June 20 Newsletter, 2005

Submitted by Editor on Sat, 25/06/2005 - 21:41

From Mister Springborg, leader of the opposition, Brisbane office.

* Beattie caught out on Patel PR stunt
* ALP Conference union power-grab gives business the jitters
* Regional sports grants rorts to be referred to CMC and Auditor-General
* Premier's false claims on Labor's Dr Death exposed

"Feedback"
feedback@opposition.qld.gov.au
www.Springborg.com.au

Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005

Beattie caught out on Patel PR stunt

PREMIER Peter Beattie's comments over the possible extradition of Dr Jayant Patel have been exposed as a con with revelations by Lawyers for Patel that 'no charges have been laid, nor are expected to be laid in the near future.'

Peter Beattie has been nothing short of fraudulent in his public comments about his government's efforts to bring Patel back to Queensland to face a possible murder charge.

The legal representatives for Patel have confirmed that despite all the public relations by Beattie and his Ministers nothing has been done to expedite extradition proceedings or to bring formal charges against the Doctor.

Tony Morris has recommended murder or manslaughter charges against Dr Patel saying 'evidence from a variety of sources would support a conclusion that a prima facie case exists against Patel in respect of a number of offences.'

"Mr Morris also indicated that if Patel was in the US 'extradition should not be problematic'.

But nearly two weeks later all we have is international PR stunts, and Mr Beattie must explain why he has not assigned an appropriate level of importance and appropriate resources to this case.

This charade is a convenient diversion for Mr Beattie. He knows the real focus should be on the systemic failure of his Government and Queensland Health over many years, not one Doctor who they paid to flee the country when the Department used taxpayers' money to pay for his business-class airfare to the US.

ALP Conference union power-grab gives business the jitters

THE Queensland Labor Party has taken a massive backward step to the 1950s with its decision on the weekend to let backroom union heavy-weights choose Labor's candidates at the next State Election instead of local branch members.

Labor's conference decision was a massive blow to Premier Beattie who had been unable to thwart a renewed power-grab by the unions.

The move will give the jitters to the business community as well as potential investors.

We are now going to have a situation where the career prospects of every single Cabinet Minister are in the hands of the union movement.

That means important decisions that help business are not going to be made. And I suspect that will also mean an end to public-private-partnerships between the government and the business sector.

What we are seeing are local branch members, who are better in tune with the needs of their area, being told that they will be matched vote-for-vote by a union heavyweight from behind closed doors in some Brisbane office.

Under the old rules, Labor's branch members formed 70% of the delegates choosing candidates. But now they've been told to move aside so that the unions can take control by giving them half the delegates. And Mr Beattie just sat there and let it happen.

Labor's decision means Mr Beattie will run at the next election with 89 candidates chosen to represent the union movement, not chosen to represent their communities or Queensland generally.

It's a real blow for Mr Beattie who's just recently wrote in his new book about how he'd reformed the Labor Party by diluting the sectional interests of unions.

Regional sports grants rorts to be referred to CMC and Auditor-General

THE Beattie Government's election-eve decision to scrap more than half-a-million dollars in grants to 21 sporting organisations in rural and regional areas because they were not in Labor Party-held seats will be referred to the Auditor-General and the Crime and Misconduct Commission.

All Queenslanders who believe in the basic principle of a 'fair go' will be sickened by the scrapping of the sporting grants which stand out in Labor's deeds of political bastardry and skulduggery.

The Nationals will present both the Auditor-General and the CMC with a 14 page document from the Office of the Deputy Premier Terry Mackenroth which contains a list of projects the Department of Sport and Recreation had assessed and declared eligible for grants under the Minor Sports and Recreation Facilities program.

The documents also show how 21 of the approved sporting groups had been crossed out after they had been identified as being in seats held by The Nationals, the Liberal Party, One Nation or Independents. No grants for Labor seats were crossed out.

They were replaced with projects in Labor seats that the Department had deemed to be ineligible for funding.

The actions are not only highly unethical and against every standard of financial probity, but could also break section 430 of the Criminal Code relating to a 'Conspiracy to defraud.

What we have is sporting organisations that were eligible for funding left out for no other reason than they were not located in seats held by the Labor Party.

The grants were made just prior to the 2001 State Election which Mr Beattie and the Labor Party went into with just a one-seat majority.

Labor's political vindictiveness also went as far as scrapping three approved projects in the Gladstone Electorate held by independent Liz Cunningham totalling $123,380.

What we have here is pure undiluted corruption right under the nose of Mr Beattie. This is how the Labor Party runs Queensland. Decisions are not based on merit, but rather on political imperative

Reward must be posted for Patel's return

THE Beattie government must post a substantial reward for the return of Jayant Patel to face criminal charges.

