Monday, 30 September 2013

Labor Will Host Gold Cost Crime Summit

Media Release.

Deputy Opposition Leader, Tim Mulherin, says after months of Newman Government stalling and politicking the Opposition had decided to host a crime summit on the Gold Coast.

“The summit is a chance for local residents, business owners, and experts to put forward their ideas on how to tackle crime, including outlaw motorcycle gangs,” Mr Mulherin said.

“We want to give people the chance to have their say which the Newman Government is denying them. We are interested in getting the facts about Gold Coast crime on the table."

“For instance, the government is claiming it has posted 137 extra police to the Gold Coast when in fact that figure is shared between the Gold Coast and Logan."

“In reality the LNP’s Contract with the Gold Coast promised an extra 100 officers to the Gold Coast alone, but they have delivered only an estimated 60.”

Mr Mulherin said the failure to keep its promise of extra police could explain why officers had to be driven from Brisbane to fight bikies last Friday night at a brawl in the middle of a family and tourist precinct during school holidays when children were out with their parents.

“Was that because of overtime cuts hitting the Special Emergency Response Team as has been reported? These are the sort of questions we need to explore at the summit,” he said.

“The summit could also consider ideas to strengthen anti-gang laws such as implementing a ban on the wearing of motorcycle gang colours on licensed premises."

“The O’Farrell Government in New South Wales has introduced this provision that strengthens the hand of hotel and club owners by giving legal backing to their right to refuse entry based on their dress code."

“This is the same idea that Premier Campbell Newman dismissed when it was floated by NSW in April 2012. The Premier said at the time “… the team that I lead believe that you shouldn't be sort of penalised for wearing your footy team uniform or jersey…”.

“The summit might also consider the need for the Abbott Government to boost the presence of the Australian Federal Police on the Gold Coast.”

Mr Mulherin said the summit would be held within the next month.

“We are doing this because the Newman Government rejected our offer of a bi-partisan approach to addressing crime and the perceptions of crime on the Gold Coast,” he said.

“I wrote to the Premier in June suggesting a crime summit and his letter had been referred to Mr Dempsey and Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie who have only recently replied."

“The Premier asked both Ministers to consider a summit and both came back with a resounding ‘no’. It is clear the Newman Government is not listening to Gold Coast residents.”

Mr Mulherin said the Newman Government needed to focus on breaking the business model of bikie gangs.

“That means working cooperatively with local councils, business groups, the Australian Federal Police, and other agencies such as the Australian tax office,” he said.

Mr Mulherin said the LNP had taken a haphazard approach to fighting bikie gangs.

“In the lead-up to the 2012 state election then then Shadow Attorney-General, Jarrod Bleijie, was loudly proclaiming his plans to tear up the former government’s Criminal Organisation Act  which he has since claimed as his own once it withstood a challenge in the High Court by the Finks motorcycle gang,” he said.

“In October 2011 Mr Bleijie was publicly attacking the laws as a ‘wasted opportunity’ to go after organised crime gangs and even after the LNP won office he was still saying he wanted to repeal the 2009 laws.

“That must have been music to the ears of outlaw motorcycle gangs,” Mr Mulherin said.

He said Mr Bleijie had also mercilessly attacked the former federal Labor Party government’s suggestion for uniform national laws on unexplained wealth.

“Mr Bleijie said he would ‘not back down’ on his stand, but now Tony Abbott is suggesting the same uniform approach, so where does the Attorney-General now stand?”


Using Students As Paramedics A Disgrace

Media release.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg must give assurances that unqualified students will never again be asked to do the work of highly-skilled paramedics, says Shadow Health Minister Jo-Ann Miller.

“Reports out of the Sunshine Coast that trainees were asked to man crews at the weekend are disturbing to say the least and highlight a crisis in manpower and funding under the Newman Government,” she said.

“Concerns have been raised that two second year students, who should have been observing as part of their training, were asked to fill-in for qualified paramedics when two people rang in sick."

“If the reports from the United Voice Union are true, there was a clear breach of the rules and lives could have been placed at risk as a result. The rules say unpaid ride-along students acting as observers cannot administer any treatment unless under close supervision."

“There should be two qualified paramedics in each vehicle on shift."

“I am advised that greater efforts should have been made to find qualified crew to act as replacements, but budgets are under pressure and the students may have been asked to step-in to save money."

“If that is true then that is a scandalous state of affairs. It should certainly never happen again and I am today calling on the Health Minister to give a categorical assurance that it will not."

“At the weekend it is my belief that patients were potentially placed in danger and both the qualified paramedics and unqualified students were placed under intolerable pressure. The quality of the service to the public was diminished and it is frightening to consider what could have gone wrong.”

United Voice says it has grave concerns that students are being used to fill the gap because there aren’t sufficient qualified officers and that trainees are there to observe and learn, not to act as free replacements for highly qualified staff.


Bleijie’s Track Record Does Not Inspire Confidence

Media Release.

SUNDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2013 


Shadow Police Minister, Bill Byrne, says Queenslanders should be thankful Attorney-General, Jarrod Bleijie, did not carry out a threat to destroy one of the key legal weapons introduced by the former Labor Government he is now using to tackle outlaw bikie gangs.

“For years when he was in Opposition the Attorney-General was publicly telling anyone who would listen — including bikie gangs — that he would tear up the Criminal Organisation Act passed by the former Labor Government in 2009,” Mr Byrne said.

