The Fairy Tale of Kallangur – the land that once was and what will become of Murrumba?

Within an hour it was on like Donkey Kong! Dumping Rick Williams (former Labor MP for Pumicestone) was probably the best thing Labor could have done for everyone. He’s been a pain in the proverbial for long enough and refused to heed warnings. He had to go. His disendorsement also triggered the election and within an hour the speculation was over, those in the know knew the date before the Governor was even out of bed.

Now we have it officially called for November 25th and not a minute too soon. Even though it’s only just been called, here in my hometown electorate of Kallangur campaigning for the state election started back in February. Yes, that’s right we’ve had to endure roadside signs and waving, and candidates invading our beloved uncensored Facebook pages making promises of great things while we were still busy trolling the existing government as they diligently tried to do their job (not really, but it is well known that even if I vote for you I’m going to hold you to account if you’re in office).

Poor Kallangur is just about over this very looooong running election campaign and all it’s woes and sagas. Kallangur just wants.. wait (whispers from the stage wings)… it isn’t Kallangur anymore? It’s Murrumba? WTF? Yes folks that’s right, population growth has meant the electorate boundaries had to be changed. So now Murrumba Downs is in Murrumba finally but Kallangur is not longer in Kallangur. Instead now Kallangur is in Murrumba but the MP for Kallangur will go to Kurwongbah. Confused? You should hear me try to explain how Petrie isn’t in Petrie.

So long live the King of Kallangur, Shane King, the loyal and devoted MP of barely three years. He has been overthrown and had to seek asylum in Kurwongbah. They’ll do well to have him, he seems to have achieved the unachievable in what was Kallangur but will soon be Murrumba.

Who will take over the throne? Well that’s for the election to decide. Enter the candidates for Murrumba and well, there’s not much new.

Former MP of Murrumba, Candidate for the LNP Reg Gulley, lost his seat to Labor MP Chris Whiting. Chris won’t be running in Murrumba however. His current office will no longer be in the electorate with the boundary changes so he will challenge for the brand spanking new seat of Bancroft.

The Kallangur side of the new Murrumba electorate may not be too familiar with Mr Gulley but they don’t seem to have much love so far. The memory of his former predecessor Big Trev famous for replacing stairs with stairs at Dakabin station and calling it an upgrade is still a bit sour for some. Of course Reg is well known for…. Ummm.. well there was that time he was very supportive for Redcliffe when fellow former LNP member disgraced the party, the electorate, the government, politics and of course himself. Yes who can forget little born and bred Redcliffian Scotty Driscoll! Yes, Reg was kind enough to step in when Scott stepped out but not down. Speaking of Scotts…. Reg was fabulous in getting the then Minister for Transport, Scott Emerson to take up a cause that Reg holds dear in his heart. The fight of people with disabilities in the arena of disability parking.

When you try to raise an issue of great importance nothing is more heartwarming for the cause than knowing the people you’re seeking support from, the people with the power and control to change things for the better, have a relative, friend, close associate with a disability so they KNOW exactly how you feel. You, the person with the disability. They know how you feel. Never forget that. You would wonder if they know your feeling so well then why are you sitting here in front of them asking them to make changes so you don’t have to feel this way anymore, since they could have just changed it… but hey at least they’re listening right?

Oh they were listening alright. I spent months and my own money making RTI applications, gathering data, putting the data into usable formats and analysing said data to show hey, there’s a problem here and the solution is right in front of you. I mean yeah, police CAN give fines for parking in a disability park without a permit but seriously.. $44… why would they waste their time? If it’s all about revenue raising make it worth their while. They’re the only ones who can issue fines in off street car parks but on street they were competing with council who were giving out fines across Queensland from $150 to $250 for the same offence. What was wrong with this picture?

Lord golly gosh bless Reg and his soft heart for the disabled he went and showed Good King Wences-Scott the report we the common serfs worked so hard on and convinced him that hey, if we did what was recommended we’d not only look good but we’d make more money out of those low life disabled parking thieves. In the world of revenue raising you see, prevention is NOT better than cure so thus, the knight in shining armour of the disabled dubbed thee parking fine increase almost 5 times the amount it was. That will do the trick yeah?

The meeja of course went papparazzi over Scott the Slayer of disabled parking cheats and wanted to take his photo everywhere. The poor serf who had raised the issue didn’t even know it was happening until there it was on the evening news which was quickly followed up but a congratulatory call from the swift footed messenger Reg Gulley. “This is a good thing. Consider it a win” he consoled the poor serf as she blinked in a daze wondering what just happened. Win? Yeah ok. Why is that man on the TV reading out my report word for word? Did I miss the invite to the press conference?

Maybe it was cos he didn’t know anyone else to invite or maybe it was guilt for robbing me blind of my moment to shine in the sun, never the less I got myself invited as a representative of Murrumba (when I lived in the old Murrumba not the new) at the Queensland Plan. You remember the great Qld Plan of Campbell Newman? The one we all got to have our input in and was to be made a part of legislation but has never been referenced again since? I actually really enjoyed being part of it. Some great ideas came out of it and I got to meet so many people. So when the opportunity arose for photos I stood there like a good girl and didn’t poke my tongue out when we posed for a photo with the great Mr Newman himself (waiting for the next episode of Channel Nine’s Where are they now to feature former one term politicians which he will be at number one). I was well behaved and posed for all the photos which still haunt me to this day. So I figured hey, lets use this opportunity, Reg can we get a photo with good Mr Emerson so I can post it on the website and get all the serfs to thank him for saving our accessible spaces for us? What a great idea! Of course it is, it was my idea.

