Fitzgerald’s verdict on Newman Government upheld
The “inexperienced, arrogant fools” and “megalomaniacs” are still in charge of Queensland.
This week Tony Fitzgerald QC met privately with Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney to hear the Newman Government’s appeal against Fitzgerald’s verdict that it held a ‘disdain for democracy’.
Mr Fitzgerald did not sway from his previous opinion and issued a media statement shortly afterward.
“If political egos do not prevent it from doing so, the Government has time to correct many of its worst mistakes.
Unfortunately, if its totally unsuitable choice is sworn in as Chief Justice, the damage to the courts and the independence of the judiciary will be irreversible.”
Among many issues, Mr Fitzgerald had been particularly outspoken about the appointment by the Newman Government of the inexperienced Tim Carmody to the role of Queensland’s Chief Justice. Carmody had been promoted by the Newman Government to chief magistrate and after only eight months was appointed to the top role.
As he had done previously, Premier Campbell Newman immediately dismissed Mr Fitzgerald’s advice.
“There are many people who don’t agree with that I’m afraid and Mr Carmody, Chief Justice Carmody, has many, many supporters. So I’m sorry, I just have to disagree with that,” Newman said.
While not unprecedented, Chief Justice Carmody was sworn in with a private ceremony witnessed by family and close friends.
Neither Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie or Premier Newman were in attendance.
After the ceremony, Carmody remarked on the controversy that he felt like he’d “killed Bami”.
ReachTEL poll shows TPP 51 percent to LNP
Commissioned for The Sunday Mail and @7NewsBrisbane, up to forty of the Liberal National Party’s (LNP) seventy three sitting members could lose their seats at the next election. Labor currently has eight seats of the available eighty-nine and would need an additional thirty-seven to form government.
The 11.8 percent swing against the government indicates a two-party preferred (TPP) count of 51pc to the LNP. 53.1pc of respondents rated Premier Campbell Newman’s personal performance as poor or very poor.
The LNP fell from 40.9pc to 38.7pc, indicating most voters have transitioned to PUP or to The Greens. Labor rose slightly from 34.1pc to 34.4pc. The Greens also rose in the primaries from 5.2pc to 6.1pc.
After a massive win in 2012, such rapid decline in popularity prompted the ABC’s Chris O’Brien to ask, “how is that even possible after only two years?” In an opinion piece for The Drum, he suggested; “Newman’s re-election plan: smile more and say less”.
‘I’m the guy,’ declares Newman
Both the ReachTEL poll and the Newspoll from the previous week showing a 51pc TPP advantage to Labor drew an unusual response from Newman. At a Stafford by-election campaign launch, in a spectacular attempt at narcissistic revisionism, he declared his ownership of the relief and recovery efforts to a multitude of Queensland’s natural disasters.
“This is the only team with strong effective leadership. You might not like some of the things we’ve done, we respect that, we’ll try and listen more but this is the only team with strong leadership. You wont get it from the Labor party.
I’m the guy who got us through the Brisbane floods, The Gap storms in 2008. Made sure that the people of Bundaberg were looked after and particularly got those people off those rooftops.”
The claims launched a new Twitter hashtag, #SuperNewman.
They also complimented a proclamation made by Queensland LNP President Bruce McIver who last week told @ listeners that, “Queenslanders could sleep better at night knowing Mr Newman was premier”.
As Queenslanders have well known for hundreds of years, through many disasters, it is not the work of any one person but the co-operation of community with emergency services that pulls the state through.
Later in the week, Newman went on to boast more on his reforms to @ listeners.
Based on current polling, perhaps a better assessment would be that he’s burnt up ten years of political capital in two years.
Whistleblower Graeme Hallett charged by CCC
Former media adviser to LNP MP Dr Bruce Flegg, Graeme Hallett appeared in court this week charged with “demands with menaces upon agencies of government”, the state’s Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) alleged.
In 2012, Hallett blew the whistle on his boss, the then minster for housing, declaring Flegg “unfit for office”.
Hallett alleged that Flegg had lied to an estimate committee about the number of meetings he’d had with his lobbyist son, Jonathon Flegg. Hallett claimed about 35 entries were missing from the lobbyist register that was presented to the committee on contact between the lobbyist company Rowland and Bruce Flegg.
Flegg blamed Hallett and other members of staff for the error.
Bruce Flegg later resigned from the housing ministry.
Jonathon Flegg later left employment with Rowland.
