Thursday, 17 November 2005 17:47 |
Written by Graham Young
The sample was a total of 362 responses, and we analysed just those responses from Labor voters who gave Peter Beattie a "D" or an "E", which was a group of 36. We reasoned that for the Coalition to win, voters like this will need to change sides. At 10% of our sample, they could be enough to bring Beattie down. As we had analysed Beattie's results last time we were on air, we analysed the other 5 politicians that we asked questions about. (Note: comments have not been edited, and all typos have been reproduced.)
Views on Springborg
Most criticism is because he is negative:
"Lots of carping criticism but little substance."
Partly a lack of alternative direction:
"Lawrence has a lot to say about the Governments performance, however he does not come up with solutions"
Partly a concern he is just a whinger, or inept:
"Little Lawrence must addresshis social skills befre he can play with the bigger kids. His whinging and whining are irritating other members of the class and perhps he needs to drop back a year and mature before he moves on to a higher level."
"Nit-picking and persistent negativity are no substitute for hard work, creativity and personality. Desperately needs to get a life."
Concern he is only interested in country interests:
"Has not focused properly on the Government's weaknesses. Needs to adopt a stance on some issues that affect Qeenslanders as a whole and not just the farming community, who these days do not provide many votes overall."
But they think he is real:
"At least we know who he is - with or without his shirt"
And some don't like the alternative:
"Better than can be expected from a National. Could not be any worse than Peter Bjelke Beattieson and Anna Hinze. At least we wont have to drink sewage, he will build some dams."
Views on Quinn
Essentially see Quinn as dead and lifeless.
"Is he still in Parliament?? I actually thought they had a State Funeral for him last year... or was it the year before?? He never inspired me either.. I seem to recall that he was always trying to dismantle the "Coalition""
"He looks like an undertaker. The sort of undertaker that other undertakers make fun of for being so boring"
There is concern for his friends:
"Can only do so much as the rump of the Nationals. Refuses to take on the government on important issues."
Or where they might be:
"Poor old Bob, what can he do? Most, if not all, of the true blue "liberals" he should be leading are currently within the Beattie cabinet"
Like Springborg voters don't see him having anything positive to say:
"Bob is an unfortunate type with little charisma and no obvious vision for Qld or his party. Colourless underachiever throughout his career."
Views on Anna Bligh
Bligh doesn't grab them either. Performance in her various portfolios is a problem:
"Her only stance on anything of substance was the misleading info regarding school roofing problems. Welford has met the problem head on and is doing something about it. Sadly Ms Bligh is just another grinning PR face."
"Hard to tell lately but not really top notch with Children's Services and Education."
And then there is the problem of how to look charismatic next to the Premier:
"Hard to get a foothold when your standing beneath Premier Pete."
But then perhaps that is a strategy, because others think she is just waiting for it to fall into her lap:
"We don't hear enough of her to know what she is about, she is just sitting back waiting for Peter Beattie to fall off his perch, so then she will step in to the leadership."
Summed up by:
"Who is Anna Blight?? Does she go to work at the same place as Beattie?? Does she have an opinion? Apart from appearing next to Beattie, while he pleads his "Daily Sorry" to the drunken media."
Views on Bruce Flegg
Bruce Flegg gets full-marks for performance, but not necessarily in parliament:
"He is good in a crisis. when his colleagues collapse, he can be relied on to help them out of trouble - at least as far as the ambulance."
Biggest problem is that not many know who he is:
But those that do generally have a positive opinion of him:
"The opposition's only effective performer. If the Libs were serious, they'd make him leader ASAP"
He engenders respect as a medico, and as someone with solutions:
"He gets things done. He should be congratulated for forcing the government to back down on asbestos and for standing up on health."
"Very impressed with Bruce he was always in the media gaining attention to various matters especially recently with the Health Inquiry. Good performer"
There is also concern about him being a doctor:
"He sounds quite good when interviewed about medical matters and things to do with hospitals, but doctors are not good at managing matters, so he probably can't go much further than being anything to do with hosopitals etc."
Or perhaps a flash in the pan:
"Has made a very strong mid term impact, however one "Hospatel" is not a cure all."
