Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Byelection disaster in Qld: Historian says Campbell Newman's hubris could see him lose his seat

Campbell Newman’s iron grip on Queensland government is now looking decidedly limp-wristed following the disastrous Stafford byelection result.

The Premier’s Liberal National Party suffered an 18.6 per cent swing in the Brisbane bayside electorate, Labor’s victory giving it a ninth MP in the Queensland Parliament.

Historian Ross Fitzgerald predicted Mr Newman would definitely lose his own seat of Ashgrove at the Queensland election, expected within 11 months.

"‘When they say the swing is on in Queensland, it goes bananas. And historically, it is most certainly is on," Professor Fitzgerald said.

"The Premier won the biggest election victory in Australian history in 2012 but he is in danger of losing government.

"And unless they find Mr Newman another seat, he will also lose his in the election. There are too many public servants in Ashgrove who haven’t taken kindly to the big staff cuts."

Professor Fitzgerald said the Queensland Liberal National Party had nobody to blame but Mr Newman for the slump in its electoral fortunes.

"The government’s been brought low by Mr Newman’s hubris. Pure and simple," he said.

"He thought because he had such a huge majority he could hurt, cut and do whatever he liked. Well, it is not panning out like that."

Mr Newman alienated large sections of the community by bullheaded legislation to bring bikie gangs under control and his high-handed appointment of Tim Carmody as Chief Justice, despite him having no Supreme Court experience.

There have been ongoing and embarrassing resignations of LNP MPs and ministers, but Mr Newman’s biggest black mark has been the reduction of 14,000 Queensland public service positions.

He promised to do so in the 2012 campaign. But in a large state where a government presence is a huge and valued component of regional life, the cuts are now starting to bite, and programs and locals are being jettisoned. Consequently, the Queensland government’s popularity has been falling for months.

The fall  in the Newman government’s vote in Saturday’sbyelection followed a 17 per cent swing to Labor in the Redcliffebyelection last February.

Mr Newman scored the biggest victory in Australian electoral history in April 2012, attracting 62.8 per cent of the two-party preferred vote.

Last April, however, Newspoll found his lead over Labor had fallen  to 52 per cent to 48 per cent. Earlier this month the pollster had the LNP trailing Labor 49 per cent to 51 per cent.

On Saturday night Mr Newman acknowledged some Queenslanders were not happy with his government.

"This evening I say to those people, we’ve heard you, we understand how you feel, and I pledge this evening to continue to work hard," he said.

"We will work very, very hard to take our message out to Queenslanders about the positive things we do want to happen in this state."

Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said the byelection outcome was a result of Mr Newman not listening to voters.

"This is a Premier who is taking Queensland backwards and tonight Stafford has sent him a clear message," she told supporters on Saturday night.


Rinehart mulls fresh Fairfax bid

This might break the solid Leftist line of the SMH and Age

AUSTRALIA'S richest woman Gina Rinehart appears to be mulling whether to launch a bid to seize control of Fairfax Media.

THE mining billionaire, who is Fairfax's biggest shareholder with a 15 per cent stake in the newspaper and radio group, is reportedly considering launching a full takeover bid.

A report in The Australian said Ms Rinehart had approached business associates for suggestions on who could better manage or sit on the Fairfax board in the event of a takeover.
Ms Rinehart's spokesman Jason Morrison was unable to comment on the report.

The report said the billionaire was disappointed with the performance of Fairfax, which owns the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Australian Financial Review mastheads, and was likely to call for an extraordinary general meeting to sack the board if she decided to lift her stake to 20 per cent.

But Fusion Strategy founder Steve Allen, a veteran media analyst, said it was unclear what Ms Rinehart, who also has an investment in Ten Network and is best known for her high profile in the resources industry, offered Fairfax.

"I don't know what she brings to the Fairfax board room and the Fairfax organisation that will improve things," he told AAP.
"Her entry on to the registers (of Fairfax and Ten) hasn't assisted shareholders whatsoever."

