CFMEU members marching on Labour Day in Brisbane. Picture:: Liam Kidston
CFMEU members marching on Labour Day in Brisbane. Picture:: Liam Kidston

Union types deserve school detention

AS A kid, life at school should be pretty simple. Spelling, writing, maths, a bit of geography, music (if that's your fancy), and the rest of the time playing sport and making memories.

In my time at school, the notion of a burly union guy coming into the classroom was about as likely as my Grade Two teacher, the beautifully named and solidly built Mr Twist, playing the lead male role in Swan Lake.

Unions and schoolkids go together like oil and water. What was the Queensland Government thinking when it agreed to allow unions to come into high schools to teach students about their rights at work?

It's being tested in a few schools in southeast Queensland, and if deemed successful, whatever that means, it will then be rolled out statewide.

The "Young Workers Hub" comes a few months after the Queensland Teachers' Union pledged to put Eureka Stockade flags in every school in solidarity with the CFMEU.

Justifiably, the LNP is concerned that the state's schools are being used to "indoctrinate children as militant unionists'' - a brazen way to build membership.

Call me a traditionalist, but blatantly politicising our schools is not the Queensland way.

I'm comfortable with political party messaging going into North Korean, Chinese and Russian schools, but not here in Australia.

Ah, but I hear you say, unions are about protecting the rights of workers, and children should learn from an early age that some bosses will rip them off.

I'm all for that. But let's wait until they are 18, employed and mature enough to make their own decisions.

The problem with this is that unions in this country are joined at the hip with the Labor Party.

Labor's federal leader Bill Shorten can't make a big decision without consulting his union mates.

In Queensland, the powerful CFMEU is unstoppable. When it takes hold of a worksite, developers have to add another 30 per cent to the cost of construction to appease the outrageous, intimidatory demands.

Even hardened Labor figures are questioning the strong-arm tactics of the CFMEU on the new Townsville stadium.

When taken to court for unlawful workplace practices, the CFMEU simply pays the fine and starts again.

It would be naive to think that exposing teenagers to unions would not result in
some form of "indoctrination'', as the LNP puts it.

Education is an important part of a young person's life. It shapes the minds of our children and prepares them for life outside school. It is not a place for unions or politics. That's a bridge too far.

Few parents - other than those rusted-on, card-carrying lefties - would entertain the idea of their children being influenced in any way by members of a mob such as the CFMEU.

Don't take my word for it. The Federal Court has referred to its thuggish and boorish tactics on worksites during the many instances in recent years where it has been fined huge amounts of money for breaching workplace regulations.

And we want to let these people into our schools to enlighten kids about their rights at work?

The Monty Python scriptwriters would have a field day with this nonsense.

Treasurer Jackie Trad. Picture: Liam Kidston
Treasurer Jackie Trad. Picture: Liam Kidston




DEPUTY Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad would one day like to be premier. That's not exactly a scoop to those who know her. But she doesn't deserve the top job.

Her first effort as Treasurer at last month's State Budget demonstrated a lack of leadership and an abrogation of responsibility that disqualifies her from ever assuming the position.

On most of the rudimentary fiscal stuff, she was OK. But on the one KPI that a treasurer is ultimately judged on - balancing the books and looking out for the future - she failed.

The Palaszczuk Government's lack of urgency and commitment to reducing debt is getting to the point of being not just irresponsible, but reckless. And the good folk of Queensland need to shoulder some of the blame.

Yes, you. By rejecting any notion to tackle debt at the 2015 election by selling off private assets - like NSW has done - voters gave a hall pass to Queensland politicians to do nothing. To be fair to Trad and co, the State Opposition doesn't seem to have a plan, either, to address debt, and if they do it's certainly not being promulgated publicly.

Somebody - anybody - should enlist the services of Goldman Sachs or Price Waterhouse to devise a strategy to pay back the debt in a timely, responsible manner.

Clearly, no one in Treasury has that ability. Labor seems to have put the cue in the rack on debt.

They're putting it on the never never, like a bookie who writes off the debt of a desperate punter.

Yet they're happy to take the billions of dollars in coal-mining royalties every year to prop up the bottom line but then send mixed messages on projects such as Adani.

The fiercely partisan former Treasury boss Sir Leo Hielscher was right when he said it will be your kids and grandkids who will pay for Queensland's debt mess unless someone is elected with a coherent, responsible, easily understood plan to cut the figure.

Until then, get used to paying about $4 billion to $5 billion a year in interest on the ballooning debt.

That's the cost of a Cross River Rail project every year. It's two big hospitals every year. It's 50 big schools every year.

Let me put that in language that most in the Labor Party can relate to. That's an extra 50,000 public servants a year.

Is there a politician with the courage to get us back on track?

Don't hold your breath.

As for Trad, she has publicly guaranteed she won't follow in the footsteps of her colleague Cameron Dick and defect from South Brisbane to a safer Labor seat.

Had the LNP preferenced her last instead of the Greens at the November election, she would have lost the seat.

The LNP won't be so foolish again. So rather than relying on backroom factional deals and whether Annastacia Palaszczuk's popularity ever wanes, Trad's aspirations to be premier will be in the hands of the voters of South Brisbane.

That's a big call.




NEGOTIATIONS are continuing for a Jeff Horn v Anthony Mundine fight in November at Suncorp Stadium.

The concern is a big storm ripping through the venue, which is a possibility at that time of the year. A Horn v Pacquiao rematch has also not been ruled out.




EXPECT an announcement soon on a new greyhound track at Darra or Yamanto.

As reported last Sunday, heavy-handed tactics against dog trainers as a result of the live-baiting scandal resulted in few convictions.

Still no word from the State Government on whether it will be redirecting any of its 15 per cent consumption tax on corporate bookies back into the racing industry.

It's an easy win for the Government because it would negate the prospect of the industry having to go cap in hand every time it needs extra dough.




CLIVE Palmer should join his fugitive brother-in-law Clive Mensink in Europe. This bloke is the king of peddling false hope.

He did the dirty on the good folk of Coolum and now he's wreaking the same sort of misery on Townsville with promises to reopen the Queensland Nickel refinery.

He's involved in a stoush with the Port of Townsville and says he can't proceed with the QN reopening until it is sorted out.

Fair dinkum.




EXPECT the Crime and Corruption Commission to bring down its findings soon on its probe into the Gold Coast City Council.

Long-serving Mayor Tom Tate is confident the council has done nothing wrong.




WHAT about the survey showing 85 per cent of businesses favour daylight saving in Queensland?

Yet no politician will ever make the call because it will alienate the bush vote. Quite sad. We need to get with the rest of the world.



AIRFARE price-gouging in regional Queensland remains a big issue in the bush. When it costs more to fly from Longreach to Brisbane than from Brisbane to Los Angeles, you know the airlines are having a lend of country folk. Expect it to come up at Estimates this week.