Still, out of all of those rated, he appears to have the most potential with this group of voters.
Views on Jeff Seeney
He's not particularly visible:
And the only thing people seem to know about him is his behaviour:
"Does not do anything at all except try and get publicity by playing up in parliament when it sits."
Which they see negatively:
"Isn't he the bloke who keeps getting kicked out?? Just another political Boof Head..."
Or maybe think he is just playing a game:
"A theatrical performer, he certainly has been an outspoken opponent and at least managed to try to sink the boot in every now and again and managed to get booted out himself! Good to see some passion (and humour)"
But no threat to anyone's position.
Wednesday, 16 November 2005 11:55 |
Written by Graham Young
This is posted for Gillian Axelsen.
Having been a conservationist since I was a teen - I am 62 - all the things we predicted are happening: severe storms, melting ice caps, global warming, etc. If we'd been taken notice of then, we would not be suffering now.
However, very little was done & I am now concerned about the effect on ordinary people here & now. We have lived on acreage for 30 years. Like all our neighbours, we've always loved the trees, birds, possums, and wallabies. So we let the bush grow.
However in 1994 it was a real shock when bush fires suddenly became a problem. We nearly lost our house. If it wasn't for local farmers, rural brigades & a green area around the house, we would have lost it. The Fire Brigade was over stretched & couldn't come.
Since then we've spent thousands felling large trees around the house. We hate seeing them go but the change of climate has made it essential. There are still trees we need to remove but we don't have the money yet. If our house burns tomorrow in a bush fire, people will say why didn't they clear around their house ! Well that's the reason, the climate change & not enough cash !
There are lots of people in the same situation. Surely Government could put in a fire prevention clearing programme for private property owners. The Government has access to heavy machinery & trained people. It could prevent a tragedy, like the one in Canberra, happening in the near future.
Part of our fire prevention program is keeping a green zone around the house. Now we are not allowed to run the sprinklers/drips which do this. We supply all our own household water by tanks so are less of a drain on the town water than most. But no allowance has been made for this.
When town water was put on here, we were all encouraged to pull out tanks & connect to town system. We kept our tanks for the house as we like tank water. We'd love to put in more tanks but we cant afford it. Some councils have given rebates to people putting in tanks, but our council won't. Couldn't this become a Government requirement or a tax rebate ?
While farmers can claim removal of noxious weeds as a tax deduction, the ordinary private property owner can't. Yet we see degradation happening more each year, as more people move in. We have cactus, groundsel, new weeds, new grasses all taking over. We can't cope with it ourselves. But the Government could, by using the DPI to liaise with Private Landowners.
Instead some years ago, the Government changed the Tax Laws, to exclude a lot of small landowners from claiming land improvements. These people fenced their land, treated the weeds, landscaped, planted trees & cared for the land. They could afford this because they could claim such expenses against their wages.
But the Government declared they were just "Queen Street" farmers & could no longer make primary production claims. The local landscape really suffered from this decision. People who could no longer afford to maintain their land, sold to developers, who totally cleared the land.
Those people probably were not really farmers but the land benefited. May be this kind of thinking needs to be reversed. Any kind of environmental improvement on acreage could become claimable.That would create a big army of people caring for the land.
Everyone seems to be talking about the environment and the big picture. But no-one seems to look at the small, easy to apply, local fixes which could happen quickly with co-operation between the Government and its people.
Saturday, 12 November 2005 12:10 |
Written by Graham Young
Posted for Hugh Gillies
In the past, humans carried on without oil, without metal, without plastic, without coal and the myriad other bits and pieces modern civilisation regards as the necessities of life. A little bit uncomfortable at times, no doubt, but still humans did exist and 'progress' on to arguably 'greater' things.
Life, however, has never done without two elements, and if you guessed O and H2O, then you are spot on.
And yet, strangely enough, these are the elements man is doing his best to stuff up the quality of, in the case of oxygen, and eliminate in the case of water. But both are taken for granted, and there seem to be quite a few around who think that there are vast bottomless, ever-supplying wells of H2O at the bottom of the Wivenhoe, Somerset and North Pine Dams.
