michael Hart, who disclosed and tabled a recording he’d made of the telephone conversation with PUP’s Jim McAnally who was attempting to recruit him. The Recording was tabled in parliament.

ABC News Qld: "The best party "that Chinese money can buy." Newman Govt members laugh as Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney accuses Clive Palmer of being a crook.

ABC News Qld: “The best party that Chinese money can buy.” Newman Govt members laugh as Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney accuses Clive Palmer of being a crook.

Throughout the conversation, McNally told Hart the discussion was “100 per cent confidential”.

Hart explained that he was dedicated to the LNP. He alleged McNally was offering him a bribe when he asked: “What can we offer you?”

However, police had dismissed the matter in the previous week as no cash sums were ever discussed.

Given the secret recording, Hart is probably not the most trustworthy of political players and someone PUP would do well to steer clear of in its recruitment drive.

The one person Clive Palmer loathes ahead of Campbell Newman is Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney. The two have been sparring in the media since the end of 2012.

However, this week, Seeney took it a step further by using parliamentary privilege to accuse Palmer of being a “crook”. He brandished a copy of The Australian in which Chinese investors claimed Palmer used their money in election campaigning.

“The best party that Chinese money can buy!” Seeney announced amid laughs from his party.

The Courier Mail: Clive Palmer's accused of being a crook by DP Jeff Seeney and challenged to say it outside parliamentary privilege.

The Courier Mail: Clive Palmer’s accused of being a crook by DP Jeff Seeney and challenged to say it outside parliamentary privilege.

The Australian: Clive Palmer's Chinese business partners claim he used their investment for campaigning.

The Australian: Clive Palmer’s Chinese business partners claim he used their investment for campaigning.

Based on current polling, with Campbell Newman likely to lose his seat of Ashgrove, Seeney is the most likely person to become the next Premier.

Palmer denied that it was true and challenged Seeney to make the allegation outside parliament where he would be able to take legal action.

“If he thinks that, why hasn’t he done something about it?”

The Palmer vs Newman Government spat is likely to escalate as the campaigning ahead of the Qld election escalates.

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CMC dealt a mortal blow

Queensland’s Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) was renamed the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC). After six hours of debate in the Queensland Parliament, Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie finally had his changes to the Crime and Misconduct Commission passed.

The government has removed bipartisanship for selection of the CCC chief and can now appoint a person without consulting with the opposition. Opponents to the plan have argued that without bipartisan support independence of the corruption watchdog is threatened.

Only one LNP MP expressed concern over the plan before the debate. MP for Stafford, Dr Chris Davis, conducted a ReachTel poll in his own electorate and found 73pc of constituents were opposed to the removal of bipartisan approval for the nomination of CCC chair.

However, in a last-minute meeting, Bleijie made an amendment which satisfied Davis that the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee (PCMC) could veto the governments choice. Committees are normally stacked by MPs in favour of the government.

Much of the government’s argument centred around the success of New South Wales’ Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and the government there being able to choose the commissioner. What’s good for NSW is good enough for Qld, it seems.

The Newman Government also argued that the focus should now be on criminal gangs. Investigating bikie gangs for extortion and drug related crimes.

ABC News Qld: 'Operational matters': Campbell Newman's concept of PCMC public hearings is not so practical.

ABC News Qld: ‘Operational matters’: Campbell Newman’s concept of PCMC public hearings is not so practical.

Campbell Newman had previously voiced his desire for the PCMC to have public hearings. This turned into a farce this week with acting commissioner Dr Ken Levy unable to answer questions in front of the cameras due to “operational matters”.

In a surprise announcement late Friday, Levy found himself being investigated under section 57 of the criminal code by Qld police for “knowingly” giving a false answer to a parliamentary oversight committee.

Levy had written a positive opinion piece for The Courier Mail in which he supported the Newman Government’s Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment (VLAD) laws. However, when questioned about it by the PCMC he declared that he hadn’t contacted the Newman Government’s media advisers. This contradicted a statement by Campbell Newman’s media adviser, Lee Anderson who revealed he had met with Levy prior to the piece being published.

In Queensland, lying in parliament or to a committee is a criminal offence.  At question is whether Levy lied to the PCMC.

Levy has previously refused to stand down over the Levy investigation which was being handled by a select ethics committee. He is scheduled to stay on in his role until October 2014.

JonGraysonOffloadBusinessInterests

ABC News Qld: Off the hook. Campbell Newman’s director-general Jon Grayson cuts business ties with famous ICAC names.

Campbell Newman’s D-G Jon Grayson off the hook

In April, 2014, Campbell Newman’s Director-General Jon Grayson was named at a NSW ICAC hearing as having links to disgraced Labor MP Eddie Obeid and family.

This week the Premier informed the house that he had written to CMC boss Dr Ken Levy about the allegations. Levy in turn wrote to ICAC and informed them that the CMC was not investigating Grayson and that no action was required.

Campbell Newman also announced that Grayson would offload all his business interests that were linked to the ICAC inquiry.

2GB radio broadcaster Alan Jones also named Grayson and condemned the Newman Government for corruption in its links to the CSG industry in an interview this week with Heather Brown.

For more on the Qld links to the ICAC inquiry, see Cash for Campbell.

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ABC News Qld: Struggling dairy farmers seeking opportunities to export milk to Asia.

ABC News Qld: Struggling dairy farmers seeking opportunities to export milk to Asia.

Heartbreak in Newman’s Qld: Struggling dairy farmers seek export to Asia

Struggling from the supermarket $2 milk war, Qld dairy farmers are seeking to export their milk into Asia.

More than a year ago, Premier Newman urged Australian supermarkets to create proper supply agreements.

Queensland has always had a milk deficit, having to import milk from southern states to meet demand. Recent price wars have seen the number of dairies drop from approximately one-thousand to five hundred.

Perhaps this last round is a sign that the dairy industry is defeated in Queensland and along with it, the remnants of the National Party, which traditionally represented farming communities.

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Tweet of the week: Tim Nicholls, the living treasure

 


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Comments

  1. David? Do we know who D-G Grayson is offloading his business interests to as yet? A. The bloke should be in front of the CMC (if we still had one), but B. Would be interesting to see if business interests passed to family or trusted mates in LNP?