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Posts Tagged ‘Liberal National Party of Queensland’

What happened to honest politics in Queensland? Scott Driscoll shames Newman

In Corruption, David Marler on April 8, 2013 at 12:15 PM
Scott Driscoll with Campbell Newman during the election campaign in 2012. Source: The Courier-Mail

Scott Driscoll with Campbell Newman during the election campaign in 2012. Source: The Courier-Mail

By David Marler

April 7, 2013

The Queensland State election of 2012 delivered the traditionally safe Labor seat of Redcliffe to Scott Driscoll of the Liberal National Party (LNP).

Driscoll was born in Redcliffe and was involved in a number of community groups which helped raise his profile in the electorate. He became president of the Queensland Retail Traders and Shopkeepers’ Association (QRTSA); a lobbying group which represented the interests of small retail businesses, and was a patron of the Redcliffe Community Association of Moreton Bay (RCAMB), a community group which helped the homeless and those with mental illness.

He was also the largest single donor to Premier Campbell Newman’s election campaign, donating  $55,000.Upon entering Parliament, he was appointed a member of several Parliamentary committees, the State Development, Infrastructure and Industry Committee and Health and Community Services Committee.

In February this year The Courier Mail revealed that Driscoll had not disclosed his pecuniary interests in the community groups. It alleged that he had been directing QRTSA and RCAMB throughout 2012 whilst an MP, and that donations and disposed assets of QRTSA had not been properly accounted for. This prompted former employees of Driscoll’s to come forward citing sexual harassment claims.

It then emerged that Driscoll had used his electorate office for meetings of his extra-parliamentary interests and had staff working on QRTSA and RCAMB projects, and had had approached Woolworths and Coles on behalf of QRTSA to seek donations for lobbying on their behalf. Both companies declined his offer, and Woolworths reported the approach to the Liberal Party hierarchy.

Norsefire, a company owned by Driscoll’s wife Emma, was paid by both QRTSA and RCAMB for consultancy work. Emma was also added to the RCAMB payroll as HR administrator.

Driscoll denied all financial improprieties in a parliamentary speech, but would not speak to the media. He resigned his directorships and updated his pecuniary interest register claiming an ‘oversight’. He also significantly updated his pecuniary interest register to include several properties and sent flyers to his constituents informing them that all allegations were false, including the sexual harassment claims.

RCAMB subsequently collapsed due to lack of funding. Twenty three staff were stood down owed 2 weeks wages. During 2012, RCAMB had received $1.4 million in funding from both State and Federal Governments. Two weeks earlier, Queensland Minister for Communities Tracy Davis told Parliament her department was working with RCAMB to resolve the financial problems, but RCAMB staff told the media no one had been in contact.

QRTSA is now largely defunct, and a new association was created in its place called the United Retail Federation (URF).

At first Premier Newman backed Driscoll, stating it would be up to voters to decide at the next election and calling for an end to trial by media. He defended Driscoll in Parliament, calling the allegations an Easter egg hunt.

Ultimately he was forced to suspend Driscoll from the LNP. He referred Driscoll to the Parliamentary ethics committee but stopped short of referring him to the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC). Newman then adopted a ‘Sgt Shultz’ defence, saying he knew nothing about the allegations and could do no more as Driscoll was no longer a member of the Government.

Queensland LNP President Bruce McIver had been warned about Driscoll’s attitude pre-election but took no action.  To the 2013 allegations, he told the media all information had been passed to the relevant authorities – but would not specify exactly what information or to which authorities – and that he had not informed Newman.

McIver then attended the Redcliffe branch of the LNP and spoke of his fears of losing the seat should something be found wrong with Driscoll, and that the scandal had jeopardised the Liberal’s chances of taking the Federal seat of Petrie from Labor at the upcoming Federal election.

The Driscoll affair currently involves six investigations:

  • Queensland Health has commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct a forensic investigation into RCAMB.
  • The CMC is assessing the documents by the RCAMB whistleblower.
  • Driscoll has been referred to the Ethics Committee over pecuniary interest declaration.
  • Another complaint on ‘ghost invoicing’ at RCAMB was received by Queensland police.
  • Complaints relating to RCAMB have been received by the Queensland Auditor-General.
  • The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission is investigating complaints received on QRTSA.

The details of the saga with links are at Norsefire burning.

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Is the ‘liberal’ in the Liberal Party a case of false advertising?

In Ideology, Liberal Party, Noely Neate on March 2, 2013 at 5:32 PM

By Noely Neate
March 2nd, 2013

When I was young I would see something I thought was unfair, have a rant about it  (obviously have not changed over the years)  and my dad would mutter under his breathe ‘bloody bleeding heart liberal’.  As a youngster I never really knew what that meant, though I did get the gist that my dad thought I was being soft.

