Mississippi Burning

If voting changed anything they’d make it illegal

Emma Goldman 1

imageIn deep north Queensland on 18th August 2016 the state government announced a parliamentary inquiry into the re-identification of black lung throughout its coal mining sector. The select committee received harrowing evidence from numerous coal miners and their desperate families amidst a miasma of anger and sorrow. A subsequent report revealed……..a catastrophic failure, at almost every structural level, of a regulatory system that intended to protect the health and safety of coal miners. The resurgence of black lung came as no surprise to many supervisors, miners and their immediate families. However, despite substantive evidence following an extensive inquiry into the Upper Big Branch disaster in the United States, the response from most employers and their vituperative industry associations was invariably nonchalant and remains rather lacklustre. 26

A close relative in the United Kingdom recently succumbed to asbestosis and deaths from many industrial diseases such as mesothelioma, black lung and silicosis are indeed quite nasty, excruciatingly painful and often very lonely. Moreover, it was quite a sombre experience seated next to a black lung victim in the gallery of the Queensland parliamentary annexe during a public hearing back in March 2017. The frail elderly gentleman with a cocktail of blood and excessive pleural fluid gurgling inside his lungs struggled to breathe and required assistance from several CFMEU members before describing his horrendous plight to the coal workers’ pneumoconiosis select committee. 711

Another victim provided chilling accounts of unannounced and invasive home visits by company appointed nominated medical advisors during evenings and at weekends. This usually involved intimidating and coercive demands for personal and confidential information, which was often a superfluous, insignificant or irrelevant exercise. It is not an isolated case and discussions between other casualties in their own support network indicate they were frequently threatened or abused, tossed on the scrapheap and left to suffer a painful and often lonely death. 1215

Additional and unnecessary impediments were even bestowed on the inquiry from its own party. The acting premier refused authorisation for counsel assisting to travel with delegates to the United States. It was critical to the inquiry and enabled the committee to gather valuable diagnostic evidence from several internationally renowned establishments including the Black Lung Centre of Excellence in Chicago. This internecine bickering provided additional substantive evidence of the Queensland state government’s shallow commitment and indiscretion, especially following the lavish Bollywood venture that involved several federal ministers including Teresa Gambaro. The Hyderabad sojourn disguised a hidden agenda, which was furtively camouflaged as overseas studies at the expense of Australian taxpayers. 1622

Any skerrick of judgement from Jihad Jackie, the materialistic glamour puss must have been obscured by overexposure to ambergris or botulinum toxin at a South Brisbane day spa. More recently, the integrity of the Beirut bomb shell was justifiably exposed following the covert purchase of a lucrative investment property at Woolloongabba and failing to disclose the substantial asset on the State Parliament Register of Interests. 2329

Many of the transcripts from numerous metropolitan and regional public hearings reveal an embittered adversarial climate of intimidation, blame, fear and retribution. This is aggravated by precarious employment arrangements using fly in-fly out contingent labour hire with lucrative offers of substantial performance bonuses to meet or exceed extraordinary production and unachievable safety targets. 3032

Following the select committee’s extensive recommendations the Invisible Empire of the North has conspired with several Grand Wizards from various industry associations and other commercial lobbyists or think tanks. The corporate collaboration with state interests is merely kicking the can down the road in a desperate but nefarious attempt to protect reputations, secure assets and socialise the loss with or without the anonymity of traditional Halloween robes and capirotes. Even the Queensland state badge resembles the MIOAK with its symbolic drop of blood paradoxically superimposed by a regal crown on its Maltese cross. Many of the bereaved dependents typically encounter a patronising disposition of unaccountable power from dehumanising faceless panjandrums amidst a foreboding cacophony of duelling banjos. It is invariably exacerbated by a tyranny of bureaucracy using sinister delay, deny and die tactics. 3340

Q. What is the difference between a trampoline and a banjo?

A. You have to take your shoes off to jump up and down on a trampoline

Meanwhile, the toll from mine dust lung diseases escalates with over 140 confirmed cases throughout Queensland. It is intensified by the identification of silicosis amongst many stonemasons and other tradesmen across Australia, which places extraordinary strain on an already beleaguered public health system. More recently, a spate of fatalities throughout Queensland’s coal and metalliferous mining sector prompted immediate reaction from its Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME). 4143

