Council Complaints

Independent Umpire To
Assess Council Complaints

Filed under Breaking News, Council, Latest News

Local Government Minister
Mark Furner

July 19, 2017

The State Government will introduce an Independent Assessor to consider all complaints against councillors, in a further move to reform Local Government.

The measure is one of 50 recommendations to be adopted, supported in-part or supported in principle from the Councillor Complaints Review conducted by an independent three-person panel earlier this year.

Local Government Minister Mark Furner – who tabled the report and Government response at a Budget Estimates Hearing on Wednesday night – said the proposed changes were aimed at ensuring public confidence in the councillor complaints system.

“The Palaszczuk Government proposes to give the Independent Assessor significant powers to assess and prosecute complaints,” Mr Furner said.

“Importantly under the model identified, the Independent Assessor will also be able to dismiss or prosecute frivolous, vexatious or out-of-time complaints.

“It would also be an offence for an accused councillor to attempt or take a reprisal against an employee or another councillor who makes a complaint of misconduct.”

Mr Furner said a new, mandatory Uniform Code of Conduct that sets out acceptable standards of behaviour for elected councillors was also proposed.

“I want councillors who bring down the standard of those hard-working elected representatives around the State to be held accountable for their actions,” Mr Furner said.

“The proposed changes are part of a suite of measures that are addressing integrity and accountability issues in local government in Queensland.

“As elected representatives, councillors and mayors should be held to the highest possible standards of ethical and legal behaviour.”

The Independent Assessor would receive all complaints, then categorise, investigate and, if necessary, prosecute complaints.

A Tribunal would deal with misconduct matters, while allegations of inappropriate conduct would be dealt with by councils.

Corrupt conduct would still be referred to the Crime and Corruption Commission.

“The current system is overly confusing. It is difficult to navigate,” Mr Furner said.

“Having the Independent Assessor make the preliminary assessment in all circumstances – other than corrupt conduct matters which must be referred to the CCC – will simplify the process and reduce duplication and red tape.”

The State Government will consult with Councils and peak bodies such as the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) on the proposed new laws over coming months.

The Councillor Complaints panel which conducted the review consisted of former Integrity Commissioner Dr David Solomon, former Logan City Council CEO Gary Kellar, and former Noosa Shire Council mayor Noel Playford.

(Article from www.Southburnett.com.au on 3rd Sept 2017)

 

 

MORETON BAY RAIL WILL BE HERE SOON ???

FACT.1...THE RAIL LINE HAS DROPPED IN OVER 200 SPOTS. THE REASON IS A SMALLER BALLAST WAS USED.

FACT..2..THE SIGNALLING CABLES HAVE BEEN LAID UNDER THE TRACK WITHOUT ANY PROTECTION..MAKING IT HARDER TO REPLACE OR REPAIR.

FACT..3..THE CONSTRUCTION WAS OVERSEEN BY THE MAIN ROADS DEPT. ..NOT QLD. RAIL.

FACT..4..THE MOTOR CARRIAGE PUT ON DISPLAY AT IPSWICH RAIL WORKSHOPS...& HAD TO BE PUSHED OUT OF THE DEPORT WHERE IT WAS HOUSED & PUSHED BACK IN....BECAUSE THE COUPLINGS DO MATCH THE CURRENT COUPLINGS THAT QLD. RAIL USE.

FACT..5..THE OLD OVERSEAS ORDER HAS BEEN CANCELLED & NEW CARRIAGES ARE BEEN ORDERED FROM WALKERS OF MARYBOROUGH.

GUESS..1..IT WILL JUNE NEXT YEAR BEFORE RAIL IS UP & RUNNING.

GUESS..2..HOW MUCH OF THE 100 MILLION DOLLARS THAT WAS REPORTED TO BE SAVED...will be saved now! minus 100 million?    

 

GOVERNMENT WASTE

A dozen south east Queensland dams overflowing

Date
April 3, 2015 - 12:55PM
 

More than 150mm of rain has been dumped
 on parts of the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast hinterlands in the past 24 hours.

