The move, by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s government, to strip Katter’s Australian Party of certain parliamentary privileges has become a hot topic in the Crikey comments section, with readers taking a stance on every conceivable side of the issue.
Paul Munro writes: When the ALP, at whatever level, adopts the neoliberal dogma of contracting out for private profit taking services that are essentially a public responsibility, it should be called out in the same way and to the same extent as would other proponents. Serco is a global profit taker; it engages in race-to-the-bottom employment practices; it has an established record in exploitative cost-saving delivery of services to the needy in many nations; its own accountability for the roles in which it has sponged off the taxpayers dollar is abysmal.
Shame on Palaszczuk and her cabinet for the decision to establish Serco as its agent for corrective services for an already grossly disadvantaged subculture of prisoners. The decision should remind those who care that, like a winter suntan on the gold coast, ALP commitments to engaging inequality and the gig economy, soon wash off leaving a neoliberal policy palour.
Sottile6 writes: I congratulate the Queensland Premier for taking away the extra privileges that the Katter Party had enjoyed. I remember the Bjelke-Petersen government extremely well and this government bears no resemblance whatever to that government in which Bob Katter was Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. These arguments are utterly morally bankrupt, while the Premier’s actions are courageous in the face of the racists and their supporters in One Nation and the Katter Party. I’ve lived in Queensland all my life and have listened to and fought with racists all my life and I was moved to tears by her strong rejection of racism and Anning’s speech. To stand up for them in any way is utterly reprehensible.
Martin Gordon writes: It is not often I completely agree with Guy Rundle, but his criticism of the Palaszczuk regime was spot on. I completely deplore what Fraser Anning said in Canberra, I totally disagree with it. But stripping parties of resources is the more dangerous than a speech. In Turkey, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Vietnam, China amongst others, people are variously arrested and jailed, public servants and lecturers sacked, media nationalised, government by fiat instituted, oppositions abolished, people freely executed and demonstrators shot in the streets.
Stripping resources from elected parties in a democracy may seem a long way from these things, but it is not. In 2012 Palaszczuk herself benefited from an LNP premier ensuring a depleted Labor Party was given opposition resources, which its numbers did not justify. That was the right and democratic thing to do, to ensure that democracy in Queensland could properly function. The list of potential excesses once one embarks on this slippery anti-democratic slope that might come to the media, critics, businesses, the opposition, and even ordinary citizens is obvious to anyone with any awareness of human rights abuses.
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