The toll tax

Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, sure thinks we’re a bunch of mugs. She is playing us for fools as she harps on incessantly about her planned privatisation of public assets such as Queensland Rail and the Gateway Bridge toll road.

It is a rare political animal, indeed, that fails to hear community angst about policy initiatives. Bligh goes three steps further and absolutely refuses to listen to concerned citizens or even many of the grass roots of her own party who are aligned in begging her not to do this. Spurred on by that annoying dweeb pretender to her throne, treasurer Andrew Fraser, she steadfastly rejects each and every passionate call for her to reconsider the sell-off. (That she apparently cannot see that Fraser will be the key beneficiary of her political demise is like watching an unfolding car accident: you can hardly believe it’s happening and you can’t tear your eyes away).

It is fascinating that it has finally occurred to Queensland’s major daily paper, The Courier-Mail, that Gateway tolls will rise to help secure a better sale price for this asset. Oh, doh! As if it were late-breaking news, the story is splashed all over today’s front page under the breathless heading: Toll shock. And in a manner every bit as myopic as Bligh herself, the Courier trumpets that its story is an Exclusive. Gee, well done, guys. Only took you how many months to work this one out? Thank god the Sunshine State’s democracy is in such good hands. We can all sleep well tonight. Imagine if we only had A Current Affair or Today Tonight to fall back on! Anyway . . .

The scandalous aspect of the toll boost is that motorists are about to be levied a higher tax (the toll) for infrastructure they have already paid for through tax collections already. Did somebody once say Queensland was the low tax state? Did somebody once say that Labor was the workers’ friend? Yeah, right.

The denouement of this contemptuous disregard of voter sentiment will not take place until late 2011 or 2012 when Bligh has her date with the electorate. It’s impossible to imagine she won’t finally get their message then.