Queensland Liberal National Party (LNP) Premier Campbell Newman said Queensland voters were “thankful” for his government's savage cuts to jobs and public spending. This, presumably, is in much the same way you'd be thankful if you had crossed a mafia don and he only broke your legs.
Queenslanders are just thankful that, right now, they still have trains. And grateful it appears, once the blood from all the cuts has dried, that there will still be at least one public hospital left in the state.
Newman has not just threatened to cut at least 27,000 jobs, but has targeted badly needed medical programs and centres. Among a range of cuts, the LNP government has slashed funding for the Heart Foundation and caused widespread outrage over plans to dismantle a key breast cancer screening program.
The ridiculous thing is the way governments such as Newman's try to claim a mandate for their actions. As if Newman went round the traps in the lead up to the March 24 poll, declaring: “If you give me your votes, I hereby pledge that one of my first moves, and this is a gold-rolled promise, will be to close down Queensland's main tuberculosis centre and, damn it, screw the 242 annual TB sufferers in this state!
“And breast cancer? What the hell do I care?”
No, he just did his best to make sure voters knew he wasn't Anna Bligh and rode in on the seething hatred at the useless, anti-worker, pro-corporate, pro-privatisation incumbents.
It is true the LNP won a huge victory — reducing the incumbent Labor Party from 51 to just seven seats. But sentiment has shifted so much since Newman revealed his actual program that an August 7 BrisbaneTimes.com.au article said Newman would lose his seat of Ashgrove if an election was held today.
The poll showed that, after barely more than three months in office, Newman had suffered a nine-point swing against him in his seat.
Not surprising, then, that he is still trying to take advantage of hatred of the previous government to divert rage at his cuts. BrisbaneTimes.com.au said on August 4 Newman tried to blame anger at his cuts on union leaders, who he denounced as “wealthy Labor operatives who are organising strikes that will hurt workers’ hip pockets”.
The article went on: “Mr Newman’s comments on Saturday came a day after a dozen irate school cleaners stormed the state government’s headquarters in Brisbane.”
Because when you think of wealthy elites living high off rorts they are desperate to defend, the first image that comes to mind is school cleaners. No doubt, those fat cat bureaucrats are just scared of losing their access to erasers and pencil sharpeners in school stationary cupboards thanks to Newman's crackdown on waste.
Newman, of course, shuns all links with wealthy political operatives, choosing instead to associate with struggling battlers like top LNP donor and mining billionaire Clive Palmer.
In other news, on August 1, BusinessInsider.com said Palmer — the man who accused the CIA of backing “green extremists” and who wants to rebuild the Titanic — had plans to try cloning a dinosaur in a bid to build a real-life Jurassic Park.
Regular readers of this column would be aware I have used the various wacky and/or highly destructive antics of Palmer as a source of much material. I hereby declare I am swearing off Clive Palmer jokes for good. The bastard is just so good at them, no one else can compete.