More than 150mm of rain has been dumped on parts of the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast hinterlands in the past 24 hours. Photo: Dean Saffron

Twelve southeast Queensland dams are overflowing and might pose a threat to people living downstream.

Dam operator Seqwater said: "This means that if you are downstream of the dam you should exercise caution near waterways and floodplains as you may encounter fast-flowing or deep water that could be a safety hazard."

After several days of heavy rain, the Borumba, Cedar Pocket, Enoggera, Ewen Maddock, Gold Creek, Lake Macdonald, Lake Manchester, Leslie Harrison, Little Nerang, Maroon, Sideling Creek and Wappa dams are spilling.

More than 150mm of rain has been dumped on parts of the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast hinterlands in the past 24 hours. Falls have been less in Brisbane, which recorded 30-50mm of rain.

The Bureau of Meteorology says more rain is expected during the next couple of days.

Queensland Labor Government in crisis as MP admits to criminal past

 
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on the attack during Question Time on Friday. Pic: Jono Sea

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on the attack during Question Time on Friday. Pic: Jono Searle Source: News Corp Australia

QUEENSLAND’S fledgling Labor government is on the brink of collapse after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk sacked an MP from her party.

Ms Palaszczuk today revealed she had torn up the Labor membership of Cook MP Billy Gordon amid revelations over his violent and criminal past.

The Premier has demanded Mr Gordon quit Parliament however it will be up to the MP whether he stays or goes.

The decision effectively strips Labor of the numbers needed in Parliament.

“Today it has been revealed about the Member for Cook’s past - a past that isn’t pleasant and a past that was kept from me and the deputy premier,’’ she said.

“I am appalled, I am shocked and I feel sick to the stomach.

“The member for Cook has let me down. He has let the deputy Premier down, he has let the party down, he has let my government down, he has let the people of Queensland down.

“I have always maintained integrity is fundamental to any government I lead.

“Today I am prepared to put my premiership on the line.

“This is a very serious issue. Just half an hour ago, I spoke to the member for Cook. I told him, very clearly that, today I would be writing to the state secretary to expel him from the state Labor party.

“Secondly I told the member for Cook he would not be sitting with the state Labor parliamentary team. I also told the member for Cook, in the best interests of the party, in the best interests of the

parliament and in the best interests of Queensland, he shouold resign as a member of parliament.”

 

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk during Question Time.

“The member for Cook has let me down.” Picture: Jono Searle Source: News Corp Australia

 Earlier

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has stripped Member for Cook Bill Gordon’s Labor membership and demanded he quit Parliament.

Acknowledging she was putting her premiership on the line, Ms Palaszczuk said she was extremely disappointed by Mr Gordon’s actions.

“I have made it very clear he does not meet me standards and does not meet Queensland’s standards,” she said.

“I’m putting my premiership in the line.”

“He was dishonest with me. If you look me in the face and be dishonest, there is no second chance.”

Ms Palaszczuk said Mr Gordon was extremely upset at her decision.

She said the Labor Party needed to thoroughly review its selection processes.

The ball is now in Bill Gordon’s court, the Premier has called on him to resign his commission from parliament.

If he does resign there will need to be a by-election held in the seat of Cook.

The far north Queensland electorate includes Port Douglas, Mossman, Cooktown, the aboriginal, mining and pastoral communities of the Cape and all of the Torres Strait Islands. West of Cairns, Mareeba and Chillagoe on the Atherton Tableland also fall within the Cook electorate.

The seat is recognised as a strong Labor electorate. Labor temporarily lost the seat in 1974 after National candidate and indigenous Australian, Eric Deeral, won the seat. Deeral lost his seat after one term. In recent years Labor has seen swings both for and against them.

Jason O’Brien held the seat for Labor from 2004 until Bill Gordon won the seat at the election on January 31.

