From state election to Brisbane City Council election (with a by-election on the side)

I was so focused working on the Queensland state election campaign, (relieved by the occasional brief break of feeling despondent about the Queensland state election campaign), that I didn’t get around to blogging about it. Now that that election is over – although counting is still being completed – it’s straight into the local government election campaign, with an extra serving of unexpected by-election happening in the seat of South Brisbane. But I’ll have a shot at blogging through this one and see how I go.

It was an extraordinary state election in more ways than one – a record annihilation of the Labor government, a person running for Premier (and winning) who wasn’t in the Parliament, Bob Katter’s party with a titular leader who wasn’t even running as a candidate at all; and then after polling day the sight of a party leader quitting the seat she had just won before all the votes had even been counted (and not long after saying she wouldn’t be quitting her seat), losing MPs trying to resign their seats before the count was completed in an (unsuccessful) attempt to run for local council, all while a person was officially sworn in as Premier before their election to Parliament had been officially decided.

And so on to the local government elections, the date for which had long been fixed for this coming Saturday 31 March – until the previous state government ‘unfixed’ the date and inserted the state election into their preferred date instead – while still cleverly setting the new date for local council elections so close to the state election that it not only severely stretched the resources and capacity of the Electoral Commission, which has to conduct both polls across the entire state, it also  served to prevent a significant number of people from across the political spectrum from being able to  put themselves forward as candidates at council level at all. It’s hardly surprising that local government often feels it is not treated seriously enough – one of many reasons why there is strong support for local government to be formally recognised in our national Constitution.

But local government is a big deal and has a big impact on many peoples’ lives and on our environment. And having lived my whole life in Brisbane, which has by far the largest population of an local government area in Australia, it is frustrating to see so little attention being paid to this electoral contest which only comes around once every four years.

So I’ve stepped into by  putting myself forward as a candidate for Lord Mayor for the City of Brisbane with the Greens – not only the most people of any local government area in the country, but for the position which is voted on by the entire population of that city, making it the most populous single member electoral contest in the country. On this occasion, 673 827 people get to vote for the single position of Mayor (which is roughly the size of seven federal House of Representatives seats). I don’t have much chance of connecting with every single one of those people over the month left until polling day, but we’re certainly aiming to run a campaign which will raise valuable ideas and connect with the many people who are wanting to take a direct interest in what options are being put forward for the future of their city.

I usually try not to use this blog to spruik myself, but on this occasion I’m happy to encourage anyone who is interested in helping to send an email to indicating ways you might be able to help (including donating) or just start by popping over to my Facebook page and clicking on the Like button.

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  1. Thanks Ken – very kind (or at least non-churlish) of you. The state election has chewed up most funds so there is not a lot to spend in any case (although will gladly receive donations).

    I’m not running saying I’m expecting to win, although should the unexpected happen and I do win, I am saying I believe I’m up to the job. I’m mostly running because these elections were being given virtually no attention, despite the fact that Brisbane has some major issues to face – and as the biggest Council in the country, some real opportunities to show leadership and vision in some important areas.

    I also am running to help get maximum support for the campaigns of some Greens candidates in local Wards who have a real chance of polling well.

  2. Good luck. I hope Newman is not running? I don’t know if Brisbane coudl handle a CLover Moore situation.

  3. Thanks RC and Togret

    No Campbell Newman isn’t running – he resigned as Lord Mayor a year ago. Qld law actually prohibits people from simultaneously being a Member of State Parliament and on a Local Council (although you can still be on Council and in Federal Parliament).

    I don’t actually support that law – although in a Council as big as Brisbane’s I don’t think it would be feasible to do both jobs, I don’t think it should be automatically prohibited as a matter of law. I think voters should be able to decide that matter (as they have done in regards to Clover Moore – twice if I recall correctly)

  4. Our local councillor (Moreton Bay Regional Council) has actually managed to breathe a sigh of relief, since the seat of Ferny Grove was lost by the sitting Labor MP, Geoff Wilson. Consequently the Labor leader of the local Residents’ Action Group has withdrawn from the council elections, leaving the sitting member unopposed.

    After the Labor state government amalgamated the councils, empowered Unitywater to collect revenue for water/sewage and then refused to give councils any funding to collect the new Waste Levy, Geoff Wilson thought he could split the council with a referendum and tack The Hills District onto the BCC, citing high council rates and inferior rebates as reasons.

    Now we have to wait and see what Campbell Newman and our new LNP MP Dale Shuttleworth will do.

