Abolish Queensland ... the government, that is
WOULD Queenslanders ever agree to their state being abolished? No way, you might say, particularly in the season that the state is in the box seat to seal its fourth consecutive series win in state of origin football.
Well, think again. A Galaxy poll in The Courier-Mail today shows two-thirds of Queenslanders think they’re being over governed. And more than half of those think the state should be first to go, followed by local councils and, finally, Canberra.
Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen would be spinning in his grave.
So what’s going on here? The fact is that Queensland is now several years into a run of disappointments from its state government which has had to urgently fix crises in the electricity system, health system, water system and roads.
Trouble is that it’s now becoming apparent that a lot of those fixes were botched and are going to be paid for by a huge privatisation program that is strongly opposed.
The multi-billion dollar grid of pipes built to pump recycled water around south-east Queensland is largely inactive because the government could not convince the public it would be safe.
The Queensland Auditor-General last week found big problems with how money was being spent in building new public hospitals. Yesterday, he revealed a similar lack of co-ordination with the massive roads rebuild in south-east Queensland.
These are problems The Courier-Mail has been banging on about for years. They matter because they amount to several billion dollars of waste - at a time when it can be ill-afforded. And Queenslanders deserve better. The Galaxy poll shows they’ve turned savagely against Anna Bligh just three months after she won an election with an overwhelming majority believing she’s already broken promises.
Pretty well the best hope in Queensland these days is the weather. And it’s been an absolute shocker for floods, storms and cyclones this year.
But they say adversity creates opportunity. And there’s another chance here to make best use of a good financial crisis.
If a big chunk of Queenslanders will support abolishing the state, then it should be a no-brainer in the rest of the nation. Kevin Rudd’s a reformer. So’s Malcolm Turnbull although he has a bad record on referendums.
So it might come down to that very Queensland politician Barnaby Joyce who tapped a nerve last month when he cited the waste and duplication of the states as a luxury the nation could no longer afford.
The voters paying for this might well agree if they were ever given the chance to decide.
Of course, none of this matters tonight. All that matters is Queensland beating New South Wales in enemy territory. By heaps. Go the Maroons.
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