Now that Brisbane has won the 2032 Olympics we need to avoid the Winner’s Curse and do our best to deliver it cost-effectively while maximising the benefits and spreading them across Queensland, so the Olympics doesn’t only benefit the promoters, developers, PR people, engineers, and consultants in SEQ. Taxpayers across Queensland will end up paying for the Olympics, and they all arguably deserve a fair share of the benefits. Hence, I’m happy to support Townsville economist Colin Dwyer’s petition to the Queensland Parliament, which is designed to get a “Better Olympics deal for regional Queensland” as Colin puts it. In his email update to his mailing list today Colin wrote:
The petition to get a better deal for regional Queensland from the Brisbane Olympics has performed beyond expectations, collecting almost one thousand signatures after just three weeks. We want a regional facility audit, a significant regional fund, a guarantee on protects, skills and population retention and a seat on the Brisbane Olympics decision making Board…
The ‘Better Deal for regional Queensland” petition ends in late September. We love the Olympics but Regional Queenslanders need a better deal including a water tight guarantee on projects and completions, an audit of current and future required facilities including a maintenance audit, we need to agree to terms on skilled worker and population retention. Regional Queensland would also like a fund to BUILD OUR BASICS and a seat on any Olympics Board; so we can keep the decision makers honest.
I’m a big fan of keeping the decision makers honest, so good luck getting those signatures Colin!
Another petition I’ve supported recently is the Restore Democracy in Queensland petition organised by Queensland MP for Mirani Steve Andrew (One Nation) who rightly opposed the extension of CHO Jeannette Young’s extraordinary emergency powers earlier this year, as I did (see Qld CHO emergency powers extension bill submission). The Government now proposes to extend the CHO’s emergency powers for an even longer period. The preamble for the petition reads:
Queensland residents draws to the attention of the House that the Public Health and Other Legislation (Further Extension of Expiring Provisions) Amendment Bill, tabled 16 June 2021, will extend Queensland’s ‘State of Emergency’ powers and measures into a third year. There needs to be a public discussion on the great danger posed to Queensland’s democracy by all these rolling emergency powers, lockdowns and abrogation of citizens’ rights. Powers granted under emergency legislation are supposed to be exceptional and time-limited. After 18 months, there is no justifiable reason why the Government can’t legislate for more reduced powers that allow Government to deal with the situation at hand while restoring many of the State’s normal democratic processes.
I totally agree with that and would encourage fellow Queenslanders to sign this important petition.
Nationwide, it’s frightening how readily we’ve accepted authoritarian measures to deal with COVID-19. I accept COVID-19 is a serious disease, but, when we have chief medical officers telling us to ignore our neighbours at the supermarket, various experts calling for harder lockdowns and curfews, and one TV journalist suggesting the army should go into South West Sydney and forcibly vaccinate people, we have to ask what on earth has happened to Australia? We need to find a way of responding to the COVID threat without sacrificing our basic freedoms.
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The Covid 19 epidemic, like war, is a threat to the nation and the lives of its citizens. It is not a time for ‘business as usual’ where people engage in long winded parliamentary debates. In war and epidemics swift and decisive action is required.
After the bombing of Darwin in WWII PM Curtin stated unequivocally “every man, woman and child is now at the service of the government”. What PM Curtin was saying is that my word is law – this is not a time for debate. This centralised authoritarian approach is often the best way for a nation to counter an emergency threat to its survival and that of its citizens, such as war or epidemic. It is tried and proven as history shows. When the ancient Roman Republic was threatened, the Roman Republic appointed a man to dictate what should be done. He was called a dictator. It was what was needed in an emergency and it worked.
This is what the state governments and state chief health officers have done. Despite the failure of Federal quarantine, the States have saved Australia from the worst ravages of Covid 19 virus that has afflicted other countries. Thank God for the States.
In epidemics, specialist knowledge must rule the decisions of the polity. Politicians don’t have the knowledge and nor do most of the population. Most don’t know the difference between a virus, a bacteria or a protozoan – nor do they understand the exponential function and why time matters. All essential basic elements in epidemiology.
State health authorities need very substantial powers to act swiftly to control infectious disease outbreaks – time matters. It is primarily due to the state medical authorities and state governments having the political courage to apply unpopular, but necessary, restrictions, that we don’t have an ‘out of control’ epidemic and thousands of deaths. That we still have outbreaks is due to the disease coming into Australia from overseas. This is due to the collective failure of the Federal Government and the key federal departments of the Prime Minister, Treasury, Finance and Health.
To avoid recurrent outbreaks with attendant lock-downs, masks etc resulting from incoming infected travelers, it is essential that the Federal Government fulfill its constitutional responsibilities and institute an effective quarantine arrangements. This means the Federal Government funding quarantine accommodation next to international airports, preferably with quarantine hospitals, or if not, providing flying doctor or care-flight helicopter within range of suitable hospitals. Such quarantine facilities can be built quickly and economically with demountables.
It might appear to some that the Federal Government has opted to leave the issue for the states to fund and manage control measures (lock-downs etc) and wait for a universal vaccination approach.