I’ve not written anything about the Qld election until now, because to be honest, I’m not all that interested.
Right up until I had to watch & listen to ‘Can-Do’ Campbell last night on the news. ‘Can-Do’ really worries me now. I freely admit that Labor has made some classic mistakes under Bligh, and even under Beattie prior to her. The difference being the Commander of the forces. Beattie’s presence, then as now, is formidable. The man represents the best Labor has to offer, which doesn’t say a whole lot about the party itself as Beattie is long retired. Equally, it’s evident the fight in Qld Labor dog is like American beer. All piss and wind. The rats have left the ship, multiple pollies not re-contesting and therein lies the truth of the current Labor government. Lacking the will to go on, no fresh ideas & no fresh minds.
Thing is though, where is the alternative? It vests in a single man who no-one really knows much about, save that he was Lord Mayor of Brisbane for seven years with almost no opposition. Campbell Newman remained essentially faceless for those seven years, able to remain at arms length from the big decisions while still presenting that ‘Can-Do’ face to the media when absolutely necessary. He’s not a politician in any real sense, either as a member of Parliament or party leader. Indeed, he’s effectively a party leader without a Parliamentary party given he’s not a part of any Parliament. A more bizarre situation I’ve never seen in all my voting years.
One thing I will say about Campbell Newman however, is just how he reminds me of Joh. Promises, promises, promises and not a whole lot of substance. The election ads all show him saying how much tax he’ll save the average Queenslander, and all the improvements he’ll make over what Labor has already done, and yet he claims to want to re-instate public service departments which Labor has culled. Something isn’t right in that approach. As we all know, it’s taxation which provides the benefits. User pays, yet Newman is going to freeze vehicle registration costs, and still build a Toowoomba ring road by-pass, upgrade roads in the central Queensland resources areas, spend $1b on the Bruce Highway, and he’ll freeze the funding base at the same time. How does that work? Even the most cursory browse through the ‘Can-Do’ policies on the interwebs reveals nothing more than a set of action plans. No policy per se, or how the action plans are to be funded, or even fleshed out. Just a collection of supposedly good ideas. “Respecting our Anzac two-up heritage”, “Attracting Aviation Investment Fund”, “Giving Mums and Bubs the best start “, “Caring for our Community “, and “Delivering Safer Communities”. Motherhood statements which duplicate items like “Boosting Prep for our Children’s Future”, “Cracking down on serious drug crime”, “More front line police on our streets”. Seventy-one so-called ‘policies’ of which less than a third might actually mean anything, IF they are actioned. There are some real furphies in there too. “The Can-Do LNP Economic Blueprint For Queensland” which offers payroll tax cuts and regulatory cuts, that translate short-term into less revenue. Sure, encouraging businesses to set up in Queensland has been going on for decades. I know because I used to work in the Department of State Development where these rebated incentives to the likes of Raytheon from S.A. were setup and approved. There is ALWAYS a short-term loss and maybe a long-term jobs plus, but the benefits are infinitesimal. The “Property and Construction Strategy” is one that makes me very wary, and where he begins to remind me more & more of Joh.
This is what Joh was like. Really good ideas, but no intention of carrying any of them out, while behind the scenes he was cosied up to Leo Thiess, Keith Williams and the rest of the ‘white shoe brigade’, granting developers carte-blanche courtesy of his tame cabinet and then riding along on the coat-tails. Let’s not forget Newman is a qualified Civil Engineer and has family interests in property development regardless of what he states to the contrary. Property development only happens successfully with a compliant local government authority onside. Given Newman has played the cleanskin all along, what’s the betting he’ll continue to follow his development star while buddying up with Clive Palmer, et al to ensure he gets what he wants IF he wins Ashgrove & LNP take government. He’ll be looking for a coat-tail to ride around on and the well-to-do entrepreneurial shylocks of our society will flock to him.
Make no mistakes, Campbell Newman is a hollow man, making equally hollow promises. His opponents are tired, stumbling through the political scenery desperately seeking new blood & new ideas. So what’s in the March 24 election for Queenslanders? Sweet Fuck All in the grand scheme. Let’s just hope that whoever wins does sweet fuck all damage.