Disclaimer – Be warned, this blog is long and talks about politics – for a lighter look at the world – go outside during the day, or hit your light switch…
Dear Andrew (and friends)*
I was sitting at the Coffee Club in Brookside (a free plug for my sister’s workplace) yesterday drinking a very fine cappuccino (exaggerated for the sake of the story) with some very fine people. The fine people included the always entertaining Mr Andrew Poyser, the always enjoyable Mrs Sarah Poyser, and the always very lovely Miss Robyn Burt. Roo apparently thinks my blog is full of rubbish but would read it if it was an email addressed to him – or would participate in a conversation with similar content – also known as talking turnstile**. And so today’s blog is in that form in a bid to double my readership by including Andrew and Sarah (and unborn Poyser who I suggest should be called Nathan) that would mean my total readership consists of 5 Poysers – Mark, Steve, Roo, Sarah and unborn Poyser… meaning that Poysers represent 83% of my total readership of 6***. If this blog were a democracy they’d have a clear majority. Luckily**** this blog is not a democracy.
Unfortunately Queensland is. I say unfortunately because based on last Saturday’s election there just aren’t enough quality candidates to fill all the required positions in Queensland’s parliament. I think the skills shortage stretches to the government. An interesting side debate at this point would be to discuss the merits of using high wages and good super packages to attract top quality people into government. It’s an argument that makes sense to me. Otherwise you’re left with showboaters who just do it for the attention and don’t actually know how to govern. At that point the achievements of government become the development of a sports stadium and several other tourism and lifestyle enhancements. Ala the Beattie government.
Here’s my retrospective analysis of the former Beattie government’s performance from a series of emails involving my politically motivated friends Ben and Joe^
Email 1 from Ben:
“Why do you think Beattie isn’t very good. I find him quite the vessional^^ leader. I’m trying to think over the past 8 years and I find it really hard to pull Beattie apart. OK, our health system needs work and Beattie probably should take care of that. And 2 years ago I said that trains were going to become a bigger and bigger issue in Brisbane and despite all the growing concern Beattie has ignored this and I think this will blow up in his face next term. Hell, public transport around Brisbane is getting worse and worse and I think this may have gone under the radar this election by next time I doubt he’ll be so lucky. The Goodwill Bridge was a bit frowned upon and the Smart State campaign wasn’t the huge success that he (and no one else) thought it would be but they were just stupid projects on the side and well, I kinda like the Goodwill Bridge and I think everyone who uses it would agree and only people with no reason to go near it really opposed it, like most things.”
Well, I don’t like Beattie for several reasons and my reasoning is included below – however I should point out that I’m pretty sure the Goodwill Bridge was a local government (Brisbane City Council) development so the state can’t really claim credit for it anyway – should they want to…
My response 1:
“If you break it down to the lowest common denominator – the State government are responsible for health, education and roads. Beattie has absolutely stuffed up every one of these areas.
All the problems are of his making – if he’s going to blame the population increase for the health problems that’s his fault. His government have aggressively targeted relocators from other states. It’s his fault. The water shortage wouldn’t be as big a deal if the population was a more manageable size in the South East corner. Public Transport and road congestion wouldn’t be as big a deal if he hadn’t been busily attracting 3000 people to the South East every week (that figure may be slightly inflated). Sure more people means more money for the state from Federal coffers and a greater capacity to generate economic stimulus – but if you’re not supporting more people with more infrastructure then quite frankly you’re buggered.
Beattie is the master of superficial – he’s a great ambassador for the state – but his policies are screwy and the state will gradually eat itself if he’s left in control.
He’s trying to claim that the rate of employment in Queensland as a positive outcome of his governance – which is tripe – everyone in Queensland should be employed – we have a skills shortage in North Queensland (and in fact everywhere). If the government was training and educating people better for the last 8 years that wouldn’t be a problem – the fact is people aren’t pursuing apprenticeships, people aren’t going to uni as much as they were… sure people are getting jobs, but anyone can operate a checkout, drive a forklift or pack a crate.
He’s rubbish. His policies are rubbish. Luckily for him, the opposition are rubbish too.”
Ben responded with a very long email which I’ll summarise for the sake of brevity… or less verbosity…
“Point 1 – The entire campaign was aimed at bringing skilled people to the state, which in actual fact has failed terribly with more skilled people going out and a net massive increase in stupid people, mostly pensioners/retires I noticed in the last demography reports I saw. So basically Queensland is becoming the new Florida, and now I think of it the comparisons don’t end there.