What happened next for quite some time was all a bit of a blur. It was like this whirlwind. Reg excuses himself for a moment cos he really needs to speak to this person before they leave and within seconds I’m whisked aside by none other than the Minister for Disabilities who hugs me… the Ice queen hugged me and I lose sight of my targets cos now somehow my back is turned to them. While she’s trying to keep me engaged in conversation and I’m adamant that I really just need to get this photo before we leave, Reg reappears and he’s really sorry but the great Knight had to rush off to save another group in distress.

It was some months later when I was looking back for information as I continued to work on the same project for some time, that I stumbled across newspaper articles applauding the great Knight’s attack and I read my report again word for word. I scoured the documents for any mention of the author or where it had originated from but there was no mention at all. It had completely sounded like the good Knight did it all himself. It was at that point it happened. In slow motion. Like a movie. Going back through the film scene after scene… that hug… that unsolicited hug and futile conversation was nothing more than a distraction to let the good Knight Emerson slip away unadulterated by photos with the common serf.

Since I couldn’t get a photo, eventually I made my own.

But that my friends was so long ago. Reg well, for all his good doing and supporting of his neighbouring electorates he didn’t win the next election. It was some consolation that the good Knight got a big good night on his minsterial position and went back to being demon in the shadows of the opposition. I forgave the messenger Reg for not speaking up in my defence. It’s gotta be tough when you’re and underling in the afterworld and your boss is a powerful god and the bloke you just let misuse you serf is a demi god. I thought well, one day, when he’s not trapped in the underworld anymore he may give me that apology I so rightly deserved.

Nup. That never happened. I did run into him once or twice at events in his limbo period. He remembered that I had two lovely boys and asked after them. Then the conversation would get stale and I would just sigh and be on my way.

No, I never got that apology for letting Scott Emerson and co try to make a fool of me, treat me like I was too stupid to know any better and walk off basking in the glory of being the saviour of the disabled spaces. No only did he know it was happening, he let it happen and tried to disguise it to me as being otherwise.

Now they want my support again? Fool me once shame on you…. Fool me twice… no that’s not going to happen.

So what does that leave me with in the new land of Murrumba?

We have the career candidate of the Greens, Jason Kennedy. How many elections is that now? Three, four? What are his policies? To change the world of course. And heal it. And make it a better place…. for you and for me and the entire human race there are people dying if you care enough for the living…. oops got carried away there with a bit of MJ saving the world with his music. Yeah our favourite bridesmaid never a bride is still hating on everyone for everything but once can’t help but wonder just how Green he is when he says more jobs here for Australians while he’s importing goods from overseas. Apparently the jobs are in selling the goods, not making them. Where we get the money to buy the goods he’s selling hasn’t really been answered but it seems to lie somewhere between giving people houses for life and saving the Koalas.

Now if you’re anyone else that is not Jason Kennedy or a Green then you’re not allowed to build houses cos you’ll make the Koalas cry. Maybe these houses that we’re all going to have forever and ever will be tree houses? Make mine a caravan. We all know this Pine River loving gypsy cannot stay in the one place for very long. And tree houses aren’t exactly the most accessible living anyway.

The million dollar question is though, why has Jason Kennedy never run as a candidate in the electorate or division he lives in? Makes you wonder how many Koalas had to die for his big house on his big property.

Speaking of not living in the electorate you plan to represent we have the replacement King sent in to defend the land of Murrumba since Kallangur was invaded, is none other than the presiding Minister for the Environment, Heritage and other stuff, Steven Miles. While a new electorate was created here on the north side of the kingdom the electorate of the great doctor of political science was dissolved. So being a north side boy he decided to move back to his roots and defend the land that was Kallangur. Prepared to stick around if he wins the battle he’s enrolled his kids in school and living back in the land of his people. Before you wage a war though, it’s wise to know your enemy. Seems Reg’s campaign people didn’t do their research even though the good messenger himself knew the details and the poor Honourable doctor has been labelled a blow in who doesn’t live here. Wrong candidate Mr Gulley, that would be Mr Kennedy.

None the less he’s out there trying to win the hearts of the Kallangarians and Murrumbans alike with his school boy charm, dashing good looks and knowledge that would challenge the great and powerful Oz. Will it be enough to get him over the line? Not if he doesn’t figure out how to include the common serfs. It took several satirical but suggestive emails for them to figure out ohhhh.. we need to be accessible but not as in available, as in a place with no stairs for the serfs to meet with us. They got the place part figured out… can they get the location right? Disability accessible is great but not when you have to hike 257m through roadworks to get there when you’re mobility challenged. I figure they got enough of my I’m disabled and I vote emails to get the message when the Honourable doctor turned up at a meeting of people with disabilities. Now THAT was making sure we had his attention.

There’s not much more to tell about the battle of the long lost land of Kallangur other than some guy who wants to know what we think a lot. It’s one thing to use social media to reach people, but for those who are familiar with the infamous Facebook community page, Kallangur Watch Fully Uncensored, it’s risky business asking any serious, legitimate questions in that forum. Of course when you’re representing One Nation, with a name like Scott Dare and your slogan is Dare for change, it’s probably right up your alley. Whether it’s boredom or he’s just not sure what he’s doing it’s hard to tell but he’s certainly not afraid to risk people telling him what they think. After all he does ask the same question over and over… What does Kallangur need? Which isn’t helping much to help Kallangur identify with being Murrumba now nor does it give the people much confidence that the person who has put up their hand to be a representative of the serfs AND the demi gods has any idea what they actually need to do to make the daring changes they claim they’re going to make.

It’s interesting times here in no man’s land that’s for sure and while the Kallangur electorate may from here on in be known as Murrumba, nothing will change the once bustling town of Kallangur fighting to get back what was rightfully theirs. Linking them in the electorate with North Lakes has more than ever shown there is no love lost between the two towns divided by more than just a highway. If you listen closely you’ll hear the downtrodden serfs calling out WE WANT OUR LIBRARY BACK WE WANT OUR LIBRARY BACK. Could this election be just what they need to make that happen?

