I’ve taken leave of parental blogging to mark our dear leader’s 100 day milestone. Here, for what it’s worth, is my review of Can Do Campbell’s first 100 days of blazing glory. Look away if you’re not into ranting political sprays, or if you’re an LNP supporter. I’ve missed many great initiates, no doubt. These are simply the ones I can recall, the ones that have stuck in my throat. A warning, I’m biased. I don’t deny it. There is nothing that could sway my vote to the LNP. Campbell Newman is an insincere, calculating ignoramus who doesn’t care about the environment, will destroy the integrity of public education and is drunk on his own majority. Yeah, I’m pissed off.
It’s the National Year of Reading, and in April, the freshly pressed Premier scrapped the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards. Anna Funder, winner of the 2012 prestigious Australian Miles Franklin Literary Award said “Abolishing writers awards is a cost cutting measure but also a step towards the unscrutinised exercise of power” (Sydney Morning Herald, June 20, 2012).
He’s wound back the subsidy paid by the government to households feeding electricity into the grid that is generated by solar panels. He dismissed a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation report which called for urgent action to protect the endangered, world heritage listed Great Barrier Reef by saying ‘We’re in the coal business’. The fossil fuel business in Queensland will trump environmental protection. He supported his environment minister Andrew Powell by calling his views ‘refreshing’ when Minister Powell expressed skepticism that climate change had anything to do with human actions, a view which “immediately puts him at odds with every national scientific academy in the world, the advice from his own chief scientist and the position of the CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and the United Nations” (Graham Readfearn, brisbanetimes.com.au, June 8, 2012). He’s closing the Queensland Government’s Office of Climate Change. He’s also scrapped the waste levy, a payment incurred for dumping rubbish at the tip which aims to promote recycling by making it more expensive to dump your crap. Now, you can dump all the crap you like for free, and given that fees exist across the border, New South Wales can dump all their crap too. Visionary.
He’s amended laws (or is about to) that will ban single people, same sex couples or couples who have lived together for less than two years from using altruistic surrogacy as an option for having a child. He’s wound back marriage equality, so that yes you can register your relationship (and it’s only called a ‘registered’ relationship) but no dear, you can’t have a ceremony.
He has left perhaps hundreds of hard working community organisations in limbo, fearing for their funding and their future. Groups who support, at a grass roots level, those in public housing, those with mental health support needs, Indigenous groups, LGBT health groups, drug and alcohol groups, no one is safe. He canned the Tenant Participation Program, which gives an avenue for people in public housing to have a voice in ways to improve the service they live under. Another voice quietened. He has stripped a reported 20 million dollars in grants from preventative health programs such as reproductive health for women with disabilities, women in rural areas and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. The list of groups to lose funding is staggering, many which deliver important support and health education, designed to prevent people needing to access more clinical medical services later on.
Legislation has been rushed through without proper debate. Parliamentary committees, which are supposed to provide a process whereby government decisions are transparent, scrutinised and held to account have been loaded or bypassed. He’s appointed friends and supporters to lucrative, powerful positions.
And then there’s the public service. He has swept through like a vulture, single handedly destroying the morale of thousands and thousands of workers across the state. A memo has been circulated, which states that colour photocopying is no longer allowed, all photocopies are in fact to be double sided, all office plants are to be removed, no new office furniture or expenditure of any kind is to be approved and no new or renewed contracts will be allowed. I have friends who now face unemployment because of these ‘cost cutting’ measures. Families I know, with young children and both parents working as public servants, could potentially see both unemployed, by early next year. It’s chilling. Thousands of public servants will lose their jobs over the coming months. What happens when unemployment goes up Premier? More reliance on social welfare, more reliance on the mental health system (a trimmed down system at that), oh yes, and more crime. Which the trimmed down police service will be just fine with I’m sure. Oh, I almost forgot, and then he announced a multi billion dollar project to build new government buildings for himself and his ministers.
He justifies it all with his ‘audit’ of Queensland finances, the legitimacy of which is being called into question by the Queensland Council of Unions. Based on a brand of economics that is conservative (obviously), this partisan audit was carried out not by an independent body, but a conservative politician. The past five years, upon which much of the audit is based, included the global financial crisis and two massive natural disasters which left barely a corner of the state untouched. In a way, it might be considered political (or maniacal) genius. Here he has a great big document with which he can justify basically anything he wants. Sorry, there’s no money in the budget for that. Sorry, I’m just cleaning up Labor’s mess. Sorry, we’ve got to tighten out belts. I’m saving tax payer’s dollars. It’s a waste of government funds.
Yup, I’m angry and biased. I have not been this worked up over a politician since Pauline Hanson. This guy has a narrow, short term view. He has no idea of the true effects of social inequality, no idea of the barriers faced by people without a voice, no concern for the pain his decisions are causing. As a wise friend of mine recently said, you can’t just change everything in three months and expect it all to work out fine. And Canberra is watching.