Home > Oz Politics > Just when you think they couldn’t get any worse …

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. Robert (not from UK)
    December 8th, 2012 at 19:26 | #1

    Well, I’ve never lived in Queensland but I remember the Joh era pretty well from the newspapers. Forced to choose between Joh and Newman, I would take Joh. A man who believes in something, as Joh did – if memory serves me he would go to a Lutheran church every day and read the Bible every day – knows where he stands. What Joh stood for was not a world-view I found particularly congenial, but it was something, and I never thought Joh childish. Merely an unglamorous adult mostly out of his depth.

    Campbell Newman and his Merry Pranksters, on the other hand, remind me of latch-key kids at high school who have won the lottery. If they believe in anything, I have yet to see it. Their actions thus far remind me of villainous Lord of the Flies protagonists who, back in civilisation, blow up the science lab purely to see what fireworks result. I believe Orwell’s diagnosis of this mentality was “playing with fire without even knowing that fire is hot.”

  2. Jim Rose
    December 8th, 2012 at 19:26 | #2

    John, you may remember the nine days in the winter of 1989 where fluoridation was suspended in Canberra because some of the crazier MLAs that held the balance of power.

    This happened on the watch of a minority labor government the fell a few months later. I don’t remember how central this issue was to cross-bench support for either to Labor or the Liberal Government that followed.

    As I recall, opportunism was a plague on all the parties in Canberra politics back then and for a long time after. Being a Canberra MLA is not a high status job?

    What communications strategy would be best to persuade people not to take up this idea?

    People hold ideas from vaccines, natural medicines to organic food that have a poor evidence base. Fluoridation is one of large menu from which to choose.

    see http://www.parliament.act.gov.au/downloads/reports/1SP%20Flouridation%20part%201%20of%204.pdf

  3. December 8th, 2012 at 19:42 | #3

    Hmm, one elected member of the LNP holds this view. No others are named.
    The one who does hold this nutty view is a gym-rat “my body is a temple” type.
    Hmmm.

    And our blog host wants to vote out an entire government based upon a nutty pronouncement of a first term MLA?

    Qld is suffering from 20 years or so of fair dinkum inept decisions of a Labor government. There is no need to vote them back in for a generation or more, they’ve done enough damage.

    Campbell Newman’s government, despite being unpopular with the front page of the Courier Mail, & unpopular with some academics & union leaders, hasn’t yet done anything significantly wrong.

    In fact just about every decision has been a good one.

    On top of that, things actually happen. If one wishes to compare with Labor, then Labor doesn’t scrub up very well. In addition to an inability to get anything done without umpteen talkfests, and a typical leftist tendency to mistake “intention” for “achievement”, Labor also made mostly wrong decisions.

    If Queenslanders want a better life, they’d be stupid to vote Labor straight back in, no matter how unpalatable the Newman government may become. The worst LNP government, on their worst day, will ALWAYS be better than the best day of the best Labor government.

    That won’t change until Labor stops preselecting people from the uni/union/parliament track.

  4. Mel
    December 8th, 2012 at 20:22 | #4

    satp: “If Queenslanders want a better life, they’d be stupid to vote Labor straight back in, no matter how unpalatable the Newman government may become. The worst LNP government, on their worst day, will ALWAYS be better than the best day of the best Labor government.”

    Beer goggles?

  5. Mel
    December 8th, 2012 at 20:24 | #5

    “MORE than a third of Newman Government MPs are behind a push to rid the state’s water supply of fluoride, according to its main opponent.

    First-term Nudgee LNP MP Jason Woodforth claims he has secured the backing of 31 MPs who “don’t agree with mass medicating people” and want the “brain-altering poison” removed.”

    How does our resident drunk publican see 31 as 1?

  6. Sancho
    December 8th, 2012 at 20:31 | #6

    A case can be made for de-fluoridation based simply on the facts of modern decent dental care and a population well-versed in brushing their teeth, but this reeks of crazed far-right conspiracy theory.

    Stay tuned for QLD to demand a withdrawal from the UN.

