Yesterday I Couldn’t Spell Politician – Today I Are One!

When I read the story below I was reminded of the cronyism that was rife in (and around) the Queensland National Party during, Joh Bjelke Peterson’s, reign of rabid greed, control and corruption.  Obviously some of it is still alive and kicking in my home state.  (Still, a big thanks to Dr Tony Fitzgerald, QC…)


(Note: The Liberal National Party {LNP} is the new “conservative coalition” in Queensland…)


“Patrick Lion for January 07, 2009 11:00pm

THE teenage son of Queensland‘s richest man Clive Palmer, and so-called ”sugar daddy” of the LNP, has won pre-selection at the next state election.

The billionaire iron ore magnate’s 18-year-old son Michael will contest the seat of Nudgee on Brisbane‘s northside.

His rise at the age of only 18 comes after the Bligh Government has furiously attacked his father over the past year for allegedly “buying” the new party.
LNP headquarters has refused to deny receipt of donations from Mr Palmer ahead of compulsory disclosures in coming months but confirmed the party had used his helicopter and luxury DC-9 jet.

Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg yesterday denied the teenager had been given preferential treatment because of his dad’s generosity.
“I’m not going to count him out because he is Clive’s son,” he said.
 “This is the politics of envy and personal character assassination from Labor.”

 Full story here…





I was also intrigued by the concept of the Liberal National Party pre-selecting an 18 year old for the next election.  The seat may be held by Labor with an 18% margin but that doesn’t mean the LNP shouldn’t provide a viable alternative for the constituents – or is that simply being an ageist?

Perhaps the LNP believe they have to “develop” new candidates from an early age?

 As someone who was exposed to, and involved  in, competency based learning for most of my career, it brought back memories of discussions with colleagues, regarding the competencies that politicians should be assessed as competent in, before they were allowed to nominate for one of the most important careers in our country – lawmaker – for that is the primary purpose of a politician (along with serving his/her constituents of course…).

Politicans also need to be able to: conduct meetings, demonstrate public speaking skills, manage issues, make decisions, develop teams, communicate (eg writing/verbal/non verbal) – the list goes on…

You see the problem I have, is that politics isn’t just about competence, its also about life and work experience (that should enhance the application of competence)…an 18 year old just doesn’t cut it for me – it’s a bit like sending a brilliant 7 year old to university…there’s something not quite right…but then how old/young, is old/young enough?


I’ve often been “told”, particularly at social gatherings that – “…anyone can be a politician…”…somehow, I don’t think so…


Now – we all criticise, analyse, praise and demonise politicians (especially on blogocrats), some pollies more than others but it does beg the question…


…just what do we expect of our politicians?




78 Responses

  1. Nice post TB!

    “…anyone can be a politician…”…somehow, I don’t think so…”

    Hmmm. I tend to think that anyone can become a politician, but that’s because the entry level requirements are so low…

    Whether they are any good or not is another matter altogether…!

  2. Good to see you haven’t gone anywhere TB. (Now I’ll go and read your post.)

  3. TB,

    One suspects his first public speech – or press conference – will tell the tale. Who knows? He may impress the pants off us. If not, however, his prospects won’t be bright (regardless of his father’s ‘ownership’ of the party). The electors of Queensland, or any other state, do not respond well to being taken for fools.

  4. Hey TB, Great thread title. LOL.

    On a serious note, I used to be pretty complacent about politics .. till I started taking notice. The more I see of conservative politics in Australia (and other places) the sicker I feel and the more hardened in resolve to always vote against them.

  5. I often feel that the inmates have taken over the asylum when observing many politicians TB.

    I also think the profession, if you could call it that, is inherently corrupt.

    Personally, I think there is an obligation by the media in this country to present full and unbiased pictures of political candidates and their credentials. Additionally, it should be standard to have them articulate their views and the ideologies that form their views.

    As I see it, politicians fear making unpopular decisions so they are apt to develop chameleon type persona’s that leaves us feeling like they’re all about creating smoke and mirrors.

    Idealistic, I know, but sure some type of standards need to be applied.

  6. oh! and TB for PM

  7. #comment-14980

    How much are the media to blame for that Mac?

    The pollies are almost forced into chameleon like behaviour because the press is ready to pounce, and the rise of the shock jocks has a lot to do with this.

    Go against a party consensus and there is disunity in the party and its falling apart.
    Slavishly tow the party line and your a party hack and sycophant.
    Tell the truth on any failure then you are crucified so you keep mum.
    Keep mum or obfuscate and you are hiding something so must be guilty anyway.

    Just how are they supposed to be anything but a shifty pollie with the current media being the way it is?

