Last week Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk received the Coaldrake Report into accountability in the public sector and committed to implementing all fourteen recommendations, including releasing cabinet papers after thirty days instead of thirty years. This will allow present day public scrutiny of cabinet decision giving us a better understanding of why decisions were made.
This commitment was followed by the Premier announcing that new electoral integrity reform laws were coming into effect as of July 1. Among the reforms were restrictions on the size of donations to candidates and political parties and build on previous reforms such as real-time disclosure of donations.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said, “I hear the message from the community that they don’t want politics as usual. That’s why we’ve introduced the strongest laws in the country to take big money out of the Queensland political process.”
It is vital that we have confidence in the integrity and transparency of our electoral processes, our politicians, and the public sector. These bold and substantial reforms are necessary to restore faith in our democratic system of governance. Well done, Premier!
It is great news that the Sunshine Coast has successfully achieved the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere status. For our nearby Biospheres in Noosa and the Great Sandy regions, the recognition has enhanced the way these unique places are valued from within and without. Congratulations to the team that worked hard for the nomination, especially the many community volunteers from across the sectors.
The Man and the Biosphere category includes governance as one of its key criteria for approval. The way the environmental values are protected and restored by government in conjunction with community is critical. The Sunshine Coast Council has many recent stories of exemplary community consultation to showcase, as well as some well-known examples of how not to do it.
I wonder then about the quality of governance shown by the Sunshine Coast Council in returning to the Planning and Environment Court with Sekisui House in July following the Supreme Court hearing in favour of the community objection to the SH development proposal. There may well be some legal reason why Council as original proponent needs to be present in this hearing. But I know I speak for many of the 9,000 official objectors when I ask the Council not to commit any further ratepayer funds to fight for this development, and, at the very least, to take a neutral stance. To continue to actively support Sekisui House would be diametrically opposed to the Man and the Biosphere ethics and practice of good governance.
TRAFFIC AT SCHOOL ZONES
The Coolum roundabout has been a longstanding problem and debate. Let’s hope, something positive happens before the Olympics have come and gone…
Of course, whatever solution will be costly and for a while make the traffic disaster worse.
However, there are solutions that can be implemented immediately and at very little cost. For instance, school zones cause major disruption to traffic. They generally last one-third of the working day. Half would be enough!
Point in case, the good lollipop people don’t appear until 2.30pm and are gone again by 3.30pm. Before and after that, you will hardly ever see a child. So why not reduce the zone to the appropriate time span?
Further up the road, the Coolum State High School, is on Havana Road East, hundreds of meters away from David Low Way and with a safe pick-up/drop-off zone and ample turning space for buses. A good number of high school students drive their own cars to school and, therefore, are deemed suitable road users. The school zone restrictions on David Low Way are simply ridiculous.
There should be an audit of all school zones. That can be done quickly and with immediate effect.
In Australia, one woman a week is murdered by someone she knows. Hannah Clarke and her children’s deaths struck a chord at the highest level, but lessons must be learnt. How many more women must suffer abuse and violence at the hands of someone they know? This is 2022!
The deadly dynamics in dysfunctional relationships are not always obvious to the novice. For years, the Family Court failed many women and children by allowing visitation “access” to abuse partners as a “right”! Coercive control in such relationships is not always physical. As we see in Hannah’s case, access was granted without monitoring. Court orders fail to protect victims.
Verbal abuse and even emotional control are easily hidden tactics from those outside abusive relationships. Families caught up in taking sides, often turn a blind eye at any infraction that they may suspect but cannot directly witness. It takes courage and often intervention, to stand up to bullies who hurt the ones they supposedly love.
Women and children are over 50% of our population, deserving protection and quality of life, without fear. Politicians and police need intensive education about relationship violence. It is undermining Australia’s potential to be a beacon of progressive and proactive action in the defence of the vulnerable.