  7. December 8th, 2012 at 20:51 | #7

    Mel, I’ll take your personalising of attacks on me as a double victory. That is, you aren’t able to produce logical reasoning to counter anything I say, and you concede that I’m right.

    I’m well aware we don’t always know how old people are when they type online, or even if their parents know they are using the computer.

    There is no naming of the alleged 31 MLAs who back Mr. Woodforth. How does our resident juvenile (parents out to dinner tonight?) not see that? Better to read for comprehension before putting fingers to keyboard Mel.

    Be a good idea to start the habit off now, as when you get through school & join the job market, employers (yes, even the sheltered workshop of government) will have some expectation that you’ll do basic research.

    Just a tip for you kiddo.

  8. John Brookes
    December 8th, 2012 at 22:54 | #8

    When a political party gets too strong electorally, you are more prone to get nutty ideas coming out of it. Labor was like that in the early 70′s. Labor in the 80′s and 90′s showed much more discipline keeping the loony opinions under wraps.

    The right, however, seems to view fanciful opinions as a strength, rather than a weakness. They seem to take pride in denying global warming and evolution. Do they do it because they believe it, or because they wish to appeal to the ignorant?

  9. Sancho
    December 8th, 2012 at 23:12 | #9

    @John Brookes

    The pride seems to stem from a belief that they caught those crafty communists in the act after years of watching the reds get away with subverting the institution of science and putting mind-control drugs in the water.

    They’re not proud of being ignorant of science, but of being smart enough to not be fooled by it in the first place.

  10. December 8th, 2012 at 23:30 | #10

    @John Brookes: The Global Warming scam ended with the Hadley emails. Anything since is just the mutterings of those who cannot cope with the fact (or are unwilling to publicly admit) that they invested so much intellectual capital in a fraud. Continued adherence to the cult is not a “right-left” thing. It is a matter of ability to sift evidence.

    To suggest that fanciful opinions are seen as a strength by right wingers merely says the speaker doesn’t know any right wingers. Get out more mate.

    The Goss Labor government (the one where Dr. Death got his name) had a couple of total donkeys in it, people who were not expected to win a seat, but the size of the win was greater than expected. Their utterings were so unreliable that the party assigned a couple of minders to each, in an attempt to ensure they didn’t make any Peter Garrett style faux-pas, or at least that they didn’t make them in public!

  11. Edumak8
    December 8th, 2012 at 23:41 | #11

    I gave up thinking that the Newman LNP Govt couldn’t do anything sillier than the last inept, idiotic and ill-conceived announcement several months ago. I am now trying to figure out how Qld will be able to ride out the debacle that is now the Party in charge of our state, and how long it will take for the damage caused by them to be reversed. Whatever happened with the Health payroll does not provide the reason d’étre for every announcement uttered by LNP MPs, and certainly does not provide carte blanche to slash and burn as they have. It is obvious that the ‘four pillocks’ of the Qld economy are taking Qld and Qlders backwards. So much for being humble and governing for all Qldrs. Bah, humbug! Hope they all get a lump of coal in their Xmas stockings…preferably from one of Clive’s mines. :-P

  12. Michael
    December 9th, 2012 at 00:58 | #12

    Conservative paties in Qld have always been full of cranks…..this is just a return to normal programming after the brief Labor hiatus.

  13. John Quiggin
    December 9th, 2012 at 05:12 | #13

    SATP, I’m curious as to why you’re happy to accept a lunatic conspiracy theory on Global Warming, but embarrassed when your fellow fruitcakes apply the same logic to fluoridation. How about evolution? The age of the earth? Agenda 21? Birtherism? The mythical ban on DDT?

  14. Ikonoclast
    December 9th, 2012 at 05:43 | #14

    @John Quiggin

    As Mel most perceptively explained;

    “Beer goggles.”

  15. rog
    December 9th, 2012 at 06:20 | #15

    SATP sets an impossible task, he asks that logical reasoning be used to counter “anything I say”.

    Of course he excuses himself from having to comply with his own requirements!

