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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for Reconstruction
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    TRANSCRIPT - PRESS CONFERENCE - 22 MAR TUESDAY

    Premier and Minister for Reconstruction
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    TRANSCRIPT - PRESS CONFERENCE - 22 MAR TUESDAY

    E & O E – PROOF ONLY

    TRANSCRIPT

    PRESS CONFERENCE

    22 MARCH 2011

    RE: MINING ON NORTH STRADBROKE ISLAND TO CEASE; LNP LEADERSHIP

    PREMIER ANNA BLIGH: I’m very pleased today to confirm that our government will be protecting the future of North Stradbroke Island from mining and that we will put an end to mining on this beautiful island. From 2015, 47% of mining will cease and that will rise to 94% by 2019 and the last 6% in 2025. We will now work with the people of North Stradbroke Island to build a strong future in eco-tourism. This is an opportunity for us to protect this island forever, to do it in a phased way that allows us to make sure the workforce are protected. But also to systematically declare parts of the island a national park.

    We want Stradbroke Island to be people’s playground. We want to see more camping grounds. We want to see walking trails and we want to protect the beautiful environment of this island for families well into the future. I pay tribute to my Environment Minister Kate Jones, who has done an outstanding job working to make sure that we get this right. The legislation introduced into the Parliament today by the Minister for Environment, Kate Jones, will protect Stradbroke Island forever. It means it can always be a place that families can go and enjoy some of the best and most beautiful parts of Queensland.

    MINISTER KATE JONES: I’m very pleased to announce today that I introduce into the Parliament a Bill that will protect Stradbroke Island for future generations. We are fast-tracking the transition of national park. Within 10 years we will have 75% of North Stradbroke Island declared a national park. We want North Stradbroke Island open to all Queenslanders to go and visit and enjoy. We’re going to see new camping opportunities and new recreational opportunities with new walking tracks in our national parks. This is an area that for too long has been locked up through mining leases and today we are announcing that we’re going to hand that back to the people.

    I would also like to acknowledge the work of the Quandamooka people, the traditional owners of this land. All of this is possible because of their cooperation. We are also progressing the native title claims on North Stradbroke Island so the Quandamooka people can have their land back. The way that we are doing this is very similar to what we have done in Cape York where we work in partnership in managing this national park with the traditional owners of the land.

    As the Premier said, we know that transitioning an economy is something that you need to do in a phased approach. That is why we’ll be legislating the dates on which the three mines operating on North Stradbroke Island will close. We will see the three mines close at 2015, 2019 and 2025. This is to enable a transition for the workers that work on that island and also for us to work with the community to establish new tourism opportunities on North Stradbroke Island. This is something that we are committed to doing to deliver a good conservation outcome for North Stradbroke Island, the second largest sand island in the world after Fraser Island. This is not a place which is suitable for mining into the future and we want to make sure that we are delivering a sustainable future for North Stradbroke Island.

    JOURNALIST: Premier, will Campbell Newman be a more formidable opponent than John-Paul Langbroek?

    PREMIER: What I see in Campbell Newman is a man who when his city faced its worst disaster, when families across our suburbs are in shells of homes, Campbell Newman decided to cut and run when people needed him most. What I say to the people of Queensland is that I will never cut and run when you need me.

    JOURNALIST: Is he a more formidable opponent though than John-Paul Langbroek?

    PREMIER: Campbell Newman has decided today to abandon the city of Brisbane, a city that’s been devastated by its worst natural disaster. Campbell Newman has decided that today he will cut and run and leave the people of Brisbane to cope on their own. This is not someone with the character in my view required for the job of leadership.

    JOURNALIST: Where did you spend New Year’s Eve?

    PREMIER: I spent New Year’s Eve with my family as everybody knows.

    JOURNALIST: Whereabouts, which city?

    PREMIER: You know the answer to that, Patrick. I was in Sydney.

    JOURNALIST: Premier, you’re the one answering the questions.

    PREMIER: I just told you I was in Sydney, you know that.

    JOURNALIST: Minister, how are you going to campaign against Campbell Newman, he’s such a strong, ah…

    MINISTER: Ashgrove is a community and where I grew up and where I’m raising my own family. I’m not going to stand by and let Campbell Newman use the people of Ashgrove as a stepping stone for his own political ambition.

    JOURNALIST: Can you beat him?

    MINISTER: Absolutely. I will stand on the record of working hard for the people of Ashgrove. I stood for Parliament in the seat of Ashgrove because this is the community where I grew up in and where I live. I’m absolutely passionate about representing the people of Ashgrove in the Queensland Parliament. I will continue to do that.

