Politics, money and sport – Queensland style

My Queensland ferret, who calls himself an ALP offsider, refers to them as the Victorian AFL diaspora. These Southern immigrants follow the alien form of football but live in that Rugby League dominated State. Many are economic migrants who followed the mining and other booms North over the last forty years or so. Many others are retirees, in their place in the sun.

The famous Gold Coast, centred on Surfers Paradise, is their epicentre. These heathens helped to make the Brisbane Lions AFL premiers 3 years in a row. They are now waiting to have their own team in an upgraded stadium at Carrara.

So what’s the connection with the State election on Saturday? Well, the government support helping the stadium with $60 million but the leader of the Opposition, Lawrence Springborg, is strongly opposed. You don’t find many Aussie Rules fans in his traditional rural and regional heartland.

… Liberal National Party (LNP) Leader Lawrence Springborg conceding he may have lost some votes on the Gold Coast.

Mr Springborg says he supports having an AFL team on the Gold Coast, but says upgrading a stadium is not as important as other issues.
Health more important than football stadium, Springborg says

It could be his political health that’s threatened if the election is as close as the polls are predicting. Government will be won or lost in the South East. The recent elections in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory showed how important a handful of votes can be.

Crikey looked at this issue a week ago (in Free Mode) but it’s had little coverage since:

As Mudgeeraba Labor MP Di Reilly, sitting on a margin of just 2.7%, remarks with some understatement in today’s Gold Coast Bulletin: “this is a gift that goes on giving”.
Carrara stadium funding political football raining goals for ALP

The oil spill on the other holiday/retirement coast has been a bit of a distractor. Gave new life to the old cliché about a week in politics.

Meanwhile an interesting and related sideshow has been taking place. After dining with Barack Obama at Teddy Kennedy’s birthday party, Queensland’s wealthiest man has been in the news:

CLIVE Palmer has poured his first dollars into the LNP in a late boost to the Opposition’s campaign to bring down the Bligh Government.
In the same week that he dined with US President Barack Obama, Mr Palmer made his first donation to the LNP since it was formed from the merger of the Nationals and Liberals last August.
Tycoon Clive Palmer donates to LNP in campaign push

Yesterday Palmer’s son Michael was ejected from a public place:

Liberal National Party candidate Michael Palmer was today asked to leave Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall after he was spotted handing out election flyers.
Teen candidate learns the hard way

Apparently the nineteen year old was distributing leaflets against the government funding of the stadium. The safe Labor seat he’s contesting is not on the Gold Coast.

With Queensland’s use of optional preferential voting, the administrators of the Australian Football League may have a tense wait while the votes are counted.

P.S. Apologies to the architects of the amalgamated party. I keep reversing the name. Too many years of the Country Liberal Party in the NT. The ghost of Joh Bjelke Petersen still lingers. I preferred the simpler days when his Country Party was running everything up North. We knew who the enemy were then.


30 Responses

  1. The stadium announcement tells me Ms Bligh is well-versed in the dark art of pork-barrelling. Not to mention the kindergartens:

    PREMIER Anna Bligh has been accused of pork barrelling marginal Labor electorates after promising several new kindergartens for government seats.

    Ms Bligh yesterday insisted it was simply a coincidence that every one of the first eight kindergartens to be built by 2010 were in Labor electorates, half of which were marginals under threat from the Liberal National Party.

  2. After dining with Barack Obama at Teddy Kennedy’s birthday party,

    Really? Dined with Obama? Gee he must be important. The truth is that there were something like 2 200 guests.


    Palmer just likes to big-note himself. And the reason for the ‘late’ donation is that disclosure doesn’t have to be made for two weeks which will be AFTER the election. Yes folks, the Nats haven’t changed at all.

    Palmer of course was expelled from the Liberal Party years ago (branch stacking) so when he bought the National Party he funded the takeover the Liberal Party as well. Sweet revenge.

    Only in Queensland.

  3. I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that for the good people of Beaudesert that the Qld election is revolving around the issue of whether Ms Hanson’s navel is an inny or an outie.

    http://www.livenews.com.au/Articles/2009/03/16/Theyre_her_Sunday_Telegraph_editor_stands_by_Pauline_Hanson_nude_snaps The belly button proves it: Pauline Hanson’s navel challenge

  4. I preferred the simpler days when his Country Party was running everything up North. We knew who the enemy were then.


    I prefer any time that the CP weren’t “running” anything – as for JBP – I wait patiently for the Underbelly series of his reign of corruption, cronyism and police state mentality – some of us lived through the Joh & Flo Show…and to top it off the bastard was another Kiwi!

