The Cairns-based Minister for Blogosphere and federal LNP member Warren Entsch is having a tough time even getting thru the preselection process as federal member for Leichhardt. It would seem all the chickens are coming home to roost at once.
Entsch has never been much of a performer for Cairns. Even as a Howard government backbencher, he struggled to get any substantial investment in Cairns - a few million for the Cairns Lagoon was overshadowed by state and council funding. Big shipbuilding contracts were sent elsewhere, resulting in the ultimate failure of the Cairns shipbuilding industry. During his three-year "retirement", ALP member Jim Turnour oversaw huge funding increases for, among other things, the Bruce Highway upgrade that's now under construction while during this same period we saw Entsch featherbedding his own nest in a directorship at CEC Group, including as acting chairman, just prior to their collapse. And Entsch is never short of the "pie in the sky" project idea, his favourite tunnels - tunnels to East Trinity, tunnels to Kuranda. Sensible big ticket ideas like the Entertainment Precinct or rail mass transit, or even fixing up the CBD are not the kind of ideas coming out of Wazza.
During the last two years as parliamentary whip, Entsch has not been much of a performer, either. As whip he's supposed to have a handle on the voting numbers - but his inattentiveness saw the famous "run for the door" incident in which disgraced former ALP member Craig Thomson decided to vote with the coalition and while Entsch snoozed, other front bench opposition members had to sprint for the doors to avoid an embarrassment.
This week now sees Entsch accused as a key conspirator in the Peter Slipper affair. Independent Australia has an enlightening article this week on the Entsch involvement in what's looking like an Abbott debacle, while the usual ALP attack dogs answer calls for an investigation with their own calls to investigate the Entsch role. And the ALP machine is said to have prepared election attacks on all of these issues and more - things like the attempt to get government money to refurbish the Sheraton Mirage, the promise and subsequent withdrawal of money for needed replacement of Torres Strait Island seawalls, the Danae Jones hiring. With Leichhardt an LNP seat in a primarily Labor area of Queensland, all of these issues are seen by the ALP as making this Entsch seat a likely pickup in the upcoming election.
And with Cairns apparently singled out for massive insurance premium rises, petrol over 15cents a litre HIGHER than the rest of Queensland, $133M of vitally needed local infrastructure funding stripped from Cairns by his LNP mates, and a profoundly ignorant drink drive conviction, Entsch looks to be as useless to Cairns as a bag of hammers. What the LNP is calling the "disenchanted Newman voter" would seem to be alive and well in Far North Queensland.