“Even as late as October 2011 in the lead-up to the March 2012 state election, Mr Bleijie was publicly dismissing the laws as a ‘wasted opportunity’ to go after organised crime gangs." (Courier-Mail 18 October 2011)

“Even after the LNP won the 2012 election Mr Bleijie was still saying he wanted to repeal the 2009 laws in favour of legislation covering unexplained wealth, the type of laws Labor already had on the books." (Brisbane Times 24 April 2012)

“Mr Bleijie justified his plans by saying the law ‘affects people's civil liberties’ and that the Newman government did ‘not think anti-association laws are the right way to deal with rogue bikie gangs and other organised crime syndicates’."

“But by March this year when Labor’s laws had withstood a High Court challenge by the Finks motorcycle gang, Mr Bleijie was suddenly saying how good they were." (Courier-Mail 14 March 2013)

“He even claimed them as the Newman Government’s own laws."

“In his rush to promote himself the Attorney-General has made some remarkable bungles and his handling of anti-gang laws is just one of them."

“Thankfully someone had the good sense to tell the Attorney-General he should put crime-fighting ahead of his own image-building."

“But his track record on tackling crime — bungling his boot camp plans and trying to scrap laws that he now relies upon, do not inspire confidence."
"The Attorney-General has run out of ideas and his recent comments about naming and shaming young offenders indicate he is getting increasingly desperate and clutching at straws in his attempts to tackle serious issues."

"This is the latest sound bite-policy on the run but thankfully he has something to work with thanks to Labor."
 
“Tearing up the laws he is now relying on to tackle gang-related crime would have drastically set back the fight against organised crime,” Mr Byrne said.


Saturday, 28 September 2013

IPCC: 30 years to climate calamity if we carry on blowing the carbon budget

Extract from The Guardian website:

Global 2C warming threshold will be breached within 30 years, leading scientists report, with humans unequivocally to blame
FILE - Humans Are 'Dominant Cause' Of Global Warming According To IPCC Climate Report

Calved icebergs in Qaqortoq, Greenland. The IPCC report says the world is on the way to dangerous levels of global warming. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The world's leading climate scientists have set out in detail for the first time how much more carbon dioxide humans can pour into the atmosphere without triggering dangerous levels of climate change – and concluded that more than half of that global allowance has been used up.
If people continue to emit greenhouse gases at current rates, the accumulation of carbon in the atmosphere could mean that within as little as two to three decades the world will face nearly inevitable warming of more than 2C, resulting in rising sea levels, heatwaves, droughts and more extreme weather.
This calculation of the world's "carbon budget" was one of the most striking findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the expert panel of global scientists who on Friday produced the most comprehensive assessment yet of our knowledge of climate change at the end of their four-day meeting in Stockholm.
The 2,000-plus page report, written by 209 lead authors, also found it was "unequivocal" that global warming was happening as a result of human actions, and that without "substantial and sustained" reductions in greenhouse gas emissions we will breach the symbolic threshold of 2C of warming, which governments around the world have pledged not to do.
Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, urged world leaders to pay heed to the "world's authority on climate change" and forge a new global deal on cutting emissions. "The heat is on. Now we must act," he said.

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, said in a statement: "This is yet another wakeup call: those who deny the science or choose excuses over action are playing with fire."
Climate graphic Credit: Guardian graphics "Once again, the science grows clearer, the case grows more compelling, and the costs of inaction grow beyond anything that anyone with conscience or commonsense should be willing to even contemplate," he added.

The IPCC also rebuffed the argument made by climate sceptics that a "pause" for the last 10-15 years in the upward climb of global temperatures was evidence of flaws in their computer models. In the summary for policymakers, published on Friday morning after days of deliberations in the Swedish capital, the scientists said: "Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth's surface than any preceding decade since 1850. In the northern hemisphere, 1983-2012 was likely the warmest 30-year period of the last 1,400 years."
Thomas Stocker, co-chair of the report working group, said measuring recent years in comparison to 1998, an exceptionally hot year, was misleading and that temperature trends could only be observed over longer periods, of about 30 years.
Natural variability was cited as one of the reasons for warming being less pronounced in the last 15 years, and the role of the oceans in absorbing heat, which is still poorly understood.
"There are not sufficient observations of the uptake of heat, particularly into the deep ocean, that will be one of the possible mechanisms that would explain this warming hiatus," said Stocker.
Sea levels graphic Credit: Guardian graphics But the most controversial finding of the report was its "carbon budget". Participants told the Guardian this was the last part of the summary to be decided, and the subject of hours of heated discussions in the early hours of Friday morning. Some countries were concerned that including the numbers would have political repercussions.
The scientists found that to hold warming to 2C, total emissions cannot exceed 1,000 gigatons of carbon. Yet by 2011, more than half of that total "allowance" – 531 gigatons – had already been emitted.
To ensure the budget is not exceeded, governments and businesses may have to leave valuable fossil fuel reserves unexploited. "There's a finite amount of carbon you can burn if you don't want to go over 2C," Stocker told the Guardian. "That implies if there is more than that [in fossil fuel reserves], that you leave some of that carbon in the ground."
This raises key questions of how to allocate the remaining "carbon budget" fairly among countries, an issue that some climate negotiators fear could wreck the UN climate talks, which are supposed to culminate in a global agreement on emissions in 2015.
Their other key findings in the report – the first such assessment since 2007 and only the fifth since 1988 – included:
• Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are now at levels "unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years".
• Global temperatures are likely to rise by 0.3C to 4.8C by the end of the century depending on how much governments control carbon emissions.
• Sea levels are expected to rise a further 26-82cm (10-32in) by 2100. The wide variation in part reflects the difficulty scientists still have in predicting sea level rises.
• The oceans have acidified, having absorbed about a third of the carbon dioxide emitted.