Point 2 – I think health problems are partly intertwined with lack of trained staff. Which brings us to education. This is an area i dont totally agree with you.… blaa blaa blaa^^^ …. university education rates are at the highest they have ever been in Australia, I was working with the census data not long ago that showed that since 91 the number of people with degrees increased from 6.9 to 12.8 (those numbers might be slightly off, they were around there though) and this census it was predicted to be at 14.9 (we will find this figure for sure mid next year).Now, I could simply go and find this report as it is in my massive pile of papers on my desk, but i am lazy. However, my point is the number of university educated people is rapidly increasing, as university is seen as an easier job than work (or so I presume). However, if you mapped the growth in certain areas, such as doctors, they should be increasing at the rate of population growth..
Point 3 – Finally, there will always be some unemployment, as it is made up of cyclic, redistribution and lazy ppl.(sic)(editors note: funny that Ben is too lazy to write people) also, I’m not sure if this is true but I think it might also be the case the proportion of the population of labour age in the labour force may be changing, as further study is eating a chunk of the population up that has historically been a very productive age bracket.”
That really is a summary – he clearly doesn’t spend enough time working…However, lots of the stuff I scrapped was Brisbane specific – ie skills shortage and public transport are bad in South East Queensland etc etc… So here’s my response – and that ought to close out today’s entry – it ought to, but then it would miss my really good ideas that I’ll now close with instead *(part b) :
1. Queensland is bigger than Brisbane
2. A fairly large chunk of the state’s economy is derived from minerals processing and mining – a large percentage of those operations occur in the state’s north – eg Townsville is a $10.2 billion regional economy growing at 12% per annum.
3. Beattie has made a lot of stupid industrial policy announcements in this election. Bowen is a rubbish site and making it a major point in an industrial triangle is a stupid decision. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
I don’t count arts degrees as university degrees – I have a feeling that I read that while numbers are currently up – enrolment figures for universities (particularly regional universities) are in decline – this may be because of increased competition (more places across the board means that some unis are sharing their former stranglehold on places) but JCU is undergoing massive funding cuts because they aren’t getting the numbers they need. We’re pouring out lazily educated students who are too lazy to move anywhere into a lazy workforce. The fact that I got a degree without visiting the library, attending classes, or in fact learning anything particularly useful during my degree reflects poorly on the standard of education on offer.
The skill shortage generally refers to skilled labour – ie tradespeople, apprentices and construction workers – there are already too many engineers and economists… We don’t need uni trained people really – we need people who are prepared to do the jobs that are readily available and essential. But at the end of the day, no one wants to be a sewerage treatment worker… or do anything hard. Because people are lazy and stupid… once again that’s the result of a crap education system allowing crap parents to breed crap children and it’s a downward cycle of crap.
We then involved Joe in the discussion because quite frankly, he’s a political animal…
Joe what do you think of Peter Beattie?
I will be spending 4 hours handing out “how-to-vote” cards tomorrow. Enough said.
I asked who for and he got a little insulted – but this is why (brilliant election idea number 1):
I ask because I figure you could produce your own how to vote cards and hand them out for neither party… That’s what I’d be doing.
Brilliant election idea number 2:
What do you think would happen if we encouraged enough people to write our names on their ballot papers across every electorate?
Brilliant election idea number 3:
I think the Coalition should completely target their campaigns in Beattie’s and Bligh’s electorates – putting all your eggs in one basket is frowned upon but I think if they could knock the leaders off their perches it would be almost literally a major coup. Imagine if Springborg and Flegg had spent the entire campaign period doorknocking personally in the seat of Brisbane and convincing residents to change their vote. If they could push that campaign widely in the media it may have shown they were proactively doing something about getting rid of Beattie.
I’m suggesting they work hard at getting rid of Beattie – it would be the best way to ensure the destruction of the labor government. Think about it take away Beattie and Labor are stuffed – name one other Labor politician outside of your local member and the big portfolios… Beattie has tried to be all things to all men – he hogged the ministerial portfolios to the point where he was minister for about six things as well as Premier. They’d be stuffed without him. He only just managed to scrape 50% of the vote in his electorate anyway – unfortunately it was split between 4 other candidates.
*I had to add the (and friends) because addressing this entry to Roo and then mentioning him in the first paragraph would have been odd. The joys of non linear writing…
** a very old in joke based loosely on an AFL ad and the concept that the content of our conversation is somehow a marketable commodity and would attract large numbers of interested parties…
**** Luckily used loosely – I’m sure they’d do a good and responsible job of governing my blog.
^ Names not changed to protect the guilty.
^^ A word made up by Ben – to be understood based entirely on the context of use in the sentence. It’s like a random adjective. Or a vessional adjective.
^^^ irrelevant disagreement removed