Politicians doing as they please
JOE Hockey warns us to fear the worst. Tim Nicholls holds closed-door meetings that now substitute for public consultation in Queensland, touring the state preaching ruin if we don't sell everything holus bolus.
Queenslanders are being told we each owe $14,960 of the state's $80 billion debt that is incurring interest at $450,000 an hour.
Yet somehow - maybe it's a miracle - there is cash to spare for $70,000 pay rises for the Premier and his Cabinet who won't need to sacrifice their chauffeurs or their ministerial cars.
In Sydney, ICAC hearings learn of the unconscionable stripping of cash from a pub
lic water authority to pay the excesses of a self-fashioned elite. Politicians of all shades feeding at the trough seemingly free for too long from the level of scrutiny afforded everyone with a tattoo and two-wheeled transport in Queensland.
That's the Queensland where the state's neutered, one-eyed watchdog will soon be left with the capacity to see only what the government of the day wants seen. The Queensland where the lessons of police and political corruption taught by an inquiry now 25 years old have been forgotten.
To quote its head, Tony Fitzgerald, now living on the Sunshine Coast in unsettled retirement: "The Liberal National Party's present huge parliamentary majority makes effective, independent oversight of public administration more, not less, essential. Democracies need to control the human frailties of those in power in order to protect the rights and well-being of others…. Newman and Bleijie's conduct also suggests that they are unaware of, or unconcerned by, the principles and responsibilities of good governance and intolerant of dissent and decision-makers whom they can't control. Both seem to inhabit a political universe which is divided into 'us' and 'them', in which those who do not agree with their views or do what they demand are for that reason enemies and legitimate targets for abuse and government retribution.
"In their brief time in office, they have embarked on unprincipled attacks on courts and the judiciary, which, by virtue of their independence and authority, are obstacles to political excess, and enacted radical, profoundly mistaken laws which were not mentioned prior to the last election, including laws aimed at subordinating the criminal justice system to political interference and a flurry of extreme 'law-and-order' legislation".
Dr Fitzgerald's submission to the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee's review of the Crime and Misconduct and Other Legislation Bill 2014 should be noted by every MP and every Queenslander.
But wait, over there, one punch can kill.