  16. Ikonoclast
    December 9th, 2012 at 07:30 | #16

    @rog

    LOL, to that rog.

  17. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    December 9th, 2012 at 07:42 | #17

    One of the consequences of the scale of the LNP victory in the March 2012 election is that the LNP won seats it would not have expected to have a show of winning at the time it preselected the candidates for those seats. This means that individuals who hail from the wilder shores of right-of-centre politics, who were preselected in the belief that they would only be there to fly the flag and provide an LNP option on the ballot paper, are now in a position to publicly embarrass the LNP from now until 2015.

  18. Dan
    December 9th, 2012 at 07:59 | #18

    @Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy

    That’s right. The Qld and Commonwealth bureaucracies are reportedly dealing with a bunch of amateurs, as Walter Sobchak so succintly put it. There literally isn’t the depth of experience or intellectual firepower to run a decent government there.

    As such, SATP’s claims that the government is doing a great job ring completely absurd – like being impressed with the performance of a two-year old behind the wheel of a V8 Supercar.

    (Is anyone else thinking that SATP is a sock puppet that ProfQ uses as an all-round rabble rouser? Whatever issue you like, you can safely expect SATP to have a view that grates perversely against the evidence and good sense…)

  19. Katz
    December 9th, 2012 at 09:37 | #19

    Message to Queensland voters:

    Australia thanks you for the delightful nostalgia trip.

  20. Ikonoclast
    December 9th, 2012 at 09:43 | #20

    SATP is an extreme anti-intellectual, right-wing reactionary. He’s into racist and sexist abuse having called Obama a dog-eater, his mother a sl*t and females in the Greens Stasi-eyed Gretchens. All these slurs have appeared in his posts. He has also boasted in the past of using torture in some capacity. It’s all been posted on this blog. SATP is clearly a very unsavoury character.

    I seriously call on Prof JQ to ban him. If the relatively harmless Alice was banned for over-posting and trolling, SATP certainly deserves banning far more. His views add nothing as there is no logic in them and he won’t respond to any logic. He’s basically an extreme right-wing troll. Other significant right-wing or libertarian posters here do avoid abuse, do have their own logic and points and do add to debates. SATP adds nothing at any level.

    Frankly, JQ, I don’t think you ought tolerate SATP’s racism and sexism a moment longer.

  21. Julie Thomas
    December 9th, 2012 at 10:18 | #21

    Steve always at the pub dealing his legal drugs, can’t hear your question Prof Quiggan. He is deafened by the sound of his pokie machines making wealth.

  22. MG42
    December 9th, 2012 at 11:21 | #22

    Julie Thomas :
    Steve always at the pub dealing his legal drugs, can’t hear your question Prof Quiggan. He is deafened by the sound of his pokie machines making wealth.

    Of course, it all makes sense. Steve’s yet another conservative rent-seeker suckling at the teat of his government provided monopoly. That is just too precious. Oh god, I am laughing so hard at his nutjobbery right now.

  23. Doug
    December 9th, 2012 at 11:26 | #23

    Unfortunately for SATP reality refuses to conform to his views on climate change. Temperature and sea levels continue to rise, ocean gets more acidic, weather events get more extreme … he really should get out a bit more

  24. Mel
    December 9th, 2012 at 16:30 | #24

    Dan: “Is anyone else thinking that SATP is a sock puppet that ProfQ uses as an all-round rabble rouser? Whatever issue you like, you can safely expect SATP to have a view that grates perversely against the evidence and good sense …”

    SATP likes to bare his buttocks and have his bottom spanked. When he can afford to, he pays a professional to cater to his needs. When he is short on cash, he turns up here …

  25. Robert (not from UK)
    December 9th, 2012 at 19:15 | #25

    Professor Quiggin, have you encountered this quote from Sir John A. Macdonald, the Founding Father of Canadian politics?

    “Given a government with a big surplus, a big majority, and a weak opposition, you could debauch a committee of archangels.”

    Shades of Campbell Newman and Barry O’Farrell, perhaps?

