Re-borged – The Supportive Springborg – The #QldWeekly blogazine: #qldpol @Qldaah

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: https://nofibs.com.au/meeting-david-marler-nofibs-twitter-activist-by-griffithelects
David Marler
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David Marler
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The Qld Weekly - No Fibs

Re-borged: The Supportive Springborg

The Supportive Springborg.
(March 21, 2015) – Forgotten Queenslanders.
(March 20, 2015) – TC Nathan passes with no loss of life.
(March 19, 2015) – Saving The Great Barrier Reef.
(March 18, 2015) – Sore losers.
(March 17, 2015) – May Day to return to May.
(March 16, 2015) -The haunting.
(March 15, 2015) – Working together.

Blogging the week

Join us as we blog the week in Queensland politics and news. We’ll also take a look at Lawrence Springborg as he attempts to reboot his political leadership career. Please check back for updates.

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The Supportive Springborg

Can Lawrence Springborg put behind him the traditional clashes of the past to negotiate sensibly in the 55th Parliament? His demeanor is stiff and austere. He lost three elections as opposition leader of the National Party in the old Liberal/National Party coalition, twice to Peter Beattie and once to Anna Bligh. He now wants to be known as the supportive Opposition Leader of Queensland. This week he promised that he will adopt a constructive approach with the new Palaszczuk Government but there’s a catch. He wont support retribution bills, what he labels as ‘get squares’, those that he sees as payback by Labor.

As the votes for the Queensland election were being counted, he campaigned for the LNP to continue to govern in caretaker mode, hopeful of a re-election in the seat of Ferny Grove that might deliver him the premiership.

In 2006 he claimed that drinking recycled water would lead to “feminisation” in humans as it did in fish, The Borg on recycled water, sex and fish.

For the 2009 campaign, he adopted the nickname The Borg, a name of an alien race from the science-fiction series, Star Trek – The Next Generation in his electioneering material.

This week, in a sign that the old combative politics was still very much alive, he was quick to attack Labor for their announcement of restoring Labour Day to May. The public holiday in Queensland had been celebrated for 121 years on the anniversary of the shearer’s strike until it was moved to October by the former Newman Government in 2012.

Springborg described Labor’s decision as “strange priorities” and linked the move to the lack of job creation.

“I don’t think that most Queenslanders would think that changing the date of a holiday is more important than creating jobs in the state,” he said.


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(March 21, 2015) – Forgotten Queenslanders

An emerging humanitarian disaster

  • Tony Moore reports, “About 43 kilometres from Brisbane’s GPO is an emerging land use, humanitarian and fire disaster just waiting to happen to about 150 people living in makeshift houses on North Stradbroke Island. All it needs is another bushfire and people may die. The land where these people live has no running water. On North Stradbroke Island there is a bushfire almost every summer. That has certainly been the case in 2012, 2013 and 2014.”: Stradbroke Island’s forgotten mile.

The Courier Mail: Supreme BombshellStaying or going?

Revoking the old Tim Carmody crisis under the headline “Supreme Bombshell”, The Courier Mail  has published a new interview with Queensland’s Chief Justice who was appointed during the Newman administration in controversial circumstances, vaulting over more highly experienced candidates to become the state’s top judge.

The interview is by Sarah Vogler, who writes “Chief Justice Tim Carmody has revealed he considered quitting and could still walk away if his presence was ­damaging the court. In a rare interview, Justice Carmody told The Courier-Mail he believed the way his appointment process played out was regrettable and he might not have accepted if he had known the impact it would have on his family. “There have been times I have wanted to walk away … but I’ve stayed out of a sense of duty,” he said. “I said I would do the job and I was expected to do the job. I’m not a quitter.””: Queensland’s top judge says if his presence in the job is bad for the judiciary, he will quit.

However, a much more interesting analysis of the “Carmody Crisis” and it’s impact on democracy was penned by Barrister-at-Law Ross Vernon Bowler, who writes “Queensland is a democratic society. Within that democracy Queensland has chosen to make the rule of law a constituent part of its justice system and therefore its societal structure. In its simplest form the rule of law endeavours to ensure justice for all according to law by placing no one above the law. Adhering to such a societal structure does not always come easy and is not without its challenges. However a society without rules quickly becomes no society at all.”: Read more at, A Crisis of Confidence.

Panama disease confirmed

  • Brisbane Times reports, “The soil fungus that is threatening Queensland’s lucrative banana industry is the same strain of Panama disease that wiped out the Northern Territory’s plantations almost 20 years ago. Biosecurity Queensland has confirmed the disease detected at a farm near Tully is Panama Tropical Race 4 in a blow to north Queensland growers.”: Tests confirm Queensland banana disease fears.

