Queensland election

Watching TV last night, I was struck by the deluge of publicly funded government propaganda ads. Today, the reason was revealed as LNP Premier Campbell Newman called an election for 31 January, running several months short of a full term. Most insider comment seems to view this is a clever move, catching the Opposition off-guard and so on. My view would be that they are more likely to lose votes from people who expect a holiday from politics at this time of year.

139 thoughts on “Queensland election

  1. Be careful what tee shirt you wear if you are anywhere near an LNP candidate out electioneering – you could get arrested

  2. Every Queenslander should be issued with a T-shirt for when Campbell Newman’s campaign team comes calling:
    “Je suis avec Stupide”
    “We are all with Stupide”

  3. I counted six police in the photo to arrest this one innocuous man. It is certainly part of free speech to say in political debate that “I find this person’s position to be stupid” or “This person is stupid (I deduce from the the stupid things he/she advocates).

    If no reasons are given for the charge of political stupidity this does not alter the case. It’s not a crime (or should not be a crime) to say that someone else’s political position is “stupid”. It’s simply an assertion without proof at that stage. It’s not slander as a certain degree of robustness, rhetorical expression and satire in political debate is permitted and even generally expected.

    What next? The VLAD laws get used on the May Day parade?

  4. As a lifelong resident of NSW I can’t tell you all how much I enjoy a Qld election. It always breaks new ground in some way or another. I can’t wait to find out what this character was charged with. It’d have to be relatively serious to warrant arrest.

  5. @jungney

    I’m pretty sure the charge is “public nuisance”.

    That’s how it’s been reported and the guy, @Can_Do_Campbell, has linked to the reporting without saying anything different.

  6. As a lifelong resident of QLD (except for a few 6 month stints O/S and a few 3 month stints in other states), I can’t tell you how embarrassing it is to be a Queenslander. We are the butt of every other state’s jokes and the annoying thing is that it is all deserved.

    From Brisbane Times online – “Queensland Election: ‘I’m with stupid’ t-shirt man’s lawyer says arrest unjustified”

    “Mr Shields said from public statements reported in the media there did not seem to be any suggestion Mr Fogerty had done anything to “establish to the requisite standard of proof” that he committed a public nuisance offence.”

    Meanwhile, in the USA, “Arnold Abbot, 90, arrested for feeding homeless in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.”

    So, under late-stage capitalism and neoliberalism expressing a different point of view and feeding the poor are starting to become illegal or at least a prima facie case for arrest. I don’t normally mount “slippery slope” arguments but it seems we are well onto the slippery slope here.

  7. That great champion of our rights, Peter Beattie, introduced the rather draconian “public nuisance” offence as it now stands.

    Summary Offences Act 2005, section 6(2) [emphasis added]:

    (2) A person commits a public nuisance offence if—
    (a) the person behaves in—
    (i) a disorderly way
    ; or
    (ii) an offensive way; or
    (iii) a threatening way; or
    (iv) a violent way; and

    (b) the person’s behaviour interferes, or is likely to interfere, with the peaceful passage through, or enjoyment of, a public place by a member of the public.

    “Disorderly” isn’t defined in the Act, so the police can pretty much charge anyone they like. The Court might not find them guilty but by then nobody really cares anymore. I note that his court appearance isn’t until after the election. Neat.

  8. @ZM

    As far as I am able to tell, your argument is that bad things (like corruption) have happened in Queensland, that Queensland has a unicameral parliament, and so the unicameralism must explain the bad things.

    My point is that an attribution to unicameralism is not an adequate explanation of the corruption or other bad things you’re talking about, because the same sorts of things happen where there are bicameral parliaments.

    The only valid way to support a conclusion about the differential effects of bicameralism and unicameralism would be the systematic collation and comparison of evidence that you have not done. (No, I haven’t done it either, but then I’m not making the mistake of pretending to be able to draw a valid conclusion about the differential effects of bicameralism and unicameralism.)

  9. J-D,

    And I was just mulling over making a comment about how Queensland wouldn’t arrest people for “I’m with stupid t-shirts” if they got their missing upper house restored to do the job our Orime Minister told all the world leaders it symbolizes and would do again if only it was restored to proper use.

    Look at Ikonoclast’s comment above –

    “As a lifelong resident of QLD (except for a few 6 month stints O/S and a few 3 month stints in other states), I can’t tell you how embarrassing it is to be a Queenslander. We are the butt of every other state’s jokes and the annoying thing is that it is all deserved”

    I tell you Queensland seems to be very blessed with a wonderful natural environment, s lovely warm climate if you don’t mind humidity, abundant rain, fruitful land, personable people – what it lacks is an Upper House.

  10. Thanks, Zoot @3. That is really unbelievable. What is the next level, choke holds and tazing for wearing doubtfull clothing?

  11. Funny thing is that I get the QLD government ads when I play games on Facebook. And I live in WA. That means that the QLD government is wasting money by not targeting only QLD internet users.

  12. Megan,

    That is good new indeed – I’m very to hear there is the start of an Upper House restoration campaign in Queensland

  13. @ZM

    There have been campaigns before for a referendum to re-introduce the upper house. People have been agitating over the last few years quite persistently.

    The most recent petition I am aware of was introduced into the parliament early in 2014 by the independent Peter Wellington. The LNP (unicameral rulers of the state) dismissed it out of hand.

    Both duopoly parties are against it. Without any further information that should suggest it is probably a good idea to bring it back!

  14. @Megan
    The Queensland Legislative Council abolished in 1923 had no connection with democracy. All its members were appointed by the Governor for a lifetime term. Ironically, this feature allowed the chamber’s abolition, when a Labor government appointed enough members to vote for abolition – the so-called ‘suicide squad’.

