Courier Mail newspaper supports trampling of democratic rights

Unsurprisingly, Rupert Murdoch's Brisbane newspaper has thrown its voice behind the enforced amalgamations in it's of Saturday 28 July. In recent years the Courier Mail newspaper has consistently supported every possible major infrastructure development project no matter how extravagent or environmentally reckless and no matter how strongly oppsed by local residents. These include:
  • The ghastly Suncorp stadium that is so huge that one Courier mail writer compained of being unable to see the stage from his 'platinum' ticket seat at the back of the stadium.
  • The and Dams
  • The Northbank residential development which, if it proceeds, will encase the Brisbane CBD adjoinng the north bank of the Brisbane River, together with 300 metres of the Brisbane itself in huge high reise concrete residential apartments.
Arguments put by the Courier Mail in support of the forced amalgamations include:
  • "ratepayers also demand efficient, and cost-effective, service provision; and never more so than in growth hot-spots where young families abound and current infrastructure is most strained." The editorial writer neglected to mention the fact that Courier Mail itself is a strident advocate of that same population growth that is straining the infrastructure of Queensland.
  • "Amalgamation – and the power which economies of scale bring – will also bolster the bargaining power of these growth areas as they negotiate with both government and private industry." Curiously, under other earlier Beattie government 'reforms' to local government, many powers powers including the power to prevent residential developments have been taken away from councils.
The 'intemperate' complaint by opponents of forced amalgamations that the Queensland Government is using dicatorial powers is dismissed by the editorila writers: "But the Government, with its huge majority, has a mandate to modernise Queensland." Yet the Courier Mail since before the 2006 elections in which the Beattie Government was returned to power, has repeatedly carried stories of the disillusionmen by Queenlsand voters with all sides. The reason for this is that both Labor and the Liberal/National 'opposition' both support precisely the sort of pro-big-business, pro-development anti-environmental policies that the Courier Mail promotes. That the Queensland voters chose Labor as the lesser of the two evils in the 2006 state elections does not give Labor the right to trample on the democratic rights of Queenslanders, particularly rural Queenslanders.


Sheila Newman, population sociologist Not surprising that the Murdoch Press supports amalgamations. The amalgamations support big development, suppression of democratic protest against forced population growth, forced big development, forced suburban expansion and intensification. Since and are owned by the Murdoch and Fairfax press and since commercial (and arguably ABC) TV support multiple 'lifestyle' programs designed to market to new home buyers, naturally the Press will privilege any of the arguments in favour of amalgamation and at best give muted and slanted and partial representation to the HUGE range of arguments against them. People have to wake up to the fact that democracy has been corporatised, which means that it exists more or less in name only. Our political parties behave as if they are the collections of rich men, just like football teams have become. (Sadly). We have to seriously stand up for our rights and remind the politicians in no uncertain terms by participating at rallies like the one described below and -drastically reduce newspaper buying and no-one should purchase housing on newly cleared land. -Don't have children and protest against immigration until land is released naturally, i.e. through natural decrease in population. If you can get to Southbank at 10.30am on Friday 3rd August, please do so. Why? It will give you an immediate and useful means of objecting to the Beattie Government’s swift and merciless gutting of Local Government throughout Queensland. You will also be supporting the rally to save Noosa Shire and its exemplary Planning Scheme. Please help to defend the only resource based Shire Planning Scheme in Queensland, perhaps all of Australia. How can we hope to plan a secure future if there is no example anywhere of the basic method needed to do so? If you are on the Sunshine Coast check transport options at: Even if you live elsewhere, please go along if you possibly can. Please pass this on to others in your contact list. Why are these changes is so unacceptable? The huge electorates now created will: Make election of genuine community candidates nearly impossible. The escalated cost and organizational requirements of campaigning in huge electorates will make it the domain of candidates supported by industry and political parties. Elevate councillors and their decisions even further above and away from being concerned about input from and accountability to the local communities that will bear the effects of unfair or unwise proposals. At a time when relocalisation is so clearly needed to respond to climate change and energy resource challenges, this is a hasty and gigantic move toward the exact opposite. The ‘reform’ program is not progress. It is a dogged and deceitful continuance of what is at the root of nearly all current malaise – the ongoing isolation of ordinary people and their local communities from having any real say in the matters that vitally affect them and their locality. The reasons given for the changes are hollow, misleading and even completely wrong. They have been projected with authority and repetition within an atmosphere and time frame of urgency, if not emergency. By definition this is propaganda. How can it be that more people, and record levels of development and wealth, require that we need less representation of the communities affected? This is a patently absurd equation. But when looked at directly, free of the diversionary waffle, this whole circus act is balanced entirely upon the stupid premise that this equation is not just real, but in urgent need of our compliance. It is clearly a dreadful premise if allowed to continue. When we have 10,000,000, people in SE Queensland will we then (urgently?) need only one Council for all of it? With just half a dozen elected representatives? Maybe it would then be even more efficient by then to simply have them nominated by a board of Commissioners. This is horrific logic and it’s forceful employment is very definitely not good governance. It is manipulative, and possibly very dangerous management toward an agenda other than the stated one. Most simply, this hidden agenda is to reduce the access, and thereby the inconvenient effects, that the local communities can have within the process of government and development. Please choose to help work to resist and reverse this direction of governance. Go to Southbank on Friday if you can. Reply with your interest to be kept informed of other community based initiatives that can benefit from your support and involvement as they are developed. Please offer any ideas or information of initiatives underway that can help. The aim is to assist establishment of a network of resources and initiatives that can help preserve and develop genuine community involvement in local governance. Who decides what happens in your backyard? Someone who knows it and cares, or someone who knows and cares only about profit?

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