HUNG PARLIAMENT

Palaszczuk to decide Labor MP Billy Gordon's fate

Date
March 29, 2015 - 9:49AM
Amy Remeikis

Queensland state political reporter

 

Embattled Labor MP Billy Gordon is facing
 claims of domestic violence.

Embattled Labor MP Billy Gordon is facing claims of domestic violence. Photo: Facebook

UPDATE

Annastacia Palaszczuk is faced with deciding the fate of a Labor MP who failed to disclose his criminal history - and her decision could also determine the future of her government.
A crisis meeting held at Labor's South Brisbane headquarters on Saturday to decide the future of Cook MP Billy Gordon found the member had failed "to appropriately disclose" his criminal history.
Mr Gordon has since added a statement to his Facebook page, outlining his past.
"Throughout my life I have had to overcome many challenges and adversities. In particular as a young indigenous boy," he said in the statement.
"I remember wishing as young person that I had grown up with a 'normal' nuclear family. Unfortunately that wasn't the case.
"Growing up I remember spending a lot of time wanting what other kids had, like shoes, bikes, footballs etc.
"One of the things that I do remember wishing for the most, even into my years as a teenager, was for a perfect father figure, especially since as a young man I also had serious contact with the criminal justice system.
"This contact has included being charged and convicted with:
• Breaking entering and stealing in 1987 in Innisfail
• Breaking and entering with intent, attempted breaking and entering and stealing in 1990 in Atherton
• Breach of probation in 1992 in Atherton
• Public nuisance in 1996 in Normanton and
• Breach of bail conditions in 1999 (stemming from not attending a court summons from the 1996 incident).
In addition I have twice had my driver's licence suspended for unlicensed driving (2004 and 2008).
"Finally, in 2008 I was served with an Apprehended Violence Order as a result of a complaint by my mother.
"My mother at the time was concerned that I was going to return to a relationship with an ex-partner (we were at said ex-partner's residence) and I asked her to leave in a manner that she found threatening.
"My mother has confirmed to me that there were no allegations of physical violence made with respect to this incident.
"This AVO was never heard in court, and does not form part of my criminal record however I provide its details now for completeness."
Ms Palaszczuk, who demanded full disclosure from Mr Gordon on Saturday, said she would consider how to move forward with the information Mr Gordon had presented.
She referred the member to police after allegations he had domestically abused his former partner became public, on Friday.
But with Labor only holding power with the support of independent MP Peter Wellington, any action could see the government under serious threat of losing its majority, just two months after taking office.
Ms Palaszczuk, who is in Townsville for community cabinet, will front media just after lunch on Sunday.

"I have made it very clear that I am extremely disappointed these issues were not previously disclosed at the relevant time," she said.

"I am considering the information provided to the party president and secretary and will be making further comment later today."


Full statement from Billy Gordon:
I want to firstly apologise to the people of Cook, the Premier and the ALP for failing to appropriately disclose parts of my criminal history.
Over the last couple of days details of my personal life have been made public.
Issues ranging from failure to lodge tax returns, failure to pay appropriate child support and most significantly allegations of domestic violence.
I have worked hard to rectify outstanding taxations and child support issues.
In relation to allegations of domestic violence the Premier has referred this matter to the Queensland Police Commissioner for investigation.
I welcome this investigation and will provide it with full cooperation.
The last couple of days have been a tremendous strain on my family and I. I have been extremely concerned about my children throughout this period as any father would be in this situation.
Throughout my life I have had to overcome many challenges and adversities. In particular as a young indigenous boy.
Growing up in a family that had its challenges and was far from perfect where both my mother and father struggled daily to keep the family together and put the basics in the household.
I remember wishing as young person that I had grown up with a 'normal' nuclear family.
Unfortunately that wasn't the case. Growing up I remember spending a lot of time wanting what other kids had, like shoes, bikes, footballs etc. One of the things that I do remember wishing for the most, even into my years as a teenager, was for a perfect father figure, especially since as a young man I also had serious contact with the criminal justice system.
This contact has included being charged and convicted with:
• Breaking entering and stealing in 1987 in Innisfail
• Breaking and entering with intent, attempted breaking and entering and stealing in 1990 in Atherton
• Breach of probation in 1992 in Atherton
• Public nuisance in 1996 in Normanton and
• Breach of bail conditions in 1999 (stemming from not attending a court summons from the 1996 incident).
In addition I have twice had my driver's licence suspended for unlicensed driving (2004 and 2008).

