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Sunday, 16 September

22:18

New Campaign Aims To Educate LGBTIQ Young People About HIV Prevention QNews Magazine

A new social media campaign is in the works to help young LGBTIQ people in Queensland fill in the gaps in their knowledge of sexual health and better understand the risks of HIV. Fortitude Valley-based Open Doors Youth Service is working with researchers from the University of Queenslands School of Public Health to develop the ...

The post New Campaign Aims To Educate LGBTIQ Young People About HIV Prevention appeared first on QNews Magazine.

21:59

Marriage Equality Advocate Dr Kerryn Phelps Confirms Bid For Malcolm Turnbulls Seat QNews Magazine

City of Sydney Councillor Kerryn Phelps has confirmed she will contest former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbulls seat of Wentworth as an independent. Professor Phelps, a former Australian Medical Association president and now GP in the electorate, was a high-profile backer of same-sex marriage and was heavily involved in the yes campaign during the postal survey ...

The post Marriage Equality Advocate Dr Kerryn Phelps Confirms Bid For Malcolm Turnbulls Seat appeared first on QNews Magazine.

20:20

Eminem Admits Homophobic Slur On New Track Went Too Far QNews Magazine

Rapper Eminem has suggested he regrets directing a homophobic slur at fellow rapper Tyler, the Creator on his latest album Kamikaze. Eminem surprise-released the album two weeks ago but the track Fall caused a backlash because he raps, Tyler create nothin, I see why you called yourself a faggot, bitch. Tyler hinted that he identifies ...

The post Eminem Admits Homophobic Slur On New Track Went Too Far appeared first on QNews Magazine.

07:58

Sea anemones plentiful in Sunshine Coast rockpools Wild BNE

LEFT: decorated anemone, RIGHT: green anemone.

Last Wednesday I went searching for sea anemones on a rocky shoreline south of Coolum Beach, and found five different species in the rock pools there.

My first sighting was of a decorated anemone (Oulactis muscosa) in a sandy, wave-exposed pool, which is a typical microhabitat for this species.

This animal has greyish-white tentacles and a dark red section inside its oral disc, and gets its name from the way it decorates its margins with sand and pebbles in order to better camouflage itself.

This species can often appear almost entirely buried by sand, but I found one specimen in a calmer rock pool that allowed for the good view shown above.

Next up was a green anemone (Aulactinia veratra), and this proved to be a common and variable species at this location.

It was most frequently found deep inside crevices, including some narrow and shallow ones that barely held any water at low tide.

The colour of this creature was not always the vivid green shown in the photo here, and it was quite often a muddy brown hue instead.

Encountering the decorated and green anemones at the start of my search made my eyes grow accustomed to typical anemone shapes and hiding spots, so much so that seeing the next wildly atypical species came as quite a surprise: I suddenly realised that stretching out over the rocks and pools before me lay a vast colony of tiny anemones that I had read about in the Queensland Museums Wild Guide...

03:55

Here comes Queen's Wharf "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

$3bn Queen's Wharf

Big news for Brisbane's economy as the long-awaited $3 billion Queen's Wharf project gets underway.

And big news too for the future of Brisbane as a capital city and major player.

Significant housing market implications in addition, of course, as the inner city suburbs fill up.

Read the attached report from News (click link or image to read).


The mixed-use Howard Smith Wharves project is already well into its construction phase.

And it too will also be a terrific boost for adjacent suburbs including New Farm, Teneriffe, and Fortitude Valley.


Brisbane, truly, the jewel of Australia!

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Saturday, 15 September

11:53

Another whistleblower cop exposes police corruption "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

From 11 Sep 2018 by theguardian.com of the headline:

Evidence against former police officer intentionally tampered with, court told

Exclusive: Charge against Paul Carney, who left police after raising concerns about alleged corruption, dropped after ombudsman ordered investigation


Whistleblower Paul Carney claims Queensland police pursued charges against him as a reprisal. Photograph: Dave Hunt/AAP

Evidence against a former Gold Coast police officer whistleblower was allegedly intentionally tampered with, a court was told, amid claims that Queensland police pursued a charge against him as a reprisal.

Paul Carney medically retired from the police service in 2010 after raising concerns about alleged corrupt practices. He subsequently started a website critical of particular police officers and launched a civil court case.

In 2015, Carney had a verbal altercation at a Brisbane pool with a former colleague, who he had criticised on the website. Carney says it was a chance encounter. Police charged him with stalking with violence.

