Polling shows strong One Nation support in ex-deputy premier’s seat

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By Felicity Caldwell

The LNP could struggle to ward off One Nation in the seat of Callide, with polling revealing the retiring former deputy premier Jeff Seeney’s electorate is in danger of falling to the resurgent party.

ReachTEL polling of 730 residents in the electorate, obtained by Fairfax Media, reveals One Nation candidate Sharon Lohse would receive 25.4 per cent of the first preference vote.

ReachTEL polling shows a 25 per cent first preferential vote for One Nation in Jeff Seeney's seat of Callide.

ReachTEL polling shows a 25 per cent first preferential vote for One Nation in Jeff Seeney’s seat of Callide. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Katter’s Australian Party candidate Robbie Radel would receive 10 per cent, while the LNP’s Colin Boyce would receive 27.5 per cent, according to the poll taken on the night of November 8.

With One Nation and KAP signing off on a preference deal earlier this week, and the reintroduction of compulsory preferential voting, it could boost One Nation’s chances in the central Queensland electorate.

The seat of Callide has a margin of 9.8 per cent to the LNP but the impending departure of party elder Mr Seeney, and a resurgent One Nation, puts the seat into question.

Located in traditional Nationals territory, Callide has been in the hands of the Nationals or the merged Liberal National Party since ithe seat was created in 1950, and losing it would be a blow to the LNP.

Mr Seeney has held the seat since 1998, the same year One Nation won 11 seats in the Queensland Parliament.

In March, Mr Seeney announced he would retire at the next election to live a “more normal life”.

Asked for their opinion of One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, 47.4 per cent of people living in Callide were favourable, compared with 21 per cent who were a fan of Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls.

In the electorate of Gympie, 30.4 per cent of residents said they would cast their first preference vote for One Nation’s Chelle Dobson, while incumbent LNP member Tony Perrett would receive 28.7 per cent.

Out of the 11.9 per cent of voters who were undecided, 16.7 per cent opted for the One Nation candidate, while 11.5 per cent said the LNP.

Gympie, which now has a margin of 7.6 per cent, fell to One Nation MP Elisa Roberts in 2001, before she became an independent, with the Nationals winning it back in 2006.

Asked for their opinion of Mr Nicholls, 19.3 per cent of people polled in Gympie were favourable, compared with 44.3 per cent for Senator Hanson, showing strong support for the One Nation leader.

There were 807 residents polled in the electorate of Gympie on the night of November 8.

Mr Nicholls has said there would be no coalition or shared ministry with One Nation and LNP preferences would be decided on a seat-by-seat basis, while Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Labor would put One Nation last and there would be no deals with the party.

The Queensland election will be held on November 25, and One Nation has been tipped to wrest several seats from the major parties.

Source  :  Brisbane Times

Economists argue for legalisation of recreational cannabis use in Queensland

DECEMBER 16 2016

Cameron Atfield

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The recreational use of cannabis should be legalised in Queensland and such a move could reap millions for the state’s coffers, a Brisbane-based economics firm has argued in a new report.

The report, released this month by Bluegreen Economics, argues for the legalisation of recreational cannabis use, which it says would add tens of millions of dollars to the Queensland economy.While Parliament passed legislation in October that allowed for the medicinal, prescribed use of cannabis products, ...

The Queensland Parliament unanimously passed legislation in October, which Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has hailed as Australia’s “most progressive”, that allowed for the medicinal, prescribed use of cannabis products.

Citing the Colorado experience in the United States, the Bluegreen economists said the state government should go a step further.

“We find that both the state government and cannabis consumers would realise a significant net benefit under a regulated and taxed recreational cannabis scheme,” Bluegreen argues in its report.

“For government, there is likely to be increased tax and fee revenue of around $90 million in the medium term (three to five years) and significant savings in terms of decreased police, court and prison costs.

“The economy is likely to benefit from a new cannabis industry, depending on the particular regulate and tax model adopted, with new jobs created.”

