Sex offences almost double over the last year in Brisbane’s inner-western suburbs
Despite the Newman Government’s election pledge to make Queensland the safest place to raise a family, sex offences have almost doubled in the last year in Brisbane suburbs.
Inner West patrol group acting Inspector Corey Allen told the Courier Mail, “people tend to blame women for putting themselves in that situation, for drinking too much, for dressing a certain way, or failing to look after their friends but no-one really says ‘guys shouldn’t take advantage of girls when they’re drunk’. We need to turn the conversation around a bit to say real men don’t take advantage of drunk women”.
Cash for LNP access
The LNP’s fundraising arm, QForum has raked in more than $30 million since the 2012 Queensland election. Membership is sold from between $3,300 to $22,000 which grants subscribers access to Newman Government ministers at luncheons and dinners.
The declared donor list shows Echo Entertainment as frequent flyers and who are also eagerly awaiting a decision on a new casino licence. Others include energy companies such as Arrow Energy and Peabody Energy. Lobbying firms, Rowland and Govstrat also appear. Developers Silvio Pradella and Godfrey Mantle are also members.
However, Newman Government plans to raise the declaration threshold from $1000 to $12,400 could see many donors exempt from the declaration list. Cabinet is to decide on Monday if these changes will be submitted to Queensland parliament.
All perfectly legal, it will be up to the court of public opinion to judge the ethics of donations to political parties at election time. Given the size of the war chest, Queenslanders should prepare for the biggest election advertising blitz in history.
Funding cut: Campbell Newman’s Mother’s Day gift to dying women from breast cancer
The Newman Government can’t afford a $150,000 grant to keep a support group for women who are dying from terminal breast cancer. The group’s funding ran out on Mother’s Day.
Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg told the ABC’s Kathy McLeish that he expects the women to conduct fundraising activities to get the money they need.
That’s dying women he’s asking to go out and rattle cans at their local Westfield.
Springborg’s world is the LNP world of big cash donations and fund raisers. $150,000 is small change to the LNP who’ve raised $30 million so far for their 2015 election campaign.
In 2012 the Newman Government allocated $110 million for Queensland Racing as part of its’ infrastructure development plan.
This year Queensland MPs were awarded an average pay increase of $55,000.
Assistant Health Minister Dr Chris Davis sacked
This week, Dr Chris Davis became the first member of Newman’s cabinet to be sacked. Previous ministers, Dr Bruce Flegg, David Gibson and Ros Bates were afforded the option to resign after their individual debacles.
Davis had been outspoken about the government’s intended individual contracts for public health system doctors. He had also threatened to cross the floor of parliament and vote against the government’s changes to the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC).
In an interview with ABC 730 Queensland’s Matt Wordsworth, Davis disclosed that he was also opposed to the government’s proposal to raise the political donations threshold.
Seemingly, a step too far. The Liberal National Party (LNP) moved swiftly to dismiss him from his position before the amendments are formalised next week.
Davis told Wordsworth he had been prepared to resign but was summarily dismissed from his portfolio by Queensland Premier Campbell Newman.
“I think I had trod on some very powerful toes.”
On Davis’s difference of opinion to that of the government, Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls had commented to the media in the previous week that the LNP was a “broad church”.
“The scenario changed between then and when I was called in on Tuesday,” Davis reflected.
Very well informed of the current Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigations in New South Wales, he fanned speculation of corruption in Qld.
“You only need to look across the border to NSW to actually see under current arrangements how there are a number of very powerful interests in any political system.”
Wordsworth pressed him further to find out if these interests were at work in Qld.
“You’d be naive to think that the political gene pool changed when you crossed the border from NSW to Qld,” Davis answered.
He suspected that he had upset big donors entwined with the Newman Government.
“You don’t make an investment in business unless you expect a return on it.”
Citing Former Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies, Davis maintained that his party was “capable of better”.
Leaving the ball firmly in his party’s court to accept his application for pre-selection, Davis confirmed he would stand again in the Brisbane seat of Stafford.
The successful LNP candidate for Stafford will face a challenge from Labor’s Dr Anthony Lynham, a renowned maxillofacial surgeon and long time campaigner against alcohol fueled violence.
Newman Govt ignored environmental concerns for Galilee Basin coal mine
The Newman Government has ignored environmental concerns for the Great Artesian Basin in its’ approval of the Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin.
The Commonwealth Independent Expert Scientific Committee (IESC) advised both the Qld and Federal governments that owner Adani had provided insufficient data on the environmental impact.
However, the Newman Government declared, “… the declarations of the IESC have been shown to be false” and rejected their report.
The $16 billion project will need final approval by the Federal Government before it can commence.
With falling coal prices and Adani’s debt problem, there is speculation the project may become unviable before it starts.
Kids and coal
“We are in the coal business,” Campbell Newman reiterated at a mining technology forum this week. A slogan that has been uttered several times throughout his premiership.
