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Just when you think they couldn’t get any worse …

December 8th, 2012

The Queensland LNP comes up with this. Fortunately, I doubt that this silliness will have any effect, except to increase the likelihood of a one-term Newman government, already close to even money in my view.

Having lived in Queensland for most of the last 20 years, the only LNP government I can remember is that of Rob Borbidge, who seemed like a paragon of good sense compared to this lot. It really is as if the entire LNP has been in cold storage since the Joh era and revived for the occasion. But, given Labor’s appalling betrayals of its own voters, they were certain to win, and better that they should be so obviously silly as to make the next election a chance for real change.

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  1. John Quiggin
    December 11th, 2012 at 05:20 | #1

    @Hal9000

    IIRC, Joh was one of the few Cabinet ministers who didn’t get shares in the Comalco package. That was where I formed the general judgement I mentioned. But the other two sound like the kind of thing that was routine in the Joh era

  2. TerjeP
    December 11th, 2012 at 05:42 | #2

    Sorry to be pedantic but some of the comments referring to Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen are incorrectly ending his surname SON instead of SEN. As I share in common the second part of his surname (like Joh my father is Danish) this really grates. Otherwise do carry on.

  3. dz
    December 11th, 2012 at 09:32 | #3

    @Steve at the Pub

    I think Steve may actually have been drunk when writing this.

  4. December 11th, 2012 at 14:09 | #4

    Some really classy commenters on this thread. This site certainly no longer possesses the gravitas it once had. Rather a shame.

    @Hal9000: Your claim regarding the access road to “The Ten Mile” is incorrect. There was no road upgrade. Your source for that particular story is most unreliable.

    Rather difficult to understand why it didn’t happen, as that road could really have done with an upgrade.

  5. Tim Macknay
    December 11th, 2012 at 15:08 | #5

    @Malthusista

    I would suggest that public opinion does not consider my statement unproven.

    Public opinion “considers” a lot of things – that asylum-seekers should be sent back where they came from, for example. Hardly a compelling argument.

    Perhaps you could provide examples of where any country’s citizens have gained by having their country’s means to produce wealth and/or provide services owned by a foreign oligopoly?

    There’s that reversal of the onus of proof again.

    I consider ‘unthinking neoliberal ideologue’ an accurate description of many who accept neoliberal propaganda. I consider even worse a ‘thinking neoliberal ideologue’ who understands neoliberalism and yet supports it, presumably because he/she is able to gain from it at the expense of his/her fellow citizens.

    My point was that you implied that I/em> was a “neoliberal ideologue” and that this was a sufficient basis for dismissing me. That is ad hominem. Again.

  6. Tim Macknay
    December 11th, 2012 at 15:09 | #6

    Stuffed up that emphasis tag. Oops.

  7. Mel
    December 11th, 2012 at 16:13 | #7

    SATP: “Some really classy commenters on this thread.”

    Do you feel a little out of your depth? Why not have another ale and forget about everything.

    Meanwhile the Baillieu government is Victoria is stripping away environment protection out a frightening speed. Thankfully they’ll be a one term government unless the ALP decides to implode.

  8. December 11th, 2012 at 21:46 | #8

    comment-185852 Tim Macknay at #5 ( or #comment-185852) wrote:

    Public opinion “considers” a lot of things … . Hardly a compelling argument.

    Only if you oppose democracy.

    Anyone who supports privatisation, when privatisation is opposed by the rightful owners of that property as shown by all the public opinion polls of which I am aware, is therefore opposed to government of the people by the people for the people.

    I wrote again:

    Perhaps you could provide examples of where any country’s citizens have gained by having their country’s means to produce wealth and/or provide services owned by a foreign oligopoly?

    Tim Macknay responded again:

    There’s that reversal of the onus of proof again.

    This ‘argument’ is almost as ridiculous as requiring proof of the laws of thermodynamics or gravity.

    Who would seriously suggest that it would be in your interests not to own the roof over your head? … your car? … your television? … or your cooking utensils?

    So how could it have been in the interests of Australian consumers, beef cattle farmers and
    meat producers to have the abattoirs and beef processing plants owned by a foreign corporation?

    My point was that you implied that I was a “neoliberal ideologue” and that this was a sufficient basis for dismissing me. That is ad hominem. Again.

    I dismiss neoliberal economic theory, which has been shown again and again to be unscientific hogwash and harmful to our best interests.

    I think it is reasonable to assume that anyone who supports privatisation and deregulation as undemocratically implemented by Keating, Kennett, Beattie, Howard, Bligh, Newman and others is a neoliberal and therefore not a credible person.

    So, how would you describe yourself? If not a neoliberal, then what?

    I also note, Tim Macknay, that you have avoided responding to my other point about the criminalisation of industrial action by the same ‘leaders’ who imposed neoliberalism on us in recent decades.