At least that's the impression that one gets when reading most of the Letters to the Editor or replies to polls on the subject of Brisbane water. Not to mention all the grandiose schemes put up by Governments without a mention as to how these schemes will come to fruition, or even be started within the given time frames, if indeed there are any, without the necessary supply of water. It will be great to pump re-used water to the power stations BUT, without rain, where is the water going to come from in the first place to re-use and pump? Will there be enough left when the mooted $20 million feasibility study for the above is completed? It will be great to have a $1.5 billion traffic tunnel in Brisbane BUT a shame there may well be nobody around to use it. Those bottomless wells are going to be working overtime for there is nowhere else for our usable water supply to come from, unless it is manufactured using the raw product which is readily available, the sea.
If any indication is given as to the lack of realisation of the parlous state our area is entering into it is the undeniable impression given by, not only the 'decision makers', but the general public, that there are unlimited choices available as to how to, at personal convenience, conserve and re-use water, and that there is plenty of time to sit back and argue over, discuss the pros and cons of, and then form innumerable committees to report back to 'them' who will produce innumerable papers of different colours to be used as toilet paper as the last water closet gasps its last flush and the earth closet comes back into its own.
I have written in an article entitled "Queensland – the State of Denial" that:
"I believe that an immediate start on the solving of the Brisbane and environs water crisis can be best, indeed only, be brought about by the bipartisan appointment of a suitable a-political, independent person who would be given
over-riding authority to co-opt, co-ordinate and direct all resources and policies necessary to put our water supply on a sound and sustainable footing."
That this is the only way to go is backed up presently by the poor spectacle of various Councils squabbling as to what will be THEIR watering hours
and, predictably, upon the announcement of the re-used water pipe-line to the power stations, the cry from the Lockyer of "What about the farmers!!?"
Leadership and authority has to be established. Personal inconveniences and perceived hardships have to be endured and overcome because when survival may become the name of the game, little else matters.
WATER OF LUXURY is water in abundance, the product of benevolent Gods and overflowing clouds, of everlasting wells and bores and bountiful aquifers. It is doubtful, given the lemming-like rush to concentrated dense population, that our cities and their environs will ever wallow again in water of luxury. We will come to accept that WATER OF REALITY has become the normal way of life, whereby we will all have to make personal sacrifices of water usage, inconvenient or distressing as they may be, for our society and the maintenance of our water supplies. A plentiful supply of water must be achieved and maintained at all cost, even to the extent of the population of an area being limited to the ability of the area to supply its population. To use an Australian bush analogy; the number of sheep or cattle you can run on a property is governed by the amount of water you can supply to sustain them at any given time.
AT ALL COST. A phrase to raise the hackles of the bean counters, all those who see everything in economic terms, they of the tunnel (that word again) vision. There are those who talk of more dams as a panacea for all our water problems. Dams are great for they not only can conserve water for many life-sustaining purposes but can provide venues for many forms of relaxation. They are great when they are built and when they are full, which means, in the present Brisbane and environs context, they are long-term projects. You just don't plonk a dam wall down and think you are going to fill an area a couple of times the size of Sydney Harbour with water overnight. It may take months, even years to fill after construction. Who knows? And they do cost money. However it is not the money cost that is the major disincentive for dam construction. It is the cost of time and, in the present Brisbane and environs context, time is something that cannot be afforded.
DESALINATION of sea-water for domestic and commercial use is practised in many diverse areas, including North America, for example Key West, the Middle East, including the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia and Kangaroo Island in South Australia. The recent Carr Labor Government in N S W gave the go-ahead for the construction of a plant to service the needs of Sydney. The Brisbane City Council has stated in a glossy brochure that "Desalination has the potential to provide the region with a more constant and reliable water supply, particularly in drought conditions." Unfortunately, vacuous words.
For a city such as Brisbane the establishment of a desalination plant would have a large plus going for it. The raw product required to be treated is right on its doorstep in an unlimited quantity. Another plus would be that, unlike a dam, which upon completion may not immediately store sufficient water, a desalination plant, when completed, would produce useable water immediately.
