A State Conference by any political party is an interesting few days. There is always a decision made somewhere along the line which baffles the population and one or two which don't make it through for unexplainable reasons. It's worth noting also, that generally decisions made at these Conferences are the creation of policy. That does not guarantee them any traction in real terms, particularly where the policy is a Federal one and the Conference a State one.
That said, there are many Motions passed at a State Conference which DO become part of legislation, so any and all of those passed over the weekend at the LNP State Conference in Queensland, could come to fruition for the wider community.
So, what went on? One of the most interesting facets of the conference was the rise to prominence within the LNP of the members of Young LNP. Many of the Motions put forward to the Conference Delegates came directly from their ranks and several of those which scored the most public scrutiny, were Young LNP Motions.
Most notable of those was the Motion to remove Abstudy altogether and instead have Austudy as the only method of assistance for secondary, TAFE and Universary students. This gained significant time in the media and is a touchy subject at the best of times. The view from Young LNP is that it segregates and divides the community, according to skin colour. One Federal MP Paul Neville, noted that Abstudy is an essential tool in the process of bridging the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. His belief that education is the best way to achieve that fell onto deaf ears and the Motion passed. After the vote he expressed his opinion by saying that it was 'not uncommon for the young members of a political party to have radical views.'
Also on the agenda was the removal of Climate Change teachings from the Science curriculum. The reason given for this one was obscure but appeared to be that it is seen as a Left/Green view of the world and that Climate Change science is not proven, therefore should not be on the curriculum. Interestingly, on the same day, another Motion passed which would see the revoking of Indigenous History from schools. The reason for this was much the same as the Climate Change discussion, with the added input that it was placing white Australians in a less than flattering light which (again) was apparently a Labor thing to do. There was much discussion about the new National curriculum as a whole and several times it was mentioned that it is predominantly Labor teachings and we should be removing most of it.
All very fascinating, especially given that Howard was the person responsible for the National Curriculum and hand picked the team who worked on it's content.
Also, given the fact that Indigenous Australians have worked very hard to get a more accurate version of Australia's history taught to students, it must be quite deflating to be told that your history is too 'negative' and should be watered down.
As for climate change. I'm unsure if we have to have water lapping at our front door and out of control weather patterns daily before the science is seen as 'real' but it's getting a bit old to continue denying what is surely obvious. Climate change is reality. Is it the fact that human interaction with the environment is being blamed for it's quickening rate of influence perhaps? If we instead said it was the fault of cows alone and no human being would have to alter their lifestyle or pay for the privilege of continuing to over-use resources, would the population have a different view of the science?
Whatever you personally believe, is it not more beneficial for our children to be taught both sides of the debate, which they currently are, so that they are informed? I believe the commonly used phrase is 'learning to think for themselves'. God forbid we should allow that. Could have catastrophic repercussions.
There were plenty more decisions made throughout the three days of bonding and some (including the restriction of Unions to enter workplaces and building sites) have been reported on and will face further scrutiny in the coming weeks and months.
All in all, a very busy and productive few days, depending on your point of view. Beginning with a speech by Newman that included references to Queensland's criminals, saying they should be very afraid of the Government, including in the middle several statements that branded Gough Whitlam as the second worst PM in Australia's history, and ending with a speech by National party President Mr Truss stating that Labor consistently produces the most disastrous Governments and the focus should remain now on Federal Labor so they can spread the negative sentiment that caused the Queensland election results nationally.
More interestingly perhaps was not the Conference itself but the fact that outside it's doors, in the 'real' world, Campbell Newman was inching up on his 100 day milestone. And the honeymoon period was officially ending. Mass sackings have resulted in huge protests and marches. The fire and ambulance services are joining forces to protest against new regulations and unsatisfactory work and wage agreements. Surrogacy laws banning same sex couples from utilising surrogacy to have a child is seeing the rising movement get active once again. The news that the reduction in solar tariffs will now be passed to the next owner of a home with existing solar power, rather than protected over the 20 year period as it previously was is also causing an uproar. The introduction of tougher penalties for child sex offenders against the advice of those on the front line has child safety workers concerned about possible increases in murders and the increased likelihood of drawn out trials.
The list goes on.......disbanding and sacking of staff from Skilling Queenslanders for work, sacking 2'000 plus from QR, sacking up to 500 from Department of Justice and the Attorney-General etc, etc, etc.....
So it seems that whilst those within the conference walls were lauding the recent win for Queensland's LNP as the greatest victory in political history, those outside are feeling the effects of a lopsided Government and are wondering what's around the corner for them.