  8. ” was also intrigued by the concept of the Liberal National Party pre-selecting an 18 year old for the next election.”

    I suspect that pre-selection was by invitation. As you point out Roberts the local member has an 18% margin and that has been widened (slightly) by the latest distribution.

    ” one of the most important careers in our country – lawmaker”

    Members of Parliament don’t actually frame the laws. Tis beyond their ‘competence’. They (including Ministers) rely on Parliamentary Counsel to actually provide the words and most importantly provide advice on what those words ‘might’ mean in a legal sense.

    I say ‘might mean’ because it’s up to the Courts to give meaning to those words. In Australia, we have a Separation of Powers. You may recall, Joh didn’t know what that concept was.

    Ministers usually have to go through a lengthy Cabinet process before legislation can be introduced. The Premier and the ‘inner cabinet’ decide the general policy direction. Backbenchers, by and large, are there to make up the numbers and vote as they are told by their respective parties. They don’t make laws. That’s a myth.

    Parliamentary Cousel advise on the implications of Amendments as well.

    As for the role of MPs, they are many and varied. But for the purposes of this discussion I will confine my contribution to the roles played by Ministers. The Minister is usually in a ‘relationship’ and therefore is likely to have a partner; likey to have children. The personal social obligations should never be ignored.

    As a Minister, he/she is a Member of Cabinet and therefore must consider all legislation even if its outside one’s portfolio. A Minister is also a member of a Party, a faction, a Local Member, Chair of a Party Committee and so on. TB your list of ‘competenices’ is in addition to these responsibilities.

    As Minister, he/she must have interests that go beyond the ‘rational’ and placate or incorporate diverse views into some type of settlement ( albeit) somewhat temporary. Enough!

    “anyone can be a politician”

    True! But it’s a work of art to be a successful one, particularly if it’s not a safe seat.

  9. Instead of congratulating TB on an excellent post I’m more encouraged to say “great to see you back mate”.

    I was worried that you might have slipped quietly out of the blogosphere.

    Did I just say “slipped quietly out of the blogosphere”?

    TB? Not likely.

  10. Adrian,

    Just how are they supposed to be anything but a shifty pollie with the current media being the way it is?

    You give the media far too much credit, Adrian.

    Our politicians are much too much inclined to shiftiness, without having to rely on the mass-media for inspiration. (Particularly the Canberra press gallery , of course, who have it in thseeir DNA to travel the path of least resistance, wherever humanly possible.).

  11. Adrian of Nowra, on January 13th, 2009 at 8:13 pm Said:


    How much are the media to blame for that Mac?

    Adrian, I was dreaming – I did say I was being idealistic and not realistic Lol wink

  12. By the way TB welcome back and great post .

    Hope you like my sexy body

  13. Nature 5 at 8:23,

    I’m with TB. I’m happy to refer to our MPs as lawmakers.

  14. “How much are the media to blame for that Mac?”

    A good question. But a better one might be:

    “How much are WE to blame for that?”

    A quote from Saul:

    “People become so obsessed by hating government that they forget it is meant to be their government and is the only powerful public force that have purchase on. — John Ralston Saul The Unconscious Civilization

    Don’t give up on the ONLY real power we have in a democracy.

  15. Allow me me be the first to point out that the comment at 8:29 is devoid of meaning.

    /another drink? don’t mind if I do.

  16. What do we expect of our politicians?

    For the last decade, I’ve expected nothing less than self-absorbed, self-righteous, shallow mediocrity, as befits a “lucky country”.

    It’s been delivered in spades, and I expect nothing will change in any great hurry.

    After all, we have sport to sate our most urgent desires… what on earth would we do with brains, intelligence, imagination or creativity?

    Sell it, most probably.

  17. TOSY

    “I’m happy to refer to our MPs as lawmakers.”

    Well technically that is correct. They do vote. But I simply point out Tony that statement masks a brutal reality. Tis a childish myth that has (probably) too much currency to be unmasked.

    Care to point to an individual MP who can truthfully say: I drafted that Law or Amendment and did it on my Pat Malone?

    Perhaps you can identify a powerful Independent who actually achieved anything in the Legislative sense.?

    At best. individual MPs are mosr powerful when there is a ‘free or conscience vote’ and we don’t jave too many of them.

  18. Nature 5

    it is probably this sentence I have the most trouble with:

    I say ‘might mean’ because it’s up to the Courts to give meaning to those words.

    The way I see it: it is up to the courts to examine the intention of parliament when particular laws were enacted – not the other way around.

