A perspective from prior to the Queensland council elections.
Right from the beginning I never supported the forced council amalgamations in Queensland nor did I think at any stage that the misguided and delusional announcements made by former premier Peter Beattie and his sidekick in anti-democratic grime Andrew Fraser that less and bigger councils would achieve better outcomes for ratepayers had any foundation at all.
By the time this article gets published on the Australian Tea Party website, the local government elections will have taken place right across Queensland and we will all know which mayors and councillors will be representing our communities for the next 4 years. In the case of Brisbane City, as I sit here tonight writing this, all the indicators according to opinion polls point to a convincing but not thumping victory for Graham Quirk, Campbell Newman’s midterm unelected replacement.
Quirk appears to have escaped the protest vote sentiment that often is executed against incumbent political leaders who weren’t voted in at a general election, obviously the anti-Australian Labor Party (ALP) sentiment which is sweeping the state has damaged lord mayoral opponent Ray Smith’s campaign to some degree, despite Smith’s valiant attempts to market himself as a traditional working class Labor stalwart, and not some chardonnay socialist like Anna Bligh or Julia Gillard.
24 hours from now it’s likely that Graham Quirk will be on the podium making a victory speech, the only good news for ALP might be that it pegs back a bit of ground on the LNP in the wards and a few new ALP councillor faces will be facing off against Quirk at City Hall for the next four years. We don’t want a one party system either way, so having some fresh ALP blood elected in Brisbane City has to be seen as being good for keeping democracy alive and well in Queensland.
The one star candidate, if you want to call her that, is of course Heather Beattie, wife of former premier Peter, and she is standing for Brisbane Central ward. Like the rest of the mayoral and councillor candidates across Queensland, you will only find out after this goes live on the Australian Tea Party website if she got up or not. Personally my opinion of Heather Beattie as a person is a lot higher than that of her husband, who run the state into the ground through a mixture of budgetary incompetence, a completely cockeyed privatisation of the electricity grid and worst of them all the council amalgamations which a majority of Queenslanders have either learnt to hate or forget about. If Heather Beattie wins, she better take a crash course in bi-partisan wheeling and dealing because Graham Quirk will likely be the man.
Outside of Brisbane in the regional and outer metropolitan councils, apathy at a grassroots community level is rife, because I am writing this on election eve I can’t tell you who is going to win in most instances but I can tell you that in Logan City, where divisional council remains, a record amount of sitting councillors already know they’ll have a job tomorrow night for the next four years, because they are running for re-election unopposed.
As much as I would much sooner prefer having councillors elected on a division by division basis instead of having a set amount elected to represent a whole city or region, such as in the Somerset Regional Council which takes in my native town of Toogoolawah, the situation where we end up having four councillors out of twelve and a mayor in Logan City being re-elected unopposed adds weight to the argument to go city wide and abolish divisions in council.
Why would a long time critic of city wide elected councils like me say that? Because at least with city wide elections you cannot possibly have councillors being re-elected unopposed because there will always be at least some rival candidates which they have to outpoll across the entire city or region if they want to win.
Postscript, the Queensland council elections were yet another electoral disaster for the ALP!
And Heather Beattie failed in her bid as well. It appears that Queenslanders aren’t too keen to forgive the ALP for the disaster that they inflicted on Queensland.