This included a safety reset amidst increasing pressure from several unions and the laity to introduce industrial manslaughter offences. Irrespective of the statute in which it appears industrial manslaughter is a trojan horse that satisfies or assuages those who seek retribution as opposed to justice and prevention. It is merely a lawyer’s picnic fraught with legal complexities, which include the concept of mens rea, the burden of proof pertaining to criminal negligence and recklessness or the byzantine impediment of piercing the corporate veil. 4447

The minister also announced an independent expert review via an evidence based forensic engineering paradigm. The subsequent report is littered with statements of the bleeding obvious and borrows your watch to tell you the time. It offers more of the same with systems on top of systems, which are repairing potholes in the road and merely counting how many sheep we have left. It requires an alternative route that offers a sophisticated ecoliterate and transdisciplinary approach that explores the fertile existential dialectic between the objective and subjective….Two roads diverged in a yellow wood. 4853

However, our incumbent state government has embraced the concept of free market fundamentalism with its chimera of trickle-down economics. It has disparaged and jettisoned any remaining skerrick of representative democracy and an elective dictatorship has degenerated into a kleptocratic kakistocracy. Even the incumbent state premier’s former squeeze was a lobbyist for the Adani Carmichael coal mining project. The systemic malfeasance is far worse than in the bygone days of yore under Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen with the unethical relationships amongst members of the notorious white shoe brigade…….Don’t you worry about that. 5464

Despite the recent federal royal commission into financial services a former Queensland state premier currently leads the Australian Banking Association and knows where all the bodies are buried. Alma mater colleagues include the daughter of a former senior executive with the Gladstone Port Authority, which transformed a modest fishing harbour into an international coal export terminal. It is also the confluence of Queensland’s extensive coal seam gas network at nearby Curtis Island and the complex infrastructure did not suddenly or supernaturally transpire overnight. 6569

After studying law at university Catherine Tanna’s meteoric rise into the corporate stratosphere proceeded apace and included senior executive roles with Anglo Coal, BHP, Queensland Gas Company, BG Group and Shell. More recent appointments include lucrative but somewhat controversial sinecures with the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Honk Kong based and Chinese owned Energy Australia. 7073

Grace Grace (nee Farfaglia) is the current member for the electoral district of McConnel, which was created in 2017 and encompasses central Brisbane following reconfiguration of polling boundaries. The cabinet minister has a rather curious background, which involved breaking bread with many Australian Labor Party stalwarts and factional power brokers at its notorious Sussex Street branch headquarters in Sydney, New South Wales. Moreover, several relatives and other associates were eventually indicted following Queensland’s infamous Fitzgerald Inquiry and received lengthy custodial sentences……Qui cum canibus concumbunt pulicibus surgent. 7482

Despite or in spite of the crepuscular and chthonic bonds the Hon Grace Grace (Gee Gee) was a lay down misère for the racing minister portfolio. It is somewhat coincidental that the role was once held by the late Russell James Hinze BFC and her assignment was predictably mired in controversy. This recently involved several intriguing appointments to the board of Racing Queensland, which included an enigmatic selection of Steven Wilson AM as its interim chairman. The stockbroker and flamboyant entrepreneur was a devoted colleague during her sinecure at South Bank Corporation and a fellow board member and chairman at Hyperion Flagship Investments. Other influential roles include a directorship with the Centre for Independent Studies, an extreme neoliberal think tank that embraces free market fundamentalism and deifies the shock doctrine. 8393

Over the past decade the performance of several statutory agencies has attracted penetrating surveillance and extreme criticism, especially following the emergence of occupational respiratory diseases such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, black lung or silicosis. Several other recent significant events received unrelenting media attention and included the federal government home insulation program, the Eagle Farm racecourse fatalities and the Dreamworld theme park tragedy. This is amplified by increasing psychosocial and workplace violence risks, especially amongst emergency services and health care professionals. It places enormous strain on an already beleaguered public health system with extremely limited human and financial resources. 9499

Government structures that once offered some degree of protection from corporate crimes have been ruthlessly eviscerated and emasculated. Public servants are retrenched and budgets slashed to reduce overheads, which enables regulatory or policy capture. Essential services are eventually contracted out to external providers and the remaining panjandrums or more typically a Manilla or Mumbai call centre, merely offers a veneer of respectability without any rectitude or genuine authority in an eternal race to the bottom. 100102