  19. Buggar! I’ve just been invited out to dinner up the road!

    Thanks for the welcome backs (welcomes back?) whatever…

    Will come back ASAP (the second coming back?)

    Want to analyse N5’s analysis (just jokin’ looks technically right) but would like to expand…but see the discussion has begun with ToSY…

    BTW, sreb, thanks!

  20. TOSY

    “The way I see it: it is up to the courts to examine the intention of parliament when particular laws were enacted ”

    And they do that. The ‘court’ not only looks at the words in the legislation but also the debate that’s part of the legislative process. The debate can clarify the ‘intention’ but the debate can also ‘cloud’ the intention. In which case the judge’s ‘common sense’ and his/her understanding of same comes into play. And as we all know, ‘common sense’ has a significant ideological component.

    We also know that ‘judicial activism’ is alive and well in Australia and in many other democracies. All political parties are keen to ‘stack’ benches so that their ideological or political position is aided and abetted.

    At the moment, the Rodent’s ‘judicial stack’ is quite significant and will last for many. many years.

    Be interested in yours and TB’b further comments.

  21. Nature5

    “People become so obsessed by hating government that they forget it is meant to be their government and is the only powerful public force that have purchase on. — John Ralston Saul The Unconscious Civilization

    Very true. Hence my point about a clearer commitment to articulating ideology . What do our politicians stand for and does it reflect in their behaviour? Why don’t so many walk the walk like they talk the talk? To quote Ross “For the last decade, I’ve expected nothing less than self-absorbed, self-righteous, shallow mediocrity, as befits a “lucky country”.”

    “If we don’t stand for something, we may fall for anything.”

    Malcolm X

  22. John:

    “Hence my point about a clearer commitment to articulating ideology”

    John, I think the average punter would run a mile if words like ‘ideology’ even entered the everyday discussion. ‘Ideology’ is for the bad guys! Us ‘good guys’ are always about truth-telling. Lol.

    “What do our politicians stand for ”

    By and large they, at the most basic level, want to be re-elected. No good standing for ‘ideals’ if you aren’t there. Most politicians understand that in much the same manner that employees know that the boss is right. (Even when wrong!)

    But back to the thread. It’s no good defining ‘competencies’ unless one understands what roles they play. And in my opinion that’s not really understood.

    The fact is that ‘backbenchers’ are sheep when it comes to the legislative process. As for ‘helping’ people with particular problems, they (or at least their electoral secretaries) have a significant role to play.

    ‘Lawmakers’ they are not – except in a technical sense. Simply puppets on a string.

  23. Pre-selecting an 18 year-old?

    That’s one way to pitch for Da Yoof vote, I suppose, but it’s not gonna appeal much to any voter old enough to have completed High School.

    How are they going to discipline him if (like a lot of kids) he gets too pissed and high at last night’s rave to be bothered turning-up to Parliament the next day, perhaps missing some crucial Parliamentary vote?Ground him for a week? Take-away his Sega privileges?

    Cut his allowance perhaps?

    I’ve got nothing against raves or getting pissed and high. Lord knows, I’ve had my share.

    I just can’t see people copping some kid on a seratonin-starved post-rave speed-downer trying to make laws for the better governance of the land.

  24. Nature5

    ‘Simply puppets on a string.’

    And the media don’t help clarify the truth by pursuing it without fear or favour.

  25. (Note: The Liberal National Party {LNP} is the new “conservative coalition” in Queensland…)

    Seems they don’t like to actually say Liberal National Party out loud for fear of it being a vote loser – so it’s the new LNP party or ‘conservative coalition’. Shhh, don’t let the secret out!

    He must be an extremely mature 18yo is all I can say. Puts a whole new meaning to buying your kid the career that he wants – just buy the pineapple party!

  26. Our alleged politicians would fit right in with Al Capone and his team. Perhaps our alleged politicians would make big Al a little embarrassed at their behaviour.

  27. How much are the media to blame ?. Plenty.

    However I still manitain that people are responsible for their own actions and as result the medai should have no influenece on an MPs conscience or moral standing or decision making no matter how they are portrayed.

    La La Land ? possibly, but should we give into the media we will have nothing but sensationalist stories of dubious integrity being believed without question. These stories also being used for the Medias own agenda.

    Despite the Media screaming all the time about censorship and their rights, the media already censor us themselves. Try blogging with facts to Piers Akermans site. Try blogging with facts to News Limited. The media are the biggest censors on the planet and once again to achieve their own agenda. They will not accept criticism of themselves.

  28. Shane

    And that may be where the balance of power with the media is changing. As the internet and blogosphere evolves, more people will be able to get stories and opinions out. Of course, there will be rubbish, but overall the quality is good.

