From the opening (typically 25 minutes late) moments, it was clear that this wasn't going to be easy for the independents, especially with all the LNP candidates missing. First on the chopping block was North Queensland Party's candidate for Cairns, John Piva. He had what he thought was going to be a gangbuster opening, asking the sparse crowd "are you happy?", thinking that a representative crowd of Cairns voters would shout "NO!". To his chagrin, the ALP-sleazeball audience shouted "YES", and "WE LOVE OUR LIFE IN CAIRNS". It was at this point I searched for a spoon I could shove into my eye. Piva too was stunned by this mule kick. But he soldiered on, making his points about Cairns not receiving our fair share of government revenues and vowing to "bring back the dosh" to Cairns if elected.
Next up was Kirsten Lesina. Sadly, she's got overcooked pasta for her spine as she spruiked all the so-called Anna Blight Labor government achievements, while standing just above a campaign sign so heavily photoshopped it looks like her father. Not one word of criticism for her Labor parents, Desley Boyle and Steve Wettenhall, beaming broadly as their pupil played every bullshit note in the Labor Party songbook at her first political eisteddfod. When she stopped at her applause lines, Daddy Wettenhall, centrally positioned so the ALP minions could get their cues, started the applause of the Labor acolytes. A pathetic display of party politics at its sewer level lowest. I needed a good scrub-up after listening to this. Yuck.
Finally for Cairns was D.J. Hunt, missing his standard-issue Akubra. Like Lesina, Hunt is a local and apparently related in some way to the Tom Pyne family. Nothing better than a little political inbreeding. Hunt grabbed on the Piva theme about funding for Cairns, then turning to his bread-and-butter issue, crime. He did a credible job of explaining why bail reform is so important, as well as the easy parole being given to repeat offenders. The unsaid part of the "crime fighter" agenda is the cost. Prisoners in Queensland cost the taxpayers over $300 per day - more than almost every hotel in Cairns. Want to increase those incarcerated, Darren? Someone in the Katter Party is going to have to explain where the dosh is coming from. We'd be better off putting them in empty hotel rooms on the Nard, give 'em $200 a day, and let them boost the Cairns economy.
Hunt then latched on to another populist idea that he's obviously done zero research about. He said if he's elected he will immediately establish passenger rail service between the city, Gordonvale, and Redlynch. He called it "cheap" and "cost effective", said it could be done "quickly", and then said it would remove "hundreds of cars from the CBD" and eliminate council's need to build a new car park on the soon-to-be vacated main post office site in Grafton Street.
This is just insane. Darren's now channelling Bob Katter. He'd make more sense if he just promised us the each a flying car from the Jetsons. Or even better, a Monorail!
Even in densely populated areas of Australia, the cost for rail is born by the state governments giving massive subsidies. The less dense, the more the subsidy. The state subsidy for Brisbane rail passengers almost $10 each trip. PLUS the fares, even after they were raised some 40%. Hunt has made this pledge apparently thinking he can swindle the Cairns voter with this idea. IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN. NEVER. TAKE IT TO THE BANK.
The verdict? Organising forums using only Facebook or Twitter gets to .1% of the Cairns population. Pip Miller was credited as PR for the forum. She should go home and slit her wrists, so poor was this PR job. As should the rest of us, if this is the "best and brightest" of Cairns political aspirants. We're well and truly fucked. Sad, really. No choice at all.
It's Sunday. I like cartoons on Sunday.