Yesterday saw Jerrod Bleijie, former Newman government poodle, in Cairns for the first time after the havoc he caused during his short unsuccessful term as Queensland Attorney General.
The Bleijie-constructed Townsville/Cairns Boot Camp (a pet project of disgraced Cairns MP's Gavin King and Michael Trout) cost EIGHT TIMES the original cost and did NOTHING to stop youth criminal recidivism. After attending this LNP "teen resort" at a cost of over $2300 per day (each!), they went on to reoffend just like as if they had been in jail.
You can't make this shit up.
Cueball MacKenzie heaped praise on this "common sense" plan by King and Trout. Shows again why "common sense" is often just common bullshit.
It was stunning to see Bleijie arm-in-arm with a handful of bar owners who've been using their media muscle to mislead and misdirect the public about the proposed changes in liquor service laws.
Opposition to the ALP proposed changes comes down to one simple statement from the LNP: "If you want to be an international tourist destination, you don't want to send signals that you're not selling liquor to all comers 24/7".
It's a furphy of enormous magnitude.
The opposition to this plan for winding-back the overly permissive liquor sales across Queensland presupposes that backpackers are somehow picking destinations based on "easy liquor availability". This dog doesn't hunt. It's nonsense.
We know why people pick Cairns as a destination. It's not where the Rainforest meets the Brewery. It's an absurd commentary on the ignorance and self-serving wallets of the so-called "Cairns City Liquor Safety Accord". An organisation that's works so well, we can see the evidence around the city with dozens of n'eer do wells consuming their Liquor Safety Accord Drink of choice from paper bags along most streets in the CBD. Every bloody day. Good job, mates!
These are the same publicans that pushed the laws demanding the aboriginal communities in Cape York become alcohol free "to stop the violence". And then when residents showed up in Cairns and elsewhere looking for their grog, these publicans helpfully adjusted their bottle shop sales hours to ensure they could get the financial advantage over these alcoholics.
Letting business interests drive social policy in Cairns or anywhere else is the road to hell.
John MacKenzie regularly rails on the "drunken itinerants", and at the same time defends the Cairns liquor industry. Where is the logic disconnect in this position? No one is saying we should end liquor sales everywhere, that would be patently absurd. But no one said we have to sell liquor to 5AM, either. What's good for the (Cape) goose is good for the (city) gander.
Secondly, the proposed 2AM end to drinks conforms with best practice from around the world. We've previously discussed this issue here.
Thirdly, the fastest-growing tourism group coming to Cairns, the Chinese, are for all their tourism faults no particularly fond of the pub scene. Most bars in Cairns rarely see a Chinese tourist in their establishments. Some say the Chinese are too busy gambling. But at least they're not barfing all over taxis at 4 or 5AM. That's for sure.
The facts are clear that we Australians drink too damn much. It creates a whole range of social issues - domestic violence, killed innocents on our highways, family breakups, job losses, suicides. . .do we need to go on? New South Wales faced the same choices and has discovered not only a huge reduction in city violence fueled by too much grog, but a reduction in most social crimes.
And as Gavin King has previously pointed out, a woman
who's had a few drinks shouldn't be surprised when she gets raped. After all she's part of the problem! Changes to the liquor service hours will protect many a woman in Cairns from the "King Effect".
This is in fact a gutsy and well-reasoned first step to be taken by the Palaszczuk Government in Queensland. It has zero chance of driving tourists away from Cairns or indeed Australia.
Cairns MP Rob Pyne is weakly calling for Cairns to be considered as a "special case". His position is an unfortunate by-product of the political process where he's afraid this issue is going to be used against him at the next election by the cashed-up liquor interests. Pyne has said "he's not about to toe the line" and has Cairns' interests in mind.
Weak, Rob, weak. Man up, sweetie. We've got your back. Plenty of other issues that you take a contrarian view on, in support of your constituents This one isn't it.
As for Billy Gordon - Go have a pint and put your dick away.