    JOURNALIST: Were you shocked that he’s chosen your seat to contest?

    MINISTER: There’s been rumours for a long time that the Lord Mayor or Campbell Newman was interested in cutting and running from the Brisbane City Council and running for State Parliament. The seat of Ashgrove is where I have been now for four and a half years. It is the community I grew up in. I am passionate about representing the people of Ashgrove in the Queensland Parliament and will be putting my hand up to run again next time because this is a job I enjoy and I love.

    JOURNALIST: Premier, do you still rule out an election this year?

    PREMIER: Today, I can’t be in the business of ruling anything in or out. What we’ve seen today in my view is a direct attempt to undermine the parliamentary democracy of Queensland. Our Parliament is now at risk of descending into a dysfunctional farce courtesy of the Liberal and National Party of Queensland. We have a job to do this year, it is to rebuild our state. It is impossible frankly to imagine how we’re going to do that with the capital city now being abandoned by the mayor and being left leaderless. I will not be…

    JOURNALIST: You said, you said this was a year for rebuilding. Why has that changed your plans?

    PREMIER: 2011 in my view should be a year for rebuilding our state. These circumstances today are not of my making. It is the Liberal and National parties who have decided that the Lord Mayor of our capital city should run away from his job, that the Lord Mayor should run and hide when the going gets tough, and it is the Liberal and National Party that has decided that they will make a farce of our parliamentary democracy.

    Let’s just think for a moment what all this means. It means an unelected group outside of the parliament will now be directing the votes of members of the Opposition who were elected by the people of their electorates. This runs the risk of making our parliament a dysfunctional farce that will not help the rebuilding program.

    JOURNALIST: It sounds as though you’re using it as a trigger to call an early election. Is that the case?

    PREMIER: Today, as we see these extraordinary events, events that in my view undermine and make a mockery of our parliamentary democracy, I am not in a position to rule anything in or anything out, and I think Queenslanders will understand that. We need to rebuild the state. In order to rebuild the state we need to rebuild and recover the capital city. Today the leader of the capital city walked away from it. That in my view is reprehensible and people will judge him.

    JOURNALIST: How damaging would it be for the rebuilding for, out of the state to have a six-week election campaign right now? How damaging would that be for the rebuild?

    PREMIER: These circumstances are not of my making. These circumstances have been brought upon the people of Queensland by the Liberal National Party. The Liberal National Party, right in the middle of our most difficult times, has decided that they will work together to undermine our parliamentary democracy. While everyone else around Queensland has been getting on with the job of recovery and rebuilding, we now find that for weeks the Liberal National Party have been plotting behind the scenes for the Lord Mayor to cut and run from the people of Brisbane, that Bruce McIver has been plotting to overrule the elected members of this parliament and I don’t think that’s good enough for the people of Queensland.

    JOURNALIST: It is in your hands, though, to have an election (inaudible) to have some stability. So how could you paint it as anything other than political if you go back on that?

    PREMIER: I’m not ruling anything in or out today. I make no decisions on this issue. What I say is we now face circumstances that are unprecedented in our parliamentary democracy. Our parliament is at risk of collapsing into a dysfunctional farce. The Lord Mayor has abandoned his city when it needed him most. These are unprecedented and extraordinary circumstances. I don’t think we should all just stand by as our parliament and its democracy descends into a dysfunctional farce.

    JOURNALIST: Are you saying an election might be needed to restore stability?

    PREMIER: In order to rebuild our state, in order to recover from our worst natural disaster, we need political leadership. And what we’ve seen today is the Lord Mayor of our capital city decide to abandon it. When people needed leadership most, Campbell Newman decided to cut and run.

    JOURNALIST: Put Brisbane aside for the moment, what do you think disaster victims in other parts of the state would think about if an election or state election were held this year?

    PREMIER: I think people across the state understand that when you want to rebuild Queensland, you have to rebuild its capital city just like you have to rebuild every other town and regional centre. And how does the capital city now feel, how do those people, those families who were relying on Campbell Newman to get things through feel about him walking away from it.

    JOURNALIST: Do you promise there’ll be no election before we get the interim flood inquiry report and the Budget?

    PREMIER: I’ve just indicated I rule nothing in and nothing out today. We now face circumstances not of my making, not of the making of the people of Queensland but the Liberal National Party who have been plotting and planning to turn Queensland into an electoral and democratic farce.

    JOURNALIST: What’s going to make your decision for you, when can Queenslanders find out what’s going to happen this year?