    Many think the LNP will continue with Asset Sales, which has already proven to be electoral suicide for Labor. To my knowledge, both the LNP and Labor are also against a moratorium on Coal Seam Gas.

    I have already been told that the building of a high school at Samford (semi-rural area) which has been greatly needed for 25 years will have to wait until the empty coffers are replenished. Ditto for a rail link to Samford.

    It will certainly be interesting to see the outcome of council elections. I doubt if anyone from Labor will get the Lord Mayor’s job.

  5. lorikeet
    the rail link to samford is like the rail link to redcliffe it wont happen .
    and i for one are happy about that
    i like samford the way it is and was
    a rail link would turn it into just another suburb .
    and a high school is not needed either as the ferny grove high school is close enough and has plenty of buses running from samford and is an excellent school.

  6. Gosh … wow … don’t tell me that the new government has discovered to its horror that things are even worse than they’d thought … good lord. Wholesale cuts, particularly to the bloated public service .. except the ones who work for them, of course. *faints*

  7. Andrew, I stumbled upon your blog by accident, while trying to find information about the BCC Council election. My problem with voting Green at any level is that the Greens have (tragically) made environmental concern the exclusive domain of the extreme left Marxist and virulent anti-Semite. If I vote Green, then I am endorsing economic policies which, if ever fully implemented, would destroy the economic base of this country. Thanks, but no thanks. If this makes me an environmental vandal, then so be it.

  8. Gray, that’s the most risible excuse I’ve seen for not voting Green – and if you think that sort of shallow sloganeering is sufficient excuse to ignore environmental issues, then yes, it does make you an environmental vandal – and apparently a consciously willing one.

    To suggest that the Greens are anti-Semite (let alone virulently so) is a disgraceful slur without any foundation. Similarly, if you can find anything in the Greens record or policies which is ‘extreme left Marxist’, please feel free to point to out. The Greens oppose extreme neoLiberalism, but there is a very large amount of space between that and extreme left Marxism,

    Similarly, there is a very large amount of space between being anti-Semitic and being critical of the ongoing actions of the Israeli government. Automatically labeling any criticism of the Israeli government as anti-Semitic, no matter how egregious their actions, does no help to the people of Israel. There is a large and long-standing body of opposition of Jewish people within Israel to the actions of their government – all they all anti-Semitic too?

  9. Andrew, do you deny that, with the collapse of Communism, large numbers of the old Communist Party membership moved seamlessly across to the Greens? If true, would this help to explain the Green’s incessantly anti-capitalist rhetoric? Do you deny that the Greens ridiculously anti-development policies would destroy Australian jobs and livelihoods if ever implemented? Do you acknowledge that the Labor Party was finally, under Hawke and Keating, moving away from class based rhetoric and policies, but that Gillard (having to appease the Greens as the price of minority government) has moved the ALP Government back well to the left of the spectrum? On Green anti-Semitism, two words: Marrickville Council (not to mention an existing Green Parliamentary representative or two whose extreme left wing political antecedents are coming to light at last).

  10. Gray, in response to your questions:

    Andrew, do you deny that, with the collapse of Communism, large numbers of the old Communist Party membership moved seamlessly across to the Greens?

    Yes, I deny that. The original Communist Party of Australia wound up around 1990, and had very few members by that stage anyway.

    If true, would this help to explain the Green’s incessantly anti-capitalist rhetoric?

    As stated, it is not true, and your assertion that the Greens use “incessantly anti-capitalist rhetoric” is as intellectually valid as kindergarten name-calling.

    Do you deny that the Greens ridiculously anti-development policies would destroy Australian jobs and livelihoods if ever implemented?

    Of course I deny this. It has no factual basis, so how could I do otherwise? It is a ridiculous claim based on a totally false premise which is as valid as all the other hollow talking points which inhabit the more rabid corners of the corporate media and their fellow travellers in the lunar-right segments of the internet.

    Do you acknowledge that the Labor Party was finally, under Hawke and Keating, moving away from class based rhetoric and policies, but that Gillard (having to appease the Greens as the price of minority government) has moved the ALP Government back well to the left of the spectrum?

    The comment about Hawke and Keating is arguable, though shallow. The assertion about the Gillard government is risible and contrary to the evidence.

    On Green anti-Semitism, two words: Marrickville Council.