In Queensland the recently merged Department of Education and Office of Industrial Relations encompasses the Electrical Safety Office, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, and the Workers’ Compensation Regulator. It also participates in a strategic alliance with WorkCover Queensland, which provides workers’ compensation insurance arrangements that are a statutory requirement for employers operating throughout the state. The merger involved reconfiguration of the organisational structure with the subsequent resignation of an executive director, who recently secured an alternative leadership role with WorkSafe Victoria. 103109

Several months later the deputy director general suddenly retired following prolonged campaigns from frustrated trade union officials and increasingly disgruntled members. A remaining apparatchik was a former walloper with the Queensland Police Service amidst violent turf wars between rival motorcycle gangs and even managed to survive the Fitzgerald Inquiry without any commendations. Appointments typically involve the frequent transfer of employees between government agencies, quangos and industry associations. This engenders an increasing perception of nepotism with perpetually revolving doors, golden escalators and swivelling chairs, which increases regulatory or policy capture risks. 110116

The industrial relations minister is an honorary fellow of the Australian Institute of Health and Safety(AIHS) and its former chairperson was recently appointed as an expert member to the Queensland Work Health and Safety Board. Previous roles included a sinecure as senior policy advisor with the department of industrial relations and a safety leadership position with Watpac under its flamboyant chairman and property developer Kevin Will Seymour, who was an acquaintance of the late Russ Hinze BFC and featured prominently throughout the Fitzgerald Inquiry. 117127

In the deep north, it would barely raise an eyebrow even if there was a bloodline to a bygone assistant police commissioner, whose professional colleagues and personal acquaintances included the disgraced former police chief Sir Terence Lewis. The corrupt leader of the notorious rat pack received a prolonged prison sentence following the infamous Fitzgerald Inquiry and was eventually stripped of an order of chivalry. In the current neoliberal climate any public servant or socially autistic corporate executive charged with malfeasance would more than likely be rewarded with an Order of Australia for achievement or meritorious service. 128131

Additional relationships have been established with the Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner and throughout most accredited tertiary education institutions. The Queensland Work Health and Safety Board’s chairperson is a discipline leader and senior lecturer in human resources management and industrial relations with the Central Queensland University School of Business and Law. 132135

The current discipline leader for occupational health and safety and senior lecturer at Central Queensland University’s Brisbane campus is a former director with the Queensland Government Department of Justice and Attorney General. An intriguing incidental role includes membership of the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board, which accredits OHS professional education programs with support from the Australian Institute of Health and Safety (AIHS). 136140

This vipers network of retrenched public serpents provides the AIHS with a cunning opportunity to lobby for inclusion of its potential cash cow into various health and safety statutes across Australia. It can be accomplished via Queensland’s Office of Industrial Relations under its deputy director-general with support from SafeWork South Australia and its executive director, who is a board member with the AIHS. Both panjandrums are nominated delegates for Safe Work Australia in accordance with the Safe Work Australia Act and its supplementary intergovernmental agreement. This speculative venture will degenerate into a meaningless bureaucratic displacement activity that provides accredited safety crusaders with freedom to drink the AIHS brand of Kool Aid. It undermines vocational and education training and the Australian Qualifications Framework although it creates a lucrative revenue stream for the AIHS fiefdom. 141149

In July 2016 the industrial relations minister announced the appointment of an electrical safety commissioner to fulfil an election commitment. It was a critical role, especially following the home insulation program and offered technical support for the state’s emerging solar farm industry. Nonetheless, disturbing reports soon emerged covering the widespread use of unlicensed contingent labourers or backpackers undertaking electrical installation activities. The position was reinstated following an election commitment although a perception of revolving doors, regulatory capture and nepotism prevailed. The flamboyant entrepreneur was previously employed as national manager with Lend Lease Services Power Infrastructure. Meanwhile, an incidental role as a board member with the Queensland branch of the Italian Chamber of Industry and Commerce provided convenient access to an influential network of state and federal politicians and many other unethical predators from the Cosa Nostra. 150158

Many of these links or relationships could be derided as somewhat tenuous and conveniently disparaged as a splenetic calumny. Nonetheless, if you applied for a role as kitchenhand or croupier at the Star Entertainment Group or Crown Resorts, it would be somewhat imprudent to include such affiliations on a resume or personal profile. The application would be tossed into a waste paper bin and eventually shredded or probably quarantined then red flagged via an algorithm based recruitment network without any formal acknowledgment. 159160