    The more people that interact the better it will be for democracy.

  29. joni

    While I agree with you on some level. What I seem to have witnessed over the years is the concentration of media outlets being taken over by larger and larger conglomorates who exist solely for sheareholder wealth and CEO greed.

    Gone are the days of the independently owned local newspaper with truth and unbiased reporting. Most of the little town newspapaers have also been swallowed up, even the Maleny Range News is now owned by a media company on the coast.

    In, are the megamedia empires reporting bias stories to achieve their own aims of media domination and profit.

    Problem is our Governments have been coerced into permitting this to happen, or maybe they have even approved the takeovers so the could manipulate a concentrated media themselves.

    Ever notice how corrections and apologies are in tiny obscure places. As far as I am concerned if the Media is found guilty of lies or defamation the retraction should be front page news in headlines, just like the lies or defamation they reported in the first place.

  30. Shane

    I agree 100% on the loss of small independent media – which is why we need to be active at a personal level to get the stories out.

  31. Yo TB……………………..That is a full on sick article……………………Yo da marn !

    C U L8TR

  32. The more people that interact the better it will be for democracy. joni

    Do you really think we made a difference at Blogocracy during the election?

    As I’ve said before The Robber Barons are alive and well…control the media, control the money (banks), control consumer products, control sport and recreation, control the political parties (who enact the laws) via individual politicians and your pretty well in business to influence vox populi

    N5 re: lawmaker – your comments above are absolutely technically correct, so are ToSY’s. In summary:

    – the government decides what laws

    – Public Servants advise and draw up the laws – Actst/Regs/Codes of Practice

    – The Minister in Cabinet revise the laws

    – parliament {politicians} debate-amend-enact

    – Public Servants enforce the laws (eg police, fire, health, education)

    – the judiciary and legal system define, interpret and apply the law

    However, all of the above happens because laws are deemed necessary (or not) by politicians (hopefully) listening to thier constituents and advising the government of the day.

    Many politicians would be unaware of the power they hold with regard to lawmaking and that was the point I attempted to make in the post.

    Eg although I don’t particularly “like” Barnaby Joyce, however, he appears to be an exception and gives the appearance of at least, of weighing the substance of many issues…before casting his vote.

    It often amazes me that given a “conscience” vote many politicians still vote on “religious” grounds rather than “the wishes of the people”. (eg euthanasia)

    As for lawmakers in the true sense of the word – no – they are not competent…I have had to explain the ambiguity of clauses in H&S legislation on more than one occasion to ministers of the crown.

    Having had some personal experience with the Admin Appeals Tribunal and Comcare Defence Compensation legislation I can assure you that that legislation is designed to deny a fair outcome for injured or sick diggers…a law enacted by politicians of all persuasions…the pity is, most of them will be unaware…

    Politicians in most states have removed, by legislation, any recourse to Common Law action in the case of workplace injury – “to reduce costs”

    Getting back to the original post – an 18 year old without some life background would have no difficulty passing draconian laws (wouldn’t understand the impact on the population) – but then what would be different – do our present politicians have compassion for people in our society today – maybe an 18 year would be more objective…or could be influenced by his/her grandparents (no, scratch that last, I’ve got a 17 year old g/son!) 😆

  33. I Am The Walrus, on January 14th, 2009 at 10:21 am

    In both senses, hey, ‘bro boy!

  34. TB

    I don’t know if we did make a difference, but I think that groups like GetUp certainly did.

  35. TB

    We all make a difference simply by voting.

  36. do our present politicians have compassion for people in our society today – maybe an 18 year would be more objective

    I have trouble believing that an 18yo in the National Party led conservative coalition will be able to do or say anything without party approval. He might come up with some great and innovative ideas – but would the stalwarts accept them? Away from the public and the media – would he even be taken seriously by his own party?

    …maybe an 18 year would be more objective…or could be influenced by his/her grandparents filthy rich father.

  37. “oh! and TB for PM”

    Yes, well I suppose he has demonstrated he shares one quality with our former PM, so why not.

  38. kittylitter, on January 14th, 2009 at 10:45 am

    “…or could be influenced by his/her grandparents filthy rich father.”

    LOL! Absolutely – own and control!

  39. tb queensland, on January 14th, 2009 at 10:24 am Said:

    ” an 18 year old without some life background would have no difficulty passing draconian laws”

    Palmer was ‘given’ the pre-selection because the seat is unwinnable for the LNP. So we are engaged in a hypothetical, are we not?

    In that vein, why shouldn’t we have 18 year olds in Parliament, because they are ‘representative of a significant number in the community’ are they not?

