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Queensland local government
On 22 April 2007 Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, then Deputy Premier, rejected calls for ending Queensland's population growth, claiming that it "would have a very serious impact on the construction industry that a lot people rely on for jobs."#main-fn1">1
The editorial writers of newspapers from Rupert Murdoch's News Limited, including the Courier Mail and The Australian, are not shy in showing their contempt for public opinion whenever it runs counter to the powerful vested interests they represent. Examples from recent years include their support for:
Media Release: Cate Molloy calls on all Sunshine Coast Super Council Candidates to boycott OSCAR
24th February 2008
Ms Cate Molloy, Division 9 Candidate for the Sunshine Coast Super Council (and former Member for Noosa) today called on all Council and Mayoral candidates to boycott the group called OSCAR (Organisation of Sunshine Coast Associations of Residents).
OSCAR claims to represent the interests of the residents of the Sunshine Coast and is interviewing candidates with a view to promoting those it favours.
"However, Oscar so far refuses to be transparent by identifying its member organisations," Cate Molloy said.
"This is extremely worrying. Any group can purport to be representing the community but actually be a front for any sort of vested interests," she said.
"If OSCAR refuses to be transparent and accountable to the community, just as all candidates are expected to be, then it must be boycotted by all candidates," said Ms Molloy.
"OSCAR must also answer allegations that it actually approached certain candidates to run before the election writs were issued," she said.
"If this is the case, this group can hardly pretend not to be biased," Cate Molloy said.
"True democracy has no place for shady interest groups which refuse too identity just who their members are, and who they represent, " said Cate Molloy.
"For any candidate to allow him/herself to be interviewed by this group is to reward this questionable group with credibility,' said Cate.
"This should not be allowed," she said.
Enquiries: Cate Molloy
Peregian Beach, Queensland
Media release by Tristan Peach, Greens Candidate for Hamilton Ward
22 February 2008
Labor and Liberal plans to bulldoze a beautiful stand of mature hoop pines and gums at the eastern end of Kalinga Park are unacceptable and unnecessary, says Green Candidate for Hamilton Ward, Tristan Peach.
The trees are a stunning feature of the area, provide shade for park users, habitat for wildlife and are an excellent carbon sink for North Brisbane. The trees are in the section of park next to the intersection of Sandgate Road and the East-West Arterial.
Mr Peach has previously organised a petition to save the park and helped write a submission on the Airport Link impact statement, both of which were ignored by Council and the State.
“These trees are part of the area’s heritage and are highly valued by the community. I am the only candidate who is working to save them, while the other two candidates support their destruction” said Mr Peach.
“I am promoting a solution for North Brisbane that will address transport issues as well as preserve our valuable natural environment,” said Mr Peach.
The Greens’ transport plan for North Brisbane includes light rail along Lutwyche/Gympie Road, improved cross-city bus services and better cycling and walking options. It was released in September 2007.
“People in Hamilton Ward have a clear choice: they can vote Green for a cost-effective transport solution that won’t destroy the park, or they can vote Liberal/Labor for a transport project that will destroy the park and increase congestion on the East-West Arterial, Stafford Road, Gympie Road, Newmarket Road and various local streets,” said Mr Peach.
Kalinga Park is not the only natural area that will suffer – trees and green space along Kedron Brook (behind Kedron State High School) will also be bulldozed to make way for Airport Link.
Townsville City Council Elections: Presenting ‘Community Voices’
Media Release, Tuesday 29 January 08
Today Greens Mayoral candidate, Jenny Stirling unveils her team ‘Community Voices’ at the Palmetum at 12.50pm Tuesday 29th January in a bid to win office in the local government elections in Townsville.
"This is an historic day for Townsville. For the first time, a group composed of Independents and Greens have come together to form a team to contest the Council elections. We are striving to grow a safer, more inclusive and sustainable city" Jenny Stirling said.
The team is comprised of:
|Jenny Stirling||Social Justice Worker, Tutor JCU, NQ Greens Spokesperson, PhD Student JCU|
|Gail Hamilton||Environmental Manager; Breastfeeding Community educator|
|Peter Hanley||Engineer, Teacher, Tutor (JCU), QLD President Amnesty; community activist|
|Sam Reuben||Manager Indigenous Community Development organisation; Football Coach|
|Lindy Collins||Teacher, Artist, Community Spokesperson (BURP)|
|Dave Robinson||President Wulguru Soccer Club; Human Service Worker|
|Garth Brimelow||Disability and Aged Care Advocate|
|Peter Newey||Electrician and Small Business owner|
|John Waszkiewicz||Sports coach, PE teacher and Small Business Operator|
|Dr. Dianne Rogers||Community Educator & Professional Supervisor, Researcher, Tutor & Teacher JCU & TAFE|
|Nigel Sim||Electrical engineer, PhD Student JCU|
"We are standing in this election because we think that bad things happen when good people stand by and do nothing. So we are very hopeful that the good people of Townsville will take this opportunity to make the changes needed in Council to secure a better future for themselves and their children" said Ms Stirling.
