Updated Monday May 21
As at Sunday May 20, I have decided to document LNP’s regressive policies, extremist legislative changes and ultra-conservative public commentary that has taken place since their ‘landslide’ parliamentary success in March, 2011. I will add to this listing every time I hear of something new – and republish. You are most welcome to add to it to.
This is what I’ve had time to collate so far. There’s much more missing.
APRIL 2012: Campbell Newman, in the name of saving Queenslanders about $240,000/year, scraps the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards. This maiden act of cost-cutting comes across as a very deliberate statement about the value and contribution (or lack thereof) of arts and culture in our society. What do you think?
MAY 2012: The LNP Queensland Government axes $120,000 a year in funding to the Sisters Inside service that offers support to some of the state’s most disadvantaged women. Sisters Inside provides counselling and support services to women prisoners at the Townsville Correctional Centre, many of them indigenous. A government that cared about its most vulnerable people would be increasing, not reducing funding to such a service. What do you think?
May 2012: At the request of the Brisbane City Council, an LNP state government activated 200 police to move on a group of Aboriginal protesters from Musgrave Park to make way for the weekend Paniyiri Greek festival. While I personally support our first people’s right to protest in whatever way they determine is appropriate to have their voice heard (in this case via a Tent Embassy), no matter what your view is about how they express their views, there is no reason to activate 200 police to disband a peaceful protest – particularly those who are representing the voice of some of the state’s most vulnerable Queenslanders. In my adult life, I have never seen anything like this occur in Queensland. It actually made me feel like I was living in a police state, something I don’t proclaim lightly. Truly Bizarre. What do you think?
May 2012: LNP State Government strips $2.6 million in funding away from Queensland Association for Healthy Communities and redirects it to a new AIDS council proclaiming the organisation has ‘lost its way’. Despite extraordinary public support for the NGO’s Rip & Roll campaign that bore the wrath of fundamentalist christians, Springborg proclaims ‘this money is made available for health campaigns, not advocacy’ and the organisation has become overtly political, lobbying for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights and law reform on age of consent and civil partnerships. That’s funny, the Rock & Roll campaign was actually about the importance of using a condom. It was the fundamentalist christians who politicised it. At the time, the fundamentalist christians clearly lost public support and QAHC won their right to educate. This action has made it clear to me that LNP state government are supporting christian fundamentalism and the extremist views of the Australian Christian Lobby and the Family First Party – who secured 1.36% of the total vote. What do you think?
May 2012: The Newman LNP government winds up the Office of Climate Change, the Sentencing Advisory Council and the Queensland Workplace Rights Office as part of its cost-cutting drive. I can’t fathom what reason you could – in a state that builds its economy on the back of mining and busts its budget on the back of extreme weather events – shut down the Office of Climate Change. I mean, climate change still exists right … ? And Queensland is still the highest emitter of greenhouse gases in Australia and its percapita emissions are the highest of all Australian states, right … ? I mean, the Qld Office of Climate Change told me so! If you ignore it, it will go away right? You know, the planet … ?
How can this happen in 21st Century Queensland? Well, aside from Queensland not having an upper house (a house of review), we also only use the optional preferential version of the instant-runoff system in single-member electorates. Under this electoral system, despite LNP only receiving 49.65% of the total vote in March 2012, the election was dubbed ‘a landslide’, giving LNP carte blanche power to change legislation, implement new policies and take direct action without the need for any parliamentary debate, public consultation or public debate.
Despite only receiving 49.65% of the vote across the state, LNP won 78 seats, Labor won 7, Katter’s Australia Party won 2 and Independents won 2. LNP won more than a majority of the seats without winning more than a majority of the vote.
49.65% is not a majority and, even if they did secure over 50% of the vote, LNP still do not represent the voice of all Queenslanders. They do not represent my voice. They do not have the right to wind back the clock and implement regressive social and environmental policies on a whim. They do not have the right to change the face of Queensland as we know it.
I don’t believe Queenslanders who voted for the LNP knew they were voting for regressive social and damaging environmental policies.
I believe Queenslanders thought they were voting for ‘better’ leadership – a leader who would listen. I don’t believe they knew they were voting for conservative social policies and devastating environmental policies. I truly don’t believe the majority of Queenslanders in the majority of electorates (even as our electorate system allows) knew they were voting for this.
To borrow the words of Australian Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne:
“I see a nation of generous people who understand that we live in a society, not an economy, and who want to invest in supporting people and protecting the land for now and for the future.”
I believe the same of Queensland.