James Sinnamon

What was achieved by my election campaign?

The recently concluded Queensland election campaign was massively rigged against independent candidates like myself and the Greens. Not entirely unexpectedly, my was low.

My vote was

162 votes or 0.65% of the 25,092 formal votes cast as of Sunday 29 March. Such a vote was not to be entirely unexpected in the circumstances, given that I had been given almost no media exposure. Consequently few voters would have known anything about me.

At the held on the Monday before the elections, a member of the audience told me that he considered none of the candidates that had spoken that night, myself included worthy of his vote.

I would certainly have been interested to know how he felt I failed to satisfy his criteria, but never got the chance to find out. If there was nothing I could have done, then I would have liked to have asked him, why he didn't stand himself.

Indeed, that is precisely why I stood. If there had been one other candidate in my own electorate, who had stood for the goals I believed to be important and who had a realistic perspective of how to bring about those goals, then I would have gladly thrown my weight behind such a candidate.

However, there haven't been such candidates for many years in my electorate. That is why I decided to run for office myself, firstly a year ago, when I stood for lord Mayor of Brisbane and, secondly, in the state election campaign.

After I nominated I learnt of a most impressive independent candidate, who was also standing for Mount Cooth-tha. He was . However, as I put to him, in a discussion on Thursday 19 March-fn1">1 his own platform of requiring strict honesty on the part of all elected representatives, as laudable as it was, struck me insufficient -- a point which he did not reject out of hand.

My only substantial media coverage, was one interview lasting five minutes on 4ZZZ.

The ABC's Brisbane local radio station ignored my requests to be interviews or to use any of my media releases.

On one occasion, I was allowed to tell ABC listeners that there was a 'meet the candidate' night in the Mount Coot-tha electorate, but was cut off before being given the opportunity to say anything substantial about myself. That was evidently deemed by the managers to be my full quota of exposure on the ABC.

My only other exposure was on Friday 13 March when, after my sending a number of e-mails and having made several more phone calls, ABC presenter Madonna King put to state Treasurer Andrew Fraser, against whom I was standing in Mount Coot-tha, a question from me: would he commit himself to not privatising further Government owned assets?

Mr Fraser effortlessly brushed it off with a predictably ambiguous response. He claimed that the Government had no plans to privatise any more assets and that he was ideologically opposed to privatisation. In spite of having a considerable amount of material from me, that she could have used to follow up that question, Madonna King failed to use it.

Andrew Fraser had also told listeners that he had written what he told them to me in a letter.

However, when I received that letter later the same day electronically, I found what it said to be to what Mr Fraser had told listeners. However, my requests to have air time to point that out and to properly follow up on his inadequate answers to my questions were ignored.

The ABC's treatment of myself, other independent candidates and the Greens will be more fully explored in another article.

I managed to distribute about roughly 1,400 brochures (I never accurately counted them), with, perhaps 600 being handed out in person and the rest put, mostly on the Friday night just before the elections, in letterboxes.

I also created a survey which I sent to all candidates. I published all and on this web site, but failed to get even one Labor or LNP candidate to respond. A number of Greens and independents did respond.

The ABC ignored my requests to publicise that survey.

In spite of my own low vote, this campaign, like my campaign of a year ago for , was a valuable learning experience of which I will be writing more.

I have every intention of standing next time and no intention of ceasing my political activism in the meantime. Please stay tuned.

The original title of this article was "Reflections on my election campaign" - JS


-fn1" id="main-fn1">1. -fn1-txt">↑ That was filmed and to be included in a documentary film that Dave Zwolenski is producing. The film is to be released in May.

Media release: Lawrence Springborg out of step with the public on privatisation

During an interview on Brisbane ABC local radio's Madonna King show, today, Lawrence Springborg told listeners that he has 'no objection' to the further sell-off of publicly-owned assets.

However, independent candidate for Mount Coot-tha James Sinnamon, pointed out that only the day before, Mr Springborg's Liberal National Party had rightly taken Premier Anna Bligh to task for misleading electricity consumers by promising that no electricity consumer would be worse off as a consequence of the privatisation of Energex.

Instead, as one ABC listener had complained yesterday, he had suffered an annual hike of $450 since privatisation.

"In fact, by having, himself, voted to support the Labor's privatisation of Energex and Ergon, Mr Springborg helped make the skyrocketing of electricity and gas charges inevitable," said Mr Sinnamon.

"The sell-off of Energex, and virtually all other privatisations in recent years, have been disasters for the public interest, and there is no reason to expect that any future privatisations under a Springborg LNP government will be any better," the candidate continued.

"Mr Springborg's views on privatisation are clearly out of step with the public. As examples, in 2005, 70% of the public opposed the Howard Government's Telstra full privatisation legislation and in 2008 opposition to the NSW government's plans to privatise electricity was as high as 85%.

"If Mr Springborg wishes to persist with privatisation, then he should be prepared to defend those views before Queensland voters."

Accordingly Mr Sinnamon, in an e-mail sent to Lawrence Springborg on 19 March, reaffirmed his challenge of 11 March to publicly debate privatisation either with himself or with another candidate opposed to privatisation, before the elections are held.

James Sinnamon's similar challenge to Premier Anna Bligh and Treasurer Andrew Fraser made on 12 March still stands.

James Sinnamon
Independent candidate for Mount Coot-tha,
0412 319669
PO Box 86, Red Hill QLD 4059

" id="appendix">Appendix: Letter to Laurence Springborg

19 March 09

Dear Lawrence Springborg,

If you intend to privatise any more of public assets I believe you have an obligation to satisfy Queensland voters that this is justified.

To date this has never happened and all privatisations have been overwhlemingly opposed by public opinion.

All privatisations, without exception, have been public policy disasters and any further privaisations undertaken by a futher LNP Government or a future Labor Government are almost certain to be no different.

I therefore challenge you or any other LNP candidate to justify in a public debate before the election your refusal to rule out any more privatisations, or, else commit yourself to not doing so until you have obtained the specific consent of the Queensland public.

My past challenge to Anna Bligh and Andrew Fraser (or any other Labor candidate) to publicly debate their pro-privatisation stances also still stands.

yours sincerely

James Sinnamon
Pro-democracy independent
candidate for Mount Coot-tha