Meanwhile out there in the rest of the realm of politics there’s quite a story behind how and why Rick actually got the flick in the end. Irony is it all started back at the last council election when a cranky old man who grew tired of being the miserable bar tender to the lords and the demi gods, decided enough was enough, he was fed up with being the listener and wanted to be the talker. So the poor publican Eric decided to appoint himself as a lord and go masquerading in the policital realm as someone important.

Lord Eric of Meldale menaced the townsfolk and candidates and anyone who didn’t see the truth as he tells it. Especially after a few glasses of red. Once the council elections were over and things didn’t go the way Lord Eric wanted, he decided he wasn’t settled enough with being a lord. He wanted to be a demi god too. However demi gods have to do a little bit of work and it’s not something Lord Eric is very accustomed to under the conditions required… ie sobriety.

Lord Eric thus knighted himself and jumped on his horse vowing he’d be the demi god of the land of Moreton Bay in 2020. Long way off of course and we all know how much can change in the political landscape over that time. Not wanting to wane and become unnoticed while the serfs were busy building and growing the empire until the next election, he had a wonderful idea to maintain attention by turning to the state election. He really had it in for the Rick he wanted to flick so badly that he made it his life’s work to ensure that he irritated him enough to put him in a position where knight Sir Eric could record Rick doing something terrible! He put a legal notice in his letterbox! I know! All the serfs in the land were equally as horrified as Sir Eric as they watched the 6 o’clock news seeing the story unfold. How dare that man put mail in a mail box they shouted! Eric gained so much support… wait, no… that’s the fantasy that Eric the publican want to be King of all the lands played out in his mind.

What really happened was the serfs, quite fed up with Eric’s antics and hollow shouty promises in his drunken tirades, some of them decided to stand up to him and treat him the same way he treated all the people in elections gone by. Poor Eric wasn’t built to handle that. Especially sober. But in true egotist style he did not fall on his self made sword. He pushed his wife onto it and attempted to play the knight in shining armour saving her from the angry lynch mobs.

Truth… the real truth, and it seems Eric never really could handle it, is that so very few people even knew Sir Eric existed he was never really a thing in the political realm. I mean he’s hardly the next Barack Obama and he doesn’t even cut a shade to our much beloved old Sir Joh B. So with his curly tail between his legs Eric set his horse free, pulled up the drawbridge across the moat to the Castle Meldale and no one ever saw him again.

Rumour has it though that he’s shut up shop completely, no bars open to the public and now he spends his life being the troll under the bridge. Some believe he’s merely laying in waiting for the hype to fade from this election and jump out the moment the billy goats appear to campaign for Moreton 2020. What a time to be alive!

Check out these fellas… who would you vote for?

Jason Kennedy for the Greens
Scott Dare for One Nation
Reg Gulley (right) for LNP with his former party leader Campbell Newman
Steven Miles for Labor (picture with local Gemma Gale of the Dakabin Station Action Group)

One person you won’t have to worry about voting for
Lord Eric the former publican

Stay classy Murrumba Kallangur

The Pros and Cons of photos with politicians

When you decide to put yourself out there as an activist for almost any cause you need to prepare yourself for the fact that you will have an opposition. Even when the cause is one as diplomatic as equality for people with disabilities. You need to develop a thick skin and the ability to ignore being used as a political football.

Yes, sad as it is, the reality is people with disabilities are a political issue in today’s society. Yes, we still have to fight for the equality and basic human rights that many take for granted. If you’re going to be a successful activist you will have to talk to people you may not necessarily like. You have to put your personal feelings aside and assert yourself in circles that wouldn’t necessarily welcome you under normal circumstances. And you have to try to do it with dignity. It’s not an easy task.

You also may find yourself having your photo taken with the odd politician here and there. That’s what I do. I call it the penance I pay for being granted the wishes I ask for. Even if those wishes aren’t personally for me.

What I didn’t expect was that my having my photo as an activist and advocate for others with disabilities, would ever be used against me in a way that was admonishing of me and my character.

I haven’t been all that active online of late. Not compared to the past. So imagine my shock when I was sent screenshots of a particular political candidate and their members openly criticising my character because I’ve had my photo taken with another politician. Of course it’s pretty simple history behind it. The photo in question was with their opponent.

So just in the interest of fairness, honesty and transparency, I thought I’d share a gallery of all the photos I’ve had taken with other people who might be considered of a political nature. I mean after all, selfies are the new autograph right?

Just one more time cos hey, if you’re going to criticise me for being in a photo for a purpose, it really should be this one…..

Here’s a photo with me and holy crap is that??? No…. it isn’t… wait, yes! It’s Former LNP member Reg Gulley and Former Premier Campbell Newman!

I’m sure there are probably plenty of other photos out there. Considering these days I can barely remember what my original hair colour was I reckon this isn’t too bad a collection.

It’s probably not a great idea to rubbish a community activist even if you don’t think they’ll see it. Chances are someone will. As an activist it’s my job to hold politicians accountable for the promises they make and how they treat the people I have promised to defend and advocate for. If you can’t work with me when you’re a candidate it could make things rather difficult to work with my community if you become the person who is supposed to represent them.

Of course I can’t leave a good story untold. There is one photo missing. This one

This is the photo that was supposed to happen the same day I was photographed with Campbell Newman. I’d been advocating for the increase of fines in disability parking by Police (at the time it was a $44 fine and it was increased to $228 which now increases annually) and had support of my MP at the time Reg Gulley.

