Will climate change denials sink the LNP?

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Will climate change denials sink the LNP?

Des HoughtonOPINION
The Courier-Mail
December 20, 2014 12:00AM


Moreton Bay Mayor Allan Sutherland at the Redcliffe Jetty with Moreton Bay in the backgro

Moreton Bay Mayor Allan Sutherland at the Redcliffe Jetty with Moreton Bay in the background. Picture: Brad Cooper

IT’S a controversy that could not have come at a worse time for Campbell Newman. Cracks are appearing in LNP ranks over a State Government edict forcing Moreton Bay Regional Council to remove a theoretical climate change sea level rise of 0.8m when considering developments.

Inside the party there are waves of discontent.

The row has pitched mate against mate.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, in his role as chairman of the Council of Mayors, demanded an urgent clarification from Planning Minister Jeff Seeney.

Quirk warned of “confusion and frustration” with different councils having to factor in different sets of rules.

He used the examples of Brighton and Shorncliffe in Brisbane that “will be subject to different climate change considerations” in planning than those at Clontarf and Woody Point in Moreton in suburbs separated only by Ted Smout Bridge.

Moreton Bay Mayor Allan Sutherland, who has a gift of shrinking complex matters to a pithy sentence, said Seeney was suggesting climate change would happen on one side of the bridge and not the other.

Moreton Bay council is heavy with LNP members and friends. But that didn’t stop the council unanimously passing a vote of non-confidence in Lisa France, the LNP Member for Pumicestone who campaigned for Seeney to exclude the climate change reference.

Moreton Bay councillors went much further. They condemned France “for the ongoing dissemination, via various media and social avenues, of what the council considers to be incorrect or misleading information around council’s proposed planning scheme”.

Seeney and France say they are merely safeguarding the existing rights of landholders and the order was not about climate change per se.

Nevertheless they may have inadvertently handed the ALP a weapon to attack the LNP as climate change deniers.

Imagine how that would play out in the election in bayside seats or in electorates such as Ashgrove, Indooroopilly, Clayfield and Brisbane where conservatives have a green tinge.

The State Government must douse this controversy quickly before it turns into a bushfire.

There are 26 coastal councils in Queensland waiting to see what happens next. Remember the CSIRO warns the cost of future sea rise impacts on Australia will be measured not in billions, but in trillions of dollars.

There are other forces at work. Proud local councils, made up of duly elected men and women who have fought tooth and nail for a seat at the table, don’t like being pushed around by Big Brother state governments.

The tensions rose when the influential Local Government Association of Queensland challenged Seeney.

LGAQ president Margaret de Witt, a Newman loyalist, said the row made those involved a “laughing stock”.

In a state where red tape has been cut and sensible development encouraged, let’s hope this row does not scar Seeney’s impressive record.

Yesterday he was celebrating the approval of 16 major projects worth more than $70 billion to Queensland. They will create more than 44,000 jobs if they go ahead.

Nevertheless the Moreton Bay rebellion has Danger UXB written all over it.

Sutherland insists councils are obliged by law to consider all kinds of hazards – including possible sea rises – when assessing development applications.

Legal advice to the LGAQ backs him.

“Councils are obliged to properly consider coastal hazards, such as erosion, storm tide inundation and flooding when preparing planning schemes and assessing development applications,” said Tim Fynes-Clinton, a solicitor specialising in planning.

“Such considerations include the effects of climate change, such as sea level rise and increased wind intensity in worsening existing coastal hazards.

“To limit potential liability, councils ought to adopt a sea level rise factor in conformity with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

Fynes-Clinton said failure to factor in the theoretical 0.8m sea rise “would not be prudent and would significantly increase exposure of councils to liability”.

Leading barrister Robert Bain, QC, said the inclusion of adviser notes in a planning scheme may limit liability “but will not absolve council from liability at the development assessment phase”.

Sutherland also won support from the Planning Institute of Australia’s Kirsty Kelly.

She called for all spheres of government to show leadership in dealing with the impacts of rising sea levels. Kelly said politics was taking precedent “over globally recognised science”.

Kelly, who chairs the institute’s national sustainability group, said climate change was real and planners had to consider the anticipated impacts.

“Whether it is a result of natural or human activity, the effects of climate change are global and there is scientific consensus to support the imminent threat global warming poses,” Kelly said.

“The impacts of climate change will affect almost every facet of Australia’s economy, society and environment.

“We are concerned that the existing ad hoc approach is not sustainable and is compromising our ability to shape decisions of today to ensure that we are planning for the future.” Kelly warned the Federal Government may have to intervene if the State Government would not budge.

“Clear leadership from Federal Government is required to support and drive the action through state and territory governments down to local governments,” she said.

Kelly referred Seeney to the Australian Government’s position paper Adapting to Climate Change in Australia that states “sea level rise of up to 1m cannot be ruled out”.

The Insurance Council­­ of Australia has also called for uniformity.

