Last Cox blast off tar­get

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION -

NOW that the head­line writers have had their fun, let’s con­sider the ram­i­fi­ca­tions for North Queens­land of Matt Cana­van’s Mumma Mia moment.

At the very least, Senator Cana­van has been sloppy.

It is too early to say if it is any more than that.

The High Court will be the judge of this mat­ter.

But ir­re­spec­tive of your po­lit­i­cal lean­ings, it would be hard to ar­gue Senator Cana­van is not a crucial as­set for our re­gion — prob­a­bly our most valu­able po­lit­i­cal weapon.

Senator Cana­van elo­quently and con­sis­tently put the case for greater in­vest­ment in North­ern Aus­tralia and most of­ten for North Queens­land.

He has cham­pi­oned cheap and af­ford­able en­ergy for our re­gion, a greater share of the in­fra­struc­ture fund­ing pie and, most no­tably, fought hard for the Adani coal mine project.

Yes, as a Rock­hamp­ton- based senator he was per­haps not a great ally for Townsville in its bat­tle with the beef cap­i­tal for Adani’s FIFO hub. But he pro­vided the loud­est and most pow­er­ful voice for our re­gion in­side Fed­eral Cabi­net. It wasn’t so long ago he copped flak from his col­leagues for sug­gest­ing North Queens­land be­come a sep­a­rate state.

He may have lost that bat­tle — for now — but it il­lus­trated a politi­cian con­fi­dent enough in his con­vic­tions and blessed with the abil­ity to make a case for them. That’s an all too rare qual­ity among our elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Con­trast Senator Cana­van’s tire­less cam­paign­ing for the North with his state equiv­a­lent in the Palaszczuk Gov­ern­ment — Co­ralie O’Rourke.

Ms O’Rourke has three min­is­te­rial hats — Dis­abil­ity Ser­vices, Se­niors and “Min­is­ter As­sist­ing the Premier on North Queens­land’’.

It is in the last role that Ms O’Rourke has bit­terly dis­ap­pointed peo­ple in this re­gion — many of whom voted her into a shock win against David Crisi­fulli in 2015.

And last night we wit­nessed an­other bum­bling per­for­mance that re­minded us how out of touch — and out of depth — she is for this role.

When Hinch­in­brook MP An­drew Cripps pressed Ms O’Rourke on vi­tal is­sues to our re­gion — en­ergy and crime — she be­trayed an em­bar­rass­ing ig­no­rance. She could not an­swer the most ba­sic ques­tions about power prices and law and or­der.

It was a sad re­minder that, mi­nus Senator Cana­van, we now have too few po­lit­i­cal voices in our cor­ner. AL­LOW me to com­ment on Bur­dekin’s MP Dale Last’s let­ter ( TB, 22/ 7), a re­sponse to Pauline Han­son’s One Na­tion candidate Sam Cox’s let­ter of July 21.

Mr Last’s per­sonal an­i­mus is ob­vi­ous, tak­ing par­tic­u­lar aim at for­mer LNP mem­ber Sam Cox’s can­did, colour­ful de­scrip­tion of LNP leader, Tim Ni­cholls, de­scrib­ing As­cot Tim as a city- cen­tric/ Brisve­gas lad who doesn’t get nor un­der­stand the ut­ter frus­tra­tion with the sys­temic eco­nomic alien­ation and ne­glect doled out to the north of Noosa vot­ers as they look on with dis­may at the largesse that con­tin­ues to be de­liv­ered to those who re­side south of the Pine River by past and present ALP and LNP gov­ern­ments.

It ac­tu­ally was this cor­re­spon­dent who ap­proached Tim Ni­cholls briefly on his lat­est fly- in, im­plor­ing him on what we need in the North, i. e. an ul­tra- su­per­crit­i­cal HELE coal- fired power sta­tion and long term wa­ter se­cu­rity by com­plet­ing stage 2 of Bur­dekin Falls Dam cre­at­ing oo­dles of wa­ter stor­age, and with a hand up, not hand out North­ern­ers would pad­dle the ca­noe from that point.

At all times, Mr Ni­cholls was cour­te­ous, ge­nial and en­gag­ing but I was flum­moxed by his com­ment, un­wit­tingly de­fen­sive, when he said he could not stop the flow of peo­ple mov­ing south.

Ex­cuse me! With the great­est re­spect, it is the car­di­nal maxim of any gov­ern­ment to cre­ate the en­vi­ron­ment for in­vest­ment to drive the real sus­tain­able jobs of to- mor­row ... if not, how can any gov­ern­ment jus­tify its ex­is­tence?

This year I phoned Dale Last re wa­ter se­cu­rity over his com­ments pub­lished in the Bul­letin that he sup­ported the Bur­dekin Dam wall el­e­va­tion by 2m ... lu­di­crous. Mr Last was one of few politi­cians who re­turned left mes­sages – for that he is to be com­mended.

How­ever, his over- the- top per­sonal re­sponse to Mr Cox’s let­ter coun­ter­signed as the MP for Bur­dekin is be­yond the pale and un­der­writes the dis­con­nect be­tween voter­land and our MPs where pol­icy is gazumped by nasty per­sonal po­lit­i­cal at­tacks and the is­sues play sec­ond fid­dle.

To say Sam Cox was punted by the LNP hi­er­ar­chy as un­suit­able may be an­other yawn­ing blun­der, Mr Last. At the last state elec­tion, the dis­as­trous south­east Queens­land cen­trist cam­paign un­der the di­rec­tion of LNP’s Bruce McIver and acolytes de­liv­ered Queens­land the most abysmal Palaszczuk/ Green Gov­ern­ment in liv­ing mem­ory where Mr Cox and oth­ers were led to their po­lit­i­cal deaths.

PHON’s Sam Cox sup­ports both a HELE coal- fired power sta­tion and rais­ing of the Bur­dekin Falls Dam wall 14m; LNP’S Dale Last a Hele coal- fired plant but only a 2m wall el­e­va­tion. The Greens/ Palaszczuk La­bor im­pla­ca­bly op­pose both.

Bur­dekin vot­ers – own con­se­quence with your vote. PETER J. SMITH,

Rosslea. your

AT­TACKED: Bur­dekin PHON candidate Sam Cox. Pic­ture: JOHN AN­DER­SEN

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