I asked Reg if we could get a photo with Scott Emerson so I could add it to my campaign page to thank them both for their support. Reg was of course agreeable as he always is and told me he’d go get Mr Emerson for a photo. There was a whole bunch of MPs and other types milling around. Reg spoke to Scott who was with a group of others. He returned to me to say we’d grab him when he was finished with the person he was talking to. Next thing I knew, Reg ‘had to quickly talk to someone’ and along came Tracy Davis. She grabbed my attention talking to me like I was a long lost friend putting her bag on a chair behind me so that I had to turn around to see her when she was talking to me. She then hugged me. I don’t think I’d ever been hugged by a politician before that day. It was most unusual. She kept me there talking to me like she was interested and shortly after Reg returned with great disappointment that unfortunately Scott Emerson couldn’t wait, he had to be somewhere else. Yeah, somewhere I wasn’t.

I played along but I wasn’t stupid. I knew exactly what happened. The classic distraction play. Scott Emerson didn’t want his photo taken with the likes of me. When you’re openly critical of government policy or member’s behaviour it doesn’t matter that you do give credit where it’s due. Which is a shame cos at the time it was Campbell Newman receiving my wrath not Emerson, yet at least Newman was able to do the decent thing and pose for a photo.

So the moral of the story…..

If I have my photo taken with someone that another person opposes I will be labelled the enemy regardless.

Also, if you won’t pose for a photo with me I’ll turn you into a stick figure.

While you were complaining about roads…

While you’re complaining about roads and being stuck in traffic Eleanor and I are trying to maintain some kind of independence in disability life on the footpaths of Moreton Bay Region. There are days I’d love to be stuck in traffic for a while knowing that eventually I will move again in a forward direction. Sometimes, the footpaths are blocked with no chance of moving any time soon and sometimes, the footpaths just end, leaving me with no other option but to go back.

Stop dissing my pets

You know it’s a shame this election campaign has come down to rants about someone stole my signs and misinterpreting what candidates say because they’re too drunk to understand the concept of stop spending money on things that aren’t helping people but hey that’s petty politics for you. What has really really upset me is that I have allegedly been accused of lying about my pets. I love my animals. I am not allowed to keep pigs on my property but I have an adopted pet pig that is cared for and works as a therapy pet for kids, elderly and disabled people. Eric was going to become bacon if he couldn’t find something useful to do. I named him Eric because it means eternal ruler and Eric thinks he’s king of the castle. If candidates and their flunkies want to attack each other about crap and not focus on policies (many of which I have a lot of influence over and god help any of you that get voted in cos you’re going to have to deal with me whether you like it or not), then go right ahead and attack each other. Truth be known I am friends with several candidates but one in particular has been a solid supporter of my causes over the past year and helped me so much on a personal level. I know her and trust her and I believe in her as a good candidate as a councillor but that doesn’t mean we agree on everything. We actually disagree quite a lot and that’s when we just agree to disagree and drink tea and pat kitties. She’s still my friend regardless and if you say nasty things about her or make untrue accusations I will come to her defence every time. You can slag me off all you like while trying to be nice to my face to persuade me to do things on their behalf to bring down other candidates, but hey, I’m still a voter and I’m still going to be a member of the electorate if you win. True I may have the early stages of dementia and eventually will lose my mind more than I already have. I may not remember what you said. I may not remember what you did. I know one thing though. I will always remember how you made me feel. Picking on my pets makes me angry. Don’t diss my pets.

eric the disgrace

piggy eric polka dotman whinge jokefail talasoga

Trial by Media! Elect by Social Media?

Well just when you thought it was safe to go to prepoll voting! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO Don’t do it, run, runaway now!

I use to be one of those people who just marched straight ahead avoiding any eye contact and hoping I didn’t need to sidestep or punch anyone who got in my way. I was (and in all honesty I still am) the kind of person who believed that if by election day when you walked into that polling booth, if you didn’t know to whom you were going to cast your vote then you may as well just leave it blank rather than make the irresponsible decision of numbering in order. It’s lazy voting. Yet there I was volunteering to hand out those most annoying how to vote cards at prepoll because my friend, bless her precious heart, let me convince her to run for council because I wasn’t eligible to (and in my condition I really have no business taking ratepayers money to only turn up when I’m having a good day).

My day was already hampered by the unexpected delivery of a surrogate grandchild to mind but I figured hey, if people can see I’m distracted by a baby then they won’t talk to me right? HA! NO ONE loves babies more than politicians. Naturally Miss1 was the star of the show and everyone was more interested in her than me but it meant that people were NICE to me and I just find that really weird.

Meanwhile, as all the candidates and their volunteers are gathered together under a marquee singing Kumbaya (not really singing) the first thing I noticed was the lack of visible access. Did you expect any less of me dahlings!? Here in the very small and obscure old building car park between the Coffee Club and KFC at Strathpine are two makeshift disability parking bays nearest the ramp access. Problem is when you drive into the car park you can’t tell it is there for all the Teletubbies standing in the way. Yes, I said Teletubbies. That’s what they look like in all their different colours bopping up and down squawking “Which Division? Which Division?” before you even get out of the car. Someone then announces which division you are so that you only get the correct coloured Teletubbies running at you.

teletubbies in the disability parking
Candidates and volutneers standing in the disability parking bays

Of course my first reaction was to squawk back at them to get the hell out of the way of the disability parking so that people can see where the access is! And on that note someone then decided it was time to move those A-Frames partially blocking the ramp. In between the showers of rain and the smothering humidity while I was chasing a baby I was really useless as a hander outerer but I was there in colour to dance with the Teletubbies and be entertained.