Before Carneys trial, the commonwealth ombudsman ordered an investigation into potential tampering with CCTV video footage from the pool that was used as evidence against Carney.

Paul Carney: Ive been through absolute hell these past three years. Photograph: Paul Carney/Supplied

When Carney turned up to court in August, he was told the Queensland office of the director of public prosecutions had lodged a nolle prosequi notice, indicating they were abandoning the charge.

Ive been through absolute hell these past three years, Carney told Guardian Australia. There was never any evidence to back up this charge. I have been the victim of whistleblower reprisal and some extremely duplicitous conduct by Queensland police.

Carney, wh...

02:29

How much plastic is too much plastic for sea turtles? "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

In a video that went viral in 2015, researchers spent nearly 10 minutes pulling out a 10-centimeter (4-inch) plastic straw from the nostril of a male olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) off the coast of Costa Rica. For the entire duration of the extraction, the turtle writhed in pain. Plastic straws are just one among the trillions of pieces of plastic trash that have ended up in the ocean, many sinking right down to the deepest, darkest depths. Past research has found that about half of the worlds sea turtles may have ingested some form of plastic. Floating pieces of plastic and balloons can resemble jellyfish or squid foods that turtles eat out in the sea. Not all turtles that eat plastic die because of the plastic, though. Some die after getting entangled in fishing nets, while others are struck by ship propellers. Do all age groups of turtles consume plastic? And how much plastic is lethal for a sea turtle? A new study has some answers. Green turtle at North Stradbroke Island, off the Australian state of Queensland. Image by Kathy Townsend. Researchers in Australia examined the digestive tracts of 246 dead sea turtles collected from along the coast of the state of Queensland, and found that 58 individuals had plastic in their guts, with the number of pieces ranging from one right up to 329. Younger turtles, both post-hatchlings (or a baby turtle that has started feeding in the ocean) and juveniles, were found to have consumed considerably higher

01:35

Weekend reads - must see articles of the week "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

And here they are at Property Update - or you can click on the image below.

Note my piece on Brisbane's rising house prices, which is an interesting bucking of recent trends. 


You can subscribe for the free Property Update newsletter here

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Thursday, 21 June

08:32

Inner Brisbane Cross River Rail CAPEX comparable to statewide education CAPEX "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

Just before I appeared on 612 ABC Brisbanes Breakfast program last week, one of the presenters Bec Levingston asked Deputy Premier Treasurer Jackie Trad what it would cost to air condition every classroom in Queensland, a question she obviously couldnt answer without notice. Having spent the bulk of my schooling in un-air-conditioned classrooms in tropical Townsville, it struck me as a peculiar question, and I though air conditioning every classroom in the state would be a massive extravagance. That said, it did prompt me to look at what the state government currently spends on education capital works and compare it to what it spends on other priorities.

In state budget paper 3, the Capital Statement, we are starting to see the huge cost of the number one extravagance in the state at the moment, Cross River Rail. Total spending on property, plant and equipment for Cross River Rail, which is part of the Treasury portfolio, is estimated to be $733 million in 2018-19. This $733 million spent in inner city Brisbane on Cross River Rail is greater than total property, plant and equipment purchases for the Education portfolio of $674 million across the whole of Queensland! To be fair, I should note that if you add in $99 million of capital grants to other entities (which I suspect includes private schools and universities), total estimated education capital spending comes to $773 million in 2018-19. Still, the fact Cross River Rails total capital spending is of the same scale as education capital spending across the whole state should raise eyebrows. Incidentally, the region benefiting the most from education CAPEX is inner city Brisbane (see chart below). Political commentators would observe the government is worried about a Greens takeover of inner city seats.

...

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Wednesday, 13 June

17:13

My ABC radio interviews on the Qld state budget for 2018-19 "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

Budget balances

I made two trips to ABCs South Brisbane studios yesterday. On the Breakfast program, hosts Bec Levingston and Craig Zonca and I chatted about Queenslands growing state debt, the distinction between good and bad debt, and the states credit rating. I spoke after the Deputy Premier-Treasurer had chatted with Bec and Craig, and you can hear me from around 2 hours, 34 minutes into the recording:

http://www.abc.net.au/radio/brisbane/programs/breakfast/breakfast/9839236

On Steve Austins Drive show in the afternoon, Steve and I chatted about my impressions of the budget, released just three hours earlier. I told him I thought the projected operating surpluses were too thin and actually negligible when compared with gross state product (see chart above based on data published in the budget as well as ABS data). I also noted that, even according to the metrics the government prefers, the budget projects a deterioration in Queenslands fiscal position. For example, on p. 48 of Budget Paper 2 we discover:

  • the general government debt to revenue ratio is projected to increase from 54 percent in 2017-18 to 68 percent in 2021-22, meaning the government is not expected to comply with the fiscal principle to Target ongoing reductions in Queenslands relative debt burden; and
  • ...