Contact: Jenny Stirling 04 170 123 11 or 47290226
The launch of the bid of group Integrity Gympie to win control of the Gympie Council chamber is to be held at the Gympie Bowls Club at 2.00PM on Saturday 2 February 2008. Integrity Gympie was formed by independent community activists together with three currently serving councillors who were concerned that the current Gympie Regional Council led by Mayor Mick Vernados favours the interests of developers at the expense of their own constituents.
Integrity Gympie is committed to making the Gympie Regional Council more open and accountable and to consult properly with local communities before arriving at decisions which will impact upon their lives.
Integrity Gympie will actively oppose:
- The Traveston Dam (see www.savethemaryriver.com)
- The threatened dissection of Gympie with the Bruce Highway by-pass
- The Norman Point Marina in Tin Can Bay
- Nuclear power stations anywhere in the region
Integrity Gympie will actively pursue
- Fair contributions from developers so that existing residents don't have to pay extra rates to maintain basic services like:
road repairs drainage waste management parking community halls etc, etc sewerage upgrades strategic planning
- Solutions to problems of traffic flow and parking along Mary Street
- Rainbow Beach Centre block development
- A more effective management of feral pests
What you can do
If you live in the area and wish to help the people of Gympie get the council they deserve on Saturday 15 March, then contact the Gympie Integrity Group through their contact page Phone numbers of the candidates are also listed on that page.
If you live outside the Gympie Regional Council Area, you find candidates standing in your area who stand for similar policies. If not, there may still be time left for you and likeminded people to stand for council. The information on how to do so can be found on the Electoral Commission of Queensland Web site (www.ecq.qld.gov.au). The deposit for candidates is: $150.
Alternatively, if you live outside the Gympie region and wish, in any way, to help in bring about a council which would set an example for other councils to follow that help would be greatly welcomed.
Integrity Gympie Candidates
|Ron Owen "The Watchdog", candidate for Mayor personal page#fn-article-1">1|
|Wayne Sachs personal page||Shane Jacumsen personal page|
|Jeff Lambert personal page||Karen Berry personal page|
|Allan Dray personal page||Greg Wood personal page|
|Terry Clark personal page||Bennett Suthers personal page|
#fn-article-1">1. Ron Owen's personal page includes a mix of quotes. These are from a number of generally admired historical figures including Edward R. Murrow, known for his stance against the McCarthyite witchhunters, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain, Thomas Jefferson and Martin Niemoller. However, there are also quotes from a few which the editors of the site would consider unsavoury. These include Ronald Reagan, Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman. Naomi Klein's towering work of 2007 "The Shock Doctrine - the Rise of Disaster Capitalism" (see also review on WebDiary) demolishes a prevalent view of Milton Friedman, presumably shared by Ron Owen, that he was an idealist determined to pursue, through peaceful democratic means, for the benefit of all humanity, his goal of achieving a global free market unfettered by Government interference. Instead, he and his followers from the Chicago School of Economics, since the early 1970's collaborated with military dictatorships who murdered, tortured and imprisoned those who opposed Friedman's free market agenda. In all countries, the result was the impoverishment of the majority, destruction of much productive capacity, whilst a privileged few together with foreign corporations were enriched. Countries which were ravaged by Friedman's polices include Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Iraq. One of the last acts in Friedman's career was to help #comment-201045">exploit the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina in order to force the privatisation of Schools and public housing in New Orleans in 2005. The fact that Ron Owen has a mistaken high regard for people such as Friedman should not detract from the fact that he is, as an elected councillor, a hardworking principled servant of the people of Gympie and is, by far, the best available candidate for Mayor.
Australians, finally able to rejoice at the demise of the hated Howard government, can count themselves lucky that the Queensland Labor Government's undemocratic local government amalgamations program enacted at the behest of the Property Council of Australia did not fatally undermine Federal Labor's election campaign in Queensland as
Queensland Greens Media Release - 13 September 2007
Australian Greens lead Senate candidate for Queensland Larissa Waters will today meet Douglas Shire Council Mayor Mike Berwick to discuss how the Greens can help to overturn the decision to amalgamate local Councils.
"The Greens strongly oppose the forced amalgamations of Queensland Councils and the hubris of Peter Beattie in gagging local Councils from conducting polls of their residents on amalgamations," Ms Waters said.
"Political pressure from determined Queenslanders forced Peter Beattie to back down on prohibiting polls, and soon the Australian Electoral Commission will be empowered to conduct polls on the amalgamations, on a date to be determined.
"I call on Premier Anna Bligh to listen to the results of all polls held on amalgamations, and to reverse the decision to amalgamate if the majority of the area?s residents do not want it.
