Ever the optimist

You have to admire Queensland’s Deputy Premier, Paul Lucas, for his unwaveringly optimistic outlook as he stares into the abyss.

Charged with minding the state while his superior Anna Bligh enjoys Chrissie hols, Lucas drew the short strawin the New Year staffers’ raffle and had to suffer a media stunt with embattled transport Minister, Rachel Nolan. So abject are this Minister’s screw-ups that Labor colleagues would prefer to be photographed dining with NSW ALP factional leaders than be seen in public with her.

But Lucas is made of stern stuff. His spin in support of Nolan was that she had introduced ‘revolutionary’ reforms of the taxi industry. Perhaps he’s right. After all, where else in the world has the magical mystery tour been institutionalised?

This is the great new game played by commuters who can’t get a plastic card that enables them to ride on public transport at a reasonable price. Whoever called it a go card had a wicked sense of humour or was as cruel as Joe Stalin on one of his better days. In one of those Freudian slips so detested by pollies in the media limelight, Lucas described the go card as ‘stable’ which, given it won’t actually get you anywhere, is most apt.

Nolan’s revolution was to enable the employment of myriad drivers of Indian descent who have been proven frequently to have no idea of the geography of greater Brisbane. The cabs they drive often provide similar creature comforts to a Mumbai trishaw. The adventure is not just wondering where you might end up but how much it might cost by the time you get there and the additional outlay to try and find your way back again.

Not all of Nolan’s revolutionary bent is directed at ensuring would-be commuters have fun, mind you. In another move reminiscent of Comrade Stalin, Nolan’s Translink organisation has stood-down two staffers following a mix-up in which one commuter’s credit was allocated to someone else’s card. Gee, guys, a little harsh, don’t you think? After all, the Minister who presides over this shambles gets to keep her job regardless of appalling performance reviews.