From the Courier Mail:
In the run up to next year’s election, voters have a right to something more from the floundering ALP than the apparent policy vacuum it is serving up now.
IN LESS than nine months, more than 2.5 million Queenslanders will go to the polls to elect a new government. If you believe some commentators, Campbell Newman’s LNP faces a bloodbath. The party’s awesome majority of 78 seats will no doubt be reduced.
However those rushing to administer last rites to the Newman Government are moving in haste. The LNP still has a good story to tell on a number of fronts, and its 78 MLA’s should stop cowering and start telling it. There is positive news in the areas of health, education, police and public safety.
The government also appears to have broken the grip of the bureaucrats in the public service with more funds directed to frontline services. The LNP should not be downhearted by the polls. The Newman Government will rise again because it has something special going for it: the ALP.
Labor still has not released anything resembling a winning manifesto, and its hapless crew of seven members in Parliament often resemble goldfish tipped out of their bowl.
If Labor has any big ideas voters deserve to hear them now. Queenslanders are still waiting to hear a sensible sentence on how Labor proposes to plug the hole in state finances which will blow out to $81 billion by 2015-16.
Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt was stumbling in the dark when quizzed on ABC radio about Labor’s plan.
He told Chris O’Brien: “What we know is that we wouldn’t have done last year’s Budget the way it was done.”
Pitt was equally elusive on Pat Condren’s morning show on 4BC and on Steve Austin’s morning show on the ABC on Budget day. Austin asked: “So you don’t have a desired debt level for Queensland, you don’t have a desired number of public servants? It makes it difficult for the voter to compare the Opposition’s policy with the Government’s actions.”
Pitt responded: “Well, I didn’t say that we didn’t have that, I just didn’t give you a number.”
He can’t avoid questions like this much longer. We do know that the unions are running the show and that Labor seeks to return the public service to a sheltered workshop for unionists.
As former federal treasurer Peter Costello pointed out in his Commission of Audit, the size of the public service jumped by 40 per cent from 2000 to 2012 and was unsustainable.
The spirit of the age is revealed in an official government directive to senior staff in September 2000. “The Queensland Government has made a commitment to encourage union membership among its employees,” it began.
Managers and supervisors were instructed to foster unionism and told to “honour this commitment and comply with its legal obligations”.
ALP leader Anastasia Palaszczuk must tell us if she again wants the public service to be a milch cow for unions which in turn contributed millions to the ALP.
With Queensland Council of Unions president John Battams now pulling the strings, (he said as much in a big free kick on Channel Nine news on Wednesday night) Palaszczuk and her fellow goldfish need to explain exactly what influence the unions will have over their decision-making. Unions are on the nose right now for good reason.
We do know that Labor plans changes to the Industrial Relations Act so the Commission no longer has to consider the financial position and fiscal strategy of the State Government when arbitrating wage negotiations. It’s dangerous stuff.
We do know that Labor will repeal VLAD laws with the likelihood that drug-pushing criminal bikie gangs will be able to regroup. We do know that Labor plans a 1am lockout at nightclubs and pubs and that it will move the Labour Day holiday back to May.
We do know it will spend up big introducing costly and useless “ready to work” programs for the unemployed. We don’t know much else. We should. We don’t know if Labor will follow the LNP by making it easier to do business in Queensland by reducing red tape.
In the 12 months to December 2013 more jobs were created in Queensland than any other state. Surgery waiting lists were cut 60 per cent for category two patients. The LNP government is building 10 new schools and reduced the long-term social housing waiting list. We are safer with thousands of extra police, nurses and teachers being employed on the frontline.
The LNP has a good story to tell. The ALP should tell us theirs.