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Heather Steinberg - Independent for Redlands

I'm running as an Independent Candidate for Redlands - why? Because I'm sick of government inaction regarding child safety and protection. I am tired of government forcing ridiculous restrictions on recreational fishermen while commercial fishermen and cargo ships cause more damage. I am offended that the government can discriminate against children born after 30 June by prohibiting them from attending Prep.

Most Independents run in the election because, like myself, we're tired of party politics and government inaction and run because we hope we can make a change and give the voice back to the people. As we all know the parties are not interested in what we want or need, all they want is to line their pockets.

What do I stand for:

  1. Tougher penalties for repeat offenders.
  2. Non release from jail for repeat sex offenders.
  3. Mandatory counselling and other service for first time sex offenders.
  4. Changes to the Green Zones (for those who don't know the report Labor relied upon to implement the new zones was done by an employee from the EPA - and no-one is allowed access to her full thesis).
  5. Changes to the Prep system by removing the cut off date so all children turning 5 can attend Prep that year.
  6. Reduction in govt advertising - the govt wastes millions of dollars per govt dept/commission in television advertising alone - wouldn't that be better spent on health, education and other services.

Heather Steinberg - Independent for Redlands

See also: "Protesting police officer runs for politics" in the Brisbane Times of 10 Mar 09, www.littleangels.org.au.

My comment: Whilst I share Heather's abhorrence of child abuse and, most particularly, sexual abuse, I also support due legal process even for those suspected of or found guilty of those crimes. In Dennis Ferguson's case, he was recenlty found not guilty of the most recent child sex crime of which he had been accused. In his case, as long as proper measures to monitor Dennis Ferguson to prevent repeats of his offenses, for which he has already served time in jail for, are in place, that should be the end of the matter.

That said, Heather Steinberg raises other legitimate concerens. I would welcome Heather's statements of her views on the broader issues raised on this site and in my campaign statements. - James Sinnamon.

Comments

Hi James,

The problem with the Ferguson issue and others like him is that I don't believe the measures in place are sufficient and/or effective. He managed to get a job selling products to a school of all places when he is not supposed to have such close contact with children - so it is not working. While he is now a free man and again posing a danger to children, he never should have been - the Labor Govt had the opportunity to ensure this man and others like him were/are never released but did nothing/have done nothing about it. He was allowed to leave prison without even undertaking any form of counselling and/or rehabilitation - that's just not good enough. That's one of the reasons I decided to run - because something has to be done (and I fish but don't get me started on the Green Zones that were put in place based on an EPA employee's thesis)

The Labor Govt had the ability to protect children and prevent sex offenders like him from living in communities in extremely close proximity to children but they did nothing about it and still have done nothing about it so unfortunately we are going to end up with another Carbrook / Ipswich etc situation. For example, at Carbrook he was within 10kms of 20+ schools and daycares not including family daycares. The option is there for the Govt to require them to reside on properties that are under surveillance or away from populated communities but have chosen not too - that's what myself and many, many others are upset.

The Labor Govt is more concerned with protecting sex offenders than children - and that's a very sad situation.

Judy Spence, at the Carbrook Rally, told people the best thing they could do is educate their children. I had the opportunity to speak to Ms Spence at her public meeting in Redlands and put to her my proposal that all children in all classrooms across the State be educated on protecting themselves from sex offenders. Her response 'I wouldn't want my children to be educated on it'. Education is one of our best defences especially when the Govt won't do anything to help.

Sex offenders have been interviewed in USA and revealed that they target vulnerable children who do not have the confidence to speak out about things. We need to build children's confidence and teach them that when someone makes them feel uncomfortable they need to tell someone, when someone touches them they need to tell someone, it's not a secret and they won't get into trouble. But the Labor Govt has no interest in doing this - so it's left up to people like myself and Bravehearts to do all the work.