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Tuesday, 12 June

22:22

Former police officer found not guilty of misconduct after leaking footage "IndyWatch Feed Qld"



The vindictive prosecution of a whistleblower who should in fact have been praised casts a dark shadow over the reputation of the QPS.  It shows the police as having no morality at all.  They were furious that Flori revealed the ugly truth about them and desperately wanted to get back at him.

Now that their prosecution has failed, it is surely time to ask some very challenging questions of Ian Stewart, the Queensland police chief.

The prosecution was undoubtedly stressful for Flori -- as would have been intended -- but there was a silver lining to his dark cloud. After her own victory over a crooked cop and his QPS defenders, Renee Eaves has done a lot to help other innocent victims of the police. So she flew to Fiori's side when his prosecution was announced and has given him support ever since. And as well as a her strength of character and iron will, Renee is absolutely gorgeous. A former bikini beauty, she is a dream walking. Having her nearby would soothe most troubled male souls.

You see her walking beside Fiori below.  I had the great privilege to help her once when she badly needed it




A FORMER Queensland police sergeant who leaked footage of officers bashing a handcuffed man in a Gold Coast station basement has been found not guilty of misconduct.

Rick Flori, 47, was acquitted of the charge by a majority 11-1 verdict by a jury on Wednesday following a six-day trial at the Southport District Court.

Flori, who has since resigned from the Queensland Police Service, says he released the footage of the January 2012 arrest to cast a spotlight on illegal practices within the force.

Flori released footage of police at the Surfers Paradise station bashing a handcuffed man, Noa Begic, in a basement car park in January 2012.

Once the footage was run by The Courier-Mail, an internal investigation lead to a search of Floris home where the footage was located on an SD card.

Flori told investigators hed acquired the footage for training purposes and denied knowing anything about the email address used to arrange the leak with a journalist.

Crown prosecutor Todd Fuller said Flori was upset at being overlooked for a promotion to senior sergeant in 2011.

Once he realised the footage included the man who had been given the promotion at his expense, Senior Sergeant David Joachim, hed set about leaking it to discredit his rival, Mr Fuller argued.

Mr Fuller said in the email sent to the journalist, Flori failed to mention any of the other officers involved except for Sen Sgt Joachim, despite Senior Constable Ben Lamb being the man who kneed and punched Mr Beg...

22:20

Former ASIO officer sues police for $750,000 claiming he was wrongfully arrested, put in a deadly chokehold and told by an officer 'they could shoot him and get a medal' "IndyWatch Feed Qld"



Gold Coast police again.  They are deep-dyed thugs. No part of this is appropriate police behaviour

A former federal security and police officer is suing Queensland Police for $750,000 claiming he was put in a deadly chokehold in a wrongful arrest.

Paul Gibbons alleges officers were excessively violent, abused him and threatened him on his honeymoon at a hotel in the Gold Coast.

He claimed he was confronted by police because they were allegedly annoyed at him taking 10 seconds to open the locked door to the hotel lobby.

One reportedly told him they could shoot him and receive a medal according to papers lodged to Brisbane District Court show, the ABC reports.

Mr Gibbons, who previously served in the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), has taken the State of Queensland to court.

He is claiming damages for assault, battery, wrongful arrest and false imprisonment.

Footage from a security camera inside the hotel lobby shows the moment he is wrestled to the ground after police surrounded him when he started filming them on his phone, Mr Gibbons alleges.

The ABC reports Mr Gibbons claims the officers threatened to arrest him for obstructing police, who were at the hotel for another matter.

The former ASIO agent, who also served in the Australian Federal Police, says when he questioned why they required entry, a police officer pointed to his gun saying the weapon was his authority.

The court heard the officer allegedly said: 'When we tell you to do something, you don't ask questions. You f***ing do it. 'Hell, we can put a bullet in your f***in' head and get a medal.'