The Queensland Government bears many similarities with the Tammany Hall or Columbian Order regime, which dominated the New York State political arena for almost eight decades. Irrespective of the consequences, the business community appreciated its stealth and cunning ability to circumvent red tape, overwhelming bureaucracy and facilitate rapid economic growth. Indeed a cursory scan through the annals of Queensland’s state parliament substantiates the systemic nepotism. It resembles trawling through the Ancestry® website or an episode from that superficial and irritatingly popular television series, which worships celebrity status and would be much better entitled….Who do they think they are? 161165

This unhealthy alliance of corporate terrorists with state interests has intensified exponentially following the emergence of rampant unfettered neoliberalism with its deification of the shareholder theory and an unrelenting emphasis on deregulation, privatisation and social atomisation. Indeed, there are serious ethical concerns when society allows itself to be driven by a market economy. This provides many global behemoths with a malevolent freedom to harm and a triumph of doubt, which manifests via an epidemic of occupational diseases, recurring industrial disasters and increasing psychosocial issues with escalating occupational violence. It undermines a fundamental tenet of a statute that binds the Crown and prescribes requirements to secure the health and safety of people at work. It is compounded by an incalculable democratic deficit between rapidly diminishing community expectations and a tribal parliamentary system, which embarks on a frenzied, turbulent and eternal race to the bottom. 166171

Most Australians once trusted the democratic process and imagined its elected leaders protected the welfare and secured the best interests of its citizens. However, over the past five decades government of the people, by the people and for the people has degenerated into government against its people and the chimera has been shattered beyond repair. The merger of corporate and state interests has witnessed inequality and segregation extending way beyond race or ethnicity. There is no longer any left or right, it is now top versus bottom, us and them or with and without. Corporations no longer lobby governments because they control the establishment and all that remains in the middle of the road is a double white line and roadkill with the ominous poetic prose from Martin Niemӧller whispering in the breeze…First they came for the socialists…. 172174

There is ample substantive evidence of egregious leadership amongst most elected representatives, which corroborates the collapse of trust and erosion of integrity at every structural level of government. Indeed, there is no requirement to join the dots that establish potential conflicts of interest, it is simply painting by numbers. Most resources projects used an extensive range of contingent interstate labour via recruitment or hiring agencies and it provided many corporate behemoths with a commercial veil, which obfuscated duty of care. It also reduced workers’ compensation insurance premiums although it complicated claims management processes, especially with cases involving latent occupational lung diseases and multiple interstate employers. The Calibre Group was a major provider of contingent labour and principal clients included Rio Tinto, BHP and Fortescue Metals Group. During the resources boom its head of corporate affairs and stakeholder relations was the federal Labor party leader’s squeeze and daughter of a former governor-general. Its managing director was also a member the Queensland Work Health and Safety Board. 175182

In April 2016 at the Toowoomba showgrounds a teenager participating in the federal government’s jobactive program under its work for the dole scam suffered fatal head injuries after falling from a flatbed trailer, which was being towed by a tractor. A regulatory authority investigation concluded that participants were expected to perform duties under minimal supervision with inappropriate inductions and insufficient training. The regional employment services provider was prosecuted and received a $90,000 penalty although no conviction was recorded. Charges were also laid against the Royal Agricultural Society of Queensland and the work for the dole project coordinator. Meanwhile the bereaved family was left chasing smoke with many unanswered questions. The work experience program was incongruous with state workers’ compensation requirements and merely provided personal accident insurance. Despite repeated requests under freedom of information a harridan federal minister for employment refused to release details of any risk assessment covering the activity or provide a formal report into the fatality. 183195

Similar furtive arrangements have been implemented throughout the health care sector, which exploit indigenous Australians and other vulnerable workers via pathways or transition to employment programs. Following the recent bush fires that ravaged through rural and regional Australia, the deception encompasses and inveigles backpackers with extensions to their working visas. Irrespective of how the scheme is packaged and marketed this service economy serfdom is merely indentured servitude, vassalage or blackbirding and the consequences will be reminiscent of the disastrous home insulation program under Kevin Rudd. The irascible narcissist once described socialism as an arcane 19th century doctrine and was recently rewarded with life membership of the Australian Labor Party although expulsion or rustication would have been a much more condign option. 196206