    I found the quote here, in case you are interested:

    http://www.rbc.com/aboutus/letter/sep_oct1981.html

  26. Jim Rose
    December 9th, 2012 at 19:58 | #26

    @Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy Very well put. In the last federal election, a 20 year old won a seat in QLD because of the unexpectedly large swing.

    Who would want a 20 year old who is still living with their mum having the federal balance of power? At least Pitt the Younger waited until he was 24 to become PM!

    Massive swings always lead to backwoods men getting onto the backbenches as the Tory party often found in the UK.

  27. Ben
    December 9th, 2012 at 21:38 | #27

    Great to hear that Campbell Newman is close to even money on losing the next election.

    Best news I’ve heard all week.

    Anonymous tip: In a certain govt section, a head was told to sack one fifth of all workers. The boss did that then received a phone call saying reinstate those workers – they are LNP members. Ooh yeah. Our beloved democracy has gone down a long way since March 24.

  28. John Brookes
    December 9th, 2012 at 22:20 | #28

    @Ben

    That can’t be true! It is so Joh-esque that it is surely an urban myth.

  29. December 10th, 2012 at 10:42 | #29

    @Robert (not from UK)
    As one who grew up under Joh’s rule, I once considered Johannes Bjelke-Petersen to be the embodiment of evil.

    However, having almost finished reading “An Incredible Race of People – a Passionate History of Australia” of 2012 by the current sitting Federal MP Bob Katter, I no longer hold this view.

    Joh Bjelke Petersen retired with only a modest amount of savings. He refused to accept a Parliamentary pension, because he voted against it in 1957. He lived out the rest of his life frugally with Flo who helped provide for them both by baking her famous pumpkin scones for tourists.

    This is not to say that I believe that we benefited every action that Joh (or, for that matter, Bob Katter) undertook e.g. his enabling the 1975 coup against the Whitlam Labour Government by appointing his stooge Labor Party member Pat Fields to the Senate, but still, it appears that, whilst some of his actions were damaging, Joh’s underlying motivation was well-intentioned.

    Whilst Katter’s book includes a few peculiar world views and a poor understanding of ecological sustainability, it demolishes much of the economic neoliberal claptrap that has been imposed on this country in recent decades by the likes of Keating, Kennett, Howard, Beattie, Bligh and Newman.

    The book contains much enormously valuable historical insight, particularly about the towering Labor leader of the early 20th century Edward Theodore. It is well worth its RRP of $40.00.

  30. December 10th, 2012 at 10:53 | #30

    (Second attempt, this time with only one and not two links. Please delete the first draft, which is ‘awaiting moderation’, Professor Quiggin)

    As one who grew up under Joh’s rule, I once considered Premier Johannes Bjelke-Petersen to be the embodiment of evil.

    However, having almost finished reading “An Incredible Race of People – a Passionate History of Australia” of 2012 by the current sitting Federal MP Bob Katter, I no longer hold this view.

    Joh Bjelke Petersen retired with only a modest amount of savings. He refused to accept a Parliamentary pension, because he voted against it in 1957. He lived out the rest of his life frugally with Flo who helped provide for them both by baking her famous pumpkin scones for tourists.

    This is not to say that I believe that we benefited every action that Joh (or, for that matter, Bob Katter) undertook e.g. his enabling the 1975 coup against the Whitlam Labour Government by appointing his stooge Labor Party member Pat Fields to the Senate, but still, it appears that, whilst some of his actions were damaging, Joh’s underlying motivation was well-intentioned.

    Whilst Katter’s book includes a few peculiar world views and a poor understanding of ecological sustainability, it demolishes much of the economic neoliberal claptrap that has been imposed on this country in recent decades by the likes of Keating, Kennett, Howard, Beattie, Bligh and Newman.

    The book contains much enormously valuable historical insight, particularly about the towering Labor leader of the early 20th century Edward Theodore. It is well worth its RRP of $40.00.

