Premier’s halo can’t hide festering woes

If Annastacia Palaszczuk wins the October 31 election, she should send a big bunch of flowers to Victorian premier Daniel Andrews and LNP state president Dave Hutchinson.

Andrews is demonstrating how easy it is to screw up the coronavirus crisis. A bumbling bureaucracy, union meddling in security contracts and Andrews taking his eye off the ball have all contributed to this latest cluster.

Throw in a healthy dose of arrogance and hubris and you can understand why Victorians are fast losing patience with the man they call Chairman Dan.

Contrast that with Queensland, where people are going about their daily lives as though locked down Victoria was 16,000km away, not 1600km.

Criticism of Ms Palaszczuk's so-called recalcitrance in keeping the borders closed for so long - effectively shutting down the tourism industry - is evaporating fast.

Many Queenslanders are lauding the Palaszczuk Government's hardline response to the health challenges of COVID-19. One smart political guy from Victoria told me Palaszczuk was now wearing a halo and Queensland had become The Vatican of Australia.

Ms Palaszczuk copped the criticism and to her credit, did not politicise the pandemic. Her greatest strength in the pandemic has been her risk averse nature. It is also her greatest weakness as a political leader.

Criticism of her government has been the moribund, lacklustre decision-making which has been a hallmark of Queensland's economic performance.

When first elected in 2015, the Labor government's fall back position on just about everything was to call an inquiry, or a review.

Political watchers believed Ms Palaszczuk would unshackle the government in its second term,

making bold decisions to encourage prosperity.

Other than one of her passion projects, bidding for the 2032 Olympics, the decision-making has been uninspiring.

A debt approaching $100 billion, a corpulent and lazy public service, integrity scandals, child safety failings and youth crime out of control, especially in the regions, is not a good resume to be taking into an election.

All at a time when the unions are running amok with their outrageous demands. Where's the long-term economic plan? Where's the plan to pay off the debt? Where's the commitment to job-creation?

Instead, Labor is still besotted with appeasing the Greens, prepared to stop coal mining if it fits the political narrative.

Will Queenslanders forgive Labor's poor performance and reward it for keeping people safe during the greatest health crisis of our generation?

Or will voters with long memories punish Labor for its hapless fiscal performance? And please, please voters don't buy this irresponsible and reckless rhetoric coming out of Treasury that COVID-19 has put Queensland into the parlous fiscal position we now found ourselves.

We were in big trouble well before coronavirus.

The LNP's internal squabbles are a disgrace. Whoever decided to get rid of Lawrence Springborg from the state executive needs to go.

Whoever decided it was a good idea to undermine leader Deb Frecklington with poor polling numbers being leaked needs to go.

The Opposition is facing the stark reality right now of another four years in Opposition. If it can't get its own house in order, how can it run Queensland?



Intriguing judgment to say the least in the latest court battle between proponents of the Acland stage 3 coalmine and a local activist group.

And if the State Government was hoping the Supreme Court decision was going to take the pressure off, it will be disappointed. This has the potential to be an Adani-type issue heading into the October 31 poll.

Jobs or green activism? Ring a bell? New Acland Coal had taken the Oakey Coal Action Alliance to court to have it wound up as an incorporated body, ostensibly on the basis that it is insolvent.

The debt which gives standing to the application is a costs order made in litigation between the parties. The amount owed is $736,823.

New Acland has been fighting in the courts for 13 years to have stage 3 of the mine approved, which it says will create hundreds of jobs.

The matter is currently before the High Court after the Court of Appeal ruled in the mine company's favour, and ordered costs. The Oakey Coal Action Alliance has been the major agitator to stopping the mine.

The Palaszczuk Government says it will not make a ruling on the mine's future until the matter is resolved through the courts.

Federal Labor MPs Joel Fitzgibbon and Shayne Neumann and Senator Anthony Chisholm have urged Ms Palaszczuk to approve the mine, because the time frame for its viability is running out fast.

New Acland believed that by having the Oakey alliance wound up it may have influenced the High Court action proceeding.

There was no dispute in court that the Oakey Coal Action Alliance is insolvent.

But Supreme Court judge Peter Davis adjourned the application, pending the High Court decision. He did say there was no dispute that the respondent is insolvent and "the applicant is prima facie entitled to a winding-up order''.

In his judgment, Justice Davis said: "Notwithstanding the discretionary factors which might favour the making of a winding-up order now, I can see that the respondent's interests may be prejudiced irreparably if there is
no adjournment.

"On the other hand, the applicant will suffer little in the way of prejudice. It has an available remedy to address the prejudice, namely by making an application for security for costs of the appeal.

"I consider it appropriate to adjourn the application to a date to be fixed after determination of the appeal to the High Court.'' Cynics are wondering how an insolvent entity can be allowed to participate in a High Court determination, likely incurring more costs.



Alliance Airlines is partnering with Racing Queensland to run charters to major regional race meetings.

Longreach, Cairns, Rockhampton, Roma and Birdsville have been pencilled in. Alliance has just put an extra 20 planes onto its fleet, taking its total number of aircraft to 70.



The Brothers Rugby League Club in Townsville is keen to acquire the old Cowboys stadium site for redevelopment.

Thuringowa's Labor MP Aaron Harper is a big supporter of the Brothers club, openly congratulating them on social media, which suggests the acquisition is on solid footing.

However, a Facebook group has been set up to oppose the sale, and his LNP opponent at the election, Natalie Marr, is also raising questions.

They want it for the entire community, not just rugby league.



With AOC boss John Coates now being elected for a fresh term as International Olympic Committee vice-president, expect Queensland's 2032 Olympic bid to get fresh momentum.

My spies say if you can find a bookie to let you on the Queensland bid, have a small wager.



Several high-flying NRL player agents are moonlighting at other jobs because their player payments stopped during COVID-19.



A former senior public official in the Palaszczuk Government is the latest target of a Crime and Corruption Commission probe.

The late mail is, unlike Jackie Trad, this one might stick.



The new radio ratings survey in Brisbane begins today after a COVID-induced hiatus. The new round of ratings will be made public on September 29. It follows a major shake-up at Macquarie, which saw the departure of long-time breakfast host Alan Jones, who is now at Sky News weeknights at 8pm.



Jones was replaced at 4BC breakfast by Neil Breen, while Scott Emerson replaces Ben Fordham on 4BC drive. Fordham has gone to 2GB breakfast.



Whitsundays MP Jason Costigan has set up a social media segment on Sunday evenings which he calls "Costo's after dark requests".

Love song dedications include No Lies from Noiseworks - dedicated to the LNP hierarchy after the Lawrence Springborg executive sacking.

Colin from Taroom requested We're On The Road To Nowhere by Talking Heads, a reference, Colin says, to the LNP's chances at the
next election.



Originally published as Premier's halo can't hide festering woes