For every argument for the establishment of a desalination plant there will always be one against. However, in arguing for or against, the end consequence of a decision is the key factor in the discussion. Taking into consideration the many factors involved in siting a plant, plus ecological and aesthetic aspects, power requirements and any other one of a number of aspects that could be seen to disturb and upset the status quo of an area, and let us not forget cost, one must ask what will be the consequences if these aspects can over-ride the establishment of a plant. The consequences will be stark and simple if there is a reliance on sufficient rains falling in the catchment areas within a relatively short period and it does not come. Regardless of conservation programmes. re-cycling, etc., which are feel-good-stop-gap measures at best, water supplies WILL continue to diminish and the Brisbane region WILL run dry. Given that most other centres of any significant and substantial size are going through the same water shortage as Brisbane, and therefore that outside replenishment is not possible, and given the population of the Brisbane area and the fact that it would be logistically impossible to bring in sufficient water if it were available, the end result, as far as human life is concerned (forget about the animals), would far exceed any anticipated terror attacks and may well be in the same league as an avian 'flu pandemic.
One can only hope against hope this does not happen,
OR IS ALLOWED TO HAPPEN.
So what of cost? At all cost? I feel the answer is very simple; there can be no consideration of cost.
The Shoaiba Desalination Plant in Saudi Arabia, one of the, if not the largest in the world, has an annual output of 150 million cubic metres of water (I cubic metre=1 000 litres) at an estimated total project cost of $(US)1.06 billion. Kerry Packer could handle this on his own, and the Australian Government hands out amounts like this in overseas aid, no problem, plus the Queensland Government when talking of tunnels, stadiums, bridges and the health of the people and itself etc.
To those whose world revolves around costs and economic viability I would ask:
HOW MUCH IS A LITRE OF WATER WORTH IF YOUR HOUSE IS BURNING DOWN,
"HOW MUCH IS A LITRE OF WATER WORTH IF YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN ARE DYING OF THIRST?"
Unfortunately. I feel that time for Brisbane has been allowed to run out.
Hugh V Gillies
Brisbane October 2005
Wednesday, 02 November 2005 14:13 |
Written by Graham Young
1. Total of 277 responses - good response rate for one day
2. Sample slanted to the left. Greens on 10% of the vote, Labor 36%, Liberal 17% and National 7%.
3. Beattie only scores a C-. 52% of Labor voters give him a A or a B, while 25% give him a D or E. Not much room for change as less than 1% haven’t made up their mind.
4. Anna Bligh also a C-. 49% of Labor voters give her an A or B. Only 18% give D or E. Across the whole sample 14% have yet to make up their minds about her.
5. Springborg also on a C-. All National voters score him C or above. 61% of Nats score him A or B, but only 36% of Liberals. Only 2% have yet to make up their minds.
6. Jeff Seeney is a D- student. Only saving grace is that 30% have yet to make up their mind. Labor and Greens voters really hate him, much more than Spingborg.
7. Bob Quinn is a D+ student. 8% haven’t made up their minds. 32% of Liberals give him a D or an E - slightly worse than Beattie. Nationals like him slightly better than Libs. Suffers a bit from the skew in our sample.
8. Bruce Flegg is also a D+. Biggest potential is that 28% of people have yet to make up their mind. Liberals like him much more than Bob Quinn – 62% give him an A or B, compared to 20% who give that score to Quinn. A balanced sample would probably put Flegg level pegging with Bligh and Beattie and Springborg.
Beattie’s qual says that even his supporters are not that enthusiastic, suggesting that his marks might sag.
This marker who scored him an A said:
"Peter, you are an "A" class leader in a "E" class government. The level of errors, mis-calculations, backflips, inaction in vital areas is amazing and you just keep on sayiong "sorry, I'll fix it". Your government are clearly inept but you are an "A" for "Ass"."
Supportive "A"s said things like:
"He's good at receiving criticism, in a non defensive manner (unlike many other leaders in the past), and seems genuine in wanting to fix things, but doeshe???? Not really"
Or, more supportively:
"There are those that do & those who complain. Beattie is a doer. He has the guts to stand & face all the complainers & come up with good workable solutions. Anyone can complain, but very few can come up with solutions."
Some supporters realize he has to sabotage his competitors in class to do well:
"Good performance over a rough year but allowed too much leeway to an opposition more interested in scoring cheap political points than in proposing serious alternatives for Queensland. Minus points for allowing his feathers to ruffle mid year."