IPCC climate change report: Human role in global warming now even clearer

Extract from ABC News website:

Updated 6 minutes ago

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says there is now a 95 per cent probability that humans are responsible for global warming.
The figure, in the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report, which was released in Stockholm on Friday, is a 5 per cent increase from the panel's 2007 landmark report.
More than 600 scientists and researchers contributed to the fifth assessment report, which is the result of almost seven years' work by scientists and policymakers.
It is based on more than 50,000 contributions from around the world, and an exhaustive peer review process.

Analysis: 5th IPCC report


Government representatives from member nations haggled with the panel's scientists long into the night over the precise wording of the report.
The report summary says the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen by 40 per cent since the pre-industrial era.
The report presents a number of different scenarios of how climate change may unfold over the next century.
The majority of the modelling points to a global mean sea level rise of between 26 and 82 centimetres by 2100.
The worst case scenario is for a sea level rise of 98cm.
The majority of climate models point to a mean temperature rise of around 2 degrees Celsius. The smallest predicted temperature rise is 0.3C and the largest rise is 4.8C.
"Many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia," IPCC chairperson Rajendra Pachauri said.
"The atmosphere and ocean have warmed. The amounts of snow and ice have diminished.
We're doing everything humanly possible to see that the report is of very high quality, totally credible and robust in every sense of the scientific content.
IPCC chairperson Rajendra Pachauri

"The sea level has risen and concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased."
The IPCC's previous report six years ago was criticised for a handful of well-publicised mistakes, particularly the claim that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035.
However, Dr Pachauri says the latest findings are solid.
"Of course we've learnt from that experience and this time around we're being very, very careful," he said.
"Of course this is a human effort but we're doing everything humanly possible to see that the report is of very high quality, totally credible and robust in every sense of the scientific content."

'The heat is on', act now, Ban Ki-moon says

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon says the study is a call for governments, many of which have been focused on spurring weak economies rather than fighting climate change, to work to reach a planned UN accord in 2015 to combat global warming.
"The heat is on. Now we must act," he said.
In a statement, Environment Minister Greg Hunt welcomed the report and reaffirmed the Government's commitment to meeting Australia's 2020 emissions reduction target.
US secretary of state John Kerry says the report is a wake-up call.
"Those who deny the science or choose excuses over action are playing with fire," he said, referring to sceptics who question the need for urgent action.
Professor Andy Pitman from the University of NSW says the report's seven-year cycle is "incredibly onerous" and probably unprecedented in any scientific field.
"I actually think it's too slow to respond to emerging issues within climate science," Professor Pitman said.
The IPCC has shown it can fast track its work: A 2011 report on managing extreme weather and disasters was produced relatively quickly, an approach that Professor Pitman favours.
"That model might be one that we need to interweave with a cycle of IPCC reports," he said.



"I would be quite happy if they became once-a-decade, interspersed with fast response reports on particular [topics]."
As expected, the fifth IPCC report shows the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by more than 20 per cent since the 1950s.
Global temperatures have risen almost 1C since the pre-industrial era.
The IPCC assessment is considered a relatively conservative estimate of the threat posed by global warming.

The IPCC was established by the UN Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organisation in 1988 in order to review and report on the published climate science.

A pay rise.

*THE WORKER*
Brisbane, December 8, 1894.



THE EDITORIAL MILL.


Our Motto: “Socialism in our time.”


It is said the Labour Party is secretly glad that the late political crisis did not result in a dissolution, because an appeal to the country on the question of increased payment to members would result disastrously to some of the members of the party. And – parrot – like – working men repeat the phrases of capitalism, taunting their representatives with with voting to increase their own salaries while doing their level best to retrench other people. I fail to see where there's any occasion for secret joy at the circumstance that the Nelson Government is still at the wickets. The majority of Queensland voters, in the event of a dissolution, would not have allowed the demand of the Labour Party for a fair parliamentary salary to blot out all the sins of the Conservatives who occupy the Treasury benches. If such a question could so obscure the real issue, then there's small hope for reform legislation in this country for a generation.

* * *

The tenacious manner in which the members of the Ministry cling to office should be proof enough that there's something wrong in their administration of the country's affairs. An honest Government would with a majority of one indignantly decline to carry on, and would court the strictest inquiry into their mode of administration; but the Nelson Government evidently fears something. There's “a skeleton in the closed,” which might be exposed to the public gaze if a new Government is allowed to investigate the methods of Boodledum. This does not weigh an ounce, however, in the scale of some wage-earners' consideration. It is sufficient for them that the Labour members, finding £3 17s. 8d. per week too small a sum to enable a member of Parliament to live decently, have voted for a motion which would give them £4 16s. per week each. This is considered a terrible crime, and one meriting political extinction. Given a dissolution and it is said the Government of drift, drivel, and rotten promises would have received another lease of life, and the Labour members' career would have ended. Some people are easily gulled. A Courier leader, or a paragraph by Dr. Points of the Telegraph, does the trick in a twinkling. Nothing more is required to blot out the memories of wrongs and injustice received at the hands of the McIlwraithian's, Nelson's, and Griffith's.

* * *

Apart from the constitutional question of allowing the irresponsible Legislative Council to interfere with the financial business of the representative Legislative Assembly, the Labour members were only carrying out a programme which had the complete acquiescence of their constituents prior to the general election last year. There was only one opinion about the contemptible tactics of the last Parliament in reducing members' salaries to £150 per annum to meet the return of a greater Labour Party; and every man in the Labour movement was willing that as soon as possible a respectable salary should be obtained for each parliamentary representative. Why the change of front on the part of some wage workers? Has anything occurred to justify a continuance of the low wages paid to members? Is food cheaper, clothes cheaper, rent lower?