    As for:

    “listening to their constituents and advising”

    In my experience, legislation and changes to same usually come about because of ‘organisations’ exerting pressure (whether that be worker unions, business unions, Boards, interest groups and the like)’.

    Politicians may ‘listen’ to individual constituents but usually act only when groups or organisations make representations.

  40. N5
    I guess it’s who he listens and learns from isn’t it? I see his preselection as a ‘learning curve’ or apprenticeship. I’m sure an 18yo has something to offer the young voters, but is this privileged teenager representative of many of them? eg Malcolm Turnbull and his ‘I grew up in a rented flat.’

    The National Party have taken over the Qld Libs and there is no way I could ever vote for a National Party candidate, however youthful or inspiring. To me, it’s not who he is (though there is a question as to the influence of his father) more who he has aligned himself with.

  41. kittylitter:

    “more who he has aligned himself with.”

    The lad is somewhat confused. Of recent times he worked for US Senator Ted Kennedy.

    But I stress again, young Palmer is contesting the unwinnable seat of Nudgee. In the last election, Minister Neil Roberts won every booth.

    What will be interesting here in QLD will be the post-election blood-letting (assuming the LNP are unsuccessful and that’s highly likely). The newly formed LNP will be rent asunder. Look for Mal Brough to re-emerge to lead the Liberals to even greater heights while the Nats send the Borg to the retirement village for the second time. Lol.

  42. Look for Mal Brough to re-emerge
    Nature 5, on January 14th, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Yes! Very popular in QLD…as I’m sure you are aware!

  43. tb

    Completely agree Mal Brough needs to re-emerge as I have genuine respect for that man.

  44. Tb..just a question. If Mal Brough is so popular in Qld, then why did he lose his seat at the last election? This was one of the surprises of the last election. High profile, a take charge sort of person..yet he lost. The only thing that I can think of is that his electorate know better than the rest of us. Conclusion, if Brough decides to re-enter the fray, then it will be in a different electorate.

  45. MIn

    I truly think that at elections, there are at times, unintended consequences.

    I believe the defeat of Mal was one of those consequences. People wanted to get rid of Howard and to do this they had to sacrifice their member.

    I think if he seeks re-election in the same electorate he will more than likely be re-elected.

  46. Perhaps this 18 year old could surprise us. I know nothing about him, maybe he spent his gap year doing volunteer work in a 3rd World country? However, if it’s straight from high school to politician, then this young man’s pre-selection is indeed a joke.

  47. Not sure shane. Brough’s former electorate of Longman isn’t exactly known for it’s radical views (eg a number of retirement settlements including Bribie Island and Beachmere) and yet Brough lost decisively.

    Me thinks that the good residents of the Longman electorate really really meant it when they turfed Brough. This was safe Liberal in ’04 yet Brough lost it (in spite of his high profile) in ’07.

    This isn’t to say that I don’t have high regard for Brough as I think that he was one of the up and coming talents for the Liberal Party. At very least he was a hard worker although I think quite a number of people have been put off by his military ‘efficiency’.

  48. The only thing that I can think of is that his electorate know better than the rest of us. Conclusion, if Brough decides to re-enter the fray, then it will be in a different electorate.

    I thought it was Brough’s own policies that lost it for him. Remember the policies which targeted single mothers (favouring of non-custodial parent for child support = less income and if you’re on benefits, it’s welfare to work) and the aboriginal takeover (using the s-xual abuse of children for your own personal/political gain).

    How many single parent families are there?

    And different, non-devisive policies from mal. The electorate rejected him with a swing of 11%.,/a>

    “Across the state, Queenslanders registered an eight percent swing against the Howard government. But in Longman, the swing against Brough was almost 11 percent. Even worse, of the 29 seats up for grabs in Queensland, only three recorded swings to Labor above 11 percent, and two of those were in seats where the sitting Coalition member had retired.”

  49. TB

    “Yes! Very popular in QLD…as I’m sure you are aware!”

    TB I’ll take it you are being sarcastic. Lol.

    Brough, despite his high profile as a Minister leading the rescue of Aboriginal children, lost his seat to Jon Sullivan who had a previous life as a unremarkable State Member. In total, he had a 10% swing against him – nearly 7% on the primary vote alone. BTW, since the election Sullivan has maintained his ‘low-profile’ stance. The Invisible Man.

    He won the Presidency of the Liberal Party only to see the members abandon him in his hour of need. I will always remember the lone figure of Brough descending the stairs at morning tea on the first day of the first LNP meeting. Fleeing without an apparent friend in the world.

