Snouts in the trough

Ya gotta love the Pete and Anna Show. Well, you might if it didn’t cost you a small fortune and didn’t abuse supposed standards of public sector ethics, accountability and transparency.

The Pete and Anna Show is the relationship between former Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie, and his successor, Anna Bligh. These two sweethearts shared a cosy relationship (nothing more than party colleagues, god help us, the notion of anything further is simply too hideous to contemplate – and, to be fair, probably equally so to both these characters). But when Pete finally did a runner and handed the reins of the state over to Anna, a nod was as good as a wink to all concerned.

According to the state’s Integrity Commissioner, Pete should not accept any private sector appointments for at least two years after his premiership to ensure unfair benefits and advantages were neither gained nor offered. So, what happens? Anna appoints Pete to be Queensland’s Trade Commissioner to the Americas. And on a measly $300,000 per annum and an apartment worth $8000 per month plus, plus, plus. Real hard work that, if you could get it. But, of course, we mere mortals would never be in the running. Such cosy sinecures are the province and playthings of the elite political class: their own particular baubles to be dispensed according to the rules of patronage and persuasion.

Now, Pete has advised Queenslanders that he has done his job so well that he can quit a year ahead of his scheduled contract termination. He will now assuredly retire from public life, he tells us breathlessly. Oh, yes, he might now consider some private sector offers but nothing he can talk about right now.

Funny how this just happens to coincide with the two year period the Integrity Commissioner advised he should remain aloof from those dreaded capitalists in the private sector. Which paints a compelling picture of Anna Bligh having granted her former boss an interregnum sinecure that has cost taxpayers close to a million dollars to keep Pete comfortable till he can suck on the teat of the capitalists. And who said modern day Labor doesn’t understand capitalism?

Surely, yet another nail in the looming coffin of Labor in Queensland?