The Greens party has pledged to clean up politics with a commitment to strengthen democracy so that it works for everyone although it merely offers freedom to drink from the Club of Rome fountain. Its former leader recently resigned and his tenure was embroiled in controversy over the underpayment of au pairs engaged at a small family farm, which was not declared on the federal parliament register of interests. A New South Wales upper house member also quit and described the party as a toxic organisation and basket case amidst allegations of sexual harassment. Even Adolf Hitler was a devout environmentalist but was too much of a gentleman to use napalm during the Second World War. Egregious opposition begets bad government and the Commonwealth of Australia does not require a third political party but desperately needs a second one. 207214

In the moonlight state its infamous judicial inquiry into police corruption witnessed the resignation of the premier with the imprisonment of a police commissioner and three former ministers. Tony Fitzgerald’s blowtorch sent many public serpents and corporate cockroaches slithering and scuttling back towards the sewers. In the ancestral deep north even the Kit-Kats have five fingers and rattlesnakes don’t commit suicide. Over the past three decades most of the untermenschen and skulking hyenas have returned seeking power and retribution under a cloak of consanguinity, which operates via a miasma of regulatory capture in a clandestine network with many revolving doors, swivelling chairs and golden escalators. A micturition of academic bedwetters from peak safety bodies or industry associations offers plenty of encouragement with formulaic presentations at national and global safety conferences. The turgid sludge is littered with intellectual cowardice and an obedience to the orthodoxy using doublespeak narrative underpinned by a relentless stream of propaganda from right wing think tanks. This tainted and meaningless evidence based research from the merchants of doubt belongs in the gutters and drains where most of this vespertine vermin makes its money from wallowing in other people’s misery and misfortune. 215228

In 2013 Joel Moheru-Barlow was sentenced to a prolonged spell in the slammer after defrauding Queensland Health of more than $16 million. Public funds reserved for charities and various community groups were deposited into an independent third-party account before the money was transferred into a personal bank account. The amounts increased significantly over a prolonged period and it was considered one of the most significant cases of fraud ever committed within the Queensland public sector. The self-appointed Tahitian prince was recently released and deported to New Zealand. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Australian Border Force proclaimed……The Australian government has responsibility to protect the community from the risk of harm arising from foreign nationals who choose to engage in criminal activity. Many other flamboyant or innovative entrepreneurs are typically bestowed with an order of chivalry or rewarded with a sinecure at the Business Council of Australia or Centre for Independent Studies. 229234

The recent Dreamworld theme park tragedy in October 2016 attracted extensive media attention, which highlighted the woeful performance of its executive leaders. An antediluvian coronial inquest was provocatively painful for the bereaved families and merely an adversarial wolf in inquisitorial sheep’s clothing. Ardent Leisure received excoriating criticism from the coroner although the inquest did not return a finding of unlawful killing to a criminal standard. It was effectively an open verdict and the company was merely referred to Queensland’s Office of Industrial Relations for potential breaches of work, health and safety legislation. It leaves the bereaved families and general public pondering and wondering just whose reputations and what assets are being protected. There is no requirement to join any dots, it is just painting by numbers. 235240

Despite an outpouring of confected grief, several moneygrubbing senior executives at Ardent Leisure quit amidst the coronial inquest after securing lucrative performance bonuses. The Dreamworld chief executive officer also resigned and acquired a bountiful sinecure with the Gold Coast Tourism Corporation at Destination Gold Coast. The incumbent non-executive chairman is a board member at Ariadne Australia Limited and the Centre for Independent Studies. Several professional acquaintances include the founder of the Seymour Group and the chairman at Racing Queensland, who was appointed by the former racing minister Grace Grace. It is much like reading transcripts from the Fitzgerald Inquiry almost three decades ago. Indeed great men are almost always bad men and power tends to corrupt whereas absolute power corrupts absolutely. 241254

The Queensland parliamentary inquiry into black lung involved extensive discussion on ethics and genuine independence of the regulatory authority. This was initially raised in June 2008 and was furtively disguised via a sanitised report from the Queensland Ombudsman. It concluded compliance activities were acceptable although a reasonable perception of regulatory capture prevailed throughout the inspectorate. More recent and additional research across the resources sector from Graham Readfearn on behalf of the Australia Institute and Jeremy Buckingham provides a much more sinister overview of the malaise and reveals its systemic nature. 255260