  31. Tim Macknay
    December 10th, 2012 at 11:16 | #31

    The Global Warming scam ended with the Hadley emails. Anything since is just the mutterings of those who cannot cope with the fact (or are unwilling to publicly admit) that they invested so much intellectual capital in a fraud. Continued adherence to the cult is not a “right-left” thing. It is a matter of ability to sift evidence.

    The ignorance and self-delusion in this comment is staggering. Just staggering.

  32. Ben
    December 10th, 2012 at 11:21 | #32

    @Malthusista
    Bob Katter stands up for Indigenous Australians. Flo Bjelke-Petersen supports many good charities and shouldn’t be held accountable for what her husband did. But I’m still not sure that I would Bob’s word as definitive of Joh’s legacy. He’s hardly an objective historian. I’m sure others with a better knowledge of history than I would agree that Joh did terrible things to Qld and its people.

    He was the one who turned Surfers Paradise into, well, Surfers Paradise. How do you say “mafia” in in Russian again? If Joh’s “underlying motivation was well-intentioned” he sure kept it well-hidden, particularly when he was trashing civil liberties, appointing a police force that made life hell for Indigenous Australians (except if you lived in a Lutheran mission up at Cape York) and the rest of us (you’ve forgotten the Special Branch, haven’t you), attacking the Great Barrier Reef such that the Feds had to step in and create the Park Authority to save it from him. Yes, Joh did not slash and burn the public service as Campbell Newman has, but people as far away as the UK and the US know what a vindictive and ruthless fellow Joh was. Street protests were illegal under his regime, for crying out loud. Town planning laws? “Give the developer what he wants and there won’t be any trouble” was Joh’s motto.

    What good things does Katter give Joh credit for (apart from not trashing the public service a la Newman)?

  33. December 10th, 2012 at 12:18 | #33

    a href=”#comment-185620″>@Ben

    What you have written is close to the views I previously held about Bjelke-Petersen.

    Whilst I cannot be unconcerned at much of what happened to Queensland, whilst Bjelke-Petersen was Premier, given the modest amount he gained whilst he was Premier, it is hard to hold on to the view I once held that he was a ruthless unconscionable crook.

    We should be far more concerned at what his successors gained at our expense:

    Cattle was one of Queensland’s three base industries, and it was the subject of yet another initiative undertaken by Theodore through his government financing: the provision of government-owned abattoirs and butcher shops. These initiatives, whilst invariably financial failures, had the desired effect of breaking Vestey’s and others’ near stranglehold on the Australian beef industry.

    Major public abattoirs were built at the strategically located centres of Brisbane, Rockhampton and Townsville, and all were still operating until the fall of the Bjelke-Petersen government in 1989. Townsville and Brisbane abattoirs were closed down by Peter Beattie’s Labor government. Of the proceeds of the sale, reportedly some $30 million was given to Australian Meat Holdings (AMH), the big American ConAgra-owned corporation, with the aim of building giant economies of scale, state-of-the-art meatworks. This would enable AMH’s south-east Queensland works to process more cheaply than any of its competitors.

    The Beattie initiative had the effect of delivering a near oligopolistic market to a big foreign corporation, in sharp contrast to Theodore’s meatworks initiative, which was undertaken to deliver market power to the Australian cattlemen and to take it away from the foreign-owned conglomerate. – page 45 of “An Incredible Race of People – a Passionate History of Australia” of 2012 by Bob Katter

  34. December 10th, 2012 at 12:32 | #34

    Yes Tim and it is WRONG.

    Badly wrong

  35. Newtownian
    December 10th, 2012 at 12:47 | #35

    @Tim Macknay

    Talking about climate denying nutters like SOTP and nottrampis.

    Here are the latest antics of the dreaded (pseudo) Lord Monckton much feted recently by Australia’s miners, the current Queensland government to judge by their policies, and probably SATP.

    Even the Arabs (hardly bastions of climate change activism) game him short shrift when he tried another one of his impersonating a serious person tricks.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/dec/07/doha-climate-talks-ukip-lord-monckton?INTCMP=SRCH

    Come on Steve at the Pub – give us your take on this luminary.

