…from the quill of Antisthenes the Younger
When the economically progressive, but otherwise conservative non-socialist government (1957 to 1989) held the power in Queensland, the enlightened elites of Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra loved to exhibit their wit by calling Queensland “the Deep North”, a feeble allusion to their socially aware US brethren’s the “Deep South” label for the supposedly racist, redneck and Christian southern states of America. In 1989 the no longer despicable and despised Queenslanders oh so wisely elected the lawyer Wayne Goss and his Australian Labor Party and with a few unmemorable hiccups, Labor ruled the second largest state of Australia since. In practical terms – if you were born when Goss came to power on the back of the Fitzgerald police corruption report, you would be now collecting your NewStart allowance (Labor-speak for unemployment benefit) for seven years and you would be able to vote for your benefactors, the Labor Party, for five years. That represents, for the denizens of Queensland, over twenty years of hard Labor, more than a male in Australia would serve for murder. Still, for the last twenty years I have not noticed any erudite wisecracks about those poor unimaginative hicks in the “North is Red” province electing the dysfunctional government with The Age stolidity and Crikey predictability.
In the meantime, in what passes for an election campaign, we are getting those standard meaningless promises, thought I admit that so far I have not heard the classic one of the Redcliffe peninsula railway link. We got a helicopter or two promised for the police, and if the Queensland Police Service actually received all those helicopters and fixed wing aircraft vouched for during the electioneering of years past, no police officer would ever have to walk anywhere. Naturally, we are also getting a promise of more police, which, if true, would dramatically reduce Queensland’s unemployment and reduce the crime rate to zero. Of course, I mean the crime by the lower, non-political, non-trade union officials’ classes.
My Fistful of dollar article of 24th January was prescient. When the benighted users of the Queensland Rail suffered yet another disruption of service due to a failure of, I guess an usual quality Chinese clamp, Ms Bligh immediately offered the free rides on the public transport the following day. It will cost the Withers/Blight family one million dollars, i.e., almost two years their combined salary. Only joking. Naturally the taxpayer will pay for yet another electioneering gesture by the theoretically only care-taker Premier.
It is likely that after 24th March this year Queenslanders will , in the eyes of the “progressives” became the conservative, redneck hayseeds again. In the meantime the governing Labor is putting up a desperate electoral fight while its shredders are overheating and hard-drives are being replaced. Let us guess; what will be the Queensland state debt be after the elections – a double of the admitted figure? Triple?