I met my local ALP candidate, Jason Young, on Saturday morning.
A nice young fella for a supposedly dastardly union official. He’s actually an electrical fitter/mechanic by trade, and happens to be an ETU official as well. Naturally, it’s the latter that makes him persona non grata if you’re a conservative believer. The simple fact that the guy’s a working man, with a family holds no credence whatsoever.
He appeared to me to be confident, but then again, why give any other impression when you’re trying for a lower house seat. We chatted briefly, in particular regarding his opponent, sitting member Andrew Laming, and the rort situation which Laming has just squeaked out of due to the AFP’s inability to secure sufficient evidence to lay charges. Young then related a tale of a visit to Cleveland High School during the week, in company with Kevin Rudd and his entourage.
Apparently the Qld government has legislation in place prohibiting political candidates campaigning on school grounds during school hours, something I agree with. Our children don’t need indoctrinating one way or the other and there’s plenty of media influence they’re subjected to anyway. Permission for political candidates to enter school grounds has to be forthcoming from the school principal in concert with Education Queensland. Given that Friday was high school seniors graduation day for public schools, Laming as the sitting member was in attendance at Cleveland High. That’s fine, as he is the local member and it’s fitting that he make such appearances.
However, once his minders found out that Rudd’s group were around, his own electorate office staff, under his instruction, began a protest against the Rudd groups appearance, on the school premises, delaying any interaction between his (Rudd’s) group and school students while-ever Laming was on school grounds. That’s disturbing enough, and in all, rather petty but that’s politics. The part I find offensive is that those same electorate office staff aren’t employed to undertake picket actions or campaign on behalf of their employer while being paid from the public purse. Apparently, according to Young, this is one of the many subtle amendments to electorate office allowances and funding which the Howard government has put into place, and which the voting public know nothing about.
I’ve since written to Laming’s federal email address seeking references to the particular legislation which governs electorate office staff wages, allowances and employment conditions, as well as references to the State government legislation protecting schools from partisan politicking during school hours. I’m betting I won’t get any response, but if I do, I’ll make sure it’s reiterated here.