Those benefits, the economists argued, would be offset by some additional government costs related to administration and compliance, along with a “likely small” increase in mental and physical health costs brought on by new users, or existing users increasing their intake.

“These additional health costs could be mitigated by a public education campaign,” the report found.

But the report did little to sway Ms Palaszczuk, who said her Labor government would not take Bluegreen’s advice.

“Recreational cannabis is an illicit drug when used for non-medical purposes and my government does not support its legalisation,” she said.

“My government supports the use of medicinal marijuana for people who need treatment in exceptional circumstances.

“That’s why Queensland now has the most progressive medicinal cannabis legislation in the country.

“It is required to meet strict Therapeutic Goods Administration standards to ensure its quality and is prescribed by doctors within a medical framework.”

A state government report in March found the legalisation of medicinal cannabis would likely reap the state millions in additional revenue.

“With the use of medicinal cannabis increasing worldwide, the medicinal cannabis market could represent new opportunities for the Queensland agriculture industry,” the report, An overview of medicinal cannabis, says.

That view was reflected in the Bluegreen report.

“The economy is likely to benefit in terms of a new cannabis industry, depending on the particular regulate and tax model adopted,” Bluegreen argued.

“A more open market, where existing and new businesses can legally sell cannabis from cafes and the like will be of the greatest benefit to the economy as new products and innovative delivery mechanisms are developed and new jobs created.”

Bluegreen found while the magnitude of marijuana’s legalisation was difficult to quantify “in a preliminary report like this”, it was likely to be “substantial”.

A spokesman for the state Liberal National Party opposition said: “The LNP does not support the legalisation of recreational cannabis use in Queensland.”


Source : Brisbane Times

‘Life-saving’ simulator installed at Brisbane Airport

SEPTEMBER 28 2016 – 2:22PM

Cameron Atfield

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Queensland’s rescue chopper pilots have been saved expensive training overseas with the opening of a $10 million training centre at Brisbane Airport.

The centrepiece of the Aviation Australia facility was Australia’s first Augusta Westland 139 helicopter simulator, a high-tech piece of equipment built by international aviation company Thales.

Training Minister Yvette D'Ath inspects the Thales helicopter simulator.
Training Minister Yvette D’Ath inspects the Thales helicopter simulator. Photo: Darren Thomas

Thales Australia chief executive Chris Jenkins said the simulator was incredibly lifelike and would test pilots in all sorts of adverse weather conditions with no risk of physical harm.

“If you think about flying helicopters on a normal day that can be exciting enough, but when you go out in a really serious bad storm, or bad weather conditions, you need to have the training that has adequately prepared you for those conditions.

Aviation Australia's new training facility at Brisbane Airport was officially opened on Wednesday.
Aviation Australia’s new training facility at Brisbane Airport was officially opened on Wednesday. Photo: Darren Thomas

“Here in Australia, we have some pretty tough conditions from time to time, whether it’s offshore or even up in the bush.

“For LifeFlight to have that training on-ground, that best-quality training for their crews, is the sort of thing Australians should do, I reckon.”

LifeFlight chairman and former Queensland premier Rob Borbidge said the new facility in Brisbane would be a life saver for Queenslanders.

Previously, Mr Borbidge said, pilots had to go to either Malaysia or Italy to get proper simulator training.

The new Thales AW139 helicopter simulator is the centre point of Aviation Australia's new Brisbane facility.
The new Thales AW139 helicopter simulator is the centre point of Aviation Australia’s new Brisbane facility. Photo: Darren Thomas

“The 139 is the helicopter of choice now in Australia for medical and rescue missions,” he said.

“There are a large number of the aircraft in Australia and to have the world’s leading helicopter training simulator here in Brisbane is tremendous.