Mr Beattie and his Ministers need to get serious about about bringing Patel back to face charges.

"The Premier, the Health Minister and the local Member for Bundaberg had to be dragged kicking and screaming under political and public pressure to establish a Royal Commission ...they must now offer a reward to bring Patel back," Mr Messenger said.

"Since it was revealed the Beattie Government paid for Dr Patel to fly out of the country all we've heard from Beattie and the Attorney-General is how difficult it will be to get him back and how complicated the protocols will be.

"The first thing the Beattie Government needs to do is offer a substantial reward and then get moving on the extradition papers to get Patel back to face trial.

"All we've heard from the Premier is excuses about how difficult it will be, while the Attorney has been consumed with legislation to even further shut down our FOI system to keep personally embarrassing material hidden from the public.

"We're in this position because Patel was allowed to get away ...fleeing Queensland with a business class airfare paid for by the government, when he should have been told to stay put."

Mr Messenger said talk of Patel being coaxed back to Queensland to give evidence at the Morris inquiry so long as his travel costs and expenses were met and he was given indemnity from prosecution was ridiculous.

"When are we going to hear from the Premier that extradition papers have been issued and that a reward has been posted for the apprehension of Patel. We need action now before Patel takes off to somewhere with no extradition treaty to become the Ronnie Biggs of Queensland Health," Mr Messenger said.

Parliament must see "Travel-gate" documents

OVER $40,000 worth of travel undertaken by embattled Speaker of Parliament Ray Hollis remains unaccounted for.

The Nationals are concerned the Premier may move to retrospectively clear the Speaker without the public ever seeing the details of over $40,000 of taxpayer-funded overseas trips made by the Speaker in 1998/99 and 2002/03.

The reports tabled in the Parliament by the Premier account for $20,000 worth of travel in 2003-04 - yet make no mention of the $40,000 worth of travel made by Mr Hollis that remains unaccounted for.

It's bad enough Peter Beattie retrospectively decided to clear Mr Hollis earlier this month showing there are two sets of rules around here - one for Peter Beattie's mates and one for the rest of Queensland.

But the Premier now has the audacity to try and conceal from public scrutiny the details of over 2/3 of the money in question.

The report prepared by Mr Hollis and tabled by the Premier in State Parliament also highlights the fact that despite the Premier knowing Mr Hollis was going on these overseas trips - at no time did he attempt to discipline the Speaker and make him comply with the guidelines of the Speaker's Office.

Mr Hollis himself lets the cat out the bag in his report when he tells taxpayers the Premier congratulated him for going on one of his trips.

Mr Hollis' report states: "As well, upon my return I informed the Premier and he complimented me on my good work in relation to Thai/Queensland trade".

The Premier, just like every other Member of Parliament knows that if he goes on an overseas trip then you have to report to the Parliament - the Premier should know because he's been overseas more than just about anyone else in this Parliament, and presented a report to Parliament each and every single time.

The Premier must also know that he had not given Mr Hollis approval to go on these trips, as required by the guidelines.

Premier's false claims on Labor's Dr Death exposed

LAST WEEK we exposed the Premier's wildly speculative spin that Dr Death may have read a letter on a government website was completely false.

Mr Beattie had told State Parliament the website had been visited by someone from Portland, Oregon.

He then raced in to tell the Parliament it was probably Dr Patel - because this was where the doctor had fled to courtesy of an air fare paid for by the Queensland Government.

We then confirmed the Oregon resident who had read the letter was in fact a doctor - but it was not Dr Patel at all.

The Oregon doctor who downloaded the letter was actually Dr Russ Faria, a local family physician who had read about Dr Death in a Portland newspaper.

Dr Faria was researching Labor's Dr Death disaster and contacted me through my springborg.com website the other day.

After the Premier made his ridiculous and ludicrous claims in State Parliament - that because someone from Oregon had visited his website it had to have been Dr Death - I was able to contact Dr Faria and confirm the Premier's claims were nothing but a desperate attempt to look like he was actually doing something.

The Premier and his spin doctors need to be more careful in the future when they go about wildly speculating in the media as to how close they are to capturing Dr Patel.

Dr Patel now faces serious charges of manslaughter and unlawful killing - and all the Premier's stunt has done is tip-off Dr Patel as to one of the ways in which police may be attempting to track him down.

The Premier's 'Inspector Clouseau' approach to this will only raise false expectations in the hearts of the victims of Labor's Dr Death, and his antics stand condemned.

The Leader of the Opposition
Parliament House,
Alice Street,
Brisbane QLD 4000
Australia

www.springborg.com
Phone: (07) 3406 7997
Fax: (07) 3221 1496

(c) 2004 authorised by L. Springborg, Parliament House, Alice St, Brisbane QLD 4000

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