* * *

Just payment of members is the basis of real representative Government, and it is to be hoped the people of the colony will not allow the slanders of opponents of reform to influence them against their represntatives. It is said this is an inopportune time for members to increase their own salaries, but there never was an attempt made at any time to increase wages but the same argument has been brought forth as if it were original. Let the lowest paid workwoman or workman ask for an increase even in the best of times, and we have always the same answer. The time is inopportune. Our experience of non-paid Parliament is that the members succeeded in paying themselves by means of political railways, by land dummying, or by other methods. Who is not acquainted with the political patriot who did not believe in payment of members because it was derogatory to his position, but who unblushingly could appropriate £20,000 in the shape of lands and railways – as much in one year as it would take to pay all the members £300 a year.

Who does not recollect the two and a half millions taken out of a certain mountain by private individuals without the State reaping any advantage, because the Mount held Parliament insteading of Parliament holding the Mount. And who fails to remember that only last session, owing to the presence in Parliament of a Labour Party which boldy asks for a reasonable wage, the great land steal of the century was prevented by the throwing out of a land bill which proposed to sell the heritage of our children to foreign syndicates and others at five shillings an acre; the action of the Labour Party thus saving to the country more money than would pay all the Labour members £300 a year for the rest of their natural lives. Yet there are men in our midst, men who clamour for fair conditions and good wages, who in their narrow-minded jealousy and selfishness, would proclaim undying hostility to a Labour member who would claim fair conditions and good wages fearlessly and openly instead of in the underhand manner the average capitalistic politicians pays himself. Such is the reward of honesty. If the workers of Queensland want honest and couragous men to represent them in Parliament, let them be willing to pay a fair wages for services rendered. If services are not rendered faithfully, then alter the servant, not lower the wages.

Nulla Nulla



Friday, 27 September 2013

Riot Over Doubling Up In Cells Demands Government Response

Media Release.

A riot by inmates angry at being forced to double-up in cells at Capricornia Correctional Centre illustrates the degree to which prisons have been mismanaged by the Newman Government, says Shadow Correctional Services Minister, Bill Byrne.
“I have been warning for more than a year that the emphasis on mandatory sentencing would place intolerable pressure on Queensland’s prisons and now we have seen a full-blown, Code Black riot at Rockhampton’s jail caused by overcrowding,” he said.
“The central issue for me is that the safety and well-being of prison officers is now in jeopardy as a direct consequence of the LNP’s policies."
“There is a volatile situation in jails created by the Newman Government’s decisions to close special courts and cut-back on diversionary sentencing and that has elevated the risk to prison officers who have received no additional resources to cope with an influx of additional inmates."
“Earlier this week officers at the Capricornia Correctional Centre took protest action and I believe the morale of prison staff at this jail and others across the State has hit rock bottom."
“We now have a situation where prison officers have to conduct assessments on the mental health of prisoners before deciding whether they are suitable for doubling up in cells. Officers who have not been trained for such tasks should not have that onerous responsibility thrust on their shoulders. They are not equipped to take such decisions and there could be grave consequences."
“The most worrying aspect of this incident, where the riot control squad was called to restore order in a block where prisoners had reportedly gone berserk, is that things are only going to get worse unless there’s a change of direction from the Government."
“We can now expect to see Ministers defending their position by saying they will not apologise for being tough on crime."
“But what is happening now in the jails has nothing to do with being tough on crime. Filling the jails with offenders who could better be dealt with in other ways is not being tough, it is being stupid."

“I hope the Government is not deliberately creating a crisis in our prisons and playing with the safety of staff to justify its plans to privatise every jail in Queensland.”

LNP Fundraising Needs Inquiry

Media Release.
 
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says the CMC’s investigation into former Newman Government Minister Ros Bates should be sufficient for the Premier to support an inquiry into his party’s fundraising activities.
 
“Today more information has come to light showing former LNP Minister Ros Bates under investigation by the Crime and Misconduct Commission for discrepancies in her fundraising returns to the Electoral Commission of Queensland,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
 
“There are unanswered questions about the change she made to a $2,200 payment for phone polling which is now reportedly suggested to be a commission for organising two fundraising events."
 
“The original payment went to a former LNP deputy state director Peter Epstein who became a senior staffer of Mr Bates after the 2012 election."
 
“If the $2,200 was not for phone polling, who received it, was it a commission, and were any other payments or gifts associated with the fundraising events also properly declared?”
 
Ms Palaszczuk said the Premier regularly talked about the need for the CMC and its Parliamentary oversight committee to be more open and transparent.
 
“So he should have no problems supporting an inquiry into LNP fundraising by the all-party Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Commission,” she said.
 
“Queenslanders need to remember that it has been the Newman Government that wants to water down declaration rules for political donations — raising the declaration threshold for candidates from $2,000 to $12,400."
 
“In February the Newman Government allowed the LNP to cash in on government health cuts by running a massive fundraising event to launch its health blueprint produced at public expense."
 
“The Opposition last year exposed the LNP’s secret Regional Roundtable dinners where participants paid $11,000 for a series of six dinners with Ministers."
 
“We have also criticised the use of a senior Queensland Investment Corporation officer to front a post-Budget LNP fundraiser this year."
 
“It is the Newman Government, specifically the Attorney-General that vigorously opposed any move by the CMC to investigate political donations and fundraising."
 