Training Minister Yvette D'Ath and LifeFlight chairman Rob Borbidge.
Training Minister Yvette D’Ath and LifeFlight chairman Rob Borbidge. Photo: Darren Thomas

“It will save lives and it will make life a lot cheaper for operators of rescue services, such as LifeFlight.”

Queensland Training and Skills Minister Yvette D’Ath said the new Aviation Australia facility would add to the state’s export potential.

“Aviation Australia are regularly training international students in a range of aviation skills and we also have Aviation Australia running facilities in other countries, including in Saudi Arabia where it was successful in getting the contract in delivering a school of excellence in aviation training,” she said.

“This isn’t about just bringing international students to Queensland, it’s also taking our skill sets to other countries to train them up and having that international reputation of delivering the highest quality of training.”

The 5000 square metre Aviation Australia training centre also included 20 lecture rooms, a technical training area and a cafe.

Aviation Australia chief executive Bill Horrocks said more than 1000 students had been trained in the past year.

“This new facility further strengthens our ability to provide world-class training in aviation related disciplines, including engineering, cabin crew, aviation security, pilot training and ground operations.”


Source : Brisbane Times

Minister rejects call for external child protection inquiry

SEPTEMBER 24 2016 – 11:28PM 

Tony Moore

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An external independent investigation to ask “big questions” into Queensland’s foster care system was now essential, Queensland’s opposition said yesterday.

Queensland has 5000 foster parents.

Minister for Child Safety Shannon Fentiman.
Minister for Child Safety Shannon Fentiman. Photo: Chris Hyde

This came as Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman on Saturday fast-tracked the appointment of an extra 47 front-line child safety workers by Christmas.

Ms Fentiman said the Queensland and Family Child Commission – set up in 2014 after former chief magistrate Tim Carmody investigated Queensland’s child protection services in 2013 – would also investigate foster-care approvals.

Opposition Child Safety minister and Mudgeeraba MP Ros Bates
Opposition Child Safety minister and Mudgeeraba MP Ros Bates Photo: Harrison Saragossi

She said more “unannounced” visits to foster families would be allowed under pressure from the opposition.

Ms Fentiman said KPMG had been engaged by the state government to check where the case loads were highest on child protection officers and what could be learned.

On Saturday a North Queensland man – who was acting as a foster father with three children in his care – was arrested in Cairns and appeared in Cairns Magistrates Court.

He faces charges of indecent dealing of a child under the age of 16, possessing child exploitation material and accessing child exploitation material.

The charges were confirmed by police on Saturday and follow a week of intense pressure on Queensland’s foster care system.

The 41-year-old man from Edmonton appeared in Cairns Magistrates Court on three charges of indecently dealing with a child under 16, two charges of possessing child exploitation material, one charge of using a carriage service to make child pornography available and possessing dangerous drugs.

Shadow child safety minister Ros Bates said important questions about the operation of Queensland’s child protection system still needed to be asked.

“The situation has become so urgent,” Ms Bates said.

“It’s time this government finally took some real action and commenced a rapid response investigation into failings of the department and foster care system.

“Most foster families are doing a great job, but sadly more and more cases are emerging where the system is letting down our most vulnerable children and big questions need to be answered.

“There is something gravely wrong with the system as it stands – we don’t want promises of action in six months, or in 12 months, we want action right now.”

Ms Bates questioned Ms Fentiman’s reluctance to act on issues within the foster care system, which were raised with her department back in April.

“Why did it take five months and widespread media reports for the minister to finally come clean and acknowledge real failings within the system she’s in charge of?”

Ms Bates said while the previous government had invested $406 million into Queensland’s child protection services, Ms Fentiman appeared reluctant to act.

“If resources aren’t making it through to the front line the minister needs to take responsibility and fix it urgently.”

Ms Fentiman rejected suggestions the Child Safety portfolio was under-resourced with staff or funds and said the LNP had cut 225 child safety officers.

“We have 166 more frontline staff and frontline support staff than we did two years ago,” she said, as she announced the recruitment of the extra staff.