He joined with mining interest groups in signing a thirty year partnership agreement which he hopes will commence with the Adani Carmichael coal mine project later this year.
He also took the opportunity to announce an addition to Queensland’s education curriculum by including mining subjects for school students.
It’s all about the kids.
No wonder Newman immediately cancelled funding in 2012 for the $1.2 billion Solar Dawn project which would have created a massive alternative energy solar thermal farm.
Bentley blockade, Metgasco and the Qld link
Protestors at the Bentley blockade near Lismore in northern NSW were prepared for a heavy police force to remove them this week. However, news broke that the company operating the CSG site, Metgasco had been referred to ICAC and their license revoked.
Locals had long claimed lack of consultation to the installation and expansion of CSG wells in their area.
It is understood that allegations of corruption involving links to Metgasco’s largest shareholder ERM Business Energy from Australian Water Holdings (AWH) were brought to NSW Resources Minister Anthony Roberts.
Chairman of ERM, Tony Bellas, stated, “We have nothing to do with Metgasco’s operation, we’re just a shareholder.”
A recent Courier Mail article revealed that ERM has donated $42,500 to the Qld LNP ahead of the 2015 Qld election.
Bellas is also a shareholder in Queensland company Gasfields Waster Water and Services (GWWS) which has links to the Obeid family. Nephew of Eddie Obeid, Dennis Jabour, is a shareholder. GWWS was started by Premier Campbell Newman’s Director-General, Jon Grayson.
Until recently, Tony Bellas was also a director of Australian Water Queensland (AWQ), a subsidiary of AWH designed to lobby for contracts in Queensland.
Bellas is also an independent chairman and non-executive director at Shine Lawyers.
Newman recently declared Jon Grayson would offload his business interests and informed parliament there were no grounds for investigation into his D-G by the CMC.
The Australian also reported that Jon Grayson’s earlier statement that he was unaware of Qld Government dealings with AWH have shown to be inaccurate. It appears Grayson was instrumental in planning a deal between Qld Government owned CS Energy, AWH and his company Gasfields Water Management (GWM).
Federal budget 2014 fallout
The master of making a thousand cuts found himself being cut by long time buddy, Tony Abbott. Campbell Newman was shocked to discover that the federal government would take its’ foot off the funding accelerator from 2017 in the areas of education and health.
The objective of the Abbott Government is to push responsibility for these two portfolios back onto the states and territories.
Newman believed this was a political wedge to get the premiers and chief ministers to push Canberra for an increase in the Goods and Services Tax (GST). All of the GST is shared out to the states and territories but is collected at a federal level.
In a dual interview with ABC 730, Premier of South Australia Jay Weatherill and Newman revealed that the cuts had not been discussed at the recent Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting two weeks ago.
Also, based on budgetary downsising advice for the public service, Queensland is expected to suffer 700 federal public service job cuts in Brisbane and Townsville.
Later in the week, Newman announced his opposition to a GST increase and went on to suggest that part of the income tax collected at a federal level should come back to Queensland.
For example, if one dollar was paid in tax by a Queenslander, twenty cents might be returned to the Qld Government to help fund services.
Overall, while the position seems admirable from a Qld perspective, the Newman plan would also leave the Abbott Government with less revenue. It seems unlikely Treasurer Joe Hockey would approve.
With the Qld election firmly in sight, Newman wont want to go into it promoting a GST increase. The question Queensland must ask is, given all that Campbell Newman promised in the lead up to the 2012 election, can he be trusted to maintain this stance against the GST post-election 2015?
Despite a repeated popularity drop in his own electorate, Newman used the occasion to officially sign the LNP application form for him to stand for pre-selection for his current seat of Ashgrove.
— Melinda Howells (@MelindaHowells) May 15, 2014
Social Media Man
“Look in the feed! Is it a hashtag? Is it spam? No, it’s Social Media Man!” wrote Brisbane Times state political reporter, Amy Remeikis this week. The Newman Government’s Social Media Man had arrived to save Qld’s public service from posting embarrassing comments online.
The vid has since been removed from YouTube but the Courier Mail managed to snaffle a copy.
Stay safer up there, switch off down here
The royal commission into the Rudd Government home insulation program was heard of the tragedy of the deaths of four young men this week in Brisbane. With that in mind, remember to switch off the power before you go into the roof for any reason, even if it’s just an inspection.
Scary statistic: 1 in 5 homes has some sort of existing fault in the ceiling space. Remember to… pic.twitter.com/HDNA51Mgxb
— Kristina Costalos (@kcostalos) May 15, 2014
Tweet of the week
Qld Environment Minister Andrew Powell chose an inappropriate time to spruik the Newman Government’s claim of train reliability. He tweeted a graph at the same time as major delays were experienced across all Brisbane train services. Passengers took to social media to vent and share their misfortune.
— Andrew Powell (@AndrewPowellMP) May 14, 2014