Crimes that matter.
The crime statistics came a little early this year. Released a month ahead of the normal schedule, Premier Campbell Newman finally settled on an 11 percent drop after weeks of high flung figures of 10, 15 & 30 percent.
Whilst the data gathering methodology by the Queensland Police Service has not changed, the presentation of selected data has. In our NoFibs report earlier this month we brought together the media investigations that showed how the government was separating “reported crime” from “other crime”; Factcheck: Queensland crime statistics get ‘Newmaned’.
However, as 9 News Brisbane reporter Carrie Greenbank explained in her nightly report, the Newman Government had also excluded crimes such as domestic violence and averaged only the “crimes that matter” to arrive at the 11pc drop. It was a terrible message to send to the electorate; that certain crimes such as violence against women were not important enough to rate.
Fairfax state political reporter Amy Remeikis also showed that the real figure was 2pc when incorporating all crime across the state in the traditional manner.
However, Queensland Police Minister Jack Dempsey refused to accept this number and described it as “silly statistics” and “falling for a Labor philosophy”.
“And that is where we get into silly statistics.”
“You know that statistics that you go through from detail to detail, I would prefer that we obviously made sure that people felt safer, that mums and dads, when little Johnny who works at uni, goes to work in the corner store, that he knows that robberies are down 19pc.”
The Liberal National Party (LNP) government has long prided itself on making Queensland the safest place to raise a family. The latest fall of 2pc represents a net rise in crime of 6pc under Premier Campbell Newman.
— Carrie Greenbank (@CGreenbank9) August 5, 2014
Unemployment at eleven year high
Queensland unemployment hit an eleven year high of 6.5pc (trend) and 6.8pc (seasonally adjusted). 171,100 people were out of work in July. It’s a blow to the Newman Government who campaigned on a target of 4pc unemployment by 2018. (Now deleted by the LNP, we’ve recovered the pledge using the WaybackMachine here).
He fronted the media on Thursday and described the latest rise as an “uptick” and said Queensland was “still doing better than some other states”. He then proceeded to link job creation to the selling of Queensland assets.
“That program can provide up to 25,000 jobs,” he said.
You can read more about Queensland’s long term unemployment problem at our NoFibs labour force report.
— Shane Doherty (@ShaneDoherty9) August 7, 2014
The great Queensland fluoride debate rages
Most states and territories have come to terms with fluoridation of their water supplies but Queensland is still struggling with the debate. A report released this week showed the best result in Queensland was in Townsville with 39pc of children diagnosed with decay. It also showed that half of Queensland children aged between five and ten have had decay in their primary teeth. Dental problems remain the major cause of hospitalisation for children under nine throughout Queensland.
Queensland chief dentist Dr Mark Brown said fluoridation does work in preventing teeth decay and called for a reassessment of Queensland’s approach.
“It certainly gives local governments who have pulled out of water fluoridation very strong evidence that they need to reconsider that position,” he said.
Despite the Newman Government backing the findings of the report and supporting fluoridation, it leaves the decision to local councils. In 2012, it repealed a Bligh Government bill making fluoridation mandatory across the state.
Anti-fluoride campaigners like Terry Farrell are still concerned about the substance being put into water.
“Highly toxic substance which cannot be released into the environment but they can put it in our drinking water and we can drink it. Now does that make sense to you?” he said.
Living in Brisbane where fluoride is added, Newman Government MP for Nudgee Jason Woodforth removes it from his drinking water using a reverse osmosis filter. He describes it as a “toxic waste chemical”.
Of the 77 local councils in Queensland, only 26 currently add fluoride.
Third suicide after Newman closure of Barrett Centre.
With the Newman Government’s closure of the Barrett Centre in January 2014, a third former patient has committed suicide. In July, NoFibs reported on the deaths of two other patients.
The Brisbane based centre also provided twenty-four hour care for Caitlin Wilkinson-Whitaker so that she could attend school and treat her mental illness. Sadly, on Tuesday she committed suicide.
In an interview with @730qld, her mother told of her grief and frustration after Caitlin was returned home to Townsville where services were not adequate to care for her needs. The Newman Government had assured all parents of children at the centre that they would be cared for in their local communities.
The Newman Government this week talked up a ‘Rolls Royce’ plan to improve mental health services in the state but with no concrete plans or assurances when new facilities would be constructed.
Queensland Mental Health Commissioner Dr Lesley van Schoubroeck also spoke to @730qld about the tragedy and explained that Queensland was heading in the wrong direction in terms of child patient review times.
New doctor in the house
Following the 19.1pc swing to Labor in the Stafford by-election, Dr Anthony Lynham was sworn in at parliament house this week but he will not fill the shadow health portfolio. The Opposition used the Stafford win to question Newman on any policy back downs he might be planning such as the changes to electoral donation laws where sums under $12,400 do not have to be declared.
New livery for Queensland police
Ahead of the G20 summit in Brisbane, new livery went on display this week for Queensland police motorcycles in an effort to make them more visible on the road.
— Amber Austin-Wright (@AmberAW) August 4, 2014
— Katherine Feeney (@katherinefeeney) August 4, 2014
Tweet of the week – The media lounge in parliament house gets ‘Newmaned’
— Matt Wordsworth (@MattWordsworth) August 5, 2014