While others can sense a conspiracy:
"Doing reasonably well in the face of a concerted and well-organised political campaign by the Murdoch press and associated television stations (especially 10) which began around the time the last election was called. Has received some poor advice on political strategy."
Others can just see show biz:
"Showed great promise at the beginning of term, but has lost substance of late. His listening skills are good, but needs to curb his acrobatic tendencies and realise, that while Parliament is a bit of a circus, he is the ringmaster, not the clown. Peter needs to revise his history, remember the lessons he learnt in the past and not allow himself to be influenced by bully boys past or present."
When you get to C territory, which is where the average score him, there is a lot of realism about his skills, and understanding of his strategies:
"I think Patel was the knock out blow, ever since Peter became Premier, we have become acustom to him regularly talking himself out of suitutions, or back fliping on issues and we have continued to be very forgiving, the big smile hand on heart stuff, this time he has been rattled, and it just seems very hard for him to get back on top, however I wouldn't write him off just yet."
Critics are hovering amongst the "D"s and "E"s.
"He has presided ver a government for a number of years now, & over the last couple, we have seen major issues such as power, health & a severe lack of infrastucture to support our booming state economy show that the early popular years of his government came down to his personality & not the talent, forsight & accountablity of his government. The have become far too reactive & not pro-active in their approach to this state."
"Too many mistakes glossed over. His decision to allow more poker machines in the state is morrally corrupt. Has very few ministers who have any real ability. Appointed McGrady as Speaker of the House who is an out and out bully."
"Blundering from crsis to crisis, blaming others (including the public) and generally treating us all like fools. Note the particularly repugnant comment of his when relaseing th e'mini budget': "We didn't consider our politcal hides here"! When a politcian looks you in the eye and says he didn't consider his polital hide you know he's lying and that his hide is all he's considering."
"Your example above sounds like "push-polling" to me. I don't wish to contribute."
"Award for Pulling Out Before It's Too Late. Terry ( Show me the money) Macinroth."
"The Lathered-up, Irate and Angry AWARD to laurence Springborg for greatest performance in turning political work of Labor politicians into disgusting unscrupulous corrupt behaviour."
"Peter allan Liza Minelli award for marriages of convenience goes to Bob and laurie for smiling through the pain. You could subistute any other marriage of convenience subject to legal advise, wouldnt want to defame anyone."
"Mea Culpa Award to Peter Beattie, it's always his fault. Mirror Award to Peter Beattie again, there's always something to be looked into. Best Supporting cast for remainder of State Parliament, whomever they may be... Vince Lester Trophy to , you guessed it, Peter Beattie, although not technically walking backwards, he has made an unceasing number of about-faces. The His Name's on the Tip of My tongue Award to Lawrence Springborg, who can't remember who his own members are."
"Bob Quinn for the Zombie (dead man walking) Award. Peter Beattie for Diving-best back flips in the business. Machiavellian Award to Michael Caltabiana offering his full support to Bob Quinn."
There are a few crawlers! :-)
"How could I possibly top your example???"
"Gordon Nuttall for the best buttonholer of the year. He has demonstarted satorail elegance but noithing else. Gordon Nuttall for the Carmen Lawrence Parliamentary Inquiries I Have No Recollection Of That Award. Peter Beattie for the Dodgy Brothers Used Car Dealers Award of the Year for the Dodgy (Brothers) Car Salesman You Admire Most Or Who You Would Like to Emulate"
Too many backflips.
"BEST IMPERSONATION - Lawrence Springborg - In reality a fence-post, Lawrence Springborg carries into politics all the steadfastness and solidity of the iron-bark post he is. His stolidity is a result of being firmly rammed in the soil, a National trait, and his lack of breadth of vision is the result of, naturally, being a product of the soil who is wired to his other fence-post mates and definitely always in line. WORST IMPERSONATOR - Gordon Nuttall - As Primary Industries Minister with a boutonniere, what more can one say. Indeed, what more needs to be said."
"Bob Quinn - Best face in the parliament. For never changing his expression in spite of what is going on around him. He could win the lottery and that expression would not change."