Finally, in 2008 I was served with an Apprehended Violence Order as a result of a complaint by my mother.
My mother at the time was concerned that I was going to return to a relationship with an ex-partner (we were at said ex-partner's residence) and I asked her to leave in a manner that she found threatening. My mother has confirmed to me that there were no allegations of physical violence made with respect to this incident.
This AVO was never heard in court, and does not form part of my criminal record however I provide its details now for completeness.
I recognize that my own personal circumstances are no excuse for my non disclosure, however from this troubled and fractured past I've managed to piece together a positive and constructive life. That includes serving in the Army Reserves (51st Battalion), volunteering with the Foundation for Young Australian as Facilitating their Indigenous Youth Leadership forum and working for Reconciliation Australia as the organisations Education Officer, before being elected to the Queensland Parliament.

Labor heavyweights have held a emergency meeting, as the two-month-old Palaszczuk Government attempts to deal with a crisis which could lead to the balance of power tipping against it in the Queensland Parliament. 

Fairfax Media can reveal the party executive gathered at Labor's Peel Street headquarters on Saturday for a marathon meeting to discuss the future of Cook MP Billy Gordon, amid claims of a "cover up" from the Opposition.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who campaigned on a platform of integrity and accountability, was forced to refer allegations Mr Gordon abused his former partner to police on Friday evening, after claims contained in a letter her office received last week were made public.

A police spokesman confirmed an allegation of domestic violence had been referred to them by the Premier.

Channel Nine reported Mr Gordon has been accused of punching and kicking his former partner.

Fairfax Media understands Mr Gordon had told his party the abuse had been verbal.  

A government spokesperson said the Premier asked ALP President and State Secretary to meet on Saturday with the Member for Cook, and demand full disclosure from Mr Gordon.

With numbers in the Queensland Parliament on a knife-edge, Labor, which came to power following the January 31 election with the support of independent MP Peter Wellington, is hamstrung.

While it can dis-endorse Mr Gordon, an option Fairfax Media understands has been discussed, Labor needs every number it has in the house to remain in power.

But Ms Palaszczuk, who intervened during the election to strip a Labor candidate of his pre-selection after claims of "inappropriate" behaviour towards a female colleague became known, vowed integrity and accountability would be "cornerstone principles" of her government.

By failing to address the domestic abuse claims, the Opposition claims Ms Palaszczuk has "failed" her first accountability test.

Mr Gordon's former partner had written to various MPs for help in getting Mr Gordon to pay child support, a claim which was made public on Friday morning by News Corp.

In response, Ms Palaszczuk told parliament  she was "absolutely furious" when she learnt of the matter and had ordered Mr Gordon to "get his house in order", adding that she expected the "highest standards" from her MPs, but that the matter had been dealt with.

Labor State Secretary Evan Moorhead had been dispatched to help rectify the child support situation on March 18.

In an attempt to head off further controversy, Mr Gordon made a personal statement to Parliament on Friday, admitting to failing to pay child support to his former de-facto after their relationship ended badly.

"There were times when both of us failed to behave as adults should, and I certainly bear full responsibility for my actions," he said.

But the letter had also contained allegations of domestic abuse, which neither Ms Palaszczuk or Mr Gordon mentioned in their explanations to parliament.

In her letter referring the allegations to Police Commissioner Ian Stewart, Ms Palaszczuk said Mr Moorhead had encouraged the woman to go to the police if she believed it necessary.