We are all conservationists

  • Oliver Milman reports, “Prime minister sets out targets to reduce pollution in plan aimed at allaying Unesco’s concerns but criticised for lack of attention to climate change. Australia has submitted its long-term plan to arrest the decline of the Great Barrier Reef, with Tony Abbott stressing to the international community that the government is “utterly committed” to the reef’s preservation. The Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan has been compiled to allay concerns from Unesco over the fading health of the reef, with the organisation’s world heritage committee set to meet in June to decide whether the reef is to be listed as “in danger.” The plan sets a number of targets to reduce pollution running on to the reef, including an 80% reduction in nitrogen and a 50% cut in sediment by 2025.”: Tony Abbott unveils plan to save Great Barrier Reef.
  • Jacqueline Maley and Fergus Hunter report, “The Abbott government has pledged an extra $100 million as part of a long-term plan for the Great Barrier Reef that it hopes will prevent the international embarrassment of having the precious site declared officially “in danger” by the World Heritage Committee. The funding, announced on Saturday, will go to landowners near the reef to come up with ideas on how to improve water quality as part of their land management practices. It was pledged as Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Environment Minister Greg Hunt launched the government’s “Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan“, over-riding a draft version which was criticised for ignoring the effects of climate change on the important world heritage site.”: Prime Minister announces extra $100 million for Great Barrier Reef protection.
ABC News Qld: The Great Barrier Reef: "We are all conservationists" says Tony Abbott.

ABC News Qld: The Great Barrier Reef: “We are all conservationists” says Tony Abbott.

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(March 20, 2015) – TC Nathan passes with no loss of life

TC Nathan passes

Qld Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk very thankful at no loss of life after TC Nathan.

Qld Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk very thankful at no loss of life after TC Nathan.

Death of former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser

  • Annastacia Palaszczuk writes, “I was saddened to hear of the death of former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser. Malcolm Fraser will be remembered as a conservative with a strong conscience when it came to issues such as the treatment of those coming here under desperate circumstances to seek a better future for themselves and their children. The thousands of families from South East Asia who came to Australia during the term of his government and became part of the Australian community are proof of that. Malcolm Fraser helped build the modern multicultural Australia we know today and had a strong track record as a fierce opponent of racial discrimination. I pass on my condolences and those of the Queensland Government to Mrs Tamie Fraser and her family.”: Death of former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.

Federal and Queensland Governments release Great Barrier Reef plan

Wide Bay – Worst unemployment rate in Australia

  • Kallee Buchanan reports, “The Wide Bay unemployment rate for February was the worst in the country. Labour force data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals the southern Queensland’s region’s unemployment rate is 14.9 per cent. That is up from 12.8 per cent in January and the worst rate since February 2003.”: Wide Bay unemployment rate for February worst in Australia at 14.9pc.

Deception by The Courier Mail

The Courier Mail has once again misled the Queensland people with a false front page claiming the new Palaszczuk Government will implement a merger that will drive power bills up. In a radio interview, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk explained that her government would not proceed with any changes that put upward pressure on household bills.

  • Natalie Bochenski reports, “The Premier has reassured Queenslanders their household electricity bills won’t rise, despite criticism of the state government’s plan to merge coal-fired power generators. Annastacia Palaszczuk campaigned heavily on the plan, describing it as critical to paying down Queensland’s $80 billion debt. But Australian Competition and Consumer Comission chair Ron Sims told News Corp it was “extremely troubling” because fewer competitors could increase costs.”: Merger won’t see Queensland power bills spike: Premier.
4BC: Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will not proceed with any changes that drive up power bills.

4BC: Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will not proceed with any changes that drive up power bills.

The Courierl Mail: That's A Shocker

The Courierl Mail: That’s A Shocker

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(March 19, 2015) – Saving The Great Barrier Reef

What’s the plan for the GBR?

  • Queensland Minister for The Great Barrier Reef Dr Steven Miles writes, “This week, some of the world’s leading news organisations are visiting Queensland to investigate Australia’s plans to save the Great Barrier Reef. It is a sign of the growing and welcome international attention being given to this natural wonder, and the efforts underway to ensure its survival. Six weeks ago it looked almost certain the World Heritage Committee would officially list the Reef as “in danger” at its meeting in June. However, the new government has had some quick wins. We’ve helped bolster Australia’s chances of avoiding this embarrassing and potentially very costly international judgement. We’ve already won agreement from the Federal Government to include Queensland’s new approach in the Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan that Australia will present to UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee.”: More work to be done to save the Great Barrier Reef.

