Crisafulli tipped for LNP leadership role
THERE are whispers doing the rounds that Ingham-bred David Crisafulli could still take the Queensland LNP into this year's state election. LNP Leader Deb Frecklington is seen as doing a good job, but supporters say she is not "cutting through" and that Labor, despite hauling baggage that would make a triple header coal train look like a Tonka toy, could still win. I've been told the LNP will be watching the outcome of the March 28 Currumbin by-election (same day as local government election) very closely. It could be a case of carpe diem for Mr Crisafulli if the LNP stumbles in Currumbin. The LNP expects to hold the seat, but it will be a tussle. After preferences were counted in 2017 the now out-going Jann Stuckey won with 13,215 votes compared to Labor's 12,938. There is not a huge amount of wriggle room for the LNP.
Changing tack to the Local Government election. Have you had enough of councillors canvassing for re-election, saying to voters "there's still sooo much to be done". Ratepayers, in many circumstances, would be justified in answering, "well, it's about time you bloody well started doing it". When you hear councillors being 'iffy' about if they will re-contest another election, rest assured they probably have no intention of quitting because…let's face it, there's harder ways to earn a quid. Just ask ol' mate Joe Blow who is hammering down iron on a shed roof in 39C heat out on the Garbutt salt pan. Ask him if he wants a safe ticket to run for a $125,000 a year councillor position, plus perks. He'll be off that roof and down the ladder quicker than you can say "isthepopeacatholic".
The remuneration for elected local government representatives is excellent, especially for councillors who, in some cases, are little more than rubber stamps for their mayors. Innovative and ideas-driven mayors, of which we have more than our fair share in the north, are value for money. Councils, collectively, like the those along the Flinders and Barkly Highways, can, when they join forces, achieve more than the State Government for their greater region. United, they make a powerful lobby.
WITH the Local Government elections barrelling down upon us, it might be opportune to look at how much our elected representatives are paid by their ratepayers. Here is a guide. Townsville City Council's mayor Jenny Hill is paid $208,000. Her deputy receives $141,520 and the councillors $124,869 each. The Mayor of the Mackay City Council receives $158,000, the deputy $104,000 and councillors $91,521. The mayors of councils such as Whitsunday (Bowen, Collinsville, Cannonvale, Airlie Beach, Proserpine) Tablelands (Atherton, Malanda, Milla Millaa, Ravenshoe) and Cassowary Coast (Innisfail, Tully, Cardwell, Mission Beach) earn $133,000, their deputy's $83,000 and councillors $70,759. The Mareeba and Mt Isa mayors are paid $124,000, their deputy's $74,800 and councillors $62,000. The Mayors of Palm Island, Etheridge (Georgetown) Hinchinbrook (Ingham) and of the Flinders Highway Shires taking in Charters Towers, Hughenden (Flinders Shire) Richmond, McKinlay (Julia Creek) and Cloncurry earn $108,000. Their deputy's $62,000 and councillors, $54,000. The Lord Mayor of Brisbane is paid $260,342. And just out of interest, if you aspire to a stellar political career, the Prime Minister is paid $549,250. Perks are at the behest of individual councils and of course if you make PM, you'll have a super plan that will ensure you never have to order noodles again.
SOUNDS good and now you want to put up your hand and have a crack at winning a spot-on council? Too late. Nominations closed on March 3. Ol'mate will have to stay up on the roof above the Garbutt saltpan until 2024. Happy hammering.
POLICE are working under the pump and it's much the same in Cairns where car thefts and break and enters mirror those in Townsville. Ask any police officer what he or she thinks of the December amendments to the Youth Justice Act and you will get an answer that will be the opposite to what Attorney General Yvette D'Ath said in Townsville this week. She thinks the amendments are working. Police will say they are making their job impossible. One thing it has been successful at is increasing the crime rate. It has excelled beyond all expectations in turning out more experienced young crims. This is not the outcome legislators had in mind when they launched the amendments onto an unsuspecting public back in December. More and more Townsville people are being woken by the sounds of smashing window glass and the roar of their cars being driven off at high speed.
Crime has risen by more than 45 per cent since the December Youth Justice Act changes. Police have been called out to more than 1448 incidents of property crime. The changes have been successful in that they give the criminals more time out on the street to commit more crimes. Instead of being locked away in the Cleveland Youth Detention Centre or in a cell out at the big house at Stuart, they are jumping the fence into your yard and melting your fly screens with cigarette lighters. How can our ALP legislators think this is a good move?
There is little doubt that the State election in Townsville will be fought around crime. If you're a candidate and you've been soft on criminals, the people of Townsville will punish you at the ballot box. And so, they should. Sometime soon someone must hit the switch and say the party is over.
I HAD a random chat with a well-connected former police office this week. He told me it is nothing for Scenes of Crimes (SoC) officers to arrive at work to find they have as many as 25 incidents to investigate. Some jobs can take one hour, some might take three hours. How do you get through 20-plus jobs in an eight-hour shift? This is the morale-sapping aspect of the 'new policing' for police in Townsville. Try and do the impossible. As soon as one job is done another one or two are added to the list. It's soul destroying. The ex-police officer friend told me that a big day used to be eight to 10 jobs. "We'd break our necks to get a fingerprint that would put someone in Cleveland for a couple of weeks. If we got the worst ones locked up, we'd have an easy couple of weeks and the same for the community. I wonder now how much effort a SoC officer puts into finding prints, knowing full well that it is not going to make one skerrick of difference with the turnstile system of justice we have in place." So, whatever you do, don't blame the coppers for the crimewave. Shaft it home to State politicians and their Huggies Nappies style brand of juvenile and adolescent justice.
CORONAVIRUS mania is upon us…or as someone so aptly put it on social media this week, "what is this, Moronavirus"? People are stripping shelves of toilet paper and handwash. Why aren't they focusing their survival instincts on beer, pasta, anchovies, tinned tomatoes, capers, pizza bases and baked beans? Many years ago, I saw two mates get into a fight in a Mt Garnet pub over the last 40 pounder of Bundy rum. We can understand that. I mean, you know, it's the last 40 pounder on the shelf, but for someone to pull a knife - as reported - in a supermarket aisle over toilet paper, you have to ask yourself "what have we become"? I must say that in my hometown Spar supermarket in Malanda things are chilled-out, just as they always are. As you can see, plenty of loo paper on the shelves. And as for the rush on anti-bacterial handwash we are reading about? Back in my reporting days, whenever we went away with the army, dishwashing detergent was provided as a handwash before going into mess tents for meals. Kills germs deader than dead.