  36. Ben
    December 10th, 2012 at 12:49 | #36

    @Malthusista

    “The modest amount he gained while he was Premier”?

    So those brown paper bags were filled with tissues from people crying at Joh’s poverty?

    To argue (again, from Katter a politician with a horse or two in the race) that because Beattie continued the Qld tradition of very dodgy politicians, what Joh did wasn’t so bad isn’t very sound IMHO.

  37. Tim Macknay
    December 10th, 2012 at 13:22 | #37

    I have to echo Ben here. There may be more to Bjelke-Petersen’s story that the oft-painted picture of a corrupt near-despot, but I for one wouldn’t rely on Katter’s account alone as the basis for a wholesale change of views on the man. From what you’ve described of Katter’s account, it sounds like a fairly typical right-wing defence of Bjelke-Petersen.

    Also, the discussion of the cattle industry that you quote doesn’t really explain why the closure of government-subsidised abbatoirs in north Queensland and the shift of meat processing operations to the South were negative outcomes – it just seems to assume they were. I read that as consistent with Katter’s romantic view of Queensland’s rural and pastoral heritage.

  38. December 10th, 2012 at 14:55 | #38

    @Tim Macknay , Ben,

    By all means show me where Bob Katter’s claims are contrary to available evidence.

    If they are, it will surely be only a brief matter of time before a book reviewer and/or researcher shows him to be wrong. Until that happens, I don’t see why Bob Katter’s claims should not be accepted.

    Tim Macknay wrote:

    … it sounds like a fairly typical right-wing defence of Bjelke-Petersen

    A detailed refutation of the neoliberal dogma that our political ‘leaders’ have used, since the 1980′s, as an excuse to let corporations, instead of them, govern us is a “typical right-wing defence of Bjelke-Petersen”!?

    Tim Macknay wrote:

    Also, the discussion of the cattle industry that you quote doesn’t really explain why the closure of government-subsidised abattoirs in north Queensland and the shift of meat processing operations to the South were negative outcomes.

    Your response ignores the fact that publicly owned meatworks were closed down or given away by the Beattie Labor Government to a foreign corporation to create a foreign oligopoly of meat processing. Only an unthinking neoliberal ideologue would fail to understand that that is against the public interest and the interests of Australian beef producers.

    Ben wrote:

    So those brown paper bags were filled with tissues from people crying at Joh’s poverty?

    I think I recall that phrase “brown paper bags” being use against Bjelke-Petersen. It strikes me as odd that Bjelke-Petersen lived so modestly in his retirement if he was the recipient of many brown paper bas filled with cash. Could you cite a specific allegation? Were such allegations ever proven? Perhaps by the Fitzgerald Commission?

  39. Tim Macknay
    December 10th, 2012 at 15:58 | #39

    @Malthusista

    A detailed refutation of the neoliberal dogma that our political ‘leaders’ have used, since the 1980′s, as an excuse to let corporations, instead of them, govern us is a “typical right-wing defence of Bjelke-Petersen”!?

    Well Malthusista, perhaps all that is contained in Katter’s book , but the bits you’ve referenced on this thread that are relevant to Bjelke-Petersen consist of a claim that he didn’t die rich so therefore he couldn’t have been corrupt, and that he looked after some Queensland beef producing interests, and that’s got to be a good thing, right? That’s what I was referring to when I said it sounded like a fairly bog-standard right-wing apology for Bjelke-Petersen.

    Your response ignores the fact that publicly owned meatworks were closed down or given away by the Beattie Labor Government to a foreign corporation to create a foreign oligopoly of meat processing. Only an unthinking neoliberal ideologue would fail to understand that that is against the public interest and the interests of Australian beef producers.

    You’ve dodged my point there by reversing the onus of proof, as well as indulging in a bit of ad hominem argument. I’d suggest that a thinking non-ideologue would not assume that any claim is self-evident, but expect it to be justified. Katter’s piece, as quoted by you, assumes that there is a confluence of interest between Queensland beef producers and the Queensland public at large. It also assumes that government ownership of abbatoirs is inherently superior to foreign ownership. Now, these things may be true, but Katter doesn’t show that. He just assumes it. That is the mark of an unthinking ideologue.

