Thursday, 16 August 2007
Matters of Public Importance
It was outrage on a scale that you could not imagine. Childers, in the seat that I sit in, is a beautiful town. The Prime Minister has been there; it was after that dreadful backpacker hostel fire. It is one of the most progressive shires in the state and has been abolished, I might add. Bill Trevor, the mayor, told me that a protest meeting there generally attracts 60 to 80 people. How many did it attract for this issue? There were 400. In a little town like Biggenden there were 250. There were 125 at Gin Gin. In Brisbane, we had the biggest marches since the marches about the Springboks and the Vietnam War. There were between 6,000 and 8,000 people who marched through the streets of Brisbane just a week or so ago in the lead-up to show week. Yeppoon is a lovely place. It is a holiday resort just east of Rockhampton. Just a day or two ago they had 1,500 people protest. In the seat of Flynn—a lot of which, until recently, was in my seat, so I have a great deal of affection for it—there were 200 councillors. That number will be reduced to 40. And the Labor Party ask why the people of Central Queensland are angry. There will be 160 councillors out there baying for blood, let me tell you.
It is interesting to see what various people have said. The President of the ALGA and the LGAQ, Paul Bell, said, and this was with respect to you, Prime Minister:
The response of the Prime Minister is now to have legislation which overrides the state legislation in regards to the draconian principles of Beattie’s about sacking councillors or ... having huge fines imposed on councillors, is really really a strong move we believe for ... putting democracy back into Queensland.
Take a bow, Prime Minister, from Paul Bell.
I might now slip back into Flynn for a minute and tell you what Chris Trevor said. Chris was a devotee who wanted to be part of the Beattie government and who was rolled over convincingly by Liz Cunningham. Chris Trevor, who has woken up to the fact that this is an absolute no-no in Central Queensland, was quoted in an article as saying that communities were:
... very, very angry, disappointed and saddened.
The article continued:
“As I travel through the electorate I can fully understand why,” Mr Trevor said.
“That is their number one issue and their only issue at the moment.”
That is coming from the Labor candidate. The article went on:
He feared the issue could harm his election chances.
I’d be foolish to say that it’s not going to affect my chances, certainly the indication out here in the community at the moment is that it will,” Mr Trevor said.
There is no comment, because it could work either way …
Does that mean that it could harm the Beattie government or that it could harm the opposition leader’s potential government? He went on—and wait for this:
… and I have not put enough time into it.
It has been the central issue in Queensland for the last four weeks, and the Labor candidate knows nothing about it. For God’s sake! The article went on to state that Mr Parr also refused to say whether or not he had been instructed by head office not to comment. Today’s Courier-Mail tells the story. I am sure that it was Bill Ludwig who told him not say anything.
In the moments remaining, I ask: what have we done to these good people who have served the state? We have allowed the Beattie Labor government to threaten them with fines. We have allowed them to sack councils that had the temerity to ask for a referendum. What a dreadful thing it would be to consult the public! This is an outrage of monumental grounds and I compliment the Prime Minister for the move he took today. (Time expired)