I popped in today as I was returning from a Centrelink appointment (we all know how much I love Centrelink appointments) and rather than use up valuable parking there I parked next door intending to get a coffee on my way out after offering if anyone wanted something. Parking was scarce in that complex too and to my disgust as I drove round and round and round a dude in a slick black ute parked in the ONLY available disability parking bay leaving me driving round and round and round until a regular parking space became available that luckily was slightly wider than average and allowed me to get out of the car without too much difficulty. You know what. Just because you might be driving round looking for parking it doesn’t make it excusable to use disability parks without a permit. You drive around until a normal park becomes available just like I had to because you can use those without risk of injuring yourself further unlike people like myself who DO have a disability parking permit.

Black ute parked in a disability parking bay with no permit
Black ute parked in a disability parking bay with no permit

Anyway, I have learned that Teletubbies are similar to the pre Gremlin creatures, the Mogwai. If you get them wet they multiply! It seems after standing in the rain last week that is what happened. They multiplied! There were more of them than last week and now Mayoral candidates were out there trying to win those last minute votes.

Candidates and Volunteers handing out how to vote cards at the Strathpine Prepoll Booth
Candidates and Volunteers handing out how to vote cards at the Strathpine Prepoll Booth

I did find it most entertaining watching as Talasoga McMahon danced her way around the car park hoying out to people like an auctioneer while the others seemed to wait patiently for her numerical commands to jump. Denise Sims flittered around in her pretty yellow sundress looking all Doris Day movie while Dean Teasdale stood out like an awkward school boy (He’s really really tall!). Over to the side trying to stay in the shade and out of the way of the disability access I had a quick chat with the wife of Steve O’Shannessy (formerly known as Steve Who – I’ve been introduced so I know who he is now), about the entertainment of people watching and having found his how to vote card on my doorstep this morning with my junk mail, I queried if he was out door knocking. He was out and about in the community. Clever bugger went along to a local retirement home who had in house pre polling as well as a few other places in the community. Sly old dog Steve has turned out to be! He could just slide into this race with a very close place.

See there are two types of voters. Those who like I use to be once upon a time before my run in with Mr Mark Latham back in the late 90’s, just really don’t care and vote for either the best looking ones or the ones with the coolest sounding names. Or they just grab the nearest how to vote card on their way into the booth and use that. That’s where the Steve’s of the race have a darn good chance.

Then there are the ones like I am now who follow everything and scrutinise everything because you realise that the decision you make today is going to affect you for the next four years. Even though you know that no matter how you try to make the best decision it can mean nothing at all once those candidates sit in those big comfy leather chairs you still like to believe you have some control over your life in this area.

Of course some take it to a whole other level and just HAVE to comment on EVERYTHING. (Okay I may or may not have done this on the odd occasion – it makes for good writing material). I’m still watching with great entertainment the to and fro of those who are very social media savvy. Although I can’t comment as much as I use to because for whatever reasons (asking too many questions maybe?) I’ve been banned from so many election related pages on Facebook I’m starting to develop a complex (not really). I still get to watch though and as most people who know me well enough would know, it’s where I get my best material.

My conversation with Steve Who’s wife (I hope she forgives me for not remembering her name, it’s nothing personal, I barely remember faces let alone names the first time), made me realise that while some candidates are lashing it out on the social media front others are out there talking to people in the community. And sure you can post a video of how awesome you are or get the former councillor to inappropriately tell everyone you’re “replacing” him (dude it’s an election, anyone could replace you right now), it all means nothing if you’re only reaching those 20 or so people reading the thread or seeing your repetitive posts in their feed, especially when one of those people is ME!

When you get on down to vote on election day this Saturday March 19th though remember the MOST IMPORTANT THING OF THE DAY! Buy a sausage and a cake from the fundraising stall! Please.

If you’re around at Undurba State School in Murrumba Downs I will be there on split shifts as I closely monitor the disability parking bays (that is where I got parked in my some idiot who didn’t care that I needed to actually open my doors to get into my car last election).

Finally, I know it should be obvious but I want to make sure all the candidates and any other mentioned people are clear that I’m a satirical writer and majority of what I say is in jest. Majority. All of it except for the disability parking. And maybe the Teletubbies.

Good luck. May the force be with you.

And He Walked a Crooked Mile

Just over two weeks ago no one wanted to contest the position of Mayor in Moreton Bay despite the high number of candidates in certain divisions. Then out of the woodwork one guy pops up promising the world to Moreton Bay region residents if he is elected. He must have been inspiring because he was quickly followed by four more. The candidacy for mayor is even more cryptically diverse than that of any of the divisions. Well with the exception of Division 12 where the incumbent councillor Adrian Raedel will go to the election unchallenged, which I find really surprising. There’s a lot to gain from having the power in Caboolture. Why are there no other politically minded people wanting to take on the job of such a large and growing division? At least the rumours of his adventures dressing in women’s clothing spread by a certain conservative business woman haven’t done his reputation any damage. Perhaps Caboolture is more progressive than people give it credit for.

So we have 6 contenders for the big job all with very different backgrounds and very different ideas on how councils work to begin with and also, how this one in particular should be run.

First up to throw his akubra into the ring was Shayne Hogan of Bribie Island. He originally intended only to run for Division 1 but thought, perhaps somewhat prematurely, that it would be a 50/50 chance for Mayor as Allan Sutherland the Incumbent was the only one standing at the time. Following Shayne’s campaign has been a bit like watching episodes of Oprah. We have lots of problems being outlined with sad sad stories and a few broad pokes at idea to combat the issues but no real substance when it comes how these ideas will be implemented to become functioning policies. Of course like every Oprah episode there’s all the gifts for everyone! You get a rate freeze and You get a rate freeze and You, and You, and YOU! Everyone gets a rate freeze! And while rates are frozen for three years he’s going to reduce water bills and make all these bad things go away and we’ll all live happily ever after in our Bribie Island Utopia… oh wait, there’s more to Moreton Bay than Bribie Island? Oops. One thing about Shayne though is that he loves to talk. Although how much of it makes sense I guess comes down to how well you understand Shayne speak. What’s his background? “I currently work with people that have Mental Health disabilities….” As what? A security guard? What does that even mean? It’s like me saying “I work with food” because I do the weekly grocery shopping.

