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Independent candidate seeks categorical assurance against privatisation from Laurence Springborg

This letter is the second part of my response to Laurence Springborg's answer to an e-mail I sent to him and a number of other candidates. That initial e-mail which included my response to a questionnaire from the Save the Mary River Brisbane Group I recently sent him. (published on

(now archived by Australian National Library's Pandora service).)

Dear Lawrence Springborg,

Privatisation of water, Queensland Rail, electricity generators, etc

In your previous letter to me you omitted to respond to my question:

"Will (you) commit (yourself) now to opposing the privatisation of any of Queensland's water infrastructure during the next three year Parliamentary term?"

I ask this because I perceive there is a serious risk that either your Government, or a returned Bligh Government, will continue past policies of selling off Queensland's family silver as short-term, short-sighted fixes to Queensland's structural fiscal problems. (I would argue that these problems are largely avoidable and caused by the Queensland Government's unnecessary encouragement of population growth.)

As I have argued in documents elsewhere on this site 1, Contrary to the promises of privatisation proponents, almost every privatisation has been a disaster for the public interest. This includes the privatisation of the SGIO enacted by both LNP and Labor Government's, Telstra2, the Dalrymple Bay coal loader3, the Golden Casket, Energex, Ergon, TAB, the Commonwealth Bank, QANTAS, etc. etc.

I have also described elsewhere4 how I was personally affected by privatisation, when I lived in Warwick in your electorate in 1997. In that year, the Borbidge Liberal National Government effectively privatised the TAFE college computer support services by outsourcing them to UniSys. As an additional consequence, the Warwick TAFE college was forced, in 1998, to sell the Flexi Net Internet Service Provider (ISP) to a private local consortium. Although I had worked extremely hard to build up the service since 1996, and actually saved the business after the transfer, I lost my job soon after. Before long, Flexi Net was sold to the Ipswich-based HaleNet ISP, which, in turn, a few years later was bought out be a Victorian based ISP.

Thus my own career was seriously harmed, the Warwick community lost a local ISP and I have good reason to believe that the Southern Queensland Institute of TAFE (SQIT) lost an opportunity to become the ISP for Southern Queensland.

So, like many other Australians, I know from my own direct experience how harmful privatisation is.

It should therefore come as no surprise that all opinion polls indicate overwhelming public opposition to privatisation. In events chronicled on this site, but poorly reported in the mainstream media, last year, when the NSW Labor Government attempted to privatise the government owned electricity generators, polls showed at one stage 79% public opposition and at another stage 85% public opposition. Fortunately, for the people of NSW the Liberal National Opposition acted in a principled democratic fashion and blocked the privatisation legislation.

I believe that the Queensland public, as the rightful owners of Queensland Government utilities, are entitled to be consulted before any further assets are sold off, in particular, our water utilities, our publicly owned electricity generators, and Queensland Rail (QR).

So, I need to ask you: Will you give your firm categorical assurance that no more publicly owned assets will be sold off in the next term of a Springborg Liberal National Government?

I earnestly hope that this e-mail will cause you to give the firm commitment to Queensland electors that I am seeking. If you are unable to give this commitment, however, then I will consider privatisation to be an issue at stake in these elections. In such case I will maintain that the issue has to be properly discussed before the Queensland electors.

It is my view that the vast majority of Queenslanders opposed to privatisation are entitled to see those who remain in favour of privatisation justify their position. They are also entitled to know which candidates are firmly against privatisation.

If the Liberal National Party cannot categorically rule out privatisation, I will therefore be asking you or another LNP representative to publicly debate this question with me.

I will also be debating this issue with members of the Labor Party, including Treasurer Andrew Fraser at a "meet the candidates" night on Monday 16 March.

Thank you for your attention and thank you again for your reply.


James Sinnamon

Pro-democracy independent candidate
for Mount Coot-tha


1. See section "End privatisation - stop the liquidation of Queensland" in "Why I am contesting the Queensland state elections as an independent" of 8 Mar 09.

2. As convener of Citizens Against Selling Telstra, I campaigned, ultimately unsuccessfully against the full privatisation of Telstra. See The catastrophe of full privatisation, the latest manifestation being Telstra's planned answer phone rip-off, could have been avoided if Liberal National Senator Barnaby Joyce had simply kept his promise made to Queensland electors in 2005 to oppose privatisation. (see "An open letter to Queensland National Senator Barnaby Joyce" of 12 Sep 05)

3. See "Costello blasts Dalrymple Bay privatisation" of 22 Mar 09 and "Feds Set to Repeat Australian Failure in Ridley Privatization" (MS Word document) of 26 Oct 05 by John Cummins, Canadian Federal MP about planned privatisation of Ridley Island Coal Terminal. He wrote, "Privatization of Australia's Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal in 2001 has been a disaster the federal government seems determined to impose on Ridley Terminals."

4. See footnote in "Why I am contesting the Queensland state elections as an independent" of 8 Mar 09.


NSW electricity prices to rise 20%


Electricity prices for domestic consumers are likely to rise by as much as 21.5 per cent in NSW from July, under a new price determination.

The draft determination by the independent pricing and regulatory tribunal (IPART) is for an increase of 21.5 per cent for customers of Energy Australia, 18.9 per cent for customers of Integral Energy and 18.5 per cent for Country Energy customers.

IPART says this would increase the bill for a typical residential consumer by about $3.45 a week.

"The proposed price increases are substantial and have the potential to significantly impact on households, especially low-income households," IPART says in a statement issued on Thursday.

IPART's final report is due on May 20.