    But the Liberals will be desperate and Brough MAY be seen as the one power-broker who didn’t want to be taken over by the Palmer owned National Party,

  50. sorry, i cant seem to ‘get’ the blockquote thing in this new theme, when i tag for blockquote, i get the whole thing as a hyperlink.

    What am I doing wrong?

  51. Min:

    “However, if it’s straight from high school to politician”

    Min his only connection to the seat of Nudgee is that he went to Nudgee College. He probably doesn’t yet realise that the students can only vote for prefects and the like and not for him in the big world.

  52. Apparently, (I haven’t verified it) he doesn’t live in the electorate either, whereas Neil Roberts does.

  53. Nature 5, well at least it will help to fill in his gap year…

    And thank you Kittyl these were the stats that I had been hunting for. I recall that there was a higher swing against Brough than per normal so much so that our good friend Antony Green wasn’t paying much attention to this seat (but couldn’t find it). There was even some suggestion that there would be a swing towards Brough; however he got done like a dinner.

  54. I am very supportive of his actions regarding aboriginal communities. He was the most genuine in trying to do something about the violence and destruction of these communities. Obviously I may be in the minority on this blogsite regarding this matter.

  55. Not at all shane. Very obviously the indigenous problem is extreme but I don’t know that sending in the troops was a solution to the problem. Try for starters a safe water supply, competant well trained teachers and health professionals, not having to wait for 6 months to have your garbage collected, not having to wait for months for reconnection of electricity supply. Having safe houses for victims of abuse.

    Punishment as per Brough does not work, but empowerment of the victims does. I hope that this last one doesn’t sound too ’60’s.

  56. Shane

    I did not have a problem with Mal’s sincerity or anything like that, just with the methods that were applied.

    I think he is a sad loss to federal politics.

  57. MIn

    Before reading this remember I have wonderful indiginous friends who I love dearly throughout country NSW and agree with me on many of the following issues.

    After working for many years in country NSW towns containing substantial aboriginal communities I have witnessed first hand the degradation of aboriginal communities and their living standards and have commented on this before.

    While governments can throw money at problems, I witnessed the violence, abuse, threats and social disintegration within their own communities through no fault of government. Towns where the indiginous population prefer to drink and smoke and inject away their benefits than pay their rates resulting in the council almost going under due to the lack of revenue. And as always it is the governments fault.

    I witnessed beautiful brick homes destroyed from within. Degradation of towns through lack of repairs and maintenance as the council cannot collect rates or fees or charges as these are ignored.

    Min if you are a councillor and 80% of your population is indiginous and only 50% of those pays their rates how does the town provide safe water supply, attract teachers and health professionals, clear garbage.

    As for victims of abuse, the locals should organise safe houses themselves the same as neighbourhood watch. There are answers they can do themselves. They also need to stand up and take some ownership

  58. And Shane, my grand-daughter’s other granny is full blood Torres Strait Islander.

    Ok..I’ve been a Shire Councilor. If only 50% of residents pay their rates, does this mean that Council has no responsibility re garbage collection?

    If residents fail to pay their electricity bills does this mean that other residents who do have to wait months following power outages?

    I can just imagine if it was downtown Tweed Heads..only 50% of people pay their rates and so we’re not going to collect your garbage.

    It is not up to locals to provide Safe Houses but the responsibility of government welfare authorities.

    I know that many communities, especially the women have tried to establish safe houses only to be traumatised by men. Without backup from authorities then all the efforts from the women equals little.

  59. MIn I agree on some aspects

    I have friends in Mackay who are full blood Torres Strait Islanders. She scared the absolute crap out of me one day, but that is another story for a comedy segment.

    Why is it the responsibility of government and welfare agencies to provide safe houses.?

    When does government responsibility end and our own responsibility begin.

    Regarding electricity of course those who pay their bills should receive service. But you were commenting on many of the services provided by a council and if it cannot collect rates it cannot provide the services. Do you think the garbos will collect the garbage for free ?

    If 50% of the people in Tweed Heads did not pay their rates then that council would go under as well Min.

    I know many of the women have tried as well and with Mal sending in people to start taking control was one of the first things to protect women and children.

    I also know non indiginous people who go looking for fights with any government agency and blame everyone for everything but themselves.

  60. And so Shane, what do you think is the solution to the problem? I was thinking, restoring houses, an adequate water supply etc.

    I personally think that Aboriginal communities have been hard done by, receiving far inferior standards than would be acceptable in predominantly white outback communities. For example..a predominantly white outback community still has their garbage collected irrespective of how many people pay their rates.

    Yes I agree, that the people do need to be responsible for all of this themselves. But where to start?

