The Bligh Era: new cabinet, same policies

February 2011 brings a new lease of life for the Bligh government due a mix of floods, cyclones and more than a little jingoism  by Bligh herself — “I know in my bones that Queenslanders are up to this, and that we can take it” – HC Magazine

There are many examples of systemic failure of government and its departments.

The Department of Environment and Resource management (DERM) is about carving up the land and applying to it purposes never intended by its aboriginal owners or even the colonial settlers.

An example of this is the failure by DERM to prosecute CRL/UNIMIN for their criminal extraction of sand from North Stradbroke island for the past 60 years while traditional owners and environmentalists have demonstrated time and again the destruction, avarice, and criminal neglect involved in sand mining Straddie. At this stage, under Bligh’s latest announcement, sand mining can continue till 2027, by which time the destruction of traditional lands and unique bush will be complete.

Another example is farmers in the western darling downs are most upset to find that their agricultural land is now a series of coal seam gas mines all given the stamp of approval by the Environment minister (DERM) and the Minister for Mines.

Back in March 2009 Premier Bligh said:

“Queenslanders have given us a clear mandate to get on with governing Qld (to sell off public assets?) and to improve our performance as a government and I have been extremely clear in delivering that message to my Ministry.”

The picture below shows how cabinet looked in March 2009 after Bligh had won the election. During the election campign Bligh witheld her government’s intention to sell off public assets.

Her government then embarked on a period of bad decisions, privatisation being the worst of them.

Now thanks to floods and cyclones Bligh’s standing in the polls has risen, reflecting the superficiality of politics in Australia.

Compare the 2009/2011 Ministers and their portfolios in the images below.

How to vote in the 2011/12 elections? Workers and their unions remain caught in a paradox in a one party state with two right wings, Labor and LNP. Vote Labor in and then risk another sellout by Bligh buoyed by her latest electoral triumph? What are they planning to sell off in this re-shuffle? We could vote independent or Green but preferences usually go back to Labor. If the LNP get up they would take us back to the Bjelke-Petersen era.

Meanwhile ordinary people have difficulty paying their bills. The economy is stagnant, capitalism is in crisis.

I have not even begun to talk about the use of the crimianl code against women needing to end a pregnancy, about the poverty and neglect of our strong indigenous brothers and sisters, about the waste involved in amgamating shire councils and about attacks on workers and their unions (attempts to sack Peter Simpson (ETU Secretary) from the ALP.

Start-up companies turn up at the Premier’s door saying they want to do business in Queensland (companies like the military aeronautics mob with the advertising billboard at brisbane airport) — they say that they do not want to pay any tax — the government gives them money to bring them here thinking that they will create employment in a state busting to the seams with population growth. They make their profits and if anyone in government says anything about paying tax they threated to go offshore.

No much of a choice in this democracy.

Ian Curr
Feb 2011

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