 

Then we get even cuter with old Barry Bolton rising from the political council crypt to give it one last shot. The OAM holder and former Redcliffe Mayor, who is 80 this year, was last in politics when they’d just discovered email. Again with the water and bills (gosh we know we’ve all got them) Barry wants people to be held accountable! He’s not happy that Jim Soorley is paid $10k a year to sit on the Unity Water board (Jim is only one of several mind you) but he’s certainly not saying anything about knocking down any of the almost $200k a year salary the successful candidate will receive as Mayor of Moreton Bay. I’m still quite
puzzled by what it was that has driven Barry to take off his slippers and put on a suit again after so long in retirement, I mean come on, this is a government election not Make A Wish!

 

 

 

Not far off old Baz is John McNaught who was once a councillor back in the old days when Caboolture was a shire. One thing in John’s favour is he does the political response very well. Everything can be fixed it just takes time. All we can hope is that these guys have enough time left in them to fix whatever the hell they think needs fixing, because I promise you this is not the most recent photo of Mr Mac.

 

 

 

 

 

The wild card of the mayoral contenders is former State LNP MP of Nudgee His Royal Universeness Jason Woodforth. Best known for his passion for fitness as he calls it, the body builder is most concerned about our water too. Not the cost of it though. The content. Jason “the truth is out there” Woodforth vows to have fluoride removed from our water which has me flabbergasted since we all know body builders aren’t big fans of water anyway. They don’t use it for much besides washing off the layers of chemically applied tan, unless they prefer water over milk as the base for their chemically created protein shakes. Body builders don’t need water when they’re trying to dehydrate before going on stage so their muscles are more defined. True story. What I want to know Jason is what are you going to do about the chlorine in the public pool? And who the hell is responsible for letting him move here in the first place?

 

 

Finally we have the classic token upper middle bogan Dean Teasdale who is not the first real estate agent to turn to politics (the money in real estate mustn’t be as good as it use to be), and he certainly won’t be the last. Your typical utopian suburb building guy sees the three R’s as being most important for our region. Rates, Roads and Rubbish. Of course it’s not the smooth talk kind of rubbish he wants to get rid of but the Waste type. Must be a growing issue in trying to maximise your commission when selling houses having rubbish laying around in the streets of North Lakes. Interestingly he is quoted as saying that council’s funding has been too focused on Redcliffe and North Lakes! As per my last write up, the money and attention that council gives to North Lakes, the area formerly known as Mango Hill where Teasdale happens to live, has been a point of contention amongst all the divisions for a long time. People have little faith in promises that money will ever be spent elsewhere. Good luck with that Dean, you’ve got a tough job convincing everyone you’ll be a Mayor for Moreton and not a Mayor for Mango.

It’s been business as usual for the incumbent mayor Allan “President of the Bee Gee’s Fan Club” Sutherland, out at every opportunity to promote the University Precinct project. While he has a strong history of support from local business minds it’s clear he’s also got a growing opposition. Okay so they’re mostly an angry online lynch mob convinced there’s a conspiracy behind the flood mapping because it’s easier to deny the problem than to accept it. If you accept it you’d have to do something about it. Of course when you live on a river why in the world would you ever want to be concerned about flooding. After all it only happens once every one hundred years right? Once IN one hundred years. Same same but different. Regardless it’s going to be interesting to see if he has the Stayin’ Alive power to remain mayor for a third term, or if his past of dealings with the sinister Scott Driscoll (Former disgraced Redcliffe MP) is still dogging his reputation.

No matter what, Moreton Bay needs to hope it has some really good strong councillors come through this election otherwise, besides the University not due to be delivered until 2020, (at which point I predict Allan Sutherland will retire and the Uni or at least something in the Uni will be named after him), all we can expect to come out of the next term is more retail super outlets in North Lakes and more historical monuments. Makes the former councils who went along and named parks and what not after themselves seem rather magnanimous.

sutherland monument

I can’t say if there will be any more instalments in the #MBRCVotes2016 saga unless some really good material comes up.

If Only Shakespeare Were Here – Council Elections 2016

It’s really the saga that writes itself, Australian Politics. If Shakespeare were here today he’d have the most to gain from the material we see sprawled out through mainstream and social media. Would it be a comedy or tragedy? Many would say both. Here in my little pocket of the world I’m finding great amusement in watching the saga of the Moreton Bay Regional Council Election, like all other councils in Queensland, voters will go to the polls on March 19th.

While some often begrudge being forced to vote, many will go with enthusiasm and what I’m seeing from reading the social media commentary, it will be the enthusiasm to overthrow the current Council.

Many issues have been tabled by voters to justify their push for a Mutiny on the SS Moreton such as high expenditure of council money on the fond desires of a sentimental council to build shrines to things the current community is just not interested in, particularly when elderly residents are struggling to keep up with their rates and water bills.