“Observers will recall the strident attack on the CMC by Jarrod Bleijie at the October 2012 Budget Estimates hearings where he went out of his way to denigrate the corruption watchdog’s plans to examine fundraising and donations."
 

“The Premier is quick to set up inquiries into former Labor Party Ministers but drags his feet when it comes to his own Ministers or ex-Ministers.”

Quarry Decision — Another One For The LNP’s Shame File

Media Release.

THURSDAY 26 SEPTEMBER 2013
 

Shadow Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Jo-Ann Miller, says the Newman Government has made yet another shameful late afternoon announcement in the hope nobody will notice.
 
“This time it is Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney’s decision to ‘call in’ the development application for a new quarry at Mount Cotton that locals are fiercely fighting,” Mrs Miller said.
 
“The latest decision is another one for the LNP’s shame file."
 
“It is typical of the Newman Government that it promises open and accountable government but regularly waits until it is almost dark before announcing controversial decisions."
 
“I challenge Mr Seeney to go down to the Redlands and face the community that is opposed to this quarry."
 
“This is the same government that promised to give more power to local councils to make planning decisions."
 
“But now it is clear the Newman Government is preparing to overturn the decision the council already made in June this year against the quarry application by the Barro Group."

“This is what happens when a government has such a huge majority as the LNP."
 
“It is also evidence of how people in the Redlands can be ignored or treated shabbily when their local LNP MP Peter Dowling turns out to be such a major disappointment and a lame duck through his own misbehaviour,” Mrs Miller said.

 

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Focus Should Be On Crime Prevention

Media Release.


Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says the ability to publicly name young offenders is already provided for under current laws.

“The Attorney-General and the Newman Government should focus on preventing crime instead of re-announcing plans to name young offenders they first revealed in July this year,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“Once again we have a diversion in the wake of the release this week of the Queensland Police Service annual report showing an overall rise in crime across the state under the Newman Government in 2012-13."

“The exact breakdown of the 2% rise in offences will be detailed when the QPS’s annual statistical review is released next month."

“We already know from questions the Opposition asked at the Budget Estimates hearings that car thefts have soared from 9,701 in 2010-11 to 12,707 in 2012-13.”

Ms Palaszczuk said Labor believed young offenders should face the consequences of their actions and their punishment should fit their crimes. But the existing Youth Justice Act allowed publication of a child offender’s name if a judge considered it appropriate.

“The provision is used in cases involving serious offences such as rape or murder and is correctly left in the hands of judges who know all the circumstances of offenders, their offence, and their victims."

“Mr Bleijie should explain what consultations he has had with the judiciary including the Chief Justice on this issue.”

Ms Palaszczuk said Mr Bleijie — who had already bungled the introduction of youth boot camps — had provided no evidence to show widening the existing naming provision would deter young offenders.

“Mr Bleijie was asked on radio this morning for evidence but did not provide any,” she said.

“In fact there is a range of research raising doubts about the benefits of so-called naming and shaming."

“There are questions about whether it increases the potential for vigilante action against convicted offenders, whether it interferes in the rehabilitation process by stigmatising young people, or if naming actually becomes a ‘badge of honour’."

“Mr Bleijie needs to present hard evidence to support his plans, but so far has not.”

Ms Palaszczuk said instead of re-announcing decisions the Newman Government would be better off reinstating programs it has cut such as Skilling Queenslanders for Work that delivered a range of training schemes including those tailored to teenagers.

“Giving young people real jobs or training is a better way to prevent them falling into bad habits,” she said.

“The Attorney-General should also reinstate the Youth Justice Conferencing program he abolished which had a 98% satisfaction rating among those who participated in it, including victims of crime.”

Ms Palaszczuk said Mr Bleijie as the state’s chief law officer had been caught out bungling again by deliberately misquoting her in relation to youth crime.

“On radio today Mr Bleijie has accused me of dismissing graffiti offences as ‘just a bit of paint’,” she said.

“The Hansard record clearly shows that I was quoting comments made by a youth organisation."

“For the chief law officer of our state to make such a fundamental bungle is appalling and shows how ill-equipped he is for the job."


“If he wants to retain any credibility he should immediately withdraw his statements and apologise for misleading Queenslanders.”

FOCUS NOW ON SPRINGBORG’S GUARANTEES

Media Release.

WEDNESDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 2013
 

Shadow Health Minister, Jo-Ann Miller, says Health Minister Lawrence Springborg must now live up to his guarantees that no further instances of fraud will ever occur within Queensland Health again, but if they do he will be personally responsible.
 
“After 18 months in office it is time Mr Springborg ended the blame game and started to take responsibility to meet the guarantees he has given taxpayers that there will be zero fraud within the health portfolio on his watch,” Mrs Miller said.
 
“He also needs to live up to his promise that as Minister he will be responsible if any further instance of fraud is detected."
 
“Mr Springborg also needs to say how he will address the CMC’s concerns about the elevated risk to accountability posed by his plans to Americanise the health system by selling off services to private providers in line with the Costello Audit recommendations."
 
“What extra resources will this take and what will it cost taxpayers?”
 
Mrs Miller said at the time of the sentencing of Joel Barlow the Minister issued a guarantee of zero fraud in his portfolio:
 
“I think the sentence certainly reflective of the gravity of the crime…….I am very satisfied with the processes we’ve put in place. That we will not see these situations arise again.”
Lawrence Springborg — Channel 9 News 19 March 2013
 
Mr Springborg repeated his guarantee a month later and pinpointed his direct Ministerial responsibility for any future instances of fraud:
 
“It's the culture that makes the difference, it's how the Minister runs the system and it's about making sure we have appropriate processes.”
 