    I met Joh twice and inwardly squirmed both times (the second time I refused to shake his hand and got blasted by my boss)…he was religious belt evil!

    As for the election Saturday…The Borg is a dork of the most dangerous kind (ie easily led, particularly by the likes of Palmer). Anna is a tryer but is struggling with the election…

    I had to laugh the other night when some current affars show interviewed a bunch of golfers at an Indooroopilly Golf Club in the middle of the afternoon – guess which party 99% supported…

    …one of the interviewees screeched about the “massive” deficit and “its just gone, where! …we have nothing to show for it!”…

    Well, she oughta get out a bit more and check out the capital works trundling out all over Brisbane…

    … just one project the Northern Link roadway to the Airport – will employ over 10,000 in the next two years…
    (Lutwyche a Northern suburban shopping centre has been virtually wiped out for the tunnel entrance)…

    …and the dams now have almost 47% in them and she will be used to the water restictions, so she will have forgotten (if she ever knew) the pipelines, the desal plant (g’day Min!) and the pumping stations…

    …the ignorance of some people constantly astounds me…

    I still think the ALP will get over the line – but only just – and they do need a wake up call – (eg. the Health Department needs a toe-cutter to go through it and get rid of all the little pockets of power and corruption…none of the Ministers so far have had the balls or the intelligence to tackle them!

  5. oops! ???

    joni: fixed.

  6. “I was unaware I was doing anything wrong.”

    Yeah, sure he was, they just don’t believe the same rules apply to them do they?

    and they do need a wake up call – (eg. the Health Department needs a toe-cutter to go through it and get rid of all the little pockets of power and corruption…none of the Ministers so far have had the balls or the intelligence to tackle them!

    For sure TB, Qld. Health needs a huge shake up like the one they promised after the last review and has never eventuated – why not? The culture and practices remain the same.

  7. Tony

    I only have one name of a politician that didn’t pork barrel and sadly he is now deceased. Peter Andren.

    The rest are all porkbarrelers.

  8. What about a compromise? Why not build a new hospital on the GC and have a footie field in the basement of the hospital. At about 6:30pm on a Saturday night all the hospital beds are pushed to one side and the whole hospital separates into two halves just like breaking open a loaf of bread. The footie field is then raised into position. White flags and lab coats are given to some of the nurses and they morph into goal umpires. Some of the doctors could morph into umpires. The team “The Gold Coast Medicos” would be sponsored by the hospital with gate taking being poured into the running of the hospital. Dr Death would be the patron of the footie club and he could also double as a surgeon (Gee, thanks Mr Beattie for the doctor’s wonderful talents). It’s a stunning formula for success.

  9. Stephan, the stunning thing is that Australia has trained so few medical professionals over the past decade that we need to import them.

  10. Stephan, on March 17th, 2009 at 2:43 pm Said:

    Why not build a new hospital on the GC

    That’s what Labor will do. It’s inside the grounds of the University and this is one promise that will proceed but because some people don’t want to see the old hospital closed, Springborg has promised to keep it open.

    Shades of Howard at the last election.

  11. Min, maybe we shouldn’t have sent that AUD$2.5 billion to Indonesia. Looks like it might have done more good training our future doctors.

    If we must import them how ’bout we bring in a few that can actually be understood when they speak. Two cases for you: case A was on the phone to me yesterday saying that he gave up trying to understand his ‘doctor’ (more like a witch doctor the caller said) and drove in excess of 100k to visit his previous doctor in the Camden/Campbelltown area; case B involves a form to be completed by DVA patients and invites comments…my friend wrote that it would be nice if a few nurses were hired that you could understand.

    People working in the health care system who can’t be understood is not good for patient care.

  12. Min, on March 17th, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    And what a good deal that is. They produce them in batches for next to nix over thar, then we re-badge their trained personnel as the perfect solution to our skills shortage over har, thereby draining skills away from developing countries with higher needs, but less money, than us.

  13. Yep Stephan spot on. We should be training our own.

    Now re squillions to Indonesia, we do have our international obligations. I don’t believe that there is a direct relationship between training our own kids to become doctors and nurses and providing international aid.

    You are suggesting that because we do not train our own kids is a direct result of providing international aid.

    If you want to understand people with other accents, then you need to open your ears.

    My previous GP is Indian, lived in Australia for over 25 years and spent every 2nd weekend doing volunteer work, home visits to the elderly. His accent is as thick as a brick. But then my Irish dentist’s accent is likewise as thick as a brick.