Name that police dog

  • Natalie Bochenski reports, “The next batch of Queensland’s crime-fighting canines could have particularly fantastical names, if Game of Thrones fans have their way. The Queensland Police dog squad has asked the public to suggest names for puppies in their “W” litter, meaning each of their names must start with the letter W. By Thursday, fans of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy novels and the HBO series they inspired had been hard at work, throwing Westeros, Winterfell, Winter, Wildling, Whitewalker, Wylla and Warg into the mix.”: Police dog naming a Game of Bones.

Not working for Labor

  • Cameron Atfield reports, “The Newman government-appointed chairman of Energex has resigned, saying he would not be able to work with the newly elected Labor government. Shane Stone, the former Chief Minister of the Northern Territory and federal president of the Liberal Party, was appointed to the role by the Newman government in May 2012, just months after the Liberal National Party was swept into power. His tenure at Energex will come to an end on Friday, March 20.”: Energex chairman Shane Stone quits: ‘I don’t work for Labor governments’.

TC Nathan on its way back

 Queensland unemployment at 6.5pc

Queensland’s underemployment for women is at its worst since records began. Our NoFibs analysis here, Feb 2015 – Qld female underemployment worst since 1978.

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(March 18, 2015) – Sore losers

Abusive message left by LNP for Labor

  •  Cameron Atfield reports, “In a handwritten note found by a Labor government staffer in an Executive Building drawer, an anonymous former LNP government staff member let rip at his or her replacements. The poison-penned letter, which was discovered this week and since obtained by Fairfax Media, but not released by the Palaszczuk government, reads as follows:”: Sore LNP loser leaves parting gift for Labor.

Roy Morgan 2PP 51pc to LNP

  • Gary Morgan writes, “… in Queensland, the new ALP Government led by new Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk continues to trail despite their ‘shock win’ at the Queensland State Election just over six weeks ago. The LNP 51% (down 0.5%) leads the ALP 49% (up 0.5%) on a two-party preferred basis although Palaszczuk clearly leads as ‘Better Premier’: Palaszczuk 61% (up 8.5%) cf. Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg 39% (down 8.5%). For the first time since becoming Premier Palaszczuk leads amongst both female electors: Palaszczuk 66% (up 8%) cf. Springborg 34% (down 8%) and male electors: Palaszczuk 56% (up 9%) cf. Springborg 44% (down 9%).”: New Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews strengthens lead while new Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk preferred Premier by men for the first time.

Land clearing triples

  • Martine Maron, Bill Laurance, Bob Pressey, Carla P. Catterall, James Watson and Jonathan Rhodes write, “In 2013, a group of 26 senior scientists in Queensland (including ourselves) expressed serious concern that proposed changes to vegetation protection laws would mean a return to large-scale land clearing. The loss of these protections followed a Ministerial announcement in early 2012 that investigations into and prosecutions of illegal clearing would be halted. Our statement of concern pointed out that tens of thousands of hectares of Queensland’s woodland and forests were being lost every year, even before the vegetation protections were wound back. Just two years later, it appears we must now measure the annual losses in hundreds of thousands of hectares.”: Land clearing in Queensland triples after policy ping pong.

Springborg goes to Eimeo

Net free fishing zones

We are not sure what Lawrence Springborg is tweeting about here. Will update if we can find a news source.

Moderate Queensland budget

  • Melinda Howells reports, “Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt says he first budget will have “no frills and no surprises”. After serving three years as Shadow Treasurer, Mr Pitt will hand down the budget on July 14, saying the pace of change will be slower than under the previous Liberal National Party administration. He said the budget will implement Labor’s election promises and described it as no frills, amid the mining boom wind down, lower commodity prices and the drought. “We’re not going to be a chaotic government, we’re going to be a sensible government,” he said during a luncheon in Brisbane. “One that asks when we don’t know the answer, but also ask for that buy-in so that we can make sure whatever our policy decisions are ones that we have as much consensus on as possible.””: Queensland budget: Treasurer Curtis Pitt says his first budget will have “no frills and no surprises”.
  • Brisbane Times reports, “The newly-elected Labor government has warned Queenslanders to expect a “no frills” state budget amid the mining boom wind down. Treasurer Curtis Pitt has painted a dreary picture of the state’s economy during a luncheon in Brisbane on Wednesday. Mr Pitt outlined serious challenges, including rising unemployment, lower commodity prices, a wind down in mining investment and drought still plaguing three quarters of the state.”: No frills budget for Queensland: Treasurer.