    But what the hey. To each, his own.

  40. Ben
    December 10th, 2012 at 16:08 | #40

    @Malthusista

    Sorry, I can’t be bothered.

    Bob Katter has repeatedly shown by his public behaviour that he is an over-the-top nutter who shouts down his opponents in public, most recently lowering the tone on Q&A.

    If you think that he is a respectable proponent of anything, well, I guess you just won.

  41. John Quiggin
    December 10th, 2012 at 16:13 | #41

    I’m somewhat sympathetic to Malthusista. Although the government he presided over was thoroughly corrupt, Joh himself didn’t take much (the big possible exception was a dubious defamation settlement with (IIRC) Alan Bond, that may have been a payoff for favorable consideration of Bond’s real estate plans). His developmentalist policies were supported by most voters at the time. And any government that’s in for a long time accumulates scandals – Newman’s achievement is to match the worst of the past in a matter on months. That said, Joh was thuggish and dictatorial in a way that even Newman has yet to match.

    As regards Katter, he stands up for what he and his constituents believe. You don’t have to agree with him on everything to see his economic views as a welcome challenge to the bipartisan orthodoxy in favor of austerity, privatisation, financialisation and so on.

  42. Ben
    December 10th, 2012 at 16:26 | #42

    @John Quiggin
    I sit corrected, Professor. And I allowed my distaste for the Man with the Hat to overshadow his virtues.

  43. Katz
    December 10th, 2012 at 16:37 | #43

    It emerges that the management of 2DAY attempted five times to get permission to play the prank. However, they failed. Nevertheless management gave the two DJs permission to proceed with broadcasting the prank.

    At least that mitigates in a major way the culpability of the DJs.

    However, so far as the management were concerned, their culpability in breaching broadcast regulations and perhaps a raft of laws has increased.

    It is a pity that it took the death of a person to stir authorities to do their duty.

  44. Katz
    December 10th, 2012 at 16:38 | #44

    Err wrong thread. Sorry.

  45. Robert (not from UK)
    December 10th, 2012 at 18:39 | #45

    Malthusista, I have not read the Bob Katter book, but I intend to do so.

  46. Jim Rose
    December 10th, 2012 at 19:28 | #46

    was peterson was neo-liberal?

  47. MG42
    December 10th, 2012 at 20:52 | #47

    Jim Rose :
    was peterson was neo-liberal?

    From my limited readings and knowledge on the subject (too young to remember most of it or put it into context) I would answer that by saying no, Bjelke-Petersen was not a neoliberal. A fairly common symptom of neoliberalism is the fetish for privatization and deregulation, which in Queensland’s case, had to wait for succeeding governments. I would qualify that by saying that if the man had not consolidated his power over many years, he doubtless would have gone down exactly that same economic route in the early ’80s.

  48. MG42
    December 10th, 2012 at 20:58 | #48

    Oops, clumsy me. “…….consolidated his power over many years and assumed ideological control, he doubtless……..

  49. December 10th, 2012 at 21:02 | #49

    @Robert (not from UK)
    Glad to hear. I think it is well worth the effort for his unique insight into Australian history.

    I bought my copy for $40 from Dymocks at Albert Street, near Queen Street Mall in the Brisbane CBD.

    elibcat.library.brisbane.qld.gov.au/uhtbin/cgisirsi/CgeIovOoK5/ZZELIBCAT/146490097/123 tells me that there are 11 copies in the Brisbane public library system but only one at Garden City not loaned out or on hold.

    There is also a copy at my local library in Victoria.

    Tim Macknay at # 39 (#comment-185674) wrote:

    You’ve dodged my point there by reversing the onus of proof, as well as indulging in a bit of ad hominem argument.

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

    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.