People lining up to pay their respects and leave flowers Martin Place in Sydney after the

People lining up to pay their respects and leave flowers Martin Place in Sydney after the Lindt siege on Monday claimed two lives. Picture: Adam Taylor


WE ARE a tolerant nation welcoming people of many faiths. Our record in accepting genuine refugees from many lands is laudable.

However we are blind fools if we do not realise that we have also opened the doors to angry religious zealots – as well as those who come to live in peace.

Iranian refugee Man Haron Monis was welcomed to this country in 1996 and repaid our hospitality by slaughtering two innocent people at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place.

Young cafe manager Tori Johnson died heroically trying to disarm Monis while mother-of-three Katrina Dawson was shot while shielding a pregnant friend.

I know it is impolite to say so in liberal circles, but the long and the short of it was that Mr Johnson and Ms Dawson were killed by an extremist Muslim savage.

He answered the call of the Islamic State death cult.

Australians will understand the special cowardice it must take in slaughtering those who are unable to fight back.

Killing innocents has become the terrorist’s preferred modus operandi. It’s based on a simple philosophy: Why hunt the tiger when there are so many sheep?

The troubled Monis was a self-styled Muslim cleric and rapist who preached jihad. He inflicted terror and was, therefore, a terrorist.

Our national broadcaster seemed to have trouble noticing that.

The ABC assiduously avoided using the words “Muslim’’ or “terrorist’’ in many news bulletins I heard. In an online profile headlined, “Who was Man Haron Monis?’’ it did not use the words Muslim or terrorist at all, and mentioned terrorism only in a quote for a lawyer who said Monis did not have known links to terror groups.

He was the classical lone wolf warned about as far back as 2012.

Adding to the pain was the nauseating “I’ll ride with you” campaign on social media. I’m sure it was started with genuinely good intent but it contains the underlying inference that Australians are a nation of bigots and new Australians of different faiths face attack. It suggests Australians are racist Islamophobes and Muslims our victims.

This is nonsense.

The real victims Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson were still alive when #illridewithyou was first posted.

James Packer’s Brisbane casino bid could be strengthened if he hooked up with the Brisban

James Packer’s Brisbane casino bid could be strengthened if he hooked up with the Brisbane Broncos.


MEMO James Packer: If you seriously want to win the tender for the casino at Queen’s Wharf may I offer a few suggestions: Move your Crown Casino headquarters to Brisbane. This would be proper recognition of the city’s position as the new world city of Asia. Secondly, hook up with a big-name sports club such as the Broncos. Why not even take a stake? Broncos and their supporters understand gambling. The team rolls the dice every time it runs on to the field. Also, go easy on the architecture. We want a casino and entertainment complex that honours the site – not one of those monstrosities that you see in Macau. Lastly, please desist from presenting trade union heavies to do your bidding publicly. It’s not a good look. The Government won’t be pressured.


I HAVEN’T seen mutton on a menu for yonks. So imagine my delight when I saw it has suddenly appeared on the menu at the Gallery of Modern Art’s GoMA restaurant. It took me back to my childhood when a “killer” would be dragged from the pen and skilfully eviscerated and shared among the workers. In the hands of rising culinary superstar Josue Lopez, my GoMA mutton was a celebration, served with eggplant, chard, artichoke and sheep milk “glass”. Let us hope mutton, a staple when I was a kid, makes a comeback.

Terry Nolan, the director of Nolan Meats, at his Gympie property and meatworks with the B

Terry Nolan, the director of Nolan Meats, at his Gympie property and meatworks with the Blonde d’Aquitaine cattle in the background. Picture: Megan Slade


THE Breakfast Creek Hotel, meanwhile, has a stunning new slab of beef to delight carnivores. Legendary Queensland beef producers, the Nolan family, delivered several tonnes of purebred Blonde d’Aquitaine, a French breed, just in time for the Christmas-New Year rush. The blonde is a finely textured beef offered in sirloin, rump and rib cuts and is available through December and January. Terry Nolan told me the Blonde d’Aquitaine was a fine-boned animal he initially bred as a hobby. He and his brothers now have the biggest purebred herd in the nation. Sam Gullo, the Brekky Creek boss, said the monster 600gm “Guillotine” rib on the bone ($60) was popular with meatlovers. It’s even bigger than the tomahawk. I can hear a siren … is that the Food Police?


MY recent report about marauding crossbred dingoes killing seven million sheep sparked much response. Readers also pointed out that the nation’s most successful predators weren’t only confined to rural centres. There is a pack of dingoes at Brookfield, a dress-circle suburb in Brisbane’s west. Dingoes or wild dogs have even been trapped at Toowong cemetery 6km from the CBD, as I first reported in 2005. There are wild dogs at Atherton and wild dogs on the Southern Downs. I’m told Health Minister Lawrence Springborg was forced to strengthen his fencing to keep them out. One reader said it was inevitable the dogs would turn on the human species. Many readers sent pics of dogs. Keep them coming.


JULIE Bishop, our competent and credible Foreign Minister.


CAMPBELL Newman. He may not be perfect but he’s damn close to it. Christmas greetings to the Premier and all our readers. This column resumes in January, just in time for the election campaign.

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