The Satchel Review - Saturday 24th March

The smell of snags lingering no more, the BBQs rolled away, it seems that Campbell "Can Do" Newman has won the poll this election day.

Indeed, on the day when all Queenslanders get to have an opinion, and put it into action, the resounding sound was loud and clear: they would be led by Labor no more.

In the wake of the shocking defeat ("landslide!", "massacre!" "mutiny!"), Anna Bligh humbly and graciously conceded that she would step away from the political fray after 20 years in the game ("I don't think Labor can effectively rebuild and present a new face while I am still sitting here," she said).

It's likely Labor will own just seven seats in the 89-seat Queensland parliament; the LNP will have the vast majority with 78, followed by Katter's Australia Party (two) and the Independents (two). The Greens are out of favour in the Sunshine/Smart/Banana state.

What will we remember most from Campaign 2012?

It was packed with charisma and machismo and overshadowed by mining and marred by the Kevin Rudd/Julia Gillard federal fallout. Labor ran a largely negative campaign designed to discredit Newman, which wound up backfiring (we are over negative politics), and was too early out of the gates, setting itself up for a long-haul campaign period instead of one that was short and to the point.

On Queensland TV, panels were only too happy to have Bob Katter and Clive Palmer's bums on seats. Two wealthy Aussie blokes with two very healthy self-belief systems (read: arrogance), we did get to glimpse more than the sensational sound grabs and headlines.

Both of them have returned from political obscurity: Palmer was party spokesperson in the Joh Bjelke-Peterson National government, and Katter held various ministerial portfolios (including Minerals and Resources) in the same government.

But now they are ideologically opposed: Katter, running his own Australian party, is all for the "Lock the Gate" movement opposed to the Coal Seam Gas scheme, arguing for landholder's rights to consent to exploration. Palmer, investing considerably in the LNP, has written Lock the Gate and its anti-CSG sentiment, with the Greens, off as a CIA conspiracy.

Of course, neither of them will be running the state, unless you factor in Palmer's monetary investment in the LNP (you cannot buy your influence in a democracy, right?). That task is up to Mr Newman and his new government, who have a heck of a clean-up job ahead (reducing unemployment, reducing water and electricity costs, delivering on other election promises...)

Probably they will be taking notes from Barry O'Farrell, who last March defeated NSW Labor and has since operated on a mandate to "under-promise and over-deliver" as the Coalition government goes about rectifying the abysmal economic situation in the state – albeit not without its controversies (the Orica spill, the solar bonus scheme, the Star City debacle, provisions for special schooling transport...). Both O'Farrell and Newman have taken over from a long Labor legacy in their respective states, though their "mining" and "non-mining" statuses make the political dynamics entirely different.

Perhaps this state of affairs will help sort out the confusion federally? I, for one, am perplexed. Gillard backing company tax cuts and supporting Holden with government cash, and Abbott backing more dollars for paid maternity leave? It's like they're pulling policy out of a lucky dip.

Still, with the K-Rudd debacle off the front pages, at least decisions are being made. This week the Mineral Rent Resource Tax (MRRT) bill was passed by the Senate. Julia Gillard took the opportunity to scoff back at the press.

In non-political news, a weak tornado ripped through Townsville on Tuesday, leaving the Newman government a $20 million cleanup bill and at least 1000 home owners traumatised; the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida by community watch captain George Zimmerman in February sparked an ugly nation-wide race, guns and political debate after President Obama said, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon", as death threats for Zimmerman and protests for justice to be served ensued; and there was terror in Toulouse.

Also, The Australian Federal Police this week busted a major international child pornography ring with 15 people being arrested across four states and territories. The police described the images and videos they seized in 20 raids as "atrocious" with many of the victims infants. The men arrested, aged 21 to 64, didn't fit any one profile. "The reach of the internet, which has no geographical or physical boundaries, attracts all walks of life – you just never know who could be involved in this," said Glen McEwen, AFP Cybercrime Manager.

One small victory in a battle that wages war against faceless men behind computer screens, the tracing of victims now begins. 

Girl With a Satchel