Lawrence Springborg — ABC TV News 17 April 2013

“Fraud in any organisation can never be tolerated, and it is especially abhorrent when taxpayers’ funds are involved."
“It is now up to Mr Springborg to live up to the zero-fraud guarantee he has given Queenslanders and to do the right thing and accept responsibility if further instances are detected,” Mrs Miller said.
 


Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Newman Government Wrongly Claims Gold Coast Projects

Media Release.
 
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says when the new Gold Coast University Hospital opens local residents should remember the Newman Government would not have built it.
 
“In its first 18 months Ministers in the Newman Government have made a habit of cutting the ribbons on major projects started by the former Labor Government which the LNP would never have built,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
 
“On the Gold Coast the Health Minister Lawrence Springborg will be claiming credit for the new $1.8 billion 750-bed Gold Coast University Hospital when it opens."
 
“Transport Minister Scott Emerson has already claimed credit for the light-rail project initiated by the former government even though the LNP was lukewarm on the project when in Opposition."
 
“The truth is the LNP has spent its first 18 months in office attacking the budget strategy Labor used in office to deliver big-ticket infrastructure projects like the GCUH and the light rail project."
 
“Projects like these not only provide essential services but also generate jobs. The GCUH generated more than 9,000 jobs over its construction starting in December 2008."
 
“Even after 18 months the Newman Government is yet to start a single major infrastructure project of its own."
 
“All it can point to is its new but unnecessary Executive Building in the Brisbane CBD which taxpayers will rent and never own."
 
“In 18 months there has been no major infrastructure project proposed by the Newman Government for the Gold Coast or any other region of our state.”
 
Ms Palaszczuk said the Newman Government’s neglect of infrastructure planning was featured in the Opposition Leader’s A-to-Z guide of the LNP’s first 18 months in office.
 
“The A-to-Z list also highlights the Newman Government’s broken promises on job creation and its failure to have the state heading towards a 4% jobless rate over six years,” she said.
 
“Labor left office with the state’s jobless rate at 5.5% seasonally adjusted and in August this year the rate was 6%."
 
“Under the LNP it has been hovering around that level — similar to the unemployment rates recorded during the global financial crisis."
 

“The A-to-Z list also notes the Newman Government’s numerous broken promises to cut the cost of living when in reality household bills have gone up and up.”

WHO’S TELLING THE TRUTH: NEWMAN OR SEENEY?

Media Release.
 
Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt says Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney should declare if the Newman Government has changed its mind on selling power industry assets Energex, Ergon, and Powerlink.
“Once again when the Premier is out of town and Jeff Seeney is Acting Premier he puts his foot in it,” Mr Pitt said.
“Mr Seeney’s comments show that after 18 months in office either the Newman Government still can’t get its story straight on asset sales or the Premier’s guarantees are worthless.”
Mr Pitt said at a Gold Coast event on Tuesday Mr Seeney spoke on the LNP’s assets sales and privatisation program and said: “Right across government there is nothing we are excluding, everything is on the table.”
“This directly contradicts the Premier’s commitments not to sell the ‘poles and wires’ of our state’s electricity industry including assets such as Energex, Ergon, and Powerlink,” Mr Pitt said.
He said the Premier stated clearly on 30 April: “We are ruling out today the sale of Energex and Ergon and Powerlink.”
“As far back as November 2012 the Premier is on record saying power transmission and distribution assets would not be sold,” Mr Pitt said.
Mr Newman said at the time he believed in competition for power generation and retail assets but not for distribution and transmission assets such as Energex, Ergon, and Powerlink.
Mr Pitt said regional communities are already being hit hard by the sale of assets within Ergon and Powerlink.
“Ergon has already lost 690 jobs under the Newman Government and Powerlink has shed 63 positions,” he said.
“In the south-east corner Energex has lost 460 jobs already."
“All of these organisations will be in line for further job cuts if privatised so it is essential Queenslanders know who is speaking for the Newman Government when it comes to asset sales,” Mr Pitt said.
“It is now clear that the Newman Government will continue to break its commitment to seek the community’s permission before selling State Government assets.
“The LNP has already sold QR National shares, Electranet, seven Government owned office towers in Brisbane CBD at a knock-down price and school property worth $58 million without a mandate."

“Now Mr Seeney has revealed an even longer list of assets that we all currently own that will be sold off to the highest bidder.”

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

A-TO-Z OF THE LNP’s 18 MONTHS

Media Release.

OFFICE OF THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
TUESDAY 24 SEPTEMBER 2013
 
 
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says the Newman Government has fallen short on its promises to Queenslanders as it marks 18 months in office.
Ms Palaszczuk today released an A-to-Z guide of the Neman Government’s major backflips, bungles and broken promises.
“One of the biggest broken promises has been their failure to cut the cost of living, with electricity prices alone skyrocketing 22.6%,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Overall we are yet to see the ‘humility, grace, and dignity’ promised by the Premier."
“In reality the LNP has a track record of arrogance, indulgence, and of using its massive majority in State Parliament to trample on people’s rights."

“It has used its majority to instruct the previously independent industrial umpire on how to assess wage claims, but at the same time the government tried to sneak through a 42% wage rise of itself and MPs until it was caught out."
“We are yet to see any major infrastructure projects started by the Newman Government." 
“The only project it points to remains its new and unnecessary Executive Building in the Brisbane CBD that it will be renting but not owning." 
“Unfortunately there have been no other major infrastructure projects to generate jobs, especially in regional communities." 
“The Newman Government’s signature policies so far have been its mass sackings and cuts to frontline services which have hit our state and regional economies as local pay-packets disappear or people move away to seek work elsewhere.”
 