    I appreciate this Stephan, that everyone who comes to Australia should be able to understand the Australian accent. In fact studies for those intending to come to Australia should most definitely include language lessons such as wha’cha and are’ya’gunna. It’s all just plain english.

  14. Thanks for the lesson Min. So we have no ‘national’ obligations then? Aren’t we creating a cargo cult mentality in other mendicant countries?

  15. Stephan..please explain (grin). A cargo cult mentality in other mendicant countries???

    Cargo cult being the obtaining of manufactured goods. Mendicant being relying on charitable donations.

    Do you mean that other countries are relying on Australia to provide training for their people (especially tertiary) whereas maybe the money might be better spent ensuring placements/upgrading training in that country?

    Stephan, there was no lesson, it’s was just some ancedotal stuff relating to your topic of

    my friend wrote that it would be nice if a few nurses were hired that you could understand.

  16. TB I’m right with you. As I told toaf in another place: For many years I boycotted Joh’s Qld. I regard Chris Masters as one of Australia’s great journos for his exposure of their dodgy regime.

  17. Stephan, on March 17th, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Could just be planning ahead. Sure the Millennium Development Goals seem airy-fairy, but the emphasis on education means that more Indonesian kids will be going to primary school, some more to junior high, some more to senior high, a few more to medical school, and thence to Australia to treat dyspepsia. Oh, and there are probably other fringe benefits, like some Australians participating in the economic complexifications and expansions of markets that go along with social and economic development by a, hopefully, stable and democratic producer-consumer base not all that far away.

  18. So let us address the main point of the topic, which is the introduction of a 17th AFL team in Surfers paradise, and the porking of same by Anna of Qld.
    This sucks big time. This move by Anna could well backfire on her aspirational next Labor government. As a priority, I find it difficult to understand why Anna would court the AFL, when surely there are greater priorities awaiting Qld gov funding.

    Lets put this into perspective. The AFL is in a no-growth situation. Its only hope of revenue growth stems from the introduction of 2 new teams/licences, one in Qld, the other, in the Western Suburbs of Sydney, to which the AFL has recently shown interest in establishing, both states having large populations, comparatively and actual.

    Why, you may ask? Simple. Two new teams and the supposed increase in AFL TV viewing suits channels 7 and 10 admirably. It also puts the AFL in a stronger negotiating position for greater TV rights when the next (rigged) bidding process comes around, (where one of the first bidders has his opponents bid disclosed, thereby having the last shot at a bid for the TV rights). Laughable.
    In fact, the introduction of two new teams is detrimental to the quality of today’s game, where moribund clubs become almost permanent cellar dwellers.
    Also, states such as SA and WA particularly, have their playing ranks decimated by the AFL draft year after year, leaving those state/s league clubs to foster and promote in ever much younger players to state league ranks, at OUR developmental expense.
    Example of how the AFL priorities truly require questioning.
    WCE has around 44, 000 paid up members. Subiaco only holds around 43,000 at best. WCE has a waiting list for membership numbering around 5,000, at last count. With a 60,000 seat Subiaco, WCE could reasonably expect to write up another 10,000 to 15,000 members in a 5 to 8 year period, making it the richest AFL club in Aus.
    So, how much did the AFL wish to contribute to the touted Subiaco 60,000 seat improvement plan?
    Zip. Nothing. The former Lab gov had budgeted $800 million for an new and improved AFL ground. Bewdy. Those plans are now on hold. And rightly so.
    I’ll stick my neck out and state that Anna has called the wrong shot here. Don’t forget the female vote, not only in Surfer’s, but elsewhere in QLD. Women prioritise health, children, education, family facilities and resources highly above AFL.
    We shall see.

  19. Oftenbark, on March 17th, 2009 at 5:06 pm Women prioritise health, children, education, family facilities and resources highly above AFL.

    OB! In Queensland, so do men!

    The last time they tried AFL on the GC it was a disaster. The NRL Titans now own and play on the old AFL ground…with great success…

    …AFL is its own worst enemy re nationalisation, the supporters are just too narrow. As for internationalisation – not a chance – even Irish Football is only played in Ireland and they use a soccer ball to play virtually the same game (anyone who thinks AFL is “unique” needs to get an education).

    …and on the GC – nothing has changed! Nothing!

