Union money not meant to bankroll MPs

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION -

IT IS a bad look that Mund­ing­burra MP and La­bor min­is­ter Co­ralee O’Rourke had liv­ing ex­penses paid by a union in the lead- up to the elec­tion.

It is es­pe­cially so when you con­sider the money comes from union mem­ber­ships of some of the low­est- paid and hard­est- work­ing Queens­lan­ders. Mem­ber­ships are there to sup­port work­ers, not po­lit­i­cal am­bi­tions.

While links be­tween unions and the ALP have been well doc­u­mented in the past, it does not make the prac­tice of unions bankrolling can­di­dates right. Af­ter pay­ing Mrs O’Rourke an undis­closed salary in the lead- up to the elec­tion, United Voice could un­der­stand­ably be for­given for think­ing it has a de­gree of sway and in­flu­ence with the min­is­ter. Like­wise, one could as­sume Mrs O’Rourke feels some sort of loy­alty to the union af­ter tak­ing its cash.

Unions were cre­ated to sup­port the work­ers and pro­mote their rights, not to con­trol politi­cians, but it seems that this is what United Voice en­deav­oured to do this time around.

In­deed, the head of United Voice has boasted of how the union “sup­ported” seven suc­cess­ful La­bor can­di­dates, even call­ing them “United Voice MPs”.

Our politi­cians need to be the best rep­re­sen­ta­tives for their com­mu­nity and that means their en­tire com­mu­nity.

Seem­ing to have a group with par­tic­u­lar goals and in­ter­ests to be al­ways in their ear is at odds with that ideal. This is an eth­i­cal is­sue and one that de­serves closer scru­tiny.

It is rare that any kind of bankrolling comes with­out ex­pec­ta­tions of some­thing in re­turn and that is a dan­ger­ous po­si­tion for any MP.

Look to our reef’s fu­ture

THE re­gion is re­joic­ing over the UNESCO rul­ing that the Great Bar­rier Reef isn’t in dan­ger, and so we should be.

It’s not a de­ci­sion that would have been made lightly and it's great to think that the coun­try’s ef­forts have been weighed and found to be sat­is­fac­tory. Now we can con­tinue to be for­ward- think­ing and proac­tive about how to pro­tect the trea­sure that is the reef.

It’s time to move on from the de­ci­sion and get the re­sults we need for the reef to thrive.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.