    You’re right, those are two words. And clearly there are no words you can use to back up your disgraceful, cowardly smear about the Greens being “virulently anti-Semitic”. Which very strongly suggest you are happy to perpetuate fatuous distortions and throw unsubstantiated smears at people – as many others did who tried to paint the Marrickville Council’s decision to support aspects of the BDS campaign as somehow being anti-Semitic, despite producing no evidence at all to back up such a claim.

    The tactic of labelling any and all criticisms of the government of Israel, no matter how outrageous their actions, as ‘anti-Semitic’ is no longer going to silence the huge number of people – including many Jewish people in Israel and throughout the world – who do not support systemic human rights abuses or continuing incremental dispossesion of powerless people.

    If you want to spray your farcical fantasis and reactionary rubbish around, please do so somewhere else where people don’t fell the need to make at least some effort connect their comments to reality. And please don’t insult peoples’ intelligence by pretending you have any interest in environmental concerns, when your response has just confirmed your only interest is in repeating some very well worn falsehoods long pedalled as parroting-points by ideological extremists.

  11. I for one do not believe that the Working Class CPA moved to the greens in large numbers. Many of the Communist Sympathisers in Universities . the Peace Movement, and anti capitalist eco-fascists did move to the Greens. The majority of the Union Communist Sympathisers were either in or moved to the ALP. In mid 1970’s Harry Wright of Australian CItizens For Freedom listed over 100 ex Communists who were occupuying executive positions in Brisbane Trades and Labor Council Unions.

    I would not call the Socialist Patrty of Australia Stalinist the true stalinists were the CPA (Marxist _Leninist). The SPA (lee Rhianan’s party) was pro Soviet at a time when USSR was no longer Stalinist. However explain to the Hungarians in 1956 and the Czechoslovaks in 1968 what the difference between a Stalinist bullet was and a non stalinist bullet was. THE USSR was totalitarian in 1956 & 1968.

    THe Green’s Lee Rhianan supported the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Read Mark Aarons book if in doubt. Yet the Greens endorsed her as a parliamentary candidate. Why?
    SEnator Rhianon has been given a number of opportunities to explain her past but continues to avoid topic. THe Greens are a mixture of tree huggers, hippies and totalitarians.

    When you vote for Andrew Bartlett for Lord Mayor you get not just his socially libertarian views you get the views of the totalitarians within his party.

  12. I know it’s been the practice of propagandists through the ages Andrew J, but false accusations remain false no matter how often you repeat them. Just as is doesn’t matter how often allegations are discredited, you will keep repeating the lie that they are somehow being ‘avoided’.

    The accusations made against Lee Rhiannon by arch-conservatives are demonstrably untrue. She was a member of the NSW Parliament for 10 years before then being elected to the Senate, so there is a decade worth of material on the public record about what Lee Rhiannon’s real beliefs and priorities are. The Greens members in NSW endorsed her as a Senate candidate because they had that 10 years worth of her actual work as a Green MP to refer to, which give the lie to any smears about totalitarian beliefs.

    It might not be something DLP members worry about, but Greens members tend to make their judgements based on facts and evidence, not fanciful and false assertions about someone’s alleged view when they were a teenager 40 years previously.

    I have no problem with comments which put forward differing views, but it really is preferable that people behave like adults. Please read (or re-read) the comments policy for this blog before posting again. There are plenty of other places on the internet for juvenile name-calling – this isn’t one of them.

  13. Andrew B.

    Without necessarily agreeing with all the comments by Gray, I too have the dilemma of being a lifetime conservationist, being in agreement with the Greens conservation and social policies, but not agreeing with the Greens’ alternative energy and economic policies. For example I oppose the Carbon Tax, and support capitalism.

    So, because of the wider aspects of Greens’ policies, I cannot find any political party that I can happily vote for.

  14. Andrew,

    Something I find amusing: in the by-election for the Walter Taylor ward after the last federal election, Campbell Newman told me state governments were a waste of money and should be abolished.

    I wonder what his opinion is now.

  15. Philip:

    I saw Campbell Newman on TV only a couple of days ago. He said that he was going to give the councils more power. As Lord Mayor of Brisbane, I’m sure he was sick of being walked over by the Bligh government.

    Living in the Moreton Bay Regional Council area (Australia’s third largest, having undergone a triple amalgamation), I can vouch for the fact that council amalgamations were financially damaging, as were the empowerment of Unitywater to collect charges for sewage/water from ratepayer, and the state government expecting councils to collect a Waste Levy without compensating them for administrative costs.