This week, Hallett was granted bail and the matter adjourned until August 18.
Is Labor’s candidate for Stafford Dr Anthony Lynham the best person to take the health portfolio?
The question was put to Labor’s shadow Health Minister Jo-Ann Miller if she would offer her portfolio to Labor candidate for Stafford Dr Anthony Lynham should be be successful in next weeks by-election. The answer was a surprising no.
Perhaps Labor doesn’t want to appear too presumptuous or Lynham needs time to learn the ropes. Queensland Health has suffered from neglect and bad management over the past two governments. Someone who has worked extensively in the system may be what is required.
Breach of security in Qld Health payroll, Lynham’s details leaked
The by-election campaign for the seat of Stafford turned nasty with information relating to Labor candidate Dr Anthony Lynham’s payroll information made public.
Under the previous Bligh Government, during the upgrading of the payroll system, thousands of employees were overpaid, underpaid or not paid at all.
With the recovery still underway, Lynham’s account was accessed and made public this week. It showed he owed several thousand dollars which he subsequently agreed to repay immediately.
The revelation raised serious questions about the integrity of the government to protect the information of its employees.
Premier Campbell Newman fobbed off the incident, telling the media he was confident the leak did not come from his government.
Without any investigation, Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg postulated a theory that it was Labor’s shadow Health Minister Jo-Ann Miller who leaked her colleague’s information in an effort to protect her portfolio from being taken over by Dr Lynham.
Conservative Courier Mail columnist, Des Houghton wrote up the story for his Saturday piece and declared Lynham unfit for parliament. In an attempt to tarnish Lynham’s character, senior media adviser to the Premier and former ABC broadcaster, Ian Eckersley, distributed a photo of the article via Twitter with questions of his own.
— Ian Eckersley (@IanEckersley1) July 11, 2014
With the Premier’s media unit seemingly encouraging leaks of this nature, the question remains; how safe are the details of Queensland government employees, or members of the public for that matter, from being stolen and published in The Courier Mail?
Whooping cough immunization program reinstated
This week the Newman Government announced $9 million campaign to immunize pregnant women in their third trimester against whooping cough. The campaign will also target children at school and their parents. In the past decade, six newborns have died from the disease.
One of those deaths occurred when the Newman Government scrapped the whooping cough program in 2012 and was documented by @9NewsBrisbane.
Malakai Taylor was born on July 31, 2012, and died at age six weeks, just two months after the free booster program was cancelled.
At the time, obstetrician, Dr Gino Pecoraro warned, “In Queensland at the moment, we’re in the midst of a whooping cough epidemic. I can’t understand, for the life of me, why they would stop immunization for a disease that can kill.”
In another incident, Dana McCaffrey died in 2009 at age 32 days old. Just after her death, the free whooping cough immunization program began. By 2012, with the greatest number of reported cases being registered in Queensland, the Newman Government scrapped the program.
In 2012, Dana’s mother Toni told @9NewsBrisbane that, “What’s changed is that no one wants to pay for it. I can understand scrapping a program if there is a more effective solution but there isn’t one.”
Cost cutting, austerity and bad health management are a deadly combination.
Queensland unemployment at 6.3pc
Queensland’s unemployment remained at 6.3pc in trend terms for June. In seasonally adjusted terms, it rose a notch from 6.2pc to 6.3pc.
Campbell Newman and Treasurer Tim Nicholls have repeatedly boasted that more jobs are created in Queensland than anywhere else in the nation.
“More than half of all jobs created in the last 12 months, on both trend and seasonally adjusted measures, were created right here in Queensland,” Nicholls said in a statement.
However, most of the employment gains over the long term have been in part-time employment (PTE) with full-time employment (FTE) falling away.
For June, in seasonally adjusted terms, Queensland lost 10,500 FTE but gained 12,700 PTE for a net gain of 2,200.
At 6.3pc unemployment, up from 5.5pc in 2012, there are now more Queenslanders looking for work than under the previous government.
Read more on the long term unemployment problem at “@NoFibs June unemployment rate remains at 6.3 percent, the #qldpol labour force monthly update”.
Tweet of the week – journos in white coats
In keeping with our superhero/superheroine theme, mild mannered Queensland reporters Amber Austin-Wright, Geoff Breusch and Melinda Howells displayed their super scientific powers this week when they donned the white coats and goggles to join Premier Campbell Newman in a laboratory presser.
— Geoff Breusch (@gbreusch) July 7, 2014