This was corroborated by several courageous whistleblowers from the Queensland state government and private sector. The $18 billion Santos GLNG project was mired in controversy and serious accusations emerged over revolving doors and the circumvention of legislative requirements with commercial considerations often usurping environmental approval processes. Similar concerns were raised across the $35 billion Origin APLNG project. A deceptive corporate culture belittled statutory requirements and tolerated somewhat insignificant financial penalties. During senior management meetings numerous accounts emerged of contaminated aquifers, oil spills, fugitive gas emissions and even well head fires and explosions. Attempts to report significant incidents often encountered obfuscation with intimidation, bullying and harassment. 261268

Further investigations and extensive research from Joel Rosenzveig provides sufficient substantive evidence covering the magnitude of regulatory or policy capture and the sinister practice of revolving doors and golden escalators throughout the resources sector: 269271

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Several months after leaving politics, Martin Ferguson the former federal minister for energy and resources during the Rudd and Gillard administrations, was rewarded with a lucrative sinecure at the BG Group under Sir Frank Chapman. This supplemented an incidental role as chairperson with the oil and gas industry’s peak lobby group, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association. Amidst the Queensland parliamentary inquiry into black lung and several months after quitting politics, Ian Macfarlane the former federal minister for industry and science under Tony Abbott, was appointed chief executive officer with the Queensland Resources Council. 272278

Despite the devastating socioeconomic consequences, workplace health and safety was barely mentioned in the Australian Labor Party manifesto heading towards the last federal election in August 2018. Irrespective of the incumbent federal or state government the victims of workplace fatalities, industrial diseases, natural disasters or other tragic events are merely cannon fodder unless it becomes politically expedient for some ministerial sycophant. Despite repetitive objections and superficial integrity the peak safety bodies across Australia are as equally unethical or amoral. Cohorts of accredited Pecksniffian bootlickers are merely turning the adversity into a lucrative opportunity and there is no such thing as an independent prostitute. 279286

The Queensland parliamentary inquiry into black lung commenced its initial public briefings back in October 2016. Almost three years have elapsed since the select committee delivered its report, which was an anatomy of yet another disaster across Queensland’s mining sector. A bipartisan pursuit of the truth transcended many systemic impediments and disclosed a catastrophic failure of public administration throughout almost every structural level. The recommendations included significant reform of its mining regulatory framework with the regional establishment of an autonomous and truly independent statutory authority. 287290

The minister’s statement and government response was rather lacklustre with relentless doublespeak via an in principle agreement to the substantial proposals. Implementation has been painstakingly ceremonial with the establishment of project management office and additional committees, which has created a tyranny of bureaucracy. The scientism and a preoccupation with structuralism, positivism and objectivism has generated more questions than answers and entangled the process with many of the impurities it attempted to resolve. 291295

The longest serving member of its parliament who chaired the select committee’s parliamentary inquiry into black lung recently quit politics amidst escalating tensions, disunity and internecine cabinet caterwauling. The honourable and praiseworthy member for Bundamba was never afraid to speak the truth to power and somewhat justifiably claimed the incumbent administration resembled the bygone days of yore under Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen. Despite codes of ethics and public service values, the Australian Labor Party set its pit bull terriers loose. The member was quarantined in the transit lounge, demonised and remained segregated on the back bench amidst a brutal campaign of retribution although whistleblowing only occurs when those who should be leading fail to fulfil their responsibility. 296304

The member’s grandfather died from black lung and her father, who was also diagnosed with the disease recently passed away in August 2018. Following a tearful resignation the impassive response from party apparatchiks, which included its ruthless, mercenary and socially autistic cabinet ministers was deplorable. The Palaszczuk spectacle was elected not just to manage capitalism but to change society and define its finer values although its internecine catfighting and systemic corruption is nature’s way of restoring faith in democracy. 305308

The deputy chair of the coal workers’ pneumoconiosis select committee also resigned from state politics just before the Queensland election in 2017. The honourable member for Southern Downs represented his electorate for almost three decades and displayed absolute integrity and genuine leadership throughout the entire bipartisan inquiry, which was even acknowledged by the CFMEU and its moderate members. 309313

Despite a spate of fatalities across its mining sector and an escalating toll of silicosis amongst stonemasons and tradesmen, development of the new $3.6 billion Queens Wharf casino resort in central Brisbane proceeds apace. During July 2019 several giant cranes blighted the city skyline and in subsequent months numerous tower cranes will be operating across the main complex. It will eventually include four luxury hotels with many bars and restaurants supplemented by thousands of residential apartments. The magnitude of the venture left the state tourism minister with wet knickers and exclaiming….Everything about the size and appeal of this landmark project is so just really really cool, awesome and excellent. 314318

