Why does NSW believe in an independent crime and corruption commission, but Queensland doesn’t?

Queensland Parliamentary Leader of the Palmer United Party,  Dr Alex Douglas MP says the resignation of New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell after failing to acknowledge a $3000 bottle of wine  gift  underpins the importance of an independent crime and corruption commission.

“Former New South Wales Premier Nick Greiner says that on  balance the resignation proves the case for an independent crime and corruption commission,” Dr Douglas said.

“Yet here in Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has made three significant changes to the Crime and Misconduct Commission,  the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Commission  and the appointment of members to these structures which remove  its independence.

“Critically Campbell Newman has proposed a new Crime and Corruption Commission removing misconduct from its role, he has endorsed a temporary CMC chair who has lied to the oversight committee and he also ignores convention by appointing a government member as PCMC chair.

“Campbell Newman  has also removed the bi-partisan approach  to the PCMC and the CMC.

“The end result is that the existing CMC and soon to be CACC will not be independent.

“Not only will the CACC be unlikely to make the tough decisions, it will not undertake the tough investigations because it is political.  All Queenslanders are worse off for this.”

Dr Douglas joins five former commissioners of the Crime and Misconduct Commission critical in the downgrading of the CMC’s mandate to identify and investigate public sector corruption in Queensland and fear that the LNP government has placed its own self-interest in avoiding scrutiny above the public interest.

They said the removal of the bipartisan support clause is inconsistent with the declared position of the government that it wants a strong and independent CMC.

“If the current Independent Commission Against Corruption  investigation into Eddie Obeid  in New South Wales has taught us all anything it’s that birds of a feather….,” Dr Douglas said.

The myth of asset sales to pay down gross debt in Queensland

Queensland Parliamentary Leader of the Palmer United Party, Dr Alex Douglas MP says Gladstone Port, energy assets and  Mt Isa Rail Line must be kept in state ownership else the state will lose its competitive edge.

“The Mt Isa Rail Line is a critical asset which must be kept in state ownership for new mines coming on. Similarly, competitive advantage will be lost once we lose control of our ability to sell better priced power to potential new businesses,” he said.

‘This has built our state economy previously.

“To value Gladstone Port at effectively $800 million when it has a near 50 percent return before the coal gas goes online is to steal irreplaceable assets from the public.

“Whilst the Treasurer Tim Nicholls is spending $6 million to sell the LNP Government’s message that public asset sales are the only way of saving our state, the facts are very different.

“Under the direction of  Premier Campbell Newman, the Treasurer has repeatedly claimed Queensland’s GROSS debt of $80 billion will paralyse growth in our state, but a closer look at the true state of finances paints a very different picture.

“Our state NET debt in Queensland is somewhere between $13 billion and $25 billion. There is a $67 billion difference from that stated by the Treasurer.

“Additionally, Government owned corporations’ debt is 70% of state GROSS  debt and is returning an average 9 percent return – 3½ times the Federal official cash rate; state income is expected to rise by 2 % this year and expenditure growth is less than that.

“Despite this, GOC debt and some net debt,  state growth was 4 % in 2012-13, and is estimated at 6 %  in 2013-2014.

“Our interest payments on our (net) debt are less than one-third of that stated, at worse at $1.6 billion annually, not $4 billion annually.

 “We have net assets of $170 billion. Our consolidated balance sheet, including our state balance and our GOC balance sheets put us in a very strong cash position of a $10 billion surplus.

“We don’t need to sell anything. The Treasurer clearly has run out of ideas and is now trying to see whether he can fool the public.

“Just because this incompetent State Government can’t offer any other real solution to Queenslanders when times are tough other than to sell off the family silver – why would anyone think they would do any better in good times?”

Health Minister acting with indecent haste

Queensland Parliamentary Leader of the Palmer United Party, Dr Alex Douglas MP says Health Minister Lawrence Springborg is acting with indecent haste by claiming the doctors’ dispute over his flawed contracts is over.

“As always with anything the Health Minister says, the truth is quite different,” he said.

“Doctors still have to formally agree to the, as yet, undrafted new contracts from Queensland Health.

“In principle, doctors have now accepted the Minister’s new approach to face to face fair negotiation, legislated fair contracts and reasonable terms regarding timing to sign.

“Already we have lost great doctors from our system and we will lose more due to the uncertainty of their future up to date.

“This is all the fault of Minister Springborg and Premier Campbell Newman on behalf of the LNP Government.

“Beyond the loss of trust between doctors and government,  there has been a premium cost to all Queenslanders as a result of this debacle.

“This was a health crisis we did not deserve nor did we need.

“Sadly, the  real cost has been to patients whose health care  has been used as lever by the government in the same way that the Health Minister is now indecently attempting to state that this crisis that he created 9 months ago has ended prematurely.

“In reality it ends when the final contracts are signed, and as always it is not over until ‘the fat lady sings’.”

 

Worongary State School prep playground to be refurbished

Member for Gaven Dr Alex Douglas MP says a prep  playground at Worongary State School will be refurbished to the tune of $146,348.

Dr Douglas said the funding would be through the Smart Schools Subsidy Scheme in 2014-15.

“Getting preps into the playground is an important part of their development of social and motor skills,” he said.

 “Teaching children to express themselves physically and developing their fitness and flexibility are key ingredients to a child’s development.

“ There is substantial research showing the clear link between play and brain development, motor-skills, and social capabilities.”

Choose your battles, the Health Minister of Absurdity – a Health Minister jeopardising all Q’lders futures

“The Health Minister has very nearly shut the Queensland public health system through his flawed handling of the Doctors’ contracts.
“Such is the price of going into combat with an adversary who,not only,was willing to fight harder but also had right on their side.
“Dr Alex Douglas, State Member for Gaven said today that Health Minister Springborg has all but agreed that the new contracts were wrong and that the Doctors would not accept them under any circumstance.
“Minister Springborg is yet to apologise and the Doctors are yet to agree to another revision of the contract offer to them.
“‘What extra cost will Queenslanders have to bear as a result of the re-negotiation of contracts due for renewal mid-2015?’, asked Dr Douglas.
“We have lost too many key medical QHealth full-time and part-time staff already because of a lack of confidence and trust in the stability of QHealth.
“The Minister’s continued abuse of his position of power and flawed approach to contract negotiation has led us to witness the LNP’s version of Labor’s health payroll debacle, but on this occasion the LNP is the cause of the loss of those critical funds.
“Minister Springborg very quickly needs to explain to Queenslanders why he has incurred the extra cost and if he can’t do so, he can always return to the farm.