Ms Palaszczuk said at the halfway point of the current Queensland Parliamentary term the Newman Government had delivered:
 
  •  a jobless rate of 6% seasonally adjusted compared with 5.5% at the 2012 election
  •  rising unemployment when it promised to have the state’s jobless rate heading to 4%
  •  economic growth of 3% compared with 4% under Labor
  • higher cost of living instead of its promised cuts to household bills.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Langbroek Breaks Word To Chase Real Estate

 Media Release.

OFFICE OF THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SATURDAY 21 SEPTEMBER 2013 


Deputy Opposition Leader, Tim Mulherin, says the Education Minister' refusal to honour a commitment to keep Nyanda State High School open until the end of 2014 shows he is determined to do anything to get his hands on its real estate.

"The Newman Government has been downplaying suggestions  the Nyanda school community was given a guarantee the school would stay open for at least another year," Mr Mulherin said.

"Now it is obvious the government did give that guarantee and its word can't be trusted."

"John-Paul Langbroek has been badly caught out by the release of an audio tape providing concrete evidence of the government's promise to keep Nyanda open until current Year 11 students finish Year 12 there in 2014."

"The taped commitment was made by the government through the consultants it has been using in the school closure process."

"In this situation the consultants were fully briefed by the government and spoke on behalf of the government."

"The consultant recorded on the tape clearly says the Minister's department had promised no closure of Nyanda until the end of 2014."

"That commitment was put in terms of being a 'guarantee'

"It is also in line with the government's own rules for closing high schools which specify such closures must happen over two years to avoid disruption of students in their senior years."

"The fact Mr Langbroek now walks away from his government's guarantee shows he is only interested in Nyanda High School for its real estate."


"It also show nobody can trust a word the Minister or the Newman Government says," Mr Mulherin said.

Abbott's removal of top public servants smacks of ideology, not values

Extract from The Guardian website:



"We will be a problem-solving government based on values, not ideology," said the newly sworn in prime minister Tony Abbott in a short speech on Wednesday before he presented his new ministry to the governor general, Quentin Bryce.
But he'd already begun the process of sacking or moving on four of the country's finest public servants – with ideology the only apparent motive.
Martin Parkinson and Blair Comley appear to have been punished because of their roles in implementing the former government's policy on climate change, Andrew Metcalfe for advising the former government on asylum policy and Don Russell for having once been a senior adviser to former prime minister Paul Keating.
Parkinson, Comley and Metcalfe had served former Coalition governments with distinction. The Abbott government didn't even wait to see how well it could work with Russell. Losing that kind of talent just to send a political message made Abbott's subsequent protestations about having the utmost respect for the independent public service sound particularly hollow, even to some Coalition ears.
Within hours of taking the job, treasurer Joe Hockey was also writing to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, telling the board to immediately cease operations, contrary to its obligations under the law of the land, which says it has to keep making "green" investments until such time as the parliament abolishes it. (The CEFC itself paused new investment decisions during the election campaign and is continuing that stance until it can talk to the new government, but believes it is not legally possible to stay in a holding pattern if the Senate refuses to pass repeal legislation until next year.)
It is true the Coalition had made its hostility to the so-called green bank absolutely loud and clear – in fact its starting threat was that it would "tear up" any loans or investments the CEFC entered into before the election.
But if it isn't driven purely by ideology, it's a hostility very hard to understand. The CEFC is investing in exactly the kind of projects the Coalition needs to make its alternative Direct Action climate plan work – energy efficiency fit-outs, renewable energy and the like. And it is making a commercial return for the government. Instead of spending $23 a tonne to abate carbon emissions, like the current carbon price, or about $15 a tonne, as envisaged under Direct Action, the CEFC helps abate emissions and earns money for the government in the process.
In his Government House speech, Abbott also said "we hope to be judged by what we have done rather than by what we have said we would do".
So far on that basis we can question his claim that he will base decisions on values and not on ideology.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Labor attacks Government's move to end announcements of asylum seeker boat arrivals

Extract from ABC News website:

Updated 18 minutes ago
Labor's immigration spokesman Tony Burke has attacked the Federal Government's changes to announcements about asylum seeker boat arrivals, warning of a "culture of secrecy".
The previous government issued media alerts every time a boat arrived, but no new alerts have been issued since the new Government was sworn in.
The ABC asked both Customs and the Immigration Department whether any boats have arrived in recent days, but the questions were referred back to the Minister's office.
A spokesman for the Immigration Minister Scott Morrison would not say if any boats had arrived, and said further details about the Government's Operation Sovereign Borders policy would be provided soon.
"Updates will be provided on Operation Sovereign Borders. We will be making further comments on these matters next week," he said in a statement.
Labor's spokesman, former immigration minister Tony Burke, says the disclosure of information should be automatic.
"I have had journalists from all publications ringing me today saying, 'How do we find out?'" he told Lateline.
"They've been ringing the department and asking if boats have come and they've told them to go to Scott Morrison's office but Scott Morrison's office aren't answering questions.
"The policy, I thought, was that they would stop the boats not hide the information. My concern goes to whether or not they're wanting to re-create a culture of secrecy.
"It should simply be a matter of course that whether the news is good for the government or bad for the government, the Australian people are told."
Seven asylum seeker boats - carrying 480 passengers - arrived between the September 7 election and last Tuesday, the day before the Coalition Government was sworn in.