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(March 17, 2015) – May Day to return to May

Labour Day to return to May in 2016

  • Amy Remeikis reports, “The Queensland Government is moving May Day back to May. Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the Labour Day public holiday would be returned to its traditional date of the first Monday in May next year, in time for the 125th anniversary of the 1891 Shearer’s Strike. The LNP moved the holiday to October during its term in government, claiming it needed to spread out the state’s public holidays across the year. Unions and Labor protested the move when then-attorney-general made it, arguing the Queen’s Birthday could be moved instead given Labour Day’s historic links to May. Queen Elizabeth was born in April, but her birth is commemorated in Queensland in June. Mr Pitt said he was righting an “arrogant decision” by the former government.”: May Day returns to May in 2016.
  • ABC News Queensland reports, “Queensland’s Labor Government has changed the date of two of the state’s public holidays. From 2016, the Labour Day public holiday will once again be commemorated in May after being moved to October by the previous Newman government. The State Government announced the Queen’s birthday holiday will also be shifted, from June to October. The new Labor Government is reversing decisions made by the previous government, which bumped Labour Day from May in 2013 to bring Queensland in line with other states.”: Queensland Labour Day public holiday to be moved back to May.

Palaszczuk sets a busy schedule

  • Amy Remeikis reports, “The government has plans to establish almost as many taskforces, committees and reviews as it has set down sitting days for the 2015 parliamentary year. A review of the number of reviews and panels Labor pledged to establish during the election and since reveals a total of 26. It has committed to consultation before major legislative changes. Which has led the Opposition to question what legislation will be debated during the 27 normal sitting days the government has set down for 2015. The Newman Government sat for 30 normal sitting days in its first year. “We are actually restoring the estimates process, I understand this is what is being put around by Lawrence Springborg, but we have just had an election, we are going into parliament, there will be full and frank debates, there is going to be a committee system that works extremely well, and the parliament will scruntinise those bills which are put before it,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said. “I reject this nonsense about less sitting days, over the three terms of my government, we will equal or even have more sitting days than the former LNP government. That is my commitment.””: 26 reviews and committees for 27 parliamentary sitting days.

Possum brings down rail network

A possum caused major disruption to the rail network in Brisbane. Opposition Minister for Transport and former Newman Government Treasurer Tim Nicholls demands answers.

  • Jorge Branco reports, “A possum is to blame for commuter chaos in South East Queensland on Tuesday, Queensland Rail says. The admission comes as Translink promises full refunds to tens of thousands of passengers affected by lengthy delays in the morning peak. A Translink spokesman said the refund would be automatically added to Go Card accounts. It estimates 30,000 people catch trains into the CBD alone on an average weekday morning.”: Brisbane train delays: Possum blamed for disruption.
Emily Fardoulys reports: Opposition Transport Minister Tim NIcholls is demanding to know what Qld Government Transport Minister Jackie Trad is going to do about a possum who brought down the rail network.

Emily Fardoulys reports: Opposition Transport Minister Tim NIcholls is demanding to know what Qld Government Transport Minister Jackie Trad is going to do about a possum who brought down the rail network.

Alex Bernhardt reports: Possum brings down South-East Queensland rail Network. Opposition Transport Minister Tim Nicholls says, "It's just not good enough."

Alex Bernhardt reports: Possum brings down South-East Queensland rail Network. Opposition Transport Minister Tim Nicholls says, “It’s just not good enough.”

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(March 16, 2015) – The Haunting

Waiting for an apparition at doorstop interviews

Queensland journalists are having trouble getting the new government ministers to respond to their questions on Monday mornings outside the Executive building before they meet for cabinet. It’s a touchy subject, as we found out.

  • Amy Remeikis writes, “It’s said that actions speak louder than words. So what, in the fourth week of the new Labor Cabinet, are we being told? Ahead of its fourth meeting, just three of its 14 ministers entered through the front doors of the Executive Building where journalists wait. And from Yvette D’Ath, Mark Bailey and Kate Jones, just the women stopped to answer questions.”: Haunting the Executive Building, waiting on an apparition.

Fate of Fortitude Valley State School

  • Amy Remeikis reports, “While in Opposition, Labor had much to say about the LNP’s planned closure of six Queensland state schools. Now in government, it wants to wait until budget time to decide what it will do with them. The closure of the Fortitude Valley State School – which at more than 150 years old was a sentimental favourite, but with fewer than 40 students and a claim to some of the best real estate left in the Valley was always at risk – was a particularly emotional battle. It closed at the end of the school year in 2013 and went on the market in 2014, with The Australian Financial Review reporting the 1.4 hectare site less than a kilometre from the city centre was expected to fetch about $50 million. The LNP was to spend that money on school maintenance. Labor has not given a concrete answer on what it plans to do with the empty school buildings.”: School decision delayed until budget.