Let's not let another innocent child fall victim to these offenders - we need to speak out and speak out loud to the government that child protection is more important then offenders rights.

Am I passionate on the issue? - yes. Am I going to stop even after the election is finished? - no, Govt be warned, I am not going away.

It's time Queenslanders got a bigger voice in how the State is run and that can only be achieved by people voting for the likes of us Independents. So people, Vote 1 for your local Independent.

Thanks, Heather.

And thank you for calling for people to vote for other independents.

Clearly, it is essential ensure that children are sufficiently protected and, if you are correct then a good deal more needs to be done.

However, I would still be interested to know how Police Minister Judy Spence defends her handling of Dennis Ferguson.

I also think we need to take a broader view. It is practically inevitable given the sort of society that we have become in the last three decades that abuse of children will occur even if far more stringent measures are taken against people like Dennis Ferguson.

Tonight, I met a mother who previously worked, but has now been unemployed for a year. Because of skyrocketing rents, she is now forced to actually share not only the same room in a boarding house, with another woman she had not known until three months ago, but the same bed! Fortunately, they get on and are good friends.

For one room, without even their own bathroom, toilet and laundry they have to pay $270 per week!

She has two children, but, she is understandably unwilling to allow her two children to live in such circumstances and so has had to have her ex look after them.

So, cruelty to children does not just entail sexual cruelty.

Depriving them materially by taking away their parents' livelihoods and putting the cost of housing completely beyond their means is also a form of sadism towards children of which both the state and federal Governments are guilty.

Hi James,

Yes you're right sexual cruelty is not the only concern regarding children and I do not consider child abuse / neglect to be any less important, in fact it is just as important. I am only one person and am trying to address the issue of child protection on a topic by topic basis. I want to get one topic addressed, improved and supported by government before I move on to the next one. If I try to have all the issues addressed at once each issue will get limited attention and I want the most attention for each topic as I can get and the only way I can get that is by doing it topic by topic.

What has Labor or Ms Spence done to improve child safety since July 2008 - as far as I am aware - Nothing. So it is only a matter of time before it happens all over again. What is it with Government and their need to protect offenders first and foremost before victims?

What is most frustrating is that Kevin Rudd came out in support of the public knowing where sex offenders live, so I contacted him for support in getting a Megan's Law type register implemented in Aust - he didn't even respond but got one of his offsiders to reply pretty much saying they won't touch the topic. Once again, everyone is all talk and no action.

Dear Heather,

I completely agree on the topic of Kevin Rudd he is all talk and no action along with his ¨followers¨ IE Labor Government. I left the government sector after being diagnosed with cancer (I am all good now) and also being told I was not to have any political opinion whatsoever as it would not look good for a public servant to be backing any party even one in power!!!

I am currently studying to join the police force and I have the utmost respect for you not backing down when you have a strong belief no matter what the consequences. My main reasons for joining the police is so that I can enter ¨CPIU¨ as just before my 16th birthday I was sexually assaulted. I have since pressed charges as I am now turning 19 and even after the police have his confession of the sexual assault and also his admission of a violent assault (where he hit me and my cheek was split open) in a pre-text call I am still waiting for the charges of ¨Indecent treatment of a child¨ to be dealt to the offender. They haven't moved forward at all and still I have to be faced with what he has done to me daily. Yes counseling is an option but should justice be handed to people who have committed this offence? I mean they have my FULL statement in which the detective-sergeant made me relive the painful memories in intimate details pretty much to the effect of what colour was the sky that day, they also have the statement of a witness and THE OFFENDERS FRICKEN CONFESSION....what more proof do they want? and yet they say to me they want to get all their ducks in a row!!!! by my understanding they are already in a row if they were any more in a row it would start looking otherwise!!!!!

I was a part of a political party (not labor as I have an intense dislike to all their policies and the people in their party) in which i was trying to provide a safer life for my 9 year old sister and my future children. all I wish is that one day this world will step out of its bubble that the government wishes to keep us in and realise that we are all at risk whether we are 1 or 100 you never know who your living next to and when you find out (if ever) it may be too late.