  9. Hal9000
    December 11th, 2012 at 21:48 | #9

    @Steve at the Pub
    SATP – the Fitzgerald report discusses road improvements benefitting the Ten Mile at pp94-95. Nearly $2m in 1980s dollars was spent upgrading the road and its maintenance was transferred from local government to the State. Classy, to use your word.

  10. Hal9000
    December 11th, 2012 at 21:57 | #10

    I might add that the road improvements and change of status followed magically from a conversation between Bjelke-Petersen and Hinze, where the Premier brought up the issue. Trying to whitewash the appalling failures of basic governance exhibited by that regime is not the chosen argument of an honest commenter.

  11. December 12th, 2012 at 01:01 | #11

    None of you fellers have seen the road in question. That is for certain.

    Or you wouldn’t say that there had been an “upgrade”. There wasn’t one. Period.

  12. December 12th, 2012 at 01:43 | #12

    Perhaps there is a solution to your problems?

    Hal9000 says that there is a record of evidence that $2M was “spent”,

    and yet Steve says there was no “upgrade”.

    Is it not possible that there was $2M of someone’s money that went from one place to another place without ending up in the place written on the ticket?

    A bit like lost (brown paper) baggage.

  13. Katz
    December 12th, 2012 at 05:01 | #13

    So … Joh misappropriated $2m for a particular purpose but failed to achieve that purpose.

    We have here a risible case of incompetent graft.

    But then again risibility was characteristic of Joh’s Moonlight State (vide Max Gillies).

  14. Hal9000
    December 12th, 2012 at 10:55 | #14

    @Steve at the Pub
    The road in question is the Duaringa-Apis Creek Road. Fitzgerald describes it thus:

    “The Mackenzie River runs through or along the “Ten Mile” and “Crystal Waters”, and the Duaringa-Apis Creek Road runs northward from near the Capricorn Highway at Duaringa, through “Crystal Waters” and the “Ten Mile” to meet the Sarina Road and the Bruce Highway near the the town of Marlborough. When Ciasom Pty. Ltd. [a Bjelke-Petersen family company] acquired the properties, the road was only “a track”. It not only required improvement, “it needed to be built”. Further, parts of the “Ten Mile” and “Crystal Waters” through which the road passed were prone to flooding. Bjelke-Petersen discussed the condition of the road with local residents and, early in April, 1982, he met
    the Chairman of the Duaringa Shire Council in Brisbane to discuss the funding of road improvements. It was decided to request the Main Roads Minister, Hinze, to take steps to have the road declared a main road, so that the cost of maintaining it would be met by the State Government, not the Shire Councils. [...] Despite his expressed code of conduct, he considered that there was no need to inform Hinze of his family interest. [...] On 1 July, 1983, a declaration of the Duaringa-Apis Creek Road as a secondary road was gazetted, with the effect that the Commissioner of Main Roads assumed responsibility for the upkeep and construction of the road. On the previous day, there was a decision by the Governor in Council that $377,000 should be spent on improvements to the road. That decision was not gazetted until 2 July, by which time the declaration of the road as a secondary road had been gazetted. Altogether more than $1.5M was spent on the road.”

    So, a rough track becomes a road built and maintained by the State. It is still a dirt road, but it’s now traffickable by ordinary vehicles in most weathers. All at taxpayer expense. All to benefit the private interests of Bjelke-Petersen and his family. All corrupt.

  15. Tim Macknay
    December 12th, 2012 at 14:24 | #15

    @Malthusista
    I’m going to respond to your last, Malthusista, but my energy for this discussion is waning.

    Only if you oppose democracy.

    Anyone who supports privatisation, when privatisation is opposed by the rightful owners of that property as shown by all the public opinion polls of which I am aware, is therefore opposed to government of the people by the people for the people.

    So you’ve upped the ante from (falsely) claiming I’m a “neo-liberal ideologue” to (falsely) claiming I “support privatisation” and “oppose democracy”. Malthusista, name-calling is not an argument.

    You’re also dramatically oversimplifying things. Personally, I am mostly neutral with respect to privatisation. I tend to be extremely skeptical of proposals to privatise natural monopolies like power grids, water supplies and sewerage networks. However, I require convincing that it is necessary for abbatoirs to be in public ownership. There may be circumstances in which this is appropriate, but I require convincing. I am also skeptical that the general public opposition to privatisation necessarily means that the majority of the public is also convinced that all industries, including the meat processing industry, should be publicly owned. I could be convinced by evidence of this (such as relevant opinion poll results), but you haven’t provided any. You’ve just assumed that the (understandable) public opposition to the privatisation of things like electricity grids and railway networks also extends to things like abbatoirs. Instead of supporting your point with argument, you have resorted to insults. But, as I said before, to each his own, I suppose.