CCC Chair advertised

  • Amy Remeikis reports, “The Palaszczuk Government has made good on its vow to advertise for a replacement crime watchdog chair. Applications for the position have officially opened, with the government seeking “a judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland or another State, the High Court of Australia or the Federal Court of Australia”. During the election campaign Annastacia Palaszczuk made it clear she would replace acting Crime and Corruption chair Ken Levy as a matter of urgency. While in Opposition Ms Palaszczuk questioned Dr Levy’s links to the Newman Government.”: Palaszczuk Government to replace Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission chair.

Go bananas

  • Amy Remeikis reports, “Queensland, eat your bananas. They are good for you. And the economy. But the $600 million industry has been put at risk by the discovery of the Tropical Race 4 strain of Panama disease, which wreaked havoc on the Northern Territory industry in the late 90s and devastated Asian crops, in a plantation near Tully in far north Queensland. But the disease doesn’t affect the fruit itself and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who chowed down on a banana for the cameras after being shown the correct way to eat one – by holding the stalk and peeling the other end (as set out by banana connoisseurs: monkeys) – Ms Palaszczuk encouraged Queensland families to do the same.”: Premier tells Queensland to eat bananas.

No spoil dump on Great Barrier Reef

  • Tony Moore reports, “Dredge spoil from any new project – or any previously proposed project – can no longer be dumped in the 345,000 square kilometres of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has announced. “The Australian Government will use the force of law to ban dredge disposal from capital projects in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park,” Mr Hunt said in Brisbane on Monday. But conservationists have questioned why Mr Hunt has not extended the ban to cover the slightly wider “world heritage area”. In December 2013, the Commonwealth Government angered conservation and tourism groups and local fishing organisations after approving the dumping of three million tonnes of dredge spoil from Queensland’s Abbot Point port into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.”: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park protected from spoil.

Dangerous gas exposure

  • Mark Willacy and Mark Solomons report, “Mining company Linc Energy is alleged to have exposed workers to dangerous gases at an experimental plant in Queensland. According to an internal government briefing document seen by the ABC, an investigation has backed claims by workers that they have suffered ill health as a result of a series of “uncontrolled releases” of gas at the plant between 2007 and 2013. A medical expert commissioned by the department reviewed workers’ statements and medical records and found that “the symptoms presented are consistent with exposure to the known chemical constituents of syngas”.”: Linc Energy alleged to have exposed workers to dangerous gases at experimental plant near Chinchilla, west of Brisbane.
Mark Willacy and Mark Solomons report: Fears for NSW after allegations Linc Energy exposed workers to carcinogens.

Mark Willacy and Mark Solomons report: Fears for NSW after allegations Linc Energy exposed workers to carcinogens.

End HIV campaign working

  • Amy Remeikis reports, “The End HIV message appears to be getting through. The number of people being tested for HIV in Brisbane jumped by 36 per cent in 2014, with a further 1992 people taking advantage of rapid HIV tests on offer in clinics across the city. HIV Foundation Queensland chair Darren Russell said it showed the message was reaching the right people.”: End HIV campaign working, with tests on the rise.

Supportive Springborg

  • Amy Remeikis reports, “Queensland, you’ve seen ‘Cuddly Campbell’ – now meet Supportive Springborg. LNP Leader Lawrence Springborg, who has promised a more constructive Opposition, has not ruled out supporting the state Labor government on some issues – as long as they don’t judge them to be political get squares or against the interests of Queenslanders.”: LNP will agree with Labor – except on ‘get squares’.

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(March 15, 2015) – Working together

Cross-party divide

  • Cameron Atfield reports, “The so-far cordial relationship between Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Liberal National Party Lord Mayor Graham Quirk will face its first test next week when the pair meet formally for the first time in their current roles. The relationship between George Street and City Hall has often been strained, none more so than between 2007 and 2011, a period of high tension between then-lord mayor Campbell Newman and then-premier Anna Bligh. Antagonism between the levels of government has not always followed party lines. Labor premier Peter Beattie’s relationship with Liberal lord mayor Campbell Newman was, for example, much warmer than his relationship with Labor lord mayor Jim Soorley.”: Annastacia Palaszczuk, Graham Quirk to navigate cross-party divide.

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