Don’t treat people of Ipswich as pawns

 

Below is an editorial piece written Courier Mail editor Chris Jones

IPSWICH is Queensland's oldest official self-governing town - becoming a municipality after 91 of its residents successfully petitioned for that status just months after our great state removed the yoke of New South Wales rule.

This proud area held its first local government elections way back in April 1860 and the seal created by the city's first elected administration, which recognises its pioneers and early industries, remains in use today.

That history is just part of the reason why Ipswich residents remain so jaded and angry following their council's sacking in August 2018.

Removing the council was the correct response from the Palaszczuk Government, indeed the only response available really after a malignant cancer of corruption was exposed.

But after such a tumultuous period in which successive mayors have been charged with criminal offences and the city left without elected representation, Ipswich deserves a fresh start.

That chance comes on March 28 when Queensland's 77 local governments go to the polls.

As The Courier-Mail reveals today, long-serving local Labor MP Jo-Ann Miller is pondering a mayoralty tilt which could create great interest in the contest but cause a cacophony of problems for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Few would quibble with the contention that Ms Miller has been a dedicated and enthusiastic representative for Ipswich people throughout her two-decade career in state parliament.

However, her brief and problem-plagued stint within the executive arm of government during the first term of the Palaszczuk Government will raise questions about her capacity to run what is one of Queensland's biggest councils.

Queensland's Electoral Act indicates Ms Miller would immediately relinquish her state seat if she runs for the mayoralty.

Unlike all but one other remaining state member, veteran LNP MP Fiona Simpson, Ms Miller can do so knowing she has the safety net of the old defined-benefit superannuation scheme which would provide her a lucrative pension for the rest of her life.

Right now, however, she's only discussing her options with locals.

There's no clear declaration she will actually run despite the mayoralty being vacant for many months.

This raises questions about whether Ms Miller is actually genuine or just using the Ipswich mayoralty as a "Trojan horse" for a fresh assault on the Palaszczuk Government.

Since her removal as police minister in late 2015, Ms Miller has fought vigorously against senior Government figures who she believes abandoned her.

Often her assaults have been founded in legitimacy, however her motivations may have been something entirely different.

Given this background, it is important that Ms Miller declare her intent as soon as possible as a sign she really does care for the city she is never backward in professing so much love for.

Ipswich residents have been dealt a dud hand from their elected representatives in recent times. They don't deserve to be used as pawns in a long-running internal Labor imbroglio.

 

WILDLIFE LOSS A TRAGEDY

THE recent bushfires have taken an enormous toll on Australian wildlife.

Professor Chris Dickman, from the University of Sydney's Faculty of Science, said the fires had moved so rapidly over such a large landmass that up to one billion animals may have perished in the past few months, and that excludes fish, insects and frogs.

Australia, which already has the world's highest extinction rate for mammals, cannot afford such devastating losses which Professor Dickman warns could well contribute to hastening the extinction process for a variety of Australian species.

Among the animals at risk is the koala which is recognised as an Australian emblem around the world, and has a special place in the hearts of Queenslanders.

Many veterinary clinics around the country are overwhelmed by the workload of dealing with animals injured by fire still being brought in by good-hearted Australians who can't stand to see the creatures suffer.

Those of us who grieve such a devastating loss of native wildlife are not guilty of self-indulgent sentiment.

We're recognising pain and trauma among our fellow creatures, and grieving for an enormous loss to our natural heritage.

Responsibility for election comment is taken by the Editor Chris Jones, corner of Mayne Rd & Campbell St, Bowen Hills, Qld 4006. Printed and published by NEWSQUEENSLAND (ACN 009 661 778). Contact details are available at www.couriermail.com.au/help/contact-us