  61. With apologies..way off topic re some 18yr old son of a squillionaire receiving pre-selection.

  62. Min yes we are way off topic.

    I don’t know the answer but I have witnessed the money being thrown at problems for years under three previous governments before Rudd with absolutely no result. Min a predominantly white outback community would not have its garbage collected if rates were not paid. That is incorrect, it would not be collected as the workers would not do it for free.

    As hasrsh as it is I suggest we start with the banning of alcohol in these communities for ALL. If the community cannot solve the problem, take action, not just lip service. We have rules for many other things becuase people cannot be trusted to do the right thing so why not rules for those things that are destroying our communities. This is where i agree with heavy handed action.

  63. re: on topic.

    Don’t worry too much that you are off topic. It is still very relevant and important.

  64. If he’s only 18, his main concerns will probably be where his next shag is coming from and getting pissed.

    Maybe there could be an opening for him working with John Della Bosca and Belinda Neal..?

  65. While we are on the case of the Palmers, I wonder if anyone knows what happened to the monies promised by Clive:

    “A Queensland mining entrepreneur has pledged to donate millions of dollars in mining royalties to improve Aboriginal communities in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.”

    Let me guess – ‘the cheque is in the mail’.

    “Mr Palmer says the company is setting up a charitable foundation”

    Happened yet? Lol.

  66. Nature 5

    So true lots of empty promises.

  67. Shane..oh indeed other communities have had their garbage collected with only a 50% payment of rates. And I’m donning my hat as a former Shire Councillor and State Rep re recycling.

    I am opposed to banning alcohol as this just sends the problem elsewhere. I would start with limiting alcohol as per Cairns.

    My concern is that to date there has been little other than punitive action – stop ’em gettin’ food, stop ’em cashin’ in their welfare but very little positive action.

    I think that this must be done in tandem – repair the water supplies – stop the whities cashing in by charging $10.00 for a punnet of strawberries and a clutch of grapes.

    I honestly don’t think that it’s possible for people to be empowered when they have no reliable resources, even just water, garbage and electricity.

  68. Min

    So who paid the garbos, how did the council cover all its costs when I am fully aware of the budgets council are required to undertake on projected revenue before costing services.

    If I only got paid 50% of what I budgeted for then things would have to stop thats for sure.

    Oh boy I certainly agree about stopping the whites cashing in and banning alcohol would stop whites cashing in, in a big way as the hotels are owned by whites and their companies. Whites charge a fortune in supermarkets and that should be investigated.

    I am fully aware of hotels keeping ATM cards and passbooks until pensions days and going down with signed withdrawals or pin numbers to the banks and drawing out money for grog sold the week before, so not only are they taking the money for that week they are keeping the population 2 weeks in arrears by forward selling.

    If the problem moves then ban it in the next town. Reducing sale of alcohol creates a situation where those who have not obtained their quota will be bashed into submission to go and purchase it. This happens now without limited sales. This is why I am in favour of a portion of welfare being paid NON cash. That portion cannot be taken by bashing the partner or children.

    Yes repair the water supplies but then hold the population to account for any further damage to the repaired water supplies. Same as the houses, hold people responsible for maintaining what they live in.

    Brick houses being built and then utterly destroyed in 5 years is just not acceptable from anybody. If you are given a house to live in courtesy of the government anywhere in this country then you look after it I don’t care who you are. If not then you are evicted, no ifs or buts.

  69. joni, on January 14th, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Agree, joni, just read the dialogue between Min and Shane. Diverse but quite relevant I think.

    N5, I wasn’t being sarcastic about Brough, (unusual I know), I move in both Labor and Liberal circles (we all know each others politics) and Brough seems to have some resepect in both camps (anecdotal I know and flies in the face of stats). he may just be the “new face, new philosophy” needed to provide us with a decent Opposition/alternative government.

    In many ways I feel sorry for Springborg – he’s a trier but somehow he just ain’t got it, .

    I am inclined to agree that Brough lost his seat, in Bribie particularly, because of a strong campaign against Howard.

    Let’s face it, my local Federal member is just a nodding head behind the Government Box, sorry, Yvette, but we DID get rid of John Howard & The Private School Bullies!

    Off Topic (slightly)

    I’ve just spent the last six hours putting in eleven rock, stepping stones around the pond (The Minister is called The Frog Lady locally) with the help of my 15 and 17 yo g/sons…

    … we discussed a number of topics as we worked including blogging (the eldest blogs too)…

    …as for an 18 yo politician – they both thought that was hilarious…

    …but I liked the advice my eldest gave me, “Granda, never feed the trolls…”

    The meaning of life is just within my grasp, I reckon… 😆 LG!

