The Politics of Baboons.
Just when you thought it safe to pass comment on Queensland politics the subject erupts again into farce and bathos.
Long home to Australia’s quirky, bizarre and often crooked politics, todays crop of seat-warming bozos is unbelievable – to wit, the question of fluoride in the drinking water of Queensland.
Notwithstanding the conclusions of rigorous scientific inquiry, the zany burgers of Queensland have long held out against fluoride in the water. The subject has been variously described as being a communist plot, the juice of the devil and, worst still, a sneaky ploy by Canberra. From the recent flatulence emanating from Parliament House distilled the dissenting voice of one government MP, Jason Woodforth, the Member for Nudgee on Brisbane’s north side. This worthy claims that he and at least one-third of all government MPs want the “brain altering poison” removed from the state’s water supplies. [Courier Mail 8-9/12/12]. It might be added that few of the state’s water supplies contain fluoride. Many councils have held out against this dastardly imposition on civil liberties!
Several days later the Courier Mail (11/12/12) published a photograph of the irrepressible Member for Nudgee dressed in jocks, nicely done to the colour of roast chicken, holding a body-building trophy. Flexing his protruding pecs and menacing an extended right hand index finger, our bald-headed picture of political dignity and sartorial elegance grimaced fiendishly into the camera.
As well as representing the good people of Nudgee, and, presumably undressing for show, the political member flogs bodybuilding supplements. He conceded to the paper that some of his supplements contain chemicals that he wasn’t entirely comfortable with. No worries: “The saying goes that if you can’t beat’em, join’em – but we’ve got to start trying to beat them,” he said.
Wow! What a mind. Moreover, the lads in the locker room at Parliament House must be having a whale of a time.
After ridding themselves of the egregious and hugely unpopular Labor Premier Anna Bligh, the good people of Queensland awoke on Sunday 26 March to an all-powerful new government.
In an 89 member unicameral parliament the previous Labor government had been reduced to seven seats, the new Liberal National Party increased to 78, there were two independents and two represented the Australia Party.
This dangerous, undemocratic political mix illustrated the ambiguity of democracy, particularly so in a unicameral legislature. The LNP, a mix of populist National Party representatives from the bush and regions, and the city-based Liberal Party is a courageous if unlikely marriage. It is a marriage that has started to fray. The populist elements of which - or to call a spade a bloody shovel, the rednecks from the north and western Queensland – have no truck with their Liberal urbanites.
Moreover, after the predations of the frightful Bligh, Queenslanders reasonably had some expectations of her successor. In this they were quickly and unequivocally disappointed. Premier No-Brain Newman quickly proved the old adage that military and politics don’t mix. A former army officer, No-Brain demonstrated the political finesse of a baboon at the vicar’s tea party and has garnered the popularity of a cane toad at a nudist conference.
But, moving right along as they say, to other lights on Queensland’s political hill, the rednecks of north Queensland have the unmitigated joy of being represented in the Federal Parliament by one of Australia’s great populist buffoons, The Hon Bob Katter MP. This powerhouse of intellectual lucidity delights his constituents in wearing a Persil white ten gallon cowboy hat as he gets off the aeroplane at half-past nine at night. On being questioned once by the writer on Australia’s relations with Indonesia he claimed that he still had his rifle. A fine mind.
Watch this space for more exciting developments in the land of the languid banana.