It starts at the top with Bee Gees Way and whittles it’s way down to signs along a road to tell people why it’s named so. Because after years of having Australian War history shoved down our throats in schools we need a sign to tell us why Anzac Avenue is Anzac Avenue. The signs don’t even tell the actual story of why! They just tell us that Anzac Avenue is actually Anzac Memorial Avenue apparently. It’s understandable residents are not happy when there are still unusable footpaths, roads that basically disintegrate every time it rains and still not a single completely disability inclusive playground in the entire region.

anzac memorial sign

What we do have is a $2.5 million dollar shrine to a retired pop group who spent a few years living in the region, that promised locals to bring tourists to the area. They claim it has worked, it brings plenty of tourists, who then get back in their cars and keep on travelling spending very little or at the most stopping for a meal and complaining about the ocean winds. It boasts not just one but two grossly expensive statues and even had a mini replica created as a gift.

beegees 1 beegees 2 beegees minime

There’s also the highly controversial submarine at Kallangur that at a cost of around $47 thousand dollars to commemorate some obscure and very small part of the area’s history, but don’t dare suggest we have enough war memorials in a highly concentrated area, the war history buffs and other patriotic kind will jump down your throat accusing you of indecently insulting our Anzacs without even knowing that your relatives and friends returned from war permanently disabled, to very little assistance, almost no government support and relied solely on the generosity of charity organisations created for this very cause who are desperately struggling to survive having to mostly depend on fundraising while public funds are used to build memorials to those who didn’t come home and will never be able to thank us for them. PTSD? what PTSD?

One local stated the least they could have done was make the submarine usable and the next time Young’s Crossing floods again use it to ferry people back and forth since no one in the past 10 years has put any action into fixing the issue, despite an alphabet of ideas being floated. (Pun totally intended)

unyellow submarine

It’s not the only sore point for Kallangur, the low socio-economic suburb where the average rent is more than half the average income. They recently lost their library services (as did the nearby suburb of Narangba) only to be told they are welcome to use the new flashy $30 million dollar mega library complex just over the highway at North Lakes. If you don’t drive, that’s fine, get on one of the hourly buses unless of course you are disabled and the bus that turns up doesn’t accommodate you or you just can’t afford it. North Lakes won the shopping centre, the banks, the businesses and any other services that Kallangur had left and now the residents believe North Lakes has taken their library.

That wasn’t even the most savage of blows in the whole escapade. Visitors to the new library complain it’s difficult to locate where the actual library is in the building especially if you use the lift, the parking on The Corso became a fierce competition because people didn’t know just around the corner is access to undercover parking and for those who DO manage to get on a bus in a wheelchair but bugger, it’s after hours and you’re returning a book, you can wheel round and round the building for hours before discovering the after hours return is underground in the car park! Not that you can access it. There is no disability access ramp to reach it. The candle on the cake has to be the strange and creepy metal fabricated monument to the unknown outside the library that is $10 thousand dollars of blue steel and no one understands it.

north lakes blue steel

So what has council achieved after it’s first term of amalgamation? Relocation of services aside, Sport and Leisure seems to be the biggest winner with several projects successfully off the ground. This has pleased many since it benefits both young and older generations. A new App for mobile devices makes it easier than ever to send your complaints into council which is very handy since defunding the local access advisory group has meant the app is the best way to report issues of inaccessibility that could have been avoided. The pinnacles of start up projects that seem to hold things thinly in the balance of anyone in current council keeping power, are the Moreton Bay Rail Link and the University Project. Of course the rail project is infested with sore points of disgruntled locals feeling the adverse affects of the construction and traffic delays and if the University doesn’t get named the Allan Sutherland University of Moreton Bay I’ll be surprised.

The most interesting part of the election seems to be in the pages on Facebook by lobbyist groups of varying kinds. Interestingly they’re not your usual political lobbyists (maybe no one is really interested in Moreton Bay) but they are nonetheless entertaining.

We have a page called The Moreton Bay Council Has To Go that appears to have been hidden in obscurity for a few years leading up to the election, but run by a man who claims to be a ratepayer yet no one knows what he’s actually paying rates on, one thing is very clear about Eric Shields. His opinion (which is not an opinion in his opinion) is gospel and should you even try to challenge his misguided inconsistent stance on issues that’s it, you’re banned! Out you go, your constructive criticism is not wanted here. With over 500 followers there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of likes or engagement generated however there is a whole lot of borderline defamation going on. It isn’t quite clear if Eric hates everyone or just politicians but he’s chosen his “A Team” based on what he thinks are good potential councillors and you can look at his reasoning with great amusement. After declaring his disdain for candidates who nominate in one electorate but vote in another he was quick to remove the post and comments along with it denigrating another candidate when it was pointed out to him that one of his A Team were in fact doing that very thing.

I’ve known Jason Kennedy for a while now. Seems like an okay bloke. After failing in his bid to land a job in parliament at the last state election, the Greens member has thrown his hat into the much desired ring of Division 7. He lives “on the border” of the Division 7 and Division 11 electorates and he says he’s invested in Division 7 because his children go to school in that division and they shop there. Seems fair. It didn’t work out too well for Campbell Newman though. In all fairness there’s not a lot on the other side of the division boundary line with most of Division 11 being rural. One would think that would make the job somewhat easier.

Lets put this issue to bed, while Jason clearly lives in Division 11 it might be a bit much to claim to be living on the border, however you can see there’s not a great deal of urbanisation which probably means less issues. Less issues means less to campaign about. What I have found most fascinating though is reading through Jason’s campaign page on Facebook where he’s raising a lot of issues of state and federal matter and aside from Koalas, transparency and accountability seem to be his major issues with current council and he’s vowing to change that.

 

put jason to bed

Jason Kennedy lives in the vicinity of the red circle somewhere. Is it on the border? You be the judge.

put jason to bed 2

It’s been somewhat entertaining to watch the banter pan out and I confess being my bored self seeking entertainment I’ve thrown a log or two on the fire, over on a second lobbyist group (but somewhat more genuine than Eric Shields) page, MBRC Elections 2016. It appears to be run jointly by a few environmentalist groups well known for being heavily associated with the Greens and several of which Jason Kennedy is a member of the board. So there’s absolutely no room for bias at all. What is very apparent when you peruse through the page that there’s not a great deal of interest in most of the other divisions and there’s no sledging of candidates or each other in the posts for the other divisions and only a few mentions from concerned voters on matters of importance. That is until you get to the post for Division 7 and holy marsupials Batman it becomes most entertaining.

