Newman’s sad new world

For a government elected on an all-encompassing promise to restore integrity to the administration of Queensland and, in particular, to end nepotism and perceived corruption, the Liberal National Party’s Can Do approach has been a dismal failure to date.

That the government has lost its moral compass is emphasised by the oldest bleat in the political bible: “it’s a beat-up by the media”

Come on, you guys, this tired old canard stopped being taken seriously in the eighties. Three decades on, it is a joke that reflects dreadfully on those who would be silly enough to attempt to trot it out. But Premier Campbell Newman has done just that.

In overtones eerily reminiscent of the iconic predecessor of Newman’s tribe, former premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, the current premier has lectured the media: “You guys are getting distracted, we are still doing it. The wheels keep turning”.

Ah, the ancient magician’s distraction: watch the hands and the movement and be blinded to what’s going on behind the scenes. What premier would not yearn for such a compliant, naive electorate like that? It used to be the way things were but not today. We’re a lot more cynical and jaded now after several decades of watching political operators manipulate and corrupt all manner of systems to their particular benefit.

And it’s weirdly discomfiting to analyse the words used by politicians attempting to massage our view of the world. For instance, Premier Newman has just said that his prime priority is “restoring openness and accountability in government”. Not bad for a bloke whose administration has been mired in controversy and scandal virtually since day one. And whose term is barely more than half a year old.

To say this is not what Queenslanders expected or hoped for is masterful understatement.

One ministerial sacking and one ministerial resignation in just half a year is not travelling well. Another minister so enmired in perceptions of poor practice that very serious doubts about her worthiness to continue as a minister add to voter concerns about not just the ability of the Newman administration to deliver on its governance promises but even its willingness to do so.

Attempting to blame the media and the wider community for their scrutiny of the government’s actions as some kind of excuse for its poor governance is tantamount to snatching defeat from victory. So far, that is a catch-cry symbolic of this government’s track record.


Acknowledgement: Steven Wardill, The Courier-Mail