It’s not online, alas, but News Limited vet Madonna King had an important piece on Queensland sleaze in The Courier Mail
last Saturday – and once again it looks like Peter Beattie has used Joh
as a role model in more ways than one. “Sizeable chinks are beginning
to show in Premier Peter Beattie’s political armour, and it’s not the
result of crises such as Winegate and the $800,000 cash-for-a-turnout
Palm Island affair,” she wrote.

The Beattie Government’s real vulnerability is
coming from its own erosion of public accountability; a deliberate
strategy that attempts to control what information is provided to the
public.

It’s this penchant for keeping secret information which
should be made available that is looming as the biggest single threat
to both his Government’s electoral stocks and his own personal
popularity.

The acting director-general of Queensland Health
recently launched an investigation into one media leak, warning staff
it was a crime to release to journalists information the Government
might be discussing.

The decision to spend time, energy and
resources tracking down the public servant responsible – rather than
focusing on fixing our health system – was made after a meeting between
Queensland Health and the Minister.

The Beattie Government’s
strategy on health best illustrates its modus operandi, with insiders
saying there has been a deliberate decision to ‘starve’’ the media, and
therefore the public, of information relating to specific cases…

The Australian mentioned a specific case on Wednesday.
Senior government figures appear to have discovered that the Speaker’s
office is exempt from normal reporting procedures – and have used it as
a hospitality tent. Premier Peter Beattie, reports The Oz, has
been forced to “hose down allegations that Speaker Ray Hollis, a
veteran Labor MP, rorted expenses on alcohol and travel”. The Clerk of
Parliament, Neil Laurie, “has pursued the Speaker over the claims,
which he says have breached guidelines and which the Crime and
Misconduct Commission is investigating.”

Ah. The CMC. The child
of the Fitzgerald Inquiry into all the Joh sleaze. The same commission
that now seems to deliver slaps on the wrist, make findings of
misconduct but no determinations of who’s to blame. The corruption
fighting institution whose initials jokers now say stand for “cheers,
mate, cheers” because no-one gets pinged thanks to the cosy club that
now runs Queensland.

Interesting. Can any Queensland readers flesh out the story? Contributions to [email protected], ta.

Peter Fray

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