    I think changes need to be made to the State Constitution to stop governments from doing these things. I believe that councils should take charge of only the most basic services, and that utilities should be run by the states.

    To abolish the state governments would be to give the federal government too much power, and a greater opportunity to sell us out globally. Perhaps they would stampede their way over the councils as well.

  16. The Labor Lord Mayoral candidate does not look like someone I would be interested in voting for. If others think the same, I believe he will do very badly.

    The current Mayor of the Moreton Bay Regional Council delivered a black coloured flyer to my home which contained a very nasty smear campaign (very black) against someone standing for Mayor who lives in my neck of the woods.

    This turned me off the Mayor more than it turned me off anyone else.

  17. Andrew, it is perhaps regrettable that you accuse some contributors to your blog of being ‘propogandists’ and ‘engaging in name calling’ and ‘not acting like adults.’ In your responses to my earlier comments about Green Anti-Semitism, I was subjected to an absolute tirade of vitriol and name-calling. I’m not complaining. Indeed, I appreciated your taking the trouble to respond at length to my comments. But still, it would be wonderful if the courtesies of civil discourse that are demanded from contributors to this blog were actually extended to those same contributors.

    Re the vexed issue of Anti-Semitism, I understand that the protests against Max Brenner Chocolates at Southbank were actively approved by Senator Rhianan and tacitly endorsed by Bob Brown. I was one of the many Brisbanites who went along that day, to support Max Brenner by deliberately buying a cup of chocolate. The screams of anti-Jew abuse from the demonstrators were quite sickening, and made one feel as though one had been transported back to Germany in the nineteen thirties. The Green’s demands for boycotts against Israel and the imposition of sanctions makes no sense to me. Throughout the Muslim States of the Middle East, Christians are being slaughtered and driven from their homes and their Churches burned. With their professed concern for human rights, why aren’t the Greens concerned about that? Israel is the only place in the Middle East where a Christian can live in safety, and, very soon now, Israel will be the only real democracy in the Middle East. Why aren’t the oh-so-concerned Greens supporting the democratic State of Israel, rather than denigrating it? Maybe I’m silly and uninformed, but please believe me when I say that personal abuse is not the way to educate me.

  18. Andrew why not run as a democrat instead? Brisbane will never elect a greens mayor regardless(they lack economic creditability and I’m not saying that as just another idiot who reads the paper, I’m saying that as someone who has had to work with one for 4 years), so why not run on the vote of common sense and balance. I still wonder how different things would be federally right now if the dems had the balance of power and not a bunch of ideologists and self serving independents. I’d be genuinely surprised if you back the greens philosophy, the type of party that votes against environmental legislation (CPRS) because they dont get what they want. Ideology is not good for progress at any level of government, no matter which side it comes from.

  19. @Ben Smith regarding running as a Democrat. I thought they held an even worse position to QLD ALP. But then I saw they do have a website, so your notion is sound.

    On this occasion, 673 827 people get to vote for the single position of Mayor

    Declaration of my position:

    Andrew, with respect as I’d accord to any human, I must say that I placed the vote for you in your Green position below the Sex party and below the tree hugging indie. Lest I be unclear, Greens #5, ALP #2!

    If it’s any consolation, if the vote had a realistic consequence, I’d have picked you ahead of the disaffected sex party student!

    On a side note, it will be interesting to see the South Brisbane result tonight, especially in the light of the overwhelming Quirk win.

  20. I gave out HTVs for The Australian Party at the by-election, where I had a chance to speak with booth workers from various parties including Greens, Family First and Daylight Saving for South-East Queensland.

    I told the fellow from DS4SEQ that he wasn’t going anywhere in a party with only one policy.

    I ended up crowded on both sides by Labor booth workers after one of Anna Bligh’s sons arrived. I heard him making various derogatory comments about me (and also Katter’s party). I guess no one told him I have exceptional hearing that is outside of the normal human range.

    It seems to me that Labor has quite a few of these young whipper snappers who are lucky to avoid a well deserved smack in the mouth.

    All of the minor party booth workers were unanimous in their opinion that the major parties ensure that we don’t get a fair go, and that everyone is sick of the Duopoly/Dualition working to a common rotten agenda.

    Hey, I think I just coined a new word.

  21. Lorikeet – be fair to the boy – how could he have guessed your superhuman powers from yourmild mannered exterior?

  22. Don’t worry, Togret. He was probably in a bad mood because his mother’s party is now barely able to win a chook raffle.

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