    PREMIER: Today, we face circumstances that Queensland frankly has never faced. We face the challenge of rebuilding this state, a challenge that I commit to. A challenge that I will never walk away from. What we’ve seen is the Lord Mayor of Brisbane decide to abandon those people who needed him most after our worst natural disaster. Of course I’m not going to rule anything in or anything out. The world changed today. What we see today is an attack on our parliamentary democracy that’s without precedent. We see Bruce McIver, an unelected person, take control of the elected opposition in our parliament and we see the Lord Mayor walk away from his city. These circumstances are without precedent and I think I and every other Queenslander is entitled to reflect upon it.

    JOURNALIST: Aside from the Mayor having to be replaced, how else is rebuild affected by the LNP changing leadership?

    PREMIER: What we see here is the LNP deciding that they will put the parliamentary democracy that underpins everything that happens at a state level at risk by putting it into the hands of an unelected, unrepresentative, unaccountable group of people. Bruce McIver and Lord Mayor Campbell Newman have never put their name on a state ballot paper. They are not members of this parliament but they now seek to direct the votes of those people who were elected by their constituents. This is an undermining of our parliamentary democracy. People should be very concerned about it.

    JOURNALIST: How much harder is it going to be…

    JOURNALIST: (Inaudible) position in council not being a council member. Do you think he can succeed again?

    PREMIER: All of that is in the hands of the people of Queensland. But I think they’ll be asking very serious questions. What kind of a person decides they want to lead the state when they don’t have what it takes to lead a city going through its worst natural disaster. If you can’t rebuild Brisbane, how on earth would you rebuild Queensland?

    JOURNALIST: How do you think Campbell…

    JOURNALIST: How much harder is it going to be for you to campaign around Queensland… in Brisbane sorry when the Lord Mayor is obviously very popular here?

    PREMIER: Ultimately all of that is in the hands of the people of Queensland as it should be in a democracy. What’s not in the hands of the people anymore is the elected representatives from the Queensland Opposition. They are now completely in the hands of an unelected, unrepresentative, unaccountable group of people on the outside of this parliament. People like Bruce McIver never put his name on the ballot paper, people like Lord Mayor Campbell Newman, who got elected as lord mayor and now wants another job. We’ve got a leader of the opposition who on his own admission is going to be a fake leader of the opposition. Queensland is now at risk of becoming the national joke of Australia all over again and again at the hands of the Liberal and National parties.

    JOURNALIST: Are you scared about facing Jeff Seeney in the chamber again?

    PREMIER: Jeff Seeney has indicated that he’ll be the fake leader. So what we’ve got is a parliamentary democracy that is at risk of descending into a farce. A leader in the parliament who on his own admission is not the real leader, he’s just a fake interim puppet leader. We’ve got a person outside the parliament who’s never been elected, who is now saying that he will call the shots without any basis for doing so, and of course we’ve got the faceless men like Bruce McIver who will now be directing elected representatives. This is an attack in my view on the parliamentary democracy that underpins our state.

    JOURNALIST: In the past you’ve congratulated Campbell Newman on the role he played during the floods. How do you assess his role during the floods, his handling of the floods?

    PREMIER: I think the people of Brisbane are now entitled to ask serious questions about Campbell Newman’s motives. As he was out there helping them clean up from the floods, was he already having discussions with Bruce McIver about abandoning them. As Lord Mayor Campbell Newman did his television appearances about the floods, had he already started the secret polling that would see him catapulted into a position where he now controls the parliamentary opposition from outside the parliament. These are extraordinary circumstances. I don’t believe they happened in 24 hours. These have clearly been the subject of long-term plans and plotting by the Lord Mayor. He’s not only betrayed and abandoned the people of Brisbane but he’s clearly been planning it for a long time.

    JOURNALIST: Have all your candidates been preselected?

    PREMIER: No.

    JOURNALIST: You know how many of them have been preselected?

    PREMIER: The party has not opened preselections.

    JOURNALIST: What recollect, ah, observations you have about John-Paul Langbroek’s leadership?

    PREMIER: John-Paul Langbroek is clearly someone who was always fighting against the odds because he had a party that was not backing him. Bruce McIver has clearly had a long-term plan that John-Paul Langbroek was never part of. So frankly I feel sorry for John-Paul Langbroek. The way he’s been treated is nothing short of very shabby. He’s a person who is recognised around the Parliament as someone of strong values, and someone who worked to do his very best. He’s been treated shabbily by the Liberal National Party. But I have to say that all of those in the Liberal National Party here who have acquiesced to Bruce McIver’s plans have as much blood on their hands.