    John Quiggin at #41 (#comment-185679)

    (I mentioned that a head injury in 2010 may have affected my ability to recall all these events?) Whilst I remember disliking Joh and his whole government, I can’t entirely preclude the possibility that other members of Joh’s cabinet and not just Joh, himself, may have had streaks of decency within them. However, a serious concern I have with Joh, Katter and his whole government was the sacking of the entire SEQEB workforce in 1983 in order to break their strike.

    John Quiggin at #41 (#comment-185679) wrote:

    You don’t have to agree with [Bob Katter] on everything to see his economic views as a welcome challenge to the bipartisan orthodoxy in favor of austerity, privatisation, financialisation and so on.

    The other ‘bipartisan orthodoxy’ is the criminalisation of industrial action. This began as a consequence of Malcolm Fraser introducing sections 45D and 45E of the trade practices act. These sections outlaw so-called ‘secondary boycotts’. As a consequence, when Howard tried to destroy the Maritime Union in 1998 not one union in this country took effective industrial action in support of the Maritime Union for fear of crippling fines and imprisonment as a result of sections 45D and 45E.

    Only the overwhelming public support as well as a ‘secondary boycott’ by the New Zealand seafarers union saved the Maritime Union from destruction.

    In fact this year, under the nasty rule of the new Queensland Premier Campbell Newman, this bipartisan criminalisation of industrial action was decisively broke by the CFMEU which defended itself against attempts by Abigroup to victimise union delegates and safety representatatives at the Children’s Hospital worksite in South Brisbane.

    A large number of legal injunctions were defied by the striking workers and they won!

    However the employers and industrial courts still hope to prosecute the organiser of that strike, Bob Carnegie (who was one of the SEQEB workers sacked in 1983). Let’s do what we can to help Bob Carnegie.

  50. Hal9000
    December 10th, 2012 at 22:09 | #50

    @John Quiggin
    “…the big possible exception was a dubious defamation settlement with (IIRC) Alan Bond”

    There was also the Ten Mile property where son John was to be set up. Corruptly obtained loan and then public money spent upgrading property access. A whole lot of favours from Sir Leslie Thiess were received by the Bjelke-Petersen family and a lot of public contracts flowed to Sir Les. The Comalco share package is another memorable personal windfall. There were others.

    The superannuation nonsense was meant to be a display of selflessness, but really he was a wealthy man at the time who did not need the money. He needed it later, of course, because he invested his wealth unwisely and leveraged in Swiss francs that rapidly appreciated against the Australian dollars required for repayment following the dollar’s floatation by Hawke/Keating. Luckily, his wife’s Senate super was untouched.

    Bjelke-Petersen benefited personally from the corruption he presided over, don’t you worry about that.

  51. John Quiggin
    December 11th, 2012 at 05:20 | #51

    @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

  52. TerjeP
    December 11th, 2012 at 05:42 | #52

    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.

  53. dz
    December 11th, 2012 at 09:32 | #53

    @Steve at the Pub

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

  54. December 11th, 2012 at 14:09 | #54

    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.

  55. Tim Macknay
    December 11th, 2012 at 15:08 | #55

    @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.

  56. Tim Macknay
    December 11th, 2012 at 15:09 | #56

    Stuffed up that emphasis tag. Oops.

  57. Mel
    December 11th, 2012 at 16:13 | #57

    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.

  58. December 11th, 2012 at 21:46 | #58

    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.

  59. Hal9000
    December 11th, 2012 at 21:48 | #59

    @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.

  60. Hal9000
    December 11th, 2012 at 21:57 | #60

    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.

  61. December 12th, 2012 at 01:01 | #61

    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.

  62. December 12th, 2012 at 01:43 | #62

    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.

  63. Katz
    December 12th, 2012 at 05:01 | #63

    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).

  64. Hal9000
    December 12th, 2012 at 10:55 | #64

    @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.

  65. Tim Macknay
    December 12th, 2012 at 14:24 | #65

    @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.

  66. Tim Macknay
    December 12th, 2012 at 15:32 | #66

    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.

  67. December 14th, 2012 at 06:34 | #67

    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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