    This ‘argument’ [i.e. that you reversed the onus of proof] is almost as ridiculous as requiring proof of the laws of thermodynamics or gravity.

    I take this to mean that you can’t, and therefore won’t defend your claim.

    Of course, any reasonable person would acknowledge that scientific theories like gravity and thermodynamics do require justification. I’m familiar enough with those two theories to be aware that they are very strongly justified by empirical evidence.

    Your theory that the interests of beef producers line up with those of beef consumers is not so well supported. In fact, intuition suggests that their interests may be opposed – i.e, beef producers want higher prices, and consumers want lower prices.

    Clearly, there are a range of possible scenarios in which government ownership of meatworks could benefit beef producers while disadvantaging consumers, or vice versa, and in which foreign ownership of meatworks could benefit producers and/or consumers, depending on the prices the respective meatworks owners are charging, their costs of operating, their efficiency, possible economies of scale and so forth. There are also possible scenarios in which government ownership of meatworks could benefit producers and/or consumers when compared with foreign ownership, for the same reasons. My point was (and remains), it should be shown that there is a benefit, not just assumed. This applies to any argument for privatisation as well as against, of course.

    I think it is reasonable to assume that anyone who supports privatisation and deregulation as undemocratically implemented by Keating, Kennett, Beattie, Howard, Bligh, Newman and others is a neoliberal and therefore not a credible person.

    But it’s unreasonable to assume that I support these things, based on what I have written on this thread. I have neither stated nor implied such a thing.

    I also note, Tim Macknay, that you have avoided responding to my other point about the criminalisation of industrial action by the same ‘leaders’ who imposed neoliberalism on us in recent decades.

    I didn’t “respond” to this point because it was irrelevant to the discussion of whether or not a book by Katter should be taken as a sufficient basis to reverse one’s views about Bjelke-Petersen (that’s what we were arguing about, remember). I suppose I should state for the record that I don’t believe that industrial action should be criminalised. Hopefully that will avoid another round of name-calling.

    Anyway, I’m saying no more on this topic – it’s getting unproductive, and no doubt quite dull for other readers of the thread. We’ll have to agree to disagree on the question of whether Katter’s book is a sufficient basis to rehabilitate Bjelke-Petersen. Hopefully, if you do bother to respond to this comment, you won’t dodge my points and resort to ideological name-calling next time.

  16. Tim Macknay
    December 12th, 2012 at 15:32 | #16

    Here’s a charming little eulogy to Sir Joh, penned by his dear friend, the not-at-all-neoliberal Gina Rinehart….

    You travelled far and earned great fame, but always you stayed loyal
    To family and friends who supported you with time and love and toil.
    You spread decency and honour, pride in family and Queen.
    And when others wavered from their path, your conscience remained clean.
    We can admire the Sir Joh legacy just by looking around your state.
    Parkinson’s has laid you low, but you will always be
    The very best Queenslander, especially for me.

    LOL.

  17. December 14th, 2012 at 06:34 | #17

    Tim Macknay at comment #15 (#comment-186436) wrote:

    … my energy for this discussion is waning.

    Anyway, I’m saying no more on this topic – it’s getting unproductive, …

    To the contrary, I think that much of enduring value[1] is created from thorough discussion[2] about issues of controversy as held by the late President Kennedy and, before him, the ancient Athenian legislator Solon.

    Discussions such as this on web-sites which permit fair and open discussion such as this and Online Opinion are a greatly underutilised and undervalued Internet resource. Perhaps, one day someone will find a way to index as well as preserve these discussions so that they can be used more effectively by the wider public.[3]

    By reading the evidence and logic (or lack of) presented by proponents of opposed viewpoints, it is usually possible for a curious and open-minded person to work out where the truth lies far more easiliy than if he/she had instead conducted his her own research.

    As a result of contributions, I am no longer so certain that the view of Bjelke-Petersenput by Bob Katter is more correct than the view I had previously held and will have to look into it more. Nevertheless it is striking that so much harm to the public interest, including, I believe the sell-off of publicly-owned abattoirs, was not done by the ‘heinous’ Joh, but by his ‘Labor’ successors.

    FOOTNOTE[S]

    [1] That is not to say that some of the value of online discussions can’t be lost with repetition, needless verbosity, personal attack, etc.

    [2] This is in contrast to, for example the now defunct WebDiary and Larvatus Prodeo web-sites. The administrators of these sites claimed and upheld the right to secretly censor contributions that they disagreed with. That they not only practised censorship, but did so untransparently, was even worse as other site visitors who may have also disagreed with opinions put would not have known that they were not alone.

    [3] Someone at the Australian National Library, which has archived citizensagainstsellingtelstra.net may decide this is a useful project provided they are given the resources by the Government.

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