  70. What do we expect of our politicians??

    They should be predictable, loyal and trustworthy; therefore most dogs would make better politicians. Woof.

  71. Shane. Yes I agree about the problems, but what are the solutions?

    Shane, who pays for pruning the street trees? Some people prune their street trees, but the majority do not.

    This is one of the difficulties of local government. X revenue but you still have to provide the services.

    You cannot just stop collecting garbage because of a failure of residents to keep up to date with their rates.

    And yet we have indigenous communties where this has/is happening.

    Must choof, hubby is home. Ye olde chicken kiev with garlic new baby potatoes (yes even more garlic), carrot and sparrow grass.

  72. Nature 5, on January 14th, 2009 at 4:21 pm Said:

    “Mr Palmer says the company is setting up a charitable foundation”

    There are several reasons why a wealthy individual might establish a charitable foundation, some of which have little to do with the business of charity:

    Why would I establish a charitable foundation?

    You may consider making a contribution to the community through the establishment of a charitable foundation where:

    •Your financial and taxation circumstances have changed, such as a recent or proposed sale of a business, or your income has increased substantially.
    •You have received an inheritance or have funds available and wish to create a lasting legacy.
    •You wish to begin or continue making a contribution to the community but in a way that allows you greater control over the direction of your giving strategy.
    •You would benefit from the ability to claim a tax deduction for initial and ongoing donations.

    In addition to those reasons, the benefactor could retain full control of all funds tranferred to the foundation.

    The foundation might even decide to employ the benefactor’s relatives, as administrators, for example. Those administrators would probably need cars, offices, computers, and so on, in order to perform their duties. Such necessities would naturally be provided by the employer – the charitable foundation.

    Any charitable donations made by the foundation could be limited to all or part of any interest or dividends earned, leaving the initial funds intact.

    *Please note: I am not questioning the good intentions of Pat Rafter, or those of his family, or of anyone else connected to any other charitable foundation, but merely pointing out certain facts in relation to possible side-benefits in establishing these kinds of foundations.

  73. *You will need to click on ‘contact us’ at the second link in my previous comment for an illustration of the point I was making.*

  74. Tony of South Yarra, on January 14th, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    I guess the *Please Note, also applies to Bill Gates, Dick Smith and any number of celebrities who “do charitable – things”. Just another sign of “free market” manipulation, perhaps?

  75. Yes, all of them. And Shane Warne, Dick Pratt etc etc

  76. TOSY, I am truly shocked. You mean people like Pat Rafter and Glen McGrath aren’t pure as the driven snow? Who would have thought? You mean these Trusts are tax loopholes. As I recall, Treasury advised Tip to close same but he refused. One wonders why. Indeed one wonders why Labor has not moved to close. We can only live in hope.

    But back to the topic at hand.

    Personally, I wouldn’t vote for an 18 year old in a State or Federal election and I resent political parties who make those endorsements. It is an insult!

    I also don’t given much weight to their opinions generally, except when it comes to understanding how youth think. The ‘what’ of the thinking not the ‘why’. I, for example, would not seek out the opinions of youth as a guide to my behaviour or the way I think. While my grandchildren offer opinions I don’t treat them seriously when compared to more mature points of view,

    As for Capt’n Brough, he was popular with the MSM because he was always prepared to provide good copy. Capt’n Brough the man of action. Very much like Steve Irwin. Even prepared to ‘don’ a uniform.

    But his judgement let him down. He forgot about rule No 1 for politicians – You have to be elected if you want to have a say.

    Once upon a time, (lol) I employed a bloody good journalist who subsequently went to work for a state Minister then Borbidge, Brough and Springborg. He had a higher opinion of Springborg than the others.

    Springborg’s problem is that the Nats have outlived their times. They are not coming back anytime soon.

  77. joni, on January 14th, 2009 at 10:30 am Said:


    I don’t know if we did make a difference, but I think that groups like GetUp certainly did.

    Which is why The Libs through their new MP Jamie Briggs, have started a campaign against ‘third party funding’. They are incensed that organisations like GetUp can accept donations to oppose the Liberal Party. They want capped funding and disclosure of donors (which as Norton explains, Briggs has failed to notice that the info is already provided to the AEC).

    Liberals still trying to get at NGOs (Andrew Norton)

    “…But I fail to see how people getting involved in politics can be a cancer on our democracy, unless they are aiming to overthrow our democracy, which clearly the groups that seem to pre-occupy Briggs – GetUp! and the ACTU – are not. All they are doing is opposing the Liberal Party, which may be frustrating and annoying to a Liberal MP, but is of no systemic concern…”

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