But it wasn't until the allegations were published on a website linked to former LNP MP Gavin King, that Ms Palaszczuk acted.

Addressing the media on Saturday, Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg accused Ms Palaszczuk of a "cover up". 

"The issue here, is the Premier claims accountability, proclaims integrity, proclaims openness, but when it came to her first question in Parliament yesterday, she failed the accountability test because she didn't level with Queenslanders," Mr Springborg said.

One Labor source said the party was "struggling" to find a solution.

"We all know what happened to Gillard when she stood by Craig Thompson when all these allegations were flying around and she won't want to lead a government with that hanging around her neck, she knows what it can do," he said.

"But the numbers in the parliament mean the government could turn on a dime. It has not left us with a lot of options."

Just one month ago, the Palaszczuk Government accepted a report on domestic violence from former Governor-General Quentin Bryce.

Ms Palaszczuk and several of her MPs spent the morning of their first day in parliament listening to the stories of domestic violence survivors.

Ms Palaszczuk and her minsters will spend the next two days in Townsville for community cabinet.

Queensland Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announces new Cabinet

Date
February 15, 2015 - 5:43PM
Kristian Silva

Brisbane Times journalist

Labor's Caucus welcomes Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, with Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and Treasurer Curtis
 Pitt.

Labor's Caucus welcomes Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, with Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and Treasurer Curtis Pitt. Photo: Robert Shakespeare

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the state's new cabinet at a press conference on Sunday afternoon.

Eight women will be included in Ms Palaszczuk's cabinet, and former Bligh government ministers Kate Jones and Cameron Dick have been rewarded with positions.

Former member Stirling Hinchliffe missed out, but was given the role of Leader of the House and Assistant Minister of State Assisting the Premier.

New MPs Leeanne Enoch, Mark Bailey, Coralle O'Rourke and Shannon Fentiman have all been promoted straight to the ministry.

"The new cabinet is an exciting mix of experience and fresh talent," Ms Palaszczuk said.

The ministers are expected to be sworn in on Monday morning.

Ms Palaszczuk said reducing the number of cabinet ministers from 19 to 14 would save taxpayers $27 million over the next term.

The Premier also announced that Dave Stewart would return to the role of Queensland Director General, meaning Newman government-appointed Jon Grayson would be stepping down.

Earlier at a caucus meeting Ms Palaszczuk promised her government would consult the public more than the former Newman government. She compared Labor's election win to climbing Mount Everest.

"But having climbed Mount Everest there is now an enormous amount of responsibility to be placed on each and every caucus member sitting here today," she said.

Ms Palaszczuk was sworn in as Queensland's 39th premier on Saturday, along with Deputy Jackie Trad and Treasurer Curtis Pitt.

Palaszczuk Cabinet:

Premier and Minister for Arts - Annastacia Palaszczuk

Deputy Premier, Minister for Transport, Minister for Trade, Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning - Jackie Trad

Treasurer, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships - Curtis Pitt

Minister for Health, Minister for Ambulance Services - Cameron Dick

Minister for Education, Minister for Tourism, Major Events and Small Business, Minister for the Commonwealth Games - Kate Jones

Minister for State Development, Minister for Natural Resources and Mines - Dr Anthony Lynham

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Training and Skills - Yvette D'Ath

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services, Minister for Corrective Services - Jo-Ann Miller

Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Minister for Sport and Racing - Bill Byrne

Minister for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports, Minister for Energy and Water Supply - Mark Bailey

Minister for Housing and Public Works, Minister for Science and Innovation - Leeanne Enoch

Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection, Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef - Steven Miles

Minister for Disability Services, Minister for Seniors, Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland - Coralee O'Rourke

Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety, Minister for Multicultural Affairs - Shannon Fentiman

Leader of the House, Assistant Minister of State Assisting the Premier - Stirling Hinchliffe

 

WHAT A GREAT ELECTION RESULT

      Gone are the main players that stopped the MOVE to BRISBANE & the Save Redcliffe campaigns...Scott Driscoll / Premier / & the Local Government minister. 