One of the officers said the recording on Mr Gibbons phone would be 'easily remedied' flashing a torch directly into the camera.

The CCTV footage shows Mr Gibbons handcuffed on the floor while an officer scrolls through the device.

Mr Gibbons said he felt as though his throat would be crushed by one of the officers when they squeezed him during the incident in 2016.

The same officer is alleged to have later said: 'I'm going to kill you c***. When we get you out to the truck, I'm going to smash your f***ing face in c***.'

Part of the claim also includes $50,000 for potentially missing out on selling the footage from his phone to the media after it was deleted.

The state government, who is representing police in the case, has not replied to the lawsuit. A spokesman for the Queensland Police Service said the force could not comment while the matter was being dealt with in court.

...

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Monday, 28 May

04:32

Better to let the private sector risk money on a new Brisbane theatre "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

In a November 2015 post New 1,500 seat theatre would likely be a waste of taxpayers money, I questioned the desirability of a state government-funded $1.3M business case to investigate a new 1,500 seat theatre for Brisbane. At the time, I was criticised by the Courier-Mails Paul Syvret for seeing things through a coldly commercial prism (see this post). But based on todays news, I feel even more strongly that my comments at the time were justified. Following Premier Palaszczuks announcement yesterday of a new $150M theatre being tacked on to QPAC, todays Courier-Mail reports:

A market-led proposal by Sydney-based Foundation Theatres for a $100 million theatre on the old State Library site adjacent to Queens Wharf has been with the State Government since last year. Foundation Theatres, which runs the hugely successful Capitol and Sydney Lyric Theatres in Sydney, would have required only $25 million from the Government.

Yesterday the Premier insisted that proposal was still in play.

If they still want to pursue that they can, she said.

But by announcing the new theatre as an extension of QPAC she has effectively killed off that proposal.

This is another good example of government activity crowding out private sector activity. Government activity is generally only justified where there is market failure or equity concerns (in which case transfer payments are typically more efficient than public provision of a good or service). Given the market-led proposal from Foundation Theatres, where is the market failure in this case?

The private sector appears willing to have met the bulk of the cost of the new theatre. The private sector proponent Foundation Theatres isnt totally pure, as it was asking for a $25M contribution from the state government, but this would have been a much smaller outlay than the $150M the government will now spend building the theatre itself. Of course, one would need to consider what exactly the state government would have received for its $25M investment in the Foundation Theatres venture. That said, based on the limited information in the public domain, it is difficult to understand the logic behind the Governments $150M investment in a new theatre at QPAC.

...

Thursday, 03 May

07:05

BCC residential parking permit zone in West End & Highgate Hill is bad policy "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

I have previously posted on the high cost of free parking, the problem identified by UCLA economics professor Donald Shoup that arises when councils do not properly price access to on-street parking (see Another example of the high cost of free parking in Toowong). Now the Brisbane City Council (BCC) is proposing to cover the parts of West End and Highgate Hill in the vicinity of the City Cat ferry terminal with a residential parking permit zone, which will allow local residents to park on local streets almost for free and restrict the parking options of non-local residents, as reported by the Brisbane Times yesterday:

Inner city commuter parking is about to get a lot harder

This is really bad policy. The most efficient (and arguably equitable) solution is for the car parks to be allocated to those people with the highest willingness to pay, which will include many commuters catching the City Cat. This also means the council can raise more revenue, if it properly meters on-street parking in the area. If it finds that, at the metered charge it sets, demand is high relative to the supply of car parks, it should raise the charge. In this way, the community will get a good idea of the true willingness to pay for car parking in the area, and BCC or private investors might well realise it would be optimal to build a multi-storey car park for the City Cat terminal, for example. I should add that having commuters drive to West End to catch the City Cat is preferable to those same commuters instead driving to the CBD or University of Queensland, both big attractors of traffic and major locations of congestion.

Local residents should not be exempt from on-street parking charges, as they typically are under residential parking permit schemes. Contrary to what appears to be popular belief, property boundaries dont extend on to local streets. But, by granting a residential parking permit at a very low annual fee of $10 per vehicle (see the BCC website), BCC confers a valuable additional property right to local property owners. Given the inner city precincts that residential parking permit schemes cover, local residents are typically reasonably well off and dont need an extra benefit handed to them by the council. (Incidentally, this is why I dont think residential parking permit schemes are equitable.) If local residents are conferred such a valuable benefit by council, they should pay for it, through a much higher residential parking permit fee,...

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