The developer, Destination Brisbane Consortium awarded the principal contract to the Multiplex Group, which was embroiled in several costly class actions during the controversial construction of Wembley Stadium in the United Kingdom at the turn of the millennium. The Queens Wharf Ponzi scheme will offer similar significant opportunities to engage many unsuspecting subcontractors as cheap banks with widespread exploitation of naïve construction workers and underpayment of casual labourers. On completion the vibrant precinct will provide McJobs for many more indentured servants and vulnerable migrants and the Polish princess proclaimed…………The signature infrastructure will enhance the state’s tourism industry, unless there is an unexpected pandemic of multidrug resistant tuberculosis or the bubonic plague. 319326

The Star Entertainment Group’s white shoe brigade with its slick marketing team will even inveigle some victims of occupational lung diseases to wager their meagre workers compensation benefits at its roulette wheels or blackjack tables. Other casualties on Zimmer frames may prefer the use of poker machines at their suburban services or leagues club, which slakes the ravenous maw of supermarket giants and their deification of the Friedman doctrine. However, it is only a matter of time before health and aged care facilities or retirement homes are allocated gambling licences to supplement the junk food and soft drink dispensing machines on their premises. 327329

If there is sufficient space in the Queens Wharf casino forecourt it may include a commemorative statue of the late Russell James Hinze BFC. The former minister for everything’s portfolio was quite impressive and included but was not limited to corporate malfeasance, turpitude, intimidation, bribery, embezzlement, fraud and blatant political corruption. It should receive approval from the Star Entertainment Group board of directors without too much commotion. The incumbent executive director and chief executive officer was a former partner with McKinsey and Company, which was embroiled in the Enron scandal back in 2001. More recent malfeasance includes the opioid epidemic involving Pardue Pharmaceuticals that swept across the United States. Indeed………McKinsey’s fingerprints can be found at the scene of some of the most spectacular corporate and financial debacles of recent decades. Meanwhile, the mine dust lung diseases toll escalates. 330337

It is only a matter of time before Australia’s next major mining disaster and the forthcoming state election is a mere seven months away. During their next sojourn to Canberra, Ministers Grace and Lynham should visit Garema Place, near the civic centre and take a look at the monument and commemorative plaque that honours the plight of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. On the return flight home it should enable both ministers to reflect on representative democracy and Tony Benn’s infamous five questions:

1) What power have you got?

2) Where did you get it from?

3) In whose interests do you exercise it?

4) To whom are you accountable?

5) How do we get rid of you?

Any leader or minister who is unable to answer the final question does not live in a democratic system or believe in the process. 338344

If either minister decides to step down before the next election for personal or family reasons, I am quite happy to reach out with the preparation of a pro bono publico resignation or retirement speech. This has absolutely no association whatsoever with that nauseating and insincere venture capitalist Paul David (I still haven’t found what I’m looking for) Hewson. The discourse will remain succinct and include a summary of significant achievements via the traditional formulaic script:

a) Tell your audience what they want to hear

b) Tell ’em

c) And tell ’em again

Most of the narrative will be restricted to two-syllable words and regularly punctuated with the sophism…….Ladies and gentlemen, let me make this crystal clear. This should enable any remaining Australian Labor Party deadwood and many members of the opposition to understand its content. 345347

PS.

If you are ever in Dysart, don’t send me a postcard.

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Bernard Corden

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6 Replies to “Mississippi Burning”

    1. The ideology of zero harm creates this dilemma for Qld and now its fixed as the guiding ideology for the regulator has them on a trajectory of more frustration and increasing harm. The only choice now for the state of zero is to go harder with more vigilance, more regulation, more policing. Less listening, less critical thinking, less consultation, less transdisciplinary learning.

  1. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-07/moranbah-mine-explosion-queensland-five-workers-flown-brisbane/12222430

    “Mines inspectors are already investigating this incident and I expect a full and thorough investigation,” Dr Lynham said.
    “However, I can also ask an inquiry to look at the broader issue of other instances of sparking, ignition or fire across the industry.
    “We want answers to why this event occurred. We demand answers and an appropriate investigation will follow.
    “We are throwing the kitchen sink at this issue.”

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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