      The voters shown they can & will change their pollies if they are not happy .

      It looks like the ALP will get 45 seats & the LNP 40 seats with 4 seats going to one nation / two to the Katter Party / & Peter Wellington. It will be great if the ALP get only 44 seats.

      Approx. sixteen seats are on a razor edge for both parties . The question will be which way will they go at the next election when ever that may be.

      This will assist our aims of getting rid of Unitywater & the break up of the Moreton Bay Regional Council. Another plus is rumour has it up to three councillors will be stepping down in March, 2016.

      If RAG runs a strong team in the council election covering the 12 divisions plus the Mayor. There is every chance NOW the Ratepayers will elect the team.

      If RAG can obtain a majority in council,it can run a referendum on any matter under council rules. If the ratepayers vote for for something the the parliament is not likey to go againest the voters wishing when their seats are hanging in the balance.      

Galaxy poll shows Labor in with a good chance of winning Queensland election

 
Jobs initiative

For the Opposition, day seven of the campaign was all about jobs, with Annastacia Palaszczuk announcing a 40 million dollar business development initiative

The Galaxy poll reveals massive swings of up to 12 per cent against the Newman Government across southeast Queensland that could deliver power to Labor with the help of independents, just three years after it was decimated at the ballot box.

The Galaxy poll also found the LNP could be wiped out across north Queensland, with Labor picking up the votes that went to Katter’s Australian Party in 2012.

Party insiders insisted internal polling showed there were wild variations in swings occurring across the state. The LNP believe the names of their well-known MPs on the ballot paper would shield many of them – but warned that a minority government was still a likely scenario.

According to Galaxy, the future of the LNP’s rising regional star, David Crisafulli, is on a knife’s edge – a finding echoed across the north.

And a big swing against the Government in the south Brisbane seat of Greenslopes suggests that eight other electorates across the city would fall to Labor if voters elsewhere felt the same.

Queensland State Election: Unlimited election signs allowed in Brisbane for 2015 poll

Date
January 10, 2015
Tony Moore

brisbanetimes.com.au senior reporter

 

For the first time, there will be no limit on
 the number of signs allowed in a full state election campaign.

For the first time, there will be no limit on the number of signs allowed in a full state election campaign. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

Queensland's 2015 state election will have an unlimited number of signs on private property in Brisbane for the first time.

That has led Labor to suggest a deal has been done to let the cashed-up Liberal National Party spend big on election signs around Brisbane to stave off an expected swing back to Labor in the city.

That was immediately rejected on Friday night by LNP state director Brad Henderson.

The LNP holds 18 seats in South East Queensland with a margin less than 10 per cent.

In previous elections, political candidates could have a maximum of 50 corflute election signs and had to register the location of these signs with Brisbane City Council.

However that has changed for the 2015 state election, according to advice on council's website in the past 24 hours and recently mailed to all candidates.

"For this election period, council does not require election signs positioned on private property to be registered," the latest advice says.

"The number of signs for local, lord mayor, state and federal elections permitted on private property per candidate will also not be limited by council."

That was confirmed on Friday by council, which said the change was based on recent legal advice after recent disputes over election signs.

"In response to a number of court rulings around Australia in recent years regarding election signage, council has received legal advice that ratepayers would be held liable for costs arising from any disputes about enforcement of its local laws on election signage," a council spokeswoman said.

"Based on this legal advice, council has chosen not to formally enforce its local laws regarding election signage on private property."

There were no restrictions on election signs in Brisbane suburbs during the September 2013 federal election and in the recent Stafford by-election in July, the spokeswoman said.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said she had real concerns about the impact of the extra election signs allowed in Brisbane.

"This is the LNP doing whatever they want, whenever they want," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"This means they are cashed-up."

She said changes to political donation laws meant more money was flowing to the LNP without scrutiny.