The Government's plans 'offensive to Indonesians'

The Coalition's policy includes turning boats back to Indonesia, buying old boats from Indonesian fishermen and paying Indonesians to spy on people-smuggling operations.
A member of the Indonesian parliamentary foreign affairs commission Tantowi Yahya earlier this week said Jakarta has "major concerns" with the Government's policies and threaten to damage the Australia-Indonesia relationship.
Mr Burke said the Government will have problems implementing its policies which he says is "offensive to Indonesians".
"What I believe will happen [is]... they'll throw up their hands, make a lot of noise, they'll then do what they've already started doing which is not let anyone know whether or not boats have arrived," he said.
"They'll end up having to implement the regional resettlement arrangements that we started."

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has promised the Coalition's policies would "stop the boats" and would have an immediate effect once they were implemented.

Justice for all.

*THE WORKER*
Brisbane, December 8, 1894.



Machinery, all Hail!


To those who have never suffered, whose every day life is made up of the usual number of meals, with a cosy bed to slumber in when night comes on, life does'nt seem such a sad affair after all. Give a man, and especially an Englishman, plenty to eat, and he will not grumble,” is an old saying that applies to vast numbers, who on their way to work see others with a hopeless look on their faces, which tells of vain and weary search for work. But, what of that. Has'nt it always been so; and, anyway, it's no business of mine? Poor deluded fool. A few more weeks, and perhaps you are fated to join the crowd – that vast army of hopeless, idle, poor, that grows in number day by day, drawing recruits from all quarters and all classes. You'll begin to think then, and come to the conclusion that something is wrong somewhere; and, as the days pass, and you are still idle, you will lose hope, and perhaps end by cursing society and everything you once looked upon as right without knowing the cause of your distress.

****

One of the greatest educational factors of the present day is machinery. All the lecturing, all the pamphleteering, has but little effect upon your average in work mechanic, or labourer. But the introduction of a machine among them quickens their thoughts. When they see half the hands being discharged to make way for this new comer, dismay seizes them. They inwardly know and fear it is but the advance guard of an invading power, which will dispose and rob them of their chance to live, and their outlook is very gloomy. In days gone by it was the habit of workmen to destroy machinery. They saw only a thing of iron and wheels, which had come to rob them, and in their blind rage they destroyed it. Those days are past, and, however great the hard-ship entailed upon any class of labour where machinery is introduced, Socialists must hail with satisfaction any power which will make the selfish think, which will convert sceptics to believe in their beautiful doctrine that machinery with all other means of production shall be owned by the people for the good of all. Hail then to machinery. Before you, under present conditions, men must go, and our crowded highways swarm with those you have driven out. Machinery forces conviction to the minds of thousands, who never troubled their heads about social economics, who pooh-poohed the Socialists' clamour for State ownership of land and all means of production. Ah! My Individualist friend, you begin to see things now; you begin to think there's something in the Socialistic principle that no man has the right to hold the pleasures and lives of fellow creatures in his hand. Homestead steel workers, or the pseudo-philanthropist Pullman, who controls the lives and happiness of a whole town, or the coal barons of England, who failed to crush their wage slaves because there is a limit beyond which Labour won't submit.

****

Who and what are we that take no heed of events which are chapters in the history of the human race? Are we so fatuous as to think we shall escape the general destruction. No one is safe. It is not only the workman who goes down before the ruthless commercialism of the age. You may be a prosperous business man, but where are you when bank smashes and false speculations leave you stranded? Your children have to battle through life under conditions which you have made more intolerable by your resistance to reform and persecution of the labourers. Every year the ranks of the Proletariat is swelled by the small business man, who have been forced out by larger capitalists and machinery; the whole system of industry is changing, and it is only a matter of time when the control of everything by which we live shall be in the hands of a few. Look to America, and see what has taken place there, little by little the small fry have been swallowed up, until now whole towns and thousands of miles of country are in the hand of a few soulless men of business. Heroes of civilisation who would ruin an empire to increase their dividends and add to their millions. Industry is carried on by the aid of bayonets, discontented men are clubbed into submission by a ruthless police, or shot down like dogs by hireling Pinkertons. These things have been done in Queensland; the bushmen were dragooned in 1891, their leaders led away in chains, whilst now Ireland's curse Coercion is in force in our western districts. We should look to it, and see that these things cease.

****

It is monstrous to think that the workers, as a rule, are so blindly selfish as not to realise that a wrong done to one of them is a wrong done them all. We know the awful amount of misery and destitution that surrounds us. Why is it? Surely there is a cause; the same thing is in every land. Why don't we find a remedy, and apply it? No; we seem content to jog along and let things right themselves.

****

Rouse up, men of Queensland; unite, and in a solidarity that all the efforts of your enemies will fail to break. Press onward, and never waver till the fight is won. In spite of your unions capital has won the fight every time. Though the fact of your being united has saved you from being crushed entirely. Plutocracy fights you not only with your withheld wages (capital), but with that great reserve force the unemployed from whom it draws those renegade workers, who, bribed with gold, fight against their brothers to the degradation of both. It has the power of the Government at its back, which at all times takes sides against the workers. It imprisons your leaders under obsolete conspiracy laws, and insults your representatives in Parliament.

****

Press onward with stern face and grim resolve, no matter what may occur be not drawn aside, and though the way be long and the road heavy we will reach the goal at last. No class hatred imbues us. We war against conditions not individuals; we seek no man's wrong, but we ask rights for the many, and woe to those who by fraud and force keep those rights from us. We demand in the name of Humanity justice for all, that the land, like the air and the sunshine, should be free to all, a gift from nature for the use of the children of men, and that all the great scientific discoveries shall be applied to the lightening of men's labour. When this is accomplished, poverty and misery, such as we know, will be no more in the land.