Reading about the highly anticipated or dreaded Costello report , depending on how you feel about the future of Queensland,  it was pretty clear that the Atate I love is about to be parcelled up and sold to the highest bidder.  In a nutshell Mr Costello is telling his liberal mate Mr Campbell Newman to Sell assets and outsource health services.

So where does that leave the people?

Kay Rollison has expressed my concerns very well in her recent article: Privatisation: Coming to Public Schools and Hospitals Near You.  She  infers that the LNP Queensland Government is setting the blueprint for what an Abbott Federal Government is planning to do to the country as a whole.  I have a terrible feeling she may be right, and again I ask, what about the people?  The people who can’t afford private schools, the people who can’t afford a private hospital, the people who are already struggling to pay their ever increasing electricity bill. Are we destined to a future of the rich being wealthier, healthier and educated, whilst the less affluent become poorer, die waiting for a hospital bed and more ignorant due to poor public education standards?

Is this what a so-called Liberal party should be doing? Let’s see how the party so proud of it ‘Liberal Party Values’ stacks up against the definition of the word ‘liberal’.

Being an old fashioned sort of girl, I hit the dictionary for the definition of liberal and you know what, the political party does not seem to fit the definition that the trusty old Oxford Dictionary shows me.  Let’s see…

willing to respect or accept behaviour or opinions different from one’s own

I don’t think so. The demonisation of asylum seekers is not liberal by definition.  Recent comments by Morrison and Abetz display exactly how ‘accepting’ the Liberal Party is. Personally I would prefer to be warned that Morrison or Abetz was living next to me than an asylum seeker trying to start a new life with the family.  (their words and views)

open to new ideas

Gee that is a funny one. I’m pretty sure that the LGBT Australians are pretty sure there will be no gay marriage under the Liberals. In fact, dialling back Civil Unions was on the top of the LNP’s list when they rocked into power last year.

favourable to or respectful of individual rights and freedoms

Well if Mr Abbott has his way, women definitely do not have reproductive rights or freedoms?  Now get back in that kitchen and make your husbands dinner, unless of course you work for or are related to Mr Abbott, because you are obviously one of the ‘good’ women…

(in a political context) favouring individual liberty, free trade, and moderate political and social reform Read the rest of this entry »

Updated: Questions for Mr Abbott at the National Press Club

In Ashby Conspiracy, Margo Kingston on January 30, 2013 at 11:53 AM

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January 31 Press Club review: There are many reasons why the Canberra Press Gallery is failing to fulfil its democratic role. A collapse in media revenues, 24 hour filing, no time to stay with a story and investigate it, an atmosphere which sees journos run from one ephemeral topic to another in waves, an exodus of experienced practitioners with a corporate memory, the removal of quality newspapers as the bedrock of serious journalism…

When an institution is in trouble, leadership is required.

I was proud of the gallery I once belonged to today. It was on trial, and it delivered a solid performance. I was moved to tears, though, by the leadership of two of its most experienced, rational, hard-working, intelligent members. I know both of them. They are strong, fearless, and dedicated to the core values of journalism.

They broke Abbott’s silence on Ashby, and Laura Tingle also called Abbott on his policy of turning his back on hard questions.

As a result, they have opened a crack in the Coalition’s strategy of refusing to address the implications of the smoking gun Federal Court judgement on Ashby. Then another experienced press gallery journo, Lyndal Curtis, got an answer from Abbott on Thomson that removed all his clothes regarding his backing for Mal Brough. It is now up to the journo colleagues of these three women to pick up the ball and run with it.

Several days ago I urged citizen journos to find great MSM journos and support their work:

I think in terms of collaboration between Social Media and committed MSM journos. Old media is fighting for survival and new media can’t thrive without quality journalism reaching a broad audience. Flux. Each of us is helping shape what is to come.

The media silence post Ashby is system failure. Many MSM journos feel it too. If a way is not found to get the truth a dangerous line will have been crossed in terms of democratic checks and balances.

The Court has done its job. Politicians feel they cannot press for official accountability because of MSM silence. Social Media has demanded MSM action for 5 weeks yet even Richard Ackland’s column and the Sunshine Coast Daily’s devastating interview with Brough, in which he lied about the Press Gallery, drew nothing in response.

So Social Media must think laterally. And we are. And we must give maximum support to MSM journos who see their work as a vocation and are prepared to fight for its values.

Here is Laura Tingle’s question and Abbott’s answer, Lenore Taylor’s follow-up and his answer to her and Lyndal Curtis’s inspired question on Thomson. Abbott lied on Brough’s transparency. He promised that Brough would now answer questions. He promised to reveal the statistics on his press gallery press conferences. He failed to answer other points. And by his own words about the PM’s position on Thomson he condemned Brough to dis-endorsement – if journos keep the pressure on.