"What you will now see is a massive advertising blitz in Queensland in the southeast," she said.

"There will be signs up everywhere. It will interesting to see how many Campbell Newman signs they put up."

Mr Henderson rejected Labor's argument.

"The LNP relies on supporters to provide locations for its election signs," he said.

"But it is up against the combined resources of Labor and the unions who provide millions of dollars in donations and third party support."

A spokeswoman for Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said Labor was "simply wrong" to suggest a deal had been done between the LNP at council and state government levels to allow for extra election signs.

"No political party receives preferential treatment regarding enforcement of election signage," she said.

"All candidates receive equal treatment by council."

The LNP COST OF LIVING FORUM was disappointing to say the least. Approx.50 people from Redcliffe & Murrumba electorates attended .The MINISTER for energy & water spoke for over 30 minites without allowing any questions. People started to leave.

This was the start of LNP campaigns in Redcliffe & Murrumba.

debt ,debt, debt

LNP STATE GOVT. has increased debt by $26 billion in 2.5 years making a total of 80 billion. At least the ALP took 20 years to increase the debt to $54 billion.   

REDCLIFFE BY-ELECTION

Thank you to all the Ratepayers Action Group/Len Thomas/Save Redcliffe supporters who came from far and wide to man the booths on election day.  Special thanks to those who manned the prepoll booths in the terribly hot weather / did letterbox drops to 25000 homes / erected over 100 signs.  People travelled from places such as Boonah, Bribie Island, Arana Hills and Caboolture to support our local constituents and causes.  There were some Palmer United party members who were supportive as well.

The great efforts, while not resulting in first past the post victory for independent Len Thomas, provided many positives:

Len outpolled all 6 other independents and the Greens - his vote tally was higher than all theirs combined.

Another positive was local newspapers reporting "a credible 10.3% of votes for Len Thomas".  This percentage was more than the gap between the two major parties, meaning that if the LNP had Lens preferences they may have got over the line. 

Yesterday in Redcliffe there were 13 'circuses'.  Every polling booth had a swarm of red and blue colour, with hints of other shades.  There were fireman from faraway places such as Townsville and Gympie, and who had a makeshift fire engine.  They were out in large numbers - approximately 6-10 on every booth, but no candidate in the election.  Then there was the 'Not for sale' crowd, who also did not field a candidate, but had about 4 or 5 people on every booth.  Another crowd was the Queensland Council of Unions with a huge television on the back of a truck, displaying it at various booths throughout the day.  Not to be outdone was a silent crowd who were there handing out brochures comparing the two major candidates but strongly favouring LNP candidate Kerri Anne Dooley. No one saw the mayor despite his blatant support for LNP candidate in the letter he sent to constituents earlier in the week.  

It was very hard to gain access to some booths due to both such large numbers of booth workers (some aggressively seeking to hand out flyers) and the large media presence, who refused to follow the directions of the electoral office and leave the entrance to the booths open. 

Under electoral laws, each party is only allowed 120 signs of 1.5m square across the electorate area.  This includes signs on the booths too.  Both major parties had well in excess of 120 in the field, and if you add the booth displays as well, it is estimated that it could have been up to 3 times as many as allowed in the council by-laws.  It is interesting to know that all Council Rangers (under the Mayors instructions) were not present in Redcliffe on the day of the election, so there was no one there to police the number of signs.  It is hard to comprehend why the Council of Unions, and the Not for Sale crowd, were acting as if it was their election - no candidates, but political views being thrown at voters left right and center.  This type of occurrence should be stopped.

As the prepoll vote number was up significantly for this election, one might assume that people do not want to run the gauntlet of the circus.  Everyone has a right to protest, but preference should be given to locals and local issues, and those who pay, in terms of being present at the actual booth site.  Protesters should not increase the numbers making if difficult to access the booths.

Again a big thank you to all that helped Len Thomas's campaign, and a thank you to Len for standing.

D.Austen

President

Ratepayers Action Group Moreton Bay