Ms Fentiman said her portfolio’s 2016-17 budget was $77 million larger than in 2015-16.

“It is $144 million more than the last LNP budget handed down by the member for Clayfield (Opposition Leader and former treasurer Tim Nicholls).”

An extra 230 early-intervention positions had been created and that would grown to 630 early-intervention positions within two years, she said.

She said Mr Carmody had last week expressed his confidence in the actions of the government.

Ms Fentiman said the “overwhelming majority” of foster parents did a “tremendous job, opening their hearts and their homes”.


Source : Brisbane Times

Nearly one in 10 Queensland speed camera offenders not fined

SEPTEMBER 20 2016 – 10:26PM

Felicity Caldwell

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Almost one in 10 mobile speed camera fines cannot be issued, with illegible and obstructed number plates helping motorists dodge tickets.

But motorists are warned not to be complacent, with the Queensland Police Service upgrading all cameras from analogue to digital, resulting in a boost in accuracy.

The rollout of digital mobile speed cameras has resulted in a 16 per cent increase in offences detected resulting in ...
The rollout of digital mobile speed cameras has resulted in a 16 per cent increase in offences detected resulting in notices issued. Photo: Supplied

From June 2015 to April 2016, there was a 16 per cent increase in the number of offences detected in the mobile speed camera program resulting in notices issued.

As of April 2016, the percentage of detected offences resulting in notices issued under the program was 91.44 per cent.

Main Roads and Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey said the old analogue cameras were not as reliable or technologically advanced, so the number plates were not as clear.

“Obstructed and deteriorated plates can also cause notices not to be issued,” Mr Bailey said.

The figures were detailed in a response to a report into road safety and traffic cameras tabled to Queensland Parliament.

A Transport and Main Roads spokeswoman said that in the month of June 2015 the mobile speed camera program – cameras in vans/cars – detected 67,207 offences, of which 53,397 resulted in speeding notices being issued.

In April 2016, the program detected 55,152 offences, of which 49,578 resulted in speeding notices issued.

“The exact figure is not known but the Queensland Audit Office has estimated that from 2013–14 to 2014–15, fines for offences that didn’t proceed would have totalled about $15.7 million due to issues with analogue cameras,” the spokeswoman said.

“This would be a conservative estimate as it is based on the lowest speeding fine.”

The state government will spend $600,000 over three years on a campaign that will include educating the public to replace illegal number plates.

It will also involve educating drivers on their legal requirements on obstructed number plates, for example, by tow bars.

“The upcoming campaign will aim to reduce the burden of road trauma on Queensland communities,” Mr Bailey said.

“We want to decrease the number of offending drivers evading detection through illegible number plates.”

The final details of the campaign will be confirmed in the coming months, but it is expected to be launched in the first half of 2017.

Queensland Police has rolled out digital mobile speed cameras to replace analogue cameras in recent years.


Source : Brisbane Times

Who is really organising crime in Queensland?


SEPTEMBER 18 2016 – 9:51PM

John Harrison

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The cool, calm and composed comments of Crime and Corruption Commission chief Alan MacSporran on organised crime this past week were a refreshing change from the over-hyped, sometimes hysterical political rhetoric about outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMGs) in Queensland.

Mr McSporran told the ABC’s Steve Austin that while OMGs were significant players in organised crime, they were not the only game in town.

The organised drug trade in Queensland is complicated and multi-faceted.
The organised drug trade in Queensland is complicated and multi-faceted. 

This is backed by the Commission’s own current intelligence assessment of illicit drug markets in Queensland, a redacted version of which is on the CCC website.

The CCC looks at cannabis, heroin and cocaine, along with newer classes of drugs: ice, ecstasy, designer drugs (such as synthetic cannabis) and the illegal use of prescription pharmaceuticals.