It doesn’t take long to identify supporters and here is my one and only necessary disclaimer, I am associated with a candidate on a level of personal friendship. Belinda Norrie and I have children who go to the same school and a declared passion for felines. We are fellow crazy cat ladies and sometimes enjoy a chat about kitties over coffee. On a few occasions I have worked with Belinda on community matters where she’s been incredibly knowledgeable and helpful in seeing that my voice is heard. I’m grateful to her for that.

What you do notice is that Belinda Norrie must be the biggest threat to Jason Kennedy since she’s the only candidate he seems to mention in comments and posts. While earlier on it was somewhat ambiguously referred to, it’s now open and out there that he is not at all happy about the fact that Belinda works for a real estate agent. They’re the devils those real estate agents. Regardless of the fact that she’s actually a property manager and not a property developer and anyone and everyone who moves through the circles of Division 7 seems to know this. Her clients love her. Not satisfied that she hasn’t declared it in BIG LETTERS on every tiny piece of campaign information she puts out there that she is employed in a respectable job by JH Grant Realty, several people kept raising the issue accusing her of lying because Belinda mentioned in her campaign information that

“as a qualified Human Services Worker, I am well aware of the desperate need for community and youth services in Division 7.”

Fact is that Belinda does happen to be qualified in Human Services with a Bachelor of Social Science and having worked in the community services industry for almost ten years before switching to real estate property management. Knowing how rental properties work and the trials and tribulations that go with being a property manager I can say her skills from Human Services are very well utilised in her new field.

It gets better though. Belinda Norrie, like most other candidates who want their name seen so it’s recognised on the ballot paper, put out signs by door knocking the neighbourhood and politely asking. This is a really difficult task as you can imagine, many doors are slammed in your face and rejections are higher than success. That’s just a given in politics and people are very precious about their properties. As it turns out, one of the kind people who agreed to put up a sign for her happens to be someone who is someone in a union. Uh oh, look out, environmentalist and lobby groups are okay, unions are apparently an unforgivable sin.

My one time belief that regular old politics was not relevant in Council politics is now out the window because it is also apparently unforgivable that Belinda has not declared herself a member of the ALP. It’s quite acceptable to be a member of the Greens and even have run in an election for them but unacceptable for any other party. Mildly amused by this I have noted that there’s been no question of any of the other three candidates of their membership of any other political party. Or organisation. Should they declare their membership of the Crazy Cat Lady Association? Or does that not give enough leverage to spew hate into the public arena? Mind you while Belinda tried very hard to be diplomatic and take it all with a grain of salt, every strong woman has a folding point and she reached hers at being told she’s deceitful when every other bloody candidate has something they’re tiptoeing around. Since Jason’s lobbyists seemed to be the ones to launch the attacks she came back firing and Jason was the target since he is supposedly the fearless leader of the brigade.

Meanwhile as these two are hashing it out, here over in the corner sitting very quietly are the other three candidates.

Denise Sims it seems has been endorsed by outgoing councillor David Dwyer having her picture taken with him anywhere and everywhere which locals are finding absolutely astounding since in the past four years trying to get a meeting with him is like picking the winner at the Melbourne Cup. When you do happen to nail him down the conversation is somewhat abstract and far from the issue you’re trying to discuss. This is my personal knowledge having met with him on a few occasions to raise various issues and I found myself leaving feeling relieved just to get away. Denise seems to manage him quite well and it’s interesting to see how much she replicates his interests. Even when trying to discuss certain issues when she raises them in posts on her campaign page, her response is almost identical to David’s in the past. I’d be happy to discuss it with you in person, and the ball is left, bouncing from kinetic energy in your court until it comes to a stop and rolls out of your reach. Happens often to people with disabilities.

The matter of disability access is apparently a contentious one to raise because it catches candidates out. Having been told flat out by David Dwyer in the past that we don’t build parks accessible because it’s too expensive and they get vandalised, I hoped for a better response from Denise Sims. Not surprised though when the response was of no consequence to the question and the mention of other people she’d met with disabilities came out sounding so typically 1950’s I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and go into education mode explaining that we prefer not to refer to wheelchair users as being wheelchair bound and just because you were introduced to two people with disabilities that David Dwyer has been exploiting for his own political benefits for some time, doesn’t mean you’re on our side.

At least I have the attention of these three. We are now left with but two of the silent minority. Talasoga McMahon who has a great history of working in community service organisations in our region and a great deal of heart, doesn’t appear to have a great deal of knowledge about local issues. It’s like some of the candidates running in this election have just looked up issues in the local paper, organise a photo shoot and post about it on social media. Where is the action people? What have you been doing for the past four years while the rest of us have been fighting issue after issue and statue after statue? Talasoga can only hope that while her movement amongst the community seems to have been limited to her very lovely and friendly cultural network, that they are large enough a network to get her votes up.

Steve O’Shanessy or as some locals refer to him “Steve Who?” is the wildcard candidate. All we really know about him so far is that his big vote for me claim is he is the only truly self funded candidate having dug into his retirement savings to fund his campaign and he plans to bring his business knowledge to council. As far as local issues are concerned, well, maybe if you want to increase the friend count of “Steve O’Sh” on Facebook from 10, you can ask him.

Just think, this is all in one little division! Just wait until I get started on the candidacy for the office of Mayor!

If you’ve got a local issue you want to discuss, feel free to email me and we can talk

Elisha “Friday” Wright
Local Community Correspondent and disabled woman with nothing better to do than read Facebook.
fridayology@gmail.com