I hope you still wish to run at the next election because i will back you no matter what!!!

Anon

Also, please don't hold back on Green Zones, Please feel welcome to express your views here.

My own view is that protection of our environment should be paramount. Given the Queensland Government's irresponsible encouragement of population growth, it was practically inevitable that the demands on our marine environment would increase to the point where restrictions would be necessary. To what extent restrictions have to be applied and against whom (e.g. the commercial fishing industry or recreational anglers) are vexed questions.

I would certainly also be interested, also, in having input from environmental groups from the area.

Hi James,

While I agree we need to protect the environment to ensure our childrens children will also benefit from it - the implementation of the new zones has to be questioned. I am reliably informed by a member of the public (and holder of a Bachelor of enviromental science) who was present during many of the meetings regarding the new Green Zones before they were implemented by the Govt, the report the government has relied upon to implement these zones was based on a thesis prepared by a govt employee - and no-one is able to get a full copy of the thesis or the results - so no-one know how scientific it is and it's certainly not independent. Some of the new green zones are in areas that will have no effect on fish numbers because they're in areas that fish to not breed or eat.

The govt introduced a buy-back scheme allowing commercial fishermen to sell their licences to the govt - great in theory - however, there's a loop hole. Commercial fishermen can sell their licence and get for eg $500,000 for it and then turn around and buy another licence that has been handed back for eg $100,000 - the fishermen pocket the difference and return back to the bay to catch the same large quantity they previously were - effectively the larger commercial fishermen are buying out the smaller ones and there's no decrease to the numbers of fish being caught. That needs to be fixed.

There needs to be a recreational fishing permit introduced but only if the fees go to Fisheries and not consolidated revenue so Fisheries then have funds to improve boat ramps, educate fisherman and boaties and perform more patrols.

The bag limits need to be readdressed again - for example, why is 1 fisherman allowed to catch 30 bream in one outing - who is going to eat that many fish? It's extremely excessive.

So with a review of the green zones, fixing the buy back schemes, introducing permits and reviewing bag limits we should be able to get a better balance.

Heather
Independent for Redlands

Could you may need to explain this to me a little further?

Surely if the Government buys back a fishing license for $500,000, that's one less fishing license in the overall pool of fishing licenses?

Are you saying that they then let that same fisherman buy another license from the government, or do they buy that license from other fishermen?

If they can buy another license from the Government, then the system is completely balmy.

In the latter case, are the fishermen effectively buying other licenses that are not being used, or licenses which are being used?

In the former case, the overall level of fishing would be constant at least until such time as all unused licenses are bought up. In the latter case, surely the overall amount of fishing would decrease to some extent, even if there were the undesirable side effect of smaller fishermen being bought out?

James,

My understanding and from what I have been told from those in the know is that the larger commercial fishermen sell their licence to the govt - the govt pay a stack of money for them because these fishermen catch most of the fish and the government believe by buying the licences from the larger commercial fishermen the volume of fish being caught will be reduced. However, these large commercial fishermen are then able to buy licences from the government that have been handed in by the smaller fishermen. So effectively the larger commercial fishermen are buying out the smaller fishermen via the government without any great reduction in volume of fish caught. Most of the smaller fishermen are generally those who only go out occasionally / part-time and have very small catches anyway, so the volume of fish caught is remaining constant.

The purpose of the buy back scheme was to encourage the commercial fishermen to hand in their licences and not go back fishing so that the volume caught is reduced - but with the loop hole the volume is remaining the same - the only ones benefitting are the larger commercial fishermen who were already making good money.

And yet the government keep blaming recreational fishermen for the problems - there is yet to be any announcement on reducing or controlling jet skiiers more effectively who roar around the waterways creating wakes which wash up against the banks causing damage.