"This is democracy at its most basic level and will be a real test of the style of leadership we can expect from Anna Bligh.
"Queenslanders were outraged by the gradual erosion of their participation rights under Peter Beattie ? from restrictions on accessing information under FOI, to special legislation to fast track projects without community consultation, to the final straw of not having a say on amalgamations.
"It's time for people to regain confidence in our system of government by knowing that their rights to speak out are protected, and that their voice will be heard. Voters don?t elect people to silence and ignore them, but to represent them," concluded Ms Waters.
Like Noosa Mayor Bob Abbott, Douglas Shire Mayor Mike Berwick has strongly opposed the opposed the amalgamation of Douglas Shire with Cairns City Council, which does not share Douglas Shire?s strong environmental protections.
Queensland Parliament passed legislation on 9 August 2007 to adopt the amalgamations recommended by the Local Government Reform Commission. Legislative amendments in Queensland Parliament would be required to overturn the Council amalgamations.
Premier Bligh has Labor's numbers in the Queensland Parliament to pass any such amendment and could easily do so before the new boundaries come into effect after the 15 March 2008 local government elections.
Thursday 16 August 2007
The Coalition Government has exposed its hypocrisy on council amalgamations with its current attack on the Queensland Government according to Independent Member for Calare, Peter Andren.
"When I took a delegation of local mayors to Canberra several years ago to see then Local Government Minister Wilson Tuckey, he was enthusiastic about the need for mergers of councils," Mr Andren said.
"Evans, Oberon and Bathurst Councils were then facing amalgamation and he voiced strong support for amalgamations in the interests of better council management.
"Both Liberal and Labor Governments have never backed away from such policy.
"The Prime Minister talks of giving people a say in the process. How come the limited public input into the recent federal electorate boundary changes was largely ignored, especially from people strongly opposed to the ridiculous boundaries for the new Calare?
"There are no referendums for state or federal boundary changes, why the concern over local government boundaries determined by the same commission process?
"This is pure unadulterated election year populism from a government that is philosophically at one with any state labor Government in wanting to wind down local government to a more politically controllable entity.
"I personally oppose council amalgamations unless there are overwhelming financial reasons that will benefit ratepayers. But the major parties are as one in their desire to reduce local people power.
"Wilson Tuckey proved that when he was federal Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government," Mr Andren said.
Queensland Premier Peter Beattie and his Local Government Minister Andrew Fraser have forgotten the meaning of the word 'democracy'. Mayors who consult with their own constituents over the question of the abolition of their local governments face instant dismissal. These provisions were added to the legislation, which forces many Queensland local councils to amalgamate with neighbouring councils, at the last minute when the legislation was rushed through in the early hours of Friday 10 August.
At least two councillors intend to defy these laws and proceed with these ballots nonetheless. These include Mayor Donna Stewart of Warroo shire and Mayor John Brent of Boonah Shire. Both Boonah and Warroo shires are to be abolished under the Queensland local government 'reforms'.
A DEFIANT southwest Queensland council is poised to become the first sacked for organising a vote under tough new amalgamation laws.
Warroo Shire Council, which will merge with four other councils around Roma under the reforms, has indicated it will count votes already received from a survey at a meeting on Tuesday.
"It's a survey, but I'm willing to take the consequences regardless," Mayor Donna Stewart said.
"This is an attack on the democratic right of the people to have a say."
Housing minister Andrew Fraser has taken his extraordinary threats against the people of Queensland one step further by threatening to dismiss councillors who count votes for ballots that have already been sent out. The Courier Mail reported:
But the State Government warned councils not to proceed with any counting, even if survey ballots had been sent out. A dozen councils, including Tambo and Ilfracombe, are pressing ahead with the referendums.
Local Government Minister Andrew Fraser was not impressed, warning any counting or collating would attract instant dismissal.
"Obviously, they can't stop the mail arriving but they need to take no further action that proceeds with the poll in any way," Mr Fraser said.
Please send messages of support for Boonah Shire Mayor John Brent to mayor|AT|boonah qld gov au and for Warroo Shire Mayor Donna Stewart to donna_s1|AT|bigpond com and let Andrew Fraser and Peter Beattie know of your objections to their dicatatorial behaviour. Their e-mail addresses are respectively ThePremier|AT|premiers qld gov au and lgps|AT|ministerial qld gov au.
Update, 16 August 07
Queensland Local Government Minister Andrew Fraser has since backed away from his previous threat to dismiss Councils who counted votes about shire amalgamations. ABC news on 16 August reported that Warroo Shire residents had unanimously opposed the amalgamation,
Those who have read "The Latham Diaries" will have found startling confirmation of the fact the State Labor Premiers are cynical enough to deliberately damage the electoral prospects of their Federal counterparts in order to better ensure their own survival at the state level.Adapted from an article cross-posted to Online Opinion.