    Brisbane can support three codes – just – GC not a chance…

    …but Ms Bligh may just pick up enough stray GC votes to get over the line…

  20. Let’s not forget the Palmer connection here as well. (By God it’s everywhere.)

    Palmer has the rights to another National soccer team to be based on the GC and while the GC has good demographics to support sport, it can’t possibly support a National basketball team, a National rugby league team, a National soccer team as well as an a National rules team, As well Rugby is also strong in the area.

    Something has to give and more than one of these national sports will go broke. Why would Palmer who bought the National Party agree to its funding an AFL stadium when he is in direct competition with that sport?

    It’s a no brainer. Clive is many things but he knows that you don’t go round giving rivals a leg-up

  21. ‘OB, In QLD, so do men’ – TB

    Agreed TB, as you will see from my post.

    Yes. The Brissy Bears was a disaster. Oh but wait!
    The demise of the Fitzroy Football Club and subsequent amalgamation with the Brisbane Lions, the Gabba as home ground, along with Ch7 releasing Leigh Matthews from a media contract to coach the Lions, and Ch7 contributing over $250,000 to the Leigh Matthews/Brisbane Lions remuneration fund were pivotal in establishing the Brisbane Lions, and good luck to them. They did very well indeed.
    For mine, it is so much more important to develop rugby (union, in the first instance) in QLD, as it is an international game/competition, Super 14s etc, and subsequent defection to League. That’s fine. Aus MUST always have a strong Union team.
    As for the AFL, for their claim to a ‘national competition’ to have any credibility, they would have done well to establish teams in regional australia, as per teams in Kalgoorlie, Bunbury, Geraldton, Bendigo, Ballarat, The Riverina, etc, where young lads could aspire to playing for the local AFL club instead of heading off all over Australia, at the tender age of 17/18.
    But no, TV rights are far more important, hence the invasion into Surfers and Western Sydney.
    Followers and participants in other codes would do well to politically punish Anna Bligh for this $60 million handout to the AFL, should she not be forthcoming to any financial assistance demands they may have now or in the future.

  22. Oops! I failed to mention the possibility of a Tassie AFL team, possibly relocating a Victorian AFL team to Tassie, or the NT.

  23. Followers and participants in other codes would do well to politically punish Anna Bligh

    I understand your point but The Borg is too high a price to pay to make it!

    I believe that eventually rugby (I note you spell it with a cap R…) and rugby league will combine and provide a real competitor to soccer.

    Rugby union and rugby league have the same roots but a different “class” following – and as always the adminstrators sucking at the teat will fight to the end…even though both games will benefit.

  24. Cannot comment on Borg, nor how rugby will eventually morph. I shall however heed your suggestion.

    Correct again TB. Soccer is growing exponentially. Dependent at times off course on some relative World Cup success.
    Anyhow, suffice to say, even tough I’m not a banana bender, handouts to the AFL simply suck.

  25. Yes, OB, they should make it on their own (any code!)

    The Storm have done well in Melbourne but it must be an uphill battle every year…whereas Brisbane and The Cowboys and now The Titans have established themselves well…

    …as an aside Ob, soccer is the most played gane in Australia, childen, gender, pro, amateur…used to be – wait fer it! Netball!!!!!

  26. Yes. I knew about Netball. Yet, if one were to state the ‘sport’ which has the most participants, and on which the most amount of cash is spent, I believe it may be ‘fishing’.

  27. Well Min, by cargo cult MENTALITY (you left that word out) I mean that foreign aid has been institutionalized to such an extent that we’ve turned some nations into mendicant nations. Around budget time the keen eyes of NGOs are ready to dissect the budget papers looking for the foreign aid component. Foreign governments also wait to see how much money and other aid will be showered on them. Are we happy to prop up Indonesia while, unfettered, the Indonesian timber industry hacks away at Indonesian forests? Apparently so. We probably provide the cash to enable the Indonesian timber industry to buy the latest machinery. Don’t tell Peter Garrett. Are we happy to relieve the burden of responsibility the Indonesian gov’t has to its own people (health, education etc) while it shops for Russian war toys? Apparently so.

    Please tell me more about international RESPONSIBILITIES which must be met by us but eleemosynary nations are confused about their responsibilities.

  28. Oftenbark, on March 17th, 2009 at 7:13 pm


    LOL! I agree, my son (keen fisherman) has 21 rods – 21!

    I keep asking…just get a very wide grin from him and a shake of the head from my favourite daughter in law!

  29. 21 rods you say, TB. You just never know when one may have to pitch a wigwam on some secluded beach. Sounds fine to me.

  30. Who gives a rat’s about flippin Queensland? The entire place should be fenced off. Immediately. Yers should jest do as I say or the baby koala gets it, OK?

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