But if Ms Rinehart wanted control of the company she should follow through on a full takeover, otherwise remaining shareholders would be disadvantaged and would likely see the value of their holding fall further, Mr Allen said.

Ms Rinehart bought into Fairfax in early 2012, sparking a fight with chairman, Roger Corbett, as she criticised Fairfax's performance and demanded a place on the board.  Mr Corbett refused, but did allow the appointment of Ms Rinehart's friend, Hungry Jacks founder Jack Cowin, to the board.

In the year after Ms Rinehart bought in, Fairfax's share price slumped to as low as 35 cents and it announced a $2.7 billion loss.  As a result, Fairfax announced a major restructure that saw about 1,900 jobs cut, the closure of two printing facilities, changes to the format of the Herald and Age and the introduction of digital subscriptions.

The share price has since climbed back above 90 cents and Mr Allen believes Fairfax has turned a corner in its transition from a newspaper publisher to a chiefly online business.

Fairfax lifted its underlying net profit 48 per cent to $86.4 million for the first half of the 2013/14 financial year. It was one of the most traded stocks on the ASX on Monday, closing 1.5 cents higher at 92.5 cents after hitting an intra-day high of 95.5 cents.


Why is it The Greens are treated by the media as having the moral high ground?

The snobs in the Canberra press pack tend to ignore Senator John Madigan of the DLP so chances are you won't see much of this speech he gave in Parliament reported.

However, here, he raises some quite significant questions about the integrity of the Greens when it comes to what really motivates their "clean energy" commitment ..... $$$

He also joins the dots between interesting figures lingering behind the scenes of The Greens and the Palmer Party.


Senator Madigan asks a question that deserves some pondering .... why is it that The Greens are treated by the media as having the moral high ground on just about every subject?


Racial discrimination in Sydney's Chinatown?

IT’S the Shanghai shuffle, the fried price — a Mandarin restaurant in Sydney’s CBD is charging English-speaking patrons more than 10 per cent extra per dish than their Chinese-speaking counterparts.

A serving of fried rice costs $2 more on the English menu than for people who order from the Chinese menu — ­effectively a 12.7 per cent fee on English-speakers.

Yin Li Sichuan restaurant owner Diana suggested it was meant to be a secret among Asian customers.  “The Chinese menu is usually just for Chinese people, they like the Sichuan flavour,” she said.

Despite both menus using the same photos and descriptions, she denied there were any discounts for Chinese-speaking guests. “Sometimes people who come a lot get discount,” she added.

The two menus are colour-coded to help waiters quickly discern between the two. The red Chinese menu sits on the top shelf, above the black English menus.

The Daily Telegraph pointed out the discrepancy in prices to a staff member at the Dixon St restaurant on Thursday night.

“The English menu is new, that’s why it’s more expensive,” she said. Both menus, however, appeared equally worn and dated.

A serving of fried rice with lettuce and beef is $17.80 on the English menu but only $15.80 for Chinese speaking customers. Mapo tofu ($16.80) and dried spicy bean ($17.80) are both $1 more if you can’t read Chinese.

The Daily Telegraph could not find any examples of cheaper dishes for English-speaking customers. The double standards have drawn the ire of the online community, with one customer labelling the restaurant “racist” in a review last year.

“Two menus — one for Chinese (cheaper) one for others (dearer),” wrote tripadvisor reviewer Stephanie. “Will never eat there again or encourage others. Racism (in) its worst form.”

Another wrote: “If you are not Chinese, do not eat here.”

It is against the law to offer goods or services at “less favourable terms or conditions” based on somebody’s race or nationality under Section 13 of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.

But Restaurant and Catering Association chief executive John Hart said it was difficult to prove discrimination under the current law.

“It obviously doesn’t sit very comfortably,” he said.


1 comment:

Paul said...

Chinese? Racist?

Say it isn't so. I thought only White people were capable of racism, and everyone else was just a rainbow diversity of cultural enrichment.