The epithet ‘couldn’t lie straight in bed’ has often appeared to be tailor-made for Queensland premier, Anna Bligh. Her record for prevarication and deceit would leave many sinners shame-faced but the woman suffers no such qualms, at least outwardly. Perhaps she repents each evening so she can grab a few minutes’ shut-eye before a guilty conscience kicks-in. But her looseness with the truth is now being challenged by her little side-kick, the bumptious treasurer, Andrew Fraser. Two peas in a pod so one can hardly be surprised but their latest joint deceit sets new standards.
It concerns one of the state assets they have on the auction block for privatisation: Forestry Plantations Queensland (FPQ). Specifically, the issue is whether the asset sale encompasses just the trees or the actual land they’re growing on.
If you believed Bligh and Fraser you’d think just the trees. After all, the not quite dynamic duo spent $1.9 million of taxpayer funds (not ALP funds!) on a brochure to tell everyone in the state last year that the sale would include “the trees, not the land”. Indeed, in case anyone had any doubts about that absolute commitment, Bligh told Parliament last year that the state would retain ownership of the land after FPQ was sold. Pretty difficult to discern any latitude in those statements.
But, wait, Shifty and Shorty see truth as a very fluid concept. They’ve now been outed by the revelation that some 33,169 hectares of forestry plantation land is to be sold as part of the deal. The Liberal National Party tells us that this is the equivalent of more than 60,000 sports ovals or a bigger landmass than the Maldives or Malta. Not insignificant.
But Shifty and Shorty tell us we are the ones who got it wrong. We couldn’t read their lips properly to understand that “not the land” actually meant only the Crown Land used by FPQ. The 60,000 sports ovals were never covered by their earlier denials. “There is no cover-up” shouts Shorty from the roof-tops but no-one is listening. There has been no attempt to hide this ‘minor’ detail and it is a public fact, he bleats with a straight face. Sadly we should hardly be surprised by this appalling degradation of standards of decency because Shifty and Shorty (and their Labor colleagues) are the ones who changed the law to allow MPs to actually lie to Parliament.
Yet while it may be stupid of us to expect any better it still hurts to see such blatant contempt for all Queenslanders being enacted by the two head honchos of this debauched and arrogant Labor government.