    Other states had property franchises – in South Australia until the 1970s – ensuring that only ‘sound’ people were elected. The notion of an upper chamber elected on proportional representation lines is an innovation. It should also be remembered that Newman would have won a majority in an upper house elected on a single electorate basis at the last election, so there would have been no effective checks and balances at all.

  15. @Hal9000

    I’m not advocating an upper house as a silver bullet fix all.

    My perspective is that in queensland at present we have a crisis for democracy.

    We are ruled absolutely by one of two virtually indistinguishable halves of an ALP/LNP duopoly in a unicameral parliament and with a mono-media fourth estate (the ABC being the broadcast arm of News Ltd.).

    If we had more media diversity/less concentration, that would be a good thing to my mind.

    If we had four or five ideologically differentiated political parties more reflective of the actual spectrum, that would also be good – even in a unicameral parliament, because it should introduce the sort of balancing, negotiation and compromise I think a functioning democracy needs. As it is we have only seven minor party (KAP) and assorted Independents and they have no actual power whatsoever.

    I think there is merit in having an upper house (see Victorian elections) if it can deliver that diversity and balancing effect. Federally, I’m happy that the House of Reps was ‘hung’ in the last term and that the Senate remains so.

    According to Antony Green’s election calculator an 11.5% swing against the LNP will deliver us a hung parliament in Queensland. I’d consider that result to be a better outcome for our democracy and good governance than an outright majority for either of the duopoly.

  16. Hal9000
    “n. It should also be remembered that Newman would have won a majority in an upper house elected on a single electorate basis at the last election, so there would have been no effective checks and balances at all.”

    When Queenslanders get their Upper House restored they could have regional electorates like in the Victorian Upper House – so you always get a somewhat different result from the Lower House. We have 8 regions with 5 councillors each – at the moment 1/4 of the councillors (10) are crossbencheds from various little parties.

    This past election you didn’t have to number all the upper house boxes if you voted below the line just 1-5 and further was optional. I thought this was unusual but I can’t recall for sure and it might have been the normal practice.

  17. @ZM
    THe last thing Queenslanders need is a Upper House – more politicians with their snouts in the trough.
    What the analysts have yet to figure in their calculations is the flow of preferences from minor parties.
    I reckon that Palmer will ensure that the LNP are placed last in all the seats that the PUP will contest.
    I wouldn’t surprised if the Greens and PUP work out some sort of deal as they did both in the recent Vic election as well as the last federal electiion. After all without Greens and ALP’s prefences Palmer would not be in federal parliament.
    It could well be the surprise of the election if Sir Joh’s son wins on the back of preferences.
    My gut feeling is that many people are angry at how this State Election has gone about its work in such an aggressive style. However, I sense that, as the ALP is so far behind at present, that the LNP Goverment will live on despite a 8% or so swing against it.

  18. @Megan
    Well, I’ll be. As an aside I knew the (now deceased) last man to be charged as an “humbug” in NSW. An old comm by name of George. He’d approve of being a public nuisance.

  19. @Megan

    If the object is to have more parties with parliamentary/legislature representation then a comparison of bicameral parliaments/legislatures around the world with unicameral ones shows that bicameralism by itself is not much use in achieving that object. There are bicameral systems with few parties represented and unicameral systems with lots of them.

    If the object is to have more ideologically differentiated parties represented in parliaments/legislatures, then it’s harder to evaluate. For example, at the last Greek election seven parties had candidates elected, at the last Portuguese election five, and at the last Finnish election eight–the numbers are easy to tabulate–but I’m not sure how we can compare the extent of ideological differentiation from case to case. One kind of data that can be tabulated easily is the record of parties participating in government coalitions together. Seven of the eight Finnish parties would not be ideologically differentiated if the test we used was to say that two parties which have been in a government coalition together are not ideologically differentiated, but I’m not sure that’s a good test. (If we did use that test in Australia, Labor and the Liberals would be ideologically differentiated because they’ve never been in a government coalition together.)

    Leaving aside the question of ideological differentiation, if the object is simply to increase the number of parties with parliamentary representation, the best bet (although not as close to a certainty as some people think) is not bicameralism but change to the electoral system.

  20. @Megan
    Yes I take your point, Megan. I suppose what I’m saying is that upper houses are not an unalloyed good. For most of Australian history they have acted primarily to protect the interests of the owners of property and capital against social democratic reforms.

    I also wanted to make the point that Queensland had good reason to get rid of its. The real issue is that our democratic institutions are a poor reflection of the electorate’s will. They are also becoming less reflective with each passing year. If the LNP gets back in Queensland it will be because of the resources mobilised by property developers and miners specifically against the objective interests of the Queensland public. The media of course will present the electorate with no analytical tools to make any kind of informed decision. Example: the LNP’s claims of success in health administration are entirely bogus, but are accepted as given truth by those communicating the political debate to the public.

  21. @ZM
    Yes I’m in favour of MMP systems myself. Good luck getting the public to understand it enough to want it, though. Such reforms usually take place for base tactical partisan reasons – e.g. compulsory voting, preferential voting, partial MMP in New Zealand.

  22. @ZM

    Bicameralism could help if it was done properly. At least one house needs to be selected by proportional representation, probably the lower house. This would mean if Greens got 7% of the state vote they got 7% of the seats. This is good except that it still validates the party politics of bourgeois democracy. I don’t have a solution to this without getting too radical.

    The upper house needs to selected on a different principle. Sortition democracy might well be a good idea for the upper house making it a kind of citizens’ house of review.

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