It rates methylamphetamines (ice) as posing the greatest risk to the community because of the involvement of organised crime, ready availability and harm caused, and it projected increased trafficking and use of both methylamphetamines and MDMA (ecstasy-group substances).

While the Gold Coast has been the focus of enforcement and media attention through self-serving publicity such as the Ten Network’s reality TV show Gold Coast Cops over past five years, the CCC reports Toowoomba, Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Townsville and Cairns have been the target of increased activity by organised crime groups more recently.

Peter Dutton’s Border Force places keeping people fleeing persecution from entering Australia as a higher priority than protecting us from illegally imported substances such as asbestos and illegal drugs, so who knows what is coming in through Thursday Island?

The heroin trade in the state is focused on south-east Queensland, and the CCC says it is controlled by Australian-Vietnamese organised crime groups that are also entering the cannabis and ice markets. Chinese organised crime groups are also reportedly forging partnerships with South American organised crime groups to import heroin. Most heroin comes from south-east Asia, with a modicum from Afghanistan, which the CCC advises “is less refined and more suited to smoking”.

Cocaine is a high cost party drug, consumed principally on the Gold Coast. The ecstasy market is mainly personal users manufacturing or importing small quantities, and organised crime involvement in the ecstasy market in Queensland has decreased in recent years.

Cannabis is imported from Victoria and South Australia, with involvement by “family-based crime networks” and “increased participation by … Australian-Vietnamese crime groups”. Cannabis consumption is higher in Queensland than other jurisdictions and of concern in North Queensland, “particularly within Indigenous communities” says the CCC.

In summary, the distribution and consumption of ice is expanding into regional communities. More costly heroin and cocaine are predominantly distributed, consumed and seized in the south-east.

The only point at which the Commission makes specific reference to OMGs are the niche products grouped as “performance and image enhancing drugs” (PIEDs) such as steroids, insulin, human growth hormone (HGH), clenbuterol and erythropoietin (EPO).

For the rest, the CCC makes 36 generic references to unspecified “organised crime groups”.

So why do we hear so much about outlaw motorcycle gangs, but so little about Vietnamese and Chinese drug traffickers and “family-based crime networks”?


Source : Brisbane Times

Police search for attacker after man stabbed at Gold Coast unit

SEPTEMBER 18 2016 – 11:10AM

Toby Crockford

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A man has suffered multiple stab wounds after being attacked with a knife at a Gold Coast unit on Saturday evening.

Police said the 47-year-old victim opened the front door of his Worendo Street unit in Southport about 5.30pm.

Police are searching for a man armed with a knife after a stabbing at a Southport unit on Saturday evening.
Police are searching for a man armed with a knife after a stabbing at a Southport unit on Saturday evening. 

He was stabbed several times in the torso and arm, before being taken to Gold Coast University Hospital in a serious condition.

Police are searching for his attacker is described as a Caucasian man, approximately 180cms tall with a proportionate build, short black hair, facial tattoos and dressed all in black.

He was last seen running in a southerly direction along Worendo Street and it is believed the two men were known to each other.

Police investigations are continuing.


Source : Brisbane Times

I give Malcolm full marks: George Christensen, humble backbencher, seizes the limelight

SEPTEMBER 15 2016 – 12:31PM
Matthew Knott
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Winners don’t need to boast.

And so, as he fronted his very own press conference on Thursday, George Christensen insisted he wasn’t there to take credit for the government’s decision to dump some of its superannuation changes.

Yes he was he most outspoken critic of the changes. Yes he threatened to cross the floor and vote against them. But it was Scott Morrison and Kelly O’Dwyer, Christensen stressed, who deserved praise for listening to the backbench.

Modest words aside, there was no hiding his delight. Christensen was as happy as the cat that swallowed the King Island double cream and it showed. In fact he seemed a little stunned at the extent of the Treasurer’s backdown.

George Christensen delivers his own press conference at Parliament House after the government backed down on super reforms.
George Christensen delivers his own press conference at Parliament House after the government backed down on super reforms. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

“The doing away of the $500,000 non-concessional life time cap goes even further that than I would have thought,” he said.

“I would have been happy with a $1 million non-concessional cap.

“Doing away with it is one step better!”

It’s a rare event in Parliament House for a government backbencher to hold a solo press conference. And even rarer for many people to show up if they do.

Scott Morrison and Kelly O'Dwyer also received praise from George Christensen, a previous critic of their super policy.
Scott Morrison and Kelly O’Dwyer also received praise from George Christensen, a previous critic of their super policy. Photo: Andrew Meares

Yet Christensen’s press conference drew a crowd some cabinet ministers could only dream of. If you’d just landed from Mars, you’d be forgiven for thinking he was running the show.

As one of the Coalition’s most conservative MPs, Christensen sits on a pew far from Malcolm Turnbull’s in the broad church of the Liberal Party. Yet he was effusive about the Prime Minister’s performance over the past year, awarding him “full marks”.

“When we see decisions like this on superannuation, obviously as PM he has been able to steer that conversation to a landing point which both moderates and conservatives are happy with,” he said.

Eric Abetz, another strident critic of the super changes, refrained from holding a press conference, but he did have a media release hot to trot.

Minutes before Christensen stood up to address the nation, Morrison and O’Dwyer were wrapping up their own press conference.

They acknowledged that the $500,000 lifetime cap was indeed announced in the budget and featured prominently in the election campaign. But the overall package still meets the same “policy objective” so no-one should be too bothered about broken promises.

Asked whether the new policy – a $100,000 annual limit on post-tax super contributions – was a teensy bit generous, Morrison turned expansive.

“I’m not an enemy of aspiration by Australians,” he said.

“Raising your children, paying off your home and providing for yourself in your retirement. They are a trifecta of Australian dreams that we believe in.”

But if the government can break an election promise on superannuation why does it insist on holding a plebiscite on same-sex marriage rather than allow a free vote in Parliament?

“I don’t accept the premise of your question,” Morrison said. Again, it’s the policy objective that matters not the fiddly details. That old saying about core and non-core promises came to mind.

Asked about this issue at his press conference, Christensen said he would vote according to the result of his electorate on same-sex marriage – not the national result, which the Prime Minister says is the one that matters.

Lucky for Turnbull then that it’s him, not the humble backbencher from Mackay, who’s really running the show.

Source : Brisbane Times

Small aircraft makes emergency landing at Gold Coast airport

SEPTEMBER 13 2016 – 12:02PM

Amy Mitchell-Whittington

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A Gold Coast airport runway was closed for an hour after a small aircraft made an emergency landing on Tuesday morning.

Paramedics treated two patients after reports a Cessna 210 aircraft had landed with its wheels up about 10.30am.

A Cessna 210 aircraft made an emergency landing at Gold Coast airport on Tuesday morning.
A Cessna 210 aircraft made an emergency landing at Gold Coast airport on Tuesday morning. Photo: Nine News Gold Coast

One patient was treated for shock and transported to Tweed Heads Hospital while the other was understood not to be injured.

A Gold Coast airport spokeswoman said the runway and taxiway had been shut down for about an hour while emergency services attended however it was operational before noon.

Source : Brisbane Times

Gyrocopter crash leaves woman with serious back injuries

SEPTEMBER 10 2016 – 12:27PM

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Two people have been injured when a gyrocopter they were travelling in crash landed into mangroves.

Emergency services received the call at about 10.30am that the aircraft had come down near Mossman and arrived to find two people trapped in it.

Two people have been injured in a gyrocopter crash near Port Douglas.
Two people have been injured in a gyrocopter crash near Port Douglas. Photo: Supplied

Paramedics treated a male patient for minor injuries while a female patient suffered serious back injuries.

They were both transported to Mossman Hospital for further treatment.


Source : Brisbane Times