Speech Walton Construction 7 May 2014
The Sunshine Coast Daily journalist Bill Hoffman and I have been covering the plight of subcontractors caught up in the collapse of failed construction company Walton Construction. I have previously called on this government to bring in legislation to provide more checks and balances for these subcontractors. Mr Hoffman’s investigation into Walton Construction has uncovered a puzzling link between Walton Construction and the LNP. I table his article in the Sunshine Coast Daily from 8 February.
Tabled paper: Article from the Sunshine Coast Daily, dated 8 February 2014, titled ‘LNP trust received $430,000 from Walton as it collapsed’.
In that article he wrote—
A Property Trust linked to the LNP received $430,000 in rent from Walton Construction last financial year at a time it was about to collapse owing Sunshine Coast sub-contractors $2.9 million.
The payment is listed in Associated Entity documents filed with the Australian Electoral Commission for Altum P/L acting as trustee for Altum Property Trust. Its business address is 66 Bowen St, Spring Hill, the LNP’s headquarters.
He went on to say—
In 2009-10 the AEC was informed $105,994 had been received from Walton. In 2010-11 the amount was $353,315, in 2011-12 it was $516,966, and in 2012-13, $431,082.
The 2010-11 payment was initially declared as $211,988.94 but was amended on May 27, 2013, to the amount above.
Mr Hoffman’s investigations have led to a number of anomalies in the AEC Associated entity returns by Altum Pty Ltd acting as trustee for the Altum Property Trust. I table for the assistance of members the associated entity disclosure return for 2012-13, together with a request for amendment to the associated entity disclosure return which was dated 14 March 2014. I also table a request for amendment to the associated entity disclosure return for the financial year 2010-11. I also table a request for amendment to the associated entity disclosure return for the financial year 2012-13 for the LNP Nominees Pty Ltd as trustee for the 6 St Paul’s Unity Trust.
Tabled paper: Document titled ‘Associated Entity Disclosure Return, financial Year 2012-13, Australian Electoral Commission, Altum P/L ATF Altum Property Trust.
Tabled paper: Document titled ‘Request for Amendment Associated Entity Disclosure Return, Financial Year 2012-13, Australian Electoral Commission, Altum Pty Ltd Trustee for Altum Property Unit Trust.
Tabled paper: Document titled ‘Request for Amendment Associated Entity Disclosure Return, Financial Year 2010-2011, Australian Electoral Commission, Altum P/L ATF Altum Property Trust.
Tabled paper: Document titled ‘Request for Amendment Associated Entity Disclosure Return, Financial Year 2012-13, Australian Electoral Commission, LNP Nominees Pty Ltd as Trustee for the 6 St Paul’s Unit Trust.
These returns show a number of significant adjustments which I believe warrant justifying to the people of Queensland. I call on the Premier as the parliamentary leader of the LNP to explain why total receipts, total payments and total debt have changed so significantly in such a small period of time. The Australian Electoral Commission needs to investigate these crazy accounts and crazy figures.
First let me say I believe if you commit a crime you should face the full force of the law – no question. But I also believe everyone should be equal before the law, and Courts should be able to impose reasonable bail conditions until the charges have been tested in a Court.
Under these new VLAD laws you are guilty until proven innocent and can be thrown in jail with solitary confinement without access to reasonable bail conditions.
The glaring example of the injustice of these laws is that people charged with murder or other serious crimes do not face mandatory solitary confinement until the charges against them are heard, and they have access to reasonable bail conditions.
The Law Society, Tony Fitzgerald and other eminent Australians have all condemned these laws.
When the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment (VLAD) Bills came to Parliament on October 15, 2013 I attacked the Newman Government for declaring them ‘urgent bills’ and not referring them to the appropriate parliamentary committee for proper scrutiny and voted against them being rushed through Parliament without proper scrutiny.
When further amendments to these laws came to Parliament I tabled a dissenting report and voted against the retrospective nature of the amendments. I supported the remainder of the laws relying on the assurance of the Newman Government they would target criminals only. It’s now been shown their assurance was worth nothing like the other promises broken by this government.
Since the laws have been passed we have seen over-zealous application of them that has affected people with no connection to criminal organisations. And bail conditions set by the Attorney General’s appointed Magistrate I believe are unreasonable and un-Australian.
The fact that these flawed Bills were rushed through Parliament without receiving proper scrutiny from a Parliamentary Committee and community consultation shows that the Government is abusing its power. What it also highlights is the need for an upper house in Queensland because this Government treats the committee system with contempt.
Queensland’s Women and Children let down by Attorney General’s Pride and Haste
The release from jail of Robert John Fardon is another example of why I believe there needs to be a Cabinet reshuffle and why the Attorney General has to go.
On the morning of October 16 2013, the Attorney General introduced legislation that he claimed was “another mechanism by which the children and people of Queensland will be protected.” He declared the Bill urgent and insisted in be rushed through Parliament.
I objected to the Bill being rushed through, as there was no time allowed for proper scrutiny of the Bill or for independent legal advice to be sought. Late last year the Queensland Court of Appeal ruled that this new legislation was not valid. As a result of the Attorney General’s haste and pride, we now see this serious, serial sex offender released from jail.
I was horrified to recently discover that amusement park operators did not need Blue Cards. Recently in Parliament I asked the Minister for Communities and Child Safety Tracey Davis to review the current legislation and am pleased to report that she agreed to do so. I am sure many parents who frequent these places assume the people who work there or operate them have been through the necessary police checks and have a Blue Card. We must ensure that our children are safe and in good hands when they attend amusement parks. Until the current law can be amended I caution all parents to take care to investigate the suitability of the people who are operating these parks. I congratulate the Minister for her good sense in agreeing to review this obvious loophole in the Blue Card legislation.
On April 16, I spoke in Parliament on the plight of one of my constituents who has been diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Lyme disease is believed to be spread through tick bites, but has not been officially recognised in Australia. I provided the Minister for Health with a copy of a letter detailing this young lady's battle with this disease and I urged our government to listen to calls for better diagnosis and recognition of this important disease and hopefully take the matter up with our interstate government colleagues.
I have a genuine concern that many Doctors are not aware of my amendment to the Criminal Code that was introduced so that no Queenslander should die in pain.
I recently spoke in Parliament about a very distressed Sunshine Coast resident who had contacted me regarding the end-of-life care his wife was receiving. At the time his elderly wife was a resident of a Sunshine Coast nursing home , she was a diagnosed palliative care patient with cancer and a muscle-wasting disease who was suffering significant pain and distress.
He told me that his wife had pleaded with her doctor not to let her suffer and die in pain. He said that the doctor had refused to authorise a syringe driver to improve her pain management, claiming that a patient should enjoy their last stages of life. Understandably this man and his family were all very angry that the attending doctor was not administering enough pain relief to relieve his wife’s suffering.
This woman had been a registered nurse, working in the aged-care industry and she was assured by her family that they would not let her die in pain.
Yet the husband tells me that the attending doctor was not prepared to rely on the amended Queensland law, commonly known as the rights of the terminally ill amendment, which allows a doctor to administer whatever medication is necessary to relieve the pain and suffering in a terminally ill person, even if a secondary effect of the drugs is to shorten the patient’s life.
I believe situations such as this are occurring regularly. There have been a number of similar cases that I know of on the Sunshine Coast.
When people face such a terrible end—dying in agony watched by their distressed families—it is no wonder that more and more Queenslanders are calling for voluntary euthanasia laws in Queensland.
I believe that this government and the Queensland branch of the Australian Medical Association have a responsibility to remind all Queensland doctors of